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Comment The most stupid web site feature (Score 1) 148

that I can think of, is the so-called "security questions" that will "help you recover if you forget your password"! Questions like, mother's maiden name, town where you were born, your first school, your first car etc. etc.

How bloody stupid can these idiots possibly get? If I wanted to hack somebody's account I'd head straight for the genealogy sites!

I DO NOT loose passcodes, nor can I remember them, because I use an encrypted passcode wallet and every passcode in there is long and completely random. When some idiot has written mandatory security questions into a site that I need to use, every answer is a complete lie which I then have to enter into the free text field of my passcode wallet. So for me these questions are not a security risk just a damn nuisance.

Comment Re:payback (Score 1) 108

A good suggestion I heard lately is that we should hunt these arseholes down, along with any other scammers and parasites trying to trick hard working people out of their money, and terrorists, put them at the bottom of a nice deep salt or phosphate mine, and enrol them on therapeutic drugs trials for the rest of their miserable lives. That way they can pay back some of the misery they have brought on society.

Comment Re:Mint is popular for a reason (Score 1) 254

Agreed, the fantastic new Ubuntu was crap on my desktop computer and totally unusable on this little 10" Toshiba Atom netbook I'm using right now, with Linux Mint 17/Mate. It was worse than the win 7 that said netbook was supplied with.

Mint 17 with Mate was like a breath of fresh air after all the bloatware rubbish that was being dumped on us i.e. both my computers with GUI desktops plus the quite old laptop of a friend are all running responsively, like a computer should.

There's nothing wrong with the Ubuntu Server distribution AFAICT - I was running the last LTS version 24/7 at home for nearly five years and I'm now running the current LTS version again with no issues.

I have a Cinnamon virtual machine installed on the desktop which I update and play around with once in a while, to see if I want to swap to Cinnamon next time I upgrade. At the moment I prefer Mate but Cinnamon has definitely improved since I first tried it out...

Comment It's high time..... (Score 1) 720 thinking citizens of the world pulled together to put an end to this nonsense.

Microsoft is nothing more than a money gathering machine, so the best way to attack it would be to cut off the money supply. The only legal way I can think of to attempt this is to spread knowledge of free solutions as widely as possible.

My suggestion would be to approach some media production company, preferably one that depends upon open source because they might do it for free, and persuade them to work with a well known personality, perhaps somebody like Steven Fry (see ) who might also do it for free. Produce a short public information type film demonstrating how to use Windows to download a good Linux desktop OS and burn the ISO file to a DVD, then use that DVD to install Linux onto a computer.

It might take a kick-starter campaign to raise funds to put it onto TV.

Could it work?

Comment You can take your autonomous vehicles and...... (Score 2, Interesting) 142

Just this morning, after it's not been driven for about six years for various reasons, I paid a very large garage bill for fixing up my 1991 Honda Civic.

This car has no engine ECU, no ABS, no airbags, no lane assist, no automatic braking, no shit at all. What it DOES have is four wheels, brakes, lights and something to steer it with. It also has twin carburettors and a manual choke.

First job was to fill it with petrol, and as the engine warmed up I started to remember just how good this old car is to drive. The large garage bill was well worth every single penny. It puts a huge grin on my face every single time. There's not many '91 Civics around these days, but if you have the opportunity to buy a decent one, do so and care for it. You will be rewarded.

So, as I started to say at the top, Google and Tesla, you can take your autonomous vehicles and shove them high up where the sun don't shine.

Comment Vehicles WILL be fixed (Score 5, Insightful) 144

Over here in the UK for example, every vehicle has to have an MOT certificate to be used on the road. No certificate, no go. ANPRS cameras check that passing vehicles have certificates and insurance.

Part of the MOT certificate is the emissions test. There will most likely be a requirement that VW diesels have to have their ECU firmware updated before they can pass the emissions test.

That's what I reckon will happen.

Comment I have no problem with this (Score 1) 130

because I ALWAYS let my banks know when I'm travelling abroad, and where I'm going to. That means that when I use a credit or debit card in a foreign country, they know that it's unlikely to be a fraudster with a cloned card, and if a withdrawal is made from my card in, say, Hong Kong when I've not told the bank I'm travelling there, then they know it's fraudulent.

Therefore I have absolutely no problem with them knowing from, say, a hotel IP address, where I'm located if I use my laptop to log in to my accounts.

Comment Re:Time for a standardized DC power outlet in home (Score 3, Interesting) 198

The reason for electricity mains operating at a dangerously high voltage is that it reduces the current flowing through the wiring which therefore reduces voltage drops and wasted energy due to heat dissipation in the wiring.

IMHO the best way to maximise power efficiency is to use a decent quality switching power supply, either a wall wart or built in, which is correctly matched to the requirements of the equipment. I think manufacturers are getting better at this, for example my Virgin Media "Superhub" which is supplied with what appears to be a decent quality switching supply so both the hub and the wall wart are only slightly warm to the touch, certainly not hot.

I recall purchasing, something like 10 years ago, a small 5 port Ethernet switch which was supplied with the usual cheap wall wart with a simple transformer and rectifier inside. Both the switch and the wall wart ran uncomfortably hot with, I assume, a linear voltage regulator inside the switch which would have slowly roasted itself to death sometime after the warranty period expired. Not satisfied, I tried powering the switch with a laboratory supply which I adjusted to the minimum voltage required for the switch to operate reliably. Then I purchased from CPC a decent quality switch mode wall wart of the same voltage, which I think cost me several quid more than the switch did, and the switch has been running with no problems, just a little warm, ever since. Having used a plug in power meter on both wall warts I reckoned that the switch mode unit paid for itself in two years and the switch has lasted several times longer than I would have expected it to with he cheap over voltage supply. WIN-WIN!

Submission + - Why the hell is it even possible to crash an aircraft?

flightmaker writes: Or a cruise liner?

I just want to say, with the sophistication of modern aircraft, the on board navigation systems should know for themselves that it's a stupid thing to do to set the autopilot to 100m altitude when the ground terrain is, for example, 2000m altitude and simply prohibit it from being done.

Similarly, why are pilots permitted by the navigation systems to fly an aircraft on any old course? I refer to the MH17 incident. And why could captain Francesco Schettino steer the Costa Concordia so far off course without alarm bells going off? Surely with GPS systems fitted to all aircraft and ships, it should be a simple matter to prevent a captain taking an aircraft or ship outside a pre-defined corridor.

Modern aircraft can supposedly fly themselves from A to B, with the pilot being there to take action in emergencies. So why not let them do just that? Allow the pilot a suitably wide corridor to avoid thunderstorms, but lock out the controls if the aircraft goes off limits. If the aircraft suffers, for example, an engine failure and needs to be put down, hand over full control to the pilot, no questions asked.

If a cruise liner goes off limits, auto stop the engines and send in a boarding party.

There you have my disaster prevention ideas. I'd love to see comments in particular from Airbus and Boeing.

Comment In the case of dangerous fakes.... (Score 1) 284

My main problem is with the jerks who put out fake booze made from industrial methanol, dangerous fake electrical products, fake brake parts, fake aircraft parts etc. Any of these can cause injury or death, so the perpetrators, when caught, need to be put away where they can do no harm for a damn sight longer than 10 years.

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"This generation may be the one that will face Armageddon." -- Ronald Reagan, "People" magazine, December 26, 1985