* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1932 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

North Korea unveils its home-grown Netflix rival – Manbang

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Typical monolinguistic anglophone

Yeah, "meh" on the "manbang" being funny. I actually liked Samurai Champloo (from Manglobe studios) and didn't feel overly inclined to fall into paroxysms of laughter at the mention of either "loo" or "globe". But that's just me ...

Anyway, on a slightly different, but slightly related note, check out Chuck Norris vs. Communism. Best Romanian film I've ever seen. Hmmm... not meant to damn with faint praise ...

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Linux malware? That'll never happen. Ok, just this once then

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: How is this a Linux issue?

You fail English.

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Microbes that laugh at antibiotics: UK sinks £4.5m into China-Brit kill team

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "Super gonorrhea"????

Reminds me of the old joke "What do you give the man who has everything? Penicillin."

Kills 99.9% of bacteria. But they're not the ones I'm worried about ...

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Linux security backfires: Flaw lets hackers inject malware into downloads, disrupt Tor users, etc

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Won't you think of the children?

Numbers are all one syllable in most asian languages - easier to process

Well the exception proves the rule, I guess: 「一」の読みは「いち」です。

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Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

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Re: What a horrible waste of time and money

Alternately this is the only way

Surely you mean "alternatively", Shirley? (and yes, I did call you Shirley)

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Bill Gates cooks up poultry recipe for Africans' paltry existence

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: And they would have to sell the chickens to buy the food to feed them.

This also reminds me of one of the contributory factors in the great potato famines in Ireland. Smallholders lived off a subsistence diet of spuds while cash crops like grain were by and large exported.

Granted, in this case, the cash crop (chickens) are owned by the small farmers themselves rather than the landlords, but if your subsistence farming isn't going so well, those chickens are going to start looking mighty tasty. I won't be so churlish to point out the supply/demand side of things if suddenly everyone is selling chickens... (ok, I mentioned it)

It's a noble gesture at least, but I think you need to need to tackle both aspects (getting better/more reliable yields from subsistence farming and cash crops) at once.

Plus, how much research has gone into the particular breed of chicken being given out? I would hope that there's a pretty diverse selection (good, wide genetic pool) with particularly hardy breeds suited to the local conditions.

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In-flight movies via BYOD? Just what I always wan... argh no we’re all going to die!

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "never fails to amaze and appall"

This is a murcanism that I was not aware of. My apollogies.

(Incidentally, it has helped me fulfill my downvote quota for the month. Many thanks)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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"never fails to amaze and appall"

"The very fact that so much stuff in the digital age is bashed out poorly and left uncorrected indefinitely never fails to amaze and appall"

I guess that qualifies as a variation on McKean's law: when pointing out errors in other people's writing, you'll invariably make mistakes yourself.

To be fair, though, when I hit the "corrections" button on The Reg, the article usually does get updated.

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Unicode serves up bacon emoji

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@ John Tserkezis

Your objection has been unduly noted.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Surely the existing ≈ is close enough?

Nope. You want to be able to print these on bacon dispensers hand-driers, so the bacon warm air symbol needs to be pointing down.

(Egad! I guess if you look for long enough, everything ≈ ≈)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: They forgot one

> "REEEEETARDED"

Calm down, AC. I'm sure you'll get in next time.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Well done

Don't you mean "Salami Rushdie"?

/a-salami-ah-like-um

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As US court bans smart meter blueprints from public, sysadmin tells of fight for security info

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Bleh

Once you send a letter to someone, it's their property. Strike one against "Streisand"

Once the information in the letter has been released, you can assume the terrorists have it (skipping a few steps here) so suing because they might get it undermines your whole case. Strike two.

There's no legal framework that prevents you from proving yourself to be a blithering idiot, so I'm going to call this one "strike three, and you're out".

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Database admin banned from Oxford Street for upskirt filming

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"man in the crowd"

"with the multicoloured mirrors on his hob-nail boots..."

I was trying to remember the name of the Japanese film with a similar theme, then managed to find it with Google: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Exposure

Very funny film, in spite of (because of?) the perversion angle.

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Flying filers and Game of Thrones: Jon Snow? No, latency is dead

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Re: A Monster Calls

Is that the kids' book about the lens-grinder from Omsk?

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French authorities raid Google's Paris HQ over tax allegations

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財閥? (zaibatsu)

Isn't that like a Chaebol in Korea---a family run business? I think the right word is 'keiretsu' (系列).

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Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

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"Plus one has to calculate the current angle of the sun [etc.]"

Why? Every schoolboy can figure out how to steer the sun's reflection in a wristwatch so as to dazzle somebody. No calculations required.

All Archimedes' rig would need (I'm speculating) would be a smaller targeting mirror with a shorter focal length attached to the main mirror, along with a separate targeting reticule (I think it's called). Then targeting would just involve moving the rig until you have a line of sight from behind the targeting mirror, through the reticule (which would be lit up) to the ship beyond.

The real problem, as you mention, is the quality of the mirrors and their fixed focal length. You would need a fairly large number of these to set fire to a sail.

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The Sons of Kahn and the Witch of Wookey

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"Maketh My Teeth Hurt Just Reading This"

Baklava!

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Mads Torgersen and Dustin Campbell on the future of C#

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Functions returning multiple values.

Perl subs (and some builtins) have this too, via the ability to return a list. You can aid readability firstly by properly documenting the calling convention, but also by using constants to simulate enums. For example:

use strict;

use warnings;

use constant {

Dev => 0, Ino => 1, Mode => 2, Nlink =>3, Uid => 4, Gid => 5, Rdev => 6,

Size =>7, Atime => 8, Mtime => 9, Ctime => 10, Blksize => 11, Blocks => 7

};

print "This dir's mode is ", (stat ".")[Mode], "\n";

Of course, Perl is a pretty pathological language. You can even modify the type of thing returned (via something like wantarray) depending on the calling context. Loads of scope to shoot yourself in the foot.

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Chaps make working 6502 CPU by hand. Because why not?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Hat off. Beer raised.

It turns out I can still remember 6502 assembly op-codes...

I think I can only remember A9 (LDA, immediate mode?) and EA (NOP).

For shits and giggles, I tried to write a Hello World program without looking stuff up. Can't remember exact instructions and addressing modes, but I think it might go something like ...

SCREENBASE EQU XXX

TEXT DB "Qbrf vg jbex?"

DB 0

CLX ; (clear X?)

loop: LDA (TEXT,X) ; (do loads set flags? does this need Y-index addressing?)

JZ done

TAY ; (Y <- A?)

AND 0x20

PUSHA ; (remember case)

TYA

OR 0x20 ; (make lower-case)

CMPA 'a'

JLT fix_case ; (A < 'a'?)

CMPA 'z'

JLE rot

fix_case: POPY ; get back case bit

ORY ; (A <- A or Y?)

STA (SCREENBASE,X)

INX

JMP loop

rot: ADDA 13 ; (or just ADD 13?)

CMP A, 'z'

JLE fix_case

SUBA 26

JMP fix_case

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Destroying ransomware business models is not your job, so just pay up

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: in a way, but

Ransomware can also permeate into backup media

True, but keeping an eye on the backup process can help detect large deltas.

The way I do backups has been the same for many years:

  • Use Linux and ext* file system
  • increments start by making a hard-linked (cp -l) copy of previous snapshot
  • Use rsync or similar tool that only overwrites/transfers changed files
  • Similar arrangement for 2nd, 3rd generation backups

If something were to start encrypting files en masse, I would see it pretty soon, either in the rsync summary (being longer/larger than usual) or in the size of the increment as stored on the disk---after the backup, I calculate the delta size by counting files that only have a single hard link; these must be the changed files. Because hard-linking takes up relatively little space, I maintain these "snapshots" going back for quite a long time and only delete them manually, so that gives me a second chance to notice any damage and to roll back when it does happen.

I also use a hand-rolled file integrity system based on the same idea as the "shatag" tool. I will periodically update SHA256 hashes for all files and store them in the file system as extended attributes. I also collate these hashes across all machines and use the metadata to enforce a replication policy across multiple machines (or at least to verify that it's working). I've also got a separate scheme (using erasure codes to give a high level of redundancy with modest overheads) for cold/archival data.

One other thing I've toyed with is using the LVM snapshot facility. It could replace the hard-linking scheme I use to some degree. In this case, larger-than-expected deltas would overflow the copy-on-write buffer, alerting me to something strange/unusual via a message about a failed backup. I prefer the hard-linking scheme, though, since it's more permanent and gives better historical integrity. LVM's snapshot facility is perfect for backing up volumes with databases on them, though, since you get an atomic backup without needing to lock the database first.

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Raspberry Pi Zero gains a camera connector

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renaming?

It's not very "zero" if they're adding features. I propose renaming it Pi Epsilon.

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Art heist 'pranksters' sent down for six months

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smuggling paintings *into* gallery a better prank

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Cowen_nude_portraits_controversy

(Brian Cowen was the Irish Taoiseach/Prime Minister at the time)

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ZFS comes to Debian, thanks to licensing workaround

Frumious Bandersnatch
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did this solution

"emerge" in Gentoo first? The pun aside, I'm guessing that source-centric distros (Gentoo) probably don't have the particular licensing issue so long as you don't distribute the resultant binaries?

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Ooh missus, get a grip on my notifications

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "photos of my nob"

noun (cribbage) ...

But that would be "one for his (ie, the Jack's) nob(s)" (and two for his heels)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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"this is a horrible situation"

*chuckles*

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Super-slow RAID rebuilds: Gone in a flash?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: RAID5 no longer has a role with hard drives

Therefore you should be using big RAID sets, like 14+2.

But if you're going to be using such a large number of disks, it makes more sense to use an erasure code. I assume that 14 + 2 means that you have 16 disks and you can tolerate 2 failures.You might think that three near-simultaneous failures is going to happen infrequently enough that you can ignore it. I guess you've heard people talking about waiting ages for a bus and then two come at once. It's all based on the Poisson distribution: (independent) rare events can and do happen in clusters. You might say there's more chance of winning the lottery and being struck by lightning but things like that do happen

I found a calculator tool and it told me that in a 16-disk setup (16 x 5Tb), with 10Mb/s available for rebuilding, MTTF of 3 years and resupply time of 7 days (no hot spares), the chance of a data loss is 1/37.6 per year for a RAID 6 array.

A once-in-40-years chance might not sound too bad although that is only for one array. If you're in a data centre with 40 arrays, you can expect around one such failure per year.

Anyway, to actually get to the point, you use the Poisson distribution to calculate the likelihood that a certain number of independent disk failures won't happen in the window when you're rebuilding the system. The more disks you add, the higher the probability that these rare coincidences will happen. The best mitigation for this is to increase the redundancy level, so that if instead of a 14 +2 scheme, you used a 12 + 4 one (ie, an erasure code) you're (roughly) exponentially less likely to suffer from catastrophic failures.

Add in the fact that Poisson arrival rates are only an assumption, and that clusters of disk drive failures can happen more frequently than the model suggests (eg, bad batches from a single manufacturer), it makes even more sense to use an erasure code for arrays with many more disks than the standard raid setups (more than 4-8 disks).

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Rate this article: not the finest

whilst saying nothing about wtf erasure codes are

Also, the article mentions "RAID-vs-erasure code rebuild times" but doesn't examine them. Perhaps in a follow-up article? Erasure codes (like Cauchy-Reed-Solomon) are mathematically optimal (both in terms of bandwidth and storage space), so they will always be at least as good as the equivalent RAID scheme (with the same number of erasures).

I have another gripe about the maths in the article. When measuring overhead, surely it is the difference between raw capacity and usable capacity expressed as a fraction of usable capacity? Or, in other words, how much extra storage would I need to add to "raidify" my setup? That surely is the only sensible definition of "overhead".

Your first example (6 drives in RAID 5) has the correct overhead figure: for a usable capacity of 5 drives, add one more to make it RAID-5, which is an overhead of 1 drive in 5 or 20%.

You start going wrong from there. With 10 drives in RAID 5, the usable capacity is 9 drives, so the overhead is 1/9 or 11.111...

In the RAID 6 example, you say that a 4-disk system has overhead 50% when it's actually 100% overhead. RAID 6 tolerates 2 failures, so that's your original 2 disks + 2 for redundancy, with 2/2 = 1. Likewise for 10 drives in RAID 6. You have add 2 drives to raidify an 8-disk array, so the overhead is 2/8 = 12.5 (not 20%)

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We're calling it: World hits peak Namey McNameface

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Re: Pah!

MMmmm. I like Ruth Negga.

The Undertones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSdsTkqerOw

Happens all the time /

Its going to happen - happen - till your change your mind

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Pah!

HuBBuNZ uHLLuH TuhM was an Undertones song, no?

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Opera claims 50 per cent power savings with browser update

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"Firstly, cognitively you can't keep 200 items in the stack"

(TL;DR at the end)

I'm guilty of keeping hundreds of pages open at a time. Right now I have 4 windows with 214, 180, 158 and 102 tabs. In my defence, I'll say first that it's not a stack. It's more like a serialised/flattened tree (or actually, a forest). When I middle-click a link, the new tab opens next to the referring page so the flattened tree structure is maintained no matter how many pages I open.

Most of the pages that I have open relate to some particular search topic that I've been interested in following up on. The easiest way to do that is to speculatively click on a bunch of promising-looking results from a search engine, scan some pages and then either refine the search or drill deeper within existing search results or the sites that I've already opened.

I don't think that using bookmarks is a very good way for dealing with this kind of ephemeral collection of pages, although if the browser had a feature to bookmark (or pop out into a separate windows) a range of tabs, I would definitely use that. Instead, If I want to jump back into a particular search tree, I just go to the address bar and type some relevant keyword and use the "switch to tab" feature to find where I was when I went off to do something else. This is much easier and less work than using bookmarks or trawling through the history (which is basically unusable in Firefox) to try to recover the state of my search trees.

Every so often I do a sweep of open pages, starting from the most recent (rightmost) tabs. It's usually easy to spot a range of tabs and delete them all (individually; again, a "delete range" function would be brilliant) without needing to scan the contents. If I remember that there was something in that tree that I might want to come back to again, I'll find the best links and note them in some way (in a bookmark folder or in a wiki that I use for note-taking) and then close all the tabs. If I know that I haven't finished some search, I'll skip that range and deal with it in a second sweep.

So anyway, the TL;DR: if you have enough RAM to be able to keep loads of tabs open, it makes for a very easy and lazy way of keeping on top of tons of disparate islands or pockets of information that you're interested in. You probably want to scale back on doing this sort of thing on a work machine (find some other way of reminding yourself of things to check out later) but it's nice in the comfort of your own home.

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TalkTalk customers decide to StayStay after £3m in free upgrades

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Re: If Only...

And what the heck does "our learnings" mean, anyway?

It is an Internet Servings Providings company, after all.

(and no, just because gerunding (oo-er, missis) verbs can be done, it doesn't mean you should)

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Unicorn adopts rainbow as logo

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Re: Pedant

I missed my 10min edit window ...

Thinking about it a bit more, I think "fount" is more like a "wellspring", while "font" is more like a "repository". I think of wisdom as something more gained and accrued* than being a natural upwelling so a "font of wisdom" sounds more natural to me.

* “Good judgment [wisdom] comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Pedant

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fount

http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2013/08/poll-results/

I prefer font, but I don't think fount is wrong

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Compression tool 7-Zip pwned, pain flows to top security, software tools

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Re: so....

On *nix systems it should be easy to write a one-liner to search for all executables and use ldd to check what dynamically loaded libraries it depends on. I assume there's something similar to ldd on Windows. Problem with that is, I guess that people who develop Windows programs tend more towards using static linking. Maybe EXE explorer [link] can help there. The stackoverflow thread here suggests using the DUMPBIN program that comes with Visual Studio.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: So what action is required?

No, not privilege "escalation". I think you get it since you mention that a system process running it is worse than a regular user running the program interactively, but there is no escalation (just delete the word completely and your post makes sense).

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First successful Hyperloop test module hits 100mph in four seconds

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Re: Nonsense

So how exactly do you do a magnetohydrodynamic drive "properly", then? Turn the air in front into a plasma and eject it with a magnetic field (Lorentz, not Laplace, I assume)? Sounds totally impractical to me.

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Italians rattle little tin for smartmobe mini lenses

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Re: Sounds like geckos' feet

Gecko feet exploit the van der Waals force. As far as I can tell this is different from an electrostatic force as mentioned in the article. This looks to be more like how vinyl "L" plates for sticking inside car windows can stick to the glass without adhesive. I *think* that's an example of electrostatic attraction, at any rate.

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At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

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Re: At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

re: Give me a waterfall any day

I'd rather have something more like Barry Boehm's Spiral model. Make risk management part of the culture and try to tackle the biggest risks first. Like maybe, you know, in this case they could have thought "let's try to pin down requirements because right now we really don't have a clue."

In theory, I guess Agile is supposed to be some sort of successor to the Spiral model, but as someone else mentioned, it just ends up with lots of little waterfalls and no overriding sense of direction. It seems that some sort of magic is supposed to happen because "tools" or "teams" or "continuous delivery" or whatever. So much (under)pants (gnomes), I say!

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French duck-crushing device sells for €40k

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Re: Absolutely horrendous...

no Ortolan ...

but sounds quite like cuy chactado (squashed and fried guinea pig, as already featured as a post-pub deathnosh).

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Spaniard live streams 195km/h burn-up

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C'était un Rendezvous by Claude Lelouch - YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvDXlDxMnb4

At least Lelouch had a spotter with a 2-way radio to guide him through the worst part, but still a pretty crazy and irresponsible thing to do.

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Did Spotify hire Alan Partridge to run its Netflix-style video push?

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Cheesoid

On the hunt for the storm petrel.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Have I got drugs for you?

Following the lives of patients involved in double-blind clinical trials of new drugs. The spin is that we never know which ones are getting the placebo or which side effects are psychosomatic. Ha-HA!

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Sic transit Mercury Monday

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Re: Why the fuss?

Call me blasé, but what is all the hype with this event?

Maybe astronomers have a soft spot for Mercury transits since they were a key support for Einstein's theory of relativity? The thoughts of overthrowing the older Newtonian hegemony probably makes them a bit nostalgic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity#Perihelion_precession_of_Mercury

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Brit polar vessel christened RRS Sir David Attenborough

Frumious Bandersnatch
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The only way that could be worse is if a huge manatee was involved.

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UK govt admits it pulled 10-year file-sharing jail sentence out of its arse

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Re: Alice...

I think she had a restaurant ...

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: So is anyone going to be held to account?

has played footless and fancy free

It's "footloose". DJ Food explains the difference at the end of The Ageing Young Rebel (Gentle Cruelty).

(posted more so I can share the link than to chide you for an easy mistake)

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