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Comments

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Microsoft Plans $1 Billion Server Farm In Iowa

Alain Williams Is it far enough away ? (84 comments)

The project Alluvion site is approximately 8 miles east from the current Microsoft data center in West Des Moines

8 miles is not far. It is not too hard to envisage a disaster that could affect both sites at once. For starters: Iowa is smack in the middle of Tornado Alley. They are close enough that power supplies and Internet connections will be 'related'. OK: it makes it easier for staff to visit both sites, but 80 miles seems to me safer than 8.

yesterday
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Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

Alain Williams The wrong license (136 comments)

The license used is:

"It basically says these seeds are free to use in any way you want. They can't be legally protected. Enjoy them."

This is a GPL type license. There is nothing to stop Monsanto from going to a farmer who is using these seeds and saying:

Pollen from one of our products blew in last year and so these seeds now contain some of our genes, so you now owe us for using these seeds and can't give it away to anyone.

The only way to deal with Monsanto is to beat them at their own game. One way would be to develop a seed with some novel genes (call them NoGe) and copyright these under something like the GPL. Then grow these seeds upwind of a Monsanto development facility; when, later, Monsanto then sue someone for illegal use of their seeds a NoGe 'owner' could testify that the Monsanto seeds must be allowed free to everyone use due to the 'viral nature' of the GPL. That legal punch up would be interesting to watch!

2 days ago
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IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

Alain Williams Talking of unpaid taxes ... (630 comments)

Now that the government of the USA has decided to remove the statue of limitations as regards taxation, might I remind Barack Obama of the little matter of unpaid taxes to King George III of England. These date back to your protest against the 1773 Tea Act. Can I tell her Magesty's government that payment will soon be made ?

5 days ago
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Inside the Stolen Smartphone Black Market In London

Alain Williams Why just the BBC ? (109 comments)

If the BBC can do this ... why aren't the police doing so ? They would not need to do it very often, just enough to put the fear of god in those who act as a fence.

about a week ago
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Akamai Reissues All SSL Certificates After Admitting Heartbleed Patch Was Faulty

Alain Williams They deserve congratulations ... (56 comments)

for having the integrity to admit that they screwed up the first time.

about a week ago
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44% of Twitter Users Have Never Tweeted

Alain Williams Short comments please. (121 comments)

Will everyone commenting to this please do so in at most 140 characters. Thank you.

about a week ago
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Google Chrome Flaw Sets Your PC's Mic Live

Alain Williams Temporary workaround (152 comments)

Get the wife & kids to learn and speak Navajo at home. It worked for the USA in World War II so it can work for you too!

about two weeks ago
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Dropbox's New Policy of Scanning Files For DMCA Issues

Alain Williams Whomade the DMCA complaint ? (243 comments)

The image of the error message did not say who, or which corporation, had made the DMCA complaint. I thought that in order for something to be taken down under the DMCA the user had to be told who was complaining.

In this case: the user admits that the file was something that he should not be sharing, but there have been cases where the DMCA is being used to prevent legal files - in a case like that the user must be told who is complaining so that they can challenge the DMCA complaint.

about three weeks ago
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Security Evaluation of the Tesla Model S

Alain Williams Questions: (93 comments)

* Can the owner switch off the remote control/access to their car ?

* Can the owner switch off the remote control/access to their car by Tesla as well as the owner ?

* 6 character password. Is that the minimum length or the length it must be (Ie can't set a longer one) ?

* It mentions an iPhone app. What if I don't have (or want) an iPhone ?

* What cars made by companies other than Tesla have similar systems ?

about three weeks ago
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Tesla Model S Gets Titanium Underbody Shield, Aluminum Deflector Plates

Alain Williams Fitted because they were needed! (314 comments)

This is what the rest of the automotive industry will say, then: "This shows what we have said all along, these things are unsafe.". These (misleading) headlines will be quoted all over - "case proven, Tesla is not safe".

It would be amusing to see them held to the same standards - which the regulator could, nay - should, do.

about three weeks ago
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North Korea: Male University Students Required To Get Kim Jong-un Haircuts

Alain Williams Re:Debunked. (110 comments)

from the Globe and Mail article:

The campaign claimed long hair hampers brain activity by taking oxygen away from nerves in the head. It didn’t explain why women were allowed to grow long hair.

Someone has a good understanding of biology :-)

about three weeks ago
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Introducing a Calendar System For the Information Age

Alain Williams Re:scientists and engineers don't want leap second (224 comments)

They screw everything up.

Ignoring leap seconds just pushes the problem to our great-geat grandchilren. By the time that they have to deal with it the problem will be even worse. Far better to fix your program to cope with leap seconds than leave future generations a problem as your legacy. Don't be lazy.

about three weeks ago
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AT&T Exec Calls Netflix "Arrogant" For Expecting Net Neutrality

Alain Williams Re:It's not arrogant, it's correct. (466 comments)

I think that everyone agrees, that. The point is who pays for the carrying of data between the providers. OK: what I pay my ISP should also pay for them to fetch/send my bytes onwards in the Internet as well. I will cost my ISP less if I choose to download something from a local mirror than if I grab it from the other side of the world. Netflix are aware of that and have the Open Connect Content Delivery Network, but that won't solve all the probelms.

Between them Netflix and YouTube made up more than 50 percent of peak downstream Internet traffic in N America, so it is a significant issue.

about a month ago
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College Grads Create Fake Tesla Commercial That Elon Musk Loves

Alain Williams Re:Lemme posit this... (100 comments)

Agreed: watching this a small number of times is OK, after that it grates. However: if these guys can produce the ads for $1,500 then the car company could afford to have many of them, all different; that would retain interest. If the series of adverts told some sort of story people would look forwards to them and maybe actively watch them.

about a month ago
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Russia Blocks Internet Sites of Putin Critics

Alain Williams Re:Tell Putin that you disapprove (309 comments)

This is what I wrote. Do not copy this word for word, write it your way.

Dear sir,

I was aghast to learn that Russia has sought to stifle political dissent by blocking news sites and closing these sites. This is very much against the spirit of glasnost that the great Mikhail Gorbachev used some 25 years ago when he brought the Soviet Union into the modern world.

To be healthy a society needs its citizens to be able to speak freely, otherwise it will stagnate: innovation will suffer if new ideas are frowned upon, we live in a changing world, if we do not change then we slowly decline.

This is as much about science & technology as it is about politics. If you stifle political thought then you chill all thought and the country will suffer.

Mr Putin is putting his short term comfort before the long term health of Russia. Please tell him this this is neither good for Russia nor the rest of the world.

Please convey this email to the ambassador.

If you are not aware of what I talk about, please read: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/03/russia-blocks-access-major-independent-news-sites

about a month ago
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Russia Blocks Internet Sites of Putin Critics

Alain Williams Tell Putin that you disapprove (309 comments)

Commenting here is great, but Putin does not read Slashdot. Write to your country's Russian ambassador, tell him what you think. OK: what you say will be ignored, but if 10,000 of you write - then Putin may hear of it ... maybe no more than 2 lines at the bottom of some report, but that is better than nothing.

Just to make it easier for you: the UK Russian embassy contact page (I would suggest Russia-UK relations queries); the USA Russian embassy contact page, post & 'phone only, unless someone can dig better than I can. Also feel free to reply to this comment with contact info for the Russian embassy in your country.

If you say nothing, then you will be ignored. Saying something cannot be worse than that !

about a month ago
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AT&T, Audi Announce In-Car 4G LTE Plans, Starting At $99 For 6 Months

Alain Williams Why ? (74 comments)

I just can't see why you would need this ? If the car needs an Internet connection to, say, update street maps then just give it your home WiFi password.

The driver should not have much need since he is supposed to have his eyes on the road, I suppose streaming music might be nice - but the radio/cd-player does me fine. Passengers: if they want the net then they just fire up their 'phone/tablet/...

So why ? Or am I incredibly unimaginative ?

about a month ago
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Volkswagen Chairman: Cars Must Not Become 'Data Monsters'

Alain Williams Re:Google for: "disable telemetry $MAKE $MODEL" (89 comments)

Or are they grabbing it during maintenance work on the vehicle?

Sounds like another reason to use an independent motor mechanic. I have been using one for a decade, he is cheaper and generally gets the job done with less hassle than I remember when going to a main dealer.

Also more convenient: I book him, he arrives, leaves is car at my house while he takes mine to be serviced - this is great since I often work from home I don't need to waste time driving to/from a main dealer.

about a month ago
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It's True: Some People Just Don't Like Music

Alain Williams Re:I don't like most popular music either. (268 comments)

Agreed. The slashdot summary is badly worded; the phrase don't like is ambiguous, it can either mean want it to stop or it does not speak to them (how the original article words it).

You use the different meaning than the article when you talk about is 'popular music'. In that I agree with you as, to my ears, most modern 'music' is not worth listening to and often grates my ears. I like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, etc, in the main but also trad jazz, some rock is OK. I get wound up by what I consider noise being blasted at me in some shops, swimming pools & other public places. I do realise that some people must like modern/pop stuff, but I do wonder how much of it will still be played in 20 years let alone 200.

about a month and a half ago
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How much time do you spend gaming compared to 10 years ago?

Alain Williams Re:Missing option (270 comments)

I did not say that I did not waste time, I just don't waste time gaming :-)

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Jewish school removes evolution questions from exams

Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  about a month and a half 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 2 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 3 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 a year 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  |  about 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 2 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 3 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"
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Alain Williams Alain Williams writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Alain Williams writes "The BBC reports that online retailer CD-Wow must pay £41m to British record companies after breaking a deal to stop selling illegally imported but legally bought cheap albums in the UK."

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