* Posts by big_D

6373 posts • joined 27 Nov 2009

European silicon output shrinking, metal smelters closing as electricity prices quadruple, trade body warns

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Re: "US imposes further sanctions on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline "

The nuclear out in Germany has been ongoing for a couple of decades.

The biggest problem is the storage of waste - the Gorleben scandal, for instance, where the cave used to store waste wasn't actually suitable, but somebody way-back-when didn't do the right checks and the "1,000 year" containers are leaking nuclear waste into the surrounding strata.

Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

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I agree, something is better than nothing, but if you are going to put in such a system, it should try to avoid the accident in the first place. If it always brakes too late to avoid a collision (there are times where it will be unavoidable - someone 'illegally' pulling out in front of you at too short a distance to stop, for instance), then the system should be rethought out, so that it actually tries to stop before the collision.

But that would mean less work for contract bodyshops...

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Except, if the car has this sort of system, they will already have ABS.

Yes, I know, ABS doesn't reduce braking distance per se, it usually increases it, but the car is still controlable.

When I was regularly changing cars (pool and hire cars), one of the first things I used to do was to find a clear bit of road / a quiet road on an industrial estate etc. and practice heavy braking, until I got to know the car (and different surfaces) and could brake as hard as the car would allow, so the tyres were screaming, but hadn't actually locked.

I used to regularly test this on a backroad on the way home from work, which was usually dusty. One day, I was coming up to the end of the road and a woman in a Volvo pulled out in front of me, much too late for me to stop. I managed to "howl" the brakes, just hovering around the skid point, then, at the last second, come off the brakes, turn the wheel, dab the hand brake quickly, and back on the throttle and shoot up the side of her car into the junction she had just pulled out of. The look on her face was a picture.

It was just a reflex action, but, thanks to the regular tests of the optimum braking point, especially on this one road, I managed to pull it off perfectly. If I'd actually tried to do it, I'd probably have hit her 9 out of 10 times, but that one time, instead of panicking and locking up the brakes and ploughing into her, I somehow managed to actually pull off a near-perfect avoidance manoeuvrer - it was perfect, in that I didn't hit her or damage my own car avoiding her's, but a trained stuntman could probably have done it better still.

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When I was a kid, my neighbour had an old Viva that had rusted, he spent the whole summer and autumn working on the rear wing, rubbing it down, spreading filler over it, rubbing it down, rinse and repeat, until it was fairly smooth, then a spray can of Vauxhall white paint to cover over the filler...

A month or so after he was finished, it snowed and a delivery van got stuck on the hill outside our house. The driver found a bit of wood and stuck it under the rear tyres for traction and WHAM! the wood was spat out sideways, summersaulted through the air and landed on the newly repaired rear-wing of the neighbours Viva, knocking all the filler out!

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If the car is going to have an emergency braking system, I want it to be good enough and cut in early enough that it AVOIDS THE F***ING ACCIDENT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

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My Nissan system usually shows the allowed speed limit for the stretch of road (E.g. 100km/h) and then a second sign next to it with the reduced limit, with a box underneath, meaning it is a reduced speed for special circumstances - it is still up to the driver to be aware of what those special circumstances and time restrictions are, as there are too many exception, such as Lärmschutz (volume protection for residents, reducing engine noise and tyre noise at night), roadworks, just for HGVs or trailers, only in heavy rain to avoid aquaplaning etc.

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The cars I've driven use a camera to recognize speed signs and are generally accurate, but nowhere near accurate enough to use for speed limiters.

I believe my Nissan system uses a mixture of the maps in the nav system and the camera. It will show me the "mapped" limit mostly, but if I drive along a road with roadworks, it does automatically show me the new limit (most of the time) - the car is 100% offline, so it can't get roadwork information from an online database. Other cars I've driven with similar systems have been inaccurate as well, but usually in different locations, so each manufacturer's system has different strengths and weaknesses.

But, as I said, the systems aren't accurate enough to risk your license to - you still need to pay attention to the actual posted limits - let alone let the car decide how fast it is allowed to drive!

On my old Ford, I was driving on the Autobahn and the GPS started to go crazy and the map showed me doing 180km/h (~112mph) through the middle of a housing estate and it was constantly beeping and showing warnings that I should observe the posted speed limits (I was, the section of the autobahn I was on was unlimited).

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Possibly a bit of an extreme description on my part, but if you are used to cars going where you steer them and have the normal light grip on the wheel, as opposed to "white knuckling" the wheel, it is a shock, when it suddenly cuts in and tries to drive you into a concrete wall or down a grass bank.

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Re: Hire cars

The Octavia was my daughter's boyfriend's car. The Superb and Passat were a pool car at the office and my boss' car. The Kia and Nissan were demonstrators from local dealerships.

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I've driven a few cars with lane-assist and it can be quite frightening at times (Kia Nero, Nissan Leaf, Skoda Superb/Octavia, VW Passat).

All of them have problems with the roads near me. The roads have been patched and repaired and all the Skodas and VWs will go up an off-ramp, then try and yank the steering wheel out of your hand to follow a tar repair-line to the grass bank leading back down to the dual-carriageway.

Likewise, all of them, mistake the tar lines at the end of the dual carriageway in the other direction and try and put the car into the central reservation.

The first time, I wondered what the hell was going on, I was in a Skoda, hadn't used cruise control etc. but the general lane-keeping feature was turned on by default. As I left the dual-carriageway, the car suddenly tried to lurch back left and I had to fight the wheel. Then, a couple of Ks further on, I went down a narrow, twisty country road and it did it again!

If I owned one of these cars, I think the assist features would be the first thing I'd turn off. Having experienced them from several manufacturers, they are certainly not something I'd pay extra for.

My Nissan has a lane divergence warning (it beeps if I cross the white line) and emergency braking assist. The lane divergence is about 80% accurate and the emergency braking assist leaves the warning way too late for my liking, let alone actually kicking in the brakes - I've never had enought confidence in it to not brake and see whether it will actually stop in time!

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Overshoot at a speed high enough to cross the intersection and kill 2 people sitting in a protective cage?

Sorry, no. If he was paying attention, he would have noticed the vehicle hadn't slowed down when approaching the lights, let alone as he reached the lights. To still be going fast enough through the intersection to kill someone? He must have not looked at the road for a good 20 seconds (off ramp, approach to traffic lights, going through the traffic lights).

If the other party was already in the intersection he entered on red, then several seconds had passed between his direction being shown a red light and him actually entering the intersection. (Unless there was a traffic jam and the victims were sitting in the intersection, in which case he would have seen that even sooner and would have applied the brakes even sooner, if he was paying any attention at all.)

'Can you identify your assailants?' Yes, they were pixelated! I'd know them anywhere!

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I had the gruesome "pleasure" of receiving the MRI CD of my scan a year ago. I can look at the wear-and-tear, and the missing discs in my back! :-(

At least I now know why my back hurts, I can even point to the pictures on the wall when somebody asks me how I'm doing!

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Re: WHAT !?!

The hand made ones from the original founding company, Konditorei Fürst, in Salzburg still sell them. Expensive though, as they are still made from the original recipe by hand.

Looking on DuckDuckGo, many places in Germany are still selling the mass-produced ones as well.

Japan solves 5G airliner conundrum: Keep mobe masts 200m from airport approach paths. That's it

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Re: Unmothballing

Now you are talking. I'd love to do a flight in a Rapide.

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I have heard there is high demand for Douglas DC2s, Ford Trimotors and they are being unmothballed.

Aviation museums are looking at the sudden uptake in the requirements for older models as a way to compensate for lower visitor figures during the pandemic by leasing out their display stock to airlines.

Apple grabs smartphone crown as iPhone 13 wakes up the fanbois, leaves Chinese rivals eating dust

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Ericsson wants more money this time round, for the FRAND licensing of its patents, but in the time since the last deal was signed, Ericsson has had a decrease in the number of patents it has, and with the purchase of Intel's telecoms unit, Apple has had a 500% increase in the 5G and telecoms patents it owns.

Apple is arguing that it is now on a stronger footing and should pay less per unit, not more.

Given the above, I actually feel that Apple has a valid point, this time round...

Austrian watchdog rules German company's use of Google Analytics breached GDPR by sending data to US

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Re: Max's wishful thinking

The problem is, if the cloud service you are using has ties to the US (HQ in the US or even a branch office), you will face big problems.

CLOUD Act gives the US authorities direct access to the data stored outside of US jurisdiction, without having to go through the "tedious" task of getting a local warrant to access the data.

Likewise, the Patriot Act and National Security Letters (through the FISA Court) also mean that the cloud provider has to hand over the information, without even informing you of the fact.

If you are a company and have EU employees or EU customer/supplier information stored in your cloud, you have to be very careful about informing them all, and getting their permission, to store the data on a system that is not subject to EU data protection standards.

Cloud in Uruguay or Japan? No problem. Cloud with a footprint in the USA? Big problem.

US Army journal's top paper from 2021 says Taiwan should destroy TSMC if China invades

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Re: We've been here before

But, if all the 2nm production is destroyed during a "unification", China is still sitting pretty with 7nm to sell and no TSMC to offer something better.

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Re: US Army plans to destroy world economy.

And, with China ramping up investment in its own fabs, it would be in a key position to benefit from such a strategy, plus it would have all the talent that produced those chips, as they wouldn't be allowed to leave Taiwan after the invasion...

They'd have the rest of the world over the proverbial barrel.

I'd give the paper a very charitable E-.

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As of 2025, it would mean that China would hold most of the cards, if Taiwan destroyed its fabs.

The West would still need chips and the build-up of capacity in China would leave them sitting pretty to pick up the pieces, even if their tech was artificially restricted due to trade embargoes before the action. Larger processes are better than no processes.

And the engineers? Unless they go up in smoke, along with the factories, expect them to be forced to work for Chinese foundaries.

Also, an automated system to destroy the factories? What could possibly go wrong?

I think the whole paper is very short sighted and ignored many obvious facts, especially that this has nothing to do with technology, directly.

BOFH: The vengeance bus is coming, and everybody's jumping. An Xmas bonus hits me…

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Re: He'll learn

That was one of the PFY's learnings:

Never open the BOFH's hidden stash, until you have seen the body, dismembered it, covered it in quicklime, rolled it in a carpet, driven it to a dump, poured petrol over it and bunt it... Even then, you can never be sure, best leave it alone...

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Re: He'll learn

Excuse: Earth magnetic fields.

Now, just run back across the campus to your PC, holding the disk above your head, or it will erase.

(hint, the BOFH had already erased it.)

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Re: Simon:

I first got them as a fanfold printout from our ops at around the same time.

I made myself a "complete set" in 2020, although it needs updating with last years episodes. It runs to well over 1,600 pages. I call it The Complete Bastard. I keep it with me for rainy days.

I even went through it again marking who they killed, maimed or got fired. The London "talent" pool has been truly decimated over the last 3 decades (well, it was down under for the first few episodes).

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Re: He'll learn

Oh, the PFY has at least a dozen such learnings behind him. Given that the PFY must be at least 50 this year, I think he needs rebranding as the POF.

But he seems to age about as rapidly as Bart Simpson...

The same goes for the BOFH, he must be well on his way to 70 this year...

I made myself a collection of all the public BOFH episodes (there were a couple of special episodes for those that paid the Reg bribe money), I call the "book", The Complete Bastard... The first numbered year was 1996, but the BOFH goes back to the early 90s with the original Striped Irregular Bucket episodes.

I didn't get around to updating it last year, but as of 2020, the BOFH had killed 133 people, got 125 fired and a further 202 maimed. The PFY is only at 31, 28 and 101 respectively. I need to get busy updating my collection for last year.

Hauliers report problems with post-Brexit customs system but HMRC insists it is 'online and working as planned'

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The PEACH system for fruit, veg and horticulture is no better, it is 2022 and its requirements are Internet Explorer 8, or IE11 in compatibility mode...

So no users on any modern end device can use it...

Intel rolls out new Alder Lake chips for laptops, desktops

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Re: What about desktop use?

Given the sudden hike in electricity prices last year (over 60% increase, here in Germany), moving to more energy efficient devices is a no-brainer.

Having the power there, when it is needed, but using lower power and energy efficient cores, when there is no need to run the high performance cores still makes a lot of sense.

The year ahead in technology fail: You knew they were bad, now they're going to prove it

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Re: Splitting up...

It depends, Sony updated my Android TV for about a year, before abandoning it. But my daughter bought a Sony non-Android TV and they stopped supporting it within 6 months.

I always had the TV on a separate IoT Wi-Fi, but I locked it off totally and used a FireTV after they stopped the updates.

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Splitting up...

I'd like to see more things split up. TVs and Smart doing a Beatles and going it alone.Fridges and Smart doing a Sonny & Cher. The washing machines and Smart doing an Ike and Tina Turner...

The problem is, we've taken commodity white goods that we expect to last at least a decade and stuck a cheap 10€ PCB in it with no support that will turn the item into a dangerous insider in your network within months, that is ready to betray you to the next passing hacking crew. Yet we pay more than a 10€ premium for these "Smart" versions of our long serving white goods, without actually seeming to worry about their security in 6 months, let alone in 5 or 10 years time.

With manufacturers having to carry spare parts now for a decade, at least, that puts the white goods back into the realm of where they should be... Except that they should NEVER be put on your home network, especially, they should not be left on your home network if they are not getting their monthly security updates!

I bought a Sony "smart" TV, but after 12 months, it stopped getting security updates. I don't really care about feature updates, they are nice to have, but a device isn't "smart", if it isn't getting the monthly security updates (it was an Android TV, so Google was pumping out monthly security updates, but Sony was pushing out an update every 3 to 4 months), it is just a downright dangerous device. I removed its network privileges and it complains regularly that it can't get the latest adverts, but at least it isn't selling me out to ReVil or Hafnium... Instead, I put a cheap "streaming box" next to the TV and use that, it costs 30€ every couple of years, but even if I replace it every 4 years, that it still cheaper than replacing a 1,000€ TV every 12 months, because the manufacturer is bored with supporting it.

The same goes for the rest. The "smart" part of each smart white good is only usable for a few months, before you need to block its network access. And, really, what benefits do they really offer? Turn my washing machine on, when I'm not at home? Yes, fine, but I'm not there to fill it up with dirty washing and soap, so I don't need to turn it on, and if I want it to start later, so it finishes when I get home, I can set the timer as I'm packing the washing into it!

The same for the dishwasher. Oh, but it can order salt when it gets low. Yeah, but the salt for my non-smart dishwasher is in the same cupboard as all my other supplies and I just add it to the shopping list manually, when it runs low. I don't need to pay a few hundred Euros, just to save me 10 seconds of work every few months...

Begone smart crap, the dumb products are a much smarter choice!

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New Dell Laptop...

I set up 4 new Dell Latitude laptops before Christmas...

They have the latest Dell image (Windows 10 20H2, yes, you read that right, not 21H1 or 21H2, but 20H2... Or Windows 11!).

It boots up and asks, reasonably, if you want Windows 10 or Windows 11... We are sticking with Windows 10 for the foreseeable future, so I selected Windows 10. The next screen was REALLY as per the skit in the article, "But Windows 11 is so pretty, please take Windows 11!, pretty please!" NO, or I would have selected it on the first screen!

It is the same as the Microsoft Account question. "Do you want to sign on with a Microsoft Account or join a domain?" Domain, thanks. "But, a Microsoft Account has so many advantages!" NO!

Microsoft seem to be making the first set-up as hostile as possible and when you give an answer they don't like, they'll ask you again, "just to make sure," because you are just a dumb user and you probably clicked on the wrong button, didn't you? NO I BLOODY WELL DIDN'T, now, just get on a do what I say!

India’s competition regulator launches probes into Apple over App Store fees and access

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They might only have 2% market share, but they still have a 100% monopoly on app sales onto iOS devices.

A time when cabling was not so much 'structured' than 'survival of the fittest'

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Given all the other work going on, the first time, I though we had just overloaded the circuit. We'd had about half a dozen outages over the previous few days, due to too many drills, jack hammers etc. being used at the same time.

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Did that in our new house. I was putting in skirting boards and drilled a hole in the wall in the bedroom, only to short the wires coming up from the ground floor into the first floor, everything went dark!

Somehow, I managed to just brush the wires or the spinning drill caused enough interference to break the circuit. The drill was still fine and after resetting the breaker, I could carry on, putting the drill back in the hole was fine, but spinning it up caused it to trip again - so not a normal power surge.

Luckily an electrician friend of the family was there putting in some new plugs and light switches downstairs and he could quickly repair the cables in-situ, without having to break open the whole wall...

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Stuck a finger...

I stuck a finger where it shouldn't matter.

German (and most European) sockets have an exposed Earth connector, so that plugs are earthed as they are inserted. Sort of the opposite of the UK system of the Earth prong being longer and pushing a blanking plate out of the way for the life and neutral.

This exposed earth connector is also very handy for earthing yourself when working on delicate electronics. Just connect your earthing strap to the socket. Job's a goodun!

Anyway, years of no problems grabbing earth connectors. I was standing in my office concentrating on my whiteboard on the other side and I lost myself in thought and felt myself falling forward. I reached behind me and managed to get my thumb on the window ledge and 2 fingers in a power socket, where they touched the earth connector. BANG!

I got a jolt up my arm, my shoulder was killing me and I was a little shaky. I went to reception to report the incident and called up the technicians. They laughed and said I was imagining things. We then went to my office and they tested the row of sockets. Earth dead, earth dead, earth dead, "see, you imagining things", earth LIVE, "oh f*** what the hell?"

It also hadn't tripped the breaker, for some reason! They turned off the power to my office, then dismantled the socket and found the electrician (some 10 years earlier) had somehow managed to cross-wire one socket and, in those 10 years, somehow nobody had ever used the socket to plug anything in. Unfortunately, they wouldn't let me plug in my rickety of PC, before they re-wired it.

I had a lucky escape that day.

Can you get excited about the iPhone 13? We've tried

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Re: Stuck in Outbox?

And I get about 5 days out of my company iPhone SE... But it has a very different usage model.

The point being, my use of the Galaxy S20+ and the iPhone 13 Pro are more or less equivalent and, with my average usage, I'm not seeing any real difference between them, even though the Samsung has a reputation for good battery life and the iPhone, in general, rates poorly.

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Re: Stuck in Outbox?

I'm getting around 2 days battery life out of my iPhone 13 Pro, about the same I got out of my Samsung Galaxy S20+.

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Re: Apple and Bluetooth?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ from my old S20+ paired flawlessly with my iPhone 13. The only thing I would need the app for is to change the tap assignments or the bass level, but they are still as I set them on the S20+, so I haven't needed to install the Samsung app.

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Re: Apple and Bluetooth?

I've not had any problems with Bluetooth so far... Samsung Galaxy Buds+ paired without any problem, my Polar fitness watch connected without problems, the car entertainment system, the kitchen radio, the soundbar in the lounge... All about as easily as they did on my Samsung Galaxy S20+...

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iPhone 13 + Samsung Galaxy Buds+ here, I just paired them as usual and they worked fine, no need to install the app.

I agree about the Face-ID and masks, that is a pain. Apple's answer of "buy a Watch" isn't really helpful, putting a fingerprint reader into the power switch (like the iPads) would have been a much better solution for pandemic times.

Other than that, I'm happy with my iPhone. I only go food shopping once a week and I use a card for that anyway - joint account and I only have my personal account in ApplePay - so that isn't too much of a hassle. After years of using a Huawei and Samsung Android phones, I found the migration relatively painless. I used the Apple app to migrate - it moved my photos across (offered to move SMS across, but that was just one-time codes for various services, so I didn't bother). It also installed the free apps that were available on both platforms.

Using a password manager meant that setting up the applications on the iPhone was a breeze. I had everything set up and running in a couple of hours and had reset the S20+ and given it to my daughter within 2 days. The only thing that took time was re-scanning the QR-Codes for my 2FA tokens.

Google joins others in Big Tech: Get vaccinated – or you're fired

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Re: If, and I stress the IF ...

My ex-neighbour got the jab, but because she was recovering from cancer (post-chemo), her body didn't make any anti-bodies. She was taken into hospital in June for observation and after 3 days was tested positive, she spent the next 2 months in a coma and the time since trying to regain the use of her muscles and limbs.

She is walking again, and making better progress than the doctors expected.

Popular password manager LastPass to be spun out from LogMeIn

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Re: People still use Lastpass?

I used LastPass for years (well over half a decade) and most of that time as a paying customer (family subscritption). But it became unreliable on Android and then the tracker "scandal".

I'd discovered the 1Password "Random but memorable" podcast at the end of last year and they are a fun bunch of people who really seem passionate about their product and their jobs. I decided to give them a try and within a month, I'd swapped the whole family across to a paid account and let the LP account run out at the end of this year.

I looked at Bitwarden, but it was too complicated for certain users in the family, so I went with 1Password and I find it very good, so far.

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Re: There is a lot to be said for keeping your passwords locally.

The Android app also became unreliable around that time - it didn't work well with Firefox, so you ended up swapping back and forth between LP and FF copying and pasting usernames and passwords!

I switched to 1Password. I looked at Bitwarden, but it was too complicated for my partner - heck, 1Password is too complicated for them to set up and I usually end up creating new accounts for them, but at least they can log in using 1Password!

We often forget how even something as "simple" as a password manager, or even setting up an account on a new service, is often beyond mere mortals who are not interested in technology and don't use technology every day, day-in, day-out.

Most services are written for the technically literate, even "simple" on-screen prompts are often confusing for non-technical people.

Log4j doesn't just blow a hole in your servers, it's reopening that can of worms: Is Big Biz exploiting open source?

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Re: Don't forget the other bugs introduced by copy-n-paste software

And don't forget, version 1 has other security problems of its own...

Bloke breaking his back on 'commute' from bed to desk deemed a workplace accident

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Re: Except the right to work from home...

No, if they are "opening the laptop on the kitchen table", they aren't allowed to work at home.

The employer has to ensure that the home office environment is properly set-up, before they can work in home office - lockdowns excluded.

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Re: Bad laws (or contracts, or policies) -> hard cases

The employer is responsible for ensuring the employee has a proper (H&S compliant) workspace in their "home office" (so no sitting on the couch with the laptop on the knee). Anything not "up to spec" has to be provided by the employer.

If the employee doesn't use the supplied workspace and gets injured (bad back, carpal-tunnel etc.) that is their problem. If they were sitting at the desk and the chair broke & they injured their back, the company insurance would pay, bad posture, when the company provides the right equipment, no.

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Re: Is that only valid for working from home?

That is correct, though. Normally the commute starts when you leave the house - or if you have woken up and went to the bathroom or had breakfast, then the last bit between the kitchen and your home office.

It seems that if you tumble directly out of bed and down the stairs into your home office, that is now the commute.

If you are going to a real place of work, you are covered as soon as you leave the house and during the normal (direct) way to work. The same for going home. If you make a detour, for instance to go shopping or to fuel the car, the company insurance doesn't cover any injuries. So, if you slip on a banana in the supermarket, their insurance and not your employer's covers you.

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Re: Hello, this is your WC/Osha compliance department....

It is already a requirement here.

We've been ordering monitors, keyboard, mice, docking stations etc. for home-office use like nobody's business. Luckily we aren't responsible for ensuring the office furniture is up to spec in home offices, that is another department!

But I did have to sign off that my home working environment is up to scratch - it is actually better equipped than my office workspace.

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Re: In all seriousness

This is also a requirement in non-Lockdown work from home in Germany, except the employer has to make up for any deficits in the employee's home office equipment.

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Re: Except the right to work from home...

There is already a legal requirement for the workspace to be ergonomic - desk, chair, monitor, mouse, keyboard etc. and anything that is missing is the responsibility of the employer to provide.

If you have an employee who already has a decent office set-up at home (E.g. I have height adjustable desks, decent displays, ergonomic keyboards and mice), then the employer doesn't have to do much. If the employee is sitting on a dining chair at the table, or sitting on the sofa with a laptop balanced on their knee, then they need to ensure that a desk, monitor, keyboard and mouse are provided.

If the employee decides not to use the equipment and suffers injury through improper use, they are not covered by the company insurance.

But it is going to be very expensive to get people set-up with professional equipment at home.

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It is the same in Germany.

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As long as you take the direct route to and from the place of work, the employer's insurance covers any injury incurred.


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