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* Posts by Mongo

361 posts • joined 26 Apr 2009

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That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140

Mongo
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"Beverly Hills 90210" was the best show ever!

because it means that I know a valid US zip code for filling in my "personal" details.

My occupation, you ask? "Accountant" - presuming your drop-down list is alphabetically sorted...

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Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’

Mongo
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Re: Firstly

You're right that if this is proves to be a productive an investment then it's cheap as chips. However the problem I have with it is that it's not clear (at least from this article) how that success will be monitored and how failure might be addressed (and from Andrew's earlier articles on this sort of innovation funding, Lily Cole et al, I don't expect there really is such feedback - instead it's "meaningful engagement with 10,000 innovators and SMEs", which Humphrey Appleby will smoothly explain can be met by a mailshot inviting them round for coffee). And without any feedback then spending can steadily ramp up - if coffee in a nice room is synergistic then how about some snacks? rent one of Google's chefs? someone to do the shopping for the innovators so they're not distracted? hookers & champagne? More than one company has wandered down this slope of escalating perks, but as private concerns they're answerable to their owners and shareholders. This is the State (and one allegedly wedded to austerity), so it should be laying out the rationale for this investment in such terms that a steely-eyed investor would advance the money with a clear conscience.

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Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?

Mongo
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"80% of our laws come from Europe" [citation needed]

Unlike most of your remarks this at least seems sourceable, and a quick search turns up:

http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/RP10-62.pdf

The former Commission President, Jacques Delors, predicted in July 1988 that within ten years 80% of economic legislation, and perhaps also fiscal and social legislation, would be of EC/EU origin.

Using statistics from national law databases and the EU’s EUR-Lex database, it is possible to estimate the proportion of national laws based on EU laws. In the UK data from these sources provided estimates that suggest that over the twelve-year period from 1997 to 2009 6.8% of primary legislation (Statutes) and 14.1% of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments) had a role in implementing EU obligations, although the degree of involvement varied from passing reference to explicit implementation. Sectoral studies suggest that the agriculture forms the highest area of EU influence and defence the lowest. The British Government estimates that around 50% of UK legislation with a significant economic impact originates from EU legislation.

So perhaps that 80% figure is a stale prediction from a Eurocrat's wet-dream?

But even if four-fifths of all law was being rubber-stamped by anti-democratic puppets in thrall to THEM it's pretty clear that the home-grown 20% is where the really pernicious and vile stuff lies.

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Mongo
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Re: It's the British government that overrules the British courts

Thank you for linking that! The whole posting there is also short and well worth reading - as well as prompting us to ask precisely which of the rights we would choose to discard there's this trenchant description of the fundamental purpose of such law:

Fourth, it is important to note that the whole purpose of human rights law is, from time to time, to frustrate governments and others with power.

Human rights law which allows politicians to do what they would have done anyway is not meaningfully human rights law at all.

Of course, government do not like human rights law – they also dislike legal aid and judicial review – as it empowers the individual to stand up to the State.

So the protests of senior politicians (of all parties) about human rights law should never be taken at face value.

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Labour outsources digital policy, Tories turn up to finish it

Mongo
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"Factory" is all too correct

Don't like the current installed set? Our apologies! - we'll press the big green button and churn out a few hundred identikit replacements.

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BlackBerry slowly pulls out of power dive into toilet

Mongo
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Re: Bravo!

Remember those good old days, when El Reg's standard reference was to "Lawsuits in Motion"? Back when the industry trembled when they took a step, as opposed to at the impact of them falling over...

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Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished

Mongo
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Take a closer look at that TrustSec proof-of-concept:

https://www.trustedsec.com/september-2014/shellshock-dhcp-rce-proof-concept/

That's an evil DHCP server sending shell script to the client, which will get executed under root (if the dhcpclient is configured to use bash at all)

So may be a rather bigger attack surface than just "LOL! Lame CGI!" - what other services have helpful extensions like this?

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'Space bubbles' may have helped Taliban down 'copter in bloody Afghanistan battle

Mongo
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Re: National Security.

No need for hush-hush - the operational effect is that under rare circumstances in certain bits of geography radio comms may fail. For a new reason, besides the other 101 grounds for comms failure. Exploiting the weakness requires some serious technical assistance (not as if the Taliban have many space assets) and a big dose of luck (maybe next time there's a flying comms relay or another friendly party nearby hears the confusion and relays, etc)

If some unfriendly major power wants to help the Taliban bag another chopper they'll find it easier and a lot more deniable to slip them a case of surplus short range missiles

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Mongo
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Re: Just saying

GPS is just one of multiple navigation inputs - there are also several (commonly 3) sets of gyroscopes and even an old-fashioned magnetic compass. The lack of adequate GPS signal would be handled automatically (since it's absent rather than falsified)

And the fire theory doesn't need a "space bubble" anyway: rather than posit that the radio is 90% destroyed and so no signal, just assume that it's 100% destroyed: same result, bubble or not.

So (sadly) MH370 remains as mysterious as ever

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Bracelet could protect user herds from lurking PREDATORS

Mongo
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So given the truism that tech often becomes mainstream only once adopted for porn

we can look forward to a new era of humiliating discussions with BoFH's:

LUser: "I think I've locked my account again...yes, the error was "Wrong wrist motion"...well I was trying the other hand to see if it would feel like someone else..."

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Moon landing was real and WE CAN PROVE IT, says Nvidia

Mongo
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"this photo must have been also shot in studio"

Of course it was, but this time "they" used Abrams instead of Kubrick.

You can tell by the lens flare!

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Dotcom owns up: my name was 'poison'

Mongo
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A mea culpa and an apology?

Pretty clear that NZ politics is no place for him...

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Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us

Mongo
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So next month Elephant&Castle will still be a "Clockwork Orange" shithole?

Precrime should tell me that I'll get mugged if I walk down that particular street right now, not just be a slightly higher resolution crime incidence map.

Maybe they've got some interesting observations about where people go when & how this correlates to types of crime, but it's drowned out by this disappointing precrime angle?

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Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out

Mongo
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Sadly true; "Contains no Adobe code" could well be a box on a purchasing checklist.

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Mongo
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Re: Who few still use Adobe Acrobat and Reader?

"Mongo only pawn in Game of Life"

(and therefore has no way of altering corporate IS decisions beyond respectfully submitting suggestions, to be filed under "Month XIII")

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Mongo
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Wanna see Adobe rub a virtual bell-end on my virtual desktop?

Adobe whips it out

And yep, "Jetzt neu starten" is indeed the button that gives you the chance to go and make a cuppa (only to find out that STUPID BLOODY WINZIP halted the reboot ten seconds later so that it could point out that it can't promise not leave something in the temp folder, as if this was a problem unique to reboots and not exactly like any other other time that it exits before a downstream app)

This machine has the full Distiller install - maybe a reboot isn't needed for just Reader? or because an Explorer window was also open and they couldn't be arsed implementing the replace-in-use-DLL logic? or because "Adobe"...

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Mongo
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A system restart!? For an editor/viewer!?

I guess if it wasn't for the airfare they'd actually pop round and urinate on my desk too...

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Hate Facebook? Hate it enough to spend $9k fleeing it? Web 'country club' built for the rich

Mongo
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Re: This too will probably fail.

The RaF's Publicity Manager will liveblog tweeting about it (except on Tuesdays, when she tweets about liveblogging it)

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A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND

Mongo
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Re: So basically...

Except I think the RAM disk is entirely provided by the host system, so you get to buy the drive and then to make it really fast you can go and buy some more RAM (presuming that you didn't really have 25% of your system RAM persistently under-used so would rather like to keep it available)

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Was Earth once covered in HELLFIRE? No – more like a wet Sunday night in Iceland

Mongo
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Re: Early civilizations!

A cute notion! Then von Däniken has it exactly arse-about-face: the pyramids were built with anti-grav tech (just rather before the 'ancient' Egyptians were around), but it was home-brewed and once well debugged they packed it in the picnic hamper and set off to see what the neighbours have done with their solar system.

So why haven't we seen them yet? Just like any adolescents leaving the nest they're mortified that their cool new (bug-eyed) friends will clock just who their old folks are and blow their cool. So the danger of that Bebo Gliese 581C transmission wasn't that the BEMs would come and sterilise the Earth as a way of raising the average galactic IQ, it was that the old civilisations would come slouching back home, slamming doors, whining that we don't understand them, etc.

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Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen

Mongo
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Re: I know where there's one you can buy

Now that's NOT how you sell them! Try this:

"Panzer IV, cherished by its elderly German owner and always garaged when possible. Longest trips were to church (St Basil's, Moscow, then heading home to Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, Berlin). Forced sale owing to property boundary dispute so seller eager! Buyer must collect"

See? Gone in a blitz!

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Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD

Mongo
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Impressive how TV special effects have advanced

Even 30+ years ago Zaphod and his lolling paper-mache head were distractingly like a junior school drama production. But the Sontaran in the second photo is quite something - even the suit he's wearing looks almost real!

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Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom

Mongo
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Re: "Currently, encryption is forbidden"

M'Lord, I'm not enciphering! I'm just sending some samples of thermal noise to my friend! (his diode is completely out of zeners...)

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Mongo
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>> colourr

Nice try, Fritz von Sauerkraut, but you need better steganography to slip past HM Loyal Civil Servants!

(now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and watch for Boney sneaking across the Channel)

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In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE

Mongo
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But when you try to claim on that warranty...

...they'll say it's void because "you must have had an LG exec around to dinner"

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Microsoft's Office Delve wants work to be more like being on Facebook

Mongo
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Let alone Sharepoint...

Once upon a time we used wikis at work, deployed a little chaotically but with organic uptake (staff saw that they were good and easy and put them to use). But then the company was acquired and New Standards were enforced: wikis bad, Sharepoint good. Each team sacrificed a colleague to compulsory training and back they came full of evangelical zeal. Eve, our rep, sat down with me to try to create a simple wiki page - first barrier, which template style to base it off?

"uh, I just want some free text, link some diagrams, normal wiki stuff" - so off we went browsing the template catalogue, trying to guess what the icons meant, slowly and painfully trying things and backing out. Eventually got a blank page ready for some text, and then the fun really began:

me: Is that an edit button?

eve: I guess so, let's try it

(flicker, jerk, reload, YAY! can type now)

me: Oh, now it disappeared - how do we save the changes?

(clicks on random things)

me: Oh look, now over there's a red cross button. I wonder if that means STOP or CANCEL or DELETE or something else?

(try it, flicker jerk twitch reload)

eve: And there's the page done!

5 minutes later...

me: Eve! I can't find the new page now! all I did was go back to the parent and now it doesn't show as a child!

eve: let's look in the master catalog

eve: that's very odd, let's check your security credentials

eve: hmm, let me try logging in

eve: ok, let's restart the browser and you log in again

eve: maybe it needs to rebuild the index. I think it does that overnight - let's try again tomorrow

Later on a High Priest of IS fixed it, quietly sneering as he did so.

Later yet a Serious Memo was sent to all, noting that recidivist luddite staff were still using private wikis and This Would Not Do

And a little while later the company went tits up - not directly because of Sharepoint, but in part because of the mindset that adopts grand big flaky tools that actually do less for the average user's workflow than what they already had.

I'm sure that in priestly hands Sharepoint can give us world peace and balanced budgets, in exactly the same way that the Eves of the world go misty-eyed at the awesome power of Lotus Notes, but as a mere user of quite humble requirements they simply suck and blow.

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India government: 'net should not be censored

Mongo
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Re: Sorry, should have specified

You mean ... beneath the sea is the fabled realm of Atlantis under honest, selfless rule???

[no, you meant that holding said ministers under water is the only way to stop the bastards spouting more fairy tales...]

Of which the gold standard remains the 2005 use of the UK "Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005" (passed with all the usual reassurances of extreme powers to cope with extreme situations) to detain an 82-year-old protestor who shouted "nonsense!" during a speech by the Foreign Secretary:

A spokesman insisted: "Stop and search under Section 44 is an important tool in the on-going fight against terrorism.

"The powers help to deter terrorist activity by creating a hostile environment for terrorists."

He added that the justification for authorising the use of the powers was "intelligence-led and based on an assessment of the threat against the UK."

(https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/10/terrorism_laws.html)

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Mongo
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I don't know which country you mean by "our"

but you're correct!

(the probity of govt ministers is invariant with respect to location)

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Shitty what? Almost half of MPs have never heard of Tech City

Mongo
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Re: I thought I'd seen silicon roundabout once.

You confused a useful piece of digital logic used by skilled engineers with a gaggle of politico arse-kissers? That'll teach you to mix your drinks!

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Microsoft's SELFIE-TASTIC Nokia 830, 730: Complete with DOG SMILE WHITENER

Mongo
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possibly the effete lapdogs of California smile...

but mine snarls. Especially at anyone taking selfies.

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Ballmer PERSONALLY wrote Windows' Blue Screen of Death text

Mongo
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A senior bod who spends time in engineering!?

A lot less common than it should be - many a CEO gives the impression that they don't ever use, let alone understand, what their company makes.

Now if only Balmer had kept in close contact with Win8...

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'Sony and Twitch' hacking crew Lizard Squad: 'We quit'

Mongo
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Just a covers band; look out for their take on "Jailhouse Rock"

They don't seem to have an original note to them: DOS'd a commercial network, phoned in a bomb threat, maybe SWATted a gamer. Not exactly Pwn-2-Own grade stuff

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BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

Mongo
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other S. Pokeworthy sign-offs

carpet sections 2m x 5m

Sturdy garden spade

Waders

Long gloves

Economy bag of quicklime

What's the good of a reputation if it doesn't precede you?

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Mongo
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/dev/null for auditors

Chickenhawk" has the splendid example of a helicopter crash in a remote Vietnamese jungle being seized upon by the quartermasters as an unimpeachable explanation for the next audit: a rough totting-up of the gear alleged to have been lost with the chopper gave a weight many times above its lifting capacity...

Not that the US military is unique in dogged accounting either: "Bugles and a Tiger" mentions an exasperated Indian Army QM finally resolving repeated demands to account for a cast-iron crowbar with "eaten by termites", possibly signed with S.Pokeworthy or Irving Washington

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NASA boffin: RIDDLE of odd BULGE FOUND on MOON is SOLVED

Mongo
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Holmes

Teach the controversy!

Our children deserve to hear both sides of this debate - anything else would be lunacy!

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Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov

Mongo
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Honest, Guv! I'm just going to quote a bit, not rip ya off!

Specifically I'm quote all the bits excluding your name, contact details, and copyright date. If you'd be so kind as to put them in the same place on each image so I can imagemagick the lot at once that would be peachy!

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Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS

Mongo
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VSS! there's a name to tickle the Cthulhu gland!

I well remember the feeling of disoriented terror when I read the MS recommendation that a dev group with our size of team and codebase (10 and 100k SLOC) should run a "fix" pass at least once per week, which in our case required about 18 hours running on the server hosting the drive containing the rats' nest of directories which MS nonchalantly called a database.

Happily enough Wikipedia says "The final version of the product, Visual SourceSafe 2005, retired from mainstream support on 10 July 2012 with extended support ending on 11 July 2017" so very soon it will be nothing more than a developer ghost story

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Nokia emits Windows Phone 8.1 'Cyan' upgrade for Lumia gear

Mongo
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HERE we go again...

Back in the days of scoffing at that "fruity company" Nokia bought Navteq for about $8B. "How ever will you make that money back?" gasped the analysts, and an early answer was free S60 Ovi Maps with paid-license navigation. But after a while, as Google-equipped iPhones and then Androids loomed in the windscreen (the front one...) the license became perpetual and free.

Roll on the WP era, and the low-end devices came with regionally-locked HERE navigation, with a paid upgrade option. And once again this has withered, perhaps in the face of Android (sluggishly) improving off-line support. Just possibly the cost of designing, implementing, translating, testing and supporting this option was even covered by the sales to low-end Lumia globe-trotters.

All of which leaves me wondering how much of a direct asset mapping has been for any of the phone makers, as opposed to its absence being a certain deal-breaker. And did companies such as Nokia fully appreciate this all along and the licenses were more to pacify the shareholders by showing some (small-but-watch-'em-grow!) revenue streams?

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That's no plane wreck, that's a Google Wi-Fi balloon

Mongo
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That was the Astro Investigation and Defense Service in action

Godzone's very Special forces in fact - there's an old doco about their duties here

www.imdb.com/title/tt0092610/

Can only hope Google back down in time...

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Assange™ makes fresh bid for FREEDOM from Scotland Yard's 'physical encirclement'

Mongo
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That's really good news about the "new information"

And it should be discussed with the Swedish judiciary at the earliest opportunity, so that this whole mess can finally be cleared up. May I suggest tomorrow's 0730 flight from Heathrow?

(or if that's too risky because the evil Swedish puppets are going to bundle him into a big brown envelope, then there's not much point in trying to talk to them about this news anyway)

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You've got two weeks to beat off Cryptolocker, GameoverZeus nasties

Mongo
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It's a command server, not a horror movie monster

If it was a monster then this two week window would make some sense: "We've put it to sleep - quick! run for safety while you can! it will wake up soon!" But it isn't - Cryptolocker doesn't wait for you to try to uninstall it, then try to ask the mothership "the user is coming after me! should I scramble the files now?" The moment it starts executing it does whatever harm it can, so while running an instance now might be safer (presuming it does lie dormant if it can't get a key from the C&C server, rather than generating a local one anyway and mailing it to a collection of backup email addresses), late May was also a very good time to update protective software and July will be an awesome month for running the browser from a low capability browser-only user account, and so on.

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NASA spots new Mars meteorite crater

Mongo
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Alien

OMG! will you just look at the yellow crater to the right of your post!

Of course the so-called "independent experts" [called by who?] will claim its natural, that it's merely twinned uplift peaks offset from the true centre with a collapsed rim to the south catching the low angle light, but if your so BLIND that you cant see THE FACE then may be its rite that the LIZARD PEOPLE WON?

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Mongo
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Pint

>> beams back pictures of the Red Planet daily, not all are immediately examined.

Nice to know that the richness of digital cameras also afflicts NASA - I too have an ever increasing pile of snaps that I just know I'm going to get around to sorting through Real Soon Now.

(of course NASA has a finite window for capture before the orbiter fails so it makes sense to blaze away ahead of digestion, let alone having the chance to find transient phenomena like this. Whereas when my camera fails [i.e. gets dropped] it'll be replaced the next day by something that lets me be even sillier. The hi-res HUD camera (step-child of "Glass") will be the final tar baby)

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Europe's shock Google privacy ruling: The end of history? Don't be daft

Mongo
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Intestine removal: the lazy cure for appendicitus?

Changing your name means updating it formally with many important organizations in your life (the state, banks, employers, insurers, etc) It also means breaking social links with out-of-touch friends (like trying to find old schoolmates who now have married names) And you'd cheerfully do all this to evade one bad link? (and hope that nobody helpfully provides the "HTTP 301" for you, as they often do for married names "Mary Smith (nee Bloggs)", since Google is quite capable of supporting such common patterns too.

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The weird and wonderful mind of H.R Giger is no more

Mongo
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Magic of the movies

The first photo of Giger hugging an egg in the alien ship's hold ghasts my flabber something chronic - watching John Hurt amid the eggs I knew that at some point a matt painting took over but I hadn't guessed that the point was "the egg behind him". Nothing like a little fog, some good lighting, a fine director, and of course a fabulous piece of graphic design that meant (like any magic trick) my horrified attention was held firmly where it was meant to be.

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Birmingham's Computer Bookshops Ltd goes titsup

Mongo
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So following movie logic...

PC Bookshop will soon sweep Amazon from the face of the Earth, remarking as it does so "Now the circle is complete"

Only in my dreams - I do miss the the smell of paper and fresh ink, and the excitement of finds when pouring through the bookstacks, and I wonder how to explain this lost world to my kids. But the flipside was being at the behest of the shops' (and distributors') best guesses about what to stock and at what levels (perhaps the sole copy of that serendipitous hit just waltzed out the door five minutes ago) - the kids will never understand just how ignorant we were of just how ignorant we were...

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SCOTUS asked to overturn patent-troll's charter

Mongo
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Re: Yikes!

Existing patents operate much like mines (the bang-where-did-my-legs-go sort, not the useful mineral extraction sort). Chopped into separate claims they'll be cluster bombs.

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Victory for Microsoft as Supremes decline to hear Novell's WordPerfect whine

Mongo
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Re: It was the best DOS word processor

A neighbouring lawyer was still using WP for DOS in 2000 (and may still be for all I know) - at the time she said she could hammer out menacing letters and entwining contracts larded with boilerplate paragraphs far faster than with the "upgrade" of the Windows version (better macros, snappier responses, and of course a big dose of muscle memory)

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Stephen Elop: I was RIGHT to BURN the PLATFORMS

Mongo
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Re: Traditional HR Problems

Having sharpened his lobbying skills in the intervening decade, not the least in the successful passage of the 34th Constitutional Amendment that allowed President Schwarzenegger his scandal-dogged single term of office, on Feb 9, 2025 President Elop abruptly exited his honeymoon period with his startling "Burning Continent" speech...

...after which we'll all be waiting to see what the bonus for sailing a superpower into the rocks is, who the lucky purchaser is, and whether they have the sense to follow Don Jefe's sage (if somewhat Game of Thronesque) on the safe disposal of weapons of cash destruction

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Asteroids as powerful as NUCLEAR BOMBS strike Earth TWICE YEARLY

Mongo
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> At least you didn't shoot down living objects (life forms). Pretty harmless.

The widows of countless UFO pilots beg to differ, you callous murdering speciesist!

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