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Comment Re:The frog is boiling (Score 5, Insightful) 110

Hate to break it to you, but things are cheaper nowadays. I can't even begin to think what my 1000-game Steam library would cost, or the size it would take up in real disks / packaging. Probably several SHELVES judging by the DVD's I have in front of me.

And, to be honest, my girlfriend bought a tablet Windows PC - the cheapest available - and it came with a year of Office 365 for up to five machines. We've since installed all five copies of the latest office. Back in the day, to do that legitimately, would have cost a lot more - hell, it could easily have cost upwards of $500-1000. Sure, next year we have to pay a pittance to keep it up, but we also get all the new versions too, and the option to use what we want.

That would have been unthinkable before online downloads. And, even now, if you buy volume editions on a proper licence of Windows, Office, Server, Exchange, etc. they are ALL downloads. You can pay extra for a DVD, but who the hell is going to do that?

To be honest, factored over the life of software, downloads are not a huge deal. And Steam is as "permanent" a licence as you can get nowadays. Why that stops replayability, I don't know. And the used game market is dead because I can get my own copy in a year's time for less than a used copy would ever be able to go for. We actually cut out a middle-man there.

To be honest, when done properly, it's hard to argue against it. Certainly my Google Play and Amazon Instant Video libraries are more useful, convenient and cheaper than anything on DVD too. And when it comes to DRM done properly, it's hard to pick fault with Steam, to be honest. There's a reason I have 1000 games on it. I'd be shocked if they cost anywhere near the cost of 1000 DVD-ROM's, even blank ones, plus the cost of storing those online for 24/7 download for 10 years, let alone the licence to the software in the first place.

Comment Re:Not all that uncommon in reality (Score 1) 110

Half Life 2 - wasn't that the first proper use of the Steam platform, and basically the same as this?

I think it had some cached gcf's but the fact was by release day, you had to download the whole thing anyway because it had all changed.

Quite what's different between then and now? Now, I can't even REMEMBER the last time I bought a physical copy of a game. Honestly. I have a shelf of old-favourites and I have them all either on Steam, GOG.com or similar services or - at least - an ISO of their disk.

Who the hell puts a physical disk into their computer nowadays? When Half-Life 2 shipped like that, people moaned because a lot of them were still on dial-up. Nowadays? Fuck, you can't even log into the authentication server over dial-up in any sensible time, I shouldn't think.

This isn't new, and certainly not "news", except maybe that some people are still dumb enough to buy a pretty box for vanity reasons. Hell, even back-in-the-day most of my games were budget titles in plain CD/DVD cases by the time I bought them. But, like I say, my last PHYSICAL game? Maybe CS:CZ. What's that 2004? 11 years ago? And even that was because I bought it as a present for someone, so a physical box was slightly nicer. Nowadays I just email Steam gifts to people if I want to do that.

Comment Re:Alternate headline. (Score 1) 228

Honestly, do not give a shit about Sweden's charges. They can charge or not, it makes NO difference to his situation at the moment. Potential charges were just dropped in fact, and nothing has changed.

However, he is prima facie guilty of skipping UK bail on a UK arrest warrant validated by the EU. The UK police sent the forms back MULTIPLE times for Sweden to dot the i's and cross the t's. Nothing happened until that was done, and done by the book. He then exhausted every possible point of appeal with ZERO success.

The "UK bail" bit is all I give a shit about. He doesn't need a trial for that - by not turning up, he's automatically guilty before a UK court. The rest was about an extradition which isn't the same as an arrest which isn't the same as a charge which isn't the same as a crime which isn't the same as guilt of that crime.

But until the fucker actually comes out and receives the punishment for the UK crime, and serves it, and then gets handed over anyway (it's not like we can ignore the requests we STILL have before us), it's all moot. Literally, the Swedes can say "Oh, all the limitations have expired, there's nothing we can do", or "Oh, we don't want to talk to him now". Literally. It makes NO difference. He's not even arrested for that - and you arrest BEFORE THE GUILT IS PROVEN in order to prove the guilt. You charge when you have good cause to believe you can prove the guilt. But this is still "wanted for questioning", with all the paperwork to back that up.

Except in the UK. Where he's a criminal proven by his very existence outside of the court he took bail from.

You can push or ignore all the trumped-up charges all you like. He played by the book in the UK, lost, fled and now continuing to play by the book he's not only a criminal already, but will have to still be handed over if the Swedes want anyway. What the fuck has anyone, even himself, gained out of that?

Comment Re:Bail jumper? (Score 1) 228

Why? How much did we spend to pick up the teacher who run off with his over-the-age-of-consent and consenting student throughout Europe? How much have we spent chasing beds-in-sheds or anything else? How much on securing the UK border at Calais?

It's not a matter of cost. It's a matter of principle. If all you have to do to avoid the law when you skip bail is find a friendly embassy and camp there until the government decides it's costing too much to watch you, then that's what EVERY criminal (and Assange is a criminal in the UK at the very least, no matter what Sweden want to do or what silly "statute of limitation" laws they have) will do to escape justice.

Given that it's a high-profile case, that's amplified.
Given that they are handing over to an allied nation, that's amplified again.
Given that all the appeals and paperwork have gone through EVERY possible avenue to "save" him, and he still needed to appear but instead ran, that's amplified again.
Given that it's an obstruction of justice charge, effectively, that's amplified again.
Given that he is clearly baiting the law system, playing up to the media and doing it deliberately, that's amplified again.

All he's managed to show is that skipping bail means that the police will happily camp outside for years and not leave you alone, and that you'll STILL face court at the end of the day, and all it does for you to run is make the problem worse, that's doing exactly what it should.

The alternative is that he'd be in South America crowing about the crap UK justice system that didn't care about criminals skipping bail, while every person seeking asylum, or escaping the law, or anything would use every embassy in London as a bolt-hole until the law was changed so that they couldn't but - in the meantime - showing the law system to be toothless.

He needs to be caught, and face justice, and we know where he is but international diplomacy (note... not diplomatic law) prevents us from arresting him. But like a kid in trouble, the longer he hides there, the worse the problem will get for him, and he's not going to be allowed to escape without facing some justice.

Sweden doesn't even figure. We honestly don't give a shit, that's someone else's problem. But you made a vow to a UK court and broke it. That means we'll screw you to the wall so you know you can't do that to the UK. If, after we've dealt with you, the Swedes can't charge him after all - not our problem, and not our embarassment to deal with. But, fuck, you aren't going to try to skip UK bail after that.

In effect, Assange has put himself in prison voluntarily and - when he comes out - is going to spend some real time in a much more real prison. That's hardly attractive to people who want to follow suit, and that's how it SHOULD be.

Comment Alternate headline. (Score 1) 228

"Major retailer offers surveillance location and co-operates with law-enforcement to help bring known fugitive to justice."

Fuck off trying to discredit everyone, Assange, and come out of your hole and stop costing me money (or, at least, cost me money by being in jail until the UK has finished all ITS business with you).

Comment Re:"never to have worked a day in his life," ... (Score 1) 54

Trust me, your employer will be hurt more for not complying - especially if YOU can prove they're not complying, or you were sacked because you tried to make them comply. This is what employment law is for. To protect both the employer and the employee.

My boss has been on at me since June - I have two week's paid leave to take before September. I took one week, and an extra day. They aren't happy. But because of the timing, there was nothing they could do about it. They aren't CLOSE to the legal minimum, so it's not a matter for law, but they cannot be seen to be mistreating an employee.

In countries with employment law, the law comes and sits on you hard if you don't do the basics. As such "forced leave" is a real thing, a very real thing. But if you're being asked to take it, something's already going wrong anyway.

As the other poster says - people get ejected from the building and their access rescinded to MAKE them take a holiday. Because, for sure, if they don't do that and you later leave or have a heart attack or get pissed off and make a complaint, they have evidential and witnessed proof that they fulfilled their statutory "duty of care" to their employees and so can't end up the wrong side of a tribunal.

Welcome to civilisation.

(P.S. Overworking your staff deliberately makes you a fucking idiot as you either experience high-churn or stressed-out employees. Neither contribute to productivity. It doesn't matter how much you pay if no fucker will work for you).

Comment Re:Cable networks are shared bandwidth (Score 1) 253

Er... I don't think 300 dwellings is anywhere near real capacity.

In the UK, cable is delivered with DOCSIS (Actually EuroDOCSIS, same thing, slightly different frequencies), and it's by street, and our streets are much smaller than the typical US "block".

It might be 10Gb over, say, 30 dwellings, or one apartment block. But the bottleneck will ALWAYS be the uplink anyway. What would you need to put 10Gb from multiple clients back to the net? Are you honestly expecting some 1Pb connection at Comcast somewhere? Highly doubtful. Caching, proxying, and the fact that people consume in small bursts or little dribbles whatever they are doing (gaming, web browsing, emailing, downloading, etc.). That's why P2P is such a pain - nothing to do with the legality, entirely to do with the fact that you can max out the uplink connections with just a handful of users.

But that's the same wherever you are. Even on, say, a workplace or school network, your uplink probably isn't on a pair with your between-server connections, and certainly only an order of magnitude better than your client connections at best (e.g. 100Mbps to hundreds of clients, 1Gb actual upstream, or 1Gb/10Gb, etc.).

But, still, a 10Gbit connection will download files, reduce latency, browse the web 10 times faster than a 1Gbit. You won't be able to max it out 24/7, that's all. Nothing's changed in that respect in decades.

Hint: When you upgrade your home network from Gigabit to 10Gb, you will need to multiply everything above it by 10 too or you'll get worse performance than before. Please tell me where you're going to buy 1Tbps kit from (even as an ISP) that isn't so prohibitively expensive that you can only afford to do it on major links and not every 100 clients.

We've just about got 1Gbps as "mainstream". 10Gbps is still expensive but is commercially available to all. 100Gbps is a pipe-dream unless you're a datacentre or ISP or huge enterprise.

Comment Re:Is it really THAT hard? (Score 1) 168

What on earth makes you think that any algorithm, proof or technique can account for hardware failure of any kind? That's what RAID, etc. are for and are still far from a guarantee.

Plus, kind of the point of a checksum is to ensure the integrity (to a certain probability) of data. If either the checksum or data change, they will no longer match up - short of a billions-to-one random chance that you can't do anything about anyway. Incorporate the flag into the data that you checksum and that's covered.

You cannot mathematically prove that any single bit will ever be written to disk whatsoever. All you can do is prove that you won't lose bits that you've confirmed as written **unless there is hardware failure**. That's it. Hell, we can't even prove that we're talking to a real device rather than an emulated one that just discards random bits.

Comment Is it really THAT hard? (Score 4, Interesting) 168

Write zero to a flag.
Write data to temporary area.
Calculate checksum and keep with temporary area.
When write is complete, signal application.
Copy data from temporary area when convenient.
Check checksum from temporary to permanent is the same.
Mark flag when finished.

If you crash before you write the zero, you don't have anything to write anyway.
If you crash mid-write, you've not signalled the application that you've done anything anyway. And you can checksum to see if you crashed JUST BEFORE the end, or half-way through.
If you crash mid-copy, your next restart should spot the temporary area being full with a zero-flag (meaning you haven't properly written it yet). Resume from the copy stage. Checksum will double-check this for you.
If you crash post-copy, pre-flagging, you end up doing the copy twice, big deal.
If you crash post-flagging, your filesystem is consistent.

I'm sure that things like error-handling are much more complex (what if you have space for the initial copy but not the full copy? What if the device goes read-only mid-way through?) but in terms of consistency is it really all that hard?

The problem is that somewhere, somehow, applications are waiting for you to confirm the write, and you can either delay (which slows everything down), or lie (which breaks consistency). Past that, it doesn't really matter. And if you get cut-off before you can confirm the write, data will be lost EVEN ON A PERFECT FILESYSTEM. You might be filesystem-consistent, but it won't reflect everything that was written.

Journalling doesn't need to be mathematically-proven, just logically thought through. But fast journalling filesystems are damn hard, as these guys have found out.

Comment Re:Android still sucks (Score 2) 80

a) Why would you open a voicemail in a web browser? That's a stupendous security risk. And it would be an audio player, surely, not a browser?

b) What is your carrier doing to deliver voicemail by anything other than their voicemail service?

c) I share your pain somewhat here but: Put your phone on speakerphone when doing voice prompts. It's so much easier and you can ensure the screen doesn't go off. P.S. you have options to delay the screen turning off. Use them if it annoys you.

d) Two web browsers? Choice. You might want to just use Chrome, others might want something else. P.S. Android's "Internet" option is Chrome, just an old version. They don't brand it because they don't want to shove it down your throat but this way everyone has a browser and can STILL choose their own (like, say, Chrome, or Opera Mini, or anything else at all). Compare and contrast to Safari on iPad, etc.

e) Satnav - choice. They haven't said "YOU WILL USE THIS APP", they've given you apps, the carrier have given you apps, you can give yourself apps and choose what you want. Don't moan about choice. P.S. I use Copilot on all my Android devices.

f) Get a better phone if it overheats. If a smartphone overheats, so would anything with an LCD screen or even old school tech. They dial back the speed under heat, not break. If it's breaking your phone is shit or nothing would survive that heat nicely and it's stopping you having to buy a new phone.

Note: I hated smartphones for years and literally never used one until two-three years ago. Bought one Android Samsung, never looked back, stopped my old TomTom subscription/device and moved everything to the one place where I can choose to do everything or nothing. Hell, I can manage my workplace network from it. By far not a cutting-edge "YOU MUST USE THIS" kinda guy, but that seems to be exactly what you're moaning about the lack of. This ain't Apple. You can use / configure what you like how you like.

Comment Should not be exposed to the Internet (Score 2) 34

If you're exposing any ports to the Internet that are not absolutely necessary for the general unknown public to communicate with you, you're an idiot.

Web ports? Yes, if necessary.
Email ports? Yes, if necessary.
VPN ports? Yes, if necessary.

Anything else just SHOULDN'T be. And certainly never anything along the lines of RPC, CIFS, etc.

Comment Re:big surprise (Score 4, Interesting) 110

Almost everything you can summarise in a line is bollocks news headlines. Science is, unfortunately, a lot more complicated than that.

We (probably) use all our brain. Just not all on conscious intellectual thought. It's not hard to see that - cut into the brain and you ALWAYS lose something, it just might not be immediately obvious what.

The appendix may well be a store of gut bacteria that reseeds the gut in the case of illness. Which kinda makes sense, the same way you save some of the cheese by-products to help make the next cheese. And also explains why when it blows it's quite so serious - it's basically an inactive mini-gut getting infected and exploding.

It's just that it's hard to prove these things definitively because they were never DESIGNED to do that. They just happen to do so. And so they may be doing ten jobs well or one job badly or no jobs at all and it's incredibly difficult to say which for a global population at any static point in time.

Similarly "junk" DNA is as it says - noncoding. We think. But it might be doing other stuff. Hell, it may just be purely structural, or it may be remnants of old coding, or it may just have got mixed in the same way you accidentally mix in insects into basically every foodstuff you eat (yes, literally) but because it "just works" and nobody notices, it doesn't really matter.

Or, maybe, it's coding is not as simple as we expect. Nobody's every really SEEN things like DNA do their jobs. You can look at it, you can simulate it, but nobody really knows exactly what's going on in the millions of full strands inside a HUMONGOUS cell that replicates billions of times over in the space of a matter of months.

The problem is that science is so complicated that you can't understand it, and headlines are all you pick up. How many moons does the Earth have? Depending on which scientists you ask, and which definition of "moon" you use, it can be zero, one, two, twenty-seven or hundreds. Nothing is as simple as you can explain in one sentence. Or even one article. Or even one research study and paper. Or even one field of expertise.

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