* Posts by steelpillow

557 posts • joined 16 Jun 2016


Planet Computers straps proper phone to its next Psion scion, Cosmo

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Still a shedload cheaper than a Crapple, and soo much cooler!

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Had my Gemini for a while and coming to depend on it more and more. I use it as my main phone too, and to be fair it is a bit clunky when it comes to things like keying-in helpline options. But I don't phone often, so it doen's matter to me that much.

Would probably still go for the Cosmo (Why drop the S from Cosmos, for heaven's sake?) if I had the choice, as long as the external camera actually delivers under low-light conditions.

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Aftersales support

@TimmyB Support has been patchy, in part due to middlemen fouling things up. But when you do get hold of them, they are great and have replaced stuff readily.

Obviously a company growing faster than they expected to.

Google logins make JavaScript mandatory, Huawei China spy shock, Mac malware, Iran gets new Stuxnet, and more

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Re: delete malware

Icon for Mr Graham, there.

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Re: "uranium subterfuges", O Joy

Puts a new spin on plot subterfuges, doesn't it.

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Re: So not, Google

The Google mindset; "If we don't see it, it doesn't exist."

Actually no, Google. The reason you see so few visitors running NoScript is that so many of us privacy-savvy netizens USE DUCKDUCKGO and only turn to Google as a last resort.

Exercise for the Google staffer: and why do we use DuckDuckGo? All together now; "BECAUSE WE DON'T NEED TO ENABLE JAVASCRIPT".

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Re: Wait

A subterfuge is a subterranean centrifuge. Don't you know anything? (sorry)

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So not, Google

"we recommend that you keep JavaScript on while signing into your Google Account so we can better protect you."

No No No you bunch of hypocrites. Turning off javascript is what I do to protect myself - especially FROM YOU!

Google's active Captcha-style login ("click through a bunch of images that show a storefront", etc) is ubiquitous on the web. On many sites now it is impossible to log in without enabling much of Google's javascript. We are forced to let Google track our movements wherever we go, even to harvest our login details should it so desire. Even outfits like Dropbox will just go "oh, well, we use Google's captcha system now, so we don't care about our users or our security ownership any more."

Sick, sick, sick.

'Pure technical contributions aren’t enough'.... Intel commits to code of conduct for open-source projects

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Back in the day

Was some time around 1982 that I was given a talking-to for swearing on the telex (a kind of antedeluvian point-to-point email link, my dear child).

It's pretty simple really:

1. Avoid making potetially offensive remarks to someone:

- If you have yet to establish a personal relationship with them

- If you are unsure who else might be reading/listening

2. You can loosen up appropriately once you know the guy and their style, and in private conversation that will never be shared with anybody else.

3. Overcook it and you will cause more trouble than you are worth. This is not a moral judgement, it is a practical reality. If you upset people then the community will become dysfunctional and will be better off without you.

4. Leaving an audit trail of hate speech is a good way to overcook it to the point of the legal system taking a similar view to that of your employer.

In summary, your enemies are not the only people who need to know when to SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Imperial bringing in budget holograms to teach students

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Not a holagram after all

Thank goodness, I was beginning to worry they might be drafting in Arnold Rimmer to teach me vending machine technology.

Boom! Just like that the eSIM market emerges – and jolly useful it is too

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With more manufacturers already putting eSims in their devices, such as the Planet Gemini, this will be an interesting market place to watch.

I am hopeful that my physical SIM provider will feel obliged to offer greater incentives, i.e. better services, to attract me away from activating my eSIM.

Worldwide Web wizard Tim Berners-Lee sticks wellington boot into Worldwide Web's giants: Time to break 'em up?

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Human nature

One thing the Internet and the www will never change is human nature. The more open you make the tech, the more human nature will shine through. And you, Sir Tim, made it pretty dam' open.

It may not be a pretty sight, but welcome to the real world.

BT: We're stocking warehouses with kit ahead of Brexit to avoid shortages

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stockpiling what?

I thought BT got most of their stuff from Huawei these days, not from the EU.

Looking at the sales trends, perhaps "stockpiled" is a euphemism for "unsold stock".

We're Zuckers for a sequel: Brit MPs' battle to grill Facebook boss continues

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Re: Zuck just doesn't give a...

"Maybe they could ask for him to be extradited for questioning ?"

They can only do that if he is accused of a suitably serious crime under UK law. Not giving a shit is not a crime. Personally I'd like to see him holed up for a decade in a Latin American embassy with a badly house-trained cat and shit Internet access, but such things never happen in real life.

IBM sits draped over the bar at The Cloud or Bust saloon. In walks Red Hat

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Re: Clouded vision


For the benefit of others, who are well aware that there is a difference between free as in freedom and free as in beer. I did not specify the particular nuances involved in my one-liner summary of the RH business model. It has changed subtly over the years. But you get the idea. All further nit-picking criticisms, whether bullshit or confused or possibly even half-right, should be sent to me at /dev/null.

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Re: Clouded vision

@ST: The free edition of RHEL is called CentOS. The two teams hammered out a stable working relationship a long time ago.

The reason you pay for RHEL is because it is actually a support contract (with a bit of non-free software, last time I looked) on top of what is basically CentOS.

Bullshit where it is due, sunshine.

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Clouded vision

Was maybe inevitable. RedHat may be built on Open Source but its business has long been run by beancounters for beancounters. That was what gave it its stellar rise to Fortune 100 all those years ago and now, in the dawn of the Cloud, drives it into the arms of a big investor.

The RedHat business model - we sell services, and here is a free software install to get you going - was fine as long as the client needed services built on that software. But now the client needs them built on the cloud, and that doesn't fit on a CD.

Openreach hacks full-fibre broadband prices for developers... Property developers, that is

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Re: It’s about time!

"Seems like OR are finally starting to get serious about fibre deployments."

Nope. They are serious about shafting CityFibre though.

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

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Seriously though

Given the endless variations on a single theme, I find it hard to believe in a shedload of earnest monkeys churning out this below-par crap. Could this be some schmuck developing an AI spamming system that is slowly training itself to improve its click-through rate?

Roughly 30 years after its birth at UK's Acorn Computers, RISC OS 5 is going open source

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Re: A bit too old now.

"This already exists."

Indeed. ROX stands for RISC OS on X and has been around for a very long time. It came up with some innovative ideas, such as one of the first Linux-desktop taskbars, which was soon widely copied and is now the default on most desktops, and a mechanism for drag-and-drop software installation, which for some reason never made the mainstream.

Looking forward to a touchscreen-aware generation revisiting the old paradigms.

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Re: A bit too old now.

RISC OS has undergone steady but slow development over the years. RO5 is a lot more modern than the classic RO3.x. But the slow pace of often paid-for development under profit-hungry and peccadillo-riddled closed licensing has left a lot of holes and was one of the big reasons to push for open-sourcing it. Let's hope the community bites.

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Re: Observations

ROM based OS can be as permanent or as upgradeable as you like. For example the EAROM (Electrically Alterable ROM) can be reprogrammed by enabling a special hardware signal, while Acorn made the ROM physically swappable and distributed OS upgrades by sending out a replacement chip. The BIOS in the average desktop PC faces similar issues but is mostly a lot more easily updated - and hence a lot more easily hacked.

An OS in ROM is not a panacea for all ills, but it helps finesse security management.

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When the BBC Micro was dominant, the company realised that it had enough money to develop either a next-generation school micro or its ARM processors. It chose the latter and, financially, that decision cannot be faulted. The Archimedes/RISC PC was always going to be a kooky and expensive niche, supported only by a shrinking band of Acorn fans, but its processor is fast taking over the world.

Like me. I went through three or four RISC OS machines and still have a working RISC PC. Had to move to Wintel for a few years until Linux desktops became productive enough.

Attempts to reach the present announcement have been going on for a long time. RISC OS Open Ltd, aka ROOL, were formed several years ago, with exactly this as their ambition. Looks like the eternal bitchfights between IP owners have at last been settled.

H'mm. Maybe my next upgrade will be a Pi dual-booting RISC OS and Devuan. That would be nice.

And I'll tell you what else. How about a nigh-on unhackable ROM-based, compact and lightning-fast but still fully-featured, and Open Source, OS to power the IoT? That would be nice, too.

Linguists, update your resumes because Baidu thinks it has cracked fast AI translation

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"up to at least five words"

Now how could any AI translate the subtletites of that near-oxymoron for a Chinese Vulture?

I ship you knot: 2,400-year-old Greek trading vessel found intact at bottom of Black Sea

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Re: Finally...

And of course their unique:

Eric: "What's Grecian Urn?"

Ernie: "He's a man from Greece, Eric."

Cosmoboffins think grav waves hold the key to sorting out the disputed Hubble Constant

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"It'll never end."

Some string theories have ends to the strings.

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Re: Yes but what is it expanding into?

Possibly into an 11-dimensional "multiverse", which is heavily populated by an endlessly-growing number of expanding universes or "branes" roughly similar to our own, a respectable cosmological theory known as eternal inflation.

Although ordinary inflation cannot currently account for the observed fluctuations in the rate of Universal expansion, it is the commonest explanation offered for the observed microwave background and Hubble Constant. It has no need for a multiverse or anything to expand space "into", any more than it needs a kind of "pre-existing" fixed future for time to expand forwards "into".

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Re: is the universe expanding, or are we shrinking within it?

If we were shrinking then the gravitational constant, the electromagnetic constants and possibly even the strong nuclear forces would all have to change and rebalance themselves in order to preserve orbital mechanics, nuclear physics and chemistry. Evidence suggests extremely strongly that these phenomena are not changing.

EU aren't kidding: Sky watchdog breathes life into mad air taxi ideas

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Re: Autorotate to where?

Probably a corner of some car park, re-designated an aerial taxi dropoff point. Can only follow routes with a continuous supply of such.

It should be easy enough to specify a deployable paraglider or similar controlled-descent device, with independent control system and say 10 mins power supply, for use when the main flight power fails.

It might be a touch less easy to implement such a system and get it certified.

Microsoft has signed up to the Open Invention Network. We repeat. Microsoft has signed up to the OIN

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Makes you wonder.

"OIN? let's embrace, extend, ... extinguish."

Punkt: A minimalist Android for the paranoid

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Re: Do you have a Gemini - if so what's it like?

Getting more and more into mine. It's a perfectly good Android* 4G/LTE smartphone, once you get into the habit of flipping it open and sometimes having to hold it up like an open book to do portrait-mode stuff. Once you start a call you can close it up again and look normal, you can also answer calls with it closed. Bit like those flip-up clip-on sunglasses, very practical once you get past the novelty factor. Dropbox plus WPS Office turn it into a productive netbook, with a small keyboard you will either love or hate. Some use it like a laptop, some two-thumbed like a smartphone (awkward for small hands, but if that's you then you can hold it like a book when on the move and bring up the standard Android soft keyboard, save the physical one for the table top), some hold in one hand and type with the other - I often do for quick messages or adding a stumbled-on contact. Integrated productivity apps echo the old Psions and get variable responses. Maybe Planet Computers should have called it the YMMV. I love it.

* The one to watch is the new Sailfish OS build, due out soon. You can dual-boot or just dump Android.

Chinese tech titans' share prices slump after THAT Super Micro story

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Re: One thing is certain:

@ Rupert Fiennes: Of course, the security module's I/O channels will be open to the same kind of CITM (chip-in-the-middle) compromise, especially if the main chip is also made in China.

UK space comes to an 'understanding' with Australia as Brexit looms

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Re: Poppycock

Forgive me, but I think the OP's context implies dumping without using it properly first.

And isn't SpaceX a US company?

Poppycock and bollocks where they are due, my friend.

Wi-Fi Alliance ditches 802.11 spec codes for consumer-friendly naming scheme

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New, good - Retrospective, bad

I'm all for a more easily-undersood system that helps us spot this year's model from last.

But retrospective re-designation is stupid: if I check my current device spec sheet and it is some 802.blah number, how can I relate that to "Wfi 5 or 6?" or, "is "WiFi 4 too risky to keep any more?" type information?

A web where the user has complete control of their data? Sounds Solid, Tim Berners-Lee

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So the big dudes will just write apps that hook not only into Solid but into other arbitrary web resources, one of them being their own harvester. You can't police every "Solid-compliant" app on the planet, or have I missed something here?

Location, location, location... technologies under the microscope

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Location tracking

I kind of appreciate that my bleepy thing's GPS could let the emergency services find me in an, err ... emergency.

But I kind of don't appreciate that social media, advertisers, stalkers and government spooks could too.

These things need effective security and strict access controls.

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It was Ireland's biggest lingerie department I understand.

Upvote for [OK I won't say it yet] reference.

Send up a satellite to zap space junk if you want Earth's orbit to be clean, say boffins

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Enemy junk

Interesting that someone thinks they have a better chance of funding if they present the 1-tonne enemy satellite as "junk".

Somebody should tell them that the most dangerous space junk is the 99.99% - the millions of tiny and invisible pieces, not the handful of monsters you can see coming and avoid.

Braking bad: Mitsubishi recalls 68k SUVs over buggy software

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Coat icon

The "impact" from a bug in the braking system? Ooer!

Will Mitsubisihi's customers find themselves rear-ended by all this?

How do some of the best AI algorithms perform on real robots? Not well, it turns out

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What you need is to hook the robot up to another ML AI back in the lab, dedicated to tuning the hyperparameters of other AI. You could call the lab one "Teacher" and allow it - ohh, I dunno, fifteen years or so the train up the "pupil" robot.

Now where have I met that paradigm before?

Enigma message crack honours pioneering Polish codebreakers

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Missed opportunity

“I could operate it now and could plug it up,”

Shame they didn't let her.

Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for my 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

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Rainbow haired

FUCK YOU, Snow Wombat and co. Some of my best friends are rainbow-haired and your kind of prejudice and persecution is still rife in society. Opinions like yours need to be kept out of sight. Since you like Linus so much the way he used to be, I am sure that you will take this flame in the spirit it is given.

Euro bureaucrats tie up .eu in red tape to stop Brexit Brits snatching back their web domains

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Couldn't have said it better myself

"It's exactly this sort of nonsense that drove many in the UK to vote for Brexit in the first place."

Russia: The hole in the ISS Soyuz lifeboat – was it the crew wot dunnit?

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Conspiracy theory

Russia has made pretty bullish noises about dumping the ISS supply contract next year.

Meanwhile the quality of the more recent Soyuz craft has been coming under criticism.

If you wanted to dump an undesirable contract, what better way to erode confidence than to encourage bad quality and follow that up by sticking a spanner drill in the works?

The grand-plus iPhone is the new normal – this is no place for paupers

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The problem for Apple is that raising its top-end price by 500 dollars merely doubles its existing $500 margin, say. For its cheaper Android competitors, doing the same knocks their slimmer $100 margin up by a factor of five. Instead of having to sell five times as many to make the same profit as Apple, they now only have to sell twice as many. Not sure how smart Apple are being here.

Gartner: Governments want to be digital, but just can't scale it up

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Hope springs eternal, nothing else does

The traditional problem faced by the UK Ministry of Defence has always been the deeply traditional hatred between the Army, Navy and Air Force bureaucracies. Royal they may be but their first allegiance is always to the way they do things differently from the others. It has taken half a century to get even this small bit of business change moving and without it, a unified ICT system for the MoD had always been an impossible dream.

Err, how many assorted Departments, Offices and other miscellaneous stones with creatures underneath does UK Gov currently have? Even Wikipedia seems to have lost track.

With all those other democracies apparently in a similar bind, what hope is there for positive, coordinated action?

SpaceX dodges lightning while storms keep Japan earthbound

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Re: drone ship

(That's not a Shadows reference, but another band..)

"Set the controls to the heart of the sun" - yet a third band but a hint to the second nonetheless.


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