* Posts by Paul Crawford

1825 posts • joined 15 Mar 2007

Windows 10: The Microsoft rule-o-three holds, THIS time it's looking DECENT

Paul Crawford
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Re: I will keep pestering you

Some of us know its pointless...

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Oops, wonder how THAT got in there?!?

Different log-in accounts?

But seriously, it is a point - I can imagine a lot of people not wanting all of their stuff in US clutches once they understand what this implies.

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Facebook worth more than Portugal? Hell, it's worth a LOT more than THAT

Paul Crawford
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Re: lack of value of France

Oh I don't know, I would like to take part in a France versus Portugal smack-down on either food or nubile lady fronts.

Maybe both, but then I'm a dirty old man. Thanks, mine is the mac...

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This could be a case for Mulder and Scully: Fox 'in talks' to bring back The X-Files

Paul Crawford
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Re: Anal probes all round then?

God I hope so! I mean, what if aliens have triangular sphincters?

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Microsoft turns the power of FINE PRINT onto enterprise licensing

Paul Crawford
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Re: Treating your customers as criminals . . .

Well, it is how governments treat all internet users after all...

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Sony hack was good news for INSURERS and INVESTORS

Paul Crawford
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Liability?

"If the theft and publication of that correspondence renders her unemployable, wouldn’t Pascal have grounds for a massive lawsuit against her former employer?"

Perhaps if they had not been suck a disk-heads in the first place to say things that are untrue, and/or in very poor taste, and/or showed very poor professional judgement, they would have nothing to fear?

That is what our leaders keep telling us, so it must be true...

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Don't use Charlie Hebdo to justify Big Brother data-slurp – Data protection MEP

Paul Crawford
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Re: What fools

No, I disagree. And I am telling tell you to take the bus where you can cower under a blanket wetting yourself at all of the bogeymen that invading everyone's privacy was supposed to stop.

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BlackBerry Enterprise chief: Yes, we did leave users behind

Paul Crawford
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Interesting read, and nice to see someone in the mobile phone business where the #1 goal is not whoring you from advertiser to advertiser.

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Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Paul Crawford
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Bandwidth

I am impressed by the girth of their pr0n hose! Don't we all wish our systems could sustain 50Gbit/sec?

However, I am disappointed that El Rag failed to convert that into kilowrists.

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No, the Linux leap second bug WON'T crash the web

Paul Crawford
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Re: Few systems propperly account for this

Yes, GPS are subject to time dilation, but that is accounted for in the numbers they provide. Its only a problem if you don't correct for it by design!

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Paul Crawford
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Bigger picture

Really, there is a bigger picture here. Systems get screwed up for all sorts of different reasons! While we debate the leap-second we also should remember faulty hardware and numerous other bugs in both the OS (and any OS) and the applications.

If you have a big critical system you really ought to have some sort of watchdog on your servers to spot the signs of kernel panic/lock-up or application faults and reboot it. While brutal, at least you would be coming back on-line in minutes rather than hours while support folks are called to investigate and find they can't SSH in, etc, so they have to debate and then use ILOMs to reboot possibly hundreds of machines.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: So, does that work with NTP?

GPS broadcasts the linear atomic time and the offset as separate fields, and all internal calculations (other than UTC output) use the former. Some GPS receiver's firmware has had buggy handling of the GPS-UTC offset change, but again that ultimately comes down to not testing it. You can buy GPS simulators, so its not like a company can't test for it, just they did not think and/or bother doing so.

Similarly NTP broadcasts the leap second event for the day before it happens, and then tells the kernel to apply the step at the appropriate time. AFIK the NTP daemon can get the pending leap-second info from an attached GPS used as a stratum-0 source, so it ought not to require networking to other peers to get that information.

The main bug was not in NTP itself, but in how the Linux kernel handled the application of the 1 second jump the the time_t UTC counter, as it allowed a dead-lock situation to occur. A standard type of problem for any multi-threaded software, and again one that ought to have been better reviewed and tested.

I don't know the reason(s) for the Java bug, but most likely it was related the kernel deadlock while waiting for "sleep" timers to expire.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Easy fix

Better fix - just use the working code.

It was working properly in Linux, and then a patch was applied that broke it. No one noticed its implications at the time, and no one tested it on a leap-second generator. Then it failed in real life.

The moral is simple and need repeating: Test every bloody change you make!

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Few systems propperly account for this

A lot of space systems already use variations on "ephemeris time" that has a linear atomic basis and a variable offset to get UTC, etc. That is not a new idea, and as pointed out exactly the same approach is used by the GPS satellites.

The problem is NOT the introduction of leap seconds, it is the simple fact that they don't test systems properly to deal with this known attribute of time keeping.

Instead of trying to get rid of leap seconds, perhaps they should always add/remove one each alternate month with the occasional add two months in a row?

That way people would be forced to test for this and not cry every 1-2 years when untested/patched code throw a wobbly.

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Ex-Microsoft Bug Bounty dev forced to decrypt laptop for Paris airport official

Paul Crawford
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Re: They've probably captured her password now

That was my thought, that they wanted to record her password for whatever reason. I'm guessing that as she is a security expert she has now changed it, and it was never the same as anything else of importance.

What is a bigger worry is they have copied the encrypted HDD at another time (while sleeping, etc) and they wanted that to get access to it.

As another commentard has pointed out, best to have a 2nd account to demo a machine works so you don't have to decrypt your own files (assuming per-account encryption and not just full-disk).

Hmm, might need a tighter tinfoil hat now...

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Facebook privacy policy change leaves Dutch stomping feet

Paul Crawford
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Re: By all means...

No, the law should be where you do business. If FB is selling adverts to Dutch companies, even indirectly, then it should be forced to comply with Dutch laws.

Don't want to follow Saudi, NK, etc, laws? Then don't do business in those countries.

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Healthcare: Look anywhere you like for answers, just not the US

Paul Crawford
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Re: France

Keeping your own records sounds like a good idea, until they are needed in an emergency or the person finds they have lost them (or electronic copy is deleted, corrupted, HDD failed etc).

What we need ideally are central records that can only be accessed by staff treating you, and that you can see an audit of access if you want. And not being available otherwise, except as anonymous data for research.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: @Chris Miller

You are right.

However, the goal of a single and effective IT and management system across the NHS is a good idea, but government organisations (and a lot of private industry) seem to be useless and properly specifying and developing such a system, and the contract inevitably go to the usual suspects who seem worse at software development than a room full of 2nd year comp sci students.

The answer? I don't know, but I guess that having a small group work with a couple of NHS trusts to prototype something, get proper feedback from those actually using it (not those who fear it, or those paying for it) and then pay more to scale & deploy it when proven would be a good start.

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SpaceX six days from historic rocket landing attempt

Paul Crawford
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Re: In world where news is mostly Celebs..

Well said sir!

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The Reg's review of 2014: Naked JLaw selfies, Uber and monkey madness

Paul Crawford
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Wrong term

"a back door named Shellshock"

That suggests it was designed and put in there by some agency who named it so. In fact it was just a by-product of some dumb design decisions/coding errors that became a real problem for some. Such as old web sites who passed user-supplied data *unsanitised* to bash, and obviously never met Bobby Tables.

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Stale pizza, backup BlackBerrys, payroll panic: Sony Pictures mega-hack

Paul Crawford
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Example to us all

Sony, up there with Gerald Ratner in the annals of business acumen!

Can't say I feel sorry for the board/corporate ethos at all, but it is pretty shitty for all of the ordinary folk who work/worked there.

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Tor de farce: NSA fails to decrypt anonymised network

Paul Crawford
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Re: I've said something before, which was ignored, but resulted in some personal discomfort...

The AES was the subject of a public competition with various cryptographers around the world studying the choices and weeding out obvious weaknesses, which is how it should be and leads to a strong and trustworthy standard.

That is not the same as saying the NSA, etc, might find a non-obvious (by global expert standards) weakness that speeds brute-forcing by some useful amount, nor that they might not have spent a small country's GDP on dedicated brute-forcing hardware to attack real high-value messages.

Nor is it the same as saying an implementation using the AES has not screwed up on not leaking the key, etc.

But its a damn sight better than the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator where the NSA basically wrote the spec with known-to-them weaknesses!

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Bong Ventures will NEVER bow down to terrorism: Our Tough Stance in FULL

Paul Crawford
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Drat!

Well this goes some way to explaining why I could never find those horny MILFs. I must be holding it wrong...

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Reg man confesses: I took my wife out to choose a laptop for Xmas. NOOOO

Paul Crawford
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Often a Chromebook is the least-worst option for most users, and no matter what you get, you will get support hassle:

Windows: AV/virus problems, TIKAM not looking as old laptop did, old hardware like scanners, etc, often not being supported if it pre-dated 7 for drivers.

Mac: You need to buy Office again (unless balls-in-the-vice subscription to 365) or use LibreOffice and some other stuff will need a very different software/approach.

Linux: Same issues as Mac, but much more so.

Chromebook: Very limited capabilities, but OK for most folks FB/webmail and on-line shopping.

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Microsoft promises open plan mobile Office. Who sits by the Windows?

Paul Crawford
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Re: MS FYI

Adobe has even managed to bugger that aspect though:

http://www.quickpdflibrary.com/faq/if-this-message-is-not-eventually-replaced-by-the-proper-contents-of-the-document.php

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Makers of Snowden movie Citizenfour sued by ex-oil exec

Paul Crawford
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Re: For profit?

Underpants. You forgot the essential step in profit making...

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Hilton, Marriott and co want permission to JAM guests' personal Wi-Fi

Paul Crawford
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Well if it is not about money making but good cooperative networking practice, how about they offer free wifi so said hotspots are not needed?

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Armouring up online: Duncan Campbell's chief techie talks crypto with El Reg

Paul Crawford
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Re: Oh a Windows only article, how interesting - NOT.

Don't forget the swap space on any OS...

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Dangerous NTP hole ruins your Chrissy lunch

Paul Crawford
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Re: Alternate attack vectors?

Theoretically, yes, you could force machine's clocks back/forward to get round some time-related checks.

In practice it is harder as any sensible NTP system will be using 4 or more time sources to allow the rejection of bad sources (AKA 'false tickers'). Of course, if you p0wn all of the sources as all are on the LAN and no one considered an "inside job" for attack (as LDS pointed out above), then you are free to do so...

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Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

Paul Crawford
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Responsible criminals?

What, are they like film critics now?

" when the responsible criminals are apprehended."

I would have though it should be "the criminals responsible", but maybe the first one is more accurate.

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30,000 people buy a box of BOVINE EXCREMENT

Paul Crawford
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Re: Ronseal -

Non-UK readers might not get that reference.

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Chrome devs hatch plan to mark all HTTP traffic insecure

Paul Crawford
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Re: I'd consider "broken HTTPS" far more insecure than HTTP

Before worrying about sites that use HTTP for non-important data (OK, you may disagree with that) the world+dog needs to fix the massive hole that is SSL certificate issuing.

As it stands, you only need one signing agency to be compromised and-or paid-off/and-or politically pressured to get a cert for any site in the world. So of the 600+ (?) issuers, only 1 in 600+ need be knobbled to fail, that has to change. We need a system where any dodgy certificate is found out immediately by cross-checking with several brokers, and not accepted because one in that hige parallel chain failed.

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Ofcom mulls selling UK govt's IPv4 cache amid IPv6 rollout flak

Paul Crawford
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Re: @P. Lee

That was exactly my point, until the ISPs are offering unmolested IPv6 to customers (none of the "carrier grade NAT" crap), there is zero incentive for the customers to even consider having IPv6 internally.

Yes, IPv6 has a lot of stupidity in its design (not being v4 backwards be design, assuming no one might want NAT in their own system for other reasons, etc) but it is the only realistic way out of IPv4 exhaustion and to give properties with multiple devices an easy way to have external connections if they want (whether that is a good idea is, of course, another matter).

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Paul Crawford
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Oh FFS!

They are the industry regulators, just how damn hard is it for them to impose a time limit and fines on the operators? Set an achievable date of say 2016 and fine any ISP that has not provided working IPv6 as far as the customers, per day, after that date.

Of course, there will be customers without IPv6 support in older routers and end computers, but if the ISP-supplied kit is usable then any supported Windows, Mac or Linux PC is going to be just fine.

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TalkTalk customers demand opt-out fix for telco's DNS ad-jacking tactics

Paul Crawford
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Re: I'm not an expert but...

If/when I get a Virgin "Smart Hub" it will be put in modem mode and a proper router behind it...

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BOFH: Capo di tutti capi, bah. I'm having CHICKEN JALFREZI

Paul Crawford
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Re: The best part of the week...

I was thinking more corporate Merlin & Morgana le Fey myself, and Merlin usually has something up those wizard's sleeves...

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US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf

Paul Crawford
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Re: Ouch, my eyes...

"if it blows up your eyes, it's illegal, but it's fine if it blows up your whole head"

AFIK that is it, the convention prohibits weapons intended to cause permanent injury, but not if the goal is killing. A kind of twisted logic that makes sense in only a few situations :(

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Ponce

I wonder if they sang that on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Venus_(R50) ?

At last we reached our station

Through skilful navigation

But the ship was sunk, on a wave of spunk

From too much fornication!

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Paul Crawford
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Re: HMS Unicorn

Indeed there is a HMS Unicorn, build in 1824 and still afloat in Dundee!

Not exactly in fighting condition, but if the gov makes any more cuts we might need to press-gang in into service once more :(

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REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

Paul Crawford
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Re: Mirrored systems

We have had some experience of fail-over systems and it is much harder to make it work properly than you imagine at first. You have a few rather tricky issues to address:

1) On what conditions do you fail over? Total loss of one system is obvious (power off, kernel panic, etc) but what do you do if some part is down and other look OK? What exactly are the thresholds for action?

2) If you go for something more useful than total outage, how do you make sure its not triggered by a temporary condition (flood of data requests, etc) that might push system load up higher than normal, but is in fact an acceptable short term condition?

3) When failing over, how do you ensure data completeness and integrity? If, for example, one hard on a NAS fails you could end up with partly written files and may not be sure of what the clients think was successfully written.

4) How do you avoid the "split brain" problem when one system takes over from what it thinks is a failed mirror, but that mirror is still doing stuff with shared resources? If you go for powering down the failed system (AKA "shoot it in the head", zombie apocalypse style) to be damned sure its not meddling with shared stuff, how do you then avoid the risk of mutually assured destruction if both lose the heartbeat link and more or less simultaneously kill the other?

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Paul Crawford
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Re: Damn, these guys are good

You could argue: Never have a system that you can't manually work around for the time when (not "if") it goes tits-up.

Massive inconvenience, true, but not one died so that is a pretty good outcome.

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Paul Crawford
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Re: User submissions need pre-check

I want a flying shark, even without the laser it would be a cool thing!

Oh and while I am dreaming, a castle or island lair so I can have a moat for said flying sharks to frolic.

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Speaking in Tech: Sony breach proves you can NEVER defend perimeter

Paul Crawford
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Re: Of course

Agreed:

1) Defend your perimeter as far as reasonably.

2) Assume the enemy is already inside said perimeter...

3) Segment internal machines and protect them from what (2) suggests.

4) Don't forget printers and other systems that never get security updates...

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Ford dumps Windows for QNX in new in-car entertainment unit

Paul Crawford
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Re: Honestly ...

On the same hardware?

Really?

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UK flights CRIPPLED by system outage that shut ALL London airspace

Paul Crawford
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Re: Edinburgh

"I expect the right answer"

Which is: they are both a bunch of lying, thieving, two-faced, thieving bastards...

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Solar sandwich cooks at 40 per cent efficiency

Paul Crawford
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Re: Professor Green?

It was done by Professor Green with a telescope in the Observatory!

Or was it by Miss Scarlet with a strap on in the basement?

Any clues?

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How HAPPY am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Where do I click PISSED OFF?

Paul Crawford
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Re: OK

Yes, people need to get priorities straight and that means *useful* screening and not the various pointless additions (like 100ml fluids) that were knee-jerk reactions to a failed terrorist attempt. They are winning you know, not by blowing us up but by wasting our lives and freedom by knee-jerk reactions.

Incidentally can anyone cite a case of the new THz scanners actually leading to an arrest or something to justify the additional invasion of privacy?

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'We're having panic attacks' ... Sony staff and families now threatened in emails

Paul Crawford
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Re: Err...

It this the plot of a new film script? Sound interesting...

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One year on, Windows 8.1 hits milestone, nudges past XP

Paul Crawford
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Re: "security swiss cheese known as linux"

Indeed, so many desktops running Linux are hacked. infested with malware and pointless browser toolbars and parasitic AV software that didnt do its job, leaving the poor users to wipe & re-install from scratch, and left hunting for their license key to re-enable the OS and the recovery DVD they (failed to make) made when it was new.

Oh wait, got the wrong OS...

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Orion 'Mars' ship: Cosmic ray guard? Go. Parachutes? Go. Spacerock shield? Go!

Paul Crawford
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Re: Disappointed!

Nothing like my disappointment!

This isn't the Orion spacecraft I was hoping for...

This is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Orion_(nuclear_propulsion)

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