* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1330 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

Acer's new Haswell all-flash Chromebooks sip power for less than $200

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Overpriced

Chromebooks, phones, glasses, watches ... what's next - wifi tatoos ?

Haven't you heard? Wifi tattoos are so last week (give or take a day or two).

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Pwn2Own crackers leave iOS and Samsung mobe security IN RUINS

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Re: Factor installed software

The newer versions are still Java on top of Linux. Trying to keep that secure is like trying to secure water with a sieve and a cheese grater....

So, you're saying it's easy, then? (hint: freeze the water first)

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Is it all up for LANDFILL ANDROID? BEHOLD, the Moto G

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Re: Confusing

Well actually, there was a rumour going around a while back that a certain Sam Sung was working for Apple. I don't know if it was ever properly confirmed/denied.

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New Retina iPad Mini not sold out HOURS after launch - world REELS

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Re: You missed the step

about as statistically reliable as a glass sandwich is edible.

Sorry. I couldn't resist the urge to dig up this link.

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New wonder slab slurps Wi-Fi, converts it into juice for gadgets, boast boffins

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Re: Watch out there's a lawyer about

prosecute someone with solar panels on their roof

Just goes to show what a scam electricity generation is. You know those electrons the electric companies supply on one wire? They suck them back to their plant on the other wire! (then sell them back to you again--the cheek!)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Don't cancel that new nuclear power station just yet.

You'd be better off with a coil of wire around your hat generating power as you move through earth's magnetic field.

Yoink. I'm off to the patent office to register my new "power-generating cycle helmet". Ta muchly.

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Snowden: Hey fellow NSA worker, mind if I copy your PASSWORD?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"they've got their digital fingers in the till"

Whaddya mean, "digital" fingers? Fingers are digits, you numpty :)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: And this is security?

Wonder Woman's lasso of truth (or whatever it's called--actually that was a lucky guess) is more believable. Bizarrely enough, the same guy who invented that also contributed to the invention of the polygraph.

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KRAKOOM! iPad Air EXPLODES in FIREBALL, terrified fanbois FLEE Apple store

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saw a "burst of flames" shoot out of the iPad's charging port

Thunderbolt and lightning---very, very frightening!

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Brit spymasters: Cheers, Snowden. Terrorists are overhauling their comms

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Another DEVASTATING Chelyabinsk METEOR STRIKE: '7x as likely' as thought

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Instant climate change

Time to "dust off" Wilhelm Reich's machine, maybe? You've probably heard about it: Kate Bush wrote a rather excellent song about it

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You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Image hash database

Is this publicly available so that sysadmins can run preventative measures?

You don't need it. Just put a few junk bytes at the end of your files. Should work. Unless they do block-level hashing, of course.

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Brazil makes it official: Gov email must be state-run and on-premises

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "NSA's influence waxes"

Wanes, surely?

Or is that what THEY want us to think?

Wanes? Glad to hear someone's thinking of them.

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We've invented the FONBLET, says Samsung

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: trouser pockets

Is it time for the thigh pocket ('sadlebag') to escape

I think they're called "cargo pants".

I'll chip in with a previous poster and mention that my Nexus 7 fits in my front jeans pocket just fine.

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OK, maths wonks: PRIME TIME has arrived

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Not prime, but...

Since we seem to have a lot of number-loving commentards (numeritards?) today

Or, as Moss from the IT crowd put it in the Countdown episode: "overnumerousness".

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Unix time

Has prime number dates all the time: Since π(x) ~= x / ln x, just plug in Unix time (seconds since 1 Jan 1970) for midnight today and midnight tomorrow and subtract the two π(x) values. There are thousands of prime times each day.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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What integer is it divisible by, other than one, and itself?

To use the lingo, being divisible by no other number except 1 and itself is necessary but not sufficient to describe what a prime number is.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: It is a lot more complicated than that.

Ha. Patenting the number is nothing. The US took crazy one step further by decreeing a prime (4856...[over 1,000 digits elided]...9443) illegal.

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SCIENCE and RELIGION AGREE! LIFE and Man ARE from CLAY

Frumious Bandersnatch
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So

I can haz golem now?

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Anonymous hacktivists' Million Mask March protest hits London

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the police's failed kettling attempt

maybe anyone with tea leaves

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: "revolutions are bloody affairs"

Not always. See the Carnation revolution for one. Granted, I do agree with you about the opportunists ...

"There goes the mob... I must follow them, for I am their leader."

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Microsoft's Windows Azure Plan B: A hard drive, a courier and a data-centre monkey

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why not extrapoloate?

If it's so efficient to upload by physically shifting disks around from place to place, why not go the whole hog and implement this "cloud" thing like a mobile library? I'm sure customers would appreciate the extra bandwidth, and if the disks are large enough, any latency issues (waiting for the van to arrive) can be ignored because it'll still get to you before a full download would finish.

I think these tech companies are doing things wrong.

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Horrific FLESH-EATING PLATYPUS once terrorised Australia

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Platypi eat crustaceans and shellfish...

re:... a proto-platypus with a Koala in its mouth!

Or perhaps a drop bear?

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Watch out, MARTIANS: 1.3 tonne INDIAN ROBOT is on its way

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Martian Robot Wars

It should be fun when it arrives on Mars and finds out where the US bots are located. I'm sure that a 1-tonne, six-armed golden giant of a bot will make quick work of the pathetically puny, trowel-wielding US bots. Any news on whether Craig Charles will be commentating? If he's not available, David Lamb would do in a pinch.

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Galaxy is CRAMMED with EARTH-LIKE WORLDS – also ALIENS (probably)

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Billions and billions

Hmm... now that you mention it, I've got Orbital's "Are We Here?" in my head(*). Not that that's a bad thing :)

(*includes Carl Sagan samples, I think)

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Facebook fans fuel FAGGOT FURY firestorm

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I was once told

That the Spanish for "I see the sea" sounds like a pretty bad curse in Finnish. Maybe I misremembered cos the Internet tells me that the Finnish "Katso merta" means something disgusting in Italian.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: 'Twas ever thus

Yep, 'smoking a fag' is apparently also a euphemism for performing oral sex on a homosexual man's phallus. Cue red faces all round.

And yet talk about people's fannies is totally socially acceptable over there...

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Crypto boffins propose replacing certification authorities with ... Bitcoin?

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Re: 'Nuff Said

So (IIUC) with this system in place we could prove that all messages supposedly coming from "Frumious Bandersnatch" do come from you, but not who you are?

In a nutshell, yes. The big difference in the paper is that the network provides a decentralised identity system, unlike here, where the "Frumious Bandersnatch" nym is controlled totally by the Register (well, and me).

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: 'Nuff Said

Is that enough for you?

Let's not confuse anonymity with pseudonimity. The paper describes a method for building the latter upon a network that assume the former as a building block.

There are two routes to proving "identity" (ie, ownership of a particular pseudonym) as outlined/mentioned in the paper. The first is through ZK proofs. Using this, you come up with a secret and then convince some other party (the ZK proof part) that you know the secret or some property of it. When the paper talks about "identity", it's talking about a pseudonym, and when it talks about an "authority" it's talking about something that's acting as your delegate in proving that you own that nym (via a credential that you issue). ZK proofs mean that you can prove that you know the secret key, but never reveal any knowledge that could be used to reconstruct it.

The second kind of identity is group identity. You can prove that you're a member of a group by using one-way accumulators. A CA will generate an accumulator (like a hash table, but more compact and opaque) for each member of the group. Then each member can use that to identify themselves as being part of the group without revealing the other group members. This preserves the essential anonymity of the group (even to other members, though the CA knows the signing keys), while still allowing nym-to-nym self-recognition (and even proving membership to non-members).

It's pretty amazing the things that can be done these days with the crypto primitives we have. It's totally possible to set up an identity (read: pseudonym) system that is totally (well, computationally, to any degree you want) anonymous. That's why I called you out on your initial comment.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: analogy fail? (@ Frumious Bandersnatch)

But that's just chicken and egg reasoning. It doesn't demonstrate any intrinsic value proposition for non-members. It's like saying, "if you have a fax machine, you can fax other people who have fax machines". If the network isn't there (or is shrinking, as I assume is the case for fax users) then there's no point in joining it. At least Bitcoin does have a clear value proposition (you might convert electricity into cash).

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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analogy fail?

The sole reason that Bitcoin works is that peers have a vested interest (money) in doing one of two things: minting new coins, and proving that the ledger is correct. There's a delicate balance struck between regular users and those with vastly more computational power available to them. Bitcoin is structured in such a way that it's more likely that the latter can gain more virtual currency by playing by the same rules as the regular users rather than trying to subvert the system. This leads to the question of how a distributed identity system like this one is going to convince users that it's in their own interest to be "provers" in this system. For Bitcoin (and similar) the answer is obviously monetary, but the paper makes no mention of compensating peers at all.

The paper describes all the machinery, but completely misses out on the reason why anyone would want to devote their resources (CPU, network, electricity) to implementing it.

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Re: 'Nuff Said

"to make assertions about identity in a fully anonymous fashion"

No, please do say more. You do realise how zero-knowledge proofs work? Or algorithms like Dining Cryptographers? Just because people hide behind masks it doesn't mean they can't make true statements (statements about identity included).

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Could Doctor Who really bump into human space dwellers?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Time delays are the major difficulty

Perhaps instead of linear video logs, they could use "choose your own adventure" style updates? The sender would try to anticipate the kinds of questions and scenarios that the nauts might have, then package up all the data into something like an Infocom or SCUMM format for playback in a non-linear way up on the ship. They could also have Max Headroom-style virtual actor software (complete with tunable voice synthesis a la Hatsune Miku) sent up with them, so that the nauts could interact with something that looks and sounds something like the people back home (all without wasting valuable transmission bandwidth).

The CYOA games that they send up might have a bit of replay value, too, and would give people a bit of entertainment value (both watching/playing and crafting their own modules to be sent back) for the long journey.

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Fiery bits of Euro satellite to rain down on Earth this weekend

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Ohhhh, The Irony... (x2)

Not only that, but they don't even know where their gravity experiment will land... would have thought the equations were well known at this point.

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Dead PC market? In the UK? NEVER

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like a dead mule?

"Beaten(*) like a borrowed donkey" was the phrase that sprang into my mind.

* By netbooks tablets, obviously, though that sense of "beaten" kind of ruins the analogy.

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Crypto protocols mostly crocked says euro infosec think-tank ENISA

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SHA-2... So which is it? Stick with it or sutible only for legacy applications?

SHA-2 is a family of hash functions. See Michael's post above.

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Windows Azure Compute cloud goes TITSUP PLANET-WIDE

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Re: Blue Sky of Death?

No Cloud for You!

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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So how many people

are going to get the Bob Dylan reference?

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DON'T BREW THAT CUPPA! Your kettle could be a SPAMBOT

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I'll stick with the Russkis. Not all of their urns are spies... only samovar.

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The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: In The Spirit Of European Education

Fwiw, Wirth's Algorithms + Data Structures is now legitimately available for free download

Coincidentally enough, I was thinking of this very book the other day when I made a post here. Then again, I suppose that the classics (esp. Knuth's TAoCP) are never too far from many programmers' minds.

Now if I could only find my copy of Jon Bentley's "More Programming Pearls" ...

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Happy

Re: In The Spirit Of European Education

Prolog would be much better. Better than that Yankee Lisp thing, anyway.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: HDMI not compulsory

Want a switch instead of pulling the micro plug out of the RPi? Easy

Use a paperclip or other bit of wire to short the holes at P6. This reset mechanism was added in rev 2 boards, so it can be used to avoid some wear and tear on the USB power socket.

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Calxeda unsheathes Midway ARM server steel to split Intel's Atom

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Seems a bit thirsty

The ODROID-XU has a very similar setup (also a 1.8GHz A7/A15 combo, though running in big.LITTLE mode), but it seems to only draw about 4 to 5 watts when fully loaded. I guess that the 100Gb network, extra RAM (assuming Calxeda's boards have more than 2Gb) and other peripheral devices (versus XU's USB3 + fan) could account for some of that, but 4x power consumption seems a lot.

Still, 20W is still most excellent for servers, and by the looks of it, they've still got room to bring that down either in the forthcoming board or the next one after that...

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NSA.gov goes down after ‘error during scheduled update’

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blaming it on sysadmins?

what sysadmins?

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Coding: 'suitable for exceptionally dull weirdos'

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algorithms before algebra?

Why not?

Basically, what is an algorithm, besides a series of self-contained logical steps, including the idea of decision points (conditionals) and looping? Leaving aside other practical issues like input/output and variables or data structures, that boils down to only three very simple concepts, which should be very easy to teach and demonstrate, whether it's with flowcharts, traditional programming languages, or hybrid pedagogic languages like Squeak.

Even these simple concepts don't have to be introduced formally and all at once. Lesson plans can be structured in such a way that kids are learning these concepts before they even see a flowchart or whatever. Take something like teaching them about quotients and remainders by repeated division (which can be taught with physical props or analogies, such as a string on a spool). You can gauge their grasp of the concepts by asking them simple questions like "what's our next step here", "are we finished yet", "how many times did we wind the string", "how much string is on the spool", "how long is the rest of it", and so on. Later, you can ask the same questions in the context of a simple flowchart and show that the two approaches are identical.

If kids had a basic idea of what an algorithm is in these terms, who's to say that it's not going to make it easier for them to get a handle on what's going on when they come to study algebra? Many topics in algebra have natural algorithmic counterparts. For example: positional number systems (dealing with carries, doing long multiplication/division), solving simultaneous equations (with matrices and Gaussian elimination), affine transformations (possibly using iterated function systems as a fun diversion), solving single equations (Newton's method, or simply using a computer program to graph the equation; also Logo-like languages and tools--like DrGeo, for example--in general are a handy tool for learning trigonometry), symbolic calculus (though I think that Prolog-like languages might be a bit too advanced) and so on. This may not suit everybody, but I think that at least giving kids the basic tools, and tailoring the teaching methods that work best for different groups of students, you're much more likely to get students to understand maths and algebra and get much better results as a consequence. At least a multi-stranded approach has more of a chance to engage kids' imagination and critical faculties.

/€0.02

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Cash-strapped students hungrily eye up old, unloved racks

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: I'd definitely go used.

There is so much used gear that can be had for cheap or free

I read in a previous article that "[t]eams will have to disclose the source and retail price of their components". I'm not sure if that rules out buying second-hand stuff off ebay or the like, but it would probably rule out "free" stuff that you managed to get through friends/contacts.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook v Microsoft's Ballmer: Seconds out, round two!

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P.S.

More Stories about Icahn-Cook, please... we could do with more food stories here.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Coat

The unspeakable in hot pursuit of the uneatable.

Strange how you make a link with Oscar Wilde on reading the article. As for me, I see those clouds and the clear road signs and I'm reminded of pure Excellence (courtesy of Dave Barry):

An excellence-oriented '80s male does not wear a regular watch. He

wears a Rolex watch, because it weighs nearly six pounds and is

advertised only in excellence-oriented publications such as Fortune and

Rich Protestant Golfer Magazine. The advertisements are written in

incomplete sentences, which is how advertising copywriters denote

excellence:

"The Rolex Hyperion. An elegant new standard in quality excellence and

discriminating handcraftsmanship. For the individual who is truly able

to discriminate with regard to excellent quality standards of crafting

things by hand. Fabricated of 100 percent 24-karat gold. No watch

parts or anything. Just a great big chunk on your wrist. Truly a

timeless statement. For the individual who is very secure. Who

doesn't need to be reminded all the time that he is very successful.

Much more successful than the people who laughed at him in high

school. Because of his acne. People who are probably nowhere near as

successful as he is now. Maybe he'll go to his 20th reunion, and

they'll see his Rolex Hyperion. Hahahahahahahahaha."

-- Dave Barry, "In Search of Excellence"

(mutatis mutandis, it should be obvious, eh?)

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Microsoft: Ha ha, my Wall Street friends - THIS time the victory is OURS

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Re: I nearly bought a Surface Pro 2 today.

Thank you so much Microsoft team. I was waiting this tablet. It is really great user friendly and smooth.

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