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* Posts by Ken Hagan

6507 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

Cops called after pair enter Canadian home and give it a good clean

Ken Hagan
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Re: No problem leaving the door open here in Austria ...

"Noone's going to check if that 75 kilos of DOG will allow them in. Or back out."

That depends on whether they can open tins or not.

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Oz intel committee: Crypto-busting is only bad if you're a commie, and we're not by the way

Ken Hagan
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We're not a communist regime

Neither is China -- it's a tyranny (in the Roman sense of the word) with an all-powerful king at the top barking out orders for courtiers to put into practice. A bit like Soviet Russia, in fact, or Nazi Germany.

If you look at what these regimes *did* rather than the bullshit they *said* about it, then there never were any communist regimes. But tyrannical bastard control freaks who want their jackboot on everyone's neck? Yeah, history has *lots* of those and technology is making it easier and easier for people like Mr Hastie to set up the necessary infrastructure and institutions, whether they are smart enough to appreciate the consequences or not.

The Americans in the 1780s had the right idea. You need to assume the worst and then explicitly design in mechanisms to prevent it. Then, for the rest of Time, the people who administer the system need to take the attitude that they *might* be evil.

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Anonymous Amazonian demands withdrawal of face-recog kit from sale

Ken Hagan
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Wrong target

Even if successful, this will only stop Amazon from winning the contract to supply eager buyers with this kit. Worse, in a few years time this product will probably be something that a graduate student could throw together with standard libraries, commodity hardware and a big enough budget.

The way to prevent everyone from being spied upon is to persuade your government not to do it. They, and only they, have the power to actually make that (not) happen.

You can try to protect people in other jurisdictions by banning the creation of such kit, but other countries have clever people too so this is basically just stalling for time. In the long term, you need to either invade those countries and overthrow that government (a strategy which doesn't have a great track record in recent years but has worked in the past) or hope that the people there rise up and do the job for you (which has a slightly better track record, but you may have to wait a bit).

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Ken Hagan
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Re: If you don't like it then resign

"A lot of decent people left Nazi Germany before WW2. That improved things, didn't it?"

Given the contributions that a few of them made to the Allied war effort, I rather suspect it did make a difference. On the other hand, I'm not sure that all *that* many (in percentage terms) actually left.

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Core-blimey! Riddle of Earth's mysterious center finally 'solved' by smarty seismologists

Ken Hagan
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Re: out of curiosity

I'm guessing (so hopefully someone who knows will chip in) but as I understand it, a solid core would be slowly (as in, a billion years or so) crystalising out of the melt (the outer core) and so it is to be expected that it will show some selectivity in what atoms it permits in the emerging crystal structure.

Alternatively, perhaps it is a mixture but it is so predominantly iron and nickel that geologists don't sweat the details. Hmm ... now I'm curious, too. (Trundles off to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inner_core...)

"Based on the relative prevalence of various chemical elements in the Solar System, the theory of planetary formation, and constraints imposed or implied by the chemistry of the rest of the Earth's volume, the inner core is believed to consist primarily of a nickel-iron alloy. Pure iron was found to be denser than the core by approximately 3%, implying the presence of light elements in the core (e.g. silicon, oxygen, sulfur) in addition to the probable presence of nickel.[11]

Further, if the primordial and mostly fluid (still forming) earth contained any significant mass(es) of elements denser than iron and nickel, namely the white (appearance) precious metals (and a few others) except silver, specifically the siderophile elements, then these would necessarily have differentiated to the very center of the core into concentric nested spheres by planetary differentiation, with the most dense (and stable, i.e. platinum, iridium, and osmium, (etc.) in order of density) of these forming the innermost spheroid(s).[12] While unstable elements of such trans-iron/nickel density would have mostly decayed to iron/nickel/lead by the time the earth formed a discrete core.

See also: Densities of the elements (data page)

It then necessarily follows that all, or almost all, of these denser elements we have mined (or are even able to) at the surface (or near surface, or even at all "above" the core) have been delivered later as part of impact objects/masses.[13] "

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Chinese biz baron wants to shove his artificial moon where the sun doesn't shine – literally

Ken Hagan
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Re: return

Compared to the initial outlay, it's negligible.

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Deeper dive with GitHub Actions: One config file to rule them all and in the darkness bind them

Ken Hagan
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Re: Doing it wrong

This quote should have been at the start of the article. It would have saved me valuable time that I could have spent in a config file.

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Raspberry Pi fans up in arms as Mathematica disappears from Raspbian downloads

Ken Hagan
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Re: Missing info

"Knowing what percentage of the download it is would be useful."

The "lite" download is about half that size, for the entire OS. The full fat version is over 4GB.

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UK.gov to press ahead with online smut checks (but expects £10m in legals in year 1)

Ken Hagan
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"If they just banned everything that might get people a little excited, that would mean Amazon is fucked."

Wikipedia, too, if anyone bothers to look. There are some very "not safe for school" pages there and some of the "external links" are perhaps too relevant.

But then, it's an encyclopedia. It also has some pretty gruesome stuff in some of the history articles. (Rightly so, IMHO, since there are definitely bits of history that we don't want to repeat.)

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Traceable access Logs?

"...who accessed <a href="www.kardashianswithdonkeys.com">link</a> on such and such a date, just because ..."

FTFY. (At least, I almost did. At the last minute I had a change of heart for the benefit of those readers whose browsers have an aggressive pre-fetch. We wouldn't want anyone to end up in the wrong databases now, would we?)

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Dating app for Trump loners commits YUGE blunder: It leaks more than the West Wing

Ken Hagan
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Re: A rose by any other name...

"Assuming the makers of the app are Trump supporters is unsupported"

True enough. Two of them are apparently app developers and may just have been paid to do the job. Of the other 1605, I'd assume that a fair number are journalists and hostile politicians (under fake profiles) looking to find out who else is there and what dirt there might be. Remember, when Ashley Madison went down, it turned out that most of the female members were just using it as a business tool.

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Leaked memo: No internet until you clean your bathroom, Ecuador told Julian Assange

Ken Hagan
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I refer you to the point made just above by " Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?" (Really? Are El Reg user handles really getting that hard to find?)

Assange was at large in Sweden, in public, after he pissed off the US. He *knows* the US could have asked for him then and didn't, so the onus is on him to explain why he is *now* in danger of being extradited.

Meanwhile, he *has* been convicted of jumping bail (in the UK) and jumping the country (in Sweden), so we don't need to make any presumptions about the rape case before we can call him a fugitive from justice.

And meanwhile meanwhile, in his position, if he was *genuinely* afraid of being extradited, he'd clean up his shit. He clearly isn't afraid. He clearly is avoiding court. Screw him.

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Ken Hagan
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"and bring back public executions"

Well, indeed. If you are too embarrassed to do it in public, perhaps you shouldn't be doing it.

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In Windows 10 Update land, nobody can hear you scream

Ken Hagan
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Re: Windows 7 "outdated"?

"So by what objective metric is Windows 7 supposed to be outdated?"

That one is easy. Its kernel support for hardware that post-dates its final service pack is pretty poor and only going to get worse.

Fortunately, the fix is also easy. Run Linux on the metal and put your Win7 OS into a VM running on top. This also makes upgrades to new hardware really easy because all of your tortuously convoluted Windows settings are in a virtual disc image that doesn't get touched by the upgrade process.

As a side benefit, you can also run lots of Linux software on the "outside" machine and gradually wean yourself off most of the Windows-only applications. If, before 2020, you get to a point where the only apps you are still using on Windows are ones that don't need network connectivity, you can probably remove the virtual network adapter from the Win7 VM and keep using it indefinitely, sans patches.

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GDPR stands for Google Doing Positively, Regardless. Webpage trackers down in Europe – except Big G's

Ken Hagan
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Context-free study?

The linked study doesn't appear to have any data for the period prior to April, so we've no idea whether the changes are new or merely the way things have been moving for ages. The data is perfectly consistent with GDPR working brilliantly and reversing (in the EU) a long-term trend towards tracking everyone everywhere that is still a problem in the US.

And Google are an exception because they've made it perfectly clear that only a massive fine will persuade them to actually take this law seriously, so ...

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With sorry Soyuz stuffed, who's going to run NASA's space station taxi service now?

Ken Hagan
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Why not fly a remote control robot up in one of the supply rockets. The comms latency to LEO is tolerable and you could save on all of that power-hungry life support crap.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: No worries

"I'm surprised we haven't already done the 'space force' thing"

I'm not. Such things were banned about half a century ago. Obviously international treaties can be flouted, but as long as the other side aren't flouting them, why be the first to embark on what is likely to be very public, very expensive, militarily pointless piece of wilful disregard for legal norms?

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Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

Ken Hagan
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Re: DOB of 1st January 1970

"The world was only created on 1st Jan 1970"

Nah. The world hasn't been created yet. This is just a debugging run. (Hopefully not the last one either, since there seem to be quite a few howlers still in the code.)

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Are you Sue?

"her parents saw it written down..."

Was the father named "Ex-Aviour" by any chance?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Silly first name.

"Why should English speakers who are not Scots or Irish and don't speak Gaelic, know how to spell the name using Gaelic spelling rules or know how to pronounce a name written by the Gaelic rules?"

Perhaps because Northern Ireland is still part of the UK? You know, the same fucking country that they live in -- for the time being?

I sympathise, since I grew up in England and my first exposure to names spelled according to Irish conventions was definitely in adulthood. However, that ought to be considered an over-sheltered and deprived childhood, not "just the same as everyone else".

Either that, or we on the Eastern Island should just accept that we don't give two fucks about those on the Western Island and, in consequence, stop pretending that there is no border in the Irish Sea.

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Apache OpenOffice, the Schrodinger's app: No one knows if it's dead or alive, no one really wants to look inside

Ken Hagan
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Re: Reminder for macos users

Sounds like a tiny handful of extensions piggy-backing on a massive piece of FOSS development that some arsehole thinks they can charge money for. Perhaps you have missed out 30 dollars' worth of other improvements.

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SpaceX touches down in California as Voyager 2 spies interstellar space

Ken Hagan
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Re: 17.7 billion kilometres from Earth

"Does The Goblin go out into 'interstellar space' before coming back again in its orbit?"

I presume so. I think interstellar space is defined as "where the Sun ceases to be the dominant influence on the local environment". In practice, that means when the solar wind drops below the local speed of sound (that's "sound" including magnetic waves), because nothing (*) outside that bubble can propogate inside (upstream). Put another way, inside the solar system the only thing you can hear is the Sun.

(* Well, nothing that is except light, cosmic rays and lumps of rock. I suppose that's not exactly nothing, but very little stops those things if they are minded to travel in your direction!)

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On the seventh anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we give you 7 times he served humanity and acted as an example to others

Ken Hagan
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Re: He's not the messiah...

"Just wait until the sacred Model 3 comes to the UK."

Yeah, just wait, but don't do anything rash like "hold your breath".

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Ken Hagan
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Unhappy

Re: He said what everyone else was thinking regards Adobe Flash. We're all better for it.

"He said what everyone else was thinking regards Adobe Flash, called it out for what it was (and still is). 'Utter shite', bug-ridden code that shouldn't be on any device. Adobe Flash just acts as an attack vector for malicious code today and not much else."

Not quite everyone, sadly. Microsoft were and are so impressed that they've made it a standard part of Windows. Says it all, really...

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Decoding the Chinese Super Micro super spy-chip super-scandal: What do we know – and who is telling the truth?

Ken Hagan
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Re: Chinese agents slip spy chips into Super Micro servers

"The ME backdoor requires you already have access to the local LAN to exploit it."

How much access would you need, though? The ability to send a particular network packet might be sufficient to let you exploit the ME in a machine next door to you and once you have better-than-root privileges on one machine it probably isn't hard to work your way around the whole LAN and out to the internet. So ... you start by sending dodgy emails to non-technical staff.

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Where can I hide this mic? I know, shove it down my urethra

Ken Hagan
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Re: Oh, go on then

"The whole assembly was housed in a stainless steel tube approximately 10mm in diameter."

And they say that no man can ever truly appreciate the pain of childbirth...

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Apple forgot to lock Intel Management Engine in laptops, so get patching

Ken Hagan
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"isn't all security based on some dependence on obscurity?"

No, but you ask a fair question. The obscurity being referred to is the mechanism, not the key. That's not obvious in the phrase and the phrase is nearly always just parrotted without explanation and has been for as many years as I've been in the business. I suspect that unless you are of retirement age, you'd need to have taken an interest (*) in security matters ever to have heard the full explanation.

(* Obviously, if asking questions in El Reg comment pages counts as "taking an interest" then I'm setting my bar fairly low here.)

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Sun billionaire Khosla discovers life's a beach after US Supreme Court refuses to hear him out

Ken Hagan
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Re: Sidewalk

@MJB7: That's news to both me and whoever drew the map of my house for the Land Registry. It is also news to whoever sends me those scary letters about how I am liable for the infrastructure only on my property. Those always clarify this by saying "from the pavement to my house".

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Ken Hagan
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"Just for the sake of argument: What if I argue that someone else's very presence constitutes "damage"?"

You run the risk of a quick-thinking judge pointing out that you are "present" in the court room and then fining you for damaging government property, both there and all the way home, and then placing an injunction on you to keep off everyone else's property forevermore.

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MIMEsweeper maker loses UK High Court patent fight over 15-year-old bulletin board post

Ken Hagan
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Re: The Patent Claim at issue

A MIME-encoded email is just a way of packing a "directory's worth" of files into a single (text) message. That is, in fact, more or less the reason why MIME was invented. So we can without introducing inventiveness or novelty replace "electronic file" with "directory" and "part" with "file". At which point, the supposedly amazing break-through made in 2005 is clearly just a rather pedestrian description of what AV systems had been doing ever since they were invented. It is rather a long time ago, so I'm not sure, but I suspect that AV systems as we now know them didn't go mainstream until after things like the Morris worm which is, what, late 80s?

So we have a decade-or-two of prior art (in AV systems), camouflaged with a standardised (RFC) technology (MIME) being used for exactly its intended purpose.

Edit: You said "Generally Judges are not idiots and the defendants would have tried to take this apart, but failed. Since it survived then it probably has good merit." and this is generally true, but this particular case has precisely zero merit and I actually feel somewhat insulted that anyone ever thought this was worth filing. So ... either the defendants lawyers are idiots, or the judge should have excused themselves on the grounds of not understanding computery things, or El Reg has grossly mis-reported the case to make everyone involved look like a berk.

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Civil rights group Liberty walks out on British cops' database consultation

Ken Hagan
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Despite this practice being ruled unlawful

"At the moment, the government retains photos of people held in police custody who haven't been convicted – despite this practice being ruled unlawful – on the basis that its computer systems don’t support automatic removal."

Really? "I'm sorry Your Honour, but I really find it hard to obey the law so you'll have to let me ignore your previous verdicts.". Does this work? Or do you get extra time in pokey for contempt?

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New Zealand border cops warn travelers that without handing over electronic passwords 'You shall not pass!'

Ken Hagan
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Re: Hidden files?

To some extent, all OSes have this capability.

You set up two user accounts (in addition to the administrative one). On demand, you provide the password to one of the user accounts, where there is evidence of you watching cat videos from time to time. The other user account is pretty much blank. Once you are at "a safe pub" (to borrow an expression from an earlier commentard) you restore the second account from a secure cloud backup. (Remember to reverse the process on your way home.)

The vast majority of your hard disc is stupid OS bloatware and you don't want to waste time or bandwidth downloading that in the pub. There's probably only a handful of files actually matter. With careful data hygiene, this "split personality" PC could even be your normal working setup rather than something special for foreign trips. It also protects you against having the PC stolen.

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Why are sat-nav walking directions always so hopeless?

Ken Hagan
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Re: Tea with milk

There is also some tea grown in Scotland. At least, someone was having a go a year or two back.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea#Cultivation_and_harvesting

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Too many apps

"You will reach a stream or gully and leave the forest along it."

Tried that in the Cullins once. Ended up going down a canyon and came to a point where the stream was full width, and there was a 20 foot waterfall in the way. Happily the pool at the foot of the waterfall was clearly deep enough and it was summer, so we jumped, swam, and then dripped the rest of the way home.

Edit: I've just seen TrumpSlurp the Troll's comment, a couple above this one. Yes, exactly. (Where were you on my 16th birthday?)

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Linux kernel's 'seat warmer' drops 4.19-rc5 with – wow – little drama

Ken Hagan
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Re: Groklaw wrote about this a decade ago

"Of course that is just one legal opinion in one country."

Excellent link. Thanks. It is notable that the argument turns on the issue of the public good, since the historic justification for granting any IP rights at all is that society grants these to creatives in exchange for a net benefit to society from created works, so any interpretation of IP law that acts contrary to the public interest is questionable. It may be a badly framed law and the interpretation may be true to the letter of it, but it cannot be assumed that it was the intention of the lawmakers when they wrote it.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Is a killswitch possible?

I'm inclined to agree. The fact that the GPL3 makes it explicit doesn't mean it wasn't there already.

It is conceivable that Linus, as the person to whom all such contributions are given to incorporate into Linux, might not be covered by the second person pronoun "you" in the GPL, since he is the one giving away that particular derivative work. However, the GPL grants the right to use, copy and modify the entire Linux kernel to literally every other human being in existence. Furthermore, since this is pretty much the Whole Fucking Point of the GPL, it is legally inconceivable that any contributor might not have intended this gift when they made their contribution.

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Ken Hagan
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"they could surely only withdraw licence for future versions"

Uh? Copyright law might be even more insane than I feared, then. If I give you money for a thing and then years later decide that I don't want the thing anymore, my right to say "I changed my mind, give me my money back." is, shall we say, severely limited. Likewise, if I give code to a large collaborative effort for some reputational benefit and then decide years later that I've changed my mind, then at best I would expect to have to return all those years of good reputation.

I'm not sure if that is actually possible, in which case they simply cannot revoke their permission, but perhaps all Linux desktops could display a list of offenders names and mugshots (instead of wallpaper) for a period equal to the age of their contribution at the time of its withdrawal, underneath a banner heading saying "These people are selfish scumbags.".

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Overexcitable UK ads regulator gabbles that Amazon broke EU law

Ken Hagan
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Re: Soooo.....

The ASA seem to have judged it correctly in this case and the four "industry bodies" who "disobligingly agreed with Amazon" don't look terribly impartial to me. In fact, they look like, er, part of the industry trying to push this crap.

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US cities react in fury to FCC's $2bn break for 5G telcos: We'll be picking up the tab, say officials

Ken Hagan
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Re: Money, Money, Money

"IMHO, this institutionally organized bribery has corrupted the entire US Federal government. How does this work in your country?"

In the UK such dark money would almost certainly be considered "election funding" and would be illegal, but whether the beneficiaries would actually be penalised is another matter entirely. A substantial part of the funding for Leave in the Brexit vote has been declared illegal and the person who gave the cash has been fined but those who received it have not and the referendum decision stands. In addition, the person who was fined may yet have the fine paid by sympathisers, who can write it off as the cost of doing business.

It is not yet clear whether or not these sympathisers include foreign kleptocrats. If true, then they got a bargain because for under 1 million outlay they've caused many billions of costs for their enemies. If false, then they missed a trick but got lucky because someone else did it for them.

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Buried in the hype, one little detail: Amazon's Alexa-on-a-chip could steal smart home market

Ken Hagan
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But it's *not* Alexa-on-a-chip

*That* might be useful -- a simple hardware solution providing self-contained voice-recognition and parsing, allowing all sorts of gadgets to accept input from a microphone as easily as a keyboard, without the risks of spaffing your entire life to a faceless corporate.

But this is the Alexa Connect Kit and reading right to left it is perfectly clear -- you have to do the hard work, to borg your device, to Mr Bezos' bank account.

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Dead retailer's 'customer data' turns up on seized kit, unencrypted and very much for sale

Ken Hagan
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Re: How's this different than normal?

"By the time a company is liquidated, anybody left there gives zero ***cks to what happens to anything left over, data, sensitive info, etc?"

That would be the wrong number of ***cks to give if it turns out that you, personally, are in the frame for a criminal conviction under data protection law. This liquidated company you speak of ... it has directors, right?

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Fallover Friday: NatWest, RBS and Ulster Bank go TITSUP*

Ken Hagan
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Re: Its really not that difficult.

"Firstly any given system in any big corporate is a hodgepodge of 20-30 years of tech, many of which are complete black boxes with the techies responsible for them long gone."

I hate to get all theoretical, but if a big corporate really finds itself in a position where it does not know how its systems work then it is no longer in control of whether they do actually continue to work, precisely because of your second and third points. The entire company could cease trading tomorrow and never be able to restart. Are the management and shareholders OK with that?

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Spent your week box-ticking? It can't be as bad as the folk at this firm

Ken Hagan
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Re: “were quoted a ridiculous price and told it would take four months”.

"isn't that covered by the non-compete clause"

I can't see why it would. The customer isn't your competition, though they may now be your competitor's customer rather than yours.

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I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

Ken Hagan
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Let the free market decide

If a business makes it hard for you to give them money ... just stop giving them money.

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UK cops run machine learning trials on live police operations. Unregulated. What could go wrong? – report

Ken Hagan
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Re: Just Asking ... if They're Lacking and Looking and Wanting.

"Care to rewrite that for clearer concise and precise meaning, Rebecca?"

Pot, meet kettle.

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Ubuntu flings 14.04 LTS users a security lifeline, chats some more about Hyper-V

Ken Hagan
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Re: Why stick to 14.04?

Thanks for pointing that out. Otherwise sticking with 14.04 looks really odd since, unlike the alleged parallel with Windows, it doesn't actually cost you anything to upgrade (either the OS or most of the packages you might be interested in).

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SAP claims to be first Euro biz to get seriously ethical about AI code

Ken Hagan
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Where's the AI angle?

An algorithm that delivers the wrong answer is not unethical, it is simply wrong, whether or not it is using what decades-old-algorithms are now being described as "AI".

Conversely, a company that blindly uses whatever comes out of their computer to guide legally actionable decisions *is* unethical, not simply wrong. Once again, this is irrespective of the sexiness of the algorithms involved.

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Biz! Formerly! Known! As! Yahoo! Settles! Data! Breach! Cases! To! The! Tune! Of! $47m!

Ken Hagan
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Re: Didja think we'd get rid of the exclaims just 'cos you're Altaba now?

Fuck! 'em!

They! deserve! it! for! being! such! pretentious! twats! about! their! branding!

Even! if! it! was! only! once!

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Watt the heck is this? A 32-core 3.3GHz Arm server CPU shipping? Yes, says Ampere

Ken Hagan
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"very powerful WIndows workstaions at a fraction of the price Intel and even maybe AMD can match"

Citation needed, I think. Admittedly the article only quotes a price for a very powerful chip, but it is still pretty eye-watering. I see no reason to assume that an ARM-based chip would be cheaper than anything AMD might offer in their x86 line, at a given level of performance.

Unless someone comes up with mid-price and low-price variants, and delivers an ISA (see earlier comments), the notion of buying a cheap, generic, ARM-based "PC" and sticking a standard OS distribution on it (either Windows or Linux) without *then* spending weeks hunting the internet for drivers to run all the interesting in-box peripherals (like sound and graphics) ... is just a notion.

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The internet – not as great as we all thought it was going to be, eh?

Ken Hagan
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"Presumably this is the pool for all future jurors."

An odd comment. Did I miss something? I'd have thought that anyone who has *no* experience of the internet is so far removed from normal society that they'd be disqualified from jury duty. They aren't *my* peers.

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