* Posts by Mongo

585 posts • joined 26 Apr 2009

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Farewell to Borland C++: Embarcadero releases Delphi and C++ Builder 10

Mongo
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indeed - six months since her last column :-(

perhaps she was bought out by Google and then discontinued...

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Now India probes Google, threatens $1bn fine over 'biased' search

Mongo
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Re: And just why the heck should a company advertise the competition !!???

Dominant players have to tread carefully; the closer you are to being a monopoly the more scrupulous you are required to be to preserve some oxygen in the room. As you say Google is almost the only search game in town, raising the claimed prospect that they can charge advertisers arbitrary amounts (see the many stories here on El Reg about the opaque and unpredictable pricing model, a.k.a. the "chocolate factory") and then not even deliver the expected service since Google's own competing product can be featured as a super-premium result.

Back in the late 90s Intel engineers were reportedly aghast at seeing Microsoftees boasting in emails about crushing the competition, giving it away for free to cut their legs out, etc. Intel had already had anti-trust beatings in the early 90s and had taken the message on board: don't go boasting on the record about abusing your power. This was at the height of the WinTel alliance and supposedly led to Intel increasing focus on Linux in part to have the defence "we're just a chip supplier, not half of the duopoly" if it was decided to breakup MS.

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Mongo
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Re: A tenth of annual profit?

But good luck to the Indian Supreme Court if it thinks it can enforce a fine upon the global profits of a foreign company. Thought experiment: what if ten other legal systems imposed a "10% of global profits" fine - would they decide who misses out with quick game of "rock, scissors, paper"?

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Friday beers scam up 240 percent, inflicts $1.2 billion in damages

Mongo
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At least they have to spear fish now

The earlier version of the scam was just invoicing plausible amounts for plausible things like printer consumables, so it's some kind of progress now they have to fake senior staff behavior. Once the scammers get really good they can apply for the C-suite jobs too if they content themselves with ratifying the till rather than strategizing and nepotism then they may well be an improvement...

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German spies sold out citizens to the NSA in exchange for super-snoop-ware XKeyscore

Mongo
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Re: Sehr geehrte Frau Bundeskanzlerin

Since the spooks were so shy about the arrangement the "what the fuck were you thinking?" explanation can't come from the political govt. What they should be explaining is how they're going to get these sods on a proper short leash henceforth, but that's a conversation that a number of fellow "free world" govts should be beginning - what's notable here isn't that the spooks cheated on the safeguards but that they got caught already.

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Google: Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle of EU

Mongo
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You only need to round up the product...

Not the individual IQs

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Glaring flaw in Apple car hype-gasm: The iGiant likes to make money

Mongo
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"Drive on the left" signs

WAG - they're aimed at touring Europeans, and they appear in Scotland rather than Dover because lonely scenic roads make it all too easy to fall back on normal drive-on-the-right habits, absent the cue of boggle-eyed on-coming drivers (I know some Germans who came around a corner on a single track road to find a car hurtling towards them - and the Germans instinctively flinched to the right. What saved their bacon was that the Italians coming towards them made the matching mistake)

Similarly in NZ there are signs "LINKS!" on quiet roads near Kahurangi National Park - miles from the airports but popular with German tourists. Seems to work, though probably at the expense of dashing the hopes of some golf-mad Japanese visitors.

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Angry Birds maker Rovio takes aim at staff, axes a third of them

Mongo
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Let it not be said that Finland lacks management talent!

That's quite some swish CEO bollix being spouted: start the layoffs by pretending to be prey to human emotions ("personally difficult"), segue into the sunny future full of agile success linked tenuously to your unproven new flutter of making a movie, and round it off by calling the slow motion train wreck a "period of change"

But I can't fault him on "Rovio's ... eagerness to explore new business opportunities over the past few years has been exceptional", since my local store has Angry Birds underpants for 3-year old boys. Perhaps many of those laid off had titles like "Visionary" or "Evangelist" or "Garland of Flowers"?

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Brit hydro fuel cell maker: our tech charges iPhone 6 for a week

Mongo
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"a week of average use"

And there's where it all goes wrong: the early adopter types will be so busy skiting about it that they burn through the lot in less than a day

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Gas giant cores actually built from shedloads of gravel

Mongo
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Re: knowledgebase expansion

Indeed! and a big aspect is how easy it is to peek into all the dens of boffims and find out what they're boffining away on. When I was a nipper there was Sci Am to look forward to every month for the big bricks and New Scientist for smaller and more topical matters: now I stand under a pressure shower of fascinating stuff.

Let alone open source projects! Once I could delude myself that I was the smart guy in the room (it was a pretty small room...), but now on mailing lists like LLVM not even a myopic narcissist like me can maintain such a delusion. We used to read about luminaries in fabled places like MIT, now we can work with them.

Strangest of all is how quickly I've come to take it all for granted!

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Boffins raise five-week-old fetal human brain in the lab for experimentation

Mongo
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Wonder whether Christian doctrine will deem it to have a soul?

The religiously-inspired anti-abortion segment sometimes argue that a soul is implanted (somehow) at the moment of conception, making all forms of subsequent termination such as morning-after pills morally equivalent to murder. What of this "brain" - does it have a soul? If so when was it incarnated? And must it be fed forever like a dependent child?

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Japan's 'White Stork' soars heavenwards to ISS

Mongo
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Protected from exposure in The Sun by a dirty mac cum solar shade

A triumph of the Govt's new approach to PPP financing (Pubic Private Priapism), with over half the costs fronted by dirty old men playing Yakkity Sax. further details available in top-shelf journals at the newsagents

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Row rumbles on over figures in Oracle CSO’s anti-security rant

Mongo
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Today I fixed 63 security defects by staying in bed!

Since otherwise I'd have written a few hundred lines of code and generally we reckon on a bug of some sort in every few lines and (until proven otherwise) let's regard them as insecurities.

Armed with this new Oracle methodology I'll be sure to go to the pub later and heroically avert another few dozen. No need to thank me boss; picking up my bar tab will suffice...

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ICANN CEO will head off to private equity firm

Mongo
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New ICANN plan: the duzitall

Long criticised for empire-building and defensive inertia the board has finally taken a bold decision: the entirety of today's ICANN will be replaced with a single individual: perfect in management, diplomacy, technical design AND implementation, a brilliant leader who diligently follows their own guidance while always watching themself for almost-human failings...and on the seventh day they shall look upon their labours and see that it is good...

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Mongo
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Heck, when they're done choosing can I marry the winner?

Gender won't matter, since they'll be open to diversity, welcoming change and new challenges, etc...

About the only committee-hiring-criterion missing is "5+ years of experience with C++14".

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Hacking Team mulled stopping Ethiopia sales – because of idiot g-men

Mongo
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Achievement unlocked! First target infected!

"Congratulations! Now click the "copy contacts" button to see which enemies of the state the journalist has been talking to"

or at least that's how I imagine the customer support mail goes, since they seem to care about as much for individual rights as I do when playing "SimCity"...

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Ex-SAP director: I bribed govt officials to seal the deals on software

Mongo
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"...and Garcia also took a cut"

And that's his biggest problem: he tried the "just part of doing business" and "necessary to win the business for the company" explanations, but he also trousered the company's money while lying to them about what he was doing.

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ICANN chairman loses mind over his domain-name privacy shakeup

Mongo
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ICANN pretending to be Brian Blessed

(from the first "Blackadder" series, with almost as much treachery and stupidity as an ICANN meeting)

Messenger: My Lord, news...

King: What?

Messenger: Lord Wessex is dead.

King: This news is not so good.

Messenger: Pardon, My Lord?

King: I like it not. Bring me some other news.

Messenger: Pardon, My Lord?

King: I LIKE NOT THIS NEWS! BRING ME SOME OTHER

NEWS!!!

Messenger: Yes, My Lord!

(Messenger leaves; King tosses things around

angrily;

Messenger re-enters )

Messenger: My Lord, news...

King: What?

Messenger: Lord Wessex is not dead.

King: Ah, good news!

Let there be joy and celebration; let jubilation reign!

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Care.data is a complete omnishambles, says study into hated scheme

Mongo
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As General Turgidson so wisely said...

"Well I don't think it's quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a single slip-up"

(when facing criticism that one of his commanders had just "exceeded his authority" and launched a large nuclear strike.)

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Assange™ to SQUAT in Ecuadorian broom closet for ANOTHER FIVE YEARS (maybe)

Mongo
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Oh, do go and read Green's post...

The prosecutor has requested to interview Assange within the embassy but the proposed date in June was scuppered by Ecuadorian stalling:

http://www.thelocal.se/20150618/swedish-prosecutor-cancels-assange-meeting

and now Ecuador is apparently demanding that the Swedish prosecutor grants Assange asylum status upfront, which is literally something they cannot do (Swedish justice ministry is also unable to get cats down from trees or arrange for the Ecuadorian Embassy's rubbish collection to happen on a different day of the week):

http://www.thelocal.se/20150807/sweden-hits-out-at-illegal-ecuador-demands

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Oracle pulls CSO's BONKERS anti-bug bounty and infosec rant

Mongo
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You[*] are allowed to check your Oracle license agreement though

where you might well find that in the event of a hack[**] you will compensate Oracle for bringing their good name[***] into disrepute.

[*] that's you only - surely it'll be confidential so you discuss it, post substantive extracts online, and absolutely mustn't disclose pricing. The sheep must be fleeced one at a time.

[**] a legal fiction, since in reality it is unbreakable

[***] also a legal fiction, presuming an audience that has yet to hear of the company. For such an audience you must concede it's a pretty good name, verging on cool.

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Mongo
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Regrettably it will be red from shouting at whoever reported it

and then at the internal staff who permitted the breach - who (extrapolating wildly from the shiny 10% of the shiteberg we can see poking above the water) are probably demoralised and micro-managed

You can be sure it won't be red with embarrassment and a belated recognition of hubris. Those would be nice grown-up characteristics, and so thoroughly helpful for senior management of that sort of firm.

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Another day, another stunning security flaw in Android – this time hitting 55% of mobes

Mongo
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Re: innocuous-looking app which, when installed

Since it's a privilege escalation, yes it is a shock. Or do you normally expect "Hello, world!" to surreptitiously boost itself to root and own your device ever-after?

(if you do then at least some kudos for realistic paranoia, but not being able to run apps takes a lot of the smart out of smartphone)

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Hasta la Victoria Siempre, GDS! This is not the end, no way

Mongo
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Son of a gun...

I searched for that preposterous quote "made GDS a household name" just to see if Google would say "did you mean made GDS an outhouse name?" And instead it gave me this:

http://diginomica.com/2015/08/04/mike-brackens-exit-leaves-gds-at-a-crossroads-the-return-of-the-oligopoly/#.VcUCzPmqqko

I thought the Bong! articles were just bitter bilious satire, but it turns out they're just abridged versions of the craziness out there, the Reader's Digest of UK digi-wonkdom.

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Hacking Team brewed potent iOS poison for non-jailbroken iThings

Mongo
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Wonder what Symbian exploits they managed?

The PITA descriptors should have thwarted simple buffer overruns (at least if used properly by the long-suffering coder). Notoriously one licensee hacked a debugger driver to be accessible with low capabilities (it made it more convenient) but I think it was blacklisted. What else - Leaked signing keys from a manufacturer, or a logical flaw in the installer/platform security?

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Cause of Parliamentary downtime on Microsoft Office 364½ revealed

Mongo
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A good start!

Now for a stretch goal: render Parliament incommunicado for the rest of the year...

Joking aside, the loss of emails is a bad sign. That suggests that they had to roll back the data as well, rather than just sorting out a config/deployment mess. In the glorious cloudy world of tomorrow that ain't meant to happen

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Biggest security update in history coming up: Google patches Android hijack bug Stagefright

Mongo
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YAGNI is all fine and good, but...

"you-ain't-gonna-need-it" can be a useful corrective to over-designing a system, but given the stark prior examples of Windows and the *nixes discovering the need for automated post-sale patching (and the reputation damage[*] Windows took in the process) it seems delusional for the Android makers and Google to sleepwalk into this development.

[*] a.k.a. looking like a smouldering turd

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McAfee tells El Reg: 'My shootout with the police was highly exaggerated'

Mongo
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Re: The Donald Trump of the AV world

At least he rolled the +1 of being white, but rolling the -1 of discharging a weapon on top of the -2 of doing so in Shitkicker, Tennessee and the -3 of this being while police are in the throes of detaining him. It would have ended very badly, except for his saving roll of +6 utter fabulated bollocks.

(no way that the gun charge would be merely possession if it was discharged, let alone during an arrest)

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Epson: Cheap printers, expensive ink? Let's turn that upside down

Mongo
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Can't fly in the face of fashion

From the grave goods of neolithic tombs through to SpecSavers, the one constant in humans is the deep compulsion to look good (by whatever standards prevail at the time). So the money will get spent on the visible bits: providing that the prescription isn't so bad that the wearer squints like Quasimodo and that the lenses don't look too much like beer tankards then the frames are pretty much all that gets noticed.

Is this rational, to ignore the ostensible function of good vision and focus on the presentation? For an individual possibly not, but for a gene line possibly so: a rational peacock might pluck out his tail for better personal survival odds but at the expense of reproductive success. This shades into behavioural economics - the fine art of trying to explain why investors (in any field) so often don't pursue what looks superficially like their rational self-interest.

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Sick of politicians robo-calling you? Bin your landline, says the FCC

Mongo
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Re: I'm not buying this...

Dear Mr MARK 85

This is a personal message brought specifically to you by your friends. It is for your information and benefit, as your friends have noticed that you haven't yet managed to make the time for spontaneously applauding Candidate X. Luckily they know you well enough to know how interested you are in all the many things that Candidate X is interested in, so they have taken the time to inform you tonight...

Had Philip K Dick lived on maybe he'd have written a sequel to the splendidly philippic "Sales Pitch", with robocalls and internet spam instead

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Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

Mongo
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Spot the stock shorter!

"I will be passing the Beats device onto a grandchild very soon"

...

"Where did you get the new ear gear?"

"From me grandpa. As a hand-me-down. Next Xmas he says I'll be big enough for his second-best cardigan..."

After that coolocalypse you'll be getting Apple shares in boxes of breakfast cereal (for the best profits wait for a BOGOF sale)

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HP insists 'we don't have a global dress code' – while deleting one from its website

Mongo
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Nice of HP to give an old joke a new outing

Q: How can you tell when an HR rep is lying?

A: Their lips are moving

As a wise colleague larned me: the primary function of HR is protecting the company from its staff. And their primary weapon is pretending to be on the staff's side. So, just as with politicians, the first thing to ask yourself when they speak is "why is this lying bastard telling me this specific lie right now?"

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Flash deserves to live, says Cisco security man

Mongo
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Draining the swamp or backing the favourite number?

If he's right then what we're seeing is the draining of a finite swamp of legacy bugs, without new ones being added (thanks to new! lemon-scented! secure coding)

If he's wrong then their code monkeys are steadily creating new bugs and it's the equivalent of being sure this time the dealer must roll a double six because he has rolled everything else already, so "maths says it'll be my number now" (an acquaintance of mine made just this statement before losing yet more money at roulette...)

Trouble is, as outsiders we don't have enough insight: if it was open-source we could see the history of the offending code and judge whether it is repeated schoolboy errors, see whether the overall development gives us confidence, etc. But it's not, so all we can do is ponder their public utterances, which mostly amount to "trust us". And that's the policy that got us to where we are today...

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Intel tests definition of insanity with (leaked) typoslab Skylake CPUs

Mongo
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Re: The definition of insanity ...

Quite so - and at the least Intel chipping away in the portable space means ARM can't rest on its laurels, so whatever device I do buy is more awesomer.

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SPACESUIT, once FOUND ON MOON: Crowd action saves it for the public

Mongo
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"exact replica" in a production assistant's fevered imagination

Given how complex and expensive a real spacesuit is, at best it will be "looks pretty darned similar from a distance, under the right lighting and viewing angles" (because unless you're Stanley Kubrick nobody will bankroll detail beyond that)

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Mongo
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Next KickStarter should be for America's first astronaut's suit

i.e. Alan Shepherd's - famously flooded with wee after the short suborbital lob got stretched beyond endurance by hours of pre-launch holds.

"If you put your ear to his helmet you can hear the distant roar of a Redstone rocket, and if you put your nose you can ... appreciate just how often even rocket science proceeds through trial and error!"

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Hold that upgrade: Critical bug in .NET 4.6 'breaks applications'

Mongo
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Not just you or the other thread above - many a bug involving uninitialised variables or inadvertently depending upon stack layout or thread synchronisation is only revealed in optimized builds, so a common recommendation is debugging on debug builds, testing mostly on release builds (excepting those tests that can only be performed on debug builds, e.g. due to additional supports). Basic precept is you should test what you expect the users to actually run; they won't much care that it's a compiler bug. So the "sensationalism" comment above was perfectly justified too.

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Google bows to inevitable, stops forcing Google+ logins on YouTubers

Mongo
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Those nagging "join us" dialogs

I always felt they could be reworded roughly:

We've noticed you've withstood the Chinese Water Torture so far. Would you now like to yield, or hold on for your next drip?

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Happy 30th anniversary, Tengen! Your anti-DRM NES chip fought the law, and the law won

Mongo
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"several thousand tedious you-tube videos"

Amen and a thousand +1s - if only 1 in 68 videos actually added any value over simply reading the text. If I really want them I can always add the nervous giggles and awkward pauses myself, along with an appropriate level of hyperbole, some totally rad street argot, and I'll cross my eyes a few times to simulate the wonky automatic focus control.

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Mongo
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"the court ruled that reverse engineering was protected"

Although oddly it seems in the triggering case that reverse engineering hadn't sufficed and good old fashioned fraud was resorted to (the false copyright claim to examine Nintendo's trade secrets) I guess the court was saying that reverse engineering would have been a fair practice instead, ie through it Tengen might have prevailed?

Of course it's somewhat moot in these protectionist DMCA days, with the full horrors of the new trade agreements yet to be unleashed (maybe TTIP's proponents are right and corporations won't resort to damage claims whenever a government tries to balance consumer interests against them. Maybe...)

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US State of Georgia sues 'terrorist' for publishing its own laws ... on the internet

Mongo
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Re: Land of the free™

I'll start using just the moment it seems to be true.

So don't plan on getting rich anytime soon...

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Boffins go to FUNGI town: Riddle of 100-year-old HAIRY, ICY dead wood finally cracked

Mongo
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I suspect I never shall understand the mentality that adding to our understanding of the world somehow subtracts from its beauty.

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Mongo
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Re: Curious,,,

Curious too - but mostly why someone who confuses an ellipsis with a row of commas and can't be bothered with apostrophes takes a poke at a trivial typo under the guise of being puzzled?

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Crazy Chrysler security hole: USB stick fix incoming for 1.4 million cars

Mongo
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Grounds for a gross negligence charge?

So Chrysler deemed the patch to be just an optional nicety whereas the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (once actually told about it, apparently not by Chrysler) issued an urgent mass recall for it. That seems far beyond a trifling innocuous difference of opinion and either a knowing cover-up or incompetence beyond the point of negligence (at least one responsible adult is required per registered company...)

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ICANN further implicated in .Africa controversy

Mongo
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So the lying liars lied about lying about lying?

Or have I dropped a layer of the bullshit onion?

(for a logic puzzle just need to add a guard who always answers truthfully, though good luck finding him in ICANN)

Thanks to Kieren for all these articles - obviously a lot more work than reheating press releases or cherry-picking climate stories but also makes for much more compelling El Reg reading

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Now car hackers can bust in through your motor's DAB RADIO

Mongo
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Yet again poor design and great hacking reveals me as a muppet

As the designated geek, over the years I've answered many a question from family worried by the latest laughable Hollywood depiction of computers and hacking. Some top misses from my back-catalogue...

No, you won't get infected just by opening a mail...

Just looking at a picture? I think that's quite safe...

That's a PDF, so it's much safer than a Word file because it doesn't run macros...

A proud legacy of overconfidence ... So clearly my next triumph will be:

Hacked just by driving a new car? No, there was only a single vulnerability but thanks to the good fundamental design of the car's data bus it was swiftly fixed and in the meantime was easily avoided by switching off RDS traffic reports...

My best hope is that the aggressive bluetooth scanning by trojan on my phone interferes too much with the car radio (I got rid of the trojan last week but the worm on my smart TV reinfected it, and the rooted smart meter on my house is blocking my attempts to download a clean TV image...)

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ROBOT SEEDS to be scattered into upper atmosphere of JUPITER: NASA scheme

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Google swears blind it doesn't give SEO advantage to new internet dot-words

Mongo
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If you can't take the word of a snake-oil salesman...

It's pretty dispiriting, actually. These keen young salesmen, understandably a little zealous in bringing these AMAZING MONEY-MAKING SECRETS TO YOU EXCLUSIVELY, work tirelessly in your interest to HELP YOU REALISE YOUR ASPIRATIONS and all you can do is sneer at the new domain market...

Just think: with just a little puffery from each of us we could soon build a huge bubble together, WORKING FROM HOME IN OUR SPARE TIME LIKE THIS WOMAN FROM RIMJOB, WISCONSIN WHO IS NOW DEBT-FREE

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Dumb MongoDB admins spew 600 TERABYTES of unauthenticated data

Mongo
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Trollface

Re: Check your access!

Oooooooooh, looky here! It's Mr Let's-Stop-Innovating-At-The-Speed-Of-Thought come to lecture us on his grandpaw's best practices and testing and documentation and probably on wearing braces with his seersucker pants. Dontcha know that all the cool kids now break-before-make? Dare to fail, not fail to dare!

As Oskar WildeXploit wisely put it: the only thing worse than having your users' data scarfed via a trivially detectable cockup is not having a high enough user growth accelerator to get bought out by Googbook.

[dropping my snark for a moment ... in the evergreen "Up the Organization" Robert Townsend recommended that senior bods should try phoning themselves to learn just how their fiefdom appears to the outside world]

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