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* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1295 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

Anatomy of a 22-year-old X Window bug: Get root with newly uncovered flaw

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Desktop...

X11 only has any use if you're using a unix system as a workstation, which is actually pretty rare... Most unix systems are used as embedded devices or servers, and are unlikely to be running X11.

Also, how would an unprivileged user introduce an arbitrary BDF font to the X11 server?

This isn't quite true. Don't forget that one aspect of the X Window system is that it provides a networked client/server architecture. You talk about embedded systems. I have several Pis and other similar systems that I don't run an X display on, yet I still run X applications on the embedded device (eg, AVR programmer) by using 'ssh -X' and have the apps displayed on my workstation.

I don't know enough about the architecture of X (in terms of whether fonts are local to the client or server side, or whether there's a privileged process at work on the client side when I use 'ssh -X', though probably not) to be able to say, but it looks like the insecurity would also be there if I'm running remote X applications too. As to introducing arbitrary fonts, I'm pretty sure that the font doesn't even have to exist on the system: it seems like all the attacker has to do is to present a specially-crafted filename, and the sscanf will smash the stack before the routine ever gets to checking whether the file actually exists or not...

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: ALl of that could be avoided with proper sub-functions (smiles for the 'goto')

'break' and 'continue' are both essentially unconditional branches

Actually, your example is wrong, assuming you're telling us to put a break statement somewhere in an if ... else block. They don't break out of if() statements... only loop or switch constructs.

That aside, the point I really wanted to make is that break/continue in C are really limited since they only jump out of the nearest enclosing loop/switch. Unlike Perl (where the next/last keywords can take a label to indicate which loop to jump out of), there's no way to use them to quickly exit several nesting levels. That's one of the reasons why C has goto and, IMO, it's perfectly acceptable at times. The alternative of setting up a temporary "want to exit" variable in each loop level is just too messy, error prone and, at times, inefficient.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: It looks like NO ONE ever audited X Windows

given my ubuntu machine has 337 ttf fonts and 0 bdf fonts, I wouldn't worry too much...

Eh, you should worry. Just because you don't have any bdf fonts, it doesn't mean that the buggy interface for loading them isn't there. As the article said, it triggers "when reading a user-provided specially crafted font". Any user program that's talking to the X server can then use it for privilege escalation, and that's a really bad thing.

Besides, just because you didn't find any bdf files, it doesn't mean that your system isn't already rooted. An attacker can delete the temporary bdf file after running an exploit. In fact, the code looks like it doesn't even care whether the supplied filename even exists (and in fact, it won't), so your blithe dismissal is even more stupid.

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Undeterred by Snapchat's snafus, upstart Confide punts self-destruct selfies

Frumious Bandersnatch
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nothing is private

Unless it is truly "se offendendo"... it cannot be else.

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Linksys's über-hackable WRT wireless router REBORN with 802.11ac

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RE: Dual core 1.5 ARM is nice and probably explains the price hike

I hardly think so. Look at all the other products that use ARM SoC. Off the top of my head, there are systems like Raspberry Pi, MK808, ODROID, Beaglebone Black and huge numbers of cheap Chinese Android phones and tablets. Many of them have dual core or better. Granted, the engineering work needed to add high-speed networking to the system (and fab the chips) is going to make it more expensive than most of these options, but the basic ARM CPU/SoC certainly doesn't explain the high price. To me it looks like they're charging an enormous premium based solely on the reputation the original 54g line had as being hacker-friendly. This isn't the first time that this has happened: at one point in the evolution of the product, they brought out a new revision that actually had less memory than the existing models. Then they reissued it as WRT54GL, and justified charging the same (or more) for it just because it had an 'L' (for Linux) at the end of the model name.

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Dusty old supernova could reveal answer to life, the universe and EVERYTHING

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: A question for the astronomers

Out of curiosity, what stops all that new founded dust coalescing into another Star on the same spot? 

In a word, fusion. IIRC, the reason the sun went nova in the first place is that it ran out of hydrogen and (?) then helium. Then it reached a point where neutron pressure from the core (a byproduct of fusion) became insufficient to stop the sun from collapsing on itself, which in turn triggered the nova.

So even if you gathered up all the relatively heavy elements that the nova produced, there wouldn't be enough hydrogen left to trigger star formation again.

Also, consider that a lot of the mass that the nova sheds will be traveling at a significant fraction of c and will have been spread over distances measured in light years in short order (in the cosmological time scale) and it should be pretty clear that gravity (the weakest force) will probably not be enough to cause the matter to coalesce again before the death of the universe anyway...

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Naked Aussie gets wedged in washing machine

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Bonsai Aussie?

He did know that Bonsai Kitten was a hoax, right?

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'BILLION-YEAR DISK' to help FUTURE LIFEFORMS study us

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Since when does digital data need a permanent medium in the ranges of millions of years?

what can only be described as 'mostly porn'.......

With the remainder being Rick Astley videos. Or cats.

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Microsoft tries to trademark 'Mod' in the US

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Re: Quadrophenia!

Cool, all we need now is a Linux distro called 'Rockers' and we can have Mods vs Rockers!

But they'd probably get sued by the Rockstar consortium.

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Seoul-blackening disappointment for Samsung backers as stock droops

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Re: *sigh* white people....

although I imagine that this sloppiness was in part due to the rather poor attempt to tie in hot won ton soup and the Korean currency, the "won"??

My guess is that they couldn't come up with a pun involving kimchi (or, like myself) didn't know that gomtang was a traditional Korean soup.

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Gay hero super-boffin Turing 'may have been murdered by MI5'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Security Risks

"...witches..?"

John Dee was an occultist (which might qualify him as a witch in the broadest terms) who advised QE1. May not have been who the OP had in mind, but the facts fit.

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Gift-giving gotchas: How to avoid Xmas morning EMBARRASSMENT

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Rechargables

Now factor in the inconvenience of the ones that you think are charged and are in fact dead, and the need to establish whether the appliance is at fault, the battery, or the charger, and you start to see the rationale breaking down even more quickly than the bl00dy batteries themselves.

Harsh. I think you should invest in a multi-meter. Just check the voltage and you're done--no need to have elevated stress levels over dumb electronics.

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The Pirate Bay changes domain again … TWICE!

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: The life aquatic

You could have got some submarine references in there too.

I think they did, only they ... er ... went under your head.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Set sail for Argentina

.Ar!

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Gran Turismo 6: Another glossy, gorgeous Mario Kart on steroids

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Snore...

yet another boring sequel/spinoff

Racing game ... spin-off ... I see what you did there. Nice :)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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waltz-win in first car: a Honda (yes, really)

Eh, what model of Honda? I wouldn't be surprised if any of the type R family waltzed to a win in the early races.

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Go on, buy Bitcoin. But DON'T say we didn't WARN YOU

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Tulips ! @ Jonathan 29

Then again I must say, how long can tulips stay in shape until they rot and become worthless?

Notwithstanding the post above casting doubt on whether "tulip mania" was a real thing or not, apparently it wasn't about speculating on the value of particular tulips (which will rot, as you say) but a bet on the futures market-how much a particular genetic line might be worth... though again with the caveat that predicting whether a particular line will produce interesting (read "valuable") blooms is notoriously difficult.

As for Bitcoin, it does seem to have all the classic hallmarks of a bubble, but a halving of value does, paradoxically, make it more attractive right now...

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Tube be or not tube be: Apple’s CYLINDRICAL Mac Pro is out tomorrow

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: How long before...

An up vote from me, since the Samsung Xerox fanbois have down voted you a couple of times.

Eh, you do realise that it was Apple that copied their UI from Xerox Parc, don't you? If not, you picked exactly the wrong choice of words for your put-down.

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Microsoft now using next-gen Roslyn C#, Visual Basic compilers in house

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: re: Several minus points to MS for the term "dogfooding".

So to clear this up... people can eat dog food?

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: Several minus points to MS for the term "dogfooding".

Gertz wrote. "In fact, the daily builds of VS are now compiled using Roslyn, all as part of a process that we refer to in the biz as 'dogfooding.'"

My immediate reaction was to search the web to discover if humans can actually eat dog food. Probably not the kind of interest the comment was meant to inspire. Oh yes, I'll also throw him some demerits for verbing an arbitrary noun.

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Brilliant Brit bloke builds breakfast-belching BACON DRONE

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: So...

Why didn't I get breakfast delivered this morning?

Why didn't I get any soup?

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Apple fanbois warned: No, Cupertino HASN'T built a Bitcoin mining function into Macs

Frumious Bandersnatch
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:(){ :|: & };:

That is all. :-)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: rm -rf /*

Or maybe 'dd | ar win | sudo tee /boot/kernel.img'? Too subtle/meta?

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Linux Voice journos hit crowdfunding target

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Linux

is for queers. Seriously, is any still using this?

Yes it is. The thing you forget is that it's also for straight people. It doesn't discriminate. Isn't the GPL fabulous?

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Fiendish CryptoLocker ransomware survives hacktivists' takedown

Frumious Bandersnatch
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RE: Essentially Bitcoin circumvents the tax man, Accountancy

No, it doesn't. No more than using paper/plastic money, at any rate. (Value-Added/Sales) Tax laws work because the seller acts as the tax collector. They have to keep records of what they buy, what they sell and the prices they sell the items at. They're then liable for collecting the sales tax or VAT from the customer and paying it back to the taxman (or offsetting it against their tax deductibles to get a balance that they must pay). Bitcoin has absolutely nothing to do with this. Dishonest traders will fiddle the books (putting in false sale value, for example, or just writing off stock) regardless of whether customers are paying in cash or for barter value (like Bitcoin is).

As for following the money: that's what a business's set of accounts are for. Again, it has nothing to do with Bitcoin. Paper money is just as "untraceable", yet you never hear people complaining that it allows for anonymous transactions!

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Facebook offshores HUGE WAD OF CASH to Caymans - via Ireland

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Only reason

Paraphrasing from Evita here.

I would have started with Monty Python:

It's fun to charter an accountant

And sail the wide accountan-sea

To hide, obscure the funds offshore

And skirt the shoals of bankruptcy...

...

It's all tax-decuctible

(we're fairly incorruptible)

We're sailing on the wide accountan-sea

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Microsoft researchers build 'smart bra' to stop women's stress eating

Frumious Bandersnatch
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It may be comfortable

But will it overheat and/or catch fire at inopportune times? If there's one thing that The IT Crowd taught me it's that geeks and bras don't mix.

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Desperate MS flaunts UNDEAD SPLAT TALLY to pep Xbox One fans

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: It was to be expected...

because, ummm, they weren't smart enough to spot the benefits and they're all just living in the past and one day they'll realise that they were wrong and, anyway, it's not Microsoft's fault if the public is so backwards.

You make a very cogent case. I can see why you think people are idiots. Giving up your privacy for all those XB1 features is totally worth it.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: All tech specs and religious tendencies aside...

The first gen device was the Atari 2600... Did Atari over promise and under deliver?

Absolutely. It was crap for phone phreaking. Very misleading product name.

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Bluetooth Smart to tap IPv6-powered Internet of Things after 4.1 upgrade

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Oops - I guess they weren't paying attention

It would have been nice if the 802.5.14 folks had engaged a few years ago when the IETF and IEEE were standardizing all of this stuff. From the Wikipedia article:

The requirements for membership in the ZigBee Alliance causes problems for Free Software developers because the annual fee conflicts with the GNU General Public Licence.[13] The requirement for the developer to join the ZigBee Alliance similarly conflicts with most other free software licenses.[14]

The ZigBee Alliance board has been asked to make their license compatible with GPL, but the ZigBee board refused. The refusal came, even though Bluetooth had already changed their license to make it compatible with GPL. Linux developers seem ready to abandon ZigBee, and use TCP/IP instead

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'Copyrighted' Java APIs deserve same protection as HARRY POTTER, Oracle tells court

Frumious Bandersnatch
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But then ...

By Oracle's logic, wouldn't Java's "interface" keyword be illegal, since it can allow objects to masquerade as someone else's proprietary interface? The language allows what it allows.

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MINING in SPAAAACE! Asteroid-scoopers? Nah - consumers will be the real winners

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: The Wild-West days are here again

What the hell is a DEW? As Stanley Kubrick might have said when shooting 2001, "throw us a bone here."

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UK.gov's web filtering mission creep: Now it plans to block 'extremist' websites

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Nanny state.

How far will they go with this liberty stripping?

We wish to inform you that your post has been deleted due to offensive content (pornographic language or imagery damaging to minors). If you believe this to be an error, please contact your local police station. To facilitate speedy resolution, please bring with you a list of all potentially illegal sites which you may have accessed in the previous month.

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Google in Dutch: Privacy changes BREAK data law, says Netherlands

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Very interesting!

On one hand, the responsibility technically is on the user to actually read and accept the terms before clicking on the button

Is it really? I can see that if you're paying for something online, the agreement constitutes a sales contract, but I can't see how using a free service with a boilerplate list of terms and conditions legally binds you to a contract. As far as I know, these click-through EULAs have never been tested in court simply because nobody believes they have any legal basis in contract law.

Of course, IANAL, so I stand to be corrected on this.

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Exciting new BRAZILIAN PUSSY FINGERED by overjoyed boffins

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Best headline ever!

Period.

Maybe come back later in the month...

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Boffins release 44-MEEELLION-star Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Frumious Bandersnatch
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about 250,000 objects changed brightness significantly over the 1949-2008 span of the surveys

So I guess that by using Little's result and quantifying what "significant" means, you can calculate the average age of all the stars surveyed? Or can we know only the star formation rate or average lifespan, but not both (in isolation)? Seems fascinating either way.

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Happy Thanksgiving, Apple. Now how about THREE more patent legal battles for dessert?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Mushroom

Re: East Texas?

Loathe though I am to regurgitate an over-used quote, I can't quite help myself: I say we take off and nuke the entire state from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

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Rare BLOWJOB-GIVING APES 'face extinction from interacting with HUMANS'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Paris Hilton

Re: Things you wish you didn't know

Female bonobos rub their clitorises together rapidly for ten to twenty seconds

LESBIAN BONOBOS!

I think I have to lie down now.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Humans routinely perform fellatio?

Reminds me of that joke that was doing the rounds a (long) while back..

Neill Armstrong was once asked why, after landing on the moon and finishing up his historic "one great leap" speech, he finished up his report with a hearty "Good Luck Mr. Gorsky!". A reporter asked him about it once, and after a slight pause, Armstrong recounted the story to him. As a child, he used to live next door to a Jewish couple. One day, while he was playing in the yard, he could hear the neighbours arguing loudly. All he could hear was Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, "Oral sex? Oral sex you want? You'll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"

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Adorable, much-loved SEAHORSES are VICIOUS SLURPING KILLERS

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Isn't nature amazing?

They've got nothing on supercavitating mantis shrimp, imo. But yeah, nature again.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: No video?

It's not funny any more.

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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People often don't think of seahorses as amazing predators

Me too. I don't think of them as amazing predators. Often.

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'MacGyver' geezer makes 'SHOTGUN, GRENADE' from airport shop tat

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: A thought experiment

And make sure the fucker's empty, or at least the contents are not pressurised, or the flying glass shards could spell very bad news for you.

The 2009 Ig Nobel peace prize was given for research that is eerily similar:

http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2009

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Schmidt: Social networks will FREE THE PEOPLE of China

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Hooray for social networks!

Unicorns and pixie dust for everyone!

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Samsung and HTC face Android 3D graphics test chart removal SHAME

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Naughty Naughty, Very naughty

Got any Salmon?

<blatant rugs reference>No, but I've got some underlay</>

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NSA-busting secure, open, router seeks cash and code from crowd

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Make the NSA illegal

But the who's going to protect the US president and stop people counterfeiting dollars? (OK, so they may have strayed somewhat from their original remit).

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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screw the tor side

With those specs, it could be a rather good successor to the ageing WRT54G router, at least provided it had wireless n or ac.

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Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Coat

Re: Could be a lot worse

I would consider it to be the Anti-bacon

Would you eat it with Anti-pasta, then?

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Could be a lot worse

What's wrong with polenta?

It's got pretty poor nutritional value (eg "While polenta contains numerous vitamins and minerals, it is not classified as a good source for any of them"). It was basically peasant food, the Italian equivalent of potatoes in 1800's Ireland.

Personally, I can't see why people eat it. Buttermilk cornbread (also made from maize), on the other hand ... delicious.

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Leaked MS ad video parodies Chrome as surveillance tech

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Is this News?

Maybe all these sites reporting on it should change the headline to fit: "Nobody notices MS viral video for six months (slow news day brouhaha)"

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