* Posts by dajames

1481 posts • joined 20 Mar 2011

What Microsoft's Windows 11 will probably look like

dajames Silver badge

FFS. 6 bleeding years they've had to improve on Windows 10 and this is all they could come up with???

Methinks all most Windows users want in a new release is that they don't have to spend ages relearning the UI. Significant improvements are worth the effort, change for change's sake is not.

I used to quite like the UI of Windows 2000, but it's all gone to pot since then.

Lenovo refreshes workstation ThinkPads with 11th-gen Intel CPUs, RTX graphics, 5G

dajames Silver badge

Well I remember 4:3 and then 16:10 ...

Don't forget 5:4! 1280x1024 was common in the days of 17" and 19" non-wide monitors.

16:9 took over because everything wanted to match HDTV resolution.

Methinks it was rather that 16x9 panels were available cheaply because they were made for small consumer TVs ... but nowadays most people watch TV either on a larger screen or streamed to a phone or tablet, so the economy of scale has vanished and dimensions of laptop screens can once again be determined by what's appropriate rather than what's cheap.

Debian's Cinnamon desktop maintainer quits because he thinks KDE is better now

dajames Silver badge

Re: Now I know that Debian also packages Cinnamon

... let us abolish Gnome3 as it has been a misconception right from the beginning! Maybe we can tunnel the energy of the developers to Cinnamon and a decent DE environment based on Gtk?"

Methinks that if those developers had wanted to work on "a decent DE environment" we wouldn't have ended up with Gnome 3.

[Hmm ... "DE environment" ... you seem to have a nasty case of RAS syndrome, there].

Cryptography whizz Phil Zimmermann looks back at 30 years of Pretty Good Privacy

dajames Silver badge

Re: I think the real reason PGP succeeded...

Actually you're paying for the private key and the certificate that encapsulates the public key which is signed by another key or by the private key. But for brevity I said key.

No! You should be generating the keyset (public and provate keys) yourself and keeping the private key securely where nobody else gets to see it. It really is supposed to be private. What you may have to pay for is the certificate, which depends only on the public key.

And as far as trust goes, there would be nothing stopping a CA from selling its services and signing a PGP key just like they do now for certs.

Quite so ... though PGP's concept of a Web of Trust rather suggests a community in which members sign each other's keys for the common good. Methinks a paid-for signing scheme would not fit well into that philosophy.

It's important to appreciate that the difference between PGP and a PKI is as much to do with philosophy as with the difference in software and data formats. You can build a PKI around PGP, just as you can use self-signed X.509 certificates to form a Web of Trust -- by why would you?

So now CAs are the problem ...

The problem isn't CAs. The problem is that most people don't understand that unsigned EMail could have come from anyone, and don't understand that unencrypted EMail could be read by anyone ... and don't understand that there is something that they could do about it. The issue needs to achieve more public recognition, and security needs to become accepted as a commonplace part of doing business online.

dajames Silver badge

Re: I think the real reason PGP succeeded...

1. Realising you had to pay for your encryption key, and CAs were going to shake you down

You don't pay for the key, you pay for a certificate.

The trouble with the PGP approach is that in order to know that you can trust someone's key -- that is: be sure that you have a key that really belongs to the person with whom you wish to correspond -- you need to get the key from someone you both know and trust (that may be a keyserver, or may be an individual). That's often not a trivial task.

A PKI system (a la S/MIME) relies on keys that are signed by entities that are generally (rightly or wrongly) regarded as trustworthy. These Certification Authorities are well-known, and their own keys are easily looked up (or are already known because they are distributed with your browser, etc). The key certificate tells you who issued it, so you only need to verify against that one CA, rather than consulting half the PGP keyservers on the planet until you find one that has the right key.

Yes, these CAs tend to be commercial entities who ask to be paid for issuing a certificate. Some certificates are issued with no guarantees, and they tend to be (fairly) inexpensive, other certificates come with financial guarantees of protection against fraud if the certificate is relied upon (backed up by insurance policies, for which a premium must be paid).

It doesn't have to be that way. There are many entities one deals with on a regular basis that have an interest in being able to communicate securely -- your government, your bank, the Post Office, your employer -- and any of these could issue certificates for their own convenience and that of their correspondents.

Imagine: Your national ID card (OK, we don't have those in the UK, but just about everyone else does) could contain a security chip that could generate a private key securely on the card. You could send the corresponding public key to HMRC or the DHSS or whoever got the job of managing secure communications with the public and they would send back a certificate that you would store on the card alongside the private key. Whenever you wanted to send a signed or encrypted message you could insert your ID card into a card reader connected to your computer, enter a PIN (so only you could use your key) and the software would so the necessary.

The technology is all there ... there just aren't any public service CAs (probably because government doesn't want us to use strong crypto)

2. A key which expired every 6-12 months and had to be replaced

It's a good idea for keys to have some expiry date, so that they become invalid before the technology/key length becomes too easy to break. The validity period shouldn't be too short, though, that is just CAs milking the system.

3. Abysmal integration in email products. Support in Outlook/Outlook Express/Netscape was bugridden & barely usable through lack of testing.

Microsoft never really understood security -- I hope they're getting better at it. Good integration of security into products won't come until security is seen as a basic function for everyone, rather than a tiresome add-on for the few.

Hats off to Phil Zimmerman for producing an encryption system that worked within small communities without an infrastructure to support it ... but for widespread use the infrastructure is necessary.

How many remote controls do you really need? Answer: about a bowl-ful

dajames Silver badge

Re: Old tech still going

I've still got a ~20 year-old Phillips Pronto 2000 (the monochrome one) universal remote going strong.

I bought one of those about 20 years ago ... nice piece of kit. I spent ages programming it in clever ways before I realized that the rather low-contrast LCD display was just hard enough to read in typical living-room light conditions that I really couldn't (this was before I got reading glasses). It still works, as far as I know, but has never been used in anger.

I suspect the hurdle of persuading SWMBO to use it without her throwing it across the room is one at which I would never have succeeded anyway.

US Patent Office to take only DOCX in future – or PDFs if you pay extra

dajames Silver badge

Re: You want interoperability?

Plain. Damned. Text... It. Just. Works.

Well said ... but patent applications will include pictures and diagrams, so I'd allow MarkDown with PNG images.

There is absolutely no justification for the Patent Office to worry about difficulties representing layout and fonts as the appearance of the application on the page has no bearing on the meaning of its text.

... and do they really imagine that those diffiiculties can be avoided by using .DOCX?!!!

ASUS baffles customer by telling them thermal pad thickness is proprietary

dajames Silver badge

Re: what a pile of drivel

Isn't graphite as cheap as pencils?

Why isn't that the material of (economic) choice?

I think most pencils, these days, have a "lead" that is something other than pure graphite (or lead, for that matter), clay is a common additional component. Then again, my technical pencil claims to use "polymer" leads, whatever those may be?

... but I'd guess that the reason graphite isn't popular in heatsink compounds is that it's a good electrical (as well as thermal) conductor.

dajames Silver badge

Re: what a pile of drivel

The same nonsense goes for statements like "this paste is totally dried out , let me replace it".

It MUST be dried out ! That's when it is most effective.

Aluminum has a thermal conductivity of 230-ish watts per metre-kelvin

Alumina is 30 ...

Copper is 401

Oil is 0.1

Now you get it why you want that oil out of there ?

Well ... a couple of points:

1. When the oil leaves, it is replaced by air (alumina is an inflexible solid; it won't magically flow to fill the space vacated by the oil), and the conductivity of air is even worse (around 0.025 W/mK).

2. The oil is what holds the alumina in place. Once the oil goes the alumina crumbles away leaving (once again) air.

dajames Silver badge

Re: eh

Speaking as an engineer with some thermal experience, 1mm sounds insanely thick for a thermal pad... The best thermal interface is a *really* thin pad or layer of paste, because even for the best pad or paste, their thermal conductivity is pretty awful compared to the parts they are squished between.

Yes, exactly.

Thermal paste is a thermal insulator -- just not as effective an insulator as air.

The ideal is to have the heatsink directly in contact with the chip that it cools, so as to maximize heat transfer between them. Unfortunately the surfaces aren't perfectly flat or smooth so air gaps would exist between them. The purpose of the paste is to fill those gaps and exclude air, but not to significantly separate the heatsink and the chip.

You want the thinnest possible layer of paste.

dajames Silver badge

Re: Warranties

It's sad how many people buy extended warranties not knowing this. If they can predict a risk of failure high enough to warrant selling you an extended warranty, then the law gives it to you free.

Yes, it is ... but it doesn't work like that.

An extended warranty is an insurance policy. You're buying insurance against the kit failing within the term of the policy.

The point of selling an extended warranty is to collect the commission offered by the insurer. After that it's the insurer's problem, not the seller's, so it's easy money for the seller.

The point of offering an extended warranty (policy) as an insurer is to collect the premium (less commission) and hope they won't have to pay out -- at least, not often. The art lies in tailoring the policy so that it expires just before the kit is likely to give out, so no payment will be due.

The law requires items sold to be of at least some basic level of quality (exactly what level of quality depends on what it is and what it cost, and the laws have changed over the years). The vendor typically offers a 1 year warranty and (to stay legal) claims that this does not invalidate any statutory requirement (which they carefully don't specify). The manufacturers know the legal requirements; they design kit so that it will usually last for as long as they may be held responsible for it, but not longer.

The insurers know the limits designed in by the manufacturers, and tailor the premiums of the extended warranty policies to fit. If you try to extend your extended warranty beyond this period the cost will be much higher than for the initial term during which a claim is unlikely.

In short: it's never cost-effective to take out an extended warranty. Spend the extra on better quality kit instead -- it will last longer and you won't be feeding salesmen and insurers along the way.

NHS-backed org reacted to GitHub leak disclosure with legal threats and police call, complains IT pro

dajames Silver badge

Re: Learn from the ransomeware bods...

You do not need to download a copy of the data and tell the company that you are keeping that data for 90 days.

No ... because you could copy the data and say nothing.

Methinks Rob Dyke should perhaps be commended for his honesty and openness.

NASA pops old-school worm logo onto Orion spacecraft

dajames Silver badge

Re: Watching at the time?

I think there was only about 3 or 4 of us in the class that had watched it live.

I watched it live -- even though it took place in the evening on my mother's birthday (and as I was only 13 it may have been after my 'official' bed-time) I was allowed to have the TV on. We had a fairly unambitious B&W set, but you could see quite a bit more than just a splodge.

My school also let us watch the moon coverage on a big TV (one of those fancy 625-line jobs that could get BBC2) in one of the school halls for a couple of days after that -- I don't remember what happened to lessons -- and the picture wasn't that much more revealing.

'Biggest data grab' in NHS history stuffs GP records in a central store for 'research' – and the time to opt out is now

dajames Silver badge

Re: Not that hard to fill in a form

Adobe Reader lets you import a signature as a picture, which can be inserted into a PDF document.

Unfortunately Adobe Reader doesn't do anything to complete strangers from importing your signature into a PDF file as a picture, so your imported signature isn't worth the paper it isn't printed on!

(The signature is no more meaningful if you print, physically sign, and re-scan, of course.)

... unless you digitally sign the 'signed' form (and the recipient does actually check the signature for validity, an rejects forms without a digital signature).

As another vendor promises 3 years of Android updates, we ask: How long should mobile devices receive support?

dajames Silver badge

Two different issues

There are really two different issues here -- for how long should manufacturers offer OS upgrades, and for how long should they offer security fixes for the OS that's already installed (be that the original or an upgrade already applied).

I'm fairly happy that there should be a limit of around 3-5 years for OS upgrades, but I think security fixes should be offered for at least ten years, and preferably for the lifetime of the device. This is not just to protect the owner of the device in question, but to protect others, because the real danger is that an insecure device may be used to spread malware and nuisance (e.g. spam), and to leak details (contacts, etc) of the friends and associates of the owner of the device.

dajames Silver badge

Re: "support" is a sales "feature"

Batteries have a limited life, and more updates will reduce the battery life.

Methinks that doesn't follow ... updates could improve the efficiency of the software and actually increase battery life.

Even if you're right, you're making an argument in favour of user-replaceable batteries not against software updates.

Microsoft demotes Calibri from default typeface gig, starts fling with five other fonts

dajames Silver badge

Re: Microsoft’s new default font options, rated

... the only one with a definite advantage is Bierstadt because it has a lower case L that's not just a line.

Yes, a thousand times yes.

The characters we need to see and compare are lower-case 'l', upper-case 'I' and digit '1', which must all be clearly distinct (and none of them should be just a line), likewise upper-case 'O' and digit '0' should be easily distinguishable.

That said, I do like the 'a' and 'g' in Tenorite.

So what if I pay peanuts for my home broadband? I demand you fix it NOW!

dajames Silver badge
WTF?

Re: This is very US-specific but.....

... a Spectrum cable service truck ...

... I somehow read that as a Captain Scarlet reference ...

Yes, leftpondia is another land, and they (say and) do things differently there.

Microsoft joins Bytecode Alliance to advance WebAssembly – aka the thing that lets you run compiled C/C++/Rust code in browsers

dajames Silver badge

And so the cycle turns ...

Every few years someone comes up with a 'new' way of running code in the browser.

Microsoft did it with ActiveX, which was just a way of running unverified native code from a browser with no sandboxing at all -- what could possibly go wrong?

Sun did it with Java, which allowed running interpreted bytecode 'applets' (with limited API access to the native environment) in a sandbox in a browser ... which was certainly a better approach, but the sandbox provided by the runtime was invariably leaky, in practice (partly through incompetence, and partly in the name of speed), and the security was deplorable. JIT-compiling the code and running it natively made it faster, but had further impact on the security.

The current trend is to use Javascript (or, recently, something that compiles to Javascript) which may be interpreted by the browser but is more usually JIT-compiled and run natively. This is regarded by many as being better than Java, but actually sucks less only because the quality of implementation is a little higher. Javascript itself is a nightmare of a language ("strongly untyped") that's barely as readable as Perl, but has become popular because it's the only game in Browser-town (though the things that compile to Javascript do mitigate its underlying nastiness to some extent and relegate Javascript to the status of "the assembly language of the web").

Now we are being told that the next turn of the cycle will actually be called "WebAssembly", and that it will allow us to write web apps in our favourite languages (so, no Javascript, at least) and compile them to the bytecode for an abstract virtual machine hosted by the browser (isn't that what Java was supposed to do?) As with Java, the browser will then either interpret the bytecode or JIT-compile it and run it natively on the host -- in some sort of sandbox if we're lucky. Maybe it will done well and the security won't be awful, that was never achieved with Java, though.

On the one hand I really do hope that this is going to turn out to be Java done properly and not Javascript done even worse ... but on the other hand despair that this is just going to encourage more and more code running in the browser for no fathomable reason.

I wonder what the next turn of the cycle will bring ...?

How to ensure your tech predictions catch on in a flash? Do the mash

dajames Silver badge

Re: Fireball XL5

Fireball XL5 had the best intro music

Recently released on CD/LP/download by Silva Screen Records!

How could one resist?

So it appears some of you really don't want us to use the word 'hacker' when we really mean 'criminal'

dajames Silver badge

It's all rather more nuanced ...

Some cracks are achieved by hacking. Calling the cracker who perpetrates such a crack a "hacker" is not incorrect (it may be missing the point, but that's another story).

Not all cracking is achieved by hacking, not all hacking results in cracking.

Many activities described by the press as "hacking" are neither hacking nor cracking.

It would be nice if something could be done to make the general public as aware of the word "cracker" as they are of the word "hacker", and to instill in them a sense of the distinction between a hack and a crack.

Hacking is not a crime – and the media should stop using 'hacker' as a pejorative

dajames Silver badge

... "hacker" to me means more like "unprofessional" than "without permission".

Indeed.

I first came across the term "hacker" in the context of chemical research. One of my fellow research students described another -- let's call him Jim -- as "a bit of a hacker", and I asked what he meant by that.

He replied that Jim got good results, but was untidy, broke more than the usual amount of glassware, and never put anything away or did his own washing up.

dajames Silver badge

Re: My current annoyance is “gift” as a verb

That is my understanding as well, but on occasion the OED editorializes ...

That's all part of the greater task of documenting the language. Such editorial comment, where it occurs, is descriptive (or occasionally proscriptive*) rather than prescriptive -- which is as it should be.

* As, for example, when describing some words as "taboo".

'It's where the industry is heading': LibreOffice team working on WebAssembly port

dajames Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: This is where the industry is heading, just like in the 90s

... mobile devices (J2EE, anyone?) ...

Mobile devices? That'd be J2ME, then?

Brilliant Idea that was ... Hey let's make a cut-down version of Java whose runtime will fit on a mobile phone ... in, say, 32k! We'll leave out floating point, because that's always the first thing people leave out, and ... I know, security, that's a big chunk of stuff.

Yeah, good idea ... nobody could ever need security on a mobile device!

Huawei invokes 140-year-old law at England's High Court in latest bid to thwart CFO's US-Canada extradition

dajames Silver badge

Re: Nothing to hide

Disagree. It would set a precedent that any documents held by banks, including internal memos, risk assessments etc, to be seized due to a court proceeding.

Yes, but ...

If they have nothing to hide, and wish to avoid setting such a precedent, all they have to do is to release the requested information voluntarily.

This Brit biz's seven-screen laptop is something to behold

dajames Silver badge

Re: Not enough

I can never remember whether that 2 'G's and 1 'T' or 1 'G' and 2 'T's

Always 2 G's, and add T to taste!

(Oh, you were talking about Foul Ole Ron?)

My bad! So you're saying that redacting an on-screen PDF with Tipp-Ex won't work?

dajames Silver badge

Re: Black Tippex

Many, many years ago in the days of green on black monitors, the computer operators at a place I worked had blacktippex as the operator password.

You shouldn't have said that ... they'll have to change it, now!

Nearly 70 years after America made einsteinium in its first full-scale thermo-nuke experiment, mystery element yields secrets of its chemistry

dajames Silver badge

The element is also interesting for another reason: it could help chemists create elements yet to be discovered.

Chemists don't make elements -- Physicists do that.

Death Becomes It: Who put the Blue in the Blue Screen of Death?

dajames Silver badge

Re: Blue screen?

In the early days of DOS, when TSR programs were a big thing (terminate-and-stay-resident), there was briefly available a blue-screen-of-death recolourizer.

That must have been really useful, as DOS didn't do BSODs!

DOS (having no memory protection nor the notion of a supervisor mode) doesn't really have any way of telling whether it has crashed or not, let alone any way to report the fact.

dajames Silver badge

Having previously done maintenance work on EchoStar set top boxes I encountered the mandate that no dialog box should have only two buttons, apparently so it stopped being confusing which the select* button on the remote corresponded to.

There should ALWAYS be a "Help" button ... except possibly sometimes when the only other button is "OK" (which may mean "It's not OK, but carry on anyway").

In Rust we trust: Shoring up Apache, ISRG ditches C, turns to wunderkind lang for new TLS crypto module

dajames Silver badge

Are you sure?

Rust allows and even promotes implicit actions and conversions, whereas C++ has been discouraging this for years now (C++ style casts).

Rust doesn't even allow an integer variable to be assigned the value from a shorter integer variable -- an explicit cast is needed (even though the value can never be truncated or otherwise corrupted). Such an assignment is always benign, and is accepted without even a warning in C++ (as it is in C). I'm not aware of any case in which Rust allows a coercion implicitly that C++ wouldn't.

C++ discourages C-style casts because they lack clarity of intent. Casts that are meaningful can be expressed in C++ as static_cast, dynamic_cast, etc., which make the programmer's intention explicit.

The meaning of a C-style cast depends on its context in the program, and it may end up being treated as a reinterpret_cast, which is likely to result in non-portable or undefined behaviour. That's why they're discouraged.

dajames Silver badge

STABLE and WELL TESTED

It's a dilemma that we all face. We have a piece of code that was written years ago when software development tended to be a less rigorous process than it can be (but usually isn't) today. The code mostly works and doesn't normally fall over, but it can misbehave in extreme circumstances (such as when it is given deliberately incorrect inputs).

Do we patch it, and continue to benefit from the large body of mostly-good code but also continue to live with the possibility that it may contain still more flaky parts ... or do we take a chance on rewriting it from scratch which will enable us to benefit from modern programming languages and techniques but possibly take a lot of iterations to get right (particularly if the original software was not well documented and not written to a well-defined set of interfaces)?

The green-field approach is seductive, but to adopt it courageous indeed.

Chrome 89 beta: Google presses on with 'advanced hardware interactions' that Mozilla, Apple see as harmful

dajames Silver badge

Re: The opposite of MS

... why do they insist that on a tablet that will never leave her house, she HAS to enter either a login password or PIN on startup?

The password on a Chromebook isn't a password for the Chromebook, it's a password for the Google account that the Chromebook is using. Without a password anyone could access that account from anywhere on any device.

How embarrassing: Xiaomi and Motorola show up to high school prom both wearing remote-charging tech

dajames Silver badge

Re: Dear. God.

...for the Motorola system "Any obstacle placed between the charger and the phone immediately halts charging".

Hmm ... I read that as "if you interrupt the beam the phone won't see it" rather than as "if you interrupt the beam the charger will stop beaming" ... but you may be right?

dajames Silver badge

Re: Perfect

I would definitely upgrade my Juicero ...

So you're the person who bought one? A link might have been helpful for those with short memories!

Upvoted for stealth irony.

Nothing new since the microwave: Let's get those home tech inventors cooking

dajames Silver badge

Re: touch controls on hob

what's wrong with rotary dials???

They're a bugger to clean, to clean under, to clean behind. If you pull the knob off to clean behind it the little piece of spring that's supposed to hold it in place goes flying across the kitchen never to be seen again (and can only be replaced by buying a whole new knob, which costs a fortune and doesn't match the others).

Not so bad on a freestanding cooker whose controls can be on the front and out of the way of spills and splashes, but modern surface-mounted hobs always seem to have the knobs on top where they are right in line for spillage and stop you using large pans on the adjacent rings.

dajames Silver badge

Re: Really a robotic chef?

... there are far simpler and cheaper ways to automate cooking eg https://www.thermomix.com

Ah, thank you, yes. The Thermomix. That's the thingie I was trying to remember.

Two of my friends have these, and they both enthuse at length about how good the things are and how they are worth the astronomic price tag.

They both also sheepishly admit that they use them very seldom. They say that's because they forget ... but I suspect it's just too much trouble!

Must 'completely free' mean 'hard to install'? Newbie gripe sparks some soul-searching among Debian community

dajames Silver badge

Re: I love the way developers...

... if the hardware manufacturers wish to protect their IP by hiding behind a binary driver blob I say let them as long the system stays stable and secure.

Another problem with drivers as proprietary blobs is that they provide a means for the manufacturers to withdraw support for older hardware, pushing the user to discard the hardware and upgrade (yes, nVidia, I'm talking about YOU).

... and the nouveau driver in Buster seems to be broken for my hardware, even though that hardware is officially still supported (so I'm stuck on Stretch and the older version that worked -- but that's another story).

Raspberry Pi Foundation moves into microcontrollers with the $4 Pi Pico using homegrown silicon

dajames Silver badge

Re: No WiFi?

WiFi approval is long and expensive. ESP32 get round this by not bothering ...

There are official ESP32 modules from Espressif that have, e.g., FCC approval. As I understand it the approval applies to the whole module including the on-board antenna, not to the chip itself, so it applies only to those modules and not to all/any ESP32 boards ... but by the same token the approval will apply to any product that uses such a board (without altering its radio characteristics).

That's why you get products like the Adafruit Huzzah ESP32 breakout that has a certified WROOM32 module (complete with antenna) mounted on it, and so benefits from the WROOM32's certification.

dajames Silver badge

Re: No WiFi?

At which point the power sipping stops.

Using WiFi obviously involves some consumption of power, having it available need not (until you need to use it).

ESP32 has good low-power and deep-sleep modes, for example.

dajames Silver badge

No WiFi?

It's only a microcontroller - and the expectation is presumably that it will be used alongside a 'real' Raspberry Pi to provide those low-latency, low-power, close-to-the-metal functions that make a microcomputer running a real-time OS stumble - but I'm surprised it doesn't have WiFi (or Bluetooth, or LoRa, or at least some sort of connectivity).

I'm seeing a lot of applications for ESP8266 and ESP32 microcontrollers, rather than Atmel or Arm parts, simply because they DO provide on-package wireless connectivity. I do hope the Raspberry Pi foundation have a WiFi capable sibling of the RP2040 waiting in the wings.

Stony-faced Google drags Android Things behind the cowshed. Two shots ring out

dajames Silver badge

Re: I dislike smart things

My biggest worry about those things like SONOFF and others is that, if the c&c goes down your system is dead. Or, if someone hacks the c7C server they can play blinkenlights with your stuff...

The SONOFF devices are at least hackable/reflashable so that you can run software that you control via (if you need it at all) a server that you control. The free and open Tasmota firmware looks pretty good (though I haven't played with it yet).

I'd be more worried that the hardware seems a little cheaply made for something that has to handle mains voltages and non-trivial current.

BBC picks SiFive RISC-V chip for Doctor Who programming-for-kids kit – with Jodie Whittaker narrating

dajames Silver badge

ESP32

The pictures show an Espressif ESP32 on the board -- presumably to provide the WiFi and Bluetooth.

I wonder why they bother with the Risc-V at all, as an ESP32 is a pretty beefy little chip all on its own, rather beefier than the Risc-V chip in fact. I wonder whether the SiFive lets you access the ESP32 directly?

Stil, it's nice to see Risc-V out in public, it needs the exercise and the publicity.

Not on your Zoom, not on Teams, not Google Meet, not BlueJeans. WebEx, Skype and Houseparty make us itch. No, not FaceTime, not even Twitch

dajames Silver badge

Re: Just one thing....

.... the acronym (or initialism, if you insist) "VC" was already taken ...

... by the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, if I've Googled it correctly. I've been wondering what they had to do with teleconferencing ... but there IS a lot of interesting tech coming out of Vietnam, these days.

That's the trouble with abbreviations -- they're brief, and so contain less information that the original. If you want to create a unique(ish) string that can substitute for a complex phrase I'd suggest a SHA-256 hash ... just don't expect normal mortals to understand it.

Halt don't catch fire: Amazon recalls hundreds of thousands of Ring doorbells over exploding battery fears

dajames Silver badge

Re: Shows people don't read the instructions

The lawsuit ultimately made McDonalds use a more sturdy and rigid cup, which has ...

... increased the amount of waste they pour into the environment ever since.

The revolution will not be televised because my television has been radicalised

dajames Silver badge

Re: What is This Recommended For You Crap?

Start watching something, decide it sucks, and it'll forever sit in your 'Continue Watching' ribbon. Would it be so difficult to add a button/menu option to remove it?

I can't speak for Playstation, but the Netflix UI on Android has a "Remove from row" option to do just that.

HP: That print-free-for-life deal we promised you? Well, now it's pay-per-month to continue using your printer ink

dajames Silver badge

How naïve!

Often 'free for life' offers that companies market, are for the life of the product not for the life of the customer.

More often still, just for the life of the offer ...

One more reason for Apple to dump Intel processors: Another SGX, kernel data-leak flaw unearthed by experts

dajames Silver badge
Trollface

Thanks, Intel

The media companies may want those DRM keys to remain secret, but I'm pretty sure nobody else's interest is served by that.

We should all thank Intel for giving us a relatively easy (and deniable) means to extract those keys, thus defending our right to play our licensed media wherever we want!

Let's Encrypt warns about a third of Android devices will from next year stumble over sites that use its certs

dajames Silver badge

I have a 'landfill' Android tablet stuck on Lollipop 5.1. No updates are available.

I have a couple of tablets that were only supported by their manufacturers (Samsung and Asus) up to KitKat (4.4), but one of them (the Samsung) can run LineageOS 14 (aka Android 7), which has extended its useful life considerably.

I object to having to buy new hardware just to get a supported OS, especially when the old hardware still works fine and the selection of new models available contains nothing I desire.

My phone is an Android One model from Motorola running pretty-much stock Android, why can't I get a tablet that does the same?

Google's plan to make User-Agent string even less useful breaks our device detection tech, says NetMarketShare

dajames Silver badge

Re: We expect this change to improve compatibility...

It does not work like that.

No, it certainly doesn't ... but ...

... browsers have to implement many standards that are independent of each other ...

Yes, they do, and they could be required to advertise their support for each of those standards independently. I wasn't suggesting a one-size-fits-all approach to versioning.

Indeed, a browser might not implement some standards at all, and servers would then be at liberty to refuse to deliver the content, to deliver partial content, or to render the page in a different way (if they could be bothered).

... much as they do at the moment, but based on clear and unambiguous information about the browser's actual (claimed) capabilities rather than a bit of guesswork based on a (possibly falsified) User-Agent string.

It is much more complicated than meets the eye.

That depends how attuned your eyes are.

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