* Posts by Joe Gurman

236 posts • joined 21 Dec 2007

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50 years on, the Soviet-era Soyuz rocket is still our favorite space truck

Joe Gurman

Oh come now

"For the past five years, the rockets have been our only means to resupply the International Space Station." As indicating by the correct reporting in the rest of the article, this sentence is clearly in error.... or SpaceX, Sierra Nevada, and Orbital have been spending a lot of cash on spitballs.

The Soyuz spacecraft has been the sole method of crew transfer since the end of Shuttle operations, but there are lots of options (Progress [a Soyuz derivative], Dragon/CRS, Cygnus, Kounotori, ATV, and maybe someday Dreamchaser) for unmanned resupply/trash disposal.

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Apple unplugs its home LAN biz, allegedly

Joe Gurman

Re: Oh - I quite liked the Airport range

There is indeed an incredible breadth of WiFi access points available, but none in my experience has been anywhere near (as in orders magnitude near) as simple to set up as the AirPorts I've had or set up for others the last 15 years. Other than one that got fried in an electrical storm, none has even failed.

Compare and contrast that with the utter rubbish kit I've purchased (or been wheedled into working on for friends) from multiple vendors, and Apple wins hand-down. I confess fully and freely to not having tried every router now on the market (who has the time, energy, or money?), but for what it does, the AirPort Express is arguably the best WiFi access point out there, for simple home installations. For traffic shaping, latest (unofficial so far) protocol, whatever, undoubtedly not but (uh oh, prepare for Apple haters' apoplexy), it just effin' works.

I'm truly sorry Apple felt their new quarterly earning were going to be affected by the volume of sales of this product line.

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Why I just bought a MacBook Air instead of the new Pro

Joe Gurman

OK, I get it

Mr. McCarthy doesn't like the new MacBook Pro, thinks he's going to jump ship on Apple, and likes the MacBook Air of a few years ago. Cool.

But why the inaccurate tirade (the cheapest model of the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is $1799 in the US not $2400)? He admits he didn't even get a chance to try it out before deducing it was useless for anything but emoji. I think I'll visit an Apple Store when they have ones to, you know, use, and decide whether I agree.

Oh, and I use a three-year old MacBook Air. Its CPU, graphics, and storage (a mighty 128 Gbyte SSD) pale in comparison to the base model MacBook Pro's with Touch Bar. I think I'd like to look at a performance comparison and try it what the Touch Bar, an unfamiliar technology, can do before I make a decision. Mr. McCarthy's rant hasn't helped me make a decision, not one little bit.

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Brexit judgment could be hit for six by those crazy Supreme Court judges, says barrister

Joe Gurman

Erm....

Mr. Callus, whatever his qualifications may be (and however appropriate, nay, Dickensian his name may be for a member of the bar), he clearly reads only hyper inflated news of US Supreme Court cases. Far more of those are decided by 9-0 votes (or at least were, back when there were nine Justices) than by 5-4 ones: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/the_breakfast_table/features/2014/scotus_roundup/supreme_court_2014_why_are_most_cases_either_9_0_or_5_4.html .

Just like UK Supreme Court Justices, the Chief Justice of the United States and the other Justices of the Supreme Court, whatever else they may be, are supremely knowledgeable about the law. The US Supremes have it slightly easier, of course, because, well, we have a written constitution they can use to crib from.

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Britain's fight to get its F-35 aircraft carriers operational turns legal

Joe Gurman

While on shore....

.... the US is a very litigious country indeed, our idea of law of the sea appears to be, "Anywhere we have a carrier battle group, we can do pretty much what we want." Cuts down on extraneous legal costs, and is pretty much in line with RN practice when Britain ruled the waves.

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The exploding Note 7 is no surprise – leaked Samsung doc highlights toxic internal culture

Joe Gurman

From this side of the Pacific....

It looks as though Samsung is grooming its executives to run for high political office. But maybe that's just a US perspective.

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3,500 Verizon call center workers can't hear you now

Joe Gurman

Complete bollocks

"We value our Customer Service employees," Verizon said. "They are highly trained, skilled and experienced and they will be encouraged to stay with the company."

Anyone – anyone – who has had to deal with Verizon Customer Service reps know that however well meaning and desirous of being helpful the first-level reps may be, their accumulated knowledge is close to zero. Their positions appear to exist solely to deflect customers from speaking with knowledgeable support personnel unless they nag politely (or act out over the phone, which brings s supervisor on the line). They are by definition what customer service ought not to be.

9
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Google hires comedians

Joe Gurman

Can you say, "Bob?"

I knew you could.

0
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Boffins eschew silicon to build tiniest-ever transistor, just 1nm long

Joe Gurman

Re: Shirley

Grease, as in lubricant for machining, chain lube, &c. Search on "Climax mine."

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Linus Torvalds says ARM just doesn't look like beating Intel

Joe Gurman

Perhaps

Mr. Torvald the megacurser refers only to ARM in a desktop. Perhaps he's right, today. If a major vendor, say from California, decided to market desktops based on ARM chips, he might be wrong. He's certainly dead wrong when it comes to mobile devices. Why do we bother listening to experts speaking on subjects outside their areas of expertise? He's a software guy.

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UK copyright troll weeps, starts 20-week stretch in the cooler for beating up Uber driver

Joe Gurman

Could the gaoler be convinced to lose the key to his cell?

In the interests of keeping scum off the streets?

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Joe Gurman

Re: 20 wks in prison! He's a kid for fucks sake!

Nice try at troll bait. I won't vote either up or down, since it was neither meant as a serious comment nor successful as comedy.

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Forgive me, father, for I have used an ad-blocker on news websites...

Joe Gurman

Guilt? At not seeing ads?

Are you effin' serious? I believe the correct response, to quote the film version of The Man Who Would Be King, is, "Not bloody likely."

If adverts were no more obnoxious, either in appearance or by giving evidence of slurping and sharing personal information, than newspaper ads; if ads did not therefore follow me from site to site, even if I only visited site A once in six months; if ads actually tried to sell me something rather than serving as a way for tracking my surfing habits.... maybe.

As it is, I pay for ("subscribe to") to major US news outlets' online presence, instead of seeing ads. Through Patreon, I also pay for content on a couple of much lower budget sites. My conscience is clean, mate.

And in answer to the most obvious question, yes, I'd pay a quid or so a month to keep reading The Reg. There's nothing immoral about partial paywalls in return for spyware-free viewing. And make no mistake: that's what online ads are, spyware.

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Forget Khan and Klingons, Star Trek's greatest trick was simply surviving

Joe Gurman

Brings back memories

As a teenager, I watched Star Trek with a somewhat skeptical eye: I liked good science fiction, and it wasn't; I liked social comment with (what passed for, at that age, in the US, as) a little style and wit, and ToS generally lacked it, and only rarely were the signatures of real SF writers visible. But the author, who's done a very nice job in relating the socio-historical significance of the series, leaves out perhaps the most moving incident: Nichelle Nichols, looking for roles with a bit more substance than Uhura (cue Galaxy Quest clip with Sigourney Weaver saying it's a dumb job to repeat what the computer says, but it's her job and she's going to do it), was thinking of leaving the show, when she got a call from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., asking her to stay because she was such a positive — and unique — role model. That kind of thing, I think, is, in the US at least, the key to Star Trek's survival: it represents our aspirations for a better society (no money, no racial or ethnic strife on the planet) and our willingness to look for new and different cultures. Compare and contrast with Donald Trump's appeal now, *cough*.

And a personal reminiscence: in the 1967 - 1968 academic year, I was applying to colleges, and was shocked to find that I'd been accepted at small but rather well-known science and engineering school in Pasadena, California. I was also shocked by a dean's pointedly explaining that I;d done well enough in non-STEM subjects that I might change my mind about what I wanted to do, and while they had excellent humanities courses, it was difficult there for people who decided not be nerds. While trying to make up my mind, I read about a protest of 500 of the (then all-male) student body at NBC's Burbank headquarters over what turned out to be the final cancellation of ToS. As noted in the story, Star Trek was on on Friday evenings that year, which led me to the conclusion that 2/3 of the undergraduates at that noted institution had nothing better to do on a Friday night than watch a (barely) sci-fi TV series with cheesy production values. I gave the school a pass.

OK, one more personal connection: Leonard Nimoy, like me, was a native of Boston, Massachusetts. His father owned a barbershop in the Dorchester/Mattapan neighborhood.... and cut my grandfather's hair. How could I totally dislike a series with a homeboy in it?

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Life imitates satire: Facebook touts zlib killer just like Silicon Valley's Pied Piper

Joe Gurman

But is it middle out?

And can Dinesh find a girl who will hat with him over it?

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Making us pay tax will DESTROY EUROPE, roars Apple's Tim Cook

Joe Gurman

False arithmetic

For one thing, I'm certain Apple's employees in Ireland, being in the tech sector, make somewhat more than the average salary. But the really failure in your reasoning is that €1 in salary ends up being a lot more than €1 in the economy. An Apple employee buys a pint (or anything else with VAT), and the government collect son that. But the pint also pays part of the barman's salary, and he spends money on things with VST as well, and so on and on. I suspect it still comes to considerably less than the billions cited, but perhaps a bit closer.

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Apple is making life terrible in its factories – labor rights warriors

Joe Gurman

[Citation needed]

Where is the proof Apple has been asking for lower manufacturing costs? From something a Megatron executive told Labor Watch? From something a factory manager said? (OI ask because I can't reach the PDF.) Have they asked Apple to confirm or deny.

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'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'

Joe Gurman

Re: Dearth of content

Or just the availability of great, steaming piles of bandwidth and spare cash to pay for it in the urban and suburban areas where punters with the 4K kit reside.

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Joe Gurman

Really

Not too surprising if you didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, but "4K" TV isn't. Not by 'arf.

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Joe Gurman

Re: quality..

Several years ago, I mentioned to a religiously audiophile [*] individual that I could not possibly hear the difference between digital and analog recordings, simply because of the loss of high-end hearing response as one ages. He assured me that real audiophiles could. It was at that moment that I realized that I was totally satisfied with my penis size.

[*] As certified by his arising articles for audiophile magazines. (Yes, paper ones.)

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BBC detector vans are back to spy on your home Wi-Fi – if you can believe it

Joe Gurman

Really

"We've got two more words for you: Ethernet. Cables. What are you going to do about TVs physically wired into their routers?"

One man's 1984ish enforcement scheme is another man or woman's business opportunity. I foresee an uptick in Cat-5e cable, crimping tool, and RJ-45 connector sales.

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Virgin signs up record ultrafast broadband subs

Joe Gurman

Just curious....

Do any of you lot in the UK know what "triple play" means?

– Fan of minor, Olympics-shunned sport enjoyed by hundreds of millions of fans worldwide

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Seattle Suehawks: Smart meter hush-up launched because, er ... terrorism

Joe Gurman

Re: @ Sir Runcible Spoon. One reason is because of the dogs

No, actually, the certainty (fear implies some level of doubt) is that the utilities' databases with information on when one is home and when not will be hacked, Wikileaked, and used to aid breakers and enterers (government as well as more overtly criminal). Smart meters enable the destruction of a reasonable expectation of privacy.

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Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments

Joe Gurman

It's not amusing

....when an abusive person suffering from OCD verbally abuses other people with OCD. Or not enough OCD for his tastes.

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You. Comcast, TWC, Charter, DirecTV, Dish. Get in here and explain yourselves – Congress

Joe Gurman

And Verizon is left off the list because....

....why?

1
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Revealed: How NASA saved the Kepler space telescope from suicide

Joe Gurman

Er, no.... but it's a good idea anyway

Kepler is in a heliocentric orbit, so not much direct help for it, but if a space elevator were feasible, it would be very useful for servicing things in geosync orbit of which there are lots) or "tipping off" payloads with boost motors to head elsewhere.

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Read America's insane draft crypto-borking law that no one's willing to admit they wrote

Joe Gurman

Re: Requirements for US Political Office

Actually, thanks to the Teabaggers =, there are lots of people with business, and not legal, backgrounds in the US House of Representatives, at least. One could argue that having Senators and Representatives with at least a law degree (regardless of whether they have practiced law) is helpful in, you know, writing laws.

This draft legislation was written by Intelligence Committee staff members, also lawyers, not the named Senators nor any other members Congress. I'd be willing to bet a stack of iPhones none of the staff lawyers has a clue as to how encryption works or what you lose if you weaken it.

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Bezos defends Amazon culture in letter to shareholders

Joe Gurman

Not all that different from where I work.... er, not

Hypothetically (because I can't post statements that might be taken to imply that I speak for my employer), I work for a US government agency, that for want of a better way of putting it, launches things into space. Things that observe and measure things we've never measured before, that see things we've never seen before, and that expand our mental horizons about the world we live in, its neighborhood, and the cosmos. And to get those things done, there are certainly times when lots of people on a project put in those killing hours, BUT they are recognized for their work, managers generally try to turn around weaker performers, and we aren't expected to work that long every week of every year. If you see us crying, it's because our own mistakes led to friends and role models getting killed, which seems a much more valid reason for tears than a tinhorn dictator of a manager putting you down.

And if you see us cheering and lifting glasses of champagne (sorry, non-alcoholic; the real thing isn't allowed at work), it's because we think we accomplished something more meaningful than a good quarter.

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Google tries to run from flailing robotics arm

Joe Gurman

And the buyer is....

Cyberdyne systems, of course.

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NASA celebrates 50-year anniversary of first spaceship docking in orbit

Joe Gurman

OK, I'm a pedant

....and proud. "50-year anniversary" is redundant, repetitious, and tautological (see what I did there?).

Anniversary comes from the Latin for "turning of a year," so all the head needed to say was, "50th anniversary."

Mutter, mutter, kids today. Why, in my day.... mutter, mutter.

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Go ahead, build better security: it just makes crims try harder

Joe Gurman

The syntax police

Interesting piece, and I hope the author will not take it amiss if I suggest that reporters need to become grammatical: "He says risk is critical for security executives despite that he admits it is his weakest area." Maybe "despite admitting," or even "even though he admits."

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FBI says NY judge went too far in ruling the FBI went too far in forcing Apple to unlock iPhone

Joe Gurman

Just one point of fact

The iPhone 5c in the San Bernadino case did not belong to Syed Farook. It was issued to him by his employer, San Bernadino County. That fact may or may not be relevant to the court arguments, but certainly it is relevant enough for a reporter to get right.

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Flash – aaah-aarrgh! Patch now as hackers exploit fresh holes

Joe Gurman

Re: Jeesh!

Truly. What is this "Flash" of which you speak? I have a vague memory of some horror by that name, but our tribal elders forbid us to speak of it, so I don't know what terrible things it must have done, in the dim past.

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Stop whining, America: Your LTE makes Europe look slow

Joe Gurman

Re: I visit the US a lot

I live in the DC metro area (Maryland). No problems with Verizon coverage at all. LTE pretty much everywhere.

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Joe Gurman

Re: There are two Americas

I think you're saying that the _average_ population density in the US is much lower than it is in western Europe, which is self-evident. Absent government subsidies (as were given in ages past for rural free mail delivery), there is no economic incentive for the telecoms to build out in the great empty.

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NASA boffin wants FRIKKIN LASERS to propel lightsails

Joe Gurman

California geography

Has there been a major fault zone slip? UCLA = University of California at Los Angeles. Berkeley, aka UC Berkeley = University of California at Berkeley. The two cities are about 370 miles apart, or nearly as far Glasgow is from St. Albans.

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New NASA theory: Moon radiation drops so HULK RIP MOON LIKE SHIRT

Joe Gurman

Charon smash!

That's all, nothing to see here. It's Friday, innit?

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Feds look left and right for support – and see everyone backing Apple

Joe Gurman

Rem, no

No, Apple can't brick "innocent" users' phones whose owners got dicey repairs performed by uncertified techs if those phones are running the version of the OS released yesterday.

You are, as they say, misinformed.

And Apple will never hand those data over absent a ruling by the US Supreme Court, which you might have known is currently short one judicial wingnut.

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Joe Gurman

Maybe greater weight

....than press releases from politicians who represent the Congressional district in which Apple is located, or tweets by other Silicon Valley outfits' CEOs are the editorials in today's New York Times and Washington Post — and, I expect, in news media across the US — siding with Apple.

The FBI has to be recognized for what it is: a usually bumbling, old boy network that has been spying on US citizens since its inception, contrary to all existing statutes and Constitutional limits. They have been repeatedly guilty of, but never prosecuted for, criminal conspiracy against individuals and organizations who didn't meet the Director's or the then current Administration's political litmus tests. Kowtowing to them on the basis of an ill-informed order issued by the lowest level of federal court (most likely because the FBI knew it could never get such an order from, say, a Federal District Court) would are absurd.

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Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Joe Gurman

Re: I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but...

I'm certain the butt ugliness will help sales.

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LISA Pathfinder drops its gravity-wave-finding golden boxes

Joe Gurman

Major omission in the article

LISA Pathfinder is designed to detect gravitational waves in a different frequency range to the ones detected by LIGO. See, for instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_wave#/media/File:The_Gravitational_wave_spectrum_Sources_and_Detectors.jpg .

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Why Tim Cook is wrong: A privacy advocate's view

Joe Gurman

Amen

I believe Mr. Potts is attempting to make a distinction without a difference.

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Thirty Meter Telescope needs to revisit earthly fine print

Joe Gurman

Re: Won't be a "sacred site" in 2 million years or so anymore

What is sacred to whom is always a matter of conjecture as to sincerity, depth of feeling, and authenticity, but Polynesian peoples had similar beliefs going back well before any astronomical observatories, and native people in the Hawai'ian islands have been dumped on for a couple centuries by haoles, so ill feeling at getting dumped on once again is a given.

That said, there are also opportunists out for a payoff, and the odds are about fifty-fifty whether the TMT will simply be canceled or there will be a holy person there for the dedication.

One thing I can tell you: if the telescope does get built, this kind of delay means the police tag will go well beyond $1.4B. Ask the folks who are building the DKIST (a solar telescope) on the Haleakala on Maui.

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The Mad Men's monster is losing the botnet fight: Fewer humans are seeing web ads

Joe Gurman

Well

I use an adblocker than can whitelist individual sites, but I never have. The most useful industry site (a one-man operation) I read is supported by an Amazon percentage link and direct contributions. I believe I can say I've never seen an ad on The Reg site, but, assuming they have them, I'd be willing to subscribe a reasonable amount to keep the site going without them.

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Joe Gurman

Re: No sympathy.....

Nonsense: Less describes a continuous quantity and fewer, something denumerable. It has as long as it's been in the language, and there's no good reason to change what's significant difference. The only possible excuse is laziness, which produces bad speech or writing as surely as it does bad code.

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Submarine cable cut lops Terabits off Australia's data bridge

Joe Gurman

Oh those pesky Russkies

....and all the attention they've been paying to submarine optical fiber cables lately. Bet someone tried attaching a faulty tap.

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Most of the world still dependent on cash

Joe Gurman

Just a couple of questions

If 2 billion out of a word population of over 7 billion are "unbanked" (what a miserable turn of phrase), how is that "most?"

How do bank transactions benefit anyone but banks? If we all paid cash instead of using credit and debit cards, there would be no bank fees. Admittedly, plastic is much more convenient than case, even in countries other than the US, where ATMs (cash points) distribute only one denomination of currency.

Could I be justified in assuming that any report by a large, global banking firm (Citi) and a uni economics department might be ever so slightly biased favo[u]r of the banks' way of doing things?

The only advantage in gaining bank services in the US to people currently without bank accounts (the poor and.or undocumented, generally) would be the ability to avoid the tens of thousands of loathsome "pay day" loan and check cashing storefronts, in fact owned by large banking chains. They charge astonishingly usurious interest rates, and are the only resort for some millions of people. Need repairs to your auto to get to work, but no car to do so? They'll lend it to you at 30% and take the car as collateral, which means in almost all cases repossessing the car in a month or two. Dickensian.

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I love you. I will kill you! I want to make love to you: The evolution of AI in pop culture

Joe Gurman

And also in 1994....

Bungie introduced Marathon, the forerunner of all the Halo business. It featured not one but three AIs, all with starkly different personalities, and one of them psychotic. Unfortunately, such was the site of the art of actual game AI that the random human NPCs displayed an almost unerring tendency to get in the way of every shot or sight line. So they became known as "Bobs."

1
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Would you like fraud with that? Burger chain giant Wendy's 'hacked'

Joe Gurman

It's time

For Wendy's to follow McDonald's and Subway and adopt Apple Pay.

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Safari iOS crashing: Suggestions snafu KOs the Apple masses

Joe Gurman

Except....

....it was resolved at around 05:45 GMT today, so if you woke up after that, you probably wouldn't have seen it. Server issue, not Safari.

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