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Comment Re: Pulling it between layers of abstraction. (Score 1) 250 250

Real life mentats...

Glad to hear it, I checked the same Wikipedia article just after I posted this comment and also Googled her name for articles and pictures.

What struck me was that there are no pictures of her when she was carrying out her wondrous exploits at the age of 8, and precious little analysis of her abilities outside of documents posted in India.

That's a crying shame for such a prodigious talent.

Comment Re: Pulling it between layers of abstraction. (Score 2, Interesting) 250 250

Yep. India's Shakuntala Devi (known in those days as The Human Computer) as a girl used to challenge the mainframes of the 70s with such prodigious feats as multiplication of 2 massive numbers, and frequently pointed out correctly that the computer was wrong after assessing its answer.

As usual, nothing was made of this ability aside from its sideshow value, and no studies made of her brain capacity or computational methods.

Last I heard, she's reduced to making a living selling horoscopes and the like, if she's still alive.

Question is, do we really want to know what our capabilities are as human beings, or do we just want to keep selling big iron to governments and corporations at great profit?

Comment Re: Conspiracy (Score 1) 675 675

Anyone else thinking Oracle buying Sun was a calculated move to destroy Android by killing Java?

Maybe Google wanted Sun to die so Google could buy Java in a disheveled state....

Reeks of conspiracy, I know, just a thought...

The story circulating was that Sun Microsystems was actually offered to Google ahead of any other suitors, with a strong suggestion to purchase in order to indemnify themselves from precisely the kind of litigation they may now be facing.

As the rumour goes, they passed, and the rest is history.

Comment Re:Check, But Not Mate (Score 1) 342 342

Yes, they have. It's called Chromium OS.

Android is a stop-gap measure, a kind of half-way house to their "holy grail" of Chromium OS and the Web, which is Google's natural element.

It must be said that Google has been moving with ungainly haste, leaving gaps in their strategic defence which may be exploited by adversaries, or simply have adverse consequences as a result of the haste of their movement. A lot of their moves are as a result of reaction to others rather than considered, original, planned action.

Comment Re: Yes* (Score 2, Interesting) 486 486

Precisely. I was inadvertently infected by the sdra42.exe Trojan, which installed a spam server on my PC.

My ISP disconnected my 22Mbps ADSL link, and then called me to inform me of what they'd done. When I asked for information and help in detecting and removing the infection, they simply gave me their ticket/case reference and said to call when I had found and eliminated the offending virus, and then hung up. And that was their Security department.

Thank goodness that I had an iPhone 3G to surf the 'Web and bone up on the infection, and could use my work connection to download the tools I needed to defeat this virus. It took several days, with no help from my ISP whatsoever.

Comment Re: Pretty common. (Score 1) 1141 1141

I also have some pretty interesting pictures sent by a colleague who is director of a Telecoms carrier in Afghanistan.

In the lawless and war-torn sticks of Helmand Province, their engineers literally dash in and out of their remote stations to respond to and fix faults, and frequently encounter multiplexers and other equipment riddled with bullets - sabotage by insurgents.

Machine-gun damage, never mind shotguns...

Comment Re:Pretty common. (Score 5, Informative) 1141 1141

I worked for a ISP that had a POP in the sticks. It's feed would regularly be shot by some stupid hick. There was also only one telco field tech for the area, and it would take him forever to respond and even longer to resolve the issue. The city has its own issues. Once a very large section of copper was stolen from the telco taking out an untold number of consumers.

If you work for telcos that have thousands of miles of fibre traversing farmland, you'll quickly come to appreciate (especially in the hunting season) that shotgun damage is a fact of life.

And no, the hunters are not shooting at the fibre or insulators, but at the pheasant, grouse and other flying game creatures that routinely alight on the overhead cables (usually power lines) that carry the fibre.

Comment Re:Oh how clever... (Score 2, Insightful) 133 133

computers and other devices are simply magic.

Why wouldn't they; some of them are even advertised that way.

Like my electronics teacher told my class "if you really think that n-p-n junctions are actually how semi-conductors work, you'll believe anything you are told".

The scientific and logical explanations for the phenomena that underlie the technology we use are simply that, explanations. You'll never see n-p-n junctions under any microscope, because there probably aren't any.

Even if there were, think about it, it won't make the phenomena of natural processes any less magical.

All is magic...

Comment Re:Sounds fair (Score 1) 582 582

Sounds like a sensible and fair measure, until it comes under test itself by extenuating circumstances, like someone who has a significant involvement in the greater good (e.g socially, scientifically or in a critical peace process) but not a registered organ donor being passed over in favour of one simply because that's the new rule.

As usual, this will probably go unnoticed until some pretty serious consequences emerge in hindsight.

There are always two sides to the coin.

Comment Re:Microsoft the tar-baby (Score 1) 215 215

They did. But then Microsoft owns them at least partially.

Not likely. Netscape seemed to be the one have paid the price for Apple's freedom from their clutches. QuickTime was to be the other sacrifice demanded by M$, but Apple stood firm (thank goodness), and the rest is glorious history...

Comment Re:An iPhone-like process? (Score 4, Insightful) 340 340

An iPhone-like vetting process would be "we'll reject it if we don't like the look of it". How about "Linux-distro style vetting process"?

The iPhone vetting process is closer to Slifox's "error on the side of caution" method on his outbound firewall, with the default being set to DROP (deny the app), followed by a specific whitelist (approved apps subject to continuous monitor for "good behaviour").

Quite a number of approved apps in the iPhone App Store have been caught out doing naughty things like accessing and sending "home" users' Contacts - email addresses, phone numbers and home/work addresses - where they really had no business requiring such information for their function (battery charge display apps, games etc) and have promptly been expelled from the app store - quite rightly in my opinion.

The price of true freedom is eternal vigilance, not laissez-faire do-what-you-please laxity...

Comment Re:diff needed (Score 2, Insightful) 147 147

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter...

When "their" interests dovetail with "our" own short-term self-interest, we brand them rebels, or better yet, freedom fighters. When they're on the other side, they're always terrorists...

Conditions change, and the enemy of our enemy can no longer be our friend - betrayal ensues, and blood oaths are uttered - and suddenly the 180-degree transformation is complete. This is the folly of short-term, self-serving isolationist interest as a valid option for steering foreign policy.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig

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