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Comment Re:Obligatory XKCD (Score 1) 456

Thank you!

I'd almost given up with Pidgin because out of my original four (Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, Gtalk/Hangouts) only the latter was left; last time I looked they didn't have a plugin for the new Yahoo, and the Skype support needed you to load the official client (which rather defeated the object, since I'm RAM-limited) -- now it looks as if it doesn't.

I can see I'll have to install the new version and give those new plugins a try.

The deliberate and malicious balkanisation of chat protocols -- which at one point around ten years ago looked as if they were all going to coalesce into one glorious unified system -- is something that really really annoys me. God knows how many people I've lost touch with over the years because of it.

Submission + - Work-life balance: Cryptographer fired by BAE for having dying wife 2

mdecerbo writes: A new lawsuit by cryptographer Don Davis against multinational defense giant BAE Systems highlights the fact that companies are free to have their boasts about "work-life balance" amount to nothing but idle talk.

The Boston Globe reports that his first day on the job, Davis explained that his wife had late-stage cancer. We would work his full work day in the office, but if he was needed nights or weekends, he'd want to work from home. His supervisor was fine with it, but Human Resources fired him on the spot after four hours of employment.

The lawsuit raises interesting questions, such as whether employment law requires corporations to have the sort of common decency we expect from individuals. But what I want to know is, if BAE Systems loses this lawsuit, will they prevent future ones by making their "work-life balance" policy say simply: We own you, body and soul?

Comment Re:More clarification needed... (Score 1) 180

If you just set your phone to play music and don't need to skip tracks, then headphone connection is fine. Similarly, if it's in your pocket, or even on the seat next to you you should be fine.

That's what I thought, thank you. Although it does seem that perhaps Plod wouldn't like it anyway, so am glad I don't need to do it any more now I have a connectable stereo in the car.

And yes, this was only something I used to do on long-distance motorway trips, almost never urban driving, precisely because of the possibility of losing some extra spatial awareness (even though, as has been pointed out, you can legally drive deaf and some people deafen themselves with pounding stereos anyway). I also used a pair of "leaky" disc-shaped earbuds that sat just inside your ear, rather than the more modern full-in ear-plug style ones. Wouldn't have liked to do it in those.

Comment More clarification needed... (Score 1) 180

...as when I used to do long-distance journeys a few years ago, I always listened to music & podcasts on my phone via headphones, with the phone in my top pocket, set up with a playlist at the start of the journey. From the written advice given at the time, I've always believed this to be legal until now. Was my understanding faulty in the first place, or has this now changed?

You can use your phone to listen to music and podcasts but only if your phone is in a hands-free holder or connected by Bluetooth.

What if it's in a hands-free holder with a headphone lead coming out of it? (Hope not, that would be silly as it might get in the way...)

Or, playing Devil's Advocate, what if it was in my top pocket, but connected only by Bluetooth?

Better wording required.

Comment Re:This is appalling (Score 1) 168

I was literally just researching some films in the discussion boards. When you're looking up obscure films, the decade and a half of expertise that is buried in the comments and stories that people have — often by family members and friends of the cast and crew— are invaluable.
::
::
Let's not be dramatic. This is not the burning of the library of Alexandria, but it's a unique resource and as someone said above, there's nothing close to a replacement in site. And if there was, there'd be no reason to go to it because it doesn't link from anything, or to anything.

They could at least zip up the archives and post them to the torrents for posterity. On the basis of killing off the comments, in my estimation, they've cut out a huge reason for me to visit their site.

Absolutely agreed. I couldn't have put it better. This is terrible news. Yeah, sure there was quite a bit of crap there (with some films, a LOT of crap), but I've learnt some real gems from those forum threads. Funnily enough I've been meaning to finally sign up to them lately, as I've been watching a lot more films recently. Oh well...

I do worry just how much info will be lost though.

Comment Re:EMC/UL testing?! (Score 1) 67

(or the UL equivalent)?!

Because the tests don't require your device to operate in an RF environment. They require not to be permanently damaged, and not permanently damage downstream devices.

In order of likelyhood I'm going to go with:
1. Your company produce critical equipment, not a toy computer monitor.
2. Your company produced equipment that interfaced to other equipment which it could potentially damage.
3. Your company cared, something that died towards the end of the dot.com era.

4. It was a UK company that primarily had to comply with European CE certification which, as an AC above said, DOES mandate immunity to interference as well as generating it (until now, I wasn't aware that FCC was only one way for most gear). Also, as has been said, it's very difficult to do one direction without the other.

Plus a bit of 2, and me getting UL mixed up with FCC (thanks for the info, btw, you and a couple of other posters) because I never had to worry about how we got certificated in America. All I knew is that it had to pass European EMC regs to get the CE mark, and that translated to the equivalent thing across the pond; someone else did the actual paperwork. :-)

As a sidenote, I remember working on another project for another company back in the 80s, long before EMC regulations came in, which still had to be tested quite violently for fault-tolerance. It was a petrol filling (gas) station EPOS system, and the UK's Weights and Measures Authority would only approve our then-revolutionary direct connection to the pump-controller (in order to pass the value of the fuel transaction across, rather than it being manually retyped by the cashier) if we could prove that we wouldn't lose the transaction en route no matter what.

To that end we had to prove that the transaction would still survive the trip down the wiring even if - amongst other things - the equipment was being continuously zapped with a 4kV spark on and around all of its surfaces. Every so often, a guy from W&M would come along with his piece of meaty test kit and spend an afternoon zapping our gear while making fake petrol transactions. Hilariously, our equipment WAS actually allowed to die, just provided it didn't corrupt or swallow the transaction while it did so. In fact, due to careful design and a fuck-of-a-lot of earthing, it survived every time. Always a bit of a nail-biter though, and quite spectacular to watch.

That had nothing to do with the later EMC regs however, although of course the principles were somewhat similar.

Comment EMC/UL testing?! (Score 3, Insightful) 67

How on earth did this ever pass EMC testing (or the UL equivalent)?!

The company I worked for spent a small fortune modifying all our designs back in 1999 to be immune to external RF interference (and likewise to generate none) in order to pass those tests, how the hell could something like this happen in this day and age?

Submission + - SPAM: NASA cannot confiscate an Apollo 11 artifact that was sold by mistake

schwit1 writes: A federal judge has ruled that NASA has no right to confiscate an Apollo 11 lunar rock sample bag that had been purchased legally, even though the sale itself had been in error.

Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled in the U.S. District Court for Kansas that Nancy Carlson of Inverness, Illinois, obtained the title to the historic artifact as "a good faith purchaser, in a sale conducted according to law." The government had petitioned the court to reverse the sale and return the lunar sample bag to NASA. "She is entitled to possession of the bag," Marten wrote in his order.

This court case will hopefully give some legal standing to the private owners of other artifacts or lunar samples that NASA had given away and then demanded their return, decades later.
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