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Comment Not about poor MS Security... (Score 4, Insightful) 93

Before people bleat about this being about poor MS security do remember how many dumb folks there are out there. Lots of attacks come from dumb folks using things like Bittorrent and then executing something that they really shouldn't do without having decent virus protection on their machine.

So good on Microsoft for doing this, yes they also need to clean up their security act, which they have been doing, but also coping with the dumb people who buy their products is a decent thing to do.

Comment Re:The article isn't great for the lay-person (Score 1) 114

Things in orbit STAY in orbit unless they somehow lose all of their kinetic energy.

Nope, they have to have ENOUGH velocity (Kinetic energy is about the energy required to get it to a given speed) at the right angle in order to counteract the acceleration of the object towards the planet. If the velocity (a vector) isn't right then it will either move out of the orbit into a further orbit (or even escape) if it is too fast or it will fall towards the planet if too slow (as inner orbits require faster velocities). Things do not stay in orbit if they aren't moving fast enough. If an object was stationary (not geo-stationary) with respect to the earth then it would fall back to earth in the same way as a ball when thrown up comes back down.

If you through a ball hard enough STRAIGHT UP then it could escape the Earth's gravity well, if you through it at the right angle (lets say 45 degrees for arguements sake) and at the right speed then you could indeed put that ball into orbit.

Gravity is an acceleration towards.

Temperature gradients indicate the amount of energy in a given area and various pieces of physics talk about how things will shift from high to low energy areas over time, I assume that this is what they are getting at. I just understood the old stuff (while knowing it was clearly wrong), I don't understand the new stuff yet!

Comment Re:The article isn't great for the lay-person (Score 2, Informative) 114

Why does the gravitational effects of a gas disk around a star cause inward migration?

Throw a ball up... it comes down. This is gravity. The "base state" for gravity is everything sticking in the centre. Now when something has the right velocity this acceleration towards the centre just causes it to form an orbit around the body.

However given that gasses expand to fill up available space its very hard to have a stable orbit of gas moving at a constant velocity and thus obtaining an orbit. Gasses just don't behave like solids so it doesn't work like that. The expectation would be that as a gas spreads some of it will get pulled in and over time this "some" would become "all".

Comment Security is about Risk Management (Score 4, Interesting) 75

Simply put Security is a standard Risk Management job, the risk of the problem occurring against the cost of preventing it. This then includes the cultural requirements for risk avoidance and the practices to ensure that.

Now will someone tell me why I should trust someone to tell a business person how to do the IT Risk Management who worked at a bank whose major failing was in Risk Management.

Isn't that like asking an Enron accountant to teach you ethics?

Comment US Airports suck for security (Score 1) 361

Sorry folks but the US airport system was designed for a time when there was no threat of terrorism and planes were basically just a fast Greyhound solution. Having a single Exit (as is common at most European airports) which means a single guard can stop people entering means that its extremely rare to have this happen at a European airport. This is the "advantage" of having airports that are primarily designed for international travel and so the exit is where customs also resides.

Crap security, appalling immigration staff and an inefficiency of process that is so bad that someone must have sat down and designed it deliberately.

So I disagree with the much more educated writer in the article. It really isn't hard to fix, its something that most other first world countries have done as a core part of their airport design.

US Security as embodied by the department of Homeland security is a complete joke at every single level, from not listening to intelligence from abroad to woeful and officious security at airports. It really is a George W Bush of a department.

Comment Re:Stupid Question (Score 0, Redundant) 282

Even if they did it with telepaths or clarivoyants it would still be an invasion of privacy.

Err no it wouldn't, that would be just a waste of tax-payers money on a load of mumbo jumbo that doesn't work.

BIG difference between a technology that works (thermal imaging, wire taps, etc) against those that don't (astrology, divining, clairvoyants). Its like saying there is no difference between a massive super computer and a cardboard box with the word "computer" scribbled on it with wax crayon.

Comment I don't want physical copies anymore (Score 2, Interesting) 361

Now in order to get lynched I'm going to start with a statement

I don't care if they put these restrictions on

But I'll add a caveat...

As long as I can play it on any device that I own with only a single payment

My ideal these days would be to just buy a license (and I use the term deliberately) and for them to store the content in their cloud and for me (in a Steam type way) to then be able to activate that content on my various different devices. If I could get rid of all my DVDs and have a single, secure, backed up place where my devices can connect and download the content for local playing then I'd be much happier.

Otherwise I'm not playing. I don't want physical copies, I want stuff on disk and in the cloud, and if they don't do it for me then I'm already doing it for myself.

Comment Hear that sound? (Score 4, Interesting) 272

Its the sound of the patent system beginning to crash down. RIght now there are two choices

1) Take the fundamentally broken US system and roll it out across the world
2) Take the rest of the worlds approach that software can't be patented and roll it out to the UK

The scary thing is that even with judgements like this and the patent trolls out there we are actually seeing the likes of Microsoft push for option 1.

Patents will be the death of innovation if the system continues in this way, particularly if the US judgements are assessed at insane levels of cost. If Microsoft had known about this patent when starting the development they'd have bought the company for less than this judgement.

Comment Don't worry about the quality, feel the cost (Score 3, Insightful) 215

Seriously is this a good thing?

In the UK we have a service "NHS Direct" which is effectively a triage service which tells you whether you need to go to a doctor. Its in no way shape or form a replacement for a direct doctors appointment its just there to filter out cases that aren't overly serious or are serious enough to need an emergency visit. This service is staffed by nurses and its pretty good and does help with people who are concerned about medical issues.

The idea of someone prescribing drugs via this sort of service is just insane. It would be smarter to delegate prescriptions, or at least re-issuing prescriptions, to pharmacists who will at least see the patient. Or are we going to a world where you don't see the doctor and you get your drugs shipped direct so you never ever see anyone with any sort of medical training who can just briefly add a sanity check to the whole thing.

Its hard to imagine a better example as to why the US system is completely and utterly fucked than this being considered a good thing.

Comment Re:More power to 'em (Score 2, Interesting) 647

Europe doesn't have software patents..... yet.

The problem is that legal tourism means that its about the lowest point, so the US/UK extradition treaty is based on the US idea of "fuck, he must be guilty" while libel tourism goes to the UK as there is a nutty judge (Eady) who appears to think that even if you are a corrupt funder of terrorist groups then it would be wrong to actually say that out loud.

Software patents, such as the Eolas one fail miserably on the "non-obvious" basis. My favourite prior art on this would be the wonder that is Emacs, Emacs is an environment with a million different plug-ins which delegate IO to the containing applications, these elements can be downloaded dynamically if you want as well. Hypercard would he a hypermedia prior art.

The US standard for patents is so low that basically anything is patentable and the "non-obvious" clause appears to have been dropped, even prior art has arguably been dropped and a reasonable time perspective of this being about 15 years they've had the patent and in that time they've sued one company.

And which company did they sue? Was it the same company who gave money to SCO to "settle" things.

Go figure.

Comment Health reform for the stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 85

For anyone in the US who thinks that the current system is any good whatsoever have a read of how losing your job can cost you your life.

This paying in Facebook games just sums up the level of "debate". On one side you have a bunch of people who, like the old tobacco company, will swear blind that the current system is perfectly okay despite it killing an estimated 45,000 people a year. That is 15 9/11s in terms of un-needed deaths as a result of the current system which is being actively supported by those who profit from it.

The irony of course is that the US not only has the worst coverage it also has the most expensive healthcare in the world while also having a lower life expectancy than most other 1st world countries.

So to everyone who decrys the systems in Switzerland, France, Canada, UK, etc remember this. They save more lives, they result in a longer average life expectancy and they don't kill their citizens because they've lost their job. and they cost less, often half or less of the US spend per capita

More deaths for more money. And this is the system people want? No its the system that corporations with marketing departments want and the sheep are fine to go along if they get thrown some facebook points.

How sad

Comment Re:The TSA redacting process (Score 1) 605

I suspect the boarding pass check is primarily to keep the TSA from being overwhelmed by people not flying, such as family members waiting for you to arrive. Using it for any other purpose (including identifying selectees) is pretty pointless until they actually validate the boarding pass. They're slowly starting to do this, but it's a long process.

Which means JUST CHECK IT ONCE at the start of the queue. The 2nd check is completely and utterly pointless. Hell I once realised I'd been showing them the wrong boarding pass, it was only when I went to get on the plane that they pointed it out.

Comment The TSA redacting process (Score 4, Insightful) 605

This clearly comes from the people who thought up my favourite piece of brain dead "security" from the TSA

When you enter the line to the security gate a TSA numpty checks your boarding pass to make sure you are allowed to join the line. Everyone joining the line has their boarding pass checked, this is a piece of paper often printed on a computer that says what flight you are on, its just about the easiest thing to fake in the history of fakery.

Then you lob everything into the x-ray machine, clearly needing to separate your laptop out as clearly its impossible to see stuff through that. Shoes of course, belts, internal organs...

Then as you step through the body scanner some TSA numpty says "boarding pass please". Pointing out that you've just put all your crap through the machine and that your boarding pass is with your passport and your wallet is of course pointless. The answer... wait until it comes out of the machine and then show the numpty. you are of course also checked at the gate with both passport (hard to fake) and boarding pass (trivial to fake).

So in otherwords the TSA check TWICE a piece of easy to fake information and NEVER check your ruddy passport.

So how did the TSA redact this PDF. Well simple they had the same process. The first person pasted on the black squares. This was then printed out.

The first checker then looked at the printed out copy and said "looks fine to me"

This document was then scanned in and then printed again to be checked by a second checker who said "yup all okay"

And then they put the ORIGINIAL electronic copy on line with the pasting over the top.

The TSA is to security what Micheal Vick is to Pet Care

Comment Every ten years (Score 1) 408

I bought my last PC after a ten year cycle and the next one is heading that way the basic thought went

When they bring out a standard dual-CPU set up I'll upgrade
When they bring out a single chip dual-core set-up I'll upgrade
When the bring out a single chip dual-core 64 bit set-up I'll upgrade
When I can get 8GB of RAM I'll upgrade

3 years ago I got to the stage where my 400Mhz Pentium II was struggling even with DSL to do some of the video editing requirements I had. So into the breach and a 64 bit/dual core box was mine.

Now I'm into the

When SSDs are over 500GB
When I can have >16 cores
When I can stuff 24 GB of RAM into it

Or to put it another way I'm now waiting for the next Mac Pro

As a techy my home machine is always behind the curve because I tune it and keep it clean.

At work however my upgrade schedule is about 9 months as I go through laptops in a brutal manner. This also means that it satisfies my tech lust (ooooh Shiny MacBook Pro) without me having to pay for it.

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