* Posts by Stevie

3201 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008

Google's new view of the world takes two pics to make 'DeepStereo' 3D

Stevie
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Bah!

Outrage as Google tags Houses of Parliament as "skip".

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Linux on the desktop is so hot there's now a fight over it

Stevie
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Re: X1 Mouse

Oh Azathoth yes. I try and work on this iPad but if any inline edit is in order I usually have to deploy a Bluetooth keyboard to get out of iOS Thinks I Should ... Land. It infuriates me that when I want to select and copy the bloody OS won't cooperate, but when I want to interpolate something two words back it can't stop itself painting so I can do the cut/paste I so obviously need to do.

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Soyuz source replenishes international space station

Stevie
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Soyuz source replenishes international space station

Three dead in mad free-fall-for-all over luxury edibles like soap.

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Dormant ALIEN SLIME LIFE frozen in SPEEDING comet will AWAKEN - boffins

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Re: The timing wasn't just coincidence.

Dear god, we defunded the Large Array of Swanee Whistles a quarter of a century ago too. We are doomed!

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Stevie
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"Since current theories, and experiments conducted since the '70s suggest that it is rather difficult to get life going on its own, it doesn't seem totally unreasonable to posit that if life can exist in a dormant state inside a frozen astronomical body such as a comet, then it would only take a small fragment of such a body surviving re-entry intact to deliver such life to a planetary environment."

But then, how did it get started on the comet? This comet theory solves nothing about the "hard to get life started" thingummy, it just pushed the problem horizon further away.

Plus, shaving with Occam's Razor for a bit tells me that if life can get started on a bleeding comet it can get started oodles easier on a nice warm planet. If there's one thing we can agree about, it should be that getting life started requires energy. Not so much about for the taking on a comet. Lots bombarding the place wantonly on a planet.

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Apple fanbois to be empowered to bonk each other

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And what recourse does one have if the "bonked" transaction is in some way not carried out properly? To whom does one turn for redress of overpaid funds or funds not received?

Because fairly basic questions like this being unanswerable was what caused the first rounds of PayPal hate.

The answer to reforming the banking system is unlikely to lie in throwing out the bathwater, baby and all.

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Florida cops cuff open-carry, balls-out pirate packing 'operational' flintlocks

Stevie
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Re: Point of View

BUT Florida has "Stand Your Ground" law in effect, which can be summarized as "better be the only version of what went down". This incentivizes playing for keeps.

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Oi, idiot fanbois. DON'T buy this gun-shaped iPhone case, mmkay?

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Re: FTFY

Downvote. original was fine, good enough for you to steal in fact. If you are going to crib, at least do it politely.

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Stevie
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Re: Probably not the best idea to buy one...

"I was in line at the Apple Store and went to phone my bros to tell them I was only thirty seventh from the front of the queue, but my iPhone Personal Defense Edition stupidly selected "ordinance" mode instead of "phone" and I shot out a street light and burst my eardrum."

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Ford recalls 433,000 cars: Software bug breaks engine off-switch

Stevie
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We used to achieve this function with a relay. I don't ever recall ever having to replace one, nor did I ever have one stick "on".

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NHS IT failures mount as GP data system declared unfit for purpose

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Re: Bob the Tea Boy

Heh. I was once roped in to prototype the lifecycle process in my government IT shop by the tiptp mucketymuck. He insisted we get everything signed off as saiod project represented a joint project between two different monolithic government authorities.

I got past the fact that Bossman demanded I use the wrong process - it was a new project but he insisted we use the MAINTENANCE life cycle procedures. I got past the fact that world + dog wouldn't say anything in one word when twenty would do (any twenty - EULAs made sense compared to some of the submissions by the various people esponsible for deliverables and milestones).

But the cherry on the top was when the requestor refused point blank to sign off on the requirements document OR write the required statement as to what was needed to bring them into spec.

Said requestor was, of course, the man who insisted on thois process in the first place.

To my knowledge I remain the only person to ever go through the process, and in point of fact, since the document was never accepted or rejected, I didn't officially go through it either.

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Why SpaceX will sort out Sunday's snafu faster than NASA ever could

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Re:I wouldn't mind to see all the money for the white elephant F-35

No-one wastes public money like the Pentagon.

Even when the contractors are honest and tell them when asked for a late addition to an airframe that an ashtray made of titanium will cost $800 per whereas an aluminum one can be brought in at about 100th that cost they will pick "only the very best", then look outraged and surprised when the papers get the story.

Sergeant York was being decommissioned when I first came to the USA. That one took, what, ten years to be proven as unworkable at the design level. Before that there was the first iteration of the M1 tank that wore out transmissions every 36 miles on average. After that there was the Strategic Defense Initiative. All funded from the bottomless public moneybucket.

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Stevie
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Re: NASA inefficiency: The hint is in the name (4 Charles Manning)

I guess enough people will have slapped you about the head for your insightless NASAbash by now that you are already sorry you typed, so I'll just say "what do you expect when you tacitly sign on to a low-bid design and materials paradigm?", or perhaps I wrong you and you wrote your congressman to tell him how you wouldn't mind paying a little more for quality and astronaut safety?

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With Hobbit and LoTR in the can, Trolls no longer welcome in New Zealand

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Re: “serious emotional distress”

Any forum where punters are anonymous eventually turns into a hate-chamber.

This is simply not true. I am a member of a number of forums which are anonymous in that the screen names are not tied to a real name in any way, shape or form unless the user wishes it so. While there have been disagreements, some of them heated, they are far from what I'd term as a "hate chamber".

Perhaps the difference is that there are (as far as I know) no adolescents posting, though enraged 13-somethings are not the only source of such behavior, nor are they the most inventive.

I was once censured on a tightly-focused RPG enthusiasts forum on StackOverflow for posing a question asking how a certain rules set was "broken" (as it was widely stated to be in those words in many fan forums around the net, none of which would provide an explanation of why).

A moderator posted after almost a day saying that he felt the term "broken" caused arguments and shouldn't be used. He was then joined by three other mods over the course of an hour or so, who began talking up the offensiveness of the term amongst themselves.

Over the course of maybe another half day they worked themselves from polite headshaking to angrily taking down the post and threatening to ban me from the forum for abusive posting. It was hysterically funny and extremely annoying at the same time.

In all that time no-one else, including me, had posted anything. The only outrage came from the moderators, and they had to work themselves up to it by stages. I can only guess at how much texting, emailing etc was going on behind the scenes between the Fantastic Four in addition to the Theater of the Mindless taking part in public. A textbook "manufactured outrage" case.

All to prevent people being outraged enough for them to become cyber-bullies. You could cut the irony with a knife.

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Stevie
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Bah!

One law to rule them all

One law to enjoin them

One law to boss them all

And in the darkness annoy them

In the land of Wellington where the shadows lie (almost as much as the politicians)

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Silly Google's Photos app labelled BLACK PEOPLE as GORILLAS

Stevie
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Bah!

Offense can only be legitimately taken if the assumption of intent behind the error is shown to be true.

Until then it is an embarrassing thing to have happened, and absolutely requires correction lest the image and the label it was erroneously tagged with become widely dispersed among those who *would* use it with intent to offend or denigrate, but is in and of itself absent malice.

Of course, this dissemination of the image and tag is more likely to happen if one takes to twitter to complain instead of contacting Google directly.

And while I can see the point of a search engine company wanting to figure out how to index images without metadata, I can lament it doing so as another brick in the wall.

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Goodbye Vulcan: Blighty's nuclear bomber retires for the last time

Stevie
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Blue Danube a "Heath Robinson affair"?

I think you meant to say "was designed with a surprisingly modern 'maker' methodology front and center that repurposed off-the-shelf components for a cold-war-era deterrent at an affordable price".

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UH OH: Windows 10 will share your Wi-Fi key with your friends' friends

Stevie
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In the name of God, why?

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Microsoft says Oculus Rift distorts world, grinds corrective lenses

Stevie
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Distortion corrected in software? Why? Did we forget the hard-won knowledge of how to grind lenses?

Another "benefit" of the digital age then.

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Linux bids for UAV world domination by enslaving future skybot army

Stevie
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This is very good news! Finally the endless vitriolic forum arguments over which Linux distro is the best can be moved into the sky for a definitive aerial Linux thunderdome smackdown.

Two drones enter, one drone leaves. With bragging rights.

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Apple's mystery auto project siphoning staff from other divisions

Stevie
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Cripes, where is there a market for a car as thin as an after dinner mint?

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Britain beats back Argies over Falklands online land grab

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a) No dispute. Galtieri lost, same as Lee did. Get over it.

2) There is no such place as "the British Malvinas"

$) Official apology for the disgraceful treatment of the Top Gear crew required soonest.

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Samsung vows to stop knackering Windows Update on your laptops

Stevie
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That's nice. Now, can we do sometthing about getting rid of that windows update icon that keeps trying to get me to bork my laptop with Windows 10?

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Yahoo! displaces Ask in Oracle's Java update crapware parade

Stevie
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Bah!

Business model failing. Customers jumping overboard faster than Tiotanic's steerage passengers. Every change made by Hip Yoof Croo just making matters worse. Only answer: Sneak crappy unwanted product onto people's computers befopre they notice.

Seriously, if nothing else this should teach even the geriatrics to uncheck that box.

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As the US realises it's been PWNED, when will OPM heads roll?

Stevie
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Bah!

Before heads roll I would like to see how much money OPM has requested in the last decade and how much they were given by the Congress/Senate.

Then, anyone asking questions must first demonstrate they are completely innocent of ever denying funds to OPM or step away from the Festival of Finger Pointing, lest the finger points at them.

Also, it would be a pleasant surprise to find that everyone on each of the endless "committees" formed to "ask tough questions" were a) able to frame such questions intelligently and 2) understand the answers.

But of course we are going to be watching endless rounds of pompous, ponderously slow speechifying by the same sort of people who pondered why we couldn't have a secure encryption scheme that would be wide open to "forces of law and order".

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'Backronym' crowdfunds itself into Oxford English Dictionary

Stevie
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New pro-Vitamin B5 Tile Grout, for that fresher, long-lasting whiteness

Well, Mr Grout-Denier, I grouted my teeth with this product and not only is my breath minty fresh but I no longer need to waste time flossing.

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Stevie
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Re: anything goes.

Unnecessary quotes. You could put them round "El Reg" so they don't get wasted.

8o)

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Get your WELLIES to MARS: Red Planet reveals its FROZEN BOTTOM

Stevie
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So, about as trustworthy as the descriptions given by Ray Bradbury then?

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Whoops, there goes my data! Hold onto your privates in the Dropbox era

Stevie
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Bah!

Simply employ the New Company Song on the PA each morning:

Roses are red

Excuses are tired

Put our stuff in the cloud

And you will be fired.

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10 things you need to avoid SNAFUs in your data centre

Stevie
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Re: Number 10.

I had a new furnace and water heater put into my house on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving morning, about 12 hours into the new furnace's life, no heat.

I called the vendor and told them I'd gotten it to work by fiddling with the electromechanical bits, but someone needed to come round and sort it out. They grumbled but said they'd send someone as soon as they could. I countered with another offer: since I could manually start the thing I was willing to wait until Friday so their staff could have their Thanksgiving dinner in peace, provided they were ready to start fixing it at 9am Friday. They agreed.

10:30 am Friday I called the vendor, and was connected with a disagreeable woman.

Me: My furnace isn't working. Where are the people who promised to come and fix it?

DW: Do you have a service contract with us?

Me No.

DW: Well, we don't service furnaces unless

Me: I have a furnace installed by your crack team which broke down less than a day after it was installed. I, out of the goodness of my heart, agreed to wait until today to get the thing properly installed. I expect someone around here before noon to do that.

DW: I don't think

Me: The work done by your company is under warranty. The furnace itself is under warranty. My wife works in an office with fifteen attorneys and we can get all the legal muscle we need for free as long as we need it.

I think it was the last one that swung the deal myself. I had this same chat every year for the duration of the warranty, until I got a young guy who simply disconnected the never-working but legally mandated electromechanical "damper" that went wrong every 12 months.

Now I have to reboot the furnace if we have a *really* bad windstorm while the furnace is idling (the CO monitor shuts it down because of backdraft) but at least it starts when the weather gets nippy without the need for a Brummy Screwdriver.

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The wonderful madness of metrics: Different things to different folk

Stevie
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The shenanigans start even before the SLA is proposed and signed. Long before this the marketing drones will be in-theater bleating about 8X performance gains over the market leader.

Just don't ask anyone what "X" means. It is supposed to confuse you into believing it means "times" but careful examination of the performance graphs on the powerpoint slide being shown "to illustrate" will show that by their own figures, 8X (Market Leader) is closer to 6*(Market Leader).

Real example from real vendor's shill. Unfortunately they also fielded The Germanically Efficient Attractive Woman In A Suit Who Knows Computers and The Unbelievably Scruffy Bearded Guy Who Talks UNIX Internals For Fun to bracket the one who was supposed to be watching and catching this stuff, and he was so busy showing off his own chops that he forgot to pay attention.

Well played [REDACTED] corp. Well played.

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DEATH by VEGETABLES: Woman charged with killing boyf using carrots. And peas

Stevie
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American Woman Soups-Up Boyfriend (To Death)!

"I just wanted him to sleep in heavenly peas."

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THEY WANTED OUR WOMEN: Neanderthals lusted after modern humans

Stevie
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This will come as a blow to that nice Mr Goebbels.

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Buh bye fakers? Amazon tweaks customer product reviews system

Stevie
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So. How are Amazon going to guard against the shil reviewer who clearly works for the manufacturer? They'll be verified purchasers, but will be just as bogus as they ever were.

And how about those "Vine Reviews"? Like the ones for a Dremel 3D printer who raved and 5 starred it last Christmas. Shame abouy the reviews that came later from saps who paid a grand for the printer and found the issues the Vine Reviewers uaccountably overlooked.

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Stevie
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Re: Kind of a shame, really...

If you're an author, and someone gives your novel a one star review because they don't like Amazon and fully admit that they never even bothered to READ the book you sweated and bled to write, you might be a bit more appreciative that Amazon is weeding out such dreck.

As opposed to the people hornswoggled by the two dozen of your close friends who gave your illiterate direct-to-kindle blither five stars and rated it a "truly great read" and "the most exciting/frightening story they'd read this year".

Authors: if you were any good you'd be unworried by what the aspberger-riddled amazon reviewers had to say. Your stories will sell themselves if they are good reads. If not, you reap what you have sown.

And although I can't speak for everyone, personally I can parse a review as understand the difference between one that is on-target and helpful and one that is insane. I don't need your condescending yelling that one-starring a poorly marked up Kindle version of a beloved favorite is somehow going to "hurt" the author more than people buying the cheaply-as-possible engineered e-book itself, especially when I don't agree that Amazon reviews are Literaary reviews (wherein the lofty questions of whether the book succeeds as art are asked) as opposed to product reviews (wherein the questions of missing pages, godawful proof reading and bindings made from spit are more apposite).

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THIS TIME we really are ALL DOOMED, famous doomsayer prof says

Stevie
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We have to put this bloke in a room with Barry Malzberg and a microphone.

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Heinz cockup sees Ketchup's QR codes spurt saucy sites

Stevie
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This is what happens when marketing people

But these are the same people who came up with the idea of changing the aspect ration of paperback books without changing the aspect ration of the printed content because people buy books if they are bigger than the ones next to them on the bookshelves.

As opposed to because others recommended them or they were recommended by critics in genre magazines or because the Amazon precis looked interesting.

All that extra whitespace can't be wrong.

They are also the "brains" behind making paperbacks the same size as hardbacks, which means the actual portable paperbacks need a new term, something that will make people want to buy the bigger ones out of shame, I dunno, how about mass-market paperbacks. Sort of lower class doncherno. And it makes the ugly, heavy and awkward big paperbacks more attractive because they are now more upmarket.

Also the people who came up with The Noid just so a certain pizza company could print "avoid the Noid" on their boxes.

Such people simply aren't equipped to understand the concept of "long-term consequences". They live in the largely make-believe world of instant gratification for a need they think they just made you believe you have.

Though my hat is off to the Dunlop Groundhog and Cadbury's Smashers TV marketers. Didn't make me want to buy tyres or instant mashed potatoes, but did entertain. This side of the pond we had the Energizer vs Supervolt and Joe Isuzu campaigns of the 90s, which also entertained without inducing the urge to buy.

Nowadays the TV marketers just make the ads much louder than the programs they interrupt, which brings me back to my "Brainless Fucktard" thesis.

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Ubuntu daddy Mark Shuttleworth loses fight to cancel $20m bank fee

Stevie
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Bah!

Let's not overlook the fact that in all likelihood the money is being moved to hide it from the tax man.

How many million pounds do you need anyway?

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JavaScript creator Eich's latest project: KILL JAVASCRIPT

Stevie
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Re: Probably one of the worst things that could happen to the web

My thoughts exactly.

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The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

Stevie
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Anyone who thinks this is a new problem that came about post-server-farm IT needs to see the seminal video course by Ollie White on Materials Requirements Planning, made about 45 years ago.

You are looking for the bit where he discusses those people in the (non-IT) departments who have a solid reputation for knowing what the factory is doing before the computer does.

Seeing that lesson at an early stage in what I laughingly call my career saved me a lot of head-against-wall banging over the years.

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Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X

Stevie
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Two things:

a) Buggery buggering bugger!

2) If you lot are going to nitpick off-topic minutiae, could you please either not do it from a phone or if you must use a phone, turn off its auto-correct? Some of the posts here have been auto-corrected into complete garage.

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'Snowden risked lives' fearfest story prompts sceptical sneers

Stevie
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Bah!

Of course, the real issue bubbling like hot tar under everyone's noses is that every single Western government has been caught in such uber-levels of Nixonian skullduggery against their own populations that no-one will ever again trust a single thing they say.

Hell, the Nixon shambles was around four decades ago and the fallout from that in the public eye is still oozing nicely.

Even were the all-round nice guy and spokes-stammerer for Penguins Derek Nimmo to be somehow snatched from time and elected Prime Minister he'd be regarded as a lying venal git despite not being here when it all went down, the tasty chocolate biscuits notwithstanding.

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Amazon turns up spectacularly late to 'transparency' party, pours a large one

Stevie
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Bah!

Doubleplus one star.

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FTC lunges at Kickstarter bloke who raised $120,000 – and delivered sweet FA

Stevie
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Bah!

There are two problems with Kickstarter that are endemic to the model: amateur business practices and unresonable investors who fail to incorporate the first problem into their expectations.

Nothing wrong with the model, just some of the people who use it.

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In memoriam: Christopher Lee, Hammer's Count Dracula

Stevie
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Yep, Lee was The Dracula. His Saruman was definitive too. The world just got a lot smaller again.

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Moon blocks Uranus for stargazers Down Under

Stevie
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Headline not as good as the Long Island Newsday's from '85: "Voyager Passes Uranus And Moons"

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But... I... like... the... PAIN! Our secret addiction to 'free' APIs

Stevie
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Bah!

While Yahoo! happens to be an egregious example of the bizarre "build it (or buy it), ruin it, shut it down" business strategy, but it's hardly alone.

a) Yahoo! is currently in the process of self destructing. Every feature it had that was easy to use and a boon to the community is now an ugly, crufty, unuseable mess, the result of "new vision". It says something when a Yahoo Group, formerly one of the most simple and intuitive web resources ever launched, cannot be used without inducing a migrane and a homicidal rage in anyone with a conventional screen/keyboard. I can't imagine how much worse the whole thing is on a phone because I am in no way tempted to so much as try that route to madness.

2) The quoted line needs tightening. Lose either the "While" or the "but" after the comma.

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Apple store staffers probed like 'criminals', lawsuit claims

Stevie
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Bah!

Headline lacks El Reg-appropriate levels of salacious double-entendre.

6/10

Must try harder.

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The Martian: Matt Damon sciences the sh*t out of the red planet

Stevie
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Bah!

Looked at the Amazon reviews yesterday. More than one person complaining of nil character growth, boring text and actually-a-bit-poor science.

So: a perfect Hollywood/Damon vehicle.

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TERROR in ORBIT: Dodgy rocket burp biffs International Space Station off track

Stevie
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Bah!

Now we need to know if the AE-35 unit has been reporting intermittent malfunctions.

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