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Comments

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How Intel and Micron May Finally Kill the Hard Disk Drive

Alain Williams Re:What about long-term data integrity? (264 comments)

No, you do not have to write large amounts of data to break the drive - you can break it by causing one block to fail - an important block. On a file system one of those heavy write blocks will be: the super block, the index to the free list, the transaction log; in a database it is going to be parts of the index. All these blocks will have writes many more times than most of the file/file-system. These blocks are also the really important ones. Damage one of these and you don't lose data, but you lose the ability to access it.

3 hours ago
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Multiple Manufacturers Push Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars, But Can They Catch Tesla?

Alain Williams Re:Where do you fill up? (275 comments)

If one were to buy one of these, how would one proceed to fill up? Would it be a viable transportation option for a road trip?

Chickens and eggs; no_demand/not_viable to build hydrogen filling stations until there are enough cars -- people will not buy cars that might leave then stranded far from a hydrogen filling station. The (interim) solution has got to be dual fuel - a car that can run on either hydrogen or petrol. I don't see this as impossible, both burn a fluid to generate heat. If there are tax incentives on hydrogen (ie no/little fuel tax) then the number of these things will grow.

Petrol: note to those in the USA: I mean whatyou call 'gas'.

yesterday
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Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House

Alain Williams Re:Laser fence (212 comments)

That is why they need the moat - somewhere for the sharks to live in!

about a week ago
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How To Anesthetize an Octopus

Alain Williams There is a difference ... (105 comments)

between them not responding to touch & them not being aware. Imagine what it would be like, sloshing about in a travelling container of water and not being able to use your suckers to anchor yourself to a surface!

about two weeks ago
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Canadian Police Recommend Ending Anonymity On the Internet

Alain Williams Analogies from elsewhere (231 comments)

Look at other parts of life, where do we require that someone cannot be anonymous (warning I am a Brit, things may differ where you are)

If you publish something, eg a newspaper, a handbill, a poster (on a wall), these should all have the name of the publisher on them. This seems reasonable, you are saying things that many people will hear/read. If it is libelous then the person being defamed should be able to seek correction or sue you.

If you sell something: the name of the seller should be known, so that if it is not as advertised the purchaser can seek redress.

If you read a newspaper, handbill, wall poster then it is reasonable that you do so anonymously.

If you buy your lunch or a new shirt, you do not need to say who you are. (Large purchases, maybe)

If you talk to a friend in the street or on the train then you do not need to tell those around you or fellow passengers who you are.

So: does this mean the loss of a/c on slashdot ? If you are libeled by an a/c what redress should you have (if any) ? These are the sorts of questions that should be debated. But the loss of privacy in everything - 'No', the loss of privacy in some situations 'Yes'.

Note that you not liking something that someone says is not the same thing as being libelous - if you really smell, get a bath don't sue me for saying so!

about two weeks ago
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When We Don't Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

Alain Williams This is why religion survives ... (282 comments)

when presented with the lack of evidence of religious assertions or evidence that contradicts a belief: they will deny what is going on or branch out on some tangent.

Few people are really objective and will cling to all sorts of positions rather than change their minds.

about two weeks ago
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Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

Alain Williams Much cheaper than in the UK (334 comments)

Where petrol costs ~£4.60 per US gallon =~ $7.30. About 60% of that price is tax, take away that tax you get about $3.

I do not like expensive petrol, but I do realise that we need to cut the amount of carbon based energy that we use - climate change might not affect me, but it will my kids.

about two weeks ago
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Website Peeps Into 73,000 Unsecured Security Cameras Via Default Passwords

Alain Williams Re: Ethics (321 comments)

Why the flying hell would anyone not put a strong password on something that's constantly streaming video of inside your house?

The product manual probably does tell the owner to set a password, but most people do not read the manual as most people do not read an EULA before clicking to say that they agree to it. The vendor might be able to make setting a password one of the set-up steps, but if they did they would greatly increase the number of support calls that they get when people forget them. Even if users set passwords: most of them would be trivial or the same one that they use for this on-line banking.

about three weeks ago
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EFF Hints At Lawsuit Against Verizon For Its Stealth Cookies

Alain Williams Not a simple carrier of bytes ? (81 comments)

If Verison is fiddling with the packets going back & forth does it not lose its 'data carrier' status and become one with the end user ? So: if Disney/... sues an end user for downloading it's lastest film: then Verison should be part of the lawsuit as well and liable to pay Disney for the ''theft of its IP''.

.Verison cannot have it both ways, it either copies bytes and the user is 100% responsible or it fiddles with them and so is aware of the content and is thus vicariously liable for any wrong doing.

about three weeks ago
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HP Unveils Industrial 3D Printer 10X Faster, 50% Cheaper Than Current Systems

Alain Williams What about the Linux drivers ? (111 comments)

I my old printer died (low usage so the ink jets clogged - Brother). I bought an HP Officejet since HP claimed that in worked with RedHat 6 (I run Centos 6 which is the same thing). The only support available have admitted a ''something wrong going on in the code'' and and go quiet when I asked when they would fix it a week ago.

In a couple of days time I will return it to where I bought it and buy something from a different manufacturer.

I hope that they will provide better drivers that do what they claim for this 3D printer.

about a month ago
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16-Teraflops, £97m Cray To Replace IBM At UK Meteorological Office

Alain Williams After it is installed ... (125 comments)

predicting the weather will be a breeze ....

about a month ago
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Car Thieves and Insurers Vote On Keyless Car Security

Alain Williams Other risks (221 comments)

A few years ago I had a jacket stolen from a restaurant. The crooks walked round the local car parks pressing the button on the key-less entry fob until my (ex) car flashed its lights. Easy job for them.

I reported it to the police, got a video of it being stolen from a camera - the police were less than interested. I was then told that it had been seen on an auction site - by the time that the police got round to visiting it 3 weeks later the guy claimed to not remember anything about it & that was that.

about a month ago
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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Alain Williams Re:Why at a place of learning? (1007 comments)

So...what you're saying is that people with impressive titles aren't to be trusted, and impressionable people need to be protected from believing the wrong things?

No, there are many people who have impressive titles who can be trusted. Just because some cannot (or are misguided) does not reflect on the others.

I am not saying that they should not say what they will say: however it is likely to be used to lend undeserved credebility to what they say -- this may then be used to sway those who do not have enough scientific insight to treat it with suspicion. The same is true, unfortunately, with some commercial product advertising [[ think food suppliments ]].

about a month ago
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Creationism Conference at Michigan State University Stirs Unease

Alain Williams Re:Why at a place of learning? (1007 comments)

Mod parent up.

They will also find a speaker with an impressive title that implies that he is a respected scientist and try to give the impression that serious/rational scientists believe their fairy stories. It might not get far with most slashdot readers, but it will sound good and 'may be right' to many; most people do not have much understanding of science - these are their target audience - the masses, not the educated minorities - enough to keep the collecting plates full at the churches.

about a month ago
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Rite Aid and CVS Block Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Alain Williams Re:No thanks. (558 comments)

since magstripe cards are woefully insecure

In Europe we moved to EMV some 6-9 years ago. It is not without its problems, but cloning cards & other fraud is much harder. A resulting problem is that the banks try to claim that it is 100% secure and so claim that any fraud must be with the knowledge of the card holder- or due to their carelessness.

about a month ago
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Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts On Suspicion, No Crime Required

Alain Williams IRS employee bonus payments (424 comments)

It would be interesting to see how much IRS 'investigators' received as bonus payments for 'retrieving proceeds of illegal activities'. I suspect that they target people who are least able to fight back and take amounts (by & large) that many people will just write off since employing a lawyer to get it back will just cost more.

It looks as if they have been reading the Mafia extortion handbook.

about a month ago
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How To Beat Online Price Discrimination

Alain Williams Time for a Firefox plugin ? (163 comments)

How difficult would it be for a firefox plugin to alter HTML headers like HTTP_USER_AGENT & HTTP_REFERER to convince the sales site that you are a poor student ? The on-line sites will howl - but if it is OK for them to profile to charge me more, then I believe that it is OK for me to game them.

about a month ago
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Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

Alain Williams Is this a double bluff ? (575 comments)

The spooks get various government loudmouths complain how the current adoption of better device security is only helping terrorists/drug-dealers/paedophiles/... and so please, pretty please, do not do it. The result is that those concerned about privacy & the tech-savvy crowd think ''f**k you - we now have our privacy back''.

The reality is that the NSA/GCHQ/... have the current technologies sussed/back-doored but are scared shitless that something better will be adopted. So: they convince us all that we have them on the back foot and so do not implement anything better.

Whatever the truth of the matter: we MUST continue to implement ever better security on all our devices - complacency is our enemy!

about 2 months ago
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Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor

Alain Williams Re:why? Better for Comcast to not know (418 comments)

This raises the question of why Comcast would care.

Excellent question. There are a few things that an ISP can reasonably complain to a customer about:

* Excess use of bandwidth (I am not going to discuss what 'too much' is)

* Loss of IP address reputation, by this I mean getting their IP range blacklisted by spamming, etc

* Using up too much of their admin time. This might include dealing with copyright/DMCA type requests (again not interested here in rights/wrongs)

So, 2 reasons for wanting to know (roughly) what content a customer is moving. But these go away with TOR since the TOR IP addresses have nothing to do with the ISP, so they should not care. So what other reasons are there ?

* Requests from FBI/NSA/... that they comply with, willingly or otherwise

* Want to know what a customer is doing so that they can profile them to better monitise the customer (eg sell more targetted adverts)

Anything else ?

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Slashdot Poll suggestion on energy saving light bulbs

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 5 months ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "How long had the last energy saving light bulb that you replaced been working ? * 0-1 months; * 2-4 months; * 5-8 months; * 9-14 months; * 15-23 months; * 2 years; * 2-3 years; * 4+ years; * never had one fail; * I eat carrots you insensitive clod!."
Link to Original Source
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Jewish school removes evolution questions from exams

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 9 months ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "Religious sponsored ignorance is not just in the USA, a school in Hackney, England is trying to hide the idea of evolution from its pupils. Maybe they fear that their creation story will be seen for what it is if pupils get to learn ideas supported evidence. The girls are also disadvantaged since they can't answer the redacted questions, thus making it harder to get good marks."
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Detained David Miranda loses legal battle

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 9 months ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "The BBC reports that the nine-hour detention at Heathrow Airport of an ex-Guardian journalist's partner has been ruled lawful. David Miranda lives with reporter Glenn Greenwald who has written articles about state surveillance based on leaked documents by Edward Snowden. At the High Court, Mr Miranda claimed his detention under anti-terrorism laws was unlawful and breached human rights. But judges said it was a "proportionate measure in the circumstances" and in the interests of national security."
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Study doubts quantum computer speed

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 10 months ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "The BBC reports that a new academic study has raised doubts about the performance of a commercial quantum computer in certain circumstances. In some tests devised by a team of researchers, the commercial quantum computer has performed no faster than a standard desktop machine."
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Work begins on hardware to aid Edsac replica recreation

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about 2 years ago

Alain Williams writes "Plans to rebuild the pioneering Edsac computer are a step closer to completion as parts that will form its metal chassis start to be manufactured.

Edsac — Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator — ran its first program in 1949 and was created to help scientists at Cambridge University."

Link to Original Source
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Apple drops 'thermonuclear' patent bombshell

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Alain Williams writes "Apple has launched a new patent assault on its competitors, first granted to the American Mathematical Society in October 1912, subsequently renewed, then acquired by Apple at an unknown date. The first entry among the patent's Claims describes "A quadrilateral having all four interior angles of 90, opposite sides that are parallel, and congruent diagonals that bisect each other.""
Link to Original Source
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Actress sues Amazon over her age on its IMDb site

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Alain Williams writes "An actress has sued Amazon.com for more than $1m (£639,000) after her age was posted on its Internet Movie Database. She says revealing her age on the site will lose her acting opportunities. So is her career dependent on lies ?"
Link to Original Source
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Kodaks' patent spat threatens photo web sites

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Alain Williams writes "The fallout from a patent dispute between Kodak and web photo site Shutterfly could embroil many online image sites, says patent experts.

Kodak claimed it owns patents regarding the display of online images that is being infringed by Shutterfly."

Link to Original Source
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UAE 'moves to suspend some Blackberry services'

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Alain Williams writes "The move comes amid UAE concerns that data from the devices is immediately exported offshore and managed by a foreign organisation.
The UAE's telecoms regulator, TRA, said last week the devices could therefore pose a threat to national security.
It follows an alleged attempt last year by the state-run telecoms company to install spyware on Blackberry handsets."

Link to Original Source
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Slashdot poll suggestion

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Alain Williams (2972) writes "''Job control: largest job number''

When you hit Ctrl-z in an app and type ''jobs'' you will get a list of job numbers in square brackes, eg ''[2]'', what is the largest number that you have seen ?
(I currently have 20 on one of my ssh sessions).
Options

* 2
* 5
* 10
* 20
* 20+
* I don't control my jobs"

Journals

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