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* Posts by Ken Hagan

6296 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

You've heard that pop will eat itself. Boffins have unveiled a rocket that does the same

Ken Hagan
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Re: Not new

"But sending a plastic spear through an oxygen-rich atmosphere at high Mach number may prove less practicable."

It's not a bug, it's a feature, though probably only for version 2.

You add some inlets to your device, figure out the amount of oxygen available to you at different points in the flight, and so reduce the amount of oxidant needed in your stick at those points (as measured up the stick).

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Ken Hagan
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The bottom of the stick is being melted by the heat of the combustion chamber. Some downward force is applied by the upward acceleration of the rocket. This is "mg" just prior to launch, when the stick is heavy, is slightly larger when the engine starts or else it won't lift off, and remains at that slightly larger value throughout the flight as long as you are burning the stick at a uniform rate. Note also that the thrust is constant even as the stick gets lighter, so the actual acceleration is presumably pretty huge near the end of the burn. Probably not person-friendly. Stick to cube-sats.

The cube-sat itself might reasonable be placed at the other end and be given a heat-resistant beanie to wear for the flight, thereby reducing the problem (mentioned further up) of firing an inflammable stick through oxygen at high Mach numbers. I imagine the sides of the stick would see less atmospheric friction and might be protected by a thin layer of something air-tight.

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Android daddy Andy Rubin's Essential axes handset, is 'actively shopping itself' – report

Ken Hagan
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"The price paid is likely to be just a tiny fraction of the mooted $900m-$1bn valuation just one year ago," he predicts.

Valuations, eh? A pity it is my pension fund these twats are playing with.

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America's comms watchdog takes on the internet era's real criminals: Pirate pastors

Ken Hagan
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Re: italics and/or bold (and sometimes strike) for emphasis work better in this forum

"Nobody should ever use Arial."

I imagine that the choice is made by the CSS on this site, so presumably you can change it in your browser somehow. (I've never bothered to learn how to do that. Life's too short to be fixing other people's stylistic idiocy on a site-by-site basis. Their content is bad enough: https://m.xkcd.com/386/.)

Unless I can use a style attribute on a tag ... <span style="font-family:'Comic Sans';">like this</span>

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Ken Hagan
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Re: FCC enforcement of radio spectrum usage

"This is the Modern World ... italics and/or bold (and sometimes strike) for emphasis work better in this forum. "

And like so much else in the Modern World, the &lt;b&gt;new&lt;/b&gt; method is more work than the *old*.

Edit: and doesn't actually work properly.

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Facebook's democracy salvage effort tilts scale in Mississippi primary

Ken Hagan
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Re: No worse than ...

You're reading it wrongly.

Given the NPOV rules, it is surely obvious that any attempt to tackle a political topic will result in an edit war and a pointless hair-splitting article that no sane person would ever want to read (or, for that matter, be involved in writing).

Therefore, on a political topic, you ignore the main article and skim the associated "Talk" page to glean the main points of contention. Having familiarised yourself with the idiots at either extreme, you choose a comfortable position somewhere in between.

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Ken Hagan
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It might be natural that everyone wants to be on the same social network as everyone else. However, Google would probably dispute any assertion that Facebook enjoys a natural monopoly in internet advertising.

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Ken Hagan
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That "somewhere" is usually part of the US. In the *other* example cited in the article, the challenger's campaign began the week after the previous election.

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Epyc fail? We can defeat AMD's virtual machine encryption, say boffins

Ken Hagan
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Re: The attack can only be partially mtitigated

Whether this attack can be mitigated or not is not really the point. If you don't trust your host then you have to assume that no-one will ever figure out an attack that works. That's a big assumption. The risk is small, but presumably any successul attack can be automated and rolled out in industrial fashion. If you have sensitive data then your options are "trust your VM host" or "buy your own iron".

Using Amazon is certainly very convenient (and flexible) for folks like me who don't really care (and whose actual needs for processing and capacity vary wildly from day to day). However, if you are running a major business operation and hope to continue doing so over the long-term, you probably ought to be running your own data centres. Either the cost of computing is significant, in which case the security of that computing is probably a life-or-death issue for the whole business, or it isn't significant, in which case you can afford to pay a little over the odds and call it insurance.

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Police block roads to stop tech support chap 'robbing a bank'

Ken Hagan
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A "Catch 22" if ever there was one...

"being on a lone foot patrol he wasn't about to wade into a mini-riot on his own."

Ironically, that course of action would have resulted in a genuine code 10.

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MPs slam UK.gov's 'unacceptable' hoarding of custody images

Ken Hagan
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"Basic problem is that the custody database can't talk to the court/prosecutions database, so STATUS is always NULL."

Are images transferred between these databases when a conviction is obtained? If so, you could indeed just implement a rolling wipe as described here. If not, such a transfer is the obvious way to fix the problem.

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Max Schrems is back: Facebook, Google hit with GDPR complaint

Ken Hagan
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Re: he is missing the lowest hanging fruit

"So I'm going to ask them to delete my data. And then refuse to provide any identifying data (because what would be the point of providing them data I explicitly don't want them to have?). "

Dear israel_hands,

We have deleted all our data on you. (This email was generated before we did that, sent on successful completion of the task, and was not been copied to our "Sent" folder.)

Obviously there is no way for us or you to prove that this is the case, because all the evidence is gone, but we've done it. Happy?

Love, Facebook.

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US websites block netizens in Europe: Why are they ghosting EU? It's not you, it's GDPR

Ken Hagan
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You mis-spelled "we" and "our".

Seriously, though, the number of companies in *any* jurisdiction that have significant overseas sales is problably very small, and most of them are probably making an entirely sensible business decision just to block foreign visitors to their web-sites. It won't cost them anything and if the worst happens then they can stand up in court and show that they made a reasonable effort to avoid ever dealing with a customer where different laws applied. We should not be surprised that very many US companies are now using geo-IP to avoid EU visitors.

That doesn't make GDPR unreasonable. It doesn't mean that *no* US companies need to make an effort to comply (hello, Google). But local newspapers? Really? Are these the best examples you can find? Sounds like a non-story.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: VPN Hub

"Rabid quitling sounds pretty good, now go spread it around the rabid remainers and let me have my new trophy."

Doesn't sound that good to me. Quitling is just a speeling misteak away from quisling.

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Intel's latest promise: Our first AI ASIC chips will arrive in 2019

Ken Hagan
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"Increased memory and compute means that there is now an increased performance of 100x since its Haswell chip"

I have to say, I have trouble imagining a calculation where a Haswell would be 100x slower than a current *CPU* but a GPU wouldn't be very much faster. There are parallel calculations and there are serial ones. The former most definitely aren't best done on a CPU. The latter most definitely haven't seen a doubling of performance every 9 months or so in this decade.

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Kids and the web latest: 'Won't somebody please think of the children!' US Congresscritters plead

Ken Hagan
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"can we ALL have one of these, please?"

Well, no, of course, which is why this whole thing is just stupid politicians pretending to care in an attempt to ingratiate themselves with even more stupid voters.

With a bit of luck, there are sufficient numbers of smart voters to see through this and punish the offenders in November. Please? Pretty please?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: We can protect them from those evil advertisers.

"Mass murders were virtually unheard of until recently. What has changed?"

That's one's easy -- we keep count now.

Ever since we started counting crime rates, we've had mass murderers. Before the middle of the last century, no-one really knows what the murder rate was, but historians reckon it probably wasn't zero. Disappearances and even actual dead bodies weren't investigated with quite the care that we take now. There are plenty of poisonous plants to choose from and no way to tell if one of them had been used deliberately in any particular case. Dead bodies might not be found if they were disposed of carefully.

And if you were a complete pyscho, unable to resist the temptation to slaughter loads of people in one go, you took the King's shilling and made a name for yourself. As an added bonus, there were no silly laws about civilians and war crimes, so once you'd had your fill of the enemies menfolk you could lay into their women and children. What's not to like? Why would you be a mass murderer when you could be a hero?

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Mobile app devs have, oh, about 9 hours left to decide whether to stay on Google's ad platform

Ken Hagan
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Re: If AdSense is unlawful...

"Also if a user asks an app owner who does not store account details for what PII data is used for personalised ads there is no way they can do anything but pass it to Google."

That fact might be just what it takes for the IC to decide that Google is the controller, not the app-slinger. Saying, "this new law doesn't apply to me because I said so" hasn't worked for ICANN and I doubt it will work for Google.

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Ken Hagan
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If AdSense is unlawful...

...does that make Google (as the implementor) an accessory to the crime?

I ask, not out of any legal interest, but simply because it seems rather implausible that all the liability can be transferred to the users of the AdSense service "just because Google say so". It seems more likely to me that a court will decide that Google are the ones mis-using personal data.

I suppose we'll have a test case in a few days...

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Ongoing game of Galileo chicken goes up a notch as the UK talks refunds

Ken Hagan
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If paragraphs 4 and 5 of the original article are correct, then there is a step 3a whereby the ball is placed under a separate agreement.

Other than that, all of this seems to be rather predictably heading in the direction of a hard and acrimonious Brexit, which is what anyone who knows both sides could have predicted ages ago. David Cameron should have triggered article 50 on the Friday, like he promised too. Had he done so, we'd have been just as prepared as we are going to be in any case, and we'd have suffered a couple of years less uncertainty.

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Microsoft patches problematic OS to deal with SSD woes

Ken Hagan
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An alternative fix is to migrate your Win10 box into a VM and let a proper OS handle the hard work of talking to actual hardware. Most peripherals now talk over virtualisable channels like USB, so this is much less limiting than it used to be. As an added advantage, you can snapshot the system prior to the upgrade and then use your VM host's options to *really* roll back the update if it goes wrong.

Unless you are dependent on Win10 having full access to your display adapter, this approach has very few downsides these days.

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Welcome to Ubuntu 18.04: Make yourself at GNOME. Cup of data-slurping dispute, anyone?

Ken Hagan
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Re: Linux Unplugged

"It was made clear that as popularity-contest is a dependancy of the ubuntu-standard meta-package it also takes out a core package that can adversely affect the OS."

Sounds like FUD. If anyone else has a dependency on popularity-contest, or if it has been installed explicitly, then it won't be removed. Obviously it will be removed if no-one is using it or has expressed any interest in it, but it is difficult to see that as "adversely affecting the OS".

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Dude

If you have an always-on connection (like, not dial-up) then the only reason for an ISP to change your IP address every few days is because they get a kick out of updating tables. I think most DHCP servers default to letting you stay on the same address when you come to renewing the lease. It's no less efficient and certainly less effort.

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Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

Ken Hagan
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Re: Forward thinking?

I don't think they are retiring 3G (or 2G for that matter). All they are saying is that they can no longer buy a new phone that doesn't do 4G. I can't say I'm very surprised, although the implication that they have only just reached that point *is* surprising, since 4G phones have been around for ages.

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UPnP joins the 'just turn it off on consumer devices, already' club

Ken Hagan
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Re: Knocking on my firewall door

"Unless you're saying people should require a license to use the Internet, we're going to need a solution for the Stupid Users."

Well actually, society does deal with "stupid users" in other fields (*) by defaulting to "no" and sometimes even requiring a licence before you can say "yes" even if you know. Quite where to draw the line is always controversial, but the principle that stupid honest people shouldn't be allowed to suffer at the hands of crooked clever people is very widely accepted.

(* things like driving, open-heart surgery, sex, drugs, alcohol.)

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Scrabble, anyone?

I expect so, but as humanity starts firing on all cylinders, rather than just guys like me, the statistics make it far more likely that three pulled out of the bag won't be called Joe Bloggs.

Be thankful that their names could be adequately rendered using an accent-free Latin script.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Now, home boxes, that's a different matter.

"So what do you propose as the alternative for people who wouldn't know a port if it pwned them?"

That's easy. You give them nothing.

Your choice of words is appropriate. They *won't* know a port *when* it pwns them. If your game needs to allow anyone, anywhere, sight unseen, to access your network then you need a new game. People need to learn that the easy way (from us) rather than the hard way (from their bank).

It's really no different to posting naked selfies to a secure part of their Facebook profile. People need to learn not to do that and the choice of teacher is "boring nerd" or "experience". The latter is, famously, a harsh mistress. So ... ask yourself ... are you a fool?

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How many ways can a PDF mess up your PC? 47 in this Adobe update alone

Ken Hagan
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Re: Anything new here?

I think you are being somewhat rash in assuming that these are *new* bugs. I think it is more likely that the offending code was cut-and-pasted into place 10 or 20 years ago and today's patches are merely a measure of how long it took Adobe to realise that their codebase sucks.

Of course, for some of us it has been obvious for nearly 2 decades that there is something deeply, deeply wrong with the codebase, since it was ostensibly written in a portable language for a flat memory model and yet ports to other OSes or other bit sizes have apparently been impossible.

A port to a NIX would, for example, allow the use of free tools like valgrind that would find such problems statically. (And, with reference to the earlier post that worried about false positives, the solution there is simply to examine each on manually and either (i) re-write it, (ii) figure out why it is a false positive and then annotate it to suppress the message, or (iii) fix it. Put another way, you start at the beginning and work through to the end and if it takes 10 years then that serves you right for writing such shit in the first place.

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Zero arrests, 2 correct matches, no criminals: London cops' facial recog tech slammed

Ken Hagan
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Re: Surely though

"Imagine the police were searching for me."

True, but that doesn't seem to be how they are using it. They appear to be pointing it at large crowds and asking, who's there? The 98% failure implies that they are being told that roughly 50 times as many dodgy geezers are present than is actually the case.

Not obvious why anyone is still throwing money at this pile of shit. Does our new Home Secretary have an unlimited budget?

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Pentagon on military data-nomming JEDI cloud mind trick: There can be only one (vendor)

Ken Hagan
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Cui bono?

Despite my instinctive aversion to conspiracy theories, I'm beginning to believe that Putin *was* behind Trump's election win. He appears to be the main beneficiary from just about every decision made since.

This particular brain death is clearly going to result in vendor lock-in and the Pentagon's encouraging words about convergence actually point to the reason why: the successful vendor can exclude everyone else from the running next time around by being as bloody awkward and secretive as possible about interop standard. This secrecy, of course, would be "in the national interest".

The lack of awareness of how businesses operate would be understandable amongst politicians steeped in Marxist theology and weaned on central planning. Coming from what claims to be the world's greatest free-market economy, it is ... jaw-dropping.

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Africa's internet body in full-blown meltdown: 'None of the above' wins board protest vote

Ken Hagan
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Assets?

"Those assets include several IPv4 address blocks worth millions of dollars on the open market"

I think you might find that those assets are worthless unless the rest of the internet agrees to route stuff to and from whoever you choose to dish them out to. If a credible rival registry appears tomorrow then I think they will have de facto ownership of those blocks rather than leaving them in the hands of former board members of an organisation that its own stakeholders want to, er, stick a stake into.

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Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

Ken Hagan
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Flame

Re: Government-supplied phones, then?

"Will the government supply them,"

If the governement did supply them (ho ho!) then do you think they'd be any better than the actual vendors at issuing fucking patches?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: You First

"sends me detailed logs of his daily movements"

Uuurghh! Stinky!

But curiously appropriate for this particular idea.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

"What's your problem with bloody ID cards?"

They prove nothing. Posession of a card merely proves that you possess that card. It says nothing about whether you are the person the card is talking about or whether it is, in fact, a proper card rather than a fake.

But worst of all: it is backed by a government quality database, yet people like you will take it to be gospel.

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Your software hates you and your devices think you're stupid

Ken Hagan
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Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

Let me guess ... every single one of those ideas from the PHB would be just fine if the UI only had to do the one use-case that he (I'll stick my neck out here) was thinking about when he came up with it.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Hang the UX designer

"Are you designing an OS GUI?

- Don't do ... [snip]"

Actually the correct answer to this one is just "Don't.".

We already have perfectly adequate OS GUIs and you'll just upset people if you change everything again.

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Bombshell discovery: When it comes to passwords, the smarter students have it figured

Ken Hagan
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Re: <shrugs> Small survey.... large error probable.

A few percent is a pretty small effect, too. I wouldn't be surprised if it disappears completely on a larger sample.

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Microsoft programming chief to devs: Tell us where Windows hurt you

Ken Hagan
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Re: Pain points, you say?

Their official position is that they don't offer a C compiler, for any version of the language. If your C code happens to go through their C++ compiler, that's a bonus.

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You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

Ken Hagan
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Re: The Issues

You've missed "Is it funny?". The joke should stay in, but should be re-written so that it is actually funny. (That will annoy everyone and in some meta sense be the funniest thing about it.)

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UK.gov expects auto auto software updates won't involve users

Ken Hagan
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Security holes? If my car depends on an internet connection, it isn't going to be safe. If it doesn't, I can just switch off the connection. There ... secured.

In fact, that (hypothetical, but essential) switch is the most plausible mechanism for delaying an update.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Badly thought out and likely to go TITSUP big time.

This isn't a conspiracy. This is simply what happens when you ask legislators to design an upgrade mechanism. They know nothing about software, nothing about risk management and most of them know bog-all about how it might play out in court after someone had died.

It is entirely wrong to be writing legislation about this and to be doing it now.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Bricking is not the worst thing that can happen

"If we aren't able to trust the developers to test the software they release for auto-update to avoid this kind of nightmare, how can we be trusting that the original release they did is any better?"

We can't, but after a period of time without catastrophes we gain confidence in the original release. Each new release needs its own probation period. That's why you don't want to be actually driving the damn thing either during or immediately after an update.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: you mean just like windows 10

@David 132: Mounting a drive on C:\windows.old would work if the upgrade process copies the old installation over to windows.old. It would fail if the upgrade expects to be able just to move it over. I expect MS do the latter, since it is more efficient in the normal case.

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Pentagon in uproar: 'China's lasers' make US pilots shake in Djibouti

Ken Hagan
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Re: Not biting the hand that feeds it?

"It's 1500 miles from Djibouti to Baghdad."

But only a 20-mile boat trip across the water to Yemen. The Middle East is a big place.

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My PC is on fire! Can you back it up really, really fast?

Ken Hagan
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Re: I recall even my mum (a bit like Dilmom) telling me a fire story

"Not a fire but I once dropped a bottle of concentrated ammonia in the chemistry lab. Sadly, not inside the fume hood.."

My memory is now vague about the substance involved, but I recall my (trustworthy) elder brother returning from a Chemistry lesson one day and relating that someone had knocked over a jar of X. The good news was that it was in the fume cupboard. The bad news was that X was denser than air and so it just went up the chimney and then back down again over the entire school site.

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I've got way too much cash, thinks Jeff Bezos. Hmmm, pay more tax? Pay staff more? Nah, let's just go into space

Ken Hagan
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"Theft is morally abhorrent, as is socialism. You have no right to other peoples wealth, property or possessions."

Which is why Mr Bezos has no right to dip his hands into the US taxpayers pocket to subsidise his wages bill. However, I will argue that 50% of the fault there lies with the legislation that permits (and, in a free market, thereby encourages) such behaviour.

If you have any kind of social safety net, a minimum wage is simply a way to stop the unscrupulous from gaming the system. If you don't have any kind of safety net, you can't really complain if you end up dead at the hands of someone who had nothing left to lose.

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Typical cynical Brits: Broadband speeds up, satisfaction goes down

Ken Hagan
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"if they were the last, then a shit provider would be better than no provider."

If they *were* the last provider, no-one else would have a decent connection either, so who would you be talking to?

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Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata

Ken Hagan
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Re: Claim They Did Nothing Wrong...

Shits always did lie. In the past, they often got away with it. These days that is increasingly difficult and we get to hear about it.

In the short term, lying is a good strategy. Eventually people catch up, though. In a large society, it can take quite a while for that to happen, but modern communications are shortening that.

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Ken Hagan
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"You can't fine a company that no longer exists."

But the directors still exist.

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UK Parliament roars: Oi! Zuck! Get in here for a grilling – or you'll get a Tower of London tour

Ken Hagan
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Re: twopenny-halfpenny politicians

"your laws start and end at Dover "

And here was me thinking that they started at Lands End and ended at John o' Groats, and included any internet facing hardware in between. Now I find that the Westminster parliament is actually just Dover Town Council on vacation. Oh well, at least I found out before the elections tomorrow.

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