* Posts by Chris Miller

3094 posts • joined 6 Apr 2007

Bank in the UK? Plans afoot to make YOU liable for bank fraud

Chris Miller
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Re: Grey area

Both my RBS and Nationwide accounts have provided me with card readers - they appear to be identical :)

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Sweden decides Julian Assange™ 'remains detained in absentia'

Chris Miller
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Headmaster

Re: Julian Who?

Snowdoen

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Want a better password? Pretend you eat kale. We won't tell anyone

Chris Miller
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+10

For the Dean Martin reference in the subhead.

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Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

Chris Miller
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@Bruce

It's mainly Emirates that try to squeeze 3-4-3 into a 777, most carriers stick with 3-3-3. ANZ have a great facility whereby you can book a block of 3 economy seats and turn them into a Skycouch. Cheaper and better than Premium Economy on most airlines.

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Would we want to regenerate brains of patients who are clinically dead?

Chris Miller
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H2G2 has all this covered

“I thought you said you could just read his brain electronically,” protested Ford.

“Oh yes,” said Frankie, “but we’d have to get it out first. It’s got to be prepared.”

“Treated,” said Benjy.

“Diced.”

“Thank you,” shouted Arthur, tipping up his chair and backing away from the table in horror.

“It could always be replaced,” said Benjy reasonably, “if you think it’s important.”

“Yes, an electronic brain,” said Frankie, “a simple one would suffice.”

“A simple one!” wailed Arthur.

“Yeah,” said Zaphod with a sudden evil grin, “you’d just have to program it to say What? and I don’t understand and Where’s the tea? Who’d know the difference?”

“What?” cried Arthur, backing away still farther.

“See what I mean?” said Zaphod, and howled with pain because of something that Trillian did at that moment.

“I’d notice the difference,” said Arthur.

“No, you wouldn’t,” said Frankie mouse, “you’d be programmed not to.”

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Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise salute EU flag, blast Brexiteers

Chris Miller
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Re: The resources the government

It's true that we will not be compelled to join the euro if we remain, but unless we do we will have almost no influence. An ever increasing number of decisions are taken by qualified majority voting and the euro-bloc controls an absolute majority (and all new entrants are required to join, so that majority can only increase). As a result, most decisions (and all financial decisions) will be taken with a view to increasing the power to the bilge pumps on RMS Titanic, a situation that will continue until the bow finally disappears under the water.

It's also quite wrong to use net figures to define our contribution to the EU. If someone stole £900 from you and used it to buy you a new sofa, would you say "well, that's OK then, I haven't really lost anything", or would you feel that you might have spent the money better on something you actually wanted (and anyway you could have bought the same sofa for half the price)? And £900 is the amount every household in the UK spends on EU membership every year.

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Chris Miller
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@Ledswinger

The only advantage for Westminster is that every 5 years we get an opportunity to throw the rascals out. If you think David Cameron is a useless toff, you don't have to vote for him. If you think Jean-Claude Juncker* is a useless drunk, you have no choice but to grin and bear it.

* No doubt some euro-spinner will be along in a moment to claim that the President of the Commission is only the equivalent of the head of the civil service, and we don't get to vote for them, either. This is (to put it politely) bollocks. To quote from the EU's own web site: "Only the EU Commission is empowered to initiate legislation". So, if anything, more like the British Cabinet.

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Sysadmin paid a month's salary for one day of nothing

Chris Miller
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Back in early 1999, we agreed an on-call payment of £750 for being available 31/12/99-01/01/00. In mid-99, the business decided to close the European HQ where I worked and manage all the countries direct from the US (guess how well that worked?), so we were all made redundant. But we still got the £750 added to our (generous) settlement.

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Supernova bubble clocked at 19,000,000 km/h

Chris Miller
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I think you mean 1.76...% (unless your sheep have access to warp drive).

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Chris Miller
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Re: "Supersonic"?

Space isn't a perfect vacuum, so you can still sensibly talk about the speed of sound. It depends on the local density (which varies considerably), but order of magnitude should be ~100 km/sec or 360,000 km/h.

Incidentally 19,000,000 km/h is getting on for 0.02c.

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Big Pharma wrote EU anti-vaping diktat, claims Tory ex-MEP

Chris Miller
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Re: Snus

Snus (or local equivalents) are big in Norway too. Norwegian friends tell me it's the result of compulsory military service - smoking is forbidden in uniform, but no-one minds if you stick some powdered tobacco under your lip.

Incidentally, BAT are a big manufacturer, so it isn't big tobacco that's promoting the EU ban.

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Chris Miller
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Snus

A recent episode of 'Blue Eyes' had the Swedish cops popping into a tobacconist in search of some CCTV footage. It was noticeable that behind the counter were arrayed rows of round tins, various brands of Snus.

This is another EU idiocy - if you're addicted to nicotine, it's much healthier to get your fix via chewing tobacco than by smoking it. Yes, there's an increased risk of mouth cancer, but that's far better than the alternatives caused by smoking.

I used to argue that, if you're addicted to nicotine (not all smokers are - many do it as a social habit), you're better off in health terms smoking Piccadilly or Capstan Full Strength rather than the mildest B&H concoction available, because you'll breathe in less of the nasties for a given quantity of nicotine.

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A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

Chris Miller
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Re: it amazes me..

"Try to live on 10Mbps with a pair of children that are aware of what YouTube and Netflix are"

And I should pay for your kids' YouTube usage because? You want >10Mb, you pay for it (I do).

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Chris Miller
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@TheOtherHobbes

I'm not sure what percentage can't get 10Mb over copper, but I'd be happy to see (say) 10Mb being made a 'universal' requirement and those that can't reach that speed should get fibre (there might need to be exceptions for those who choose to live 10 miles down a goat track in Sutherland). I really can't see what benefits would accrue from universal FTTH, although I entirely agree that UK governments (of all persuasions) find it all too easy to piss away billions on pointless vanity projects like HS2 (the 'benefits' for which would be even more severely undermined by universal high-speed broadband).

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Chris Miller
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Re: it amazes me..

Quite so, Dan. The UK's problem is that (a) most people prefer to live in single household accommodation rather than giant blocks of apartments; and (b) dwellings typically last for many decades, if not centuries. New build (and new connections in general) should be fibre, of course, but that still means it takes a very long time to reach any significant proportion of the population with FTTP.

Installing a new physical connection in 30 million or so homes is a non-trivial cost, and no-one can identify any significant benefit for a typical household. I get 75Mb down and 20Mb up with the last mile over copper, and I pay a small premium for the extra speed (I was previously getting 16+1). If someone wants to pay to install FTTP and give me 1Gb, I won't complain, but I can't think of a single reason why I'd pay an extra few quid a month for the ability to download a Linux distro in 30 seconds rather than 5 minutes (assuming I can find a public download service actually able to deliver effective gigabit speeds).

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Did Spotify hire Alan Partridge to run its Netflix-style video push?

Chris Miller
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Headmaster

swap rolls

I've got a Swiss that I'm willing to swap for an Arctic, if that helps.

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Valley VC Peter Thiel becomes an official Trump delegate

Chris Miller
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There appears to be some sort of hair theme going on here, but I can't quite put my finger on it ...

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Spaniard live streams 195km/h burn-up

Chris Miller
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Re: Up Periscope!

Lester, do they still have 'suicidos' betting each other how far/fast they can drive down the wrong side of the autopista (with a pace car following on the correct side)? Usually at some ludicrously early hour when the bars close. This used to be a 'thing' when I was working in Madrid about 25 years ago.

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Wasps force two passenger jets into emergency landings

Chris Miller
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Re: Nutters

I'm not sure that a redesign of a Pitot tube is either called for or possible. It's basically a tube open at the forward end and sealed at the rear which measures the pressure generated by forward movement. If the front end is blocked (ice and small creatures are potential problems in this area), it won't work, which is why there are always at least three of them. But flying with 'unreliable air speed indication' is standard training for every pilot and shouldn't be too problematic, as long as you can recognise what's happening. It's the fact that two fully trained Air France pilots couldn't manage to do it that's worrying.

It's interesting that pilots learn to fly on 'indicated air speed', which is not directly related to true speed, either through the air or on the ground. A Concorde pilot once told me that indicated air speed at Mach 2 (and 60,000 feet) was between 500-600 mph.

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I am Craig Wright, inventor of Craig Wright

Chris Miller
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Glad we've got that sorted out

Now, who is Keyser Söze?

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Panama Papers graph database cracked open for world+dog

Chris Miller
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Re: re: ICJ

Since 370 journos have spent 5 months searching the records and have failed to identify any illegal behaviour, I think it's unlikely it will be (that and the fact that the ICJ has no jurisdiction in civil matters). The most astounding revelation to date is that dodgy dictators like to hide funds offshore. Wow! Who knew?

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Remain in the EU and help me snoop on the world, says Theresa May

Chris Miller
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@Voland

I fear your medication in in need of adjustment. Continual swearing just makes you sound very childish, as does RANDOM capitalisation - which is perhaps your intent.

Do you still think that submitting to the ECHR is just like signing an international treaty? You may want your laws decided by failed lawyers and third rate academics appointed on some Buggins' turn system from who knows where, but I prefer to have elected representatives, who I can vote to remove if I'm not satisfied with them. Is that too difficult to understand?

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Chris Miller
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Re: ECHR is also part of the N.Ireland Peace agreement

There's a world of difference between entering into a treaty, which like any legal contract (hopefully) clearly states what your obligations will be and the conditions under which they can be demanded of you, and binding your courts to a third party entity whose word is absolute and can demand anything they like whenever they like.

I've no problem with implementing the wording of some set of human rights conventions into English law and letting our judges interpret them, I'm very concerned about transferring such powers to an unrepresentative body over whom we have no democratic control.

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Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

Chris Miller
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Clarification please

The Fire Phone had a lot to be said for it. It had some real innovations, it was a perfectly promising device. However, without access to the Google Play Store, you couldn't install Facebook, or Uber, and many other apps.

Does that mean Facebook, Uber etc chose only to use Google Play and not to go to the expense of developing for an alternative, or does Google enforce this in some way? I've installed apps on my (bog standard, Nexus) phone without going through Google Play. It's a bit more fiddly, but not much. For me, the advantage of using Google Play is that the software is less likely to contain malware (whether deliberate or intentional). (Although I realise that, in the eyes of some users, anything emanating from Google is malware :)

As I understand it, this is different from the Apple ecosystem, where installing an app from any source other than Apple is (effectively, for most users) impossible.

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Are bearded blokes more sexist?

Chris Miller
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Re: wrong

There is nothing in the Koran requiring men to have beards, but it is in the sayings of the prophet Mohammed. Some Muslims argue that the sayings of the Prophet may be reinterpreted to reflect changes in society over the last 1,400 years. Other Muslims say that people who argue this way should be beheaded. You pays your money ...

It's undoubtedly true that in Britain, Muslims are over-represented amongst men with beards, but there is no 1-1 correlation between the two sets.

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Obama to admit Moon landing was faked?

Chris Miller
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I thought it was well known that bookies love it when an outsider wins. They pay out heavily when favourites win, an outsider winning usually means a big profit. On top of which, there's lots of free publicity, like this article.

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URL shorteners reveal your trip to strip club, dash to disease clinic – research

Chris Miller
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Microsoft, whose OneDrive also has an embedded shortener

Not any more - it seems to have disappeared.

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Hey, Atlantis Computing. What the heck is this in your EULA?

Chris Miller
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Slow news day?

Many, many vendors have similar clauses. I've seen it, for example, in contracts from large companies with two-letter and three-letter names (historically, I haven't dealt with such matters for many years, but I'd be surprised if things have changed). I've no idea whether they're legally enforceable or not.

If you ask a lawyer to produce a contract, they're very unlikely to start with a blank screen. They'll take an existing contract that's known to have worked successfully and make any necessary amendments (cf programming). That's why such things tend to get longer and longer ...

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Bloaty banking app? There's a good chance it was written in Britain

Chris Miller
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Re: re:The average lines of code (LOC)

Certainly if you're writing in COBOL, the language where it famously takes 600 LOC to write a "hello world" program.

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Elon Musk takes wraps off planet-saving Model 3 vapourmobile

Chris Miller
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Re: Electric Cars are not a new invention...

Batteries have been pushing the limits imposed by electrochemistry for decades, which is why over that period we've seen only a few percent improvement in energy density (the key factor). There's no chance of a doubling in performance - that would require a completely new technology (probably not electrochemical). Even if this were discovered tomorrow, it would take another decade of development (at least) before we'd see cars using it.

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Chris Miller
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Re: @Martin

Depends what you mean by non-trivial - the commercial systems I've seen are nearly £400 (after a government grant of £500) - that includes the cost of an additional charger unit for the car. Not that I've looked into it particularly closely, because I'm almost always charging in the evening/overnight, so 3½ or 5 hours makes no real difference to me.

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Chris Miller
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@Martin

You're right, my experience with my own (plug-in) hybrid is that the manufacturer's claimed electric range of 32 miles could only be achieved on completely flat terrain at a constant 55 mph. If I'm very careful, I can (after 3 months' experience) get 25 miles, but in winter with heating, lights and wipers going, 20 miles would be a struggle (and battery performance is worse in cold weather).

The other problem for Tesla owners must be recharging. My car has a 10kWh battery and takes 5 hours to recharge from empty* using a standard domestic 3-pin socket** (2.3 kW). If you went for the fully loaded Tesla with a 90kWh battery, that's going to take almost two full days to charge at home. You can charge the Tesla (and my car) much more quickly at the high-power outlets now available at most motorway services (when they're working!) and increasingly in super-store car parks (or at your work if they have one), but for many people that may not be an option.

* Actually, the car's computer won't let the charge drop below 15%, partly to protect the battery (Li-Ions don't like to be totally depleted), partly so there's enough juice to start the petrol engine when necessary.

** I could (at non-trivial cost) get a dedicated 16A socket installed at home, but that only reduces the charging time to 3½ hours, which (for me anyway) isn't worth the money.

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Chris Miller
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Re: Sedan (definition?)

Sedan = 4-door saloon

Coupe = 2-door saloon

Station Wagon = estate car.

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Tesla books over $8bn in overnight sales claims Elon Musk

Chris Miller
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Re: The elephant in the room...

The battery pack on my PHEV has a 10-year 120,000 mile (200,000 km) warranty. But the web sites are full of tales of EVs being 'bricked' at super-chargers - they need to be towed to the nearest dealer for a quick CTRL-ALT-DEL - though this is covered by warranty, it's still a huge inconvenience.

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The Register to publish Mindful Sysadmin adult colouring book

Chris Miller
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People who bought this also bought

Samsung LTD

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When should you bin that old mainframe? Infrastructure 101

Chris Miller
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Re: SNMP - Ha-Ha

SNMP = Simply Not My Problem

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X-ray scanners, CCTV cams, hefty machinery ... let's play: VNC Roulette!

Chris Miller
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Or a simpler (than SSH) solution

Don't use default ports on private services. There was an experiment done a while back putting up two honeypots running completely unpatched (MS) web servers. One was on port 80 and would be pwned within minutes. The other was on port 81 and sat there quite happily for weeks on end.

This solution isn't recommended for really sensitive stuff, but should be good enough to protect your torrents.

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Confused by crypto? Here's what that password hashing stuff means in English

Chris Miller
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Re: Chrome's "Pinning" doesn't appear to work

More or less every organisation will do something similar, not because they want to read your billets doux to your significant other, but so they can check that attachments in encrypted emails are free from (obvious) malware. Most security devices come with such a global certificate, which the sysadmins can install on all machines under their control.

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Computers shouldn't smoke. Cigarettes aren't healthy for anyone

Chris Miller
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I've told this story before (sorry)

In the late 90s I was called to the computer room at our German call centre (located, like many German call centres, in former East Germany). The aircon was unable to maintain temperature and the servers (AS/400) were complaining. The room was just a standard office area that had been partitioned off and the doors carried Nicht Rauchen stickers.

It didn't take long to spot the problem - the windows were wide open. I pointed out that this was preventing the aircon from working effectively. "Yes, but if we close them, it sets off the fire alarms when we smoke." A typical Ostie attitude toward dictats from central authority.

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Look who just joined Salesforce... it's former European commish Neelie Kroes

Chris Miller
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I'm sure she'll bring with her a deep understanding of technical issues or, failing that, which vintage of Mouton Rothschild goes best with Tournedos Rossini.

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Iain Duncan Smith's Universal Credit: A timeline

Chris Miller
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To reshuffle or not?

Cameron seems averse to reshuffles. In one way, this is commendable, ministers need time to grasp their brief and moving them every few years means they rarely achieve competence. But the downside is that catastrophic projects continue, because the minister's political reputations are nailed to them - that's been the problem with IDS and Universal Credit (good idea, woeful implementation). HS2 is another obvious example that needs to be swept away by a new broom.

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Web ads are reading my keystrokes and I can’t even spel propperlie

Chris Miller
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Re: Private Eye

If you consult Mr Orlowski's WikP entry, you will find he was (back in the 90s) the Eye's computing correspondent. Almost all Private Eye contributors use pseudonyms and his was Anna Rack.

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Chris Miller
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Private Eye

have been running a regular feature called Malgorithms "dedicated to excellence in contextual advertising". Current example:-

Telegraph online headline: Adam Johnson faces being locked up alongside Ian Huntley and Levi Bellfield at high security prison

Accompanying ad: Save on JOHNSON'S® baby products with CaringEveryDay.co.uk. Sign up!

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Too Naked for the Nazis streaks to literary glory

Chris Miller
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Reading from Behind: A Cultural History of the Anus.

Is it by any chance a guide to the chief town of Berkshire?

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I beg you, please don't back up that secret directory full of photos!

Chris Miller
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I had a very similar experience circa 2000. An IT manager had decided to use a work server to store images of himself and a group of friends keeping company with a gimp (and we're not talking picture editing software, here). Nothing illegal, whatever floats your boat etc - but ... keeping them (unencrypted) on a work server, that someone else has admin rights over? Not a great idea.

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Go No! Google cyber-brain bests top-ranked human in ancient game

Chris Miller
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When Kasparov lost to Deep Blue, he pointed out that humans play chess very differently from computers. Chess grandmasters (and I imagine the same is true of Go) hone their skills against human opponents. Their true genius lies not just in developing a strategy for each game but also in spotting their opponent's strategy and then finding a way to defeat it. Kasparov realised that Deep Blue didn't have a strategy in the same way as a human would - he said that if he had to play a computer again, he would have to learn to play in a different manner.

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Email pioneer Raymond Tomlinson dies aged 74

Chris Miller
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Thank you, sir

Without Raymond Tomlinson we might all be using X.400 email - motto: you're not a real man unless your address is too long to fit onto a business card.

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Surprise! That blood-pressure app doesn't measure blood pressure

Chris Miller
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I have the same experience. A commercial 'cuff' machine, similar to those in the surgery costs about £30. There's no reason why a less absolutely accurate device shouldn't be useful in spotting trends, which could lead you to getting a 'proper' check.

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