* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2721 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Google Glass NOT DEAD. We're just making it 'ready' says chief

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: It's not dead, it's resting!

Pushing up the daisies! Gone to meet its maker! it is an ex-glass!

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Boffins FOAMING over a Nickel's worth of hydrogen

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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As I read it it is a catalyst and electrode in one. The catalyst lowers the potential barrier for the electrolysis reaction, lowering the pwoer needed for the reaction

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Here I am, brain the size of a planet and all they ask me is to drill a hole in a rock

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: "Anthill inside"

Got that t-shirt, will wear it with more pride. It generally takes my CS students a little while to realise I am not wearing a T-shirt with an Intel ad.

What I will miss most about Terry Pratchett is the warmth and love of humanity with all its shortcomings that oozes from all his work. The one thing that really offended him is "treating people like things". He was a wonderful man with an unparallelled talent

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Rosetta probe to try contact with Philae lander on Thursday

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Fingers crossed!

I really hope the probe wakes up from its hybernation without issues. I cannot help wondering if, when it wakes up, Philae will say:

"I have worked out that if I stick my left arm in my right ear, I can electrocute myself ..., terminally"

or alternatively

"I think you ought to know I am feeling very depressed"

Or simply:

"It's c c cold"

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Super SSD tech: Fancy a bonkers 8TB all-flash PC?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

No, that's not tea on the keyboard

Just some drool, that's all

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Shove off, ugly folk, says site for people who love themselves

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The shallow end of the gene pool

Even by the standards of the general internet, this is an extreme load of vacuous twaddle. I would not want to spend any time in the presence of said Tawnie, let alone in the confined spaces of an elevator, where the stench of her (no doubt liberally applied) perfume would probably trigger an allergic attack. Besides, to paraphrase the immortal words of Marvin the Paranoid Android: "I get a headache trying to think down to their level"

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

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Megaphone

It just struck me

No need for technology, I will just pass the caller to "my boss", and then do one of my celebrated Brian Blessed impersonations. Did one on holidays in the Alps recently, and had my kids in stitches.

ARE YE DEEEEEEAAAAAF!!!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: Just waiting

Very much like the "remark" tool the BOFH taught novice computer users about years back. Easily invoked using the usual UNIX abbreviation "rm"

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

I got one too, once or twice

I really, really really would like that remote BOFH-enhanced cattleprod functionality on the phone going.

Them: <indian accent> Hello mr. Wilkinson, I am calling from Microsoft Tech Support

</indian accent>

Me: Hello, you may call me Simon

Them: <indian accent> Sir, your computer >>KZZEERT<<

</indian accent>

Alternatively, I would like to wire a fax machine, enhanced to 120dB volume, to answer their questions

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Lost WHITE CITY of the MONKEY GOD found after 500 years

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: They dared to defile the White City of the Monkey God?

Yeah, but don't forget the Monkey God's Mum (MGM). She is going to go ON and ON and ON to the poor Monkey God:

MGM: "See! I TOLD you to keep your forest tidy! You are ALWAYS losing things in it!"

Monkey God: "But, mum, I ..."

MGM: "I mean, HOW can you lose an entire CITY! This never would have happened to your cousin Kevin!"

Monkey God: "But mum, ..."

MGM: "Just think of what your dad will say when he comes home, and he hears humans have found it for you"

Monkey God: "Yes, but mum, ..."

MGM: "And I bet you haven't said thank you to those nice men from the SAS and National Geographic for finding your city again"

Monkey God: "But,..."

MGM: "Now go to your room and tidy THAT, or it's no human sacrifices for you for the next 500 years!"

Monkey God: "Yes, mum. Alright, mum"

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HTC One M9 hands on: Like a smart M8 in a sharp suit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Nice

Like my M8, will keep it for a while yet, but I like the fact that I can get something very much like it for a while yet,

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RIP Leonard Nimoy: He lived long and prospered

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Getting OLD !!

I know the feeling. Take comfort in the fact that getting old means you are certainly succeeding in the first half of "Live long and prosper", so keep up the good work, and prosper

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El Reg chefs whip up Post-Pub Noshographic

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: BESSHHT GRAPH IN THE WORLD!!

I see! it is a descriptive graph rather than prescriptive. And exactly because the near terminally inebriated cannot read it, they will follow it

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

BESSHHT GRAPH IN THE WORLD!!

The only downside is that the totally inebriated might not be in a fit state to follow the instructions

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

I recently found a company nearby

that will build a laptop to my specs for a very reasonable price AND you buy the OS separately. No bloatware, nothing you did not ask for.

Sounds sweeter every day.

I'll check the (older) Lenovo machine, in which I already deinstalled a load of stuff after buying it, for superfish

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After Brit spies 'snoop' on families' lawyers, UK govt admits: We flouted human rights laws

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Black Helicopters

"and even those were considered void if "extremists" were involved."

And who exactly got to decide that somebody is an extremist? MI6? Any other spooks?

Thought so.

Is that a black helicopter I hear?

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UGH... opposable thumbs are so tiresome! Why not mount your iPhone on your face?

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Maybe you could implement peril-sensitive sunglasses this way ;-)

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BLOOD STAR of the NEANDERTHALS passed close to our Sun

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Timely...

I thought the Toba super-volcano eruption took care of that

That fact won't stop Hollywood/Discovery Channel/History Channel/BBC, etc making a new disaster movie/"documentary" along the lines of WHAT IF A RED DWARF CAME WITHIN 0.8 AU OF EARTH, WERE ALL DOOMED!!!

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Boffin

Flares would have to be HUGE to be visualle impressive for Neanderthals

Hate to pour cold water over the nice idea that Neanderthals would have been startled by flares of Scholz's Star., but a little back of the envelope calculations shows this is unlikely:

The star would have been about magnitude 10.3 in the night sky at shortest distance to earth, apparently. This means that to be visible a flare would need to raise the brightness by 4.3 magnitudes to reach magnitude 6 (drop on the magnitude scale = increase in brightness). This is possible in the blue band, but in the visual band (roughly corresponding to the rods in the retina) it is more likely to observe just one or two magnitudes increase, keeping the star well hidden. Only a 6 or 7 magnitude increase would make the star noticable (but still rather mediocre), and something like 12 magnitudes would be needed to rival the planets. This is VERY unlikely

Still a very interesting report

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BBC: SOD the scientific consensus! Look OUT! MEGA TSUNAMI is coming

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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We're doomed, DOOMED, DOOMED, I say!!!!

At ease, Fraser!

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Watch: FIRE-SPITTING time-lapse images of Sol showcase NASA's sun-gazing highs

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Wonderful stuff

The sun almost always provides a lot of fireworks. It must have been difficult to select the best bits

You can actually sample the solar dynamics from down here: this shot was taken from the pavement across the road from my house (74 pane mosaic). However, whenever UK (or Dutch in my case) weather conspires against that (i.e. a lot of the time) it is lovely to visit NASAs sites which provide many such image (some like GONG H-alpha nearly at real time).

The transits seem to be Venus, judging by the size of the disk

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El Reg's plucky Playmonaut eyes suborbital rocket shot

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Unavoidable Cynewulf / Tolkien link

Eala Earendel, Engla beorhtast

Ofer middangeard monnum sended

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ATTENTION SETI scientists! It's TOO LATE: ALIENS will ATTACK in 2049

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Nah, we're safe

Alien's receiving the webgasm will conclude that this could not possibly come from a sentient life form, and start looking for errors in their analysis software, or check they weren't getting stray signals from some passing Teaser. You know, rich kids with nothing better to do than finding planets like ours, landing next to some poor guy who nobody is ever going to believe and strut around wearing silly antennae making bepp-beep noises (childish really)

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FOCUS! 7680 x 4320 notebook and fondleslab screens are coming

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

It might well be useful for some specialists

Very big displays of very big data (actually, many images I work on are a lot bigger: 40kx40k). Having a powerful machine with massive GPU grunt and a big screen, that resolution would be very nice. On my tablet, not so much, on my laptop, a more modest improvement in resolution would be better

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SpaceX HOVER-SHIP landing scuppered by MASSIVE ocean waves

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Love the work they are doing

I love the way these guys keep pushing forward. It does bring back fond childhood memories of the Apollo era.

Keep at it SpaceX!

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ANOTHER US court smacks down EFF's NSA wiretap sueball – but won't say why

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Unhappy

Bad day for democracy

How can people vote if the are kept in the dark not so much about what a government does (because some things need to be kept secret), but about the very reasons for the secrecy. Another important issue is that justice must be meted out in public so that it can be seen to be done, and scrutinized. Secret courts are anathema to democracy.

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Bitcoin trade biz MyCoin goes dark, investors fear $387 MEEELLION lost

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Paris Hilton

Re: Does not compute...

Rich people need not have made their fortune, someone else could have made it for them. For example, they could simply inherit it. No intelligence, or indeed any other talent, is needed.

The selected icon is a "shining" example of this

(note: Paris might not be as stupid as she apparently likes to appear, but her wealth does not stem from any talent she may or may not have)

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NERDS KICK PUPPY 'bot in brutal attack

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

It's a good thing these are dogs

Dogs have a master

Cats (unadulterated ones, at least) have personel

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SWINGBELLIES! Take heed! Drinking WINE is good for your LIVER

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Pint

Good news!

I'll raise a glass to that ---> should be filled with wine, I know

...

Wadyamean, you need a different glass for wine?

;-)

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Major US news organisations to develop ROBOT JOURNALISTS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Ah yes...

Isn't that robo reader of yours simply an electronic monk? Remember not to cross link it to a video recorder programmed to watch 17 boring channels simultaneously. Can cause trouble

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Listen and understand

I thought Fox News already employed robots programmed to disagree with EVERYTHING the Democrats propose

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US DoJ okays IEEE's patent troll BAN-HAMMER

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Sounds like a step in the rigt direction

Some sense being brought to (a part of) the US patent system, that is a pleasant surprise. The fact that it comes from IEEE rather than USPTO is not much of a surprise

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Lost SPACECRAFT believed FOUND ON COMET

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

When philae wakes up

we might hear

"I appear to be lying at the bottom of a deep, dark hole. That seems a familiar concept, what does it remind me of?... Ah, yes! ...Life. Maybe if I lie still and ignore it, it will go away again"

Alternatively, we might just receive a message:

"I think you ought to know I am feeling very depressed"

OK, I'm going. The one with the cassette tapes of the HHGTTG radio play in the pocket please

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Man trousers $15,000 domain name for $10.99 amid registry cockup

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Is ifyoulikealotofchocolateonyourbiscuitjoina.club still available?

what about iamdetritusanddisismy.club?

OK, time to go, the one with Thud in the pocket please

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ZX81 BEATEN at last as dev claims smallest Chess code crown

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Very nice exercise in minimalist programming

especially in an age where a word processing package has minimum requirements in terms of memory and compute power equivalent to a Cray Y-MP. Hats of (the black fedora again) to the programmer.

The art of compact programming is not totally dead, of course. People working on embedded systems can do some really neat work. We also let student program Arduino boards, which also requires a fair degree of discipline in terms of memory use.

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I'll get my coat – there's a dusty one flying off Comet 67P

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Not so close, really

True, but then we might think it's a long way to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. Listen....

;-)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

Interesting stuff

Nice to see more data come from Rosetta. It will be interestig to see if and how the composition of dust particles changes as the comet becomes more active near the sun. Also looking forward to Philae waking up again as it approaches the sun.

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BOO! Grave remote-code exec flaw in GNU C Library TERRIFIES Linux

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Stop

Re: Not Again

Gentlemen: Please do not feed the troll

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NASA greenlights SpaceX and Boeing to carry crew to ISS in 2017

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Good

Good to see progress being made. I don't care muc for all the political grand-standing, but applaud the engineering efforts that with get more people into space at lower (if still eye-watering) cost.

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BOT AN ABOMINATION: Mechanical DRONE VAMPIRE spreads wings

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Coat

Re: So now we've got...

Victims would perhaps be less terrified of the robo-vampire if it wore a black ribbon

I'm going. The one with Carpe Jugulum in the pocket please

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Welcome to Spartan, Microsoft's persuasive argument for... Chrome

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

"MSHTML Trident engine that’s been the bedrock of IE."

I know some web developers who would argue it is not so much bedrock as quicksand. Bergholt Stuttley Johnson seems to have been involved according to some.

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Doomsday Clock says 3 MINUTES to MIDNIGHT. Again

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

In situations like this, I find it useful

to consult this book I have, with some large, friendly letters on the cover.

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Latest menace to internet economy: Gators EATING all the PUSSIES

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Send in Mick Dundee!

He'll sort those crocs out, no worries!!

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OTHER EARTHS may be orbiting our Sun beyond Neptune

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Sky surveys

They would be very faint, and move VERY slowly with respect to the stars. Most big surveys are looking for faster-moving objects (NEOs will mmove a lot faster than trans-Neptune objects)

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You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

OS wars are so last decade

I personally do not care. I have worked on (and fumed at) very many versions of Windows, Linux, Unix, Android, and OS-X. I am old enough to have worked on VAX-VMS, RSX-11 on PDP-11 and CDC Cyber NOS (nicknamed either No Operating System or Nasty Operating System), CPM (2.0 and 68K), and more DOS version than I care to mention.

I just want a tool that works. Android works nicely on my HTC phone, and ASUS transformer pad, Windows 8 (with classic shell) works for my kids and missus, and for me in data acquisition behind me telescope, and Linux works on many (non-mobile) machines I need to get my work done. Try processing some of my image and volume data on a mobile device: giga-pixel and tera-pixel range (single images, not a database that size). On the other hand, I don't do web browsing on a cluster. I have considered getting a MacBook Pro as a replacement for my ancient Sony Vaio (lack of nVidia card on their 13" bothered me, not the OS). Different tools for different tasks.

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Earth-bound exoplanet hunter's eyes blink open

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: So they can see planets so far away but no high quality Moon pics ?

Unless a tinfoil hat got in the way, I really do not understand what you are getting at

There are plenty high quality moon, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus pictures about and have been for decades. The resolution just gets higher and higher.

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Australia tries to ban crypto research – by ACCIDENT

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Possible solution from a place which is not Australia, but very, ... well, Australian

They really should go for the Ecksian solution: put anybody who becomes PM in jail instantly (saves time, after all). Could be extended to any political office.

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$500 TEDDY BEAR teaches tots to spit up personal data

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge

What odds will the bookies give on

The baby ...

1. throws it out of the cot/pram/playpen

2. manages to break it within a day

3. has it stolen by an elder sibling so it's never in the right place

4. consistently holds it in the wrong way

5. is terrified by the glowing heart

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NSA: SO SORRY we backed that borked crypto even after you spotted the backdoor

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Facepalm

Well ....

"... In truth, I can think of no better way to describe our failure to drop support for the Dual EC DRBG algorithm as anything other than regrettable,"

I can think of better ways, in fact we are spoiled for choice:

"Cynical" immediately springs to mind

"Amateurish" given the way they handled it

"Wannabe Machiavellian" because it blew up in their faces, as was always likely

and many, many more

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