* Posts by Herby

1944 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

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

Herby
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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

Herby
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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

Herby
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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'

Herby
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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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Industry research claims over half of internet users open to new domains

Herby
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As long as...

TheRegister.co.uk exists, I don't think I will worry too much. Of course, we could get something like the.register as a domain name, but I'm not holding out much hope.

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National Lottery sleeps through Sunday

Herby
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Lining up...

...to pay your "Stupidity Tax". Of course I do it as well here in sunny California. Thankfully my rate of payment for this silly tax amounts to around $50/year.

It has been said that the odds of winning are the same weather you play or not, and I have actually proven it to be true. I've picked up a bunch of winning tickets just lying around that others have passed over. The first was one left on a copier that got me 5 bucks.

Live and learn.

I also note that when Comdex was up and running in Lost Las Wages Vegas, the locals didn't like it too much as the geeks didn't gamble too much, knowning the odds.

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Man trousers $15,000 domain name for $10.99 amid registry cockup

Herby
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Good for him.

As the old adage goes: Find a need and fill it.

At least he is setting up the web site to be "useful". Of course, the others who buy $15k domains "on spec" are asking for trouble. What should happen is for the REAL speculators should get only pennies for their efforts.

Then some things lead to weirdness when "accountonline" is actually a well known bank. Go figure (I can't!).

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Polish chap builds computer into a mouse

Herby
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Re: What I'd like to see...

"Is a monitor with a fast serial port (i.e. based on RS-485) with a megabit per second or so which uses its OSD hardware to emulate a high resolution xterm with nice crispy sharp bitmap fonts."

Well, if you are doing a bit mapped display (or something similar), 1/3 megabit is about what a 640x480 display has in pixels. Given that, you would get a frame rate of around 3 per second. This assumes that there aren't any timing bits in the stream.

There used to be a market for "X-Terminals" that did all the X-server things and you hooked them up to bigger boxes to get graphics. They used a 10-Base-T ethernet to get things to go fast enough.

One megabit just isn't fast enough. Of course now you have USB speeds way up there in the GHz range.

The solution: a single 75 ohm coax standard for what the HDMI cable gives you. It would probably be in the GHz range anyway.

Now if they were REAL cool the MouseBox would have a small transmitter to send out an 8VSB signal on channel 3 (take your pick) and you would just "tune it in". An on screen keyboard (as needed) and the charging mat and you would be good to go!

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Buggy? Angry? LET IT ALL OUT says Linus Torvalds

Herby
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Used to be...

That software was just something used to sell the hardware. When people started trying to make $$$ on it they hid it from everyone. Personally I would like to see what is behind the curtain before I buy something.

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Microsoft turns the power of FINE PRINT onto enterprise licensing

Herby
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I always thought the license agreement was:

Question: How much is your budget?

Answer: The license will cost you 110% of that.

There is a BOFH story here somewhere!

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Lube company merger receiving second 'in-depth' probe

Herby
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Just so you know...

Here in the USA, KY is the state abbreviation for Kentucky. I'll leave out the comments about the kind of residents that live there.

This article brings out the best in commentards.

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Verizon wants to sell 'antiquated' copper assets, stick to wireless for voice

Herby
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"better"??

Well, for the revenue stream it is. Having a nice flat rate line with unlimited data (at the speed my DSL line provides) is VERY nice thank you.

Moving to wireless will probably take these data and voice limits away, and when I trip over a limit (wireless bandwidth, being a shared resource) it will cost me dearly. Yes, I do like to download those Linux install disks, and maybe go back a revision. Just one of them will chew up a bunch of data. Now add in the updates that I do on a regular basis (and Microsoft does on an irregular basis) and you run into data limits and the cash register (till) just keeps ringing up the big bucks.

No thanks.

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BOFH: A miracle on PFY Street

Herby
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The question abounds...

Gina??

Oh, that is why we need to escape early!

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

Herby
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Be careful...

For what you ask for, you may just get it.

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Devs: Barack Obama's gunning for your job!

Herby
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Typical...

He writes JavaScript. Maybe he will continue with Basic (on a CP/M machine probably).

Of course, it has no bugs either, just ask him!

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

Herby
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It gets worse...

My recent experience was traveling though JFK airport. You see when you come in from overseas, you must pass US customs at the first point of entry. Fine enough. The problem is that after you do that, they consider you "unscreened" and to get on the plane to the other side of the country, you need to pass through theatre "security" again. Why why WHY can't they just have a "bypass" (you DID get screened before you got on the plane in Venice?) and go directly to the gate. Oh, it would be nice if they had a nice luggage conveyor to route the just passed customs luggage back onto the plane you will be taking soon.

Now I know why when you do a connection that involves customs, you need to provide HOURS of time. At least you can get a bite to eat while waiting at the gate to be loaded in the cattle car coach economy.

Yes, it is just theatre. I can hide my pocket screwdriver inside my eyeglass case, and carry on (yes, I do this quite frequently!).

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BOFH: Santa, bloody Santa

Herby
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You get...

Female, Consultant, AND Lawyer all in one. Is there anything else in this Gina package??

Got to get a handle on this one. Looks pretty complete to me, but I amy be missing something, who knows!

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BOFH: Everyone deserves a little DOWNTIME

Herby
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Question to pose...

How many unlisted numbers have modems that answer on the 10th ring?

Those that respond with the game of "Global Thermonuclear War" excepted.

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US taxmen won't say WHY they're probing Microsoft. So Redmond is suing the IRS

Herby
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I don't know...

Who to root for in this. On one hand our wonderful inefficient government needs all the help it can get, and it has picked a nice target. On the other hand having the gestapo IRS investigate you isn't a very kind thing.

P.S. Just followed one of the chocolate factory's self drivers. They need a light to indicate if it is actually in "self driving" mode so I can do things to make it change its mind.

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I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!

Herby
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They ARE interesting...

Having been next to one of the Chocolate Factory's self driving beasts, it is interesting. They seem to know what IS going on, and DO stop at stoplights. They even make proper left turns. I haven't seen them on the freeway, but it would be interesting to have them drive from the bay area down to the LA area on I-5. I suspect that they wouldn't handle the traffic as well as I can at 70+ MPH (which is the speed that EVERYONE (including the trucks) drives on this two lane (each way) freeway has.

Do i get £100 for having a positive review?

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BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?

Herby
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Printers were much simplier when...

...they only printed formed characters that were on the type band/chain/drum spaced by the fixed print hammers. The only variable was the VFU tape that you had to use the magic punch (or wield an exacto knife) to make the proper holes. No drivers needed here, just a simple printer interface and printable characters sent to the printer (maybe an occasional control character).

Times were easier in those days.

Of course the solution to most printer problems is to use postscript.

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Herby
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Re: In the old days

Actually is was easier than that. On the IBM card read/punch the motor that drove the read mechanism had a "variable" pulley. The motor was mounted in slots. With a quick "adjustment" of the pulley and sliding the motor to compensate the speed could be changed from stock 250 cards/min to around 375 cards/min (the new pulley "upgrade" was for 500 cards/min). On the punch side you could also upgrade as well, but we decided against it since the punch had more wear items. Yes, I personally participated in this, so I know all about it.

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