* Posts by Neil Barnes

2603 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

Open APIs for UK banking: It's happening, people

Neil Barnes
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Stop

Are they out of their tiny minds?

"Potentially APIs could allow businesses to connect directly to prospective customers' bank account data..."

No they fucking couldn't.

Because if they do, how long before we get prices that vary in real time based on how much money we have in the bank?

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FTDI boss hits out at 'Chinese criminal gang' pumping knock-off chips

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

Re: shocking behaviour

No, it's not. The replacements for the 709 and the 8080 and all the others were identified as different from the original (and I seem to recall that the 6501? was a plug in replacement for the 6800, which the makers of the 6800 got nuked, hence the pinout change for the 6502). They weren't sold as the genuine original article.

By all means make a pin compatible equivalent; if it's better (for whichever definition of 'better' you prefer) than the original then people will use it. But don't pass it off as an original part - and pay for your own VID so people (i.e. operating systems) have an easy way to know what they're buying.

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Neil Barnes
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Mushroom

Re: Caveat emptor

F/OSS drivers are all very well, and in general to be applauded - but at present it would seem that they lack the ability to inform the user that the chip being driven is not a genuine part. Which is unfortunate, given the inability of the fake parts to behave as well as the genuine article; the user needs to know that they don't have the part they thought they paid for - particularly if the software they're using is affected by fake external chips. (This has happened with some of my software).

There is exactly no excuse for faking chips, and every reason for the makers of the genuine article to try and stop the use of such chips. Any reputable maker should be doing the best to ensure that only chips either made by or licensed by them are available in the supply chain.

And any sane person should be doing their best to avoid the knock-offs. Do you *really* want bits of your system that not only don't behave as the putative manufacturer claims, but may have other unknown and possibly undesirable behaviours?

---> from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

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Thirty Meter Telescope needs to revisit earthly fine print

Neil Barnes
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Re: No tangible benefits?

I have wondered if the religion scam is just a superior variant of the royalty scam - the only difference I can see is that one says 'do it because I say so' and the other says 'do it because the invisible sky fairies told me so'.

Perhaps believing in both/either is down to a gene I don't express.

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Neil Barnes
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Pint

You get a beer, too.

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Neil Barnes
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Pint

Re: Define the sacred site

Such cynicism, in one so young.

Have an upvote, and a beer, for rationality.

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TalkTalk confesses: Scammers have data about our engineers' visits to your home

Neil Barnes
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This does raise a point though...

We now have dozens of companies - not just ISPs, but retailers of everything from books to insurance to holidays - who need large call centres. Many of which are full of (unfortunately) minimum salary people, either here or overseas, and who are entrusted with our most personal and private information.

What are the provisions in place to prevent such folk from succumbing to the temptation of a large - or even small - er, consideration to talk about their work? How do the companies isolate what should be isolated from what needs to be shared between staff? How do they prove it?

I'd love to see an article on the subject (hint, hint).

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Remember Netbooks? Windows 10 makes them good again!

Neil Barnes
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Re: Pah!

Only yesterday I pulled the upgraded 3GB hard drive from a Toshiba prior to scrapping it; the bios battery has died and screen backlight is on the dark side of feeble.

See that 75MHz pentium go!

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

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

You know the situation is getting bad when...

even Private Eye has noticed the incongruity of the CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau complaining about adblocker creators on grounds of 'freedom' - as they point out, 'the freedom to have your time spent browsing ruined by intrusive pop-ups, banners, interstitials, pre-rolls and the like.'

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Scottish MP calls for drone-busting eagles

Neil Barnes
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Re: @Neil

In thermals, not that I've seen - though there are of course far more raptors around than I've flown with.

However, if you fly too close to a buzzard's nest site at the wrong time of year, you'll discover that not only are they quite aggressive, but that they use some *appalling* language... after one occasion being sworn at by buzzards, I've made sure I keep further from their homes. I don't know where they learn that sort of language, though - probably hang glider pilots.

There's not usually any problem flying with them but I suspect that birds judge distance and speed of approach by parallax and see a five-times-bigger-than-them paraglider as five times further away, and there are occasional collisions, as here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGzzSIZvA40

(not safe for work due to swearing in Russian). The bits of string that attach the pilot to the glider make us uniquely vulnerable to collision with birds, if they get tangled.

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Neil Barnes
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Thumb Up

Flying a paraglider in the company of raptors is huge fun - where else can you see every feather on a two-metre wingspan than sharing a thermal with one, or more? Usually Buitres in southern Spain, but once a Russian Steppe Eagle in Wales - don't ask - and often buzzards.

Mind you - it's sometimes a bit frustrating when one achieves the same result as all your weight-shifting and pulling on various bits of string, just by twitching a couple of feathers. They don't half look smug when they do that...

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

Neil Barnes
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Yabbut... FM radio is carefully positioned such that adjacent transmitters use different frequencies, and require something like RDS to allow your receiver to switch automatically between transmitters.

DAB radio puts everything on the same frequency, and is designed to allow a 20% overlap of a 1ms packet, so you can get the same signal from more than one transmitter without interference (and with constructive reinforcement at the transmitter boundaries).

Different approaches to the same problem.

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For sale: One 236-bed nuclear bunker

Neil Barnes
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Mushroom

Obligatory RAH:

"I think we should stop dropping rocks on Cheyenne Mountain - it isn't there any more..."

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Brit boffins get green light to edit human genome

Neil Barnes
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Terminator

It will remain illegal to implant a manipulated embryo into the womb of a woman

Arnie, on the other hand, will have to watch out. They didn't say anything about him...

---> Seems the wrong icon, somehow, but it's the best we've got.

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Why a detachable cabin probably won’t save your life in a plane crash

Neil Barnes
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Re: Personal parachute

Para- and hang-glider pilots tend to wear emergency parachutes; sometimes two. A kilo of cloth sits under my arse and will drop my speed to 4m/s.

Though to be fair, although I test it regularly in a controlled environment, the one accident I did have I didn't have time to use it, being only a hundred or so feet above the ground.

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Most of the world still dependent on cash

Neil Barnes
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Holmes

More efficient to pay electronically?

So why does it cost more to use a credit card to buy a flight? Why am I expected to pay a transaction fee if I buy a ticket for just about anything?

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The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Re: "all of which turned to he and the rest of the IT"

"Do schools still teach...?"

Apparently not.

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Police Scotland will have direct access to disabled parking badge database

Neil Barnes
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Re: Sledgehammer, meet nut

See, that's the *wrong* approach. Asking politely if they require any assistance getting into the car might embarrass a badhat, and possibly aid a genuine user.

Navigating my disabled father in and out of his car and into the wheelchair is an interesting exercise at the best of times; doing it when some inconsiderate lout has misappropriated a disabled parking space can be an exercise in frustration.

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Four Boys' Own style World War Two heroes to fire your imagination

Neil Barnes
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Re: For the technically minded

Seconded, and upvoted. For complicated reasons, my copy is in Rio...

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Forget infrasound, now it's ultrasound that's making you ill (allegedly)

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

...Aliasing artefacts...

As were clearly audible on the FM Radio 4 piece discussing it yesterday morning (and which the presenter couldn't hear!).

Disappointing, really; I *know* the BBC has better DACs than that but I suppose the filters on the front end don't see zero level at 15kHz very often.

---> man in headphones.

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Boffins: There's a ninth planet out there – now we just need to find it

Neil Barnes
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Alien

Plan Nine from Outer Space

There's even prior art. What's not to like?

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New open-source ad-blocking web browser emerges from brain of ex-Mozilla boss Eich

Neil Barnes
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Maybe I wasn't reading properly

but I failed to see any mention of scripts... when a page requires a list of scripts that doesn't fit on the screen just to show content, there's something wrong with the system.

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The planets really will be in alignment for the next month

Neil Barnes
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Re: ...By Any Other Name

Sometimes it has a black hat on. Then it's a mourning star.

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Video game retailer GAME in email marketing FAIL

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

cc

Is it not beyond the bounds of human ingenuity that email clients *by default* are not provided with a cc field, but require an active intervention on a per-send basis to turn one on? Or even just remove the cc field; it doesn't really have much utility these days.

This seems such an obvious stop to this sort of cockup that I'm really surprised not to see it, yet everything I use seems to be the other way around.

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HPE's London boozer dubbed the 'Hewlett You Inn?'

Neil Barnes
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@ moiety

I can tell that you too have received a licence document from HP, in an envelope, in a crate full of hamsternest, on a pallet.

Delivering it in anything smaller than an articulated lorry, ideally a low loader, would defeat the whole point of the thing.

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The Register's entirely serious New Year's resolutions for 2016

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Re: we plan to be a big part of the prosperity

As above... I read El Reg because I liked it *as it was*. I too have noticed the change, though it's nothing I could have put my finger on.

I see that my posting rate has dropped in line with my appreciation of recent changes and my eagerness to read.

So thanks for what you have been, but it'd be rather nice if you could return to the status quo ante. Perhaps you need one of these -->

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Here – here is that 'hoverboard' you've wanted so much. Look at it. Look. at. it.

Neil Barnes
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FAIL

Re: inefficient

Beat me to it. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty damn sure it doesn't take 270HP to lift a hovercraft. Put a skirt round that and keep the air where it should be, and http://www.hoverhawk.com/lcalc.html suggests that 4HP is nearer the mark. In which case, instead of six minutes for that battery pack, you're looking at more like six hours.

Design for efficiency!

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US Marines kill noisy BigDog robo-mule for blowing their cover

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Re: "Warfighter"?

[quote=James Nicoll]

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

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Neil Barnes
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Windows

Re: Anyone heard of this thing called the internet...?

Tie a barrel of brandy round it's neck, give it a pre-paid fuel card, and let it womble around the Alps in traditional fashion rescuing mountaineers in distress!

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After eight years, NASA's Dawn probe brings Ceres into closest focus

Neil Barnes
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Alien

They won't need to be interstellar... once we're all over the asteroid belt, as we should be, early spacecraft (like this) are going to turn up from time to time. And there have *always* been well-heeled collectors...

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The Police Chief's photo library mixed business, pleasure and flesh

Neil Barnes
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Re: staplers...

5-1/4 floppies, backed up religiously, carefully stored in a binder after using a punch to make the requisite holes... we won't even mention the probably apocryphal tale of someone who thought that photocopying the discs was sufficient.

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Chicago cops under fire for astonishingly high dashcam, mic failures

Neil Barnes
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Elwood Blues: It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.

Jake Blues: Hit it! Oh, wait, the camera's bust...

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How long until we can build R2-D2 and C-3PO?

Neil Barnes
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Re: I can subsist on brown rice & legumes & other veggies ...

Indeed. As the old saying has it - why bother with the complexity of building artificial brains when human ones are cheaper and so much more fun to make.

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Brazil gets a WTF WhatsApp moment

Neil Barnes
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Re: "...sad to see Brazil isolate itself from the rest of the world"

Indeed. Daughter (in Rio) is increasingly annoyed that I won't install it here; SWMBO had it as her first application when she got her current smartphone.

Contact via phone or text is of course possible, but significantly more expensive than whatsapp.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Limited?

And a million tons of coffee, apparently.

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Old jet bits, Vader's motorbike gear, sonic oddness: Hats off to Star Wars' creative heroes

Neil Barnes
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Re: Never been into Star Wars

Science fiction: fiction that doesn't work if you take the science away. And by that definition, probably 95% of the stuff labelled SF, isn't.

Star Wars was space opera writ large.

Not that that will necessarily stop me seeing it once the rush dies down.

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Brit 'naut Tim Peake thunders aloft

Neil Barnes
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Alien

Sometimes I feel really proud to be a citizen of the only country in the world that has ever given up a working space programme.

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Apply online to go to Mars. No, seriously

Neil Barnes
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Re: Only Americans?

Yeah, but he'll probably go at night...

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Volkswagen blames emissions cheating on 'chain of errors'

Neil Barnes
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Re: Though one might reasonably expect

Thanks, Phil. I had read elsewhere that the adblue refill was not a user-allowed function; apparently this is not the case.

My own Fiat diesel predates this technology so I have no direct experience.

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Neil Barnes
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Though one might reasonably expect

based on similar servicing requirements, that the only person able to tell the ECU that the canister has been refilled will be the 'qualified mechanic' equipped with the appropriate software. Only a cynic would suggest that said software will be either restricted to main/approved repair centres, and/or hideously expensive.

One would think that an ECU which is capable of noting when filters and oil require changing by changes in the inputs to the system and the way the car is driven as well as simply by distance or time might also be capable of noting that said fluids and filters have been changed...

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Microsoft to OneDrive users: We're sorry, click the magic link to keep your free storage

Neil Barnes
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Indeed...

I too have never used it, but it's nice to know there's somewhere (else) I can use as temporary storage.

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US government pushing again on encryption bypass

Neil Barnes
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If I have nothing to hide,

Surely the government has nothing to fear.

So it doesn't matter to them that I hide it anyway.

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'Personalised BBC' can algorithmically pander to your prejudices

Neil Barnes
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Re: This is stupid.

Aye, but at least with changing the channel there's a chance you might see something you hadn't previously considered, and having it catch your interest. This way you'll never see anything you don't expect, unless they stick random material in.

To be honest, I think it's an appalling idea, but then, if you cut my head off it would say BBC down my neck.

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US Navy's newest ship sets sail with Captain James Kirk at the bridge

Neil Barnes
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Why all the excitement?

Surely stealthing ships was properly done in the Philadelphia Experiment?

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If it still works six months from now, count yourself lucky

Neil Barnes
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HP11C, working perfectly from 1987. Rather disappointed that I had to change the original batteries a couple of years ago - does nothing last?

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Amazon's new drones powered by Jeremy Clarkson's sarcasm

Neil Barnes
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Re: @James Hughes 1 - Once again

" Low mass, high value, delivered in internet connected low population density areas."

That'll be illegal pharmaceuticals, then.

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Neil Barnes
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Black Helicopters

That's a big drone

From the size of the package, eight or ten feet across?

I'm not sure I like the idea of a sky full of those.

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Bank card fraud

Neil Barnes
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Short answer: two debit cards from Barclays.

One used only twice on the internet in the last three months and both times to places I've used before. The other not used on the internet at all.

Both with contactless; neither used with it.

ATM use generally restricted to two or three known locations, banks and a supermarket. POS is (the same) supermarket or garages, though there was one purchase at a garage which I rarely use and which has had a reputation years ago for skimming.

Fraudulent payments attempted in the UK, US, and Italy.

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Who owns space? Looking at the US asteroid-mining act

Neil Barnes
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Alien

Re: Home Delivery

So what you do, right (with apologies to the author who first thought of this) is you make your metal into a globe sufficiently thin to withstand atmospheric pressure, but large enough to float at around 30,000 feet. Fill it full of vacuum; there's loads out there.

Then you park it over a convenient lawmaker and drill a small hole...

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Second Dell backdoor root cert found

Neil Barnes
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Linux

Bet it's not that persistent across a different OS.

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