* Posts by Stevie

2979 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008

Jailed Brit con phishes prison, gets bail

Stevie
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Bah!

The only way this story could be any better would be if the guy had been named "Errol Phipps".

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No, really, the $17,000 Apple Watch IS all about getting your leg over

Stevie
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Re: Shame it looks like

Enjoy your three hours of Apple Timekeeping.

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Stevie
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Bah!

The owners of these 1970-aesthetics watches are welcome to the super-chavs they'll attract. I'll stick to my trusty PAG240. Tells the time. Looks foxy (hint: thin isn't automatically better in a watch unless you are Steve Jobs - all those spreads* in Playgirl can't be wrong). Solar powered so it goes for more than three hours without me frantically looking around for a wall socket ("Is that a wall-wart charger in your pocket or etc etc"). Has a barometer with a memory so I can see if the evening's ents are going to be rained off *without* an internet connection.

And it has a compass and altimeter in it so I can always tell how high I am and which way I'm pointed.

I liked my PAG40's display better but I broke it when I took it apart to change the batteries.

* - Ahahahahaha

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Hey, Microsoft, we can call Windows 10 apps anything we like – you're NOT OUR REAL MOM

Stevie
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Bah!

This all sounds like one more reason not to buy into Windows 10.

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Amazon cloud threatens to SMASH the fundamental laws of PHYSICS

Stevie
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Bah!

The makers of counterfeit "32" gig SD Cards had this infinite storage thing licked three years ago. Apparently they were impossible to fill. You could write all day to them and never max them out.

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Amazon fires rocket up FAA for dithering on drone approval

Stevie
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Bah!

Amazon should just take a leaf from the Patent Office Experience and claim their drone runs on perpetual motion.

Unrestricted flight permission is just one incomprehensible sheaf of paper away!

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Premera healthcare: US govt security audit gave hacked biz thumbs up

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

IMG, EO, I'm happy to stand corrected, and bow to your superior knowledge of the HIPPA law.

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Stevie
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Bah!

I can't swear to it, and I plan to go and research it a bit more on my commute home, but I believe HIPAA is more about who people who have your medical information give it to than how cleverly they stop people breaking in and taking it.

I realize that that is to IT people tantamount to the same thing, but HIPAA's focus, I think, is more on the social engineering of access to the paperwork than nailing shut the electronic catflap some dimwit left in some piece of code [cough]Adobe[/cough].

As for the audit, it reads to me like items ticked off a script. The last time I saw an audit like this done it was performed by accountants, not IT bods. And the firm sent entry-level new hires to do the audit because everyone else was too busy with more important clients. Among the howlers in the suggested practices was the access list for the computer room that forbade entry to the DBAs but granted it to *any* employee of the auditing firm, including the tea boy, without question.

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Scientists splice mammoth genes into unsuspecting elephant

Stevie
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: I'm thinking that a mammoth is itself

They'll be clinging to driftwood and becoming a worldwide epidemic in no time.

You stupid sod. I nearly choked on my tea when I read that.

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Stevie
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Antipodean Archeologist: "Wait ... these are Mammoth eggs! You made Mammoths?"

Smug Chinese Scientist: "Relax! We only made female Mammoths!"

Rotund Scots Entrepreneur: "I really cannae see ..."

Sounds of splintering wood, breaking glass and screaming people

Antipodean Archeologist: "What was that?"

Chain-Smoking Older Nerd-Type: "The fences are down!"

Enter Blithering Mathematician: "I totally predicted this. We should run. This way ... Aaaargh!"

Rotund Scots Entrepreneur: "Oh nae, a Mammoth has trodden on Dr Boring.

Antipodean Archeologist: "Good!"

And so forth.

Attention Steven Spielberg: Gissajob!

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Drug drone not high enough: Brit lags' copter snared on prison wire

Stevie
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Bah!

Now I can hear Leonard Cohen droning (ahahahahaha) Like a drone, on a wire in Mr Brain.

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Stevie
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Egad.

Time to top the razorwire with a twenty-foot tall ribbon of fine net held aloft by mighty barrage balloons of drone foilage.

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Mono Magic: Photography, Breaking Bad style

Stevie
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Bah!

A word of caution to the would-be film camera newbie when looking at that neat second-hand camera the camera-shop guy wants to sell to you at a "snip":

The built-in light meter and exposure computer in my old Minolta uses Mercury batteries - no longer available where I live. Simply subbing in a non-Mercury battery of "the same size" won't do as the voltages are different enough to affect the readings which govern the exposure recommendations. In order to get the thing working an after-market "slug" must be used to correct the overvoltage (in this case). This is a specialist electronic doodad that must be costed for.

As in the IT game, it's knowing what questions to ask that is the bugger.

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Boffins twist light to carry 2.05 bits in one photon

Stevie
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Bah!

The Rochester experimenters say they achieved a 4kHz communication channel with 93 per cent accuracy

So, about what you'd get from a dial-up connection to AOL circa 1996 then.

Result. I think.

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IS 'hackers' urge US-based jihadis: 'Wipe yourselves out trying to kill 0.00005 of US forces'

Stevie
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Re: Hmmm....

I agree!

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Dear departed Internet Explorer, how I will miss you ... NOT

Stevie
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Bah!

Netscape Navigator cost $40 whatever you wanted to use it for when I first became aware of it. It was Big News when it finally became free (in order to win back market share from IE which was killing it).

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Cops cuff Colorado girl for allegedly poisoning mum after iPhone ban

Stevie
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Bah!

Sweet Azathoth's nebular nodes.

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'Come on, everyone – block US govt staff ogling web smut at work'

Stevie
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Re: AOL tried this years ago...

" It's not that filters don't work; rather, it's that they work too well."

No, it's that the people who write the regex cascades needed to implement them are lazy buggers who don't design robustly and fail to test the false-positive cases intelligently.

Had a major problem myself some years ago in the same area when I forwarded myself an e-mail from a major vendor of long and good standing (in order to circumvent a really annoyingly dumbf*ckstupid printer issue I couldn't get fixed and had insufficient permissions to fix myself) and was accused of sending a racist e-mail when I went looking for why it never arrived.

When I tried to suggest the filter was being stupid - for why would a major vendor with so much money they would surely pose an attractive target for the insulted to sue for their last Licorice Allsort be stupid enough to hide a racist term in their invite to come see their latest and greatest? - and suggested a possible reason was the presence of a word such as "companyid" somewhere in the web-clevers I was told that was impossible.

My colleague was a person of color and was responsible for the filters in question, so was feeling sensitive on two counts and not ready for a discussion by any middle-aged racist to excuse his behavior.

So he was appalled when I dumped the web-friendly invite to notepad and found the word "propertyid" loud, proud and entirely innocent of meaning other than an identifier for the hotel shown on the map thingy nestled in the map object descriptor. I imagine it hurt double I had actually called the problem in my original suggestion.

A few days later in a conference call I got yelled at by a vendor who wanted to know why *her* mails weren't getting read and answered. What mails asked a bewildered audience but I asked her to send me her innocent e-mail about a COBOL picture clause to me with the subject inside the mail body and "to Stevie" in the subject.

Sure enough, the Genius Mail Filterer had trapped PIC XXX and flagged it as obscene. COBOL is many things, but obscene isn't one of them (unless you get clever in the Data Division but you can get into Big Trouble for doing that as was explained to me by the chief programmer as she broke my fingers). I called the genius and told him he'd scored another false hit, a biggie, but when he demanded I show him I told him to do his job and examine the logs.

I was tired of his "You're over 50, what do *you* know" attitude by then, and his incompetence was getting the better of my good nature. You'd have thought that my nailing the exact nature of what he'd got wrong the first time around might have clued him in that I'd seen this sort of thing a few times before.

There's no such thing as a filter working "too well". It either works or it doesn't and if it is trapping false positives, it doesn't work and neither did the person who authored the regex.

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Google Glass DIED from TOO MUCH ATTENTION, Captain Moonshot admits

Stevie
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Bah!

" The term "Glassholes" was coined to refer to early adopters of the headset, and eventually adopted by Google itself."

The article linked under the word "Google" makes no mention of Google doing that. The word appears only once as the expressed opinion of the author of the piece.

What's the clever little play on words that describes an author who lures someone to click on a reference that provides no actual supporting material whatsoever? There must be one.

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Galileo! Galileo! Galileo good to go after six-week recovery effort

Stevie
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"The ESA says the new orbit mirrors that of Galileo Five, so that even though satellites orbit every 20 days compared to the rest of the constellation's ten, it now gets better coverage."

ESA spokesdrones need more cowbell. That quote should have ended: "Exactly as planned."

But: satellites don't form constellations. Constellations have to stay still over very long periods of time (or at least, long enough to draw some odd animal/human hybrid around them) or they aren't constellations. Satellites that stand still for any length of time end up as flaming chunks zooming over the Russian sky.

I think the word the ESA is groping for is "formation". That describes a group of things up in the sky that moves about, often so fast a guided missile can't catch them.

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Timeout, Time Lords: ICANN says there is only one kind of doctor

Stevie
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Bah!

I play complex old-school war games for fun and insist on strict adherence to the rules as written. This prompts younger, ADD-riddled gamers with sub-par reading skills to label me a "rules-lawyer", something I turn back on them by wearing the badge proudly.

Where do I get my dot-lawyer domain?

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Curiosity rover's broken arm heals, exploration-as-normal resumes

Stevie
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Bah!

Must ... sieve ... rock ... aaaAAAAAaaaargh!

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LOHAN unleashes 'waiting for the FAA' collector mug

Stevie
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Bah!

This highlihgts a flaw in the planning stages: The decision *not* to launch from a vessel at sea outside national controlled waters and design for an aquatic landing.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Stevie
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Bah!

Nice job, Reg Hacks. A worthy obituary.

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Mattel urged to scrap Wi-Fi mic Barbie after Register investigation

Stevie
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Talking Barbie: from your child's lips to the NSA's ears.

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RIP Sir Terry Pratchett: Discworld author finally gets to meet DEATH

Stevie
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Bugger. I thought the world felt a bit tight around the hips this morning.

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Life, the interview and everything: A chat with Douglas Adams

Stevie
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Re: the whole 'robot attitude' was the point of the whole excercise

... and according to you, worked splendidly.

Only if you and droves of others bought and played the game.

You did buy and play the game didn't you? Because if you didn't, you sort of just made my point.

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Stevie
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Bah!

It's indeed a shame he's gone and the world was a bigger place with him in it, but Starship Titanic is, in my opinion, a monument to getting it wrong.

Evangelized in the press from the Get-Go as a "Mac First" project, it became an obviously hurried, last minute and accordingly bad port to the PC platform that was always going to pay off the loans.

The game itself suffered from a number of design issues ranging from poor graphics in places (it was ages before I twigged I was walking up the ceiling rose when I visited Titania), mouse hotspots that were just too narrow to be playable (solving the navigation puzzle stands out here: I wonder how many others figured out what to do but couldn't get it to happen without a cheat book to confirm they were doing what was required, the program was simply badly designed) and text-adventure problem design that was just annoying in a graphic environment.

Some parts of the game were astoundingly beautiful and clever. The Music Room, the Muzak in the various levels and the Seasonal Garden - boy, I wanted to walk awhile inside that scene but it was a "watch only" experience.

The robot attitude design was just annoying and should have been dumped at the spiral notebook stage. Every time you failed to hit the exact phrasing each bot was waiting for its attitude would get worse, until you'd have to reset it by trudging through the ship and doing what was required. Fun the first couple of times. After that, just annoying and immersion-killing.

DA was fascinated by the ironic situation of the service industry and the misanthropes it seems to attract, but failed to realize that while these people jump to the needs of a story, they just annoy in an interaction that may be ongoing for days. I mean, you don't deal with these people for fun in real life, who would want to do so for the entire experience of a game?

And key to any game design is that you need the players to end it wanting more of the same. How popular would Call of Duty have been if the first one made constant jamming of the firearms a key design feature? How many versions of Grand Theft Auto would there have been if every two minutes you had to go to traffic court to pay speeding fines?

The robots' conversation was good, but nowhere close to the experience promised on the box. If there were 10,000 phrases in the database, then they were narrow variations on the same 25 or so actually used in-game.

And if they were aiming for Myst, the development team, er, missed. Myst's puzzles were just as ridiculous in places (I used to say that if a car was built in Myst the steering wheel would be in the boot and it would only go with the lid closed) but they built them so they didn't fight the player as he/she attempted to solve them, relying on the puzzle itself rather than the ability of the player to do what was required in-game to get it done.

I get the game was technologically ambitious, but the time overruns were also partly the result of bad decisions taken for computer-choice political reasons that should never have been a factor in the first place.

If some of that time had been saved a detailed playtest could have discovered that:

The attitude degradation of the bots should have been permanently fixable at some point just so the game wasn't the experience of tramping through the same worn-out scenes over and over to do something annoying.

The scene interaction hotspots needed widening.

The reliance on text-adventure pun-puzzles was over-used and inappropriate for the medium.

Something was needed to address confusing graphics there was no time to redesign and re-render.

(My favourite solution to the "What if they don't understand WTF they are seeing?" problem was that used in RAMA in which a holographic assistant would simply tell the player what he/she was looking at in unambiguous terms on request - "it seems to be some sort of control panel".)

It would also have uncovered the bug in the bar that caused the game to hang every time it was entered in a certain way.

And it would have shown that those few issues were ruining what was otherwise a great game with some absolutely great puzzles, beautiful graphics and startlingly good ideas in places.

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Doh! iTunes store goes down AFTER Apple Watch launch

Stevie
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Re: 3 hours?

The only James Bond that would be caught dead wearing that oblong monstrosity would be the Roger Moore "Scaramanga" era James Bond, and he's about a hundred and ten years old today.

Besides, it evokes Dick Tracy more than James Bond, and he's even older.

Better buy the gold one. Young women don't go for wrinklies unless there's serious dosh in the offing. Plastic and sapphire (glass) just aren't going to seal the deal.

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MEPs: Oi, Commish, where'd you get these broadband figures from?

Stevie
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Bah!

"In pushing for stronger net neutrality laws from the Commission, MEPs may find themselves compared to the Taliban by Digital Agenda Commissioner Gunther H-dot Oettinger."

Needs more cowbell: The Taliban run by Hitler!

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Panda antivirus labels itself as malware, then borks EVERYTHING

Stevie
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Bah!

Gooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllll!

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Thought Apple was kidding about diversity? Here's 50 MEEELLION reasons you're wrong

Stevie
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Bah!

" ... aiming to train women, minorities, and military veterans for careers in the information technology sector"

That's not what the sub-heading to this article says. Saving those 10 characters reversed two thirds of Apple's agenda.

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Would YOU touch-type on this chunk-tastic keyboard?

Stevie
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Bah!

But ... you'll look like a tw*t using it and eventually get carpal tunnel from typing with the wrists cocked (according to my GP).

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Crap employers banned from enforcing backdoor crim records checks

Stevie
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Bah!

"I will if you will".

"Sure. Send me an e-mail requesting that so I don't forget."

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HAPPY 20th Birthday MICROSOFT BOB

Stevie
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Bah!

Stopped reading after "not least because [windows 95 fitted computers] were not easy to use".

Speaking as a mainframe bod who had to be forced to use a PC to fill in a timesheet, and who changed jobs in late '95 and was given - much to his dismay - a brand new Win '95 laptop as a terminal, that statement is specious.

The Windows 95 interface was a doddle to use. It took me a mere 30 minutes to learn enough by experimenting to forget it and get on with my job.

If you'd said the OS wasn't ready for network prime time and the hardware it was fitted to rarely cooperated when config changes were called for you'd have my vote, but hard to use? WTF are you smoking?

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Boffins say Mars had ocean covering 20 per cent of planet

Stevie
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Re: If you draw Mars with 20% of the surface covered in water

Forwarded from AOL: OMG! 20%! That's like half the planet, right? Wouldn't that much water have drowned the giant face too? How come NASA never talks about that?

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Stevie
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Bah!

I predict the Russians have been firing Deuterium ice pellets into the Martian soil from secret robotic spacecraft in Martian orbit in order to "salt" the ground and bring ridicule to Western Science.

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Scotland to get National ID system 'by the backdoor', campaigners mull challenge

Stevie
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Bah!

The soundex search will be a riot in a place with more than a few McPhersons, McGillicuddys, McAdders etc.

I worked in one place with a huge database of people where the soundex only ever uncovered the same 200 clients because it wasn't properly regionalised.

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Bite my shiny metal Ask: Java for OS X crapware storm brewing

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

"Just associate .pdf with Chrome"

My first and last experience of chrome was when trying to get a BeagleBoneBlack to talk to me through its USB webby interface. Though listed as politically acceptable in the dox my browser of choice would not render the workbench correctly.

Chrome installed, and the very first thing it did was attempt to scrape all my e-mail contacts. When thwarted is started a nag campaign. This, coupled with Google deciding my real name, by which I was known to three people, was a better choice for my blogger account profile than my web name, used for over a decade for same and known by up to three dozen people from all over the world, made me decide on the spot that were Chrome the last browser on the face of the internet I'd renounce the game of Mornington Crescent rather than use it.

Mention it not again. It is, in my mind, the stuff of opium dreams; not real, spoken of by maniacs chemically unhinged from real life, the sign of a life mis-spent in darkened rooms wreathed in thick smoke. 8o)

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Stevie
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THAT'S where that fucking thing came from????!!!!

I assumed I had just forgotten to uncheck a box on an Adobe Acrobat Reader update splash screen.

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Chewier than a slice of Pi: MIPS Creator CI20 development board

Stevie
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Bah!

I'm not sure the Beagleboard should be in the same oblong box when it comes to the Venn diagram of Pi/Arduino fluffiness. The Beagleboard is considerably bigger, hungrier and better-stuffed than either. It is also considerably more expensive about 3 * Pi cash waddage.

I was disappointed in the Pi's power consumption which made it impossible for me to use it in my envisioned project. Given the size I expected less of a thirst on it, but that was wishful thinking on my part and a dearth of hard information when I early-adopted on the whiff of a rumor.

The Pi was an absolute dream to get working compared to my BeagleBone Black, which fought me all the way and required I install Chrome (the other "suggested" browser did not, it turned out, work with the BBB's webby-interface, at least not properly). The cascade of fupuck the community "help" induced to enrich the experience was breathtaking. I got it working eventually but it required a new browser I didn't want (and which attempted to scrape all my contacts when I brought it up) and Puitty to get the SSH to begin admitting the war was over and talk to me.

The Pi set-up was "download this utility and use it to unpack the O/S. Don't erase your hard drive while you are at it. Oh, and don't use an SD card bigger than 8 gig or it won't boot". Relatively benign really, except that finding an 8 gig SD card was hard - every stockist in my area was dealing in 16-32 gig by then.

While I can get behind anyone whining about the Pi's graphical interface - the mouse click behavior is atrocious on mine - I can't really see that using it to compare with the device in the article is useful. They are quite different machines, aimed at very different markets.

Of course, the Pi sells mostly outside of that market, but that is gravy.

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The SHOCKING storage truth: Everyone's buying spinning rust

Stevie
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Bah!

Thanks for explaining ODM.

Now: WTF is a "hyperscale" data centre? I assume it is people like Google and Amazon, but when I assume ...

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Microsoft comes right out and says backup software is dead

Stevie
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Bah!

But gosh, don't Redmond back up their cloud platters and wafers?

Or don't they think that the summer of 2003 could happen again, what with all the money poured hand over fist into the national grid infrastructure*?

* - Last accounting showed 18 dollars and 52 cents had been spent in the first quarter of 2013, but a review turned up three buttons, a five centavo piece and a washer in that tally"

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FREAKing hell: ALL Windows versions vulnerable to SSL snoop

Stevie
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Bah!

Crikey! All my saved Minesweeper and Freecell games are belong to Them.

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UK spaceport, phase two: Now where do we PUT the bleeding thing?

Stevie
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Re: Somewhere close to the equator, would seem like a good bet...

"I never really understood why they landed the main craft each time they returned to Space City when for most of their extra-terrestrial visits they used Junior and left the rest in orbit."

There are only two seats in Junior. Professor Matthew Matic needs to get out and stretch his legs too, you know, and the Lazoon needs to be let out for a crap sometime.

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Stevie
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Re: Somewhere close to the equator, would seem like a good bet...

So, what, Lizard Point then?

I dunno why we'd need runways. Everyone knows that British rockets will launch from a rocket sled riding on rails (possibly using maglev, but that was never explained in the show).

Can't wait to be issued with my flying motor scooter.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Sea Pauling.

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Top Euro court ends mega ebook VAT slash in France, Luxembourg

Stevie
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Bah!

"Too bad for Amazon, eh?"

Too bad for Amazon's customers, certainly.

I though the EU was incentivizing "green" measures - like not harvesting trees for paper needlessly. Sounds like someone didn't get Le Memo.

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'Hi, I'm from Microsoft and I am GOING TO KILL YOU'

Stevie
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Bah!

"... and dump them in the river!"

(my instant imagined response)

"And three months later you have to fish them out of your office when the monsoon comes and the river floods you out. Bit of an own-goal if you ask me."

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Australia threatens to pull buckets of astronomy funding

Stevie
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Bah!

Because deregulating universities so they can revitalize revenue streams worked so well in America and the UK.

Wait: Haven't both those educational structures imposed ruinous debt on the "educated" and caused a Damoclean financial crisis waiting to crash the World economy?

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