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* Posts by Michael H.F. Wilkinson

2514 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

ESA rejoices as comet-chasing Rosetta probe wakes from 3-year nap

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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The money spent here is WAY less than on, say, a single B2 bomber.

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Good news: 'password' is no longer the #1 sesame opener, now it's '123456'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

Re: It's not just about websites though is it?

Reminds me of the BOFH episode in which he recalls setting the minimum required password length to 32 and required users of said VMS system choose a new one each day (which meant they really had to use the password generator which gave results described as "vaguely pronounceable line noise". Now that's trying!.

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EE BrightBox routers can be hacked 'by simple copy/paste operation'

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: EE?

Extremely Embarrassing also fits

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Look out, Earth! Here comes China Operating System (aka Linux)

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: nice comment

Peruvian Operating System would have lead to a completely different comment of course

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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Rosetta comet chaser due to wake up for final rendezvous on Monday

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Harpoons, eh?

Yes and the person who designed the harpoon was called Ahab

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MANIC MINERS: Ten Bitcoin generating machines

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Is it me?

I have this feeling that the safest way to make money out of bitcoins is to sell mining gear. Bit like selling mining gear during the gold rush of 1849. Sure, some miners struck it rich, but the people selling gear were profiting from all mining attempts, successful ones and flops alike.

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Mexican drink-driver shopped to cops - by his own gobby parakeet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: One Parakeet Fajita coming up

If you can make Fajitas de Pollo you can make Fajitas de Periquito. Bit fiddly to get all the bones out, unless of course you like your Fajitas de Periquito to be crunchy.

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

One Parakeet Fajita coming up

It might be best for that bird to disguise itself

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Boffins find ALIEN WORLD orbiting the Sun's LONG LOST TWIN

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Happy

They may be distant, but I'll give them a wave

The next time I look at M67 in binoculars (or through the scope).

It's the thought that counts

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Tales from an expert witness: Prior art and patent trolls

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Thumb Up

Very interesting read!!

Thanks for that

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Modern spying 101: How NSA bugs Chinese PCs with tiny USB radios - NYT

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

To quote the king of the swamp in the Holy Grail

"Let's not bicker about who killed who"

Good guys or bad guys? I counsel impartiality: Do not trust any politician

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ASSAULT CORSE: Eager Walking Dead heads get a second series

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Corse?

With it's capital Ajaccio? Lovely seafood there

Sorry, mine is the one with the tourist guide to Corsica in the pocket

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Bloke hews plywood Raspberry Pi tablet

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Brilliant idea!

Love the idea of having a wooden case. I have some birch plywood lying around which should be great for such a casing. Now to find a CNC router.

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Chinese Moon rover, lander duo wake up after two-week snooze

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: Open question

It's called an alarm clock, made in China (just like the one next to my bed)

Sorry, couldn't resist. They could simply detect the end of the lunar night by the increased power of the solar panels. No clouds to get in the way.

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Coffee a memory enhancing drug, say boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Mushroom

Re: More important drink in the UK - Italian coffee?

Come and say that to my Italian PhD student (or my missus for that matter), you might get a response as depicted in the icon. ;-)

Curiously, people say I make very good coffee, but I will still opt for my tea (Keemun black for preference, or a good Assam or Darjeeling).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Re: More important drink in the UK

Can't be too bad, given that tea also contains caffeine. I do not drink coffee, unless the alternatives are on a par with the poetry of the Azgoths of Kria (i.e. to me coffee is worse than Vogon poetry). Last time I drank coffee was 1986, around Xmas. It was Italian coffee, which according to all others present was excellent coffee, so apparently coffee is just NOT my thing. I do drink gallons of tea (Olympic swimming pools?) and apparently have very good memory (anecdotal evidence of course, I know).

The positive memory effects of tea and coffee can of course be negated by that other favourite drink, depicted above

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Hubble 'scope snaps 600-LIGHT-YEAR-wide pic of star-spawning nebula

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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It is really the scale that makes the Tarantula unique

An absolutely awesome image from Hubble again. The Tarantula Nebula (seen quite easily with binoculars from the southern hemisphere) is spectacular in its scale, but several other star-forming regions in our galaxy are of course much closer (the Orion Nebula, for example).

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Light, fast ... and pricey: Toshiba's Portégé Z30 – now THIS is an Ultrabook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Like the fact it sports Windows 7

and the fact is is so light. Other than that I much prefer the (beefier) Sony Vaio S series (the ones with nVidia graphics and 1600x900 res (CUDA user, and all that)).

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Woman whipped gun from vagina in SPACE ALIEN spat, reports Officer Zook

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Never Mind The Bollocks

That sir, is a classic remark!

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Intel and Asus put the dual boot in, offer 2-in-1 lapslab WinDroid

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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I am tempted

to strip out the win 8 and install a full-blown Linux on such a hybrid. My experiences to date with my transformer pad have been great, but a full LaTeX install and C(++) compiler would be nice on the road. My experiences to date with the Win 8 laptop have been less than stellar.

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Thought sales were in the toilet before? Behold the agony: 2013 was a PC market BLOODBATH

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Worst. Year. Ever.

For a given value of "ever". PC were pretty tough in the late iron age. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett: Try getting a druid to upgrade his 33 MegaLith system

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Two white dwarfs and superdense star. Yup, IDEAL for gravity lab in the sky - boffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Interesting stuff

Also good to see the old Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope still going strong after so many years (first light was in 1970). It has undergone some major upgrades, of course.

As for quantum gravity, I am always a bit uncertain about that

Sorry, I'll get me coat

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ALIEN WORLD Beta Pictoris snapped by Earth's Gemini 'scope

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Great stuff!!

We live in wonderful times. I will lift a glass (or two) of Caol Ila malt whisky to that team tonight

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Intel ditches McAfee brand: 'THANK GOD' shouts McAfee the man

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Worst software on the planet?

Ah, yes, should of thought of the various thermite variants (though a blow torch or lump-hammer are also choice stalwarts).

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Worst software on the planet?

And there I was thinking that was the Symantec Norton mess (just try removing it). Early versions were OK, but as of about 2006 it brought a powerful quad core machine with MASSES of RAM (6GB, well, it was big in those days) to a crawl. After a lengthy uninstall process (I cannot count the times I must have said "Die, Symantec!! DIE!!!!"), and install of a competing (free) product, the same machine was back to it's responsive self again.

I am happy to take McAfee's word for it, but other contenders for the title of worst software abound, I suppose.

Should the reg introduce IT Razzies?

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Will it blend?

If it's homogenized, it sounds like it has been blended already.

Sorry, couldn't resist, last Friday at work before Xmas and all that.

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Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Great!

That's another place I should take the kids to. The Mosquito has always been one of my favourite planes of all time. I had the privilege of seeing one fly near Bude some time around 1990. Awesome sight.. My other favourite was the Hurricane IID: A tank-buster variant which showed just how amazingly versatile and rugged the Hurricane was.

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Suffering SPITZER! Boffins discover Milky Way's MISSING ARMS

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Men do not wear enough hats!

Indeed!! This is why I wear at least one every day (the roo leather Barmah today). Essential!!! The only way to fully appreciate the meaning of life!!!! Ask any wizard or witch about the importance of hats!!!!!!

Yes I'll have the kippers today! Hooray!! How do we do it? VOLUME!!!

Mine is the one with the dried frog pills in the pocket (left one, the right has a miniature universe in it)

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Re: Douglass Adams was right, once again.

I thought Rimwards, Hubwards, Turnwise, and Widdershins were the principal directions in a disc.

Mine is the one with "Raising Steam" in the pocket

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Two Brits face criminal trial for sending 'menacing' tweets

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Bit sexist really

'I think the collective term for men is "barfull".'

Good suggestion. However, in this case the word "basket" could also be used, given that men who send threats to people campaigning for an image of a famous female author to be put on a banknote, should be treated as basket cases. If people make serious threats of violence in any media (or indeed verbally). simply because they disagree with them, prosecution should certainly be considered.

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Former US POLITICIAN gets 6 years in slammer for FACEBOOK SCAM

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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One down, which is good....

It is good to see somebody getting jail time for financial shenanigans. However, I do somehow wonder whether this was because he cheated (rich?) investors. Swindling poor people out of their homes by selling them mortgages you know they cannot afford, or breaking the financial system leading to untold hardship for many poorer people does not seem to carry any penalty. For the LIBOR scandal financial penalties have been handed out to the banks, but the responsible bankers seem to get off scot free, to name just a single instance.

But let's take a balanced view: One down, many more to go .....

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HOLD THE PHONE, NSA! Judge bans 'Orwellian' US cellphone records slurp

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Judge makes sensible decision

Good for him. Whatever the difficulties in making the NSA comply, this judge made a good call

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Brilliant Brit bloke builds breakfast-belching BACON DRONE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

So who will be in command of Breakfast Command?

"Banger" Harris?

Darn, I'm hungry now!

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Teary-eyed snappers recall the golden age of film

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Lovely piece!

Brings back memories. I tend(ed) to go to extremes: Ilford HP400 pushed to 1600 for theatre photography on the one hand, Kodak Technical Pan film developed in Technidol LC for super-fine grain landscape. I still have a print of water, reeds and willow tree taken with a Carl Zeiss 85mm F/1.4 at F/2.8 in my office. Closest thing I ever got to Ansel Adams (still a LONG way to go ;-) ).

I also did a whole lot of botanical photography on Fuji Provia, and the odd wedding of friends on Kodak Portra. Still have the camera lying around somewhere. Pity really.

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Developer unleashes bowel-shaking KILLER APP for Google Glass

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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@RyokuMas, Re: Glasshole killer app involves dog turds

This suggests the killer app for Google Glass is AdBlock

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Astroboffins spot HOT, YOUNG GIANT where she doesn't belong

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: Orbiting, or just a passing rogue?

Good point, it could be an "orphan planet"

I can imagine they may have some indication of the planet's radial velocity, but I doubt the data are sufficient for full orbit calculation. There is of course also the possibility of capture, as in the case of the moons of Mars

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Re: and now for some math...

And anyway, please express the result in Vulture-Central units

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Inside Steve Ballmer’s fondleslab rear-guard action

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Re: No, Liam, I won't be using a fondleslab as my primary computer.

New tools rarely replace old tools outright. Since buying electric drills and screwdrivers I have not thrown away my hammers, or manual screwdrivers, nor will I. I use tablets (just got an ASUS Transformer Pad cheaply, like the hybrid set-up) and like them for browsing, but I still use my laptop and desktop machines (writing articles and coding), and when I need more serious grunt (Gigapixel images) a 64 core compute server, and when I want to play with the big boys with big data: clusters or supercomputers. I use WIMP or touch as needed, but very often still use the command line. As new tools are added to the toolbox, we gain flexibility. Do most users need the command line? I would not think so. Do I see my students use the command line? Not as much as I do, but they still revert to it for certain types of work.

I love using editors, or word processors, but boy am I glad I still have pen, pencil and paper.

I might also suggest PC sales are going down because many people have PCs that work just fine, and are in no hurry to upgrade.

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Creepy US spy agency flings WORLD SLURPING OCTOPUS into orbit

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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At least they are being honest about their intentions. Rare enough in politicians, spooks, and bureaucrats

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Blighty's winter storms are PUNY compared to Saturn's 200mph, 15,000 mile wide HEXACANE

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Looks like a copyright symbol on that storm (top image, lower part of hexagon)

SOMEBODY HAS COPYRIGHTED SATURN!!!!!

Quick! Who can we blame?

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NASA opens its Jupiter photo album to honour Pioneer 10

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

That brings back memories

I followed all the Mariner, Viking, Pioneer, Voyager mission as a kid/youngster. Awesome era of space research. I will raise a glass to this anniversary, and all the engineers and other (other) visionaries involved.

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Calling Doctor Caroline Langensiepen of Nottingham Trent uni

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Joke

Neat, but...

a true compute science approach to generate an ElReg-style paper would be to write a script to turn an ordinary paper into and ElReg paper by auto replacement of terms like "scientist" into "boffin", "psychologist" into "trick cyclist", and convert every SI unit into approved ElReg units. Alternatively, adapt the SCIgen automatic scientific paper generator into an ElReg article generator

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What is thy bidding? Han Solo’s shooter goes under the hammer

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Z: "Imagine I have a blaster ray in my hand"

Captain: "But you have a blaster ray in your hand"

Z: "So you wouldn't have to tax your imagination too much"

Mine is the one with the Genuine Kill-O-Zap Gun in the pocket

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Top comet-watcher pens ISON's emotional obituary

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Pint

Great In Memoriam! I'll drink to that (as if I needed an excuse )

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Saturn's moon Titan had swamps, say astroboffins

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

Yes, they were all called Zem

The one with the radio plays on cassette tape in the pocket please

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Fun-killing fireshow-flunking ZOMBIE COMET ISON only LOOKED alive

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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RIP ISON

Pity it fizzled out. For those eager to see a comet, try Lovejoy, a finder chart can be found on the same site. Nice comet to view in binoculars

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India's Martian MOM leaves the nest

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Alien

Re: Wrong Priorities

You are right. By not going on this mission they could have spent a whole $0.06 per capita on education and the like. Besides, by developing the capability to launch hefty kit into any orbit they please (cheaply), they are not gaining access to any kind of useful market. After all, satellites aren't money spinners, and level-headed business men like Elon Musk steer well clear of this kind of frivolous, money-wasting projects.

Aliens, because, well, it's about Mars, init?

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China's Jade Rabbit takes great hop for mankind

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Big thumbs up to the Chinese

I'll keep my fingers crossed for Yutu (is there a U2 fan in the team? ;-) )

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Fancy knocking off early? Just run our fake computer crash 'virus', say admen

Michael H.F. Wilkinson
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Utter Bastards

The UTTER bastard is the one wielding the cattle prods and sending abusive e-mails in your name to the CEO to get you fired. Oh, and his PFY would put you on some most-wanted (armed and dangerous) list to give you a well-deserved wake-up call by armed police.

Isn't that about right, Simon?

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Michael H.F. Wilkinson
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Coat

I sense a little student project with webcam and computer vision software coming on. Detect hat + coat = crash system.

Hat and coat please!

Deary me, the computer cra...

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