* Posts by Herby

1962 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

Hacker uses Starbucks INFINITE MONEY for free CHICKEN SANDWICH

Herby
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This sounds to me like...

...how the government (pick one) works. They move money around so many ways from Sunday, and always come up with more and more to move around.

Of course they seem to own the printing presses that "make" money. I wish I could do the same (legally), but alas.

Don't get me started on BitCoin. Any currency needs an army behind it to be truly legitimate.

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BOFH: Getting to the brown, nutty heart of the water cooler matter

Herby
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Be careful what you ask for...

You may just get it (as in this case).

Or in this case, what you think you asked for subconsciously.

A true BOFH would have published the complete recipe for all to follow. I should now follow my advise and hide under a rock.

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Microsoft points at Skype, Lync: You two, in my office – right now

Herby
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What happened to...

A plain old telephone? Its has worked for over 100 years and continues to function well.

This Lync/Skype (whatever) program does a couple of things:

Good: Reduces per call cost.

Bad: Locks you into Microsoft products that have initial costs for all involved, and get superceded by the next version that has "shiny shiny" to impress people to buy the next version, forcing everyone to upgrade so the CEO can have his "feature".

Note: A telephone from over 50 years ago STILL works on a modern phone line. I can't say as much for these products.

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Swedish Supreme Court keeps AssangeTM in Little Ecuador

Herby
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Maybe if...

Mr. Assange's people can leak some Hillary Clinton documents/emails, he might get some people in the USA to give him some help. Probably not the ones he wants, but you never know.

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SOD TABLETS, if you want to get anything done travelling get a ... yes, a LAPTOP

Herby
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Thankfully not 40 years ago.

In those days, there weren't powerpoint presentations, just a carousel slide show and hopefully they didn't have too many. Cameras? probably not allowed, as they supplied ONE 36mm slide for you to take with you and some press blurb. We've come a long way,

The problem is that MANY people don't know how to make presentations, and they ALL use powerpoint as a crutch usually putting the audience asleep. A good presentation is a sight to behold and you don't forget them. Unfortunately they are few and far between.

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Boeing 787 software bug can shut down planes' generators IN FLIGHT

Herby
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Wierd flaws not likely to be encountered

I discovered one of these on the operating system I worked on in the 70's. Turns out that the calculation of 'leap year' is done when the time was entered on the console (before CMOS clocks). The problem would happen if one entered the time in December of a non leap year (like 1975) and if the machine ran continuously till February 29th. Since the determination of leap year was done in 1975, and 1976 was a leap year, it wouldn't register.

Of course the likelihood of the machine being up for that long was sooo remote, they didn't consider it a bug. The remedy is to just enter the date some time in January, and go from there. There was really no need to reboot. Sadly the machine was sold for scrap in 1983 after a bankruptcy.

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Ruskie hackers nab unclassified Obama emails

Herby
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Why??

Can't they publish the Hillary Clinton emails. Lots of people would be VERY interested!

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C++ Daddy Bjarne Stroustrup outlines directions for v17

Herby
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Will anyone really understand the language?

As the language grows, it (by nature) becomes more complex. The C language (for example) is described (an older version) in a book by the originators (K & R) that is only a 1/2 inch thick (I just measured it!). C++ in its originator book (from a bunch of years ago, I don't have it in front of me, but Bjarne DID sign my copy) is about 1.5 inches thick. Given this the language is at least three times as complex, and getting more so. Most "modern" languages (I include C++ here) are getting more complex by the minute, and they are getting too complex for one person to "know" without propping open some sort of reference. The problem is that the complexities are getting ignored and people use a "known subset" and fake the rest of it.

Of course it gets worse when you need to link against some library, and (in C++) everything gets redefined because the author that it would be "cute". Then you attempt to learn another set of exceptions just to get your "simple task" done. It is a never ending task.

Of course it gets worse. A book on python (Programming Python by Mark Lutz) is even thicker (a good 3 inches) and learning the language is even more difficult. It is a never ending task.

As mentioned before "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many". To which I add: "and they are getting more complex!"

I long for the Fortran 66 (an improvement over Fortran II) days, but that is just me.

Yes, I did program a machine with Fortran II as its most complex language. It was a while ago!

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Stuff your RFID card, just let me through the damn door!

Herby
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RFIDs are interesting things.

You can even buy a small kit (sparkfun.com) that allows you to read them. It includes a couple of cards as well. Of course the sensor needs to be pretty close (for the cheaper sensor, I have), but it works quite well. One of these days, I'll make it unlock/lock my computer when I go away for a while.

I have yet to try it on US passport cards. I'll be able to do that in a couple of days.

BEEP.

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Cash register maker used same password – 166816 – non-stop since 1990

Herby
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Manufacturers Password

In a project I worked on we cooked in a "master" password that allowed entry into the system. We went to great lengths to deny that it existed to "higher ups". I was told that eventually it was released in dire circumstances (it would have necessitated a site visit). The funny thing was that it was a relatively simple password, just the companies initials as control characters. I have no idea if any of these systems exist almost 30 years later. I was laid off before the company was sold off.

So, these things happen all the time. The saying goes: "Can you keep a secret?" to which the proper answer is "yes", but the next phrase is "So can I".

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FBI alert: Get these motherf'king hackers off this motherf'king plane

Herby
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Black Hat session topic?

Get Boeing to sponsor it and allow researchers try to do something fancy. They don't even need to fly the plane, just do "something weird" to the navigation net.

As any good security guy knows that physical separation is best. The only thing that MIGHT be connected is a power supply (if they are smart!).

This should be found out quickly. Point fingers unfounded is a useless exercise, which is happening now.

Me? Only worried that the screens will go blank at the "good parts" of the movie.

p.s. There is always the circuit breaker!

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Docker huddles under Linux patent-troll protection umbrella

Herby
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Patent trools...

On the US TV Show _Last Week Tonight_ (HBO) they had a segment on patent trolls. It was quite interesting and included a video of the Samsung Ice rink that is right outside the federal courthouse in the Eastern District of Texas (it was quite humorous!).

They also talked about the legislation that was stalled in the US Senate because of (you guessed it!) the trial lawyers association (surprise! surprise!). If you can look at this episode (or El Reg can get a link) you will find it quite interesting!

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Microsoft to open first flagship Store beyond North America

Herby
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Still not very good.

My observation of an Apple store that right across the mall from a Microsoft one was quite informative. The Microsoft store ALWAYS had more store personnel than customers, so I suppose you would get "personal service". The Apple store on the other hand had a long line out the door waiting to get in, and gobs of people inside looking (and buying as I observed) at product. I couldn't say as much for the Microsoft Store which was also trying to lasso customers in the mall proper (they were demoing a Kinnect[sp?] thing).

All of this reinforced the fact that having AAPL stock is a "good thing".

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Struggling through the Crystal Maze in our hunt for a spare CAT5

Herby
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Glass conference rooms...

They would be "really cool" of you had that switch controlled opacifier type glass. One flip of a switch and it all turns out dark.

Of course any BOFH worth his salt would have an auxiliary switch to turn the function in its opposite sense, at the most opportune time. I suppose that is another story.

But the magic glass is a bit pricy so I doubt that bean counters would approve and the general idea of glass conference rooms with the nice sound board qualities of the glass well known would be a terrible thing.

Thankfully at the last place I worked at, you just plugged in your computer and DHCP did the rest. The telephones were that way as well. Unfortunately the phones didn't allow for bluetooth headsets, but I solved that by going to ebay and getting a more improved model, and the bluetooth adapter. The phone/IT people never discovered I did it. When I left, I took my goodies with me, and left behind the "original" stuff. It was nice to have the computer sound AND the telephone in my ear so as to not annoy anyone.

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Streak life: Oz woman flashes boobs at Google Street View car

Herby
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Just someones attempt...

At their 15 minutes of fame. A little long if you ask me. I suspect that most of this attention is due to the Streisand Effect. If the authorities had skipped over this, it wouldn't be a big deal.

(*SIGH*) Life goes on, and we must move on to other things.

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El Reg uncages its truly demonic BOFH t-shirt

Herby
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Patience is a virtue.

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BOFH: Never mind that old brick, look at this ink-stained BEAUTY

Herby
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Real BOFH's use EBCDIC.

None of this silly DEC stuff. Of course my work wasn't on IBM stuff either. The drum printer I used was a nice XDS 7440 beast (oem'd from NCR). You could hear that thing get loud when it printed a line of $'s at the end of the job.

We replaced it (it was leased) with a slower chain printer that "kinda" worked. I programed it to pint the chain sequence and the hammer force opened up the printer gate, stopping the printer. I didn't do that too often. Now I have a Centronics B300 printer which works quite nicely.

Of course there is the 1132 printer (also EBCDIC) that was slow as molasses and only a 48 character set. We printed out pictures from the TV camera. It was a long time ago.

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Bye bye, booth babes. IT security catwalk RSA nixes sexy outfits

Herby
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What everyone needs is...

...a babe who actually KNOWS the hardware that is being displayed, and can answer actual questions. Unfortunately these are few and far between. The other unfortunate problem is that the male of the species thinks that anyone with the extra X chromosome is a "booth babe" who has no clue and thus are skipped over.

Oh, well. On an up note, I've worked with a bunch of great "babes" who actually know things. Unfortunately already married.

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Marathon race ace FOUND ON MARS – NASA boffins overjoyed

Herby
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JPL Marathon relay??

I don't know about how it will turn out, but they need to relay, given their (sedentary) lifestyle. Just watch an episode of _The Big Bank Theory_ (a documentary) and imagine the characters running even a mile. Just doesn't compute.

p.s. My brother-in-law does need the exercise but has a bad knee (sorry Wayne!).

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

Herby
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What does it do...

...when it reads the (formerly) sign that says "Resume Speed, Thank you" that were prevalent in Nevada in days of old (pre 1974). Does it accelerate to match the speed that others are going.

My mom traveled on these roads and crossed Nevada (California to Utah) in 4 hours. I'll let those refer to map sites to figure out the average speed.

I miss those days. Unlimited speed limits don't exist in my country. (*SIGH*)

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Can your code survive crappy 2G? This open-source traffic controller will test it

Herby
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Re: Back when I was a boy ....

Some people use dialup to this day. Unfortunately web sites don't understand this slowness. Perhaps this will educate them, but I'm not holding my breath!

As for the "back when..." I used an ASR33 teletype. Programming a "reasonable size" project at that speed REALLY humbled you! It is a lesson many people still haven't learned!

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Mature mainframe madness prints Mandlebrot fractal in TWELVE MINUTES

Herby
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Dot Matrix??

Wimps. Any good programmer from the 60's knows that full formed characters are much better. The 1403 used a nice chain that had several alphabets in total. If you used lower case, there were fewer, and the printer ran slower as a result.

The 1403 also had an automatic lid that would rise up when the printer needed to be fed (paper). One learned very early NOT to put coffee cups on the surfaces of the printer lest you liked mopping up spillage.

Me? I've got a 300 LPM band printer ans several daisy wheel printers in varying states of working. Nothing beats the sound of a nice working band/chain printer.

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Mono Magic: Photography, Breaking Bad style

Herby
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On picture taking (digital or otherwise)

One the biggest problems with picture taking (on whatever media you chose) is the composition. The "old school" people who took pictures on silver based emulsions typically has some composition skills, having them passed down through the ages. The more modern silicon image sensor people are more concerned with "selfies" and the background (not very significant) and the composition is VERY lacking.

Note to the cell phone picture takers: A lesson in composition is very helpful!

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Noobs can pwn world's most popular BIOSes in two minutes

Herby
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Maybe the operating system shouldn't use the BIOS.

Then the running operating system wouldn't have vulnerabilities. The BIOS could be sent out to pasture and basically ignored.

Oh, wait, there is already an operating system that does much of this.

The other alternative is a BIOS that the OS vendor controls.

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Motorola Mobility up before the beak over alleged IP infringment

Herby
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Joke

Hard times... Maybe they can...

Lay off the other 80% of the workforce. It would be welcome!!

Unfortunately this is a joke, but I wish it were true! Method patents are a bit silly. I suspect that someone will eventually patent rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time.

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OpenDNS snags network monitoring service BGPmon

Herby
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OpenDNS....YAY!!

Don't ask me why this is good news to me. No, it probably isn't the reason you think.

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This ISN'T Net Neutrality. This is Net Google. This is Net Netflix – the FCC's new masters

Herby
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God help us now...

...We're doomed.

I can see it now. FCC mandates IPv4 for "compatibility" reasons. Rest of world, running out of IPv4 addresses converts to IPv6. USA stifled.

Look, it could happen. Rotary dial telephones still work for "compatibility". One might think this is a good thing. Of course VoIP people don't do this (I just tried!).

So, yes WE'RE DOOMED (sorry for the Charlie Brown reference, baseball season is starting).

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Microsoft hints at faster release cadence for Windows 10 previews

Herby
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Soon??

Microsoft has many definitions for this word. A recent example was how soon the replacement for Windows XP was to arrive on the scene.

Then again the word "better" has definitions as well. Like Vista was to be better than XP, and Windows 8 was better than Windows 7. Time will tell if Windows 10 is better than Windows 9 8.1

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We've read all 400 pages of the FCC's baffling net neutrality rules – here's what YOU need to know

Herby
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As said before: "Be careful for what you ask for..."

You may just get it.

Of course, if you are a big company (there are many who have thumbs in the pie here), you can make up dictates and the people who you are trying to "help" get left out in the cold.

In another context this was said: "No deal is better than a bad deal". It may apply here!

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Forget viruses: Evil USB drive 'fries laptops with a power surge'

Herby
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Things a bit out of order...

If this were "done right", the blasting of the USB port would take place AFTER injection of the STUXNET virus. Wait for it to be injected, THEN blast away after a nice time interval. You want to remove blame for the injection.

Yes, there is a BOFH sequence here somewhere.

Note to self: Always open up an unknown USB thumb drive before inserting.

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Clinton defence of personal email server fails to placate critics

Herby
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Re: Nothing Is Illegal For A High Government Official

We had a president named Richard Nixon who might disagree with you.

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HAPPY 20th Birthday MICROSOFT BOB

Herby
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Re: "We offer it here without any warranty, guarantee, or prospect of support"

Just musing here, but isn't this what Microsoft does with its products?

On Bob/Clippy...

A Microsoft "original". And like most Microsoft "Originals" flopped miserably.

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Cash'n'Carrion restocks atomic keyrings

Herby
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How??

Do I get one of these in the wonderful USA? Is there a local vendor?

Do you ship them to far away places incased in lead foil? Maybe you could put it in the middle of a nice solder roll (then again probably not due to silly RoHS regulations).

Total bummer!!

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Canadian bloke refuses to hand over phone password, gets cuffed

Herby
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Canada?? US?? UK??

Well we all know that the good old USA (or at least some of the people therein) think that Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of the USA. Look we have this long "unguarded" border, we both use $$ as currency (which sometimes trades at parity), and we speak (almost) the same language.

The problem is that somehow the American Constitution doesn't seem to work in the "great white (hockey) north". Canada can enact lots of "tell me or jail" laws and they have to live with it. Then again, we have a big cheese who doesn't like it either, but that is a discussion for another (more political) web site.

As for the UK, it is a wonderful country Queen and all. After all they gave us Top Gear!

Long live countries that speak (some form of) English.

All of this reminds me of:

"If any member of your IMF gets caught or killed the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions" and "This recording will self destruct in 10 seconds". Now where is that thermite mixture?

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'Hi, I'm from Microsoft and I am GOING TO KILL YOU'

Herby
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I recently got one of these..

A couple of times. The problem is that I can't understand them very well. I heard from a relative that they keep wanting to know your IP address, and I suggested they respond with 127.0.0.1 hoping that they will infect themselves. Of course I am running a Linux desktop, so I like to play along.

The bigger problem is when my wife answers the phone. She thinks they could be "real". Hopefully I have absolved her of this notion. She hung up on the last call per my suggestion.

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Snowden, NSA spying, hard drive malware ... what we need is a UN privacy watchdog!

Herby
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Has the UN got ANYTHING right?

I suspect that this will be a bunch of graft that will be extorted from "member states". They will select ones to head the organization in alphabetical order and call it good. One day a country like Iran will be in charge of freedoms and call for mass censorship as the new normal.

Sorry, no thanks.

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D-Link removes fingers from ears, preps mass router patch

Herby
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A suggestion for D-Link...

How about keeping ALL older routers with up to date software. Sure it could be difficult, but when you release things with different numbers many times each year, things add up. Of course an alternative would be to open up things after they are declared "end of life".

p.s. Sometimes you need to go to Russia to get updates (D-Link has an office there).

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NXP snaps up Freescale to form new chipzilla

Herby
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Can they bring back 68k's

It would be a nice gesture. If they did multi-core 68k processors we could get rid of the chips from the "other chipzilla".

Yeah, I know wishful thinking (*SIGH*).

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El Reg regains atomic keyring capability

Herby
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Cleanup??

Isn't obvious that to get rid of nuclear waste you use NukeAway. At least that is what is used in the land of Ork.

As for thermite, it is pretty difficult to get started. In my youth, I tried with magnesium ribbon and it failed miserably. Of course that did not deter me and my brother as we disassembled some firecrackers and used the KNO3+S+C mixture to get the thermite started. The next time I used road flare which did the starting job nicely. A few years later in the 10th grade (4th form) my chemistry teacher made a hole in the lab table with thermite results. It IS very hot!

Such fun!!

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Reckon YOU can write better headlines than us? Great – apply within

Herby
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Do you review...

...past comments posted here?

I'm "local" but that is a relative term. The commute to SF would be a big deal as I live a bit South (no, not that far South, just down the Peninsula).

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BOFH: The ONE-NINE uptime solution

Herby
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On "decommissioning"

Sometimes you need to be careful. There might be valuable data on them. Usually a proper BOFH scans for the emails to/from the boss's mistress for good value.

Of course when you attempt a recovery at a later date, you are always guessing "what was the password I used 5 years ago".

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Net neutrality victory: FCC approves 'open internet' rules in 3-2 vote

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Be careful for what you ask for...

...you may just get it.

After we read the multitude of pages and find out how a government agency has really stirred up a hornet's nest. This is a disaster, we just don't know it yet. Time will tell just how bad it really is. Unfortunately the rules are not "RFC's", but they should be.

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Assemblers were once people: My aunt did it for NASA

Herby
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The 60's and computers...

Wonderful days. My first programs were in Fortran on the IBM1620. Wonderful machine, IBMs first "personal" computer. Did assembly language on it as well, and eventually got paid for it.

Small note: Didn't the 704 have Fortran?

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FCC Republicans slam brakes on net neutrality, but this wagon ain't slowing

Herby
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When will they understand...

If it ain't broke, DON'T fix it!!

If some vendor does something with the traffic we customers get, I'm sure that there will be another vendor that won't do it. The internet has grown BECAUSE it hasn't been regulated. We have reasonable standards body (IETF) and contributions by even the "little people" if they have something to contribute. Even there is some lightheartedness (wait till April 1). Does anyone believe that if some UN organization was in charge of the internet we would have gotten this far? this soon? We would probably be stuck with X.25 at 56k bps circuit switched.

Let me repeat:

If it ain't broke, DON'T fix it

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Net neutrality in the US: Look out! It's Neut-gate! Or is that Net-ghazi?

Herby
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If it ain't broke...

Get the government involved to really make a mess of things.

From the looks of it, they will do a bang up job.

Oh, we will all pay for it it in the end!

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They've finally solved it: Schrödinger's cat is both ALIVE AND DEAD

Herby
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Modern equivalent...

Is a simple lottery ticket. You buy it for one buck/quid and that's its value. The "opening of the box" is when they draw the number and you find out if it is "dead" (valueless), or "alive" (worth something) for various values of "alive".

The best explanation was the episode of _The Big Bang Theory_ when Penny and Leonard have their first kiss.

Note: This show is not a comedy, it is a documentary. I have this on VERY good authority from my brother in law who works at JPL.

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Herby
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Note to self (and other commenters):

We are all in the wrong business. As the saying goes, find a need and fill it. There must be another thing that "improves" something in audio.

The sad thing is that they will probably play tunes with MP3 compression and not even notice the difference. Oh, the MP3 player will probably have a (noisy) vacuum tube (valve) in its pre-amp to add more "warmth".

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'Camera-shy' Raspberry Pi 2 suffers strange 'XENON DEATH FLASH' glitch

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Kinda old news...

I remember working on a project in the mid 80's. One of the guys wanted to take a picture of the PC board we had. At the time we had the EPROMS covered in a white paper sticker. A flash on the camera glitched it. We changed to silvered stickers and the problem went away.

Lesson learned. Semiconductors are light sensitive. Thankfully the effect is transient, and after a reset all was well with the world.

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The Interview? Kim Jong-Un, you really shouldn’t have bothered

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Barbara Streisand effect (in spades)

Whoever did the hack (the finger pointing hasn't ceased) and the subsequent demand for the film not to be released made up for the fact that it isn't that good of a film. We will never know how the film would have fared if there wasn't so much PR.

Just remember, there is a saying "There is no such thing as bad PR". Spin doctors have this down to a fine art.

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'If someone in Australia says lick my toad, it's not a euphemism'

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Marmite?

Please explain further. While I suspect it is something similar to Nutella, we here in the USA don't have much experience with it.

Me? I like peanut butter, Skippy chunk style if you ask.

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