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Comment Re:poison the data (Score 1) 175

Just VM it and stop pissing about.

Then you can run your Windows-only app, have a built-in firewall in the hypervisor that can do whatever you need, you can use your original hardware, you can run other systems that are more privacy-respecting for your day-to-day activities, your licences almost certainly already cover such use, and everything from 8 Pro upwards allows you to use Hyper-V to do just this.

Comment Re:Dumb question, forgive me (Score 1) 294

Nope, sound waves don't either.

Think of a giant rubber sheet with a ball bearing in every square inch. Squish the sheet and the balls in that part get closer together. Stretch it and they get further apart. Do both to the same sheet and you have a wave and the distance between them is half a wavelength. Repeat it regularly and you have a full, repeating wave of a certain wavelength.

The ball bearings are sound-carrying particles in audio terms, and mass-bearing particles in gravity terms.

Neither of them has "positive" or "negative" anything. They just further apart or closer together to each other.

That we sometimes represent them as a line on a graph that goes below zero (closer than without the presence of sound / gravity) or above it (further apart than without the presence of sound / gravity) is a matter of interpretation, nothing to do with anything "negative" at all.

Comment Re:Be Skeptical (Score 3, Informative) 294

Any science you can explain in a few sentences to a layman will be so full of holes as to be nothing more than hearsay and astrology.

A big event, that would have created ripples that would arrive here roughly at the time of the experiment, happened. As we listened, at that time, we saw inconsistencies representative of just such a gravitational wave hitting the experiment. It's tiny, but above background noise and experimental error (it's mentioned elsewhere that this basically means 6-sigma certainty), and coincides with a particular event that we were able to "observe" (not literally) in other ways.

The source of the wave barely matters. We detected gravitational fluxes that would otherwise be unexplained. That we are able to correlate them to one single event, that's just of the type of rare event that we predict might be able to cause such signals "loud" enough to be "heard" by us, and match up the timing means that it's the most likely explanation too.

But more importantly - 100-year-old mathematics predicts some absolutely insane, bonkers things that - when we are finally able to look for them - turn out to be true. That's all science cares about.
You can't just make up shit and then - in 100 years - several people invent an instrument that correlates perfectly to the shit you made up, several times, to the satisfaction of major scientific institutions unless - basically - you were absolutely spot-on correct all along.

That's pretty much what happened. The Einstein field equations are fucking bonkers to understand, let alone try and solve the implications of them. And I'm a mathematician. But they predict stuff like this that we then find. When it came from barely matters. A simplification of the definition of "size" in a mass-media article doesn't matter at all (tell people black holes have no size, and they look at you like you're an idiot).

So, no, it's not as bad as you make out.

Comment Re:Wow what a surprise... (Score 4, Informative) 87

Not really.

If someone gets hold of your wallet enough to try passcodes, it's game over anyway.

It's like saying that credit cards are insecure because they only have 10,000 possible 4-digit PINs. Well, yes. But the general idea is to stop them getting the card in the first place, and to use other security measures to protect the card.

The stupid idea of having such emphemeral wallets that are vulnerable to these kinds of attacks was ridiculous before it started. That's not "normal" Bitcoin.

For normal Bitcoin, you make a wallet file on your machine, encrypt the wallet file with a strong passphrase, perform transactions, then store it in a safe place. You only get it back out on a secure machine where you're required to enter the passphrase again to do anything useful with it.

If someone is on the machine that you perform BitCoin transactions on, to the point that they can read your wallet file and try to enter passphrases, that's game over anyway. They could just as easily just sniff your keyboard for the passphrase.

Again - stupid security "attack" that wouldn't happen in real life unless you were a complete dope anyway, is taken as "bad news" for an unrelated technology which people like you jump on the bandwagon of disparaging without checking facts.

Hint: Word .doc passwords aren't secure either. Or old (pre-AES) ZIP file passwords. You can easily check just as many of those in the same time as this "attack" on something like EC2. The idea is that you don't let people get a file full of expensive information in the first place, or rely on such naff security if that's what you want to do. And that's exactly what BitCoin does too.

The wallet decryption is only valid if someone can copy your wallet. And that's, quite literally, like someone taking your wallet in real life. The problem is already there. That they might be able to use it to cost you money is entirely logical from that point onwards.

Comment Excess (Score 1) 271

"that Morocco may eventually start exporting the clean energy to the European market."

Question:

If Morocco is just across from Spain, why would Spain pay for the energy (i.e. cost of production, plus payoff of initial outlay, plus transportation, plus the company profits) rather than just build their own?

It's not like the two are on hugely different latitudes which greatly affect the amount of solar available, and the transportation losses, especially under 50km of ocean at best, must be quite substantial.

And... they're at the same longitude, so they have the same solar peaks and thus power-demand peaks, so it's not like they can supply power during the night when Spain's solar would be dead, or similar. And Europe is only a couple of timezones wide, so considering Spain is probably the least-cost option when it comes to transportation etc.

Not sure I understand that at all. Maybe they'd exchange a bit of power, for emergencies and peak-demand and backup and switchover and things, but are Morocco really ever going to be able to sell their excess to any country far enough way that they couldn't generate it themselves, or to a nearby country that could just do the same and probably have the same kind of excess power at the same times of day?

Comment Re:The Republicans have now killed self-driving ca (Score 2) 211

In the UK, most tiny karate clubs have a GBP 1m public liability insurance, and it costs a pittance each year.

The fact of the number makes no difference, it's what's covered. I imagine they have to cover a lot more, but even the WORST of these may be better than human drivers on average, so it will quickly re-balance once the risk statistics are apparent, even if companies only pay at first for their testing cars.

Honestly, $100k+ liability insurance is pretty low. Even a school will have GBP 5-10 million and it get claimed on all the time and they handle care of children, including activities, trips, sports, staffing, etc.

Comment Ouch (Score 1) 211

Wonder how much Google public liability insurance premium just increased by.

Because, sorry, but the "AI" is really just a set of rules still. A set of rules that can't take account of every situation. Sure, it can drive more carefully than a human driver, but it can also make just the same kind of dumb mistakes as a human driver too.

But with the consequence that the first accident of note will result in all kinds of problems for EVERY instance of that model running in EVERY model of that self-driving car, rather than just a single driver being an idiot.

And if "the car" is the driver, then driving points and bans means almost nothing OR they mean the end of a self-driving car when they happen.

Aren't we still at the stage where a self-driving car knows the speed limit only by traffic-sign recognition and/or GPS lookup of a database of streets? One slightly muddy sign on a back road, and the car gets a ticket that Google will pay, or sweep under the rug until someone notices thousands of tickets issued to Google-cars over the years that are conveniently just being paid off rather than resulting in more permanent consequences as they would with a human driver.

Comment Re:The basic question is answered...but still... (Score 0, Flamebait) 551

Most importantly:

Will the impact of whatever we do be more or less than the impact of doing nothing?

Because nobody's really accounted for that yet. Sure, if we cut power, move to renewables, make cars compliant, etc. then we will reduce emissions. But what effect could that have? And if the sea is still going to rise anyway, displacing pretty much the same people as it would have, was it worth doing all that?

I've said all along the answer to "Is it human-caused?" is just trivia. The answer to "Is it happening?" is easily measured. The answer to "What can we do about it that is less worse than the predicted effects anyway?" has never been properly found.

Honestly, if we have to cut all the coal-burning and move to renewables and live more efficient lives and whatever else... how many people is that going to kill, put out of work, push into poverty, etc.? And how certain are we that our fixes will do what we think, and that the effects won't hit us as bad if we do all this?

Because otherwise, it's like arguing about who's fault the car crash is going to be as you drive head-long into another car. And nobody has considered whether going round (left or right?!), or slamming the brakes on, or sounding the horn is actually going to work best. And nobody has considered that the accident might be unavoidable anyway, or that our actions might make it worse (e.g. skidding onto the pavement and taking out a few pedestrians AFTER hitting the other car anyway).

No, we're all too focused on "Who's fault is it?" and nobody has properly considered "What do we do about it?" Maybe because that's a difficult question without a simple answer, that requires lot of science and research and money to answer sensibly.

But, hey, at least our scientists LOOK busy and are on the news predicting doom every night...

Comment Re:Depends on your data (Score 1) 185

So you already buy no-name drives instead of the big-brands?

And no-name SD Cards?

When people's data is on the line, price isn't the primary consideration.

However, for desktop use, you'll notice that manufacturer's are giving the option. For the same price as a 1Tb HD, they'll give you a 128Gb SSD. The speed is, for the majority of users (we're probably power users on here, at minimum), much more important than being able to store EVERYTHING on the hard drive. Because they probably don't even fill up a 128Gb. This is why Windows tablets with only 32Gb storage are commonplace - most people don't even notice.

So price isn't the factor that will kill SSDs. Now consider volume - as volume starts to move from selling HDD to selling SSD (which is helped by things like Dell etc. offering SSDs as standard options on their desktops), HDD is going to lose out and become much more expensive. There will soon be a point where the HDD manufacturers say "You know what? To sell this 12Tb drive to the masses, it has to be so cheap that we can't afford to make it or invest in the infrastructure for the next model... and so few people will buy it anyway. Let's just start moving into SSD", which is what a lot of them are already doing.

In the last few years, SSD has caught up, and is already surpassing, HDD in virtually every area, despite HDD being around for decades. HDD has a death knell ahead of it. Hell, they're trying to sell helium drives because they just can't beat the physics any more. But SSD? It's still shrinking without an end in sight (there will be an end, but it's just not in sight).

Price is merely a factor of popularity, volume sales, and mass production. All three are moving towards SSD.

Comment Re:What Competitors? (Score 4, Interesting) 110

I work IT in schools, state and private, primary and secondary. I was one of first-batchers for the original RPi.

Few resources are actually advertised and available to teachers. The only educational-focused content offered is some random tutorials on websites, or third-party stuff from people that have nothing to do with the RPi. Most RPi's are bought, used a couple of times, then sit in a cupboard. Like a lot of other cool technology, I'd like to point out, but there it is.

The BETT exhibition is the UK's educational IT expo. For a few years it was "all about the RPi". People selling the units. Few resources. No teaching resources for those places that need it most (chances are that if the kids need teaching how to code, so do the teaching staff!), no training, nothing. I haven't see the foundation at the BETT ever (despite being run by a UK guy who claims the purpose is education?).

This year it was "all about"... well, not much. Some of those BBC Bit things were on a display board but you couldn't buy them. And, same thing, no resources or information about how to teach with them or the educational value.

I work in a prep school at the moment. We were beta-testers for the .NET Gadgeteer kit. We have kids working at secondary-school levels and beyond. We build and fly home-built drones with the boarding kids. We STOP teaching crap like Scratch in Year 3 but we go up to Year 8.

The RPis I found in a drawer when I started there. I wasn't surprised, as mine was in the attic by then too. We never bought the Model B's. We won't be touching the BBC things either.

To be honest, it's easier just to let the kids (rich kids!) buy their own gadgets and then integrate them into the lesson. All the kids have iPads (not my choice, but I have to make the best I can of them), if they program they do it on those or on the PC's in the school. The geeks turn up every Friday evening for "the geek club" where we do things like C programming, machine code, building drones and kitting up Arduino kits.

I've yet to see what the actual educational value is in the Pi - I'm sure a REALLY good teacher can use them, as ours did, but that's to do with the teacher, not the device. They do just as good a lesson with pen-and-paper, an iPad, a lego-kit, or some $5 Arduinos and a soldering iron.

And with almost zero teaching resources sold with them, most teachers who aren't up to speed (which is sold as being half the point of pushing IT in schools, that the teachers are behind the pupils themselves) won't touch them as they see them as "just a gadget" with no educational value or help in their teaching.

15 years in IT in schools, story has been the same in all the schools I work in. It used to be QX3 microscopes, then visualisers, then Raspberry Pi's (and Scratch at the same time), next week it'll be something else.

You just missed this year's BETT. The only RPi's I saw were running Lego kits and things that ANY device could be running. And nobody was really selling the RPi or associated resources... I think I saw one stall selling RPi cases that were twice the price of the same thing on Amazon.

Comment Re:Depends on your data (Score 2) 185

But the fact that SSD has caught up HDD quite so quickly means the writing is on the wall.

Quite what is the factor that will keep people buying HDD? At the moment, it's only capacity. With matching densities, matching capacities won't be far off. I've said for the last few years the storage companies should give up on making HDDs or at least plan that way.

You can get a 1Tb 2.5" SSD for a decent price now. And desktop ranges are easily catered for with SSDs and even being supplied by default. The max size hard drive you would really see? It's only 2-4Tb. I don't think it will be "several years", given that you can match capacities now (just by putting multiple 2.5 boards into a 3.5" drive), and the price per Tb is dropping fast, while HDDs are offering nothing over SSDs any more.

Sure, the top-end brand-names will be behind everyone else as they ensure reliability, but it will only be a couple of years before people are basically ignoring HDDs in purchasing.

Comment Re:Damned if you do, damned if you don't (Score 2) 406

Why should the touch ID sensor need to, or be actually doing, store any data or provide authentication?

What you're saying is that you can replace the fingerprint sensor and thus fool the device into thinking you provided ANY fingerprint, without any knowledge of that fingerprint? Sound inherently INSECURE to me. I could steal Barack Obama's iPad, change the sensor, and order a coffee on his credit card without having to enter a single credential or knowing what his fingerprint looks like.

Compare and contrast to "it's just a fingerprint reader that provides a hash of the offered finger, which the OS compares to a list of known hashes of valid users", for instance. Unless you know what the fingerprint looks like, or can read the original hash and generate hashes of any possible combination you want, you shouldn't be able to do that. And if you did it properly, only Apple would know what the hash was on a remote server, and the entire conversation between reader and end-server would be encrypted and nonced to prevent replay attacks.

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