* Posts by rcxb

549 posts • joined 22 Aug 2018


The world has a plastics shortage, and PC makers may be responding with a little greenwashing

rcxb Silver badge

Re: The world has plenty of plastic

makes people who don't live in those places, complacent.

There's a corollary, however, that people who engage in token actions are less likely to take substantive actions to actually resolve the problem.

Reducing plastic pollution in the oceans can be most effectively done by spending money at the source of most of the plastic, not trying to prevent that last 1% from relative non-polluters.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: The world has plenty of plastic

I wonder who DOES dump all of that plastic?

As of 2019, "Asia accounts for 81% of global plastic inputs to the ocean." * They frequently lack the sanitation infrastructure the western world has, as well as environmental laws. Dumping trash into rivers, where it gets flushed out to sea, is not just an occasional happening but the standard method of disposal.

* source: ourworldindata.org/ocean-plastics

Google bestows improved device management tools, authentication options on Chrome OS admins

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It doesn't need to be all in the browser. I've put together Linux systems with locked-down Kiosk desktops, and also had no problems at all.

One of those icons is a web browser, but native programs are better where available. Much less bandwidth used, and performs very well on even old slow hardware. Still a locked-down, unprivileged user experience with no way to install programs, or even run anything they haven't been given access to.

Of course it's easier to get started when someone did the work for you, but more difficult when you find you need to do something more than the lowest-common-denominator use-case.

What you need to know about Microsoft Windows 11: It will run Android apps

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"And if you do bring your own commerce engine, you keep 100 per cent of your revenue, we keep zero."

24th June, 2021. Keep the date. This is the kind of promise that will get slowly watered down a bit at a time, until nobody makes a fuss when it is reversed entirely. At least, assuming they're successful in driving more developers to use their "Store". This sounds like Microsoft from the old days, promising vendors everything, then doing the opposite.

Boffins promise protection and perfect performance with new ZeRØ, No-FAT memory safety techniques

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ZeRØ provides protection with zero measured performance loss – hence the name.

Wi nøt trei a høliday in Sweden this yër?

Price-capped broadband on hold for New York State after judge rules telcos would 'suffer unrecoverable losses'

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Arbitrary number

How did the state come with the $15 as the magic number? Would $20/mo have bankrupted low-income families? $25? Did the state make any attempt to determine the costs of providing the service, before naming a figure?

Fastly 'fesses up to breaking the internet with an 'an undiscovered software bug' triggered by a customer

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I'd want to see a second layer of protection against misbehavior, not just trying to make their software perfect and bug-free.

G7 nations aim for global 15 per cent tax on big tech and bin digital services taxes

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Re: Too soft too weak

It's true. They can sell the products at lower margins instead of marking it up the entire 15%, which they will do if competition forces them to keep prices down.

Tech scammer who fooled Cisco, Microsoft and Lenovo out of millions jailed for more than seven years

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Re: Skills

You develop a higher tolerance for such hassles when you know you're getting good money out of it. Would you go sit in an office of cubicles all day if no-one was paying you to do so?

FYI: Today's computer chips are so advanced, they are more 'mercurial' than precise – and here's the proof

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Higher datacenter temperatures contributing?

One has to wonder if the sauna-like temperatures Google and Facebook are increasingly running their datacenters at, is contributing to the increased rate of CPU-core glitches.

They may be monitoring CPU temperatures to ensure they don't exceed the spec sheet maximums, but any real-world device doesn't have a vertical cliff dropoff, and the more extreme conditions it operates in, the sooner some kind of failure can be expected. The speedometer in my car goes significantly into the tripple-digits, but I wouldn't be shocked if driving it like a race car would result in mechanical problems rather sooner in its life-cycle.

Similarly, high temperatures are frequently used to simulate years of ageing with various equipment.

NASA to return to the Moon by 2024. One problem with that, says watchdog: All of it

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Re: Hurry up guys

put up the Moon’s first National Park sign at the Apollo11 landing site. Where leaving footprints would be banned.

I look forward to seeing them install the asteroid defence missile system to protect the site.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: Hurry up guys

When did the moon become a US posession?

An internationally protected place or world heritage site would be better.

The moon is not on our world, either. "Moon heritage site" doesn't have the same ring.

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

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worst-case rely on character recognition techniques to scrape the text into an easier format.

Well that's not a fair comparison. Somebody could scan a piece of paper and insert it as an image into an DOCX file just as easily. PDFs (that aren't just images of scanned pages) are trivially easy to extract to images and text.

Amazon puts an $8.5bn MGM in its shopping cart, clicks on checkout

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Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

I am also getting bored with everything depending on evermore outrageous CGI

It was the improving technology of special effects which gave us the blockbuster (and predominantly sci-fi) film boom of the 80s & 90s.

CGI has the potential to make it cheaper and easier to make better, more imaginative films. That reality hasn't worked out that ways is not the fault of the technology, but unrelated studio issues.

Apple's iPad Pro on a stick, um, we mean M1 iMac scores 2 out of 10 for repairability

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I'm surprised they didn't cut out the USB sockets lest you plug in any non-Apple drives!

No point in that. Wi-Fi chipsets are cheap and low-power enough they can be included in USB drives. A bit like the old personal FM transmitters...

Man found dead inside model dinosaur after climbing in to retrieve phone

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Re: Poor sod..

A telephone can potentially fail. Getting wet will do it.

A better option, or at least a good backup in most cases is having a whistle on your keys. Will cover great distances with very little effort. The recommended distress signal option for hikers as well.

Help wanted, work from anywhere ... except if you're located in Colorado

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Re: Top Tip

State income tax is fairly insignificant next to federal income taxes (and related federal withholdings).

A quick lookup seems to show New York state income tax rate at 5.99%, while Colorado is 4.63%. Not a huge difference. Worth paying if you can negotiate a 2% higher salary out of it (higher cost of living area).

Plus you could move shortly after getting the job. You'd probably have to pay income taxes in both states for the period that you are faking your mailing address, to ensure neither state can arrest you for tax fraud... They NEVER object to getting MORE in taxes than they're owed.

It took 'over 80 different developers' to review and fix 'mess' made by students who sneaked bad code into Linux

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Re: not just umn.edu

Those other identities / personas won't be "trusted" by the kernel developers, so there's no reason to worry about them. They were only successful because they were associated with a group that has been reliable and trustworthy in the past. Unless they have similar connections to other organizations, it's a non-issue.

Apple's macOS is sub-par for security, Apple exec Craig Federighi tells Epic trial

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Re: Keeping things secure

You can't run .exes or other binaries from Windows with a click these days.

What? Of course you can.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: Keeping things secure

If you gave Linux to your typical office desktop users, you'd have as many, if not more, of the same security breaches.

We have an office full of Linux systems, and never had a single breach. A big part of that is that users are just that. Locked-down user, no privileges to install anything.

With Windows, you can't even set-up two users on the local system to be able to access the same set of files, without making them administrators. Search for "unable to take ownership". You'll see lots of resolutions options like disabling UAC, which is both a terrible idea, and still doesn't work. You can set all the ACLs on the files and folders correctly to allow two users full access to them, but Windows only recognizes one owner, and won't let you open and modify those files until you're the owner, which you can't make happen unless you're also an administrator...

Linux is designed to be a sane, multi-user operating system. Windows has only just the basics of multi-user operation tacked-on, poorly.

And if users were allowed to install software, they would only be doing it from the repos... Careful use of sudo can allow them to do that, without giving them full root permissions. And those Linux software repos are still curated and extremely, without being locked-down with onerous restrictions and fee demands like Apple does with their store. Whereas the very model for Windows software installation has for decades been "download binaries from websites on the internet and run them, and say yes when asked if they should be allowed to do absolutely anything to your system" which is the real security nightmare.

Linux doesn't let you run exe's or other binaries from files attached to e-mails with a click. Linux doesn't hide (crucially important on Windows) file extensions from you, allowing attackers to mask executable code as innocuous images or other documents.

And should we talk about auto-run?

This is just scratching the surface. The list of ways in which Windows is inherently insecure is legion.

Apple announces lossless HD audio at no extra cost, then Amazon Music does too. The ball is now in Spotify's court

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Re: Yay!

Converting an analog medium into a digital representation and then back to analog again is, to put it mildly, less than ideal

On the contrary, converting to digital is the only way to ensure you can perfectly reproduce the analogue signal.

If you are doing digital sampling above the Nyquist rate (right about double the sound's highest frequency), the digitizing process is provably perfect. What the ADC input picks up will be the exact same waveform the CD spits back out. It's math.

Digital media formats have error checking and correcting codes, which are not possible in the analogue realm. Analogue media just wears out imperceptible until it progressively becomes impossible to ignore.

Colonial Pipeline suffers server gremlins, says it's not due to another ransomware infection

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When software depends on a project thanklessly maintained by a random guy in Nebraska, is open source sustainable?

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But in practice, the reason you weren't developing it yourself in the first place is likely because you lack the ability to actually do so.

Unlikely. The #1 reason is because somebody is doing it (for free) for you already, so why put any time/effort/money into it when it needs none? When the project dies, that calculus changes.

Also, if you can't afford to fund a few modifications to an open source project, what are the chances you could have afforded the license cost for the proprietary version in the first place?

I know of MANY small companies that have gone out of business when a proprietary piece of software (which they relied on) changed its license terms or greatly increased the price. I can't think of ANY cases where an open source project being abandoned resulted in the same... When its open source you have so many options, where with proprietary software you have just the one choice.

Chinese rocket plunges into Indian Ocean, still lands sharp rebuke from NASA

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Landing in water?

no one could predict its exact destination, other than a 70 percent chance it would be in water

Thank goodness it didn't target my teacup while I was holding it.

Google will make you use two-step verification to login

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Actually intercepting someone's SMS messages can be done quickly, easy, and undetectably:


Telcos crammed 8.5m fake comments against net neutrality into FCC's inbox

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Re: Or, ya know, just issue people a government digital ID?

Schools typically issue student IDs to everyone, which are rather universally accepted as valid ID for minors.

Adults (old enough to drive) can get a cheap state photo ID without the driving test, typically through the same process, if desired.

Day 3 of the Apple vs Epic trial: What actually is an iPhone anyway?

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Re: This is supposed to go on for another three weeks, right?

So a keyboard is now two accessories?

No, that's just one. But if you're not holding the iPad, you probably need something to stand it up, too.

if you're going to be doing serious typing then a real keyboard is required, but that's the same on all devices.

Which is why all other devices include a keyboard.

as for the dumb terminal... what exactly are you connecting to?

Local/offline mode. Just echoes what you type to screen. Hit the Print Screen button to output it to the connected printer.

The idea is to have a low distraction environment. The WiFi was often switched off

That works well on a laptop, too. Also see typewriter and dumb terminal comment above.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: This is supposed to go on for another three weeks, right?

You can write text on an iPad? And you only need a couple accessories to do it? Wow! IOS is getting close to parity with typewriters and dumb terminals...

Yahoo! and! AOL! sold! for! $5bn! as! Verizon! abandons! media! empire! dreams!

rcxb Silver badge

“Verizon Media has done an incredible job turning the business around over the past two and a half years and the growth potential is enormous,” Hans Vestberg said in a statement.

When Verizon bought Yahoo in 2016, it had a search market share of about 3%. Now they're around 1.5%. That's an impressive turnaround, no question. Source: https://gs.statcounter.com/search-engine-market-share/all/worldwide/2016

With low numbers like that, there is certainly growth potential, but also death-spiral potential.

China launches first module of new, crewed, Tiangong-3 space station

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Re: Congrats to China

I'd recommend irradiation with strong alpha or beta emitters (instead of UV light) while the humans are elsewhere. Last I checked, Deinococcus is not harmful to people.

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Is "earthlings" children?

Only if dumplings are small dumps.

Earthlets is a more proper name for children.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: Congrats to China

the environment becomes so toxic, that it is cheaper to just replace it

As with cheap flats, you just need to open the windows to air it out for a bit.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: Congrats to China

The ISS doesn't have long left, it's likely to be decommissioned within 10 years

Perhaps China can get a good price on it... They certainly don't mind making copies. I know they won't take our used electronics any more, but maybe they can make an exception.

Maybe the next ISS will be made by Foxcomm.

Traffic lights, who needs 'em? Lucky Kentucky residents up in arms over first roundabout

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Build your own induction coil out of magnet wire and attach it to the bottom of your bike. Add some electrical load like a series of resistors or low-voltage LED. Very little weight, and will trigger the loop.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: Er ...

I'd expect that 99.99% of Texans would not have a clue where Reunion is on a map of the world.

That won't stop them from signing-up to invade it.

rcxb Silver badge

a Honda. Which evidently don't have enough metal in them to trigger the sensor

The trick is to stop at the light, then walk over to the sidewalk and push the pedestrian crossing button to get the light to change.

Shadow over Fedora 34 as maintainer of Java packages quits with some choice words for Red Hat and Eclipse

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Re: Not just Java

After a few 1TB venv's for a bunch of simple apps, you might start to question the logic of this deployment method. Not to mention the logistics of updating package X in every venv when you find out there's a vulnerability that needs patching.

I guess it's better than a docker container for /bin/true, but it's still pretty inefficient.

NASA’s getting really good at this flying a helicopter on Mars thing

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Do a barrel roll!


Sucks to be you, any aliens living anywhere near Proxima Centauri's record-smashing solar flare

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Re: move the Earth to a higher orbit,

Where would one place any kind of rocket to move the Earth to a higher orbit?

A gravity tractor may be the better way to go.

Either that or having everyone in Asia climb up on a chair and jump down all at the same time.

Could just shoot out a laser in the direction you want a boost.

But if you're determined to make it big rocket, near the equator is a good spot. Turn it on for 1/4 of the days when it'll push in roughly the correct direction, and stay off the rest of the time. Could put it on a huge barge and let it propel itself across the ocean to stay in the right orientation for much more of the day.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: Proxima Centauri is a glimpse of our own future

Being inside of the star's envelope might be a bigger problem

Last I heard, Earth's orbit orbit will expand, keeping it just beyond being consumed. That said, a hot rock stripped of all atmosphere and water won't be a place you'd enjoy going on holiday.

However, the only way we won't be able to figure out a gravity tractor to tow the Earth out to a wider orbit in a billion years is if we're gone by then... whether all turned to dust, or having found more enticing rocks to live on.

Toshiba rejects private equity buyout offer on grounds it was scarcely credible

rcxb Silver badge

Do buyouts ever work

Buyouts are strange.

Stockholders will only accept if they get a premium price above what the company already earns.

Companies also tout a buyout by a bigger company as being a fresh cash infusion that will allow them to "grow" quickly.

But buyers almost always make such purchase at least partially with loans. Saddling themselves with debt, unable to put the promised extra resources into the company. In fact, it usually goes the opposite way, with company assets sold off to try and reduce the debt load they've created.

Buyers are also on the hook with their stock-holders to show value from the merger. Both lead to aggressively cutting staff and spending on things like research that typically is what made the company viable over the long-term.

It seems like buyouts are a bad idea all around. But everybody goes into the deal thinking like a gambler who just has to keep raising the stakes, and is sure they're going to be the one to beat the odds.

Or else, the buyout is consolidation of market power, and just results in higher prices for customers to no benefit.

On a dusty red planet almost 290 million km away... NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter flies

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the first human-made helicopter to take flight on another planet.

I see we're leaving open the option of aliens, but not advanced ancient Atlanteans. Why is that?

Home office setup with built-in boiling water tap for tea and coffee without getting up is a monument to deskcess

rcxb Silver badge

Wrong way entirely

I can only imagine a boiling water tap being useful for the physically disabled. For the rest of us, being able to get up for a moment at a short break-point in the middle of whatever task is a bonus. Too easy to get stuck to your chair as it is.

Perhaps you can't do that during video calls, but seeing a conference participant reaching across, then steeping and mixing and stirring, doesn't look very professional, either. Perhaps it'll make for interesting Zoom videos on youtube, as we get to watch people bump the lever by accident and scald themselves.

And there's no tap for the milk, so does it really count as tea?

Fridges... in... Spaaaaaaace: Engineers book ride on the Vomit Comet to test astro-refrigerator

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Oh hello. Haven't heard much from you lately: Linux veteran Slackware rides again with a beta of version 15

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Benefits of Slackware

I'm quite fond of Slackware.

It seems to be the only Linux distro out there which includes the devel headers in every package. And why not, they're tiny? Yet all other Linux distros insist on keeping the devel headers away from users, imposing a massive barrier to entry on users who first decide to try compiling some software from source. No idea why that's so novel in the Linux world... All the BSDs include devel headers like Slackware.

And no dependency nonsense. If I compile some library from source, I can still install binaries that depend on it, without a ration of crap from the packaging system's dependency tracking. And the worst part? Those packaging systems won't bother to check and tell you when the contents of an installed package have been removed/corrupted/etc. They can find out with a single command, but they don't really care to keep track of your system, just a database that says X is installed, so you can go on your way. Bah!

I don't use Slackware anymore, just because if I've got to use Linux_X at work, it saves my brain so many cycles to use Linux_X at home, too. Slackware may be less of a hassle for me, but if I've got to put up with a set of hassles anyhow, I might as well limit myself to the one single set of them.

Slackware's style comes with some downsides, too, but it's a great system to learn Linux on, and I don't mean just install and blindly use it (ala Ubuntu), but to actually learn the gritty details of how Linux works.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: one of?

He didn't "the first" he said "the oldest".

SLS Linux is long dead. It never had a chance to get old. Ygdrasil predates Slackware too, but Slackware is still around, the others are not. It continues to set the record for oldest Linux distro every day it remains active.

What the FLoC? Browser makers queue up to decry Google's latest ad-targeting initiative as invasive tracking

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Re: "while websites and advertisers could opt in, users were not asked permission"

Even if it's not free, you're still the product being sold. Why would a company leave free money on the table?

OVH services still not fully restored as boss rates ongoing recovery efforts a 'real nightmare'

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Fire protection

It's almost as if it might be worthwhile to have proper fire protection in place. Because recovering after is very difficult and expensive.

United States' plan to beat China includes dominating tech standards groups – especially for 5G

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Re: Celebrities are the answer

But it has never been working harder/faster/longer/cheaper that put the US on top. It's typically been that US workers find ways to continually make their own jobs more efficient, instead of continuing to do everything the hard way. That kind of individual free-thinking isn't as a common or as strong of a trait in labourers from oppressive totalitarian nations.

rcxb Silver badge

Re: Many 5G patents are owned by a motley bunch

There is almost nothing that the US Gubbermint can do to stop China (or their representatives) from buying a few dozen of the NPE's (lawyers mostly) and holding the world to ransom.

Yours is a very strange suggestion, as:

1) It is the government that makes those patent laws in the first place, and which can make exceptions or rewrite the law wholesale when it stops suiting their interests.

2) If government representatives get on the boards of standards bodies as intended, they can start to introduce some anti-patent-troll rules, steering standardized technologies away from problematic/riskier methods.



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