* Posts by John Robson

1614 posts • joined 19 May 2008

The Nano-NAS market is now a femto-flop being eaten by the cloud

John Robson
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I'm still looking...

for a multi bay, jbod, hotswap usb enclosure.

Any PC can share disk as needed, I just need a way to attach several in a sane configuration, and be able to swap in and out the rotating backup set...

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This is why copy'n'paste should be banned from developers' IDEs

John Robson
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More importantly the BSD implementation fires up a whole new shell to return 0.

If you need truth to be repeatedly called, lots of times, then there might be a benefit to something compiled - but there is still no justification for the other approach.

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Boffins smear circuitry onto contact lenses

John Robson
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Re: Application?

I have an astigmatism, bad enough to really need glasses, but not horrific.

I can't get on with lenses though - I have tried them, but it took the optician 45 minutes and anaesthetic drops to get them out of my eyes. Next time I tried them I couldn't get them in...

I really liked them whilst they were in, but yes there is an issue when they go out of line - I hadn't realised it was as common as you suggest.

Maybe a small gyro so the display can self correct to be upright ;)

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John Robson
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Re: Application?

Unless you have an astigmatism, and therefore weighted lenses, I understand that most lenses spin freely on the eyeball.

So these would need to be weighted if they were to be used as any sort of display.

Looking at their other research though - I wonder if they intend to be "darken on request", at which point, why not just use photochromatic tints?

I can't see them packing much of a bettery pack either - so maybe a combination IRIS and RFID scanner???

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LIGO boffins set to reveal grav-wave corker

John Robson
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Re: I'm glad to see they are taking their time.

No - it requires journalists to have some clue about what they are reporting on, or to take the scientists words and not ignore the ones they don't understand.

Since that isn't likely to happen they have to say nothing for a long while - because "initial results" gets translated to "confirmed discovery" when it really means "there was a squiggle in the data, we're not sure why yet"

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Fleet of 4.77MHz LCD laptops with 8088 CPUs still alive after 30 years

John Robson
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SSD Wear levelling isn't pretend.

Electronics can and do wear out - but I agree, most "failures" nowadays are built in.

Of course the issue is more obvious with smaller process sizes, which are required for higher speed and lower power consumption...

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Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

John Robson
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Re: Pah!

My 701 still has debian on board - but the keyboard is a bit broken (a few of the keys only respond intermittently)

Haven't had to use it in a while though...

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Who wants a quad-core 4.2GHz, 64GB, 5TB SSD RAID 10 … laptop?

John Robson
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Re: Luggable

"Sounds like an Osborne to me"

Just checked - it was a Compaq. With some image searching - a Compaq Portable (released in 1983, came home in about '85)

Clearly I misremembered the shelf, and the "working" orientation (but it was carried upright) - got the curly cable right though ;)

Released: March 1983 US$3590 (two floppy system) | Weight: 28 pounds | CPU: Intel 8088, 4.77MHz - RAM: 128K, 640K max | Display: 9" monochrome monitor built-in 80 X 25 text | Storage: Two 320K 5-1/4" disk drives

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John Robson
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Luggable

I remember those....

My father brought home a "portable" computer from work. It had a ~5" screen at the top, two 5.25" disk drives, then a shelf to store spare disks.

The full sized keyboard clipped onto the front, connected by a nice curly cable.

Mains powered, obviously...

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T-Mobile US's BingeOn does break net neutrality, says law prof

John Robson
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Re: Huh?

A zero rated low bandwidth mode...

i.e. you can elect to have your data unmetered if you have it at a lower bandwith.

...at the same speed

That lower bandwidth will be equivilant to the bandwidth required for streaming on BingeOn.

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John Robson
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No....

""Even if T-Mobile could somehow add every single video provider to Binge On – large and small, commercial and non-commercial – the program would still violate net neutrality," she argues. "Binge On favors video streaming over all other Internet uses, even those that use the same amount of bandwidth or less. As long as Binge On gives special treatment to video as a class, it undermines the vision of an open Internet, where all applications have an equal chance of reaching audiences – and people, not ISPs, choose how to use the bandwidth available to them.""

Special treatment as a class isn't the issue - we need that for VoIP >>> P2P control.

What's at issue is whether it's special treatment per provider...

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Lights out for Space Vehicle Number 23: UK smacked when US sat threw GPS out of whack

John Robson
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Re: Hmm...

@ x 7

I did say that the distances were generally static - but of course the failure was on digital broadcasting...

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John Robson
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Re: 'precision docking of oil tankers, as well as navigation'

Yes, but if you are listening to two different birds? and one has an error of this magnitude?

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John Robson
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Re: Hmm...

Because it's a radio signal that is traversing the earth, so the recievers further away would be behind those closer to Anthorn.

For most things people do that wouldn't matter - but this was a 13 microsecond glitch causing issues...

That's 4 km

The UK is larger than that (citation needed)

Most of the critical stuff is probably static, so extra delays could be calculated - but this is a very high accuracy failure...

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UC Berkeley profs blast secret IT monitoring kit on campus

John Robson
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To be fair, paper is nicer to read at home than my kindle (the keyboard one).

But for travel the kindle wins hands down.

Actually my kids rather like the kindle as well, easier to hold than a big book.

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FaceTime, WhatsApp UDP streams AWOL on iOS 9 beta with T-Mo US

John Robson
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Re: Well...

"But if you want or need decent VoIP, use something based on real, open, inter-operable standards. In my experience, Facetime and WhatsApp are just toys. Complaining when they break just makes me wonder why people don't seek a better alternative."

Facetime is actually pretty damned good.

I want something reliable, but actually it's more important to have "something that the other person has".

That narrows it down a bit - is your girlfriend a techie? what do you use?

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Oracle now fully compliant with UK tax laws*

John Robson
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2 Months?

That's really not all that long - or is just here that we take at least a year for a fairly low impact upgrade.

HR software - that takes far longer...

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Pebble punts out new firmware to watch you as you sleep

John Robson
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A useable smartwatch?

That strap looks as though it might make a smartwatch useable?!

Still slow and pretty small, but often you only want a small piece of information anyway. Can they detect finger extension, then I can get two and type on air ;)

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Firing a water rocket to 1km? Piece of cake

John Robson
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D'Oh - of course you are right - that is the way to distribute the energy.

My brain got stuck on the new Ro-Kit I got for the kids (cough) recently.

But on the basis that all the serious (single stage) rockets still use very short "burn" times, I'll stand by my suggestion that lifting the reaction mass is probably a bad idea.

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John Robson
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How do you propose to distribute the thrust?

The only way to distribute the thrust is to reduce the pressure (so the water takes longer to be spat out of the 'fire end'). And that reduces the energy stored.

Additionally, distributing the thrust means that you have to lift some of your reaction mass (water) - whereas dumping it all in the first 0.1s means that none of it is lifted beyond about 4-5m of the ground. That leads directly to more energy in the rocket.

Yes, the atmosphere is a bit of a pain - I wonder if they can take a water rocket with them to the moon next time - see how well it goes there ;)

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It killed Safe Harbor. Will Europe's highest court now kill off hyperlinks?

John Robson
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Take down all road signs...

Then there will be no burglary...

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'Dodgy Type-C USB cable fried my laptop!'

John Robson
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Re: Who the hell...

It wasn't *that* suspicious first time. I'll side with you on the second analyser though.

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John Robson
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Re: Who ever designed..

So you think that applying 12W through the data pins should result in unicorns frolicking rather than the release of the magic blue smoke?

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Little warning: Deleting the wrong files may brick your Linux PC

John Robson
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Re: Windows.

Why fuss about accidentally - it's the new ransomware.

Don't reboot or everything is gone...

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Alphabet, cough, Google most valuable biz on Earth as it pours billions into 'other bets'

John Robson
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Really?

"CEO Sundar Pichai said that YouTube viewership among the 19-45 age group now has more viewers than any US cable channel. YouTube viewing in the living room more than doubled in the last year, he said, pushing up revenues."

Would that be because you count people or devices, not households?

How many of that age group are giving you money?

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Brit airline pilots warn of drone menace

John Robson
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Re: How bad?

The motors on the drone are rather more solid than any single bit of a turkey.

Whether they are solid enough to shatter a turbine blade every time, or just one in a hundred, is not a question I want answered in the air, but on a test bed:

YouTube

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Reg readers battle to claim 'my silicon's older than yours' crown

John Robson
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Nuclear Power Station...

Surely a RasPi could be put together to emulate the outputs and respond to the inputs?

Could even operate a nice displayboard of the "heavy metal power building"

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Land Rover Defender dies: Production finally halted by EU rules

John Robson
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Ironic

Given that the thing is easily repairable, generally with a hammer and some string, I'd be surprised if it wasn't actually rather more ecologically sound than some of the "ship everything around the world forty times, then throw it out when a bulb fails" models on the market...

Ah, but they emit less/mile - yes, but they'll only do 20k in their lifetime....

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

John Robson
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rm -rf /etc /bin /usr

I managed to run the above, as root, on a solaris development server...

To be fair I did tell my boss that I shouldn't be doing that dev work on a development server, but on a test machine - but they'd run out of test machines...

The work? chroot jail manipulation...

The intended command: rm -rf etc bin usr

Which would have cleared up the chroot jail I didn't need any more...

The consequences?

A rather hasty test of the backups - or a reinstall, I genuinely can't remember any more (15+ years ago)

What I do remember was hitting return, then thinking "That's taking a bit longer than normal.... Oh Shit! Ctrl-C, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-C.. Aaaarrrgggghhhh. Fuck, Bother"

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Ban internet anonymity – says US Homeland Security official

John Robson
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More importantly driving a motor vehicle requires a license.

Does he have an internet license? If not then he shouldn't be browsing, and we should probably not let his comments pass...

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Google patents robotic 'mobile delivery receptacle'

John Robson
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Front porch?

Why not have the drone drop the package into the BACK garden - the one that is normally much more secure (at least in the UK)

Lay out a small pad for final visual approach, go to work - return to find package (which is rain proof) on the pad outside back door.

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'Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era' – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

John Robson
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Containers...

If you are spinning up a set of instance for a specific task, then does the occasional instance failure matter?

I mean I'm with him on the debugging thing - it would be nice to know that bad data was the cause of the crash - but in the case of spinning up instances is there not an argument that:

a) efficiency of spinup is more important than normal

b) reliability is less so

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Apple growth flatlines ... Tim Cook thinks, hey, $80bn is still $80bn

John Robson
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Da Weezil - Ive never understood these business wonks that expect continual growth. Out of a total market there is finite number of the population that will want a product (obvious exclusions apply for water/power etc) for whatever reason

No exclusion needed - water/power/air are still only needed by a finite number of the population - it's just a proportion that approaches 100%.

And surprisingly when they have siad things, they won't pay for new pipes until the old ones fail in some way...

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Amazon cloud increasingly powered by hot air

John Robson
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"I dont know the exact loss rate of lines running from Indiana to Virginia, but I would bet if thats where the power was really going you would be losing over 50%...the real answer is its fed into the grid, and they are offset for what the farm they own generates."

Grids run at high voltage precicely to reduce the long distance transmission losses - US losses are about 6.5% (very small change 1997-2007, so I assume it's still about that

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John Robson
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Re: Quick sum...

But that's the normalised *demand* - not the normalised capacity.

I am working on the assumption that windmills just throw everything they can at the grid...

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John Robson
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Quick sum...

The 150 megawatt facility on Fowler Ridge in Benton County, Indiana starting pumping out electrons on the first of January when it made over “1.1 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity.”

https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=150MW*24h&meta=&safe=active&gws_rd=ssl#safe=active&hl=en&q=150MW*24+hours+in+kwh

3.6 million kWh

So it's running at <30% nominal load, which seems about typical.

Why don't they just call it a 50MW facility?

EIT: Actually seems to be quite high!

The normalised load factor for UK onshore wind farms declines from a peak of about 24% at

age 1 to 15% at age 10 and 11% at age 15. The decline in the normalised load factor for Danish

onshore wind farms is slower but still significant with a fall from a peak of 22% to 18% at age 15.

On the other hand for offshore wind farms in Denmark the normalised load factor falls from

39% at age 0 to 15% at age 10.

From http://www.ref.org.uk/attachments/article/280/ref.hughes.19.12.12.pdf

Of course not having to deal with the humidty and sea air of northernm europe probably helps.

Maybe it should be called a 20%150MW farm?

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Police Scotland will have direct access to disabled parking badge database

John Robson
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Re: Also Parent and Child bays

My kids are fine - they were on reins for a large part of toddlerdom. But there is always that interval between getting them out of the car seat and putting the reins on - particularly when you're doing child 2, child 1 being held in the other hand...

I also have no issue shouting when required, and it still works ;)

But I also am aware of the ridiculous speeds some people seem to think are necessary in a car park, and with mostly obscured sight lines to everywhere a secure route from those places to the store isn't a hard thing to provide.

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John Robson
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Re: Also Parent and Child bays

@AC - I really can't see the need for parent and child spaces at all and certainly not nearer than the disabled spaces which are often used by people who can only walk very short distances.

Well, when you have kids that you have to put into a car seat and can't open the door more than a fraction then you might appreciate them. As for reins, yes - my kids were on reins for a good while, and still get shouted at occasionally - but that doesn't stop me wanting to put another layer of safety in place. It's not hard to have P&C spaces accessible without battling idiots in cars..

As for distance - it happens that at my local supermarket the disabled bays are now 5m further away - I don't actually care about the distance, I care about the route. I'd be happy with remote P&C bays with a secure route (as I have seen at a number of stores).

I am happy for you that your children were all beautifully behaved and you had enough hands to hold all five of them whilst simultaneously carrying a weeks worth of shopping... but that's not reality for most people.

Personally I'm now right at the edge of needing those bays - the kids can climb in, but they can't yet do up their belts, so I do need to open the door far enough to lean across them and clunk-click...

Not long before they can do that though - they can certainly undo them themselves (yes they always ask first)

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John Robson
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Re: Also Parent and Child bays

More importantly the P&C bays are often not adjacent to the store - there is usually at least one "road" to cross (I put road in quotes because there seem to be a significant minority who think it's a racetrack)

Most disabled people I know are perfectly capable of crossing a road safely - albeit slowly.

Most toddlers are not - and they can do so at high speed.

To be fair to the supermarket I use now - they are much better and have reversed the usual arrangement, so the P&C bays are against the building, and the disabled bays are a full 5 metres further away - I know that 5m can be significant, b ut given the variation in distance between the closest and furthest bays is an order of magnitude larger....

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Watch: SpaceX Dragon capsule breathes fire during crucial hover test

John Robson
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Re: Parachutes = Good.

TITSUP mode on the rockets is all well and good - but at just a few m above the surface there isn't actually enough time to deploy a chute.

The chute is there in case you use the landing engines to escape a failing rocket at launch

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John Robson
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Re: Parachutes = Good.

Parachutes are good.

But there is a chance that rockets might be better.

Certainly better control available with rockets...

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Boeing just about gives up on the 747

John Robson
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Re: "That was in the days where the child flyer was spoiled"

" I was only asked to go back to my seat as we were on finals at Gatwick, some three hours later."

When I was a lad I visited the cockpit (with my brother) on a short hop from Nice to LHR.

Whilst we were in there the pilots had a call over the radio - and said "You - pull that seat out, you, sit there. Both of you strap in".

They put the seatbelt lights on and called for a stewardess (as they were) and sent a message back to our parents that they had been given an short landing window and we'd be stuck there until we'd landed.

That was fun!

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Fears of fiber cable cuts, rogue drones menacing crowds at Super Bowl 50

John Robson
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Re: There isn't an acceptable terrorism loss rate...

"So you believe that terrorism is just another form of crime? Sorry but that's incorrect. Terrorism is an act that attempts to instill terror in a population "

So you are giving them the victory?

Ignore them, they are an insignificant threat compared with those we have decided are "normal" and acceptable.

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John Robson
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Re: More groundless fear-mongering from an Agency that stages 'terrorism'

"Spare us your 'statistics', okay? There isn't an acceptable terrorism loss rate no matter what you personally believe."

Yet there is an acceptable automobile related death rate?

And an acceptable gunshot death rate?

Terrorists are so low down on the actual threat list for human lives/health that they really shouldn't be significantly considered.

Of course if the fibre gets cut and someone is streaming online from a remote control aircraft... then all hell will break loose - no ad breaks, how are the players going to get their rests?

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Blighty's Parliament prescribed tablets to cope with future votes

John Robson
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A tablet - for a vote?

Really?

A cross on a bit of paper is too hard?

For the cost of this system I'll even help the employment figures, we can employ someone to count those bits of paper...

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Pentagon fastens lasers to military drones to zap missiles out of the skies

John Robson
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Re: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's a UAV circling over my missile silo.

And of course you wouldn't open fire with the SAM until you wanted to launch the ICBM...

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Space podule outfit inks Arizona launch deal

John Robson
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a few pumps and cylinders could be added

To bring the helium back again - but then you'd probably have to lose a passenger (or the pilot)

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NASA rockets datasets into Amazon’s cloud with Avere

John Robson
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Re: Exsqueeze me?

You know what - they might have done the sums on this one...

And they might have a pretty good handle on the data that they are shifting - they've been doing it long enough.

I'll wait and see, but of all the "move it to the cloud to save money" stories we see - this is the one of the few cases I can see being well researched.

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For fsck's SAKKE: GCHQ-built phone voice encryption has massive backdoor – researcher

John Robson
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Re: They all have the same flaw...

It's VoIP - That rather implies an IP connection, so why not use an out of band crypto key exchange?

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Russian Pastafarian wins right to bear colander

John Robson
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FAIL

Re: Fighting talk!

@Goit - "Another anonymoron"

Yes, I'm clearly anonymous... That's why I have the AC icon and the name Anonymous Coward...

An Atheist is claiming that there is no such thing as a God - not that they doubt it.

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