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* Posts by Frumious Bandersnatch

1296 posts • joined 8 Nov 2007

Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Agreement

Isn't BOM just a NOP in UTF-8?

Not if you use it for steganography...

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Re: The historical accident of little-endian

On a purely technical basis, little endian representations of numbers are much easier to parse and handle. I'm meaning proper numbers, not the arbitrary computer representations. Take the number 12345675679274658. Quck now, is that one quadrillion, twelve quadrillion, 123 trillion, or what? You are going to have to do a right-to-left scan of the number to find out.

Huh? That makes no sense:

* easier to parse? in all the (human, natural) languages that I know of, we start with the biggest quantity and work down (even in expressions like "four score and 7", "vingt et un" and "eleventy one")

* is that quadrillion, ... : you don't have to scan right to left---you just count how many digits there are (and last I checked, counting left to right gives the same answer as counting the other way)

You should have icon privileges revoked for such a silly post.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Little endian (x86/Windows) being COMPLETELY WRONG of course.

All my machines here (bar one) are little-endian. They're all running Linux, so it's not an OS-specific thing. You have to blame the CPU manufacturers.

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Re: There's UTF-8 and utf8 in Perl

And there it is. My fledgling interest is learning perl. stone. cold. dead. Life is just too short to deal with so much silly.

Don't let it put you off. Unicode in Perl more or less "just works". The only times I've had problems with it have been in trying to correctly convert stuff from other code pages and broken MS document formats. That, and sometimes forgetting to tell my database that the incoming data is UTF-8 rather than ASCII (though sometimes Perl needs a hint, too, to tell it not to do a spurious conversion).

Speaking of MS documents, I find it really incredible to come across HTML on the web that obviously came from MS Word initially and that has completely messed up rendering of some trivial glyphs (like em dash and currency symbols). I find it hard to believe that in this day and age, Word can't even convert to HTML properly. OK, so maybe the problem isn't with word, but with the options the user selected for the conversion, but still...

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TUPPERWARE FOUND ON MOON of Saturn

Frumious Bandersnatch
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It makes one think

Many (hopefully in multiples) years from now, if a travelling alien probe happens upon the remains of the civilisation here, perhaps they'll find all the various plastics we've left behind. They might find the variety of chemicals fairly unsurprising (given that at least propylene seems to form naturally in some places), but hopefully we'll give them cause to scratch their heads (probably in multiples) wondering what natural forces could have given rise to such a range of shapes and colours :)

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Windows 8 fans out-enthuse Apple fanbois

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Sigh....

For the minute however, I am suffering utter pericombobulation trying to work out why 81...

For why? They're obviously preparing for IPv6 and the "Internet of Things". Having 81 licenses/machines should definitely be enough for anyone!

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Rare gold iPhone 5s goes up against 50 caliber high precision rifle

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32 feet/second^2?

I think that there's something wrong with the Register's Unit conversion page. I can convert 32 "feet" (whatever they are) into Linguine easily enough (it's apparently 2.1772lg), but what are these weird "seconds" squared? A bit of research on the web tells me that 1 "second" is approximately = 1/Pi nanocenturies.

So 2.1772lg/(1/Pi nanocenturies)^2. Hardly accelerating at all, in other words. Not impressed with this "iPhone" thing!

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BOOGIE BALLMER: Steve Dirty Dances at tearful Microsoft leaving do

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: how about...

Penguin in Bondage --- Zappa

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Congrats on MP3ing your music... but WHY bother? Time for my ripping yarn

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: And another thing

It saddens me a little to think how infrequently the care and thought that goes into putting together an album as a whole is noticeable once we get to mp3 players on constant shuffle.

It's funny how deeply ingrained that idea (sequential play) is. As far as I know, there's only one album that was deliberately designed to be played on shuffle: Minidisc, by Gescom. Exactly how "musical" it is is open to debate, though.

Granted, not all albums benefit from specific ordering. It's often a case of sticking the "hit" tune at the start or the end, with little musical merit in any particular ordering. There are exceptions, though. I couldn't imagine Dark Side of the Moon played in any other order. Sadly, nobody really makes albums like that any more.

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my wife tried putting ours in alphabetic order in racks

A classic mistake. You need B-Trees.

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Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me

Frumious Bandersnatch
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That's a kilowatt over... a thousand seconds... ummm... 20 minutes... is that all?

Damn it! There's another of my dreams cruelly dashed :(

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Sounds like it would be a good way for apartment blocks to create and store energy

Well apartment blocks are generally multi-storey, so there's an easier way of storing energy: have a big fuck-off weight that gets raised over the day when there's a glut of energy and then lowered at night with some sort of energy-recovery system in train. Kind of like clockwork for the <checks watch> 21st century.

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30 years on: The day a computer glitch nearly caused World War III

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Don't fret

In the middle is where we find balance.

More like "where we get run over by both sides", unfortunately.

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Google reveals its Hummingbird: Fly, my little algorithm - FLY!

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Is it Christmas already ?

If old Google was like C, Hummingbird is like Python or Ruby.

New one is more like COBOL (or SQL), IMO.

SHOW ME the page THAT HAS some tat or other WHERE YEAR = 2009 FROM the register

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Apple ups revenue estimates in wake of nine million–phone weekend

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@toadwarrior (Bronze badge)

There aren't too many comments here. The fandroids must have to get over some serious butt hurt before they come in.

Meh. I'm a "fandroid". Never used an Apple iThing because I didn't want to be locked into a closed ecosystem. My reaction to the news? Good on them. Competition is good.

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Microsoft: Surface is DEAD. Long live the Surface 2!

Frumious Bandersnatch
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@BlackKnight(markb)

for someone who very quickly loses patients with technology

I really hope you're not a doctor or someone in the medical profession ...

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New iPhone sells out, millions in hands of lucky fans, Cook cock a hoop ...

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: So much for the talk of failure

Of course they can. Most people are idiots!

Not sure about that generalisation, but I know for a fact that half of them have below-average intelligence.

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Phil Collins' daughter 'will give you A VIRUS' – security bods

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Real information...

... or just a VIRAL promotion hoax for the actress?

I think you meant "hacktress", there.

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THE TRUTH about beaver arse milk in your cakes: There's nothing vanilla about vanilla

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: @Robin: financially viable ?

It's not like real vanilla grows on trees...

True... it's a member of the orchid family.

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beavers

The hunters drive them extinct, confectioners use it as a sly substitute and tv cooks can't get enough of it in their fancy recipes. Just one question---who's the real vanillin here?

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Microsoft no longer a top Linux kernel contributor

Frumious Bandersnatch
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3.10 comes after 3.9.

Well, yes and no. The kernel uses even numbers to indicate stable releases, with odd ones being more experimental. So after the 3.8 (stable)/3.9 (unstable) pair, then you can go on to the 3.10/3.11 branch.

Also, all kernel releases are defined by three numbers rather than two, eg, 3.4.1, 3.8.17, and so on. Also, to be totally pedantic, everything after a dot is treated as a regular "decimal" number when it comes to sorting (like 'sort -n').

In Perl: :

print join " < ", sort {

my @A=split /\./, $a; my @B=split /\./, $b;

while (@A or @B) {

$apart = shift @A || -1; $bpart = shift @B || -1;

next unless $apart <=> $bpart; return $apart <=> $bpart;

}

return 0;

} ("3.10.1", "3.2", "3.1.2", "3.10", "2.0", "2.1.4", "3.4.1", "3.8.17");'

Which prints

2.0 < 2.1.4 < 3.1.2 < 3.2 < 3.4.1 < 3.8.17 < 3.10 < 3.10.1

(apologies for formatting, since we don't have working "pre" HTML tags)

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Angry Brazilian whacks NASA to put a stop to ... er, the NSA

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: not from Bierce

@Irony Deficient:

I was ready to downvote you for that, but a search suggests that you're actually correct. Have an upvote instead for being all edumafiying and ting.

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Server hack heads up the stack for a new challenge

Frumious Bandersnatch
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"I can only say that English is not my first language"

All I can say is "bon voyage", since I don't know how to translate it.

<--- wasn't my pint over there a while ago???

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Torvalds: 'We're not doing Linux95 … for a few years, at least'

Frumious Bandersnatch
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wacky release naming/numbering

Perhaps he can take a leaf from Knuth's book (figuratively) and switch to using pi-based release numbers once he gets to 3.14. That is, 3.14 -> 3.141 -> 3.1415 -> 3.14159 -> ...

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NASA: Humanity has finally reached into INTERSTELLAR SPACE

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: makes it tricky to get good data back from the old fellow

Eh, just an update on this. I decided to get a second opinion on whether vehicles should be male or female. I asked the wisest guy I know---my karate instructor. I asked him if my car was male or female. Definitely female, he said. Why? "Because each Nissan, she go!"

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makes it tricky to get good data back from the old fellow

old girl, surely?

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Apple’s iOS 64-bit iUpgrade: Don't expect a 2x performance leap

Frumious Bandersnatch
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@AC: Unless it has 8GB there's no need for 64-bit.

I think this has been amply dealt with by previous posters, but for another example, what if you want to mmap a file (or device) that's bigger than 4Gb? The switch to 64-bit means a bump in addressable space, which isn't the same thing as physical RAM!

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Intel shows off wine-powered processor and biometric boffinry

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: "unlocks the phone when it recognizes the sound of its owner from voiceprints read"

What could possible go wrong, do you think ?

Well I suppose there's the off chance that you might transform into a fly and the voice recognition software wouldn't recognise you. You know, like in that thing ... "Metamorphosis".

(OK, I deliberately got the film name wrong)

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iPhone 5S: Fanbois, your prints are safe from the NSA, claim infosec bods

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Pinky

Bruce Schneier got it about right ...

Don't forget that this is the same Bruce Schneier that thought it was fine to start displaying passwords on screens. Also the same man that never complained about Phorm, despite working for BT. Sure, the guy's a legend, but he's not always right.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Why compress helium...

> when you can take in and compress air instead?

Notwithstanding the excellent reason given by another poster, compressing air rather than helium could also be quite handy for giving the ship an extra push when taking off or as an aid to manoeuvring. You wouldn't mind ejecting compressed air at all, as opposed to expensive helium. Given the quantities involved it's probably not practical, though.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: I'm curious @Frumious

> never met a flying iceberg!

There was a Michael Caine film called "Blue Ice". Imagine some mixup in plumbing between the toilet systems and the gas compression system and voila: lighter-than air icebergs :)

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: I'm curious

I am sure a Hydrogen airship could be built segmented enough that even a gas bag exploding would not destroy the whole ship)

ISTR that they used that logic with the TItanic, too. Interestingly, they reckon that if the captain had just ploughed straight into the iceberg the ship wouldn't have sunk. As it happened, the evasive action gouged all along the side, breaching many bulkheads in series. I can imagine that an airship pilot would probably take the same sort of evasive action in similar circumstances.

Now if they had something like an aerogel with the ability to absorb a lot of hydrogen in the case of a leak ... though maybe not (since the resulting fuel/air mix might actually make any explosion more potent than pure Hydrogen).

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Rigid Airships have a place

but never as military transport unless well to the rear

So a force of Scouts and Dragoons on the vanguard, backed up by long-range fire from your Carrier, then? Preferably backed up by Arbiters. Got ya!

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: Something about that picture makes me think of Ghostbusters

My first thought (based on age, but definitely not the smiling) was Solyaris. Such a motley crew is the antithesis of Hollywood's "Right Stuff" view of advanced aviation, and rightly so.

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Biz bods STILL don't patch hacker's delight Java and Flash

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Regarding the Title

Has there been some sort of serious outbreak of a poetry related disease

You don't seem to know [Grandmaster] Flash, do you? For shame :)

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400 million Chinese people can't speak Chinese: Official

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: @ElReg!comments!Pierre - Japanese

@Drakkenson

Hi.. thanks for that. I'd never actually considered the humble verb forms when I was counting up. I just lumped all of these things in as being idiomatically polite. And maybe, as you say, the proper distinction becomes increasingly important the longer your stay in Japan. I'm reminded of the Nihongo Notes series of books. They do a very good job of walking through the pitfalls in how the Japanese actually use the language, with Mr. Lerner making some mistake or other in each capsule lesson---sometimes, though by no means always, involving inappropriate levels of politeness.

I suppose that I was really more trying to get across that honorific speech in Japanese isn't actually as difficult as people think it is. More to the point, I actually think that Japanese is quite a simple language to learn on many fronts. It's got regular verb conjugation (with only a handful of tenses/modes to worry about), no male/female versions of words to learn, or even definite/indefinite articles. It's also got explicit topic and object/subject markers, so it's easy enough to parse. On the downside, adjectives and adverbs need to be conjugated (but they're all regular, with only two forms) and you have to count things differently depending on the type of object it is classed as (eg, days, bank-notes, plates, bottles, etc.). Other than that, I honestly think that learning Japanese grammar is a lot easier than for other languages.

I'm leaving aside the issue of learning to read and write, obviously, but even there Japanese is a whole lot easier than Chinese thanks to having hiragana and katakana for lots of the grammatical glue that holds the nouns, verbs and so on together. Chinese script just looks like an wall of hieroglyphs to me, despite being able to read a fair amount of kanji.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: 為了去

A fourteen,

A seven,

A nine

And lychees.

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: @ElReg!comments!Pierre - Japanese

there are (at least) 6 different honorific forms

I don't think there are that many, but maybe I'm wrong on that. You really only have to learn two form: the dictionary forms (like taberu, kiku, aru, iru, etc.) is informal, while (if you're a foreigner) the polite forms (tabemasu, kikimasu, arimasu, imasu, etc.) are perfectly fine for almost any social occasion. Conjugation of both forms follow some very simple rules, with a minimum of irregular verbs. It's only if you're talking with someone of very high standing or you want to ask someone to do a favour for you that you need to worry about other forms. Apart from a few set phrases (things like "itadakimasu", "gochisousamadeshita), knowing how to ask someone of higher status to do something for you or describing something they have done for you (conjugating agemasu and morau, to give and receive) and the odd time you might have to use "degozaimasu" instead of the regular copula "desu", there's really not much to it. The only other major pitfalls as regards levels of politeness are to do with avoiding using certain verbs when a more polite version is appropriate (sometimes in specific social circumstances, so one never uses the verb kiru, to cut, at a wedding, since it conjures up thoughts of divorce in that context, but generally because, eg, kuu, to eat, is conventionally vulgar, while taberu and itadaku are safer or more polite, respectively) or not using the honorific prefix o- (or, sometimes go-) when talking about certain things (or using honorific terms to describe yourself, which is never acceptable regardless of your rank).

I think that these three levels (dictionary form, polite -masu form and a smattering of more idiomatic phrases) are enough for most interactions in Japanese. I find that yakuza films and (to a lesser degree) older samurai films (since the language used can be a bit dated) are a handy way of picking up at least some of the ultra-polite expressions. Of course, as I said, as a foreigner you can get away with just using -masu forms for the most part, and you'll be forgiven for most mistakes. But then, even Japanese people have difficulties with ultra-polite language. There's a particularly good scene in "Ososhiki" (the funeral) where the next-of-kin have to watch an instructional video to learn the appropriate phrases for greeting mourners. It mightn't teach you any practical phrases, but I'd recommend the film nonetheless...

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Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: No wonder

A very nice, cogent and obviously well-informed post. Thank you :)

I couldn't help but chuckle, though, when just after saying how fluent you were, you described having learned Russian and English from birth "for practical purposes". Not a criticism, just that it conjures up a completely different picture to having learned the languages "practically from birth" or "to all intents and purposes, from birth". I never considered infants making a concious decision which languages they're going to learn based on how practical they'll be :)

So, have an upvote for an informative post first, and the unintentional humour second.

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Five SECRET products Apple won't show today

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Utterly Butterly...

Well it's got to be better than that new low-fat Eucharist wafer the Catholic church is rolling out in some areas---they're calling it "I can't believe it's not Jesus".

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Torvalds shoots down call to yank 'backdoored' Intel RdRand in Linux crypto

Frumious Bandersnatch
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random numbers

I always pick '2'. Nobody expects that.

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Bin half-baked Raspberry Pi hubs, says Pimoroni: Try our upper-crust kit

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: You can get the AC adaptor with either UK or European power pins

Indeed! Your post reminds me of this tongue-in-cheek review of various AC plugs in use around the world. It has a nice swipe at the Euro habit of trying to standardise things too.

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New! Yahoo! logo! shows! Marissa! Meyer's! personal! touch!

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Here's what they need:

BROBDINGNAGIAN!

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Reports: NSA has compromised most internet encryption

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Really?

It is ridiculously high, but it's no doubt as you said that a combination of paranoia and being able to do such far-reaching network checks tends to throw up many, many false positives.

Bob Dylan had a song about this. Check out his "Talkin John Birch Blues":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talkin%27_John_Birch_Paranoid_Blues

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AylFqdxRMwE

OK, it was Communists then, Terrorists now, but plus ça change ...

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Nasty nuke-lab data-slurper EVOLVES, now feeds off new Java hole

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Java?

"Java programmers". Pfft. Try "Pretend programmers"; it's closer to the mark.

Steady on. You'll be telling us they eat quiche next!

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Ministry of Sound sues Spotify over user playlists

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Do they mix?

Yup. I can confirm this. They do mix---I just checked a few of the MoS albums I have in my collection. That being so, I fail to see how they even have a case. If users are allowed to comment on spotify tracklists, they'd be much better off commenting on the playlists themselves. Something along the lines of "this is not a MoS album. The real album has different remixes of some tracks than are listed here and it's professionally mixed so that one track leads seamlessly into the next. If you want to hear this the way it was intended to be heard, then go and buy the album". Surely a much more sane/rational approach.

I notice that this is not the first time that MoS has sued someone over something that they may or may not have just grounds for. Google turned up quite a few hits for previous cases (just use "-spotify" to eliminate the current case). They may claim to be "down with the youth", but their behaviour is pure corporatism.

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But it's only wafer thin: Skinniest keyboard EVER is designed by Camby biz

Frumious Bandersnatch
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I'm much rather have ...

* a keyboard with a small screen, local edit buffer and customisable keybindings (with emacs as an option)

* extensions to the Bluetooth protocols so that any dumb device (or smart one) can pre-populate entry fields for you to edit in comfort without needing to use the application's idea of how to do things like cut and paste or whatever (editing things on phones or tablets is just very fiddly)

* more extensions so that the application can tell the keyboard when markup should be available (eg, bold, underline and font information) as well as maybe letting the keyboard access the device's dictionary for spell checking and maybe auto-completion (on the grounds that if you're going to have a bi-directional protocol you might as well exploit it fully)

Basically the above would be like the very old style of stand-alone word processor, except that it's mostly designed to be used as an intelligent slave device. If you give it a bit of local storage, you should be able to use it as a basic word processor (or capable text editor) without being tied to any any one device. You might even be able to use it for storing passwords (with actual passwords being stored on an external SD card, protected by a standard encryption algorithm).

Another type of keyboard I'd love to see is one that made it easier to switch between controlling different machines—basically a K (no V) M in a handy box. Bluetooth pairing is all well and good, but it mostly has to be initiated from the PC/phone/tablet side, and once you're paired you have to unpair and re-pair if you want to switch to providing input for a different machine. So basically, I'd like to see a keyboard that can pair with multiple devices at once and use key combos to swap between them. It would probably need to have a separate USB dongle plugged into each machine you want to type on (for compatibility—just have it recognised as a regular keyboard/mouse combo), but that would be a small price to pay for the convenience. I know that there's also software to enable you to share USB devices (like keyboards, mice) over the network, so a keyboard that worked over that stack might also work (depending on OS support, naturally).

Of course, nobody wants a shitty keyboard either. I'm sorry, but this flat thing with no travel or tactile feedback just doesn't cut it for me. A keyboard that you're going to use every day doesn't have to be as good as the IBM Model Ms that I use as my main keyboards, but it should be a lot better than this..

/my €0.02

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Three used cheap deal to lure me into buying expensive slab, chap tells ASA

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: They may be toothless...

Well that's maybe one way of looking at it, AC. For another, look up "bait and switch"—it's illegal. Actually, I'll save you the bother of looking it up ... from wikipedia:

Bait-and-switch is a form of fraud used in retail sales but also employed in other contexts. First, customers are "baited" by merchants' advertising products or services at a low price, but when customers visit the store, they discover that the advertised goods are not available, or the customers are pressured by sales people to consider similar, but higher priced items ("switching").

and

In England and Wales it is banned under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.[1] Breaking this law can result in a criminal prosecution, an unlimited fine and two years in jail.

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iPhone rises, Android slips in US, UK

Frumious Bandersnatch
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re: We don't know what Microsoft will call the phones yet.

Probably something snappy like THFKAN (the handset formerly known as Nokia).

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THE HORROR: Bloody SLAB sales slash fest forecast for 2013

Frumious Bandersnatch
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Re: Why...

Just remember that "analysis" is a portmanteau of "anal" and "lysis".

Which reminds me of the wise words of Jack Handey:

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Basically, it's made up of two separate words — "mank" and "ind." What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

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