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* Posts by John H Woods

1372 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport

John H Woods
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Joke

Re: Doesn't ring true indeed

Good job there aren't any conspiracy theorists around! I bet those crazy idiots would think this was some kind of false-flag black-ops terrorism attempt to justify the increased terror alert, but was just inadvertently foiled by a women taking the wrong bag!

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What the BLOCK? Microsoft to gobble Minecraft-maker 'for $2bn'

John H Woods
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Re: It was fun while it lasted.

>>(kewpie doll to anyone who knows where "death nail" came from)

Confusion between "death knell" and "nail in the coffin", I would guess.

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TV techies proudly display their MIGHTY BENDERS in Berlin

John H Woods
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Front Projection

Some of these big screens weigh so much that the installation the require makes front projection look like not just the cheaper option, but the easiest one too.

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Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

John H Woods
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>>my usage for the last month is over 200GB

My sons have Steam; and bought a copy of Wolfenstein each --- 88GB in a couple of days. I watch a lot of SKY on-demand - that is 1-2GB per hour of TV. I work from home and that's probably another 1-2GB per day. Our monthly usage is therefore the thick end of a TB and (for all their peak time congestion) SKY have honoured their promise of 'unlimited'.

So, if I VPN all that, I'm a pirate unless I can prove I'm not? How, by accounting for every GB of data I have downloaded? The idea is simply ridiculous.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

John H Woods
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Re: Alistair Dabbs

>> the Will Self of the IT world

>Except much shorter, poorer and less likely to get published in New Statesman or The Guardian. I >know this because I tried.

Their loss.

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Scottish Independence?

John H Woods
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Scottish Independence?

Any IT workers out there rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of all the IT work that would seem to be entailed by a YES vote?

* unlike (apparently the vast majority of) politicians, journalists and pundits I realise that 51%:49% in a poll with a 95% confidence interval larger than 2% does not show a majority that one group is ahead.

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3D scanning made easy: Reg man ponders terrifying Xmas pressie

John H Woods
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Re: There's going to be a lot of landfill

I doubt it ... most 3D printed objects have a relatively simple composition (and maybe a few pigments) - pretty much a recycler's dream. Even better, use an edible substance such as chocolate --- although maybe not for coffee mugs :-)

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Jimbo tells Wikipedians: You CAN'T vote to disable 'key software features'

John H Woods
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Re: @lurker

"How much would Jimbo have contributed to the access of information without Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf? No web, no wiki. No internet, no wiki."

Agreed, but let's not forget Ward Cunningham!

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Data entry REAR-END SNAFU: Weighty ballsup leads to plane take-off flap

John H Woods
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Why the Warsaw flight crashed...

I heard the joke as follows:

The pilot was just a simple Pole in a complex plane - so they used the method of steepest descents.

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John H Woods
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Re: the “adult weight” of 87kg

At 1.78m and 68kg I think you're slimmer than average if you're male. You're the same height as me though ... anecdote:

My Doctor: "You are 15 Stone. Do you know your BMI?"

Me: "Of course, it's exactly twice my weight in Stone, 30"

Dr: "That's not how you calculate it"

Me: "It is if you are 5 foot 10"

Dr: *fiddles with calculator, then laughs* "do you spend a lot of time sitting around thinking about maths?"

Me: "Why do you think I'm so fat?"

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Scared of brute force password attacks? Just 'GIVE UP' says Microsoft

John H Woods
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Re: Some valid points ...

"Who uses just one device?" Well, a lot of people who don't read El Reg, and that (use random strings and rely on email reset if the browser forgets) is the advice I give them. What I use myself is this:

echo -n 'PASS SITE USER' | sha256sum - | base64 | tr 'a-m' '!--' | cut -c -16 | head -1

where PASS is my own secret password; SITE is the URL of the login page; and USER is the userid for that site. That gives me a unique password with 96 bits of entropy for every site (the tr allows me to pass arbitrary rules about including punctuation), and I can calculate it on any device with a terminal (including my Android phone). *Then* I user browser caching.

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John H Woods
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Some valid points ...

... but I really cannot see the rationale for reuse. They seem to suggest that it reduces cognitive load, but you could just use different high-entropy strings for each website and just store the password in your browser. As long as you can remember your email password, you'll be able to reset any as required.

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YES, I have ridden the UNICORN: The Ubuntu Utopic unicorn

John H Woods
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Re: why?

That's a bit like saying people shouldn't be able to choose their own interior decor because you don't like the inside of any of your friends' houses.

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Virgin Media blocks 'wankers' from permissible passwords

John H Woods
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PSN Home was even worse when it started ...

Hello = ****o

Indian = *******

Yes, that's right, a whole continent of people were forbidden to state their nationality, because the word might offend some Native Americans. Although, weirdly, the only Native American I've ever met referred to herself as (Sioux) Indian.

It was still possible to call people vvankers though, it just needed two Vs.

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Alienware injects EVEN MORE ALIEN into redesigned Area-51 gaming PC

John H Woods
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I think I'd rather have...

3 2k monitors and double the framerate? Anyone with a 4K monitor (I've never seen one in the flesh) care to disagree, I'm genuinely interested.

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Ofcom will not probe lesbian lizard snog in new Dr Who series

John H Woods
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It would be plain rude to call him Mister Spock unless ...

... he was a surgeon?

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Feds salute plucky human ROBOT-FIGHTERS

John H Woods
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UK Robocalls

In order to get anything done at all (I work from home and have a landline telephone number ending 00xx, so it's early on in the robodial lists for this area) I have an answering machine silently answer all my calls. Messages are off but the announcement informs callers of the VIP code, which will actually cause the phone to ring; not before it tells them it is for the exclusive use of colleagues, friends and family -- and threatens other users with prosecution under the Computer Misuse Act if they proceed (one great thing about the CMA, you can give prosecute unauthorized users even if they know the password).

The machine has paid for itself many times over, fielding around 20-30 calls per working day.

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Dropbox cuts cloud storage prices $10 per terabyte, matching Google and Microsoft

John H Woods
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Re: "1 TB (1,000 GB)"

Oh I'm such an idiot; Muphry's Law again --- 1TB is exactly 1012 bytes

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John H Woods
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Re: "1 TB (1,000 GB)"

"Anyone who does the former [1TB = 1,000,000,000 bytes] should be fired..."

So, that'll be all the official standards bodies? RAM, being addressed in binary, traditionally got expressed using binary k, and disk, not being, traditionally got expressed in decimal k.

Now the official definition is 1TB = 1,000,000,000 bytes and 1TiB = 1,099,511,627,776 bytes. Of course, if someone uses MB, TB etc. to refer to RAM it's safe to assume they're talking MiB and TiB. But otherwise, I'm afraid 1TB really is exactly 109 bytes.

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Cleversafe CEO: We would tell you about the 8TB drive, but...

John H Woods
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Re: genome...

Human genome is about 3 Giga bases - four possible values for a base (A,C,G,T) so that's about 6 Gigabits without compression. Amusingly, that's about the same capacity as a CD! I'd expect an 8TB disk to hold the genome of at least 10,000 people - maybe 100,000 or a million with clever compression.

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Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins

John H Woods
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The only thing I missed on my B was ...

... a reset switch. Eventually I put a push-to-break in the USB power cable, ugly but functional.

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

John H Woods
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Re: The Vagenda ...

The Vagenda isn't man-hating - it's one of the reasons I love it. It's acerbic sometimes, funny and generally inclusive. Even this quote isn't from one of the authors - it's a quote from her (male) friend, whilst the article in which it appears "Running with Wolf Whistles" is actually very positive about the men the author has encountered whilst pounding the pavement.

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John H Woods
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The Vagenda ...

... my favourite feminist blog, contained this pearl recently:

"if IT engineers had to do their work in the middle of the pavement, where we could all see their screens and hear their conversations, we’d quickly stop thinking of builders as the worst misogynists in the village"

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Best shot: Coffee - how do you brew?

John H Woods
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US Coffee

Whenever I have visited, I have been amazed how weak most USians drink their coffee - mainly because they are always going on about how they like it strong and black. Back when I was an academic, we had a visiting US professor who, arriving and complaining of jet lag, asked for "a really strong black coffee". My fellow post-doc, a coffee aficionado even amongst his own Portuguese compatriots, took him at his word and cooked up a 1oz espresso in a mini-bialetti on the lab hotplate.

I will never forget that prof's face as he took a sip! He asked if it could be put in a mug of boiling water and, once it was, he expressed enormous satisfaction with it, and said he had learned a valuable lesson about European coffee!

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John H Woods
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Acidity ...

... if you want less acidity, maybe stay away from the acid coffees (good Kenya AA is so acid it usually curdles any milk added). My personal pref is espresso, I have a bodge-repaired, 14 year old Gaggia that has made >=4 cups a day.

One little hint I found useful for Cona and filter coffee that is standing around - shove a cardamom pod in the filter basket. Gives a nice fragrance and seems to counteract the staling effect. Particularly good for a big after dinner (especially curry!) pot that will be drunk during hours of pointless postprandial persiflage.

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True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS

John H Woods
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Re: Infographic Fail

They've quietly changed it.

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Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state

John H Woods
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Ah, I see ...

It's called the Goondas Act to reflect its authorship, rather than its intent.

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iPhone owners EARN MORE THAN YOU, says mobile report

John H Woods
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In other news ...

... drivers of more expensive cars tend to be in a higher income bracket than those who drive similarly functional vehicles with a less premium brand. Puzzling.

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Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!

John H Woods
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Re: More than Outlook

So you need to go contracting put infrequently used / low user count windows-only software on a few VMs or specific servers, and let the users who use it connect via RDP. You don't need a whole new ecosystem for a small number of use cases.

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Tricked by satire? Get all your news from Facebook? You're in luck, dummy

John H Woods
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I can't work out ...

... whether this is serious or not

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Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors

John H Woods
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Re: It's all down to the stupid....

Why not just have this list as part of your complexity rules. In addition to your complexity rules, why not just have a list of (hashes of) forbidden passwords? I reckon the best possible strategy is to allow users to choose anything but to regularly run password crackers on your own user database. Anyone whose password is cracked has to change it.

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Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'

John H Woods
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Re: I'm more impressed

Well, I upvoted. And I've also added DrXym to my "NEVER DOWNVOTE" list.

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Password manager LastPass goes titsup: Users LOCKED OUT

John H Woods
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Re: Why trust any third party?

d3rrial: "why not use "considerdollarbaseready fARSEbook" as password directly instead of hashing it first? It's not like you're adding anything to the password, that would make it safer, by hashing it"

Theoretically, of course, you are right. Practically, however:

  • some sites don't encrypt passwords (or may have compromised certs) - I don't want to compromise my master password
  • some sites limit password length: (a) the first 16 chars of the hash contain more entropy than the first characters of the password; and (b) all sites which use <=24 chars would have the same password, which I'm trying to avoid
  • some sites "enforce quality" which in practice means a minimum length and certain characters. By using base 64 (and tr where necessary) I can meet these rules without having to use those symbols or numbers in my master password (which, for any given length, reduces its memorability).

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John H Woods
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Re: Lastpass

AC: "I thought TrueCrypt was recently busted wide open?"

It's not quite as simple as that; version 7.1a might be fine :-)

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John H Woods
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Why trust any third party?

I wouldn't trust a third party with my passwords, but I hadn't even considered availability!

I'm sure there's more elegant ways of doing it, but you could reuse a reasonably secure but memorable password with a memorable nickname for the site you need it for, e.g.:

echo -n 'considerdollarbaseready fARSEbook' | sha256sum - | base64 | cut -c -24 | head -1

MDlkNDIwNGZiZTNlOGI1NmQ5

As long as you have a shell and some standard utils, you can reconstruct the password.

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Google leaves STUPID vuln on Nest devices

John H Woods
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"Block them at the firewall"

... until these type of IoT devices start shipping with their own SIM cards :-(

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Crypto Daddy Phil Zimmerman says surveillance society is DOOMED

John H Woods
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Re: A flaw in his argument

"addresses need to be assigned to physical locations, and even mobile phones need to talk to towers, metadata can be gathered, stored, and analysed, if deemed necessary. This is surveillance, and encryption will not help against it." --- TFM Reader.

Encryption can help against it, for instance, I can post the following AES256 encrypted text here:

ZQN+xEcBITAhITAhLR0+Us1QcS6pEiExNjAhEkJoHOJpLa8k9eT27QS+i2cjpcVXcMkt5ZgXV5qEIrbBcjmlD1jrGS3lSA58Zs9ut4Z64X/dBLN5LfwuN51uqGhS0di/oyEwIWk=

Quite a few people are going to see that, but only the people who know the password are going to be able to read it. So the mechanics of using encryption to obscure metadata can be relatively simple: you can broadcast encrypted messages to a wide group of people including your receiver, but in a form that only they will understand (numbers stations seem to have been doing this for decades).

Of course, the legality of it is something else. In the UK, as I understand it, having this message in your browser cache, and being unable to produce the key when asked, could result in you receiving an effectively infinite prison sentence, served out in 2 year chunks. In the short term, I can spare you this ("password") but in the longer term that legislation needs to be removed. That gets us back to the real problem - how to get people engaged.

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ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water

John H Woods
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Re: So, the Empire starts in Australia

+ space elevator so we can get all that stuff up out of the gravity well ...

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Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE

John H Woods
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Re: or you could go even more downmarket...

John 110>> I also have to confess an sneaky liking for MacDonald's coffee

It's certainly hard to beat for the price. I set up all day in a local MacD once - they arranged a power socket for me and provided waiter service. When I gave them a tip they put it in the charity box!

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Tiny transforming bots: Meet these self-assembling 'thoughtful' droids

John H Woods
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Link

video appears to be here

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BBC man Linwood 'was unfairly sacked' over £100 MILLION DMI omnifail

John H Woods
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Siemens firing is ...

... a high-tech job blow.

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Microsoft OneDrive tip-off leads to arrest over child abuse images

John H Woods
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Re: Dunno what you can say except...

I agree. I think the privacy people would be happier if they had a better understanding of the process - unlike with the NSA dragnet, this is not about permanent records being kept forever, or your email / cloud storage being scanned for anything and everything. It's a simple pattern search for known illegal content, followed by the appropriate actions being taken for a positive match

We really do need pro-privacy organisations, but - or rather therefore - they must be very careful not to put themselves in a position where they look like they are protecting criminals.

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Love in the time of the GPS sees chap propose with Google Map

John H Woods
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Re: Contrived. Probably by Endomondo.

Article explains that she said yes straight away, and tracked her response later as a formality...

At dinner that evening, he confessed that he had taken the afternoon off work and gone for a bike ride without her. He then shared the link to the Endomondo workout and asked her to look at it on her phone. She looked at her screen, immediately saw the message and after getting over the surprise, gave him her answer…”of course!”

For the record, she tracked her response later on too: [map deleted]

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Hacker crew nicks '1.2 billion passwords' – but WHERE did they all come from?

John H Woods
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Re: Can someone please explain

"This behaviour is tolerated because most technical managers aren't sufficiently technical that I'd let them program my TiVo."

Indeed - the problem is that, however much we like to think it, IT isn't generally a profession - it's a job. You can't practice law, medicine, accountancy or electrical contracting without appropriate qualification / certification. Surely it's about time that people developing (and I include their managers) internet-facing systems which contain personal data are properly regulated.

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Brits STUNG for up to £625 when they try to cancel broadband

John H Woods
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Re: Why Special Treatment for Utility Suppliers?

The other problem is that if you believe you are within your rights to refuse to pay, they won't take you to court where you can make a case and perhaps defeat them, but hand it direct to debt collectors, who will harass you and record bogus info on your credit record, making your life hell.

It seems to me just like extortion, "if you don't pay this money now [...]it could make it impossible for you to ever get a mortgage".

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Grabby baddie scours Paddy Power's towers: 650k punters leaked and it took 4 years to admit it

John H Woods
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New definiton:

disappointing (adj). utterly negligent, but within the remit of the Data Protection Commissioner, and as a result considered harmless, despite any indications to the contrary.

These disasters, and I am not over-exaggerating, are *always* the result of poor management choices - not enough spent on devs, pen testers, QA etc. because they can simply totally disrespect their customers and get off scot free.

It is not "disappointing" it is fscking well bordering on criminal levels of misfeasance.

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PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

John H Woods
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Re: The Reviewer is Great

>> I always move the Taskbar to the side on widescreens

Me too - you can also make it fairly wide without losing usable space, meaning that you can actually see enough of the window titles to know what each taskbar button is. Useful if you have more than 1 window of the same type (RDP, MS-Word, etc) open.

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