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* Posts by John Robson

1957 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Six things I learned from using the iPad Pro for Real Work™

John Robson
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"If you want to do "proper" work, you need Windows (I hate to say it), proper Windows"

Funny - that's one thing I avoid whenever I need to do actual work. Some people might want it, but I suggest that's familiarity rather than need.

Unix works just fine... At the moment I'm sat with a BSD derived box at my fingertips. Makes a rather good tool, and is my 'work' machine.

I also have some experience of using the iPad as a productivity tool - for a while we went 'computerless' at home, and my wife wrote a book on her iPad2, with an apple bluetooth keyboard. The iPad has now basically stopped being useful (used occasionally for things), but I still use that keyboard when I work whilst travelling, since a keyboard and iPad mini actually make a great little work device - fits far better on a train/plane table than a laptop ever does.

One of very few things I struggle to do on the iPad is to remotely control a PC UI... And frankly I'm not surprised... I do wish they'd allow a pointing device (heck even if it's an app on a companion iDevice).

(Amusingly computerless is autoscrewuped to computerises)

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Talk about a hot mic: Dodgy Pixel mobe audio lands Google in court

John Robson
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Re: Every 30 months?

> But it fits in with the usual "people keep their mobes for two years" statistic. :)

Do kids phones without SIMs count? ;)

The point I was making that we now upgrade more frequently, used to be 4-5 years, because the ‘second lifes’ of our devices now have value to us.

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John Robson
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Re: Every 30 months?

No - I'd suggest that it is made up two general groups.

- Those who are in the 24 month upgrade cycle

- Those who wait after their contract ends before deciding what to do.

And even then it ignores the second hand market entirely...

I plan to upgrade my phone this year, whether I need to or not, because it will then pass down to my daughter. The phone she currently has is:

a) old enough that many useful apps (such as libby - which gives library access to both e- and audio- books) don't work.

b) starting to have the screen fail (glitching up on the RHS at various times)

But given that it is now 6-7 years old I think that's not unreasonable. It's had one replacement screen in that time.

Then my wife and I will be in sync - with one upgrade per year, alternating which kid gets an update as well. Scheduled phone life - 4 years, publicly visible 'upgrade cycle' 2 years...

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New strife for Strava: Location privacy feature can be made transparent

John Robson
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Re: Sorry but....

That would be a sensible option.

Particularly for disparate groups - the mapping is of no interest to people who live more than 100 miles from me, but the basic data is.

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John Robson
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Re: It's not the first time it's been said

I have several 'circles' covering the area I want to 'hide'

So they overlap and between them provide coverage to the extent that you know which area of town I live in, but no more. Of course you also know when I go past, so it would be pretty easy to track me down...

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‘I crashed a rack full of servers with my butt’

John Robson
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Re: Was filling the truck with diesel ...

> The latch to allow the nozzle to dispense gas without needing a human is bloody useful at -27C (Especially if driving a truck that takes approximately 120 litres).

So you're not dressing appropriately for the conditions?

Some issues which are resolved:

- Can't drive off with the hose still in.

- Remaining grounded so you can't ignite the vapour with a static discharge (and then pull the nozzle out in a panic and spray (now ignited) fuel over the forecourt...)

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John Robson
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Re: Was filling the truck with diesel ...

> Ahhh, @John Robson, but that's why those civilised countries have a higher incidence of fuel theft and have to resort to ANPR camera usage to prevent that.

I prefer pay at pump myself (at which point pre-auth is sufficiently easy to make sense - particularly since the 'refund' doesn't then need the card a second time) - but fuel theft is no different to theft in other shops (except that ANPR makes it really easy to ID the culprit).

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John Robson
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Re: Was filling the truck with diesel ...

And that's why in civilised countries we don't let the pumps operate without a person holding the valve open.

Oh, and we dispense fuel then go and pay - rather than guessing how much fuel might or might not be needed. Multiple trips in to 'pay' for fuel is a crazy way of doing things...

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NASA's zombie IMAGE satellite is powered up and working quite nicely

John Robson
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Re: Funding?

I doubt ground stations would need to be *rebuilt* they just need to tune in to the correct frequency and position...

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Knock, knock. Who’s there? Another Amazon Key door-lock hack

John Robson
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Re: Still looking for an electronic lock...

>> I think you answered your own requirement there - a garage door opener, something that has been around for a long time and does the job it's designed for. Of course, those are still seriously lacking in security, but it does what you need in a way that doesn't require an IoT device.

There is of course the slight issue that I'm replacing the door due to failure of said device - and the way in which I installed it wasn't particularly conducive to replacement (Oops)...

I am indeed looking for something that I can control via an RPi - as I said, no IoT connectivity wanted/needed. But I could of course access it over my own VPN.

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John Robson
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Re: Still looking for an electronic lock...

No, I'd have a phone with a key taped to it.

In this case however it's for a garage door...

I'd like to be able to open it on approach, particularly in the event of rain.

When the remote opener on the door used to work it was rather nice to ride straight in without having to get off the bike, open the house, go in and trigger the door opener before coming back out again.

About to replace the door with something slightly less automatic, but I'd still like to be able to get the door to open for me, particularly when the weather is inclement.

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John Robson
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Still looking for an electronic lock...

I would like to have a lock that I can *open* from my phone.

Doesn't need anything IoT about it - it can all be locally handled... I just need a lock that is locked when power is off, but that I can cause to open by application of power.

Since most similar locks do the opposite (fail open on power failure for fire escape reasons)...

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Bring the people 'beautiful' electric car charging points, calls former transport minister

John Robson
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Like all the beautiful petrol stations?

Yeah - make them nice to look at, but make them first...

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Dodgy parking firms to be denied access to Brit driver database

John Robson
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Re: Petty Speeding

>> This is why one of the non-negotiable features of cars I get is a speed limiter. It's a function of the cruise control.

>Adaptive Cruise Control, mate. Best advancement in car technology since the wheel itself.

and at the point when it becomes available in my price range it will be taken up - but the speed limiter is already available in my price bracket. And since I expect to be using this car for another 8 years or so... Maybe I'll not have to drive the next one ;)

I'd at least like to be able to have a car drive itself down the motorway, which seems eminently reasonable to me...

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John Robson
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Re: Petty Speeding

My car has a maximum limiter.

It is one function of the cruise control, max speed - throttle control, but won’t exceed set speed unless I floor it (the kick down detector will override the speed limiter)

It doesn’t need satnav, I have buttons on the wheel...

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John Robson
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Re: Petty Speeding

> Where there is an actual blackspot, the road needs to be fixed to remove the danger. Adding limits won't help. Adding cameras might slow people down, but they'll be looking at their speedos and not the road.

We could remove the danger from most roads pretty easily. The danger is basically entirely created by drivers of motor vehicles.

Seriously though - engineering the risk out of junctions does seem to be beyond the UK:

http://singletrackworld.com/2018/01/collision-course-why-this-type-of-road-junction-will-keep-killing-cyclists/

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John Robson
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Re: Petty Speeding

> Perhaps he means they're breaking their concentration?

He didn't...

> Which, to be fair, camera's (especially surprise ones) do tend to do, because some people start paying more attention to the speedo than the road.

This is why one of the non-negotiable features of cars I get is a speed limiter. It's a function of the cruise control.

I do tend to find that when I haven't set it, I am still cruising along a road at exactly the speed limit...

> Not that all camera's are bad, mind. There are a couple of places near me where the camera is very much needed because of poor (well, terrible) junction design and road layout. You'd hope, though, that sooner or later they'd spend some money to correct the layout....

Yes - changing the layout is preferable...

There is no real reason to be cross about any speed cameras, it's generally trivial to actually obey the law.

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John Robson
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Re: Petty Speeding

"Safety - I think not! Why's everyone breaking and changing lane. Oh a camera."

Very easy - just don't do nearly 60 in a 50mph limit.

Oh, and learn to spell... breaking is very different from braking.

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Google slaps mute button on stupid ads that nag you to buy stuff you just looked at

John Robson
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Re: Does Google really not get it?

"As for why people are paying for ads..."

I think the saying - 50% of my spend on advertising is wasted, I just can't tell which 50%

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Here we go again... UK Prime Minister urges nerds to come up with magic crypto backdoors

John Robson
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Re: No is the answer and it remains that way

I might have to start sending line noise to my MP...

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Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

John Robson
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> Was this a corner case that a human driver would have handled better than the car?

Probably not - most humans would swerve 'back' across their lane if their overtake had to be aborted (assuming they didn't just plough into the minivan and spin through the m/cyclist).

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John Robson
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“My understanding is that "right of way" has to do more with who can proceed in a conflict, but loses value when a collision occurs.”

NO

Right of way is who has the legal right pass over a specific place.

You are thinking of priority. If people stopped calling it a ‘right’ and called it priority then we might see a slightly more rational attitude on the roads...

Ah, who am I kidding - might is right, bigger vehicle always has priority in the eyes of its operator and anyone vulnerable is screwed by the lack of enforcement, prosecution and penalty :(

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Elon Musk offered no salary, $55bn bonus to run Tesla for a decade

John Robson
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> No, "stepping up .. in increments" is tautology.

Yes, but stepping from 60 by 50 doesn't get you to 650.

Stepping up in 50s does.

It's poorly worded, and occasionally the repetition is useful to clarify a point.

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Aut-doh!-pilot: Driver jams 65mph Tesla Model S under fire truck, walks away from crash

John Robson
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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

> In Aussie if you are riding a pushie and you are pissed can be charged with "being drunk while in charge of a carriage" but it won't affect your driver's licence.

I assume Pushie is an Oz term for pedal cycle...

And the same is true in the UK, although there is no fixed alcohol level, and there is no obligation to submit to a breath/blood test. The offence is demonstrated by you being 'unable to control your vehicle'. Of course with most bikes the offence is largely self limiting.

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Smut site fingered as 'source' of a million US net neutrality comments

John Robson
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Re: American democracy

@Dr Syntax.

It was deliberate...

The EC system is particularly broken because of the way the different colleges decide to handle their votes. Surely a proportional split would make much more sense than each section of the country rounding their votes up to provide 100% support, when a candidate likely only received 60%.

I'm not suggesting that anywhere else has a perfect system - but this peculiar artefact of the US system is particularly screwy.

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John Robson
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Re: American democracy

"Well, you get the government you majority vote for (unless there's electoral irregularities at work)."

In general governments are made of the largest minority, not a majority.

IIRC the actual figures of population voting are not in Trumps favour - but it's only the weird electoral collage system (paint by numbers) that actually votes for a president...

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Baywatch hero drone saves silly struggling swimmers Down Under from going down under

John Robson
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Pretty accurate drop...

And a good inflation upon impact with the water. Looked pretty decent to me, and an excellent use of the technology. Have one sat on the roof of the lifeguard hut, fuelled/charged and ready to roll pretty fast.

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Ofcom cracks on with spectrum auction rules, despite Three's legal challenge

John Robson
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Re: 1st... nope.,.. 2nd... almost ... 3rd world .. yes!

> my mobile data speed in Vietnam was 75m/bits, my home fiber was 24.... using Wifi is from the 90s and your reasoning shows they have managed to convince you it is acceptable!

Oh, yes - that's where I'm going wrong - I'm still in the 90's ...

There are good physics reasons that fixed line services should be higher capacity and speed than mobile services.

My home connection is about 75MB/s, I have no idea what my mobile data speed is, because I don't use it for large volume downloads - but it's quite fast enough for mapping and browsing.

If I want to watch a film then I will either stream it when I get home, or if you insist on torrenting it (which really does seem daft on a mobile device) then I'll trigger my home device to do that...

I don't want a movie on my phone/tablet in general. If I do then it's more than likely a planned trip, so I'll have preloaded it.

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John Robson
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Consumers can benefit...

Really?

When we have universal 2G coverage, and close to universal 4G coverage then we can consider moving to 5G.

Pretty much the only people who will benefit at this stage are the government coffers...

Yes, a few people in select locations in cities will be able to download their latest film desires in a few seconds less, but why aren't you doing that on WiFi anyway???

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UK's Just Eat faces probe after woman tweets chat-up texts from 'delivery guy'

John Robson
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"The delivery driver should not have had access to the buyers phone number."

Agree...

But your solution falls short.

As the delivery driver for a JustEat using provider he should therefore log into the JustEat app (either on a personal device or one provided by the provider) as a driver and log that there is a delay, that will then be sent via SMS or email to the buyer without the driver ever needing to see it.

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Self-driving cars still do not exist even if we think they do

John Robson
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Re: They kinda do and kinda don't

JeffyPooh: Keep In Lane, meet snow-covered roads, meet filthy camera, meet inconsistent and faded markings.

Telsa have a significant number of cars in Norway - this isn't a problem they are unable to solve.

> Naive trust in Self Driving technology will see you decapitated by a semi truck's "invisible" 53-foot trailer.

Well, yes - if you ignore the warnings the car is giving you, and the warnings you were given when you bought the car, and completely fail to pay any attention to the road *and* someone turns in front of you poorly then you'll come a cropper... But you will note that despite being told (repeatedly) to keep their attention on the road the driver you refer to also failed to observe the trailer.

This is where L4 on Motorways comes in. The environment is massively simplified, and it's relatively easy to wake the driver up and say 'hey, in a minute or so we'll be heading off the motorway and you'll be needed'.

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John Robson
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Re: They kinda do and kinda don't

> Do they? Without a human there just in case? No.

Because motor cars still have men with red flags walking in front of them. Of course they still have people around, but from the bits and pieces I've seen, and my own ability to look at the road and assess what is happening I suspect that *commercial* L4 on motorways is not actually that far off.

I'd like to think that my kids might never have to learn to drive, but I suspect that is somewhat optimistic (as it always has been).

I'd also like to think that when we do get Full L5 cars the courts might start growing a pair and actually revoking the licenses of those who have demonstrated themselves unfit to hold a lollipop, let alone a steering wheel.

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Astroboffins say our Solar System is a dark, violent, cosmic weirdo

John Robson
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>>Because it *looks* unusual in that it not the same as any of the other systems we've observed.

>>It might be observational bias that makes us look unusual, but I'm pretty sure I went over that before...

>Yes, but as others have noted: we can't expect to observe similar systems with our current technology.

Would those mysterious 'others' you mention actually be me (in the very first reply on this thread, and mentioned in the post you selectively quoted)?

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John Robson
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>> "But we can reasonably say that it looks like our system is unusual."

> "Why?"

Because it *looks* unusual in that it not the same as any of the other systems we've observed.

When that number was one ours looked typical.

Now that that number is somewhat larger - we look very unusual.

It might be observational bias that makes us look unusual, but I'm pretty sure I went over that before...

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John Robson
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But we can reasonably say that it looks like our system is unusual.

Of course I don't actually know how many small, rocky exoplanet containing systems we know - as opposed to those where we know about gas giants close to the parent star.

Is our current detection technology only picking up those systems where a gas giant formed 'close' and then dominated proceedings rather than forming further out and creating a system like ours.

I have *NO* data on any of the above, the astroboffins almost certainly do, and I imagine that since they are probably rather smart they have looked at such possible observation causality.

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US border cops told to stop copying people's files just for the hell of it

John Robson
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"consistent with the public trust"

So just randomly and as much as you can, before putting it all on an unsecured S3 bin with a copy of the victims passport etc?

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Apple agrees to pay £136m in back idiot taxes to UK taxman

John Robson
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Re: largest taxpayer in the world

Well, they do pay (some) tax.

And they are very fat cats.

Whether they are the fattest fat cats in the world is a different question...

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Sky customer dinged for livestreaming pay-per-view boxing to Facebook

John Robson
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Re: I'm Guessing Russian Hackers

Sky were 3,999 of the viewers...

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You GNOME it: Windows and Apple devs get a compelling reason to turn to Linux

John Robson
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Re: Discuss

"Cinnamon seems to have the best "windows-like" appearance"

My car has the best 'crash like' brakes available...

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Parliamentary 'puters made 30k tries to procure pr0nz last year

John Robson
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Is that not a challenge?

The parliamentary filters bans all porn sites.

Guest network runs through the filter.

How long before someone finds one it *doesn't* block.

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UK security chief: How 'bout a tax for tech firms that are 'uncooperative' on terror content?

John Robson
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Extra tax on pubs...

After all people can have conversations in them... Shock horror.

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HMS Queen Elizabeth has sprung a leak and everyone's all a-tizzy

John Robson
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Re: God bless her...

> One person could bail this leak with a teaspoon.

> Actually make that a cup. It's 0.06 L/sec, so you'd have to move your arms really fast with a teaspoon...

Depends how many decks you need to run up each time to tip the bucket of water back into the sea...

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John Robson
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Or we could promise that £3.5b to *all* of the things that cost that much...

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Windows 10 Hello face recognition can be fooled with photos

John Robson
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"ORLY? I've lost count of the number of times I've heard of lost keys and wallets or found the same lying around in the middle of nowhere."

Yes - we genuinely are quite good at keeping things safe.

And of course if you find a secureID token, or one of those debit card based versions...

You still don't have the 'other' factor.

2FA does nothing for the man standing behind you with a lead pipe... but it does make systems much less vulnerable to simple hacks.

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John Robson
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>How does the user authenticate themselves on that other device?

You don't - but without that device (we're quite good at keeping physical objects, like phones, keys and cash secure) *and* something you know... then you don't get in.

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Dump ur mobile provider via txt by 2019: LMFAO cu l8r

John Robson
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Re: Alternatively...

>Call your current provider and request a code?

>That's a bit 20th century isn't it?

It comes from the aggressive 'pinch your number and contract' techniques of less than scrupulous sellers.

You have to tell your existing provider that your number is being ported, else it's locked.

It's actually not a bad idea - it's just that getting the PAC can take longer than it should (and it should be available through the 'manage my account' section of their website/app)

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John Robson
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Re: Erm...

>It could also be killed by wiping out all the settings, or by dropping it on the floor and breaking the screen. Don't leave your phone unattended or especially unattended and unlocked in places where you don't trust people around you not to be assholes.

Yes it could - but at least a legal contract couldn't be changed without any attempt at verification of authority.

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John Robson
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Erm...

So an unlocked phone sat on a desk would be killed by sending a single text message from it?

That seems, how shall I put this? Risky?

The current method isn't great, but I wonder if this is a step too far.

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Seagate's lightbulb moment: Make read-write heads operate independently

John Robson
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I need another wooden spoon for the kitchen...

And this was my first thought.

Why involve any change externally. With the size of drive caches nowadays the disk is doing all the data rearranging anyway, so it could reasonably intelligently divvy the data up itself.

Of course a naive striped pair approach would simply tie the heads back together again (on write at least), but an internal firmware change to take advantage of what I suppose is effectively 'more spindles' strikes me as an easier approach than most other options (unless you genuinely present as two disks (can a normal SATA/SAS port take that?)

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2017 – the year of containers! It wasn't? Oops. Maybe next year

John Robson
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Re: Container == process

It's slightly more than that - it's a way to easily share and distribute that chroot directory with associated library dependencies.

It's a way to share config amongst the directories and to obfuscate the networking to the point where an epileptic spider dipped in ink would be considered coherent.

IIRC there is also a bit more memory protection than a plain chroot process has - but I might be wrong about that.

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