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* Posts by MachDiamond

1358 posts • joined 10 Aug 2012


Small American town rejects Comcast – while ISP reps take issue with your El Reg vultures

MachDiamond Silver badge

The nice thing about muni utilities is there is generally a way to vote on what they are doing either directly or by elected posts on a supervisory board or for council members that will have some say. Unless you and your like minded neighbors own a big block of stock in your power company, your complaints are no more than the meows from a kitten in a box. In many places in the US, you aren't even allowed to have them roll up their power lines and go off grid. There are laws that require you to be connected to utilities such as power, water and sewer if they are at your property. It's my goal to keep getting more and more off of outside utilities as I can. Unfortunately, the lowest tier water billing is still 10x what I use each month and they condem the house if anybody lives in it and isn't getting water from the city. I a starting to power more things from solar. Those old Prius batteries are a good deal and I can't wait until ex-EV Li batteries aren't as dear. I picked my house partly because the roof faces south and there isn't a bunch of gabling and chimneys in the way. I planted a bunch of Mulberry trees on the west side that are nice and bushy during the summer and drop all of their leaves in the winter to help shade and sun the house properly.

A co-op ISP in town would be so much better than what we have.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: "All that should be done is to truly open the market "

The utilities market is a sanctioned monopoly so it has to be regulated to prevent abuse. If it were a truly free market, you could choose between several broadband suppliers. If that happened, there would be as many wires on the poles as one sees in photos of third world countries or there would be some sort of open trench every 10 meters as repairs and new installations were being done. You may be able to elect where you buy your power, but you don't have a choice on who delivers it. Water? One choice. Sewer? do you really want 10 companies installing their own sewer network and processing plants in your town. There would be so many pipes in the road that paving might not be needed or possible. If one or a few went out of business, what does the town do with the unused infrastructure? Who do you call if there is an issue with the abandoned pipes?

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Good for Charlemont!

"The days of mom and pop ISPs are long gone."

Yeeeees, but. The mom and pop ISPs were mostly dialup operations where the major infrastructure was with the telco to connect the user via modem to the ISP's connection point.

In the early days you used to get a couple of email address and space for your own website. That was a big support issue and I haven't seen anything like it for ages. Your ISP connects you to the internet and installs a big pipe to your wallet and that it. There are still support issues, but not very many. With a good supervisory system, the operator is aware of issues well before the calls start lighting up the board. A small community might be better at providing their own community based support to help people with issues that aren't technical glitches on the local loop saving a bunch of money in overseas calls to India.

The Net Neutrality angle is good to consider too.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Good for Charlemont!

"All that should be done is to truly open the market"

Comcast may have been the only company that would bid on installing a fibre network in a town with a limited potential subscriber pool.

Internet has mostly taken the place of home phone service, TV and other information services. Don't forget shopping as more and more stores close their doors. It's not a luxury any more for those living in the modern world. You can easily do without FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc but it's much harder to cut the cord for TV and phone (for those that don't believe every child should have a mobile from 3 years up. )

Virgin Galactic test flight reaches space for the first time, lugging NASA cargo in place of tourists

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Walking Baggage

"$250K + travel expenses for slight weightlessness then back on the ground ten minutes later... Will think about it"

You are off by 10%, it was 11 minutes from apogee to landing. Of course, it took about an hour to get to 43,000' where they dropped the spaceship and one minute of boost and some coasting. Call it closer to $100,000/hour. The folks in the back get to go through some "training" before the flight too.

What are cinema tickets and snacks going for these days for a family of four? Close?

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Superficial Marketing Tosh = Virgin on the Ridiculous

And we have Disneyland, fun fares and the London Eye. Bigger entertainments to fleece the marks. No shame in that. SRB is just raising the bar and the price of the ticket.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Don't forget the other fallen

3 people were killed during a ground nitrous oxide tanking test in development of Space Ship Two. That's four dead and they aren't even in commercial service yet.

While the flight went pretty dang high, they still need to go higher and with 600kg of ballast (flight suit inserts). They flew some payloads for NASA on 12/13, but I haven't seen what those massed.

The "scientific paper" came out suspiciously just a week before Virgin announcing they were going with that figure. 100km is the accepted definition of space for everything else although it's a very fungible concept. The atmosphere goes up and down so if you use it as a reference you have to adjust your definition by the hour. The 50mile space line was something in place (in the US) 70ish years ago. The big deal is they want to give everybody that rides the thing astronaut wings as part of their adventure and have them actually mean something. Like they really earned them any more than the pebble in their shoe will.

Having swallowed its pride and started again with 10nm chips, Intel teases features in these 2019-ish processors

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Geometry shrinks soon a dead end?

At some point, maybe now, shrinking the geometry is just a brute force way of increasing performance the same way as ever increasing clock speeds which also have a practical limit.

The way forward may be with more optimized layouts of the guts and stretching the 3rd dimension so instead of a flat package, it would be more like a cube. I've always been miffed at OS's that always need more powerful processors to slog through the slap dash implementation and stack of useless features. Nobody takes a well matured OS and really starts to optimize it for performance. Half or more of the features in an OS sit unused since there is no documentation on much of anything these days and it just idles away sucking life out of the CPU.

MachDiamond Silver badge

"To me integrated graphics is just extra cores that's not on the chip as there's no conceivable way they will outpace a discreet card in the foreseeable future anyway."

For conventional desktops, I have to agree that I'd rather have a separate GPU/card to maintain at least some sort of upgrade path but there are many other applications where putting everything under one lid is an easier way to implement a product. Think of the infotainment displays in cars now. It's highly unlikely that CPUs and GPUs are going to be upgradable as separate units. You will be replacing the whole module for 20x the price of a computer with comparable processing power if an upgrade is ever available.

Oz opposition folds, agrees to give Australians coal in their stockings this Christmas

MachDiamond Silver badge

No Aussie encryption companies

When was the last time you went to a computer store and bought a piece of software? It's darn rare these days with nearly every publisher distributing directly or forcing customers to use highly dodgy "app stores" based on their OS. It means that encryption apps without backdoors will be purchased online from vendors based in other countries that have no company presence in Australia. Serious bad guys aren't going to be using compromised comms on a regular basis for anything that would be incriminating. Big companies will continue to use VPNs and secure encryption since a government could go broke trying to go after a company the size of Coca-Cola, Amazon or Apple and who would they put in jail? Certainly not a ranking C-level executive that signs off on political donations. Drug companies exchanging research information between divisions, companies working on transportation automation and other cutting edge industries can't risk having their information leak from a government organization or due to one of these backdoors.

What happens when there is a data breach of personal information from a compromised backdoor? The company can't be held liable and any government is going to claim immunity even though the law required the compromised security. The software publisher can claim that their wares performed exactly as expected. It would just be that somebody guessed, reverse engineered or "obtained" a copy of the key. The likelihood of comm intercepts being useful in preventing a terrorist attack is far outweighed by the 100% likelihood of personal data and company trade secrets winding up for sale on the dark web. It's long past time that there is an educational requirement for those running for political office. Nobody can know everything, but politicians seem to not be able to understand even the simplest technical concepts. There's that newly elected representative in the US that doesn't even know the structure of the US government. That's downright scary.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Visibility

Being on a list of people who's comms have been the subject of a TCN is not likely going to be a good thing.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: It's not encrypted...

"As for not revealing TCN's, one can every day say "We haven't seen any TCN's", and when they stop, we can draw conclusions."

That doesn't help very much unless the Canary is watching your account. It will be highly unlikely that any telco with millions of customers is going to go very long without getting a TCN.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: "Not available in this country"

"If you can solve the major problem with one-time pads (key exchange), then you'll be a billionaire."

If you are traveling, it's not a problem. Your OTP's are exchanged before you travel down under.

An additional tactic is to get a burner phone on arrival instead of using one you have had for some time. Use a Linux powered tablet/laptop and not an IOS or Android/Chrome device and do a fresh wipe beforehand.

Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: You'd have to be a Dummy,....

"The DC-X, Falcon 9, and New Shepherd all reuse(d) engines without significant rebuilds between flights."

Have they stopped finding chunks of the turbopump impellers missing on the F9? SpaceX has some dirty little secrets that they work very hard to suppress.

MachDiamond Silver badge

"Apparently not only names changes every year but also a design."

The mission changes too.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Starship

This one didn't explode:

MachDiamond Silver badge

Given Elon's track record of names......

Model S, 3, X and maybe someday, Y. Pickup, Roadster, Semi, etc Not even IKEA is so bland. The interesting thing is that they can only trademark "Tesla Pickup" in the same way that Microsoft only has a trademark on "Microsoft Windows" as their application for "Windows" was denied. You can't trademark a commonly used word. Falcon? Okay, but too many rockets have been named after birds.

I lifted the name for my rocket that I built for my Level One certification from Niven, "Hot Needle of Inquiry" and gave it a flame paint job. My Level Two rocket was "Lying Bastard". Haven't done my Level Three, but maybe I'll call it "Long Shot".

There has to be somebody at the SpaceX plant that could suggest a much better name. Whether it will ever fly or not..............

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Starship

"@Arthur When dealing with rockets, RUD is referred to as a "Hard Start" according to John Clark"

A "hard start" is the engine exploding. A "R.U.D.E." is when the whole thing goes boom. (Rapid Unplanned Disassembly Event).

Been there. (Not with SpaceX, thank Bog)

What the #!/%* is that rogue Raspberry Pi doing plugged into my company's server room, sysadmin despairs

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: easy pickings

"Since the company had been shriveling for some time they had apparently dealt with a number of emails from terminated employees that contained less-than-professional departing comments, hence the hurry to cut access."

They would have done better to have sacked you through your immediate local supervisor and offered to pay you a premium (hefty) if you would spend a day with them detailing tasks that needed to be delegated to those that much remain behind. It would be well worth £1,000 or more for them to do that and that sort of dosh can sooth the fury enough to be civil. Multiples might make it possible to at least act friendly. Many companies handle terminations very poorly. It sucks, but any company of more than one is going to have to deal with it.

I left an engineering job and the COO didn't take my notice seriously. I was pissed at the whole train wreck of a shop and they had finally placed the last straw so I was out of there. 3 days before my final day I got an email asking me about following up on a project. I replied that Friday was my last day and I was currently making sure that all of files were backed up on SVN, my desk was tidy and I would be packing up my computer (BYOC) and personal items on Thursday so I would only have final check out to do on Friday. They did understand, belatedly, that having me spend some time on a hand over would be worth a premium, but they then went on to insist on all sorts of other things I would have to agree to be eligible for the payment. I had to go to the labor board to be paid for unused leave that I could never take. They failed to notice that every time I scheduled some time off, they would book testing that I had to be on-site for and didn't actually get to take that time. It's a damn good thing I keep a journal at work. If your work is independent or isn't subject to continuous supervision, keep a simple daily journal of what you did that day and the times. If you ever get an inquiry about where you were on a particular day and what you were doing, you can page back and tell somebody with some accuracy.

MachDiamond Silver badge

"In that case, I told them quickly, because I didn't want them blaming me for anything! I sent it registered post."

Wise move. When you leave a company, you want to make sure that your have given up all of your keys, codes and accounts on their computers. You also want to be receipted on that as well. Be sure to insist on that if before you agree to an exit interview, if they do that, or sign any documents.

If you don't need access to something as a part of your job, don't get keys/codes for it. It can be very unpleasant to have to answer a bunch of questions regarding a crime or breach in an area that isn't part of your normal activities. Get one time or temp access when you need it. If it's a secure area, get somebody responsible to walk you in and check you out or even sit there while you do your work. Even if they deactivate a key card or company ID, make sure you give it back and get a receipt.

Technical foul: Amazon suffers data snafu days before Black Friday, emails world+dog

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: WTF?

"If a reset is required, deal with it when a log in is attempted, not using an email link.

I've berated PayPal numerous times about sending emails with links to log in. Their communications often looked exactly like phishing attempts. While I'm a cynical old bastard, the vast majority a people are lazy idiots and will click links because "it's so much work" to type in a URL. Given that so many use their mobiles, they are right. I can bang out a URL on a proper keyboard in a blink, but without the tactile feedback, it's takes longer on the mobile and between my fat fingers and auto-correct, it can take some time.

Analogue radio is the tech that just won't die

MachDiamond Silver badge

Mobile v desktop

I actually create things so "working" on a mobile is futile. Most people consume so only having a mobile for everything is the cheap way out. Lots of people put everything on their mobile without ever stopping to think what might happen if it was nicked or went Kerplunk into the loo and stopped working. A stolen mobile might mean an bank account gets emptied. But, you say, "I never have more then £100 in my back account anyway". Yeah well, on payday with DD, that might not be true and if you are that close to the edge, £100 might as well be £10,000. It also doesn't relate to all of the fun you will go through with the bank to get another account. My mobile is a backup to my desktop and home internet service. Wait until you get older and squinting at that tiny little screen is a bit tougher to resolve. You will appreciate a set of 24" monitors much more. Even when my home internet is a bit slow, it's still much faster than doing the same tasks on the mobile when it's peaking.

Having the ability to look things up online while out and about is a great thing, but looking around while out is a good thing too. If you are just going to bury your head in your mobile and make like a nice moving target, you might as well stay in and quit imperiling the front of my car.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: "Broadcasting" in general is becoming obsolete.

The beauty of listening to things "when they're on" is that you get introduced to new stuff. I like my iPod and listen to my catalog of music and audiobooks all of the time, but I also have a couple of radio programs that I listen to for new music. It's a pleasure to have a massive geek that spends his/her whole week sifting through new releases and curates the best that they've found with background info and maybe even where the band might be playing.

If all you want is Beatles, Led Zepplin, Stones, Deep Purple and a few other bands where many of the original members are dead, go ahead and just access what you know on demand. That's a good way to be "old".

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: No radio at all

I don't listen to the radio that often, but I have several around including one in my mobile and the car. I use the car radio for traffic when I travel to or around the city. My SatNav has a traffic feature, but it's a lot more helpful to hear from an announcer if I'm coming up on a breakdown that is just being cleared from the road or a major accident where it's worth the time to get off of the motorway and find another route.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: No radio at all

The tech behind DAB is more involved than with FM. A simple FM transmitter is easy to construct and there are even many experimenter's kits available along with more powerful sets that can be legal to use at events. The AC makes a valid point that in an emergency, a local analog station can be used to broadcast critical information. Another big problem in the UK and the US is that government is allowing more large conglomerates to own more broadcasting stations. It used to be that they were limited to how many radio, TV and newspapers that any one entity could own or control. What it means that programming is often done at a central studio and stations are simply broadcasting "tapes" rather than locally produced live programming. There were some very good articles about this after hurricane Katrina in the US. The few independent stations that could still operate on generators were indispensable in providing up to the minute information. The legacy behind FM goes so far back that there will be several receivers within short distance almost no matter where you are. The FM band is not that big to start with and at a low enough frequency that it won't support enough bandwidth for very many DAB stations.

Peers to HMRC: Digital tax reforms 3 days after Brexit? Hold your horses, how 'bout 3 years...

MachDiamond Silver badge


The line should be at £1,000,000 of revenue per year to start. There are going to be massive bugs in the system. By only working with a much smaller number of business initially, it will be easier to sort out discrepancies in the system. The larger businesses will also be in a much better position to be able to afford the extra accounting. If you are just trading part time for holiday money outside of a full time job, you may not have the time, money or expertise to sort through all of the non-documented "features" of the system and possibly wind up being liable for penalties in excess of what you earned in the first place.

I'm with a couple of the other commenters in that I don't care to use "cloud" accounting services. I want vital company records on-site where I can access them whether the internet is up or not. Some software is fine as a subscription, but company accounting has to be maintained for years and that's a long stretch to continue paying a software vendor for something you don't active use anymore just in case. My accounting software gets updated when it stops working with the OS on my new computer. I'm happy with it already and all of the new features don't interest me or apply to my business.

Oi, Elon: You Musk sort out your Autopilot! Tesla loyalists tell of code crashes, near-misses

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Autopilot - not

"Nor do autopilots cut out automatically and leave the plane potentially out of control."

Actually, the autopilot on an aircraft can cut out in certain circumstances. It will make a big noise, flash lights and pilots have to re-take control. It can happen if the instruments it uses to sense what the plane is doing fail or are giving data it doesn't like. It's then up to the pilot to use their sensing gear to determine what the plane is doing while trying to get those instruments that the autopilot uses to start working again. The difference on a plane is they often have some time to work with before the ground becomes a problem. With a car autopilot walking off the job, there may only be a single second or two before bad things happen very suddenly.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: I solved it..

eBikes are great, but if you need to bring a set of tools and spares inventory to job sites, not so great.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Too much tech!(?)

Tesla's are just loaded down with gizmos. I look at anything past the basics of a being a manual motor car as one more thing that can break and will be expensive/impossible to repair. Elon had said after finally getting the X to market that putting too many widgets on a car was a bad thing and really slowed them down. He then had that part of his brain chemically removed and built the 3. Sandy Munro praised the tech on the 3 as world class, but I think he may have missed the downside that all of that tech wasn't required to make a car that can get from point A to point B, the parts of the car that he took Tesla to task for being sub standard and heavy.

If you can't change lanes on the motorway, you shouldn't be driving the car. If you can't make decisions on what lane you should be in, you shouldn't be driving the car. If you don't have time to drive to your destination, you should take a taxi or train not rely on an "autopilot" to drive your car while you bang away on your laptop or mobile. It's still a long way out before automating cars is going to be viable. Because the roads are rather free-form in comparison to trains, trams and trollies, there are more variable's to contend with. Even commercial aircraft travel in "lanes" and are kept spaced out by controllers. It's not like one going the other way is going to have a puncture and jump the center divider into oncoming traffic. Check out the Russian dash cam videos on YouTube for all of the things that will make you want to be paying constant attention to the road and not nodding off while the car is doing a bunch of it for you.

In the first world, we are getting to a point like NAS (Nerve Attenuation Syndrome) as depicted in the movie "Johnny Nemonic". We train ourselves to be bored when all of our attention isn't being occupied by something tickling every sense we have. If an automatic car is only doing "some" of the driving, we may be worse off than when we are fully engaged and doing everything. It could be an all or nothing argument in the end. That doesn't say that blind spot detectors, backup cameras, closing rate meters and other sorts of assistance gear isn't useful. I too hate it when some shmuck pulls into my blind spot and just paces me on the motorway and if I could see better and have some alarms when I'm reversing, that would be great. I just don't want the car taking the driving decisions away from me until it can do it better than I can all of the time in every probable scenario and reasonably well in many edge cases. I also want the option of not installing updates automatically and being able to skip the odd "feature upgrade" update or portion of update. I'd rather wait a few days and read the boards to see if anybody has been bricked in some fashion.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Say what you like about Teslas

"@Lee D

What is the point of your comment, and why so inaccurate?

20 seconds with Google:

- 2017, UK Road deaths, cyclists, 101 people, 6% of the total."

That's just deaths. Being pitched from your bike and winding up in a wheelchair or even being relatively lucky and escaping major injury could still put you off work for a week or two. A similar smash up while you're in a car might lose you the use of the car, but you could still get to work the next day without needing special accommodation for your new handicap.

I used to ride and race bicycles all of the time and loved it. I rarely used it as a way to get to work and back except at one job that was not too far and accessible via low traffic streets. Before I got my license, I had one job that was a fair ride, but I got a ride home after dark.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Whisper it…

"Maybe future trailers will include supplemental batteries to compensate for reduced range?"

A EV drive train developer, AC Propulsion, built a limited number of Scion van EV's and had a small trailer with a 1000cc (ish) generator that also had space for some luggage. It turned a BEV into a PHEV and would be a great option that dealers could rent to EV owners when they wanted to make a long trip. All it would take is a hitch and an electrical connection that interfaced into the electronics already on the car. About the only change would be that the car would recognize that the trailer was hooked on since they won't let you drive the car if they sense that it's plugged in. An argument with Hybrids is you have to lug the weight of the engine around even when you don't need it. With a range extender trailer, you leave it off when you don't need it and can hook it on when you do.

Using petrol to generate leccy is a horrible expensive way to go, but it can make sense in some cases when you want to go out past the charging stations. It's still cheaper to use a public charger when you can and it makes sense to stop for meals/restroom breaks at places where there is one.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Whisper it…

"D) they can tow a caravan a decent distance."

Check out Bjorn Nyland on YouTube. He regularly drags a trailer behind his Model X. It seems like he has some sort of delivery business.

If you tow a caravan around all of the time, you are probably better off with truck that has a big 6cyl or V8 for the time being. That doesn't mean that you can't have an EV to commute in the rest of the week if you do commute. That saves putting miles on the big car and might save enough in petrol to compensate for the extravagant use of fuel that hauling a caravan around takes.

I'm planning on getting a larger truck next year for towing, but it will be for use just when I'm towing or need need to move something big. I rent now and the fees are to the point where it makes sense to get a good second hand truck of my own. I'll keep my compact and I'd like to get a Bolt or similar non-Tesla for my day to day driving.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Whisper it…

A) Why?

B) you can charge up overnight on a cheap tarriff while you sleep and have a full "tank" every morning. Time to recharge: the 30 seconds it takes to plug in.

C) 400 miles in extreme weather at a high average speed of 50mph (extreme weather, right?) would take 8 hours. You don't stop for meals or a pee once or twice? Do this often?

Governments could just ban petrol/diesel cars to meet international emission accords and move away from politically dangerous oil imports on a massive scale. Instead, they are choosing to incentivize EV's knowing that they make heaps of sense and the more people are exposed to them, the more they will be adopted. The incentives won't last forever and if the first world doesn't have to send the military to the middle east to keep the oil flowing, the costs will balance and then improve over time.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Whisper it…

"The people who will run out of electrons are more likely to be the buyers of second hand, low battery capacity models like the Leaf, Zoe, or eGolf,"

The people that run the battery flat are the same people that constantly run out of petrol. One of the things that EVs are good at is estimating what sort of range you have left. If it's a mid winter night and you have the headlights on and the heater going, you get less range, but the car will also give you updated estimates on range. With petrol cars we may have pushed it more than a few times when the needle on the fuel gauge touches E with the belief that there will be at least another 20 miles in and we can make it to our favorite petrol station. With an EV, it's better to believe the car's estimate and even leave some cushion.

Scumbag who phoned in a Call of Duty 'swatting' that ended in death pleads guilty to dozens of criminal charges

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Fractured

While somebody may own more than one firearm, they can only fire one (with any accuracy) at a time. Carrying ten much less using ten is a big chore and off of the charts. Most enthusiasts and hunters will have a few. A couple of pistols, a shotgun and a couple of rifles. If you are shooting varmits, you take a small caliber rifle. You'll explode a squirrel with a round used for deer hunting. You may want an even bigger bullet if you hunt bear for the stopping power. You may also want a rifle with good range for different types of game.

I have to laugh at the news reports that put in bold type that the police found thousands of rounds of ammo at a home. It can be very hard to get some sizes since the government might be on a buying spree for the weather service (look up NOAA's ammo requisitions). Collectable and odd firearms might require unusual ammo and you buy that as you find it. It might only be produced once or twice a year in limited runs. Also, if 22 caliber ammo is on sale, it's good to stock up. A thousand rounds of .22 isn't a big deal if you like to go target shooting. It's a small round and usually very inexpensive making it perfect for plinking cans and not worrying about it bouncing off of a rock and coming back towards the line.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Throw the book at him

"AFAIK the Wichita police have not yet apologised to the family or formally admitted fault."

In the US, if they did that, it would be used in court against them. With a pending Civil case, they can't say anything without potentially prejudicing the case.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: @AnonCow

There are some very simple and painless ways of committing suicide. Using a gun is fraught with problems and the likely reason it's still up the charts is the publicity. I lost a friend to bottle of Yukon Jack and strong pain meds that was accidental. If a bit of a screw up like that can put out the lights, why risk pain and/or a life going forward as a quadriplegic?

Terry Pratchett did a show on assisted suicide. When his was diagnosed with Alzheimers, he didn't want to deteriorate to the point where he was a burden on his family and lost his sense of self, so he did a fair amount of looking into methods and countries where it is legal. It's a tough program to watch, but worth it.

MachDiamond Silver badge

"The UK counts a violent crime as any crime using physical force, so pushing someone is a violent crime in the UK."

In the US everything is a Hate Crime if the people involved are of different races, straight v Gay, of different religions or any other fabricated division.

The UK appears to have more incidents involving knives/sharp instruments as handguns are not as prevalent to date. Since criminals aren't bothered with following the law, hey, they're criminals, they'd use a gun if they can get one. Where there is a demand, there will be a supply. To use a knife or machete properly, you have to practice and also get rather close to your victim. Guns don't take as much training and can even be used with none and you don't have to be standing next to your victim. Just by firing a few rounds or showing a gun, you can discourage chasers where brandishing a knife won't deter somebody from following you a few meters back.

MachDiamond Silver badge


There was an interesting Mythbusters (the orginal series) where Adam was the perp and Jamie the cop. Adam would attempt to stab Jamie with a fake knife before Jaime could draw and fire his gun. Adam started from a fair distance back (can't remember) and then started from a closer and closer point until he could win every time. That distance was 18'-20'. Pace that off and see how far it is and realize that Jamie knew that Adam was going to lunge at him. Disregard the knife and gun and see that an officer is in a vulnerable position and also why the cry of "they were unarmed" is silly. Finding that somebody didn't have a weapon is only know afterwards. Once a person is within a certain distance, they have a good chance of injuring or killing the officer before the officer can bring lethal or non-lethal measures to bear from a stowed position. A weedy meth addict with no weapon is one thing, officers need to be in good physical condition, but a big bloke (or lady) or somebody with martial arts/boxing training can have them down and out in a big hurry.

The following isn't about being a sheep, it's about not being shot. Do what a police officer tells you and don't do anything else until you are asked. You may not know why they have stopped you and they aren't going to explain themselves to you up front. It sucks, it's demeaning, it's embarrassing, but it's not likely to put in hospital or a morgue to comply. Once they have you in cuffs and patted down for weapons, they'll be in a position to talk with you and you to them. The same thing applies to muggers and store robbers. If anybody is pointing a gun at you, do what they say. If you are in gun-free Britan <sarc> and they are threatening to chop your arm off with a machete if you don't hand over your wallet or purse/phone/tablet/expensive dog, same thing. If it's a black hat and you are looking at a rape, kidnapping or some other physical torture, maybe you do want to take the chance at running or fighting back, but that shouldn't be an issue with the police. Not in the first world anyway.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: So the police bear no responsibility ?

"In the US, frankly, a civil action like this is far more likely to be brought, and to succeed, than criminal charges against the police."

That is because to convict somebody of a criminal charge (The State vs person), the burden of proof is "beyond a reasonable doubt". In a civil trial (person vs person or State), the bar is set lower and winning is "on the preponderance of the evidence". The awards in a civil trial are also money, so more blood sucking lawyers gravitate to that type of practice and the ones that are good in a court room build a reputation (and back account) for being able to sway juries.

There are bad cops, but many of them get pushed out long before they do something that makes the news. Most are pretty good and the worst that can be said is they lack compassion, but after a career dealing with people at their worst, they can hardly be blamed.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Sure, that is an exaggeration.

"Seems US police forces are only trained to fire first if the suspect is black. For white people they often do try to defuse first."

That's been found to be very inaccurate. According to the stats, "white" people are shot more often both in total numbers AND as the number per 100,000 in the population. The difference is what gets reported in the news and the rioting/burning and looting of neighborhoods that can occur afterwards.

In certain low-income and predominately black neighborhoods the numbers will look much different, but it's very easy to find a place on the map where your assertions might be valid. Just not when you zoom out and look at bigger regions. Take a look at Chicago and the number of police shooting incidents involving a black suspect is pretty low. Especially when compared to the number of black people shooting each other. The days that make the new are the rare ones when there HASN'T been a gang shooting/killing.

I've got the key, I've got the secret. I've got the key to another person's DJI drone account: Vids, info left open to theft

MachDiamond Silver badge

Hold the Cloud

Anything you put on somebody else's server may wind up being public. HDD's are cheap these days. Store your data yourself and keep it private. Somehow I think Jennifer Lawrence and a bunch of other celebs aren't going to be storing naughty photos of themselves or their friends on any sort of cloud storage service anymore. They had a rather embarrassing lesson in data security.

Premiere Pro bug ate my videos! Bloke sues Adobe after greedy 'clean cache' wipes files

MachDiamond Silver badge

What, an original?

Everybody that works as a creative has had some sort of "crash" whether it's coffee that been spilled on a big presentation with no time to redo it or finding they've been working on original files in Photoshop and have really made a mess of some images.

This person does not have a case. It's standard practice for professionals to make backups (multiple) of original footage/images and work on copies. Even old school graphic artists that work with paper, pens, pencil and paints will make copies of their work. Many have even learned that drinks are never placed on the work surface but put to the side on another surface. Roadies will scream at guitarists that put drinks on top of tube amps. High voltage circuits are temperamental about having liquid poured over them. If you are lucky, your cock up isn't going to cost thousands but only some long hours to recreate it again but there will be some......

A good education starts with a good mentor that has been around long enough to have made or seen loads of mistakes. Formal education only teaches the few ways that something works, but not all of the ways people have really screwed something up. I've work/ed in film, tv and photo, made lots of mistakes and avoided lots more by listening to stories that happened to somebody's second cousin's wife's friend. All that might be needed to be successful is to not make those same mistakes.

From today, it's OK in the US to thwart DRM to repair your stuff – if you keep the tools a secret

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Banning sharing the tools is optimistic

"Once someone creates a hack tool for whatever device or DRM there will be no stopping it when it hits the open internet, "

Because it's illegal to hack DRM, the hacks that do get posted aren't credited to any legitimate company or individual. That makes it very difficult to track down the entity that made the hack and those hackers aren't going to go after anybody copying and distributing it.

MachDiamond Silver badge

"which means if the grid is disrupted for any reason, their solar power system shuts off as well, rather defeating the object of off-grid capability."

There are inverters that are capable of "islanding", but they are more expensive. If the grid goes down, the system physically switches the connection to the grid off and uses the solar/battery system to provide power to the home. When the grid comes on again, the connection will switch back and there are loads of variables that can be programmed in like having the system wait a certain amount of time in case the grid is being finicky.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: DRM didn't protect anything, ever.

"For example, Toy Story 2 still has the inflation-adjusted domestic opening-weekend record for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend"

Films that are family oriented or at least acceptable to parents for kids to watch are in their own category. A sequel means they can use the same designs and possibly tooling for another batch of tie-in merchandise along with a new character accessory pack of instantly loseable parts. The DVD's, downloads and streaming on those films turns into hours of babysitting since kids will watch the same film over and over again amortizing the cost quite nicely. Long holiday weekends are a great time to release a kid's film. Those are the times when families get together and it only takes a couple of adults to shuttle all of the kids down to the cinema and give the rest of the adults a chance to talk and a bit of a tipple without all of the kiddies underfoot complaining they are bored.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: DRM didn't protect anything, ever.

"And they are using DRM and copyright laws to make sure what they are doing continues to make them a profit"

The Copyright laws have always been there and aren't really an issue. What DRM has done is to make removing a very simple copy protection scheme a major crime. Copyright doesn't prohibit making a backup copy of a DVD since you own the physical media and have purchased a license for what's on it. If you are truly just making a backup or changing/updating the media such as VHS to DVD and not making multiple copies to give away or sell, that's not a crime. If you have to circumvent any form of DRM, you are now in violation of a criminal statute and regardless of any "fair use" duplication, you can go to jail and be fined.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: DRM didn't protect anything, ever.

I prefer the rerun classics and double features that some of the budget theaters do mid week. If you enjoy classic westerns, they are much better in the cinema than at home. Even really hookey monster films can be a hoot and getting 3 for a fiver is value for money.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: Harry Potter

I've been involved in the movie business and one of the big problems with large productions is the fantastic waste of time on set. Small production companies that don't have unlimited budgets seem to be able to get far more screen time as a percentage of working hours. If the goal was to produce movies that were closer to the books, there is no reason why it couldn't have been done before Harry, Ron and Hermione were middle aged.

In the case of the Harry Potter stories, broad appeal and hardcore fans might yield fairly similar numbers. There are some things that I wouldn't miss if they were cut, but I would have liked to have seen more of the adventures of Fred and George. And I could go on for pages about stuff in the movies that was made up or extrapolated to extend action scenes (Goblet of Fire).

I'm just frustrated when the movie rights for a book go to a film that is only very loosely based on the text when what I really wanted to see was was a more literal adaptation. It's not like they couldn't have taken the broad outline from a book and written a good screenplay and titled it something else with different character names and set in a different location.

MachDiamond Silver badge

Re: I'm guessing, but ...

"You were misinformed, or you misunderstood. All you are required to do is bring it up to the standard that existed when the vehicle was new."

Nope, that's what I had thought, but The Peoples Republik of Kalifornia mandated that replacement catalytic converters meet a later spec. I crawled through many vendor websites and found that same information and that they would not send the OEM spec CC's to a Kallie address. It was another example of a really stupid law that is nigh impossible to enforce. The inspection station would have to crawl under the car, find the makers stamp on the CC and then compare it to a list, but if the emissions are under the limit, why would they bother? Most of them are "pass or don't pay" so it's in their best interest that you pass. They have to be on the lookout for inspectors so they can't just take a few extra bob to cheat, but they aren't going to go out of their way to look for faults if the measurements looks reasonable.


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