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Comment: Because (Score 4, Interesting) 450

by ledow (#47524787) Attached to: Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

In Britain the DVLA are looking at their policies.

Drivers who have had eye surgery are generally marked as never requiring corrective lenses. But the DVLA have found numerous instances of drivers eyesight falling below minimum standards after laser eye surgery.

This laser eye surgery is not, in all people at least, permanent.

Obviously, in the DVLA's case, their answer is "We don't care... if you're below minimum standard - whatever the reason - you need to report it to us and wear some kind of corrective lens until you can prove otherwise". Which is sensible.

As a glasses wearer all my life, my eyes have stabilised. But laser-eye surgery is not only vastly oversold by marketers posing as doctors, but also not permanent. I could spend several thousand pounds and risk my eyesight (no surgery is without risk) in order to get out of a habit I've been in for the last 20 years that doesn't actually affect my life often at all (my prescription is unchanged for 10+ years, I've had the same three sets of glasses - including sunglasses - for 10+ years, I rarely break things like that, and the microsecond it takes to put them on in the morning and take them off at night is negligible).

That's why.

Comment: Re:Trusting a binary from Cisco (Score 5, Insightful) 186

by ledow (#47514971) Attached to: Firefox 33 Integrates Cisco's OpenH264

But with access to the source code, it's easily possible to verify that the binary supplied corresponds to the source.

That's how we know that TrueCrypt has no "binary" backdoors - we just try different combinations of compiling, noting the differences, until we find the one that Cisco used. If we never find the exact combination, the differences between a "known good" compile of the original source and the final binary make the amount of code to blind-check almost negligible in comparison.

It's when people DON'T provide source that you should be suspicious, or when you can't get close to their source providing their binary.

Comment: Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (Score 2) 113

by ledow (#47513563) Attached to: UK Users Overwhelmingly Spurn Broadband Filters

Plus, laws differ depending on your jurisdiction.

When I was a kid, we had cassette tapes. We could easily copy music from the radio, and give it to a teacher to play in assembly. It still did not mean that when it came time to review music licensing, the school could avoid paying for doing so.

In fact, copyright licensing of music in schools (especially hymns, for some reason) is one of the most draconian applications of law that I've seen. But that doesn't forgo the schools obligations to properly license it - back then, or now. And, yes, schools that I work in have been threatened with lawsuits for doing things like playing a brief excerpt of a hit single of the day in an end-of-term assembly.

I refuse to allow a school I work in to be sued for something so petty, and be forced to pay over money to record companies (or photographers, or software programmers, or whatever) that's better spent educating children. Applying extra filters costs no more than applying legally-required filters anyway. Licensing of school software is one of the easiest things to fall foul of.... oh, this is a free download, can we just install it everywhere? No. Oh, this is a CD I got in my cornflakes that I'd like the kids to all use? Tough. Licensing says no.

Schools get sued for this. I'm not making it up. It's not *my* pettiness. Hell, some of the largest companies are getting sued for using a photograph from the Internet without permission in their advertising etc. - this is a symptom of people NOT being taught about copyright law when they are in school, and being taught that Google Images is "free". Of course you can find properly-licensed images with Google Images. What you can't do is enforce that setting side-wide through a URL-modifying filter (like you can with SafeSearch).

I'm stopping your kid's school getting sued for 10 x damages for wilfull infringement of copyright and having to pay thousands that would be better spent on, say, computers or properly licensed software or books or teachers, than being paid to some random guy on Tumblr who's had his image pinched and gets bitchy about it.

Comment: Re:More inconvienient than the average filter. (Score 5, Insightful) 113

by ledow (#47509837) Attached to: UK Users Overwhelmingly Spurn Broadband Filters

I work in schools.

What you describe is standard practice in every school I've ever worked in.

Google Images, especially, is one of those "block all or block nothing" sites that policy ALWAYS ends up blocking all. It's just to easy to google something innocent (e.g. "little red riding hood", etc.) and end up with page full of quite obvious porn, even with enforced SafeSearch, a religiously-updated web filter, and custom blocks.

"Virtually impossible" to use the school's computers for schoolwork? How did we live before Google Images? And also, let me tell you, copyright infringement is rife in schools and overlooked right up until the school gets sued for letting you "google image" something, stick it in a document and print it out.

Welcome to real life, where education is more than Google Imaging something, where laws take precedence over your (or my, or the school's) personal choices, and where child protection and "eSafety" policies are mandatory by government inspection.

No system filters perfectly. And you can be sure I get twenty emails every time the system doesn't. But we can't just switch them off without breaking several laws (even if we know that we can only show we tried).

P.S. Stop Google Image'ing. Get licensed clipart. Because when you're older and you "just Google Image" something for your boss, you're setting them up for a lawsuit from the copyright holder.

Comment: Re:Makes Perfect Sense (Score 4, Informative) 52

by ledow (#47508409) Attached to: AirMagnet Wi-Fi Security Tool Takes Aim At Drones

Anyone who worries about wireless security and hasn't yet deployed WPA2-Enterprise and VLANs deserves everything they get.

Seriously, an employee plugging in a router? ALARM BELLS GO OFF IN IT ROOM.

An employee sets up a duplicate wireless network with the same SSID?

Weird. None of the connection policies match, so nothing officially supplied by IT will connect to it. And employees "might" connect to it, manually, sure. If it wasn't that the wireless AP's around the place have spotted the intruder, emailled me, triangulated the position of the AP, flooded it off the airwaves, and you'd have to re-type in all your RADIUS / WPA keys into it in order for it to actually let you CONNECT without warnings anyway.

It's just not a problem if you are serious about your wireless deployment. If you're not serious, that's the problem.

I'm an IT guy that works in schools, with hostile users, some of them living on-premises, willing to break all the rules, some of whom have built their own drones to fly around the school premises, and this isn't an issue I'd be concerned about.

For a start, the Cisco Meraki gear I use would "contain" any such network, and it would warn me, and it would even put a little pinpoint on a wireless heatmap if I so desired to tell me where they are.

The rest is just taking a smartphone with a free app, walking to that point, and disciplining whoever I found there / taking down the drone and waiting for someone to come claim it.

Comment: Sigh. (Score 4, Interesting) 102

by ledow (#47494611) Attached to: "Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

"One of the comments levelled at self-service check in is that it has lost the human touch that people had when checking in at a traditional manned counter,"

So we're going to take away the last humans and replace them with mindless robots.

Well done.

Certainly aced that one.

(As an aside, I've just come through London Stansted including an extra hour in the security queues which went all the way back to the gate when you come off the plane, and I spent much of it yelling and attracting the attention of people around me - my primary beef was that the humans had no humanity, nobody had bothered to go down the line, tell us what we were waiting for, how long it was expected to take, what they could do for special cases - young children, disabled passengers, elderly passengers unable to stand in queue, etc. - or would even bother to do anything to help or give answers.

And when we got to the front, all the "electronic passport" aisles were gone and only the manned aisles were left. I know why they were removed - nobody uses them. They are too much a faff, you can't take children through them, if you're travelling with someone with a non-chipped passport, you have to separate and then wait (hope) blindly for each other on the other side, etc. so even when they were opened, less than 1% of the people there ever used them.

Sorry, if you want the human touch, you have to put humans in there AND then listen to the humans queuing alongside them AND then let those humans sort each other's problems out. Reliance on machines? When I got to the long-stay car park to retrieve my car, it wouldn't let my (immaculately preserved) ticket through two different barriers, so I had to press the button and get someone to let me out, costing me another 10 minutes. Thank god that wasn't my passport at the end of a hour-long queue.

Comment: Re:String theory is not science (Score 1) 147

by ledow (#47494555) Attached to: Can the Multiverse Be Tested Scientifically?

My university had a school of mathematical sciences, a school of physical sciences, and a school of computer sciences.

If you think that all three are not only completely separate but also not interchangeable in places, then you haven't been taught enough science (of any kind) for an opinion to have much worth.

As a hint, I'm not a physicist. I flunked the physics module that I was required to do as part of my Mathematics & Computer Science degree. I have no need to defend physics. But saying that a theory based on mathematics cannot be science is to misunderstand the scientific purity of mathematics, and the entire point of the sciences all making up one big "science".

Technically, complex numbers do not exist. There are a purely mathematical construct. There is no square root of -1. It's impossible. It cannot and does not exist in our number space. Good luck doing an awful lot of physics without it, before even getting into quantum physics.

And the entirety of quantum physics, I'd like to point out, is basically maths. The fact is that it was maths that we thought HAD to be wrong, because if the maths was right, all this weird shit had to happen - and that we then went and found almost all of that weird shit was actually true in "real life" (i.e. physics) even where it makes hardly any sense to us.

And who figured out the biggest scientific discoveries in physics for the last 100 years? Theoretical physicists. And the primary tool used to do so? Mathematics. At some points, the maths didn't even EXIST and the theoretical physicists had to create the mathematics tool as they went along. So inventing whole new areas of mathematics, that had applications beyond physics.

Sorry, mate... maths is science. Science relies on maths. And off to the side of a lot of science are things that you would never consider "science" because they don't come under what your Science lessons at school taught. One of the biggest of those is Computer Science. Note that this subject DOES NOT INVOLVE any known, branded piece of software or hardware, beyond using them as a tool to find out new things.

Comment: Re:Its real purpose is to reduce competition for t (Score 1) 774

by ledow (#47494489) Attached to: States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

Because even $9 an hour is a shitty, exploitative wage?

I feel sorry for countries that don't see this. Minimum wage in the UK at the moment is $10.70 an hour, and it's risen (and will continue to rise) by about 20-30p (50c) an hour every year.

And this, this is the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM legal wage we expect someone to pay. And it's still shitty. A young kid, with no home or family, works their arse off just as much as I do (if not more) for the same amount of time, gets home, and discovers he can barely pay rent and eat food. That's not a wage. And in that kind of "work environment", we can't expect people to choose work over social security, which harms everyone.

Minimum wage is about stopping employers exploiting desperate workers. It's NOT about generating jobs, or curing poverty. It's stopping exploitation. In the same way that regulating prostitution doesn't generate jobs (just the opposite) or cure poverty (again, just the opposite), it just stops someone exploiting another human being.

To then bring race into it destroys your argument. You can play the race card if you like, but to bring it in when race isn't mentioned at all is just - again - exploitation of humans.

And, as the stats here show, minimum wage does nothing to harm existing jobs. That means the employers KNEW they were exploiting workers, and could have stopped it at any time voluntarily by charging more / paying more wages, but didn't. Instead they waited until they were MADE to, kicked up a token fuss, and then carried on as normal without thousands of businesses going bankrupt because of it.

If you want to hire someone, pay a fair wage. That's the message. All those companies didn't sack all of their workers when the laws came in, so they NEED to hire someone. They just want to exploit those people as much as legally possible.

For someone that wants to play the race card in the way you did, I would think you'd be more concerned about ending unnecessary exploitation of low-earners by high-earners, not allowing them to continue.

Comment: Re:No wild day-night temperature swings.... (Score 4, Insightful) 156

by ledow (#47489457) Attached to: NASA: Lunar Pits and Caves Could House Astronauts

Like, gosh, space for instance?

The ISS isn't exactly sitting there in a cosy blanket with a fire on... it's fighting against things just as cold.

Also, the amount of insulation you can carry is ENORMOUS (because most insulation is nothing more than pockets of gas trapped in a thin substrate, so think "expanding foam" instead of "brick"). Insulation means you don't care what it is outside - once the inside has been warmed once, you are only fighting the speed which heat leaks through the insulation. Anything decent and modern and we're talking minimal loss.

Otherwise, quite literally, you would die camping in the Antarctic with only clothes and a little tent to keep you warm.

Heat's not the problem, if you've already got the power, the infrastructure, the ability to move the materials, to shore up the place, build a structure, move into it, and live independently inside it.

Comment: Re:Answer needed (Score 4, Insightful) 390

by ledow (#47482199) Attached to: Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa


You're paying for a service, and nowhere does it say that they will discriminate against a particular service, such as Netflix.

It's obstructive business, against your customer's best interests, for no particular reason. It will also violate any given "net neutrality" laws that are / may come into effect.

Those laws are the answers. The reason for their existence is this sort of unnecessary posturing. And governments make companies do a lot of things against a company's best interests - all the time. It would be in the company's best interest to not pay tax, screw over its customers, not ship goods that have been paid for, be monopolistic, collude with others to enforce market prices, etc. The laws are brought in to stop that shit in the PEOPLE'S best interest, not the company's.

Not saying it's anywhere near perfect, but your post seems to want to back a corporation screwing over its customers and then (falsely) blaming its competitors and random third-party companies for that.

Comment: Re:And? (Score 1) 195

by ledow (#47473073) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

Further to my post:

The Mallard was steam-powered. It had 157.7kN of tractive effort. That's force (thrust) before rolling resistance.

Each one of those jets has 23kN of thrust before resistance. So two of them is still less than half of the Mallard EVEN IF you assume that half it's total energy is wasted trying to push the wheels at that speed.

And this had been 30 years earlier. Within only months of being built, and then going on to retirement as a normal train in 1963. This train had done it, casually, in testing, within weeks of being made, not on a test-track, and then served for 30 years before the jet-train had even existed.

And the drivers were in no doubt that it could have gone faster but they were on ordinary in-service train tracks with a 15mph speed limit at one point in their run! They weren't even really trying, and certainly couldn't have dared to try it as if it were a full-on effort to max out the speed as it was on a normal rail line through the British countryside.

Does this not just scream that, actually, strapping a couple of jets to something doesn't make it the "fastest" anything compared to decent engineering?

Sorry, I'm not a train nut, but I'm infinitely more impressed by the Mallard than I am some jet-train.

Comment: Re:come on... (Score 1) 277

by ledow (#47472421) Attached to: Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

IT department.
List of all domains.
Expiry date of those domains, culled from WHOIS.

How hard is it? Ten minute job. And you KNOW what domains you have to use - you've been including them in game titles, software on the systems you put out, and keeping those domains running somewhere.

This is NOT a huge task. Even for a multi-million dollar company with 10,000 domains. Hell, it's barely an IT task... more an office admin kind of thing (did they have to "renew" their subscription to the newspapers and tech journals? Were they caught off-guard? Did they have to budget and contract for that? And they're not even business-critical).

Sorry, but I'd go straight to the head of IT, demand to know how it was allowed to get close to expiration, let alone past it. And I guarantee you they'd have a spreadsheet to hand on with their documentation to their successor, who will have on their job description "Manage domain renewals" (if they haven't already).

Fuck, this is an Outlook calendar kind of note, if that. But if I was Sony, I'd be fucked if I wouldn't have it plugged into bog-standard IT helpdesk software like every other contract, renewal and scheduled update required.

Comment: Re:This type of proplem (Score 1) 277

by ledow (#47472101) Attached to: Sony Forgets To Pay For Domain, Hilarity Ensues

So, whose responsible for not documenting it?

Somewhere in Sony, some IT guy KNOWS what would happen if that domain went offline. He knows that it shouldn't be allowed to happen. The beancounters know that it costs to much for the consequences, so they'd have to authorise it whatever.

Thus, someone, somewhere KNOWS this critical business element is a possible point of failure but NOBODY bothers to create that documented procedure.

It's not like the process is opaque, or that nobody could have predicted it... enough people inside Sony should know that there should be a procedure, and thus someone, somewhere is responsible for making sure that procedure is scheduled, documented, well-known and that it "belongs" to someone.

It's a company problem, because none of that happened. And it didn't happen because of a people problem. The technical problem? You're telling me that NOT ONE SYSTEM inside Sony was set up to check that the domain doesn't expire, to fallover to a second domain in the case of problems, to check that email account that was mysteriously unchecked for several weeks despite being the WHOIS contact, etc.?

It's not "none of the above". It's "all of the above".

Stop blaming some mystical, magical entity when - actually - some guy in Sony fucked up and the people above him weren't doing their job to check he hadn't fucked up and/or hadn't taken account of what to do if he had fucked up.

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"