* Posts by Mongo

653 posts • joined 26 Apr 2009

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SpaceX is go for US military GPS sat launch, smashes ULA monopoly

Mongo
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@Gene Cash - reducing costs...

Indeed, it's all too easy for any long-running operation (public or private) to have "status quo" as their real day-to-day goal and "because I'm worth it" as their justification. Feynmann's appendix to the Challenger disaster enquiry remains as aspirational as ever:

They must live in reality in comparing the costs and utility of the Shuttle to other methods of entering space. And they must be realistic in making contracts, in estimating costs, and the difficulty of the projects. Only realistic flight schedules should be proposed, schedules that have a reasonable chance of being met. If in this way the government would not support them, then so be it. NASA owes it to the citizens from whom it asks support to be frank, honest, and informative, so that these citizens can make the wisest decisions for the use of their limited resources.

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

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ESA seeks resident space artist

Mongo
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Go

Catnip for the Flat Earth crowd

YouTube is crowded with videos claiming that space travel is all faked, e.g. from "Feed Your Mind": NASA Faked Space to Hide Flat Earth Dome Firmament | FLAT EARTH DOME pt 2

They'll be stoked to have an ESA "confession" that they're hiring "space artists" - we can look forward to the "YouTube Intellectual Background" dropping below its current level of 2.7 IQ points (akin to the better known CMB, the theory goes that after an initial "Big Braininess" at the start of YT history the steady inflation of user-generated content has led to real gems being ever more widely dispersed by stone cold crap)

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Mongo
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Was that meant ironically?

€3k for a month doesn't seem like a lot - Googling "average netherlands senior graphic designer salary" gives the rather larger €39,300 p.a. (and that's a salary: the one-off fee should be thought of as a contract rate, so reckon on 50-100% higher)

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Yahoo! sale woes

Mongo
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$48m just to prise her dead hands from the corporate jugular?

I think a tumbril would be a better purchase than a lifeboat. Someday I hope we'll hear of a failed CEO rewarded in the manner of Admiral Byng...

encouraging the others...

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SQL injection vuln found at Panama Papers firm Mossack Fonseca

Mongo
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Re: believing this legal shite

An evergreen argument, in the evergreen "A Man for All Seasons":

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

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Reusable autonomous swimming microbots soak up 95% of spilt lead

Mongo
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Still confused!

or just plain worried - where does this H2O2 come from? It's not normally abundant in the wild, owing to its tendency to disassociate when faced with most any catalyst or just plain sunlight. Is the lead pollution to be fixed by stirring in vast quantities of a potent oxidiser? That would be shades of the "old lady who swallowed a fly"

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Google's dream city isn't a new idea

Mongo
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And the inhabitants will be paid in Google Scrip

Only redeemable in the Google Store

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Blighty starts pumping out 12-sided quids

Mongo
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But on the bright side...

Every time you're paying you can break into reminiscences about thrupnee bits and how that was a lot of pocket money back then and how many sherbet gollywogs it would have bought and how ride the young people in the ever-lengthening queue behind you are...

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Mongo
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Still 60,000 *working* payphones in the U.K.?

That must be the "April Fool"...

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Amazon plans drones with talking propellors

Mongo
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Audio Modulation of a propeller assembly!?

And at frequencies overlapping normal speech - just how is that going to work, except with a motor providing more torture than a battleship?

If only patents were granted for "look at this cool thing I just built" and not "left me tell ya what I dreamt about after a cheese and red wine session"

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Ever wondered what the worst TV show in the world would be? Apple just commissioned it

Mongo
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Apple's version of "The Internship" (aka "Google goes auto-fellatio")

IMDB on The Internship

Not every critic rated it in their top ten:

There is a creepy, undead feel to this lumbering comedy set in the offices of Google, and Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn have a distinct Baron Samedi look in their eyes. (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)

You need only watch the trailer to know that The Internship is a promo for Google; think Google for Dummies, as well as Summer Comedy for Dummies. It's as if the writers googled "how to write a script" and nothing came up, so they wrote this anyway. (Joe Morgenstern, WSJ)

Let's see Apple fall even flatter!

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London's $40m 'flash crash' trader is to face extradition to the US

Mongo
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Before mouthing off read the judgement

https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/sarao_extradition_judgment.pdf

Judge Purdy considers at length whether his conduct could reasonably be prosecuted in the UK and concludes "if proven here would be a S.2 Fraud Act 2005 offence". So that's not shipping off without question, that's due process working out as the law dictates.

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Mongo
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An investment firm told me about "value investing"

ie the practice of having domain experts look at the fundamentals of companies, patiently sifting through their reports to find those plucky underdogs unfairly priced by the market, then buying and holding those stocks long term.

It seemed such a bucolic dream, capitalism from a moral fable book. So different to the business of finding a bigger fool ASAP to offload the share to, where the fool is now a robot and the "as soon" is governed by the purity of the fibre optic. If I was loaded I might even invest a little with them, but expecting only a moral profit, the feeling of having paid tribute to a lost dream

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Dodgy software will bork America's F-35 fighters until at least 2019

Mongo
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At least I have a defense for my next code review

"Ok, ok, there are some issues. But you have to agree I'm only a 2 on the F-35 quality scale"

(Which definitely goes to eleven. If the knob doesn't fall off first)

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Feds raid 'extortionist' IT security biz Tiversa, CEO put on leave

Mongo
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"Tiversa's services to its clients and business operations continue as normal."

"... if youse knows what I means" added the heavy-set man as he idly swung his baseball bat, looking around the expensive furniture of yet another corporate boardroom

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Get lost, Windows 10 and Phone fans: No maps HERE on Microsoft's OS

Mongo
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'What else won't work?'

Windows Phone as a viable platform? Microsoft's convergence strategy?

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UK draft super-spy law 'not fit for purpose,' say 100s of senior lawyers

Mongo
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Re: Sigh...

And for leaving the ECJ what better approach than some ill-drafted legislation rammed through under urgency while the "opposition" wrings its hands ineffectually?

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MAME goes fully FOSS

Mongo
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(many were genuinely appalling)

One of the truly educational aspects of MAME was discovering just how much crap never surfaced in my local "spacies" parlours [*], the surge of bootlegs and half-arsed clones mixed in with the downright dull and pathologically unplayable. In fact the ratio of good to bad seems not that different to today, but with rather more expensive hardware attached (although MAME also makes clear how many games were based on common platforms, just with new decals and the controls relocated)

[*] in case a 1980s Aucklander with a better memory stumbles across this: SpaceWorld under the Regent cinema, Fun City 1 further up the same block, then Fun City 2, but what was the name of the one further up Queen St with a genuine "Space War" and "Missile Command", also a quick-drawing paper-mache cowboy? Or down on Commerce St, had the only Xevious in town - Luna World?

- and a photo of SpaceWorld Damn, MAME is such a nostalgia tarpit that I'm soaking up time just THINKING about firing it up...

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Failed school intranet project spent AU$1.4m on launch party before crashing and burning

Mongo
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Effective parasites must avoid killing their host

Which is why govt contracts are simply the best - forcibly watered by the sweat of the whole nation the host simply cannot die. At worst the birthing pains of the successor project may temporarily dislodge the current parasite, leaving the teats briefly exposed for a rival firm to latch onto.

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Verizon!–Yahoo! takeover! inches! ahead!

Mongo
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Yuck! I just put my hand in a puddle of corporate DNA...

...while looking at the corporate history. So many triumphs along the way, like buying Bebo for $850M and selling it for "scrap" 27 months later (when the best thing you can say of a deal is that the loss made reduced the tax bill then it's a three-ring disaster). And now a whole new round of synergies to be win-winned against the wall...

Maybe Ted Turner, time traveller, can still save the day?

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German Chancellor fires hydrogen plasma with the push of a button

Mongo
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My English also not

The Germans do cod German better anyway:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC_9GwTb6TE

Every word individually correctly translated - and the sentence scuppered by the pesky word order

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Layoffs! Lawsuits! Losses! ... Yahoo! is! in! an! L! of! a! mess!

Mongo
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But! what! will! El! Reg! do! for! a! new! running! gag!?

Bad enough that Lawsuits in Motion became mere boring BlackBerry

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Network builders: LTE costs will transform the cell tower biz in 2016

Mongo
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blown cover...

The shocking twist ending - Mongo was a manager all along!

(now all i need do is get payroll to see manager-people too)

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Mongo
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Genuinely curious - ambiguous with what?

I've never heard of "capex" used for anything but the ugly giant lurking behind your opex. And although the entry in Wikipedia is something else I'll wager a big bag of nuts that not many readers here read this news item thinking of the "Kerala State Cashew Workers Apex Industrial Co-operative Society"

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Hackers mirror 250GB of NASA files on the web

Mongo
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Re: Too much X-Files watching

Spoken like a man who has had some deep refreshing draughts of THE TRUTH at Ye Olde YouTube Arms?

I made the mistake of looking at a couple of flat earth links there, thinking it would be a giggle. And it was, only YouTube promptly started suggesting more. And oh my goodness, the kook well is fathomless, and like a tube of Pringles, it's horrid and bad for me but somehow hard to stop...

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Ginni Rometty to pocket $4.5m bonus for IBM leadership

Mongo
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We mustn't let IBM die yet...

It's central to monitoring the remaining population of Lotus Notes servers. As long as those babies are out there checking for updates we know that an infestation persists somewhere. Only once the last wild tendril of this scourge is eliminated can we relax and file it alongside smallpox as a terrible blight that our children need never know.

[I just finished laughing in dismay at a Notes dialog box I'd never met before. An ugly and incomplete attempt at mimicking the Windows dialog it could have used for free, with a text field that spilled narrowly over the edge of the frame, this being "fixed" by adding scroll bars to the whole dialog (rather than just sizing it usefully in the first place, or better yet making the dialog resizeable), and a menu-launching button bolted to the text caret, a blot moving across the screen with every keystroke and dwarfing the text I was writing. Modal dialog, of course. ]

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Citrix kills Sydney research lab, vows to focus on 'core products'

Mongo
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The language is (sadly) comprehensible

When you read something like that and your brain hurts the first impulse is to think "but that just seems like a big old crock-o-shite: clearly they misspoke", whereas actually they've clearly communicated that their business thinking is that crock.

Once-upon-a-time I worked in a UK group that had been developing various chunks of networking stack for over 10 years and was 80% through a major redesign. One fine day we got EXCITING NEWS! The entire subsystem was being transferred in a couple of months to an already overloaded Scandinavian team and the UK group was taking over development of a media player from the USA. The lack of technology affinity was so glaring that the pink ribbon wrapped around the steaming turd was that this was an exciting opportunity to try a new field. And the business reason for this high-risk re-org? The last re-org had gifted the UK group to a Finnish director and he was finding the travel too wearying, so clearly the thing to do was to move the mountain to Mohammed.

Of course the transplant largely failed and then a subsequent re-org moved that director elsewhere (but not before many of the old hands had jumped ship). And then after he'd worked his special magic upon another division later another re-org moved him back again... The company concerned has progressively collapsed upon itself and now resembles a pulsar but for all I know he's still in its core, spinning rapidly as he helps to throw off its remaining energy

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Come on kids, let's go play in the abandoned nuclear power station

Mongo
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The finest blend of empirical and inductive proofs

Newbie: "Ooooh, this bit's glowing? Should I report it?"

Old Hand: "What, all the paperwork and maybe a demerit for messing up??? Just chuck it in the hole there"

Newbie: "That doesn't sound very safe!"

[Old Hand tosses the glowing bit down the hole]

Old Hand: "Well, do you hear it going bang? No? No???"

Newbie: "Ok, then, it sure is easier. Say, how did you figure out this fix?"

Old Hand: "When I had a glowing bit last week I was just going to report it, but luckily Older Hand stopped me in time and showed me the hole."

Newbie: "So how did he know the fix?"

Old Hand: "Guess it's the same way, somebody wised him up too. But obviously there must be some original guy who actually checked it for safety; be a waste of time for the rest of us to second-guess him"

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Happy 30th birthday, IETF: The engineers who made the 'net happen

Mongo
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Hold you breath and hope for a third system?

At least in Symbian a number of "second systems" were built: glorious towers of design, remedying all flaws of the past and anticipating all needs of the future, removing the need for hard user decisions by presenting all possibilities (it slices! it dices! but wait, there's more! and XML too!) If only the pesky world had stopped turning long enough for the company to wade through those mistakes and move on to better third systems we coulda been a contender...

Oh, and I have already stolen "have a Ba'al" :-)

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Trend Micro AV gave any website command-line access to Windows PCs

Mongo
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Flame

"Tavis brought us a report of a possible vulnerability..."

That sentence suggests one of:

(1) Trend Micro really doesn't understand that being able to remotely launch executables from a privileged Windows service isn't a "possible" vulnerability, it's just about the biggest steaming PoS vulnerability possible.

(2) Their engineers do understand this, but the PR & Marketing lads & lasses are so disconnected from engineering that they get to make up any old crap without review.

(3) or maybe they just focus on scaring grannies with buzzwords and blandishments until they buy a copy and don't care whether it passes a engineer's smell test

It sure doesn't inspire me to try their products...

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Samsung shoves IT arm into connected cars, hires new hands

Mongo
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Samsung and software...

Our Samsung TV has the subtle and obscure bug that when selecting to fast-forward DVR playbacks, if the button is held down for more than two seconds it crashes so hard that the mains power has to be removed to reboot it. What makes the bug extra easy to find is that unless you hold down the button for the first second it doesn't even register the attempt.

On the bright side, I guess with software so crap the only way forward is up...

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France mulls tighter noose around crypto

Mongo
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Re: Open source?

Yep, these proposals read like the security kids' Xmas wishlist: everything we've ever thought of, not necessarily sorted in order of helpfulness. Take GPS trackers on rental cars: if the terrorists use a rental vs their many other options AND if we know who they are in advance AND if we detect their use of a rental in time AND despite that we have no other way of tracking them (license plate recognition, plant a bug, tail vehicle) AND if the terrorists don't know already about this technology so don't take steps to frustrate it AND if the vehicle is somewhere with adequate GPS rather than urban canyon, multi-story carpark, etc THEN this will totally save the day. Trouble is that if you let me nest the if statements deeply enough then I can come up with a what-if scenario to justify almost any requirement. Ompah-band music in all elevators? Well if the terrorist mastermind has tinnitus from earlier IED accidents AND if thanks to technology sanctions against Iran his hearing aid has a crap low-pass filter AND if to avoid surveillance he hands over bombs in mall elevators AND if ...

What they really should do is mandate RFC3514 - once terrorists consistently set the evil bit the job will become a lot easier.

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Uber Australia is broke: 'We don't pay tax because we don't generate revenue'

Mongo
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public policy director Brad Kitschke

I like the way his name combines the essential words "kitsch" and "Tchotchke". Continuing down the Yiddish phrasebook let's add "chutzpah" and "schmuck" but definitely not "mensch".

But (playing the ball, not the man) his argument is gorgeous - that a VAT/GST (generally one of the few parts of a tax code that is simple enough to encompass unknown future activities since at core it's "money changed hands for something not on-sold? give us a cut!") needs revision to suit his company's trading model, when that model was created with the tax code already established. He's one of the underpants gnomes and now it's the state's duty to fill in step 2

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eBay scammer steals identity of special agent investigating him

Mongo
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The line between chutzpah and reckless

is often the same fine line between spectacular success and laughable fiasco

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Badware in the firmware all over the place

Mongo
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As an expat Kiwi many things tug the heartstrings

But no longer facing the prospect of waking up on another wet autumn morning with a weta sitting on the pillow? That I can live without forever

[it was only a relatively little young tree weta, hatched out in the garden hedge and on its big O.E. to see the world. And it's a beautiful miracle of nature. And they only eat small insects, form loving pair bonds for life, and raise god-fearing children of Amish tendencies who show a touching respect for their elders. But I don't believe for a moment that it was more scared than I was; that ain't possible]

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iPad data entry errors caused plane to strike runway during takeoff

Mongo
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Overly cautious verdict "suggests the data entry errors were inadvertent"

Barring very rare sucides it's a good bet that the lads & lasses up the front want to get there in one piece too, so they aren't likely to deliberately screw things up.

Anyway that ain't no transposition (exchanging a pair of digits), it's just a straight-up typo. Nothing specific to the iPad entry either - they could have got that bit all correct and then screwed up when copying the resulting speeds to the aeroplane's FMS (unless that setting is already always double-checked by the second pilot?)

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Volkswagen: 800,000 of our cars may have cheated in CO2 tests

Mongo
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A German lawyer acquaintance with a BlueMotion Passat diesel...

has already cheerfully said that the moment that it costs an eurocent (in increased tax, being barred from inner-city eco zones, increased fuel consumption, decreased resale value) for which VW doesn't compensate him in full then he'll sue to have the original purchase contract revoked on the grounds that the vehicle sold was knowingly misrepresented on its fundamental aspect (the BlueMotion bit), meaning that the full purchase price is refunded upon the return of the vehicle.

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PC sales will rise again, predicts Intel, but tablets are toast

Mongo
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"Sales of two-in-one systems are up 150 per cent"

Yep, when the marketing man speaks with his forked tongue TONGUE TIPS ARE UP 100 PER CENT!

Wake us up when a big product category increases by 150% rather than trumpeting what's little better than statistical foam of the also-rans. Meanwhile here's a more enjoyable misleading comparison...

Percy: You know, they do say that the Infanta's eyes are more beautiful than the famous Stone of Galveston.

Edmund: Mm! ... What?

Percy: The famous Stone of Galveston, My Lord.

Edmund: And what's that, exactly?

Percy: Well, it's a famous blue stone, and it comes ... from Galveston.

Edmund: I see. And what about it?

Percy: Well, My Lord, the Infanta's eyes are bluer than it, for a start.

Edmund: I see. And have you ever seen this stone?

Percy: (nods) No, not as such, My Lord, but I know a couple of people who have, and they say it's very very blue indeed.

Edmund: And have these people seen the Infanta's eyes?

Percy: No, I shouldn't think so, My Lord.

Edmund: And neither have you, presumably.

Percy: No, My Lord.

Edmund: So, what you're telling me, Percy, is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else you have never seen.

Percy: (finally begins to grasp) Yes, My Lord.

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Next year's Windows 10 auto-upgrade is MSFT's worst idea since Vista

Mongo
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Oooh! What a great movie that was...

Paul Shirley: There is no possible interpretation of my deal with Microsoft...

Darth Nadella: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.

Then just wait for your first not-a-service-pack-just-a-continuous-improvement

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DEFCON 1 to DEFCON GONE: One of NORAD's spy blimps goes missing

Mongo
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According to the LA Times it's porkalicious

Their article from just a month ago: http://graphics.latimes.com/missile-defense-jlens/

After 17 years and $2.7 billion it consistently fails to work, even before this destructive romp (the tether took out some big power lines). However when the Army tried to kill it back in 2010:

Raytheon mobilized its congressional lobbyists. Within the Pentagon, Marine Corps Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came to JLENS’ defense, arguing that it held promise for enhancing the nation’s air defenses.

At Cartwright’s urging, money was found in 2011 for a trial run of the technology — officially, an “operational exercise” — in the skies above Washington, D.C.

Cartwright retired the same year — and joined Raytheon’s board of directors five months later. As of the end of 2014, Raytheon had paid him more than $828,000 in cash and stock for serving as a director, Securities and Exchange Commission records show.

Sometimes it's impressive that the west has a brass-enough neck to go sermonising upon corruption to the likes of Greece.

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If Amazon can have delivery drones, we want them too, says Walmart

Mongo
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Re: How on earth will this work?

Multi-story flats aren't so common in the USA. From http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/units.html the year 2000 figures:

60.3% single-family, detached

5.6% single-family, attached (i.e. terrace & townhouse)

7.6% mobile homes

So almost 3/4 of housing has a plausible front door already, and these houses might be better customers anyway (mixture of rich urban and remote suburban/rural, so either way happy to pay extra to avoid visiting store). And if drone deliveries really take off (boom! boom!) then bigger apartment blocks might elect to fit a communal landing pad, like a private version of the automated parcel collection points.

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No, seriously, NASA will fly a probe through Saturn's moon plumes

Mongo
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Hope Enceladus has evolved window squeegee guys

If there's any kind of life at all then 19,000 mph means bugs stuck on the windscreen. In which case they'll need a "friendly" youth with a bucket of water and a rubber wiper pronto, or the sun-ward views will be nothing but lens flares.

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We can't all live by taking in each others' washing

Mongo
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Done in by the journalism mill owner

Who is cackling while twisting the pointed ends of his moustache, rain pooling on the silk topper, as Tim leads his pregnant wife and sizeable brood into the uncertain future of the Lancashire dusk...

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Microsoft now awfully pushy with Windows 10 on Win 7, 8 PCs – Reg readers hit back

Mongo
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...or it just plain bricks the machine

I've got an middle-aged Vaio laptop, for which Sony's advice is roughly "oh god don't try installing Win10, definitely don't try upgrading, hold tight and in Q4 we'll give a status update". And as all experienced in the art of reading deadlines know: "in Q4" means at best I'll be drunkenly installing their new drivers as the New Years fireworks pop.

So having eager little bunny Windows Update trying to joggle me into a BSOD swamp is impressive: I never expected Sony to be the good cop in the room. Of course in theory I can roll it all back again as a bad fever dream, but it would be too much to hope that the eager bunny won't try again an hour later.

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You know when you spill your drink but keep on dancing anyway? That's totally Intel right now

Mongo
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> growing in a zero-sum world

Two aspects of it:

1) These expectations come from investors, who only invest because they expect to get more back than they could get elsewhere (for the same degree of safety). This return generally comes from growth of some sort, quite possibly at the expense of rivals (when the market is somewhat zero-sum), but the investors don't care at all that other investors are losing the bet to them. In this context they certainly don't care about the long-term global economy (nor do they care that the heat death of the universe ultimately makes the concept of money farcical. Do you?)

2) Growth of value isn't directly connected to growth of resource consumption - ultimately the world or at least the attainable parts of the universe may be a resource constraint upon us. For example the growth of global food production wasn't achieved by linearly increasing the area of land used or the man-power involved.

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Moon miners book Kiwi rockets for 2017 lunar landing

Mongo
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"Good" -- Ken, empathising with Otto being beaten as a child (A Fish Called Wanda)

If he can't make more Hobbit movies then just maybe Peter Jackson will go back to making the sort of nice small films that he started with. These days he's NZ's answer to George Lucas: with both directors a fan edit cut their bloated epic trilogies down to a single far better film.

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Aircon biz fined $1.3m after boss set up attack websites slamming critical punters

Mongo
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Just wait till you see the review he leaves p of the judge...

Anybody know how a similarly blatant case would fare in the UK? Paranoid fear suggests that OfTwat would strongly deplore his conduct and tell him to endeavor not to repeat the same false claims...

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Experian-T-Mobile US hack: 'We trusted them, now that trust is broken'

Mongo
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Do they ever consider just telling the truth?

"a limited period of time" apparently means "no earlier than the big bang"They must know that while some of their victims will feel vaguely re-assured many others will simply conclude that they are hopelessly addicted to lying, and that nothing they say can be trusted. By at least being frank they could hope to gain some grudging respect (as T-mobile has) - what do they fear losing? Is it Fraser of litigation? Our just a vapid yes-man culture?

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Smuggle mischievous JavaScript into WinRAR archives? Sure, why not

Mongo
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Re: WARNING: Executable code may execute code

Bravo! Iwondered if El Reg had elided some critical step but nope, his PoC really does say "open the SFX".

Is this a deliberate ploy by Iran to make us underrate their hackers?

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Do you agree with our fee hike? Press 1 to answer Yes; or 2 for Yes

Mongo
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And they've yet to deploy the infallible "dog ate the homework" argument

I have a sneaking regard for their sheer chutzpah: the registrars don't even get the promised reach-around and instead ICANN complains that they now have a headache, maybe next year...

Thanks to Kieren for the regular dose of Kafka: your audience of salarymen can once again return to the daily grind in the happy knowledge that (against all odds) there is a bigger shower of shits beyond our cubicle walls.

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