* Posts by veti

3118 posts • joined 25 Mar 2010

Facebook puts 1.5bn users on a boat from Ireland to California

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Re: It goes from bad to worse.

@Ken Hagan: An Australian Facebook user would be having their data moved, and they could try making their case against Facebook Ireland.

Not sure how far they'd get, but I don't see why they shouldn't have standing.

BT pushes ahead with plans to switch off telephone network

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A backup battery should last several days easily, unless you spend an inordinate amount of time on calls. If you reserve it for emergencies, there's no reason it shouldn't be good for well over a week.

Facebook admits it does track non-users, for their own good

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Re: Why?

In the old days, you may remember, they used to send someone out into the streets, complete with microphone and camera crew, to interview random passers-by about $NEWS_STORY_THEY_KNOW_NOTHING_ABOUT. It was called "vox pop" interviewing.

Trawling Twitter is the 2018 equivalent, it's a helluva lot cheaper.

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Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

2) The reality is that Facebook has photos of him, and are using them for commercial gain. It doesn't matter who gave them to Facebook, in order to use photos of people for commercial gain you need the explicit permission of everyone involved except in very restricted circumstances (e.g., news reporting). Holding the copyright is not enough.

Under what law, exactly?

I'm asking as a (admittedly, long ago) trained journalist who's never heard of this particular law.

Granted, there are risks to using someone's image without their permission, particularly if you insinuate that they endorse some product or message. But I've never heard of a law that says you have to do it every time. If you can cite such a law, you could probably make a strong case for having Facebook firewalled entirely from that jurisdiction.

Example: do you think anyone asked for or got a signature from the two ladies standing in the bus shelter in the right in this photo?

The only way is Ethics: UK Lords fret about AI 'moral panic'

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"Personhood" in this context is mostly about liability for damage. It doesn't mean actual humanity, any more than a corporate "person" is human.

UK health service boss in the guts of WannaCry outbreak warns of more nasty code infections

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No, a shot across the bows is a threat, or warning. It's not a miss, because it's not intended to hit.

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Re: Pay and respect

And ten thousand other companies that don't do any of those things will be hit as well. Lots of people think they know a foolproof way to secure a network, but every single one of them is wrong.

That's why I'm delighted to see them talking the language of containment and mitigation, not prevention.

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Well, yes, that's what they're saying. You should be delighted, not sighing.

Anon biz bloke wins milestone Google Right To Be Forgotten lawsuit

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Re: I think that this judgement is pretty fair.

The "right to be forgotten" is based on what someone at Google had for breakfast.

You're thinking of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, which is based on duration of sentence. An offense that results in a sentence of more than 4 years is never "spent". But that doesn't necessarily intersect with the "right to be forgotten", which is a whole separate thing.

Cryptocoin investors sue Chase Bank for sky-high credit card charges

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Re: The Bank is RIGHT

I agree with the bank's classification.

But changing the rules without notice - even if the former rules were "clearly wrong" - may still be illegal. I'm no lawyer, so nobody's paying me to read the Truth in Lending Act, but to me it seems at least superficially plausible that there may be a case to answer there.

British government to ink deal for yet another immigration database

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Re: Very happy that we are allowed to exist without needing the permission to do so.

@codejunky: how quickly we forget, the Blair "ID cards" proposal was inherited from the previous Tory government. It was Michael Howard, as home secretary in John Major's cabinet, who first floated it in that form.

The Tories remained so wedded to it that they promptly made that same Mr Howard their leader. It took two terms in opposition for them to see the error of their ways.

'Dear Mr F*ckingjoking': UK PM Theresa May's mass marketing missive misses mark

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Re: They're working on this bit...

I find stories like this reassuring.

Precisely because it means that the much-vaunted data scooping apparatus... is either still pretty crap, really, or it's kept secure enough that the party in government can't access it.

Either way, that's a slight comfort.

Great Western Railway warns of great Western password reuse: Brits told to reset logins

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Why in the name of Brunel

... does anyone need a password for a railway system anyway? Why do you need an account with them?

All you need is some way to buy tickets and know about services. Both of these functions are best served by a public portal that operates on the basis of anonymity. There is zero reason for GWR to know anything about its users except what journeys they've bought and what trains they're riding on. Name, sex, age, address, nationality, employment - no, no, no, no, no, no. None of your f***ing business.

This fetish for "knowing your users" is creating bazillions of points of failure in our world that just don't need to exist.

While Zuck squirmed, Reddit revealed it found and killed 944 Russian troll factory accounts

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Re: I don't believe it.

@Mark 85: there's no point trying to strike a "balance' between truth and falsehood. That's what "in the middle' does for you - it hands victory to whichever side is prepared to lie most outrageously.

Reading multiple news sources is good, certainly. But don't go attaching equal weight to all of them. Instead, look for the little wriggly facts swimming in this sea of comment and analysis - you may find they are very few and far between, you may often find whole front-page stories without a single citable "fact" reported in the whole thing, but they're there. Check those facts with other sources. If they agree, then there's a reasonable chance it's actually true.

Then look at how those "facts' are spun into the multiple narratives that these outlets are pushing. It's the process of this spinning that tells you what those people want you to think. Usually their motives are obvious, but sometimes you'll learn something new.

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Re: I don't believe it.

There's no evidence that the post you linked to is state-sponsored. Sure it pushes the Russian line, but there are real people who honestly hold those views, and they're as entitled to them as you or I are to yours or mine.

And even at the most uncharitable reading - it is, at worst, a strident defence of Putin and Russian policy. It's most emphatically not a false flag. Unless, of course, it's actually posted by some drone in, I dunno, Canberra as part of some elaborate triple-bluff operation to make it look like there are more Russians around than there are.

Rudd-y hell, dark web! Amber alert! UK Home Sec is on the war path for stealthy cyber-crims

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Re: Kingpin or strike.

The trouble is that, while we can generally reach some kind of consensus as to which "symptoms" are bad and should be opposed, there is no general agreement about what is the "cause" of those symptoms.

People who firmly believe that they know the root of problems are called "radicals" (from the Latin 'radix', meaning 'root', referring to the 'root cause'). Radical feminists think "patriarchy" is the root of all injustice, radical Islamists think it's "failure to subject ourselves to divine law', radical Christians think the same but differently.

Most reasonable people, frankly, don't think they can identify a "root" - and will strenuously resist the efforts of those who say they can, because for the most part those people are nucking futs.

Want to terrify a city with an emergency broadcast? All you need is a laptop and $30

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Or alternatively

You could always save your $30, and just make one phone call.

Social engineering, the most powerful of all the engineering disciplines.

'Our way or the highway' warranty scams shot down by US watchdog: It's OK to use unofficial parts to repair your gear

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Re: @AC

At least with Apple (and Microsoft, for that matter) you have an option to be the customer, not the product.

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Re: Secret?

From Nintendo:


Moral: don't let Google do your reading for you.

Huawei P20 Pro: Triple-lens shooter promises the Earth ...

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Three lenses?

All the better to surveille you through, my dear.

Ob. Onion.

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Re: Smartphones are SOOOO over

The very best camera imaginable for taking a photo right now - is the one that you actually have with you right now.

Of course cameras are a key differentiator between phones. Let's face it, the rest of their hardware isn't that interesting.

They're back! 'Feds only' encryption backdoors prepped in US by Dems

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Yeah, because I'm totally going to spend my time reviewing my own devices' firmware.

And I'm sure I'm so much more expert than the hackers who originally threw it together. Bearing in mind, as Brian Kernighan says, "debugging is twice as hard as writing a program in the first place". And that's even assuming there hasn't been a bad actor deliberately inserting a stealth vulnerability at some stage in the project.

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Re: Too late

Chances are if you know what you are doing you can find a device with open firmware

In the first place, "firmware" is not enough. You'd also need to redesign the hardware.

In the second place, 'open' != 'secure'. Plenty of vulnerabilities go unnoticed for years in open-source software. I would assume that in either Chinese or Russian OS firmware, at least some vulnerabilities would be added deliberately (and well hidden, to make them hard to discover without very close examination).

Others are presumably included by sheer incompetence, same as in every other piece of software ever.

COPPA load of this FTC complaint: YouTube accused of collecting children's data

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Personal information

COPPA only restricts the collection of personal information. There's a list of what qualifies as "personal information", only one item of which is remotely relevant:

(7) A persistent identifier that can be used to recognize a user over time and across different Web sites or online services. Such persistent identifier includes, but is not limited to, a customer number held in a cookie, an Internet Protocol (IP) address, a processor or device serial number, or unique device identifier;

So if a cookie is set by YouTube and only ever accessed while the user is on YouTube, they're in the clear - it's not being used "across different Web sites or online services".

My Tibetan digital detox lasted one morning, how about yours?

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Re: Facetimers

Exactly, because Producers forbid that reality TV audiences should be forced^H^H^H^H^H^H allowed to draw inferences from partial information. If that happened, why, you might see them start to form their own opinions, to realise how inane the "judges" are, or even - worst case - how many more interesting things they could be watching. Like reruns of Columbo, for instance.

Mind the gap: Men paid 18.6% more than women in Blighty tech sector

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The aim is to motivate companies to pay more attention to what they're doing, when they make decisions about staff promotions and retention.

Statistically, there's no argument that men, in aggregate, get more attention in these decisions. Of course every case is unique and there are always special circumstances; but it's also at least possible that there is some level of systemic bias.

But no one will ever detect or resolve that bias unless they look for it. This exercise gives them a reason to do that.

Don't want to alarm you, but defence bods think North Korea could nuke UK 'within a few years'

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I'm quite sure a country with the resources of Russia (not to mention the history of spy/KGB cloak and dagger bullshit) could devise a hundred ways of killing this bloke without the apparently ridiculously obvious trail.

Yes, of course they could. But that would miss the point.

Rubbing out one measly agent, who has long since shot his payload and done his damage, was not the point. The point was the message it sends: to other defectors ("you're not safe, we can get you anywhere"), to potential defectors ("we do not forgive"), and to Russian voters ("we're so strong, you're only safe in Russia"). The message to the UK public ("your crappy 'democracy' can't protect you") was a bonus.

*Thunk* No worries, the UPS should spin up. Oh cool, it's in bypass mode

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Re: Infestation-

Hey, beans don't count themselves, you know.

Beancounters are not your enemy. They've got a job to do, and it's a real (mostly boring, mostly thankless) job that needs doing.

Management, there's your enemy. Not your line manager, although they may become so if you don't cultivate them properly, but the real management. You know, the ones who take decisions about what risks are "acceptable" and what memos to ignore.

On a related note, another enemy is Chicken Little employees and consultants who send scaremongering memos about every conceivable risk, without properly quantifying it. When you tell the boss "a power cut will CRASH THE COMPANY", make sure you include quantitative assessment (likelihood per year of unscheduled power outage in this location, likelihood it will occur during business hours, and a specific projection of likely losses). The beancounters can actually help you with that: get them on your side.

And a proposal to mitigate the effect using a UPS, obviously, needs to include an allowance for maintenance of said UPS.

UK.gov: We're not regulating driverless vehicles until others do

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And electric charging points aren't going to be very useful. They will either be very slow (and hence not very useful), or very expensive to install due to the supply upgrade that will typically be needed.

The "supply upgrade" would indeed be fairly expensive if you were installing it in your house. But there's no need for fast charging there, you can take hours to do it.

If you're installing it in a place like a motorway service station, or even a mid-sized petrol station - then this "very expensive" upgrade would probably be comparable with the cost of your EFTPOS equipment. Not quite "negligible", but certainly not something to choke on.

"Keeping the lights on" is a separate question, this is really not the time or place for that discussion.

As Zuck apologizes again... Facebook admits 'most' of its 2bn+ users may have had public profiles slurped by bots

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Re: Would someone in charge call this lying zuck of shit out

I have never chosen to share so much as a single keystroke with Facebook.

It follows that if Facebook knows anything about me, this statement is false, at least as far as it applies to me.

And I'm pretty sure that even Facebook users did not make anything that could meaningfully be called a "choice" to share their phone and SMS metadata, every link they click, every newspaper article they read...

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He could always try "not selling it".

Commonwealth Games brochure declares that England is now in Africa

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Re: That's Brexit for you

There's one part of the UK that is very close to Africa.

Gibraltar voted by 96% to Remain in Europe. When my colleagues in the office saw that (it was the first result to be announced), they thought the result was a foregone conclusion - I had to explain quite forcefully that Gibraltar was not exactly typical...

Here's the list of Chinese kit facing extra US import tariffs: Hard disk drives, optic fiber, PCB making equipment, etc

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Re: Even American military arms suppliers can't compete in the US market

Then he'll slap the same tariffs on Mexico.

Trump's rules are very simple: importing is for losers, winners (or "cheats", if they're foreign) export.

If the country as a whole is idiot enough to give him his head (which currently I wouldn't bet a groat against), I'm sure he can, in time, foster a thriving US domestic industry in manufacturing everything on the list, no matter how obscure or mundane. Of course they'll be more expensive and lower quality than the imports, but they'll be AMERICAN, dammit!, and that's what matters.

The depressing part is, this will actually create jobs. Incredibly wastefully, but still - jobs. The economy as a whole will be trashed (in much the same way, and for much the same reasons, as the Soviet Union's economy was during the Cold War), but everyone will be working, and it will take a long time for the reality to percolate that the whole country has been basically frozen in time while the rest of the world moved on.

I've known this whole century that we were seeing the end of American power. I'm just amazed at how quickly it's happening now.

Tech’s big lie: Relations between capital and labor don't matter

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Re: Takes two to tango

Students don't worry about what a company is going to do with them in ten years, because they know long before then they'll have moved on to their real dream job which is just around the corner.

Unions are a mixed bag. In the US they've historically been a vehicle for organised crime, run on very much the same lines - and in some cases, by the same people - as the Mafia or similar groups. In the UK they grew into a political movement, which meant that their focus on "their members' interests" was diluted by all kinds of other agendas and dodgy ideology.

As far as I understand it, the Germans and the Japanese have organised their unions rather better. Don't give them too much money, and keep them away from politics. But is it even possible to run a union on that basis in the UK or US?

Mad March Meltdown! Microsoft's patch for a patch for a patch may need another patch

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Re: For crying out loud...

They're trying to fix a hardware vulnerability using software. That's - basically impossible, I would have said.

Law's changed, now cough up: Uncle Sam serves Microsoft fresh warrant for Irish emails

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So, I had a look at the CLOUD Act...

And it's appalling.

Under it, Microsoft can try to resist handing over the data if it thinks:

“(i) that the customer or subscriber is not a United States person and does not reside in the United States; and

“(ii) that the required disclosure would create a material risk that the provider would violate the laws of a qualifying foreign government.

If it files such a motion, then a US court will decide whether to grant it - that is, a US court has to interpret the laws of whatever other country is being targeted this week. I'm pretty sure that's unconstitutional, because US courts are only empowered to interpret US laws (Article 3, section 2 of the constitution).

The mere fact that the request violates a foreign law - is no defence at all. It also has to belong to "a non-US person". How that is supposed to square with the equal protection clause, I'm not sure.

Watchdog growls at Tesla for spilling death crash details: 'Autopilot on, hands off wheel'

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Re: Crash (almost) re-created by another driver

Which is all well and good, and very interesting in itself...

But what bothers me is why the autopilot didn't stop, or at least slow, the car when it perceived that it was rapidly approaching a solid obstacle, regardless of "lane markings". What if it had been completely right about the lane, but there had been a stationary car in it? Wouldn't it have stopped?

Or did it not perceive the obstacle? Because that's a whole other can of worms, but no less wriggly.

Europe dumps 300,000 UK-owned .EU domains into the Brexit bin

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Re: Thanks to the British voters?

@Dodgy: "status quo" was explicitly one of the options on the ballot, and it's the one that lost. If non-voters wanted it, they bloody well should have voted, I have zero sympathy for them.

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Re: Where are the Brexit fans?

@Phil: thank you for a reasonably balanced view.

I'm two parts convinced that Theresa May is trying her damnedest to stop Brexit, the only way that has any chance of working: by taking the country right to the brink, then getting an overwhelming majority to cry off. I don't know how else to explain that farcical election campaign.

But at this point, I don't think she'll succeed. Manoeuvres like this have done a lot to harden Leave opinion. Much more of this hamfisted bullying, and a clear majority would go for the hardest Brexit imaginable.

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Re: No surprise

What do you expect ? That UK companies can keep using .EU domains ?

Why not? Icelandic and Norwegian ones can. So clearly, EU membership isn't a requirement.

Autonomous vehicle claims are just a load of hot air… and here's why

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Of course no-one can guarantee the future (including you). But Waymo is prepared to bet $1.3 billion on their technology. What's your bid?

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I feel I have to point out that autonomous cars are "on the roads" in 2018. I'm quite freaked at how accurate that prediction was.

True, they're not on many roads, but they're out there.

I don't know if you noticed, but last week Waymo announced they were buying 20,000 of the things from Jaguar (link). That's not a test run, that's an operational fleet - that will be on the road by 2020.

That seems pretty close to me.

Donald Trump jumps on anti-tech bandwagon, gets everything wrong

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Re: Trump was accurate and some people don't like it

This story is a typical political attack on Trump for stating the truth about Amazon who has many issues not the least of which is listing merchandise as "IN STOCK" when they in fact do not have the merchandise available to ship to consumers.

Which is nothing to do with what Trump said, but whatever.

Then they string the customer along for weeks until the customer finally cancels the order

In which case they get no money. Your point?

Another wonderful treat when dealing with Amazon is that they use low cost delivery services that are unregulated and IME completely unreliable. As a result they show up at a business before 8:00 am to deliver a package and then do the same day after day after day and return the package as undeliverable because they can't read the hours of operation on the front door.

Another way of cheating themselves out of revenue. If this is a common problem, it's a self-correcting one because Amazon will shortly go bankrupt. What's the problem?

In regards to Trumps statements on Amazon he is correct they pay little local taxes compared to what local businesses pay.

I'll type this slowly so you can understand it:

Whenever someone makes an industry more efficient, that means its expenses go down. And then the taxes it pays on those expenses also go down.

When Henry Ford introduced the $100 car, the tax he paid per car was a lot lower than the tax paid by his rivals who were still charging $1000 per car. This is efficiency, it's a good thing. The alternative is sheer waste. If you want to embrace that - well, that's the mistake Britain made in the 1960s/70s, or the communist bloc for its whole lifetime.

Amazon is actually overwhelming the poorly run U.S. Postal service adding to financial losses and poor customer mail service.

So which is it, should Amazon use the "poorly run" USPS or should it use "low cost delivery services that are unregulated"? You can't have it both ways. If delivery is such an issue for you, then pay for the delivery option you do want. Or, and here's a thought, do your shopping elsewhere.

veti Silver badge

Citation please. When did Obama say these same things about Amazon?

And what "facts" did Trump "reveal"? I see several untruths, but nothing that can plausibly be described as a "fact" that wasn't already common - heck, near-universal - knowledge.

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Re: brain farts

@Frenchie: I agree with your point that the overt partisanship of media coverage is unhelpful. But it is certainly not "living proof that the media is biased against him".

In the first place, The Register has never pretended to offer impartial journalism - on any subject. That's not what people come here for.

In the second place, The Register is hardly typical of "the media". It's a cliquey news site for tech professionals with a strong British bias. (Also, I suspect, a "middle-aged" bias and a "male" bias, but those are rather less strong.) Time Magazine it ain't.

Your suggestions to "the media" would be more helpfully addressed to the New York Times, The Atlantic, Washington Post, CNN...

How do you make those darn code monkeys do what you want? Just give 'em a little nudge

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Re: Ring the bell

It's very hard to generalise about this, because every software package is different, but if you document it as "do this", then effectively your software now does only that. Easier to support? - sure, because 80% of people stop trying to use it, because what they want to do is something slightly different.

I've been in the same position - for years I was the documentation guy at a small software company. My bosses were forever telling me to write the process to be followed. But what that left out was, basically, all the options. I'd end up documenting one very specific workflow, out of several hundred such options that the software would support. There were fewer questions of the form "how do we do this?", but many more of "what does this button do?"

What's an RDBMS? Don't ask the UK's data protection watchdog

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Re: He's not wrong...

I mean, how many significantly large organisations are going to say "no" to a question such as "have you implemented a formal backup strategy?"....

You realise that question is followed up immediately by "Can I see it, please?" Followed by "Can you show me this component here?", "please restore this test environment from your last available backup", and "show me how you perform a backup".

Just "saying the right thing" to auditors, even unskilled ones, is asking for whole new dimensions of trouble.

Meet the open sorcerers who have vowed to make Facebook history

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Re: The hardware underneath

And by "roll it completely on your own", you mean "running your own software, on your own operating system, your own hardware, with chips designed, fabricated and soldered into place by you personally."

Anything less is just posing.

Ideally you should also be laying the fibre and installing connectors too, but that would be unreasonable. So long as there's no silicon within your server centre that's provided or manufactured by anyone else, that's probably good enough.

Assuming you're perfect, of course.

Microsoft's Windows 7 Meltdown fixes from January, February made PCs MORE INSECURE

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Re: it was a mistake, would we lie to you?

You think it's a cunning ploy?

I think you severely over-estimate Microsoft's competence.

Fatal driverless crash: Radar-maker says Uber disabled safety systems

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Re: We must ban all self-driving cars on public streets now

And will you take the blame for the next pedestrian killed by a human driver who performs less well than a self-driving car would have done? Because that will happen sooner.


Even if self-driving cars are never perfect, they might still be better than the alternative. We want to get them to that stage sooner rather than later. That requires testing.


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