* Posts by Mike Shepherd

366 posts • joined 23 Aug 2008

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Mandarins plotted to water down EU data protection regs

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Re: Big government is watching you

"Fine with a benevolent government" ???

Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là

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Late night smartphone use makes women go blind

Mike Shepherd
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IT Angle

"an understanding of retinal physiology...can avoid unnecessary anxiety..."

The same happens if you read a book. Doctors train for years to deal with serious problems, not these trivialities. Avoiding "unnecessary anxiety and costly investigations" doesn't need a caring session, just a smack on the face and instruction to "get real".

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Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Mike Shepherd
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Re: Sad excuse for the company it once was...

Last time I checked, my 4-digit customer number still worked, although that surprised the assistant.

Maplin shops were fun to browse. I'd usually emerge £20 or so poorer than I'd intended. But now the staff are instructed constantly to pester customers (typically with inane enquiries like "Are you alright there?"). So every visit is unpleasant and to be avoided. If tomorrow will do, I order from hassle-free Farnell.

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Home-cooked tech helps China topple US as top supercomputer user

Mike Shepherd
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Confusion

"It has been a long time since the United States did not have at least half the machines on the list..."

Probably "did not have" should be "had". There is no beauty in such complicated constructions. Here, the meaning is not just obscure, but reversed.

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TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding pockets £2.8m

Mike Shepherd
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Honesty throughout

The cliché "You know when (s)he's lying because his/her lips are moving" isn't always an exaggeration: the deeper the hole, the greater the urge to keep digging, so why waste time on truly informatiive words?

Perhaps, in this case, "honesty" means "Customer data is secure...I mean not secure...I mean...".

Where are the figures to support " we know that they have appreciated our efforts"? Perhaps it's based on one customer who said "I'm glad you've stopped lying".

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T-Mobile Czech ad man steals, sells, 1.5 million customer records

Mike Shepherd
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Re: forgive me correcting your correction

When you start throwing the sics around, you'd best be very careful about the rest of your message, because people are liable to throw a few back. In this case, the author is either pushing his own preference or doesn't have the experience to know that some people use "data" as the plural of "datum", while others have adopted it as an ordinary English singular noun.

Some foreign-derived words should be labelled "Don't try this at home", to save us the pain of "this criteria", "in memorium", "ad nauseum" and the rest. Don't get me started on "graffito".

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Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

Mike Shepherd
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Abort, retr.......????

Oh, chuck it in the sea.

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Chrome's PDF reader has arbitrary code execution flaw

Mike Shepherd
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Unhappy

A tiny error

"The flaw looks like it is down to a tiny error by Chrome's developers..."

There are no "tiny errors" in today's computers. If you plan to get up on your hind legs and crow that you're taking over the world, you need to be careful with errors of any "size".

If this flaw is so insignificant, why is it worthy of an article about it, particularly one which appears determined to play it down?

I think it was Tony Hoare who wrote that "A programmer who uses assertions while testing and turns them off during production is like a sailor who wears a life vest while drilling on shore and takes it off at sea". Maybe Google could do with such basic notions of software quality.

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Post-Safe Harbor: Adobe fined for shipping personal info to the US 'without any legal basis'

Mike Shepherd
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We'll get back to you

'...the European Data Protection Supervisor said it was "not robust enough to withstand future legal scrutiny" and refused to endorse it. And in April, Europe's data protection authorities said the new agreement was "not acceptable".'

Questioned on the UK position, the Home and Foreign Offices said "We'll ask the US what we think and get back to you".

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Scots denied Saltire emoji

Mike Shepherd
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Adventurous

"I am sure I speak for all Scottish users when I say..."

Quite an adventurous claim, for someone who didn't even win his referendum, let alone get 100% of the vote.

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NASA 'naut to boldly enter pump-up space podule

Mike Shepherd
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Mascot

Computer: May I remind you, Sgt. Pinback, it was your idea to bring the alien on board in the first place... If I may quote you, you said the ship needed a mascot.

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Latin-quoting Linus Torvalds plays God by not abusing mortals

Mike Shepherd
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Re: Amo Linus

sed non Linum?

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Cisco warns IPv6 ping-of-death vuln is everyone's problem

Mike Shepherd
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"malformed bytes"

Last time I checked, all 256 possible values were working on my system.

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Helium... No. Do you think this is some kind of game? Toshiba intros 8TB desktop drive

Mike Shepherd
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Re: Longevity

"Helium would only escape if there some pressure differential between the inside of the drive and the atmosphere...".

Does diffusion depend on a pressure difference? Net diffusion of a given gas would depend on the difference in its *own* partial pressure (across the membrane), but would take place independently of any other gas present. (The whole notion of a gas is that its particles don't interact much with others).

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Mike Shepherd
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Re: Longevity

"Helium...smaller and monatomic...therefore..."

Nice theory, but I recall a TV school science programme where children actually did the experiment (diffusion time from a balloon) and found that carbon dioxide escapes much faster than hydrogen (perhaps because it could dissolve in the rubber of the balloon?) Real life is rarely as simple as GCSE physics.

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Mike Shepherd
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Re: Longevity

I recall helium-filled fixed-head drives in the mid-1970s. These came with a small bottle of helium, used if you needed to open (then purge) the drive. I don't recall that we ever had to change the helium bottle.

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Jfrog flicks out scanner to dive deep into containers

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Sorry

Sorry, I think I reached this page by mistake.

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5% of drivers want Nigel Farage to be their in-car robo butler

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Why should

Why should my chauffeur need to converse with the butler?

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Spied upon by GCHQ? You'll need proof before a court will hear you...

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

663 applications?

Security or not, the first rule of dealing with "public servants" is not to raise anything that looks like it may become a lot of work, thereby delaying tea breaks for months to come. Success comes from indicating an easy route, then beckoning gently from that direction.

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Google asks Unicode to look over 13 new emoji showing professional women

Mike Shepherd
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Unhappy

Re: Was this what Unicode was for?

With hindsight, it was only a matter of time before Unicode became a target for the PC brigade (or Google, which seems to feel that the entire human world is at its disposal).

Unicode characters were intended to represent repeated features of real languages so you could write in those languages and about them, without resorting to graphics. (This includes the facility to write about "dead" languages like those used in Mayan script or in Egyptian hieroglyphics).

The Unicode Consortium rightly rejected the proposal of a code page for the Klingon language. Unicode is not a platform in which to express support for political movements, whether the associated images show women in "professional" jobs or at the kitchen sink.

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Archaeologists find oldest ever ground-edge stone axe

Mike Shepherd
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IT Angle

Surprising?

While such discoveries are valuable and to be treasured in the difficult business of reconstructing our past, it doesn't seem surprising that we used complex tools only 50,000 years ago. Language is much older and we know that tools are often used by apes (and even some birds).

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Don't split Openreach, says BT, and we'll splash BEELLIONS on broadband and 4G

Mike Shepherd
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Unhappy

Re: Don't compound the earlier mistake

My (virtual) mobile provider uses EE. I've noticed this week that DNS failures (e.g. from typing in the wrong web site name) now lead to a BT page instead. I thought I'd paid for straight internet access, but no...I must live with BT's view of the internet, so anything beyond browsing the web may not work as I expect.

I left BT internet years ago when they decided that improved security meant they must block pings. (This screwed up our remote backup system). Will no-one rid us of this turbulent company?

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Your mother has a smooth forehead, Klingon language lovers roar at Paramount

Mike Shepherd
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Alert

meH!

an'koLKt !

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Redback sinks fangs into Oz builder's todger

Mike Shepherd
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IT Angle

IT?

IT?

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Google discovers you assume clouds just work

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Re: "surfacing" FFS

It's just the usual attempt to impress by avoiding straightforward language, like their reference to "incremental value" (which they hope is more imposing than just "value").

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What a difference a year makes: ICO tele-spam fines break £2m barrier

Mike Shepherd
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Suggestion

A requirement to give a full trace of "where did you get my name/address/email address/telephone number" might help.

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Planning to throw capacity at an IT problem? Read this first

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

"For decades"

"For decades, we've been trained to solve IT problems by throwing capacity at them".

50-60 years on, I think it's clear that the chief IT problem remains the difficulty of writing reliable software. After that, throwing capacity at it sounds good to me.

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Cambridge Uni spins up green and beefy supercomputer project

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Re: "This...makes it possible to power a spintronic device using a supercomputer"

It all makes sense now. I wonder if I can upgrade my Zanussi.

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Mike Shepherd
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Meh

"This...makes it possible to power a spintronic device using a supercomputer"

Wow, super!

Er....what does it mean?

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Woz says wearables – even Apple Watch – aren't 'compelling'

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

"...realise he left his iPhone at home"

Oh, the humanity!

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Apple pulled 2,204lbs of gold out of old tech gear

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Re: Love 'em or hate 'em...

"You don't make piles of cash by selling stuff that lasts or is easy & cheap to fix".

As in the film The Man in the White Suit, this notion is unconvincing. When products become more durable, they cost less per year of use, so we end up buying more of them.

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Brit AI daddy Sir David MacKay dies

Mike Shepherd
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Re: "This is a straight-talking book about the numbers"

How close to zero would you like these numbers before you agree that "in" and "out" are "almost exactly in balance"?

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Admin fishes dirty office chat from mistyped-email bin and then ...?

Mike Shepherd
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"I found one in a mail loop between one or..."

Is there an English version of your post, split into sentences and making sense?

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Mike Shepherd
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Get a life

The curtain-twitchers have moved on, but now they work in IT. If your biggest thrill is reading colleagues' salacious emails, you need to get out more.

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Facebook's big trouble in its little world domination plan: China

Mike Shepherd
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Sounds familiar?

"China...actively dislikes the possibility of people being able to chat to each other without local censors being able to monitor what is going on".

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IT suppliers: Amazon is starting to pay its debts. Some of them, anyway

Mike Shepherd
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Re: UK Companies???

It would be so simple only for an undisputed debt.

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Astroboffin discovers exoplanet by accident ... in 1917

Mike Shepherd
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Re: Grey Dwarf?

Dirty dwarf? Maybe "hygiene-challenged star whose mass is less than average, but equally valid in a modern, caring society".

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Mike Shepherd
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Re: Exoplanet? Endoplanet??

I thought that "exoplanet" meant one that isn't here (in the Solar System).

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Mike Shepherd
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(2) would be quite an achievement. In our history society, we've managed to convert all our diskettes, VHS tapes and audio cassettes to digital storage. But who can say that the (hardware) means to read the new formats will be around even one decade later? So far, we've achieved a single digital medium (to simplify copying the archive to new media as each becomes obsolete). But it still needs constant oversight to avoid that obsolescence.

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Airbus boarded by 12 nation-state, crimeware 'breaches' every year

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

"...the aviation giant's security and computer emergency response team"

A wise investment, given one country's anxiety to know all (and feed it to Boeing).

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Windows 10 debuts Blue QR Code of Death – and why malware will love it

Mike Shepherd
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Unhappy

We're searching for a solution to your problem...

[ covers receiver ] [ sniggers ]

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Google, Facebook's CAPTCHAs vanquished by security researchers

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Re: Can you solve this Captcha?

Hey, get with the flow. Nothing has to mean anything now. You just have to impress until people nod.

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Mike Shepherd
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"...no mechanism to prohibit...from a single IP address"

I'm not an expert, but (as I understand it), NAT (particularly for mobile connections) places numerous devices on a single public (routeable) address. So insisting that each user have a different IP address would block many legitimate users.

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There's oil in that thar … Chinese space probe?

Mike Shepherd
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Re: Small particiles (sic) don't drop

So, Mister B.Eng, how do you decide (without gravity), which is "top" and "bottom"?

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Turbo-charged quantum crypto? You'll need Cambridge laser boffins for that

Mike Shepherd
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Keep real

With all this dazzling technology, it's useful to bear in mind that having your cryptography 99.999999999% secure is a waste of time if there's a 0.1% chance that one of your own (e.g. Snowden) decides to act against your crookery.

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'Panama papers' came from email server hack at Mossack Fonseca

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Ramon Fonseca told Panama's Channel 2 the leaked documents are authentic...

God bless you, Mister Zimmermann. You've made things so much easier.

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Google tried to be funny, cocked it up, everyone thought it was a bug

Mike Shepherd
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"We're a couple of intelligent, caring guys, who'd you probably like if you met us socially"

Why do companies like Microsoft, Google feel they must prove that they're "real kool"? I don't want to meet you socially. In fact, I don't much care if you live or die. I just use your stuff. I don't want an email service that corrupts messages when you feel like it, because "Hey, it's fun!". I don't want you to entertain me by changing the login screen image every time I turn on the PC. I don't need a new set of images, conventions and sounds on every issue of your OS. I have work to do.

What's next? Might a Google car say "Hey, I know you wanted to go to Seattle, but we thought the Everglades are so nice this time of year. Hehe!". It's not cool: it's just stupid.

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Ofcom puts aside a little bit of spectrum for Internet of Things things

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Here's some bandwidth, just to make that clear

“...no evidence to suggest our existing...licence products were unsuitable...However, we recognise that this may not be clear to stakeholders”.

So, frequency allocations can now be made "just for clarification" ?

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Microsoft's bigoted teen bot flirts with illegali-Tay in brief comeback

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

"...bragging about smoking weed in front of the police..."

"...set up in hopes of developing a personality similar to that of a young woman in the 18-24 age bracket".

I don't see the contradiction.

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SportPursuit coughs to being hacked. When? What got nicked? They ain't saying

Mike Shepherd
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Meh

Crikey! I never took the cake. In any case, it didn't taste very good. Oh, lor....

SportsPursuit's disaster management manual seems to have been written by Billy Bunter.

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