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* Posts by Peter Simpson 1

762 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Girls, beer and C++: How to choose the right Comp-Sci degree for you

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Pascal had a use (for me at least)

I agree with your evaluation of Pascal being better than FORTRAN or BASIC, but only as a stepping stone to C, which I wish had been an option when I was at university. Pascal always felt limiting, in terms of data types and I/O options, C never does. It took me ten more years (I'm a hardware guy) to start using C and I wish it had been much less.

_The C Programming Language_ and Steele's _C: A Reference Manual_ are always near to hand. Well written and densly packed with useful nuggets, both of them.

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Amazon yoinks Dora and SpongeBob from Netflix for MEELLLIONS

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Ah, I get it...

-> Let me guess... $YY multiplied by several necessary providers is going to end up being pretty close to $XX.

Not in our case. Netflix, Apple TV and Hulu Plus = $30/mo. Cable was $60/mo

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How NSA spooks spaffed my DAD'S DATA ALL OVER THE WEB

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: NSA have no sense of humor

Ummmm...the videos "a friend" downloaded off bittorrent were for private, non-commercial use within his own home. Apparently, that's still illegal.

//Sauce for the goose, etc.

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Mozilla, ACLU, others join fight against NSA domestic spying

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Thank You

And to our elected representatives (who "knew all about this"), charged with oversight of the intelligence services, a big _digitus impudicus_ for doing f*ck all to keep them in their place. Thanks for nothing, boys.

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Whoever recently showed us the secret documents: Do get in touch

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Ah hah!

Emergency re-design of LOHAN necessary?

Enhanced capabilities to be added?

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NSA PRISM deepthroat VANISHES as pole-dance lover cries into keyboard

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Chances are its all true but.....

Seems like a good start to the next John LeCarre novel...

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Hacker who helped find Steubenville rapists threatened with decade in prison

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

Re: One small mistake here..

Talking about it.

Just do it, anonymously and behind TOR or enough proxies, and from an IP not your own. Don't talk about it and do it from a computer that disappears afterwards. That way, even if they track you down, there's no physical evidence to find.

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Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Criminal hacking?

Is it a crime if it's done to uncover evidence of a crime?

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Obama weighs in on NSA surveillance imbroglio

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: He's right. We need to make a choice.

You know what? I'm fine with 80% security.

And we will never have 100% security (at least, not in Boston), so I'm good with 80%

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Forget phones, PRISM plan shows internet firms give NSA everything

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Google does not have a 'back door' for the government to access private user data

Govt: "Google -- give us access to all your users' data!"

Google: "Sure, glad to help. Just as soon as you hand over that check."

Gov't: "But...but...National Security!"

Google: "Get to the back of the line, you're no better than anyone else. And when you get to the front, better have a check ready."

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Big Brother? Social networks are far worse, says Estonian president

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Human swarm

"With so much data on me being processed by all these businesses..."

What's amusing to me is they think all the data's accurate :-)

//lies, all lies...

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Brit adventurer Nick Hancock postpones Rockall holiday to 2014

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Give him some credit.

Not quite a big enough leap, apparently. Maybe next year.

//good on him, though

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Now beaming live from Pyongyang: NORKSCASTS!

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: Subtitles for the song anyone?

Subtitles present, comrade!

(utility somewhat diminished by the fact that they're in Korean, rather than English, though)

Anyone care to attempt to translate them?

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Thirty-five years ago today: Space Invaders conquer the Earth

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Back in the day

In my first job out of university in 1978, I was a member of the team which developed the Dasher D200, Data General's low cost, microprocessor (MC6802) based serial terminal. I wrote the assembly code which scanned the keyboard.

As this was a microprocessor-based product with a display, the bright minds on the team were looking for interesting things to do with it. We added a pair of control sequences which would allow you to download and execute code (downloaded as S1/S9 ASCII hex files) from display memory. This was done for our own amusement, and made it into the release ROMs. Of course, malicious hacking was far in the future and we gave not a thought to the fact that this feature could be misused in any way.

Now that we had the ability to run random code on the processor, we needed some "tests". One of these was an implementation of Pacman, another was Space Invaders. We tried (and failed) to make either of these games fit into the amount of display memory on the final product (our prototype units had 2x the standard amount of display memory, so the games fit easily). If we had been able to fit the either of the games in standard display memory, the terminals would have shipped with the code stored in an unused part of system ROM, accessible with some secret keystroke sequence. It was only because we were a few bytes too big for display memory that this didn't happen.

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LOHAN team regroups for second pop at SPEARS

Peter Simpson 1
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This time...

Including extra flotation and a waterproof return address label?

Best of luck to the Playmonaut and his (her?) ground crew!

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Snappers binned, mobe-armed hacks drafted at Chicago paper

Peter Simpson 1
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Unhappy

Someone should tell the Sun-Times

It's not the equipment, it's the person using it. News photographers have lots of experience taking photographs. Some have even gone to school for it. Sure, your reporters can use iPhones. They might even be able to get them out, enter the unlock code, and bring up the camera before the moment to be photographed passes. Then, they might even get a shot.

No zoom lens, no flash, tiny sensor. I guess that's god enough for the Chicago Sun-Times.

//feel bad for the photogs, but maybe they'll be appreciated at their next jobs.

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How Microsoft shattered Gnome's unity with Windows 95

Peter Simpson 1
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Linux

Er, no, indeed.

Motif window manager was my favorite. I think I even *purchased* a copy to run on an early Linux release.

I'm pretty sure that was pre-Win95. Before that I had run it on my Sun workstation.

I notice nobody has brought up the window managers or "root menu" on Unix systems. Linux didn't (necessarily) want to look like Win95, it wanted to look like Unix. At least, that's why I started using it.

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'Nothing will convince a kid that's never worn glasses to wear them'

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Still waiting!

Seek no further:

http://www.rnib.org.uk/shop/Pages/Category.aspx?Category=talking_watches

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Sacred islet Rockall repels Brit adventurer's first assault

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: @Parax they are doing it all wrong!

"The best sailors are always on shore"

I like that, and how very true!

And..for afterwards, one of my favorites:

"It seemed like a good idea at the time!

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CRUNCH: 'Drunk' chap cuffed in high-speed car nookie prang rumpus

Peter Simpson 1
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Facepalm

Re: attempting to hide in a cactus?

...and while naked at that. Points (sharp ones!) to the man for being so intoxicated that this appeared to be a Good Idea.

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'Secret Pentagon papers' show China hacked into Patriot missile system

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Oh dear

And when the PLA Generals looked at the secret plans for those money-pits..."

...or they'll go broke trying to build their own copies of them. All part of a cunning plan!

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Paul Allen buys lovingly restored vintage V-2 Nazi ballistic missile

Peter Simpson 1
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Pint

"Intelligence was more use to bomb the launch sites in Northern France etc"

For which I happen to have copies of aerial reconnaissance photos. I give those photointerpreters credit: I can't find the damn sites. "No Ball" missions, I believe they were called.

Those WWII bomber crews must have had trouble getting into the air, what with the weight of their big brass ones and all.

//The beer's for them (and all the others) on Memorial Day, and especially for my friend Louis Paltrineri, radio operator on a B17, shot down and ended the war as a POW...thank you.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: British Intelligence

(Recommend R.V Jones - "Most Secret War" book for more details)

a.k.a. "The Wizard War"

+1

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: If I were Google

Naah...Ballmer can't put anything larger than an office chair in orbit.

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The bunker at the end of the world - in Essex

Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: yes

...communications mast?

Around here, they had underground ones that were supposed to rise up on hydraulics after the big boom.

1. Assuming the hydraulics hadn't rusted from groundwater

2. Good only until the second boom.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: yes

Even Dick Cheney was shocked.

Even more so, I expect, when he learned that the secret warhead enable code was "0000000"

//http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=116x17298

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Stephen Hawking nixes Intel voice upgrade plan

Peter Simpson 1
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Megaphone

Re: Wasn't it DECtalk?

Sure sounds like it, but here's the scoop, from the "Hawk" himself:

http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-computer.html

"Speech Synthesizers (3 copies):

Manufacturer - Speech Plus (Incorporated 1988, Mountain View, CA)

Model - CallText 5010"

and more, from that unimpeachable source, Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ADECtalk

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Biz bods: Tile-tastic Windows 8? NOOO. We lust after 'mature' Win 7

Peter Simpson 1
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Megaphone

Why is it so hard for Microsoft?

Commercial users want stability and reliability. They don't want the latest whizz-bang UI, or tiles, or widgets. They want computers on the desks of their employees to run whatever software they need to run to do their jobs, with minimal support requirements. Don't go changing things, just for the sake of changing them. That just costs us more money in lower productivity, while our employees learn how to use the new features at our expense.

Is this so hard for Microsoft to understand? Just give us something that works and will be supported for "a while", the longer the better. Of course, if it's robust and resistant to malware, all the better, but perhaps that's a bridge too far...

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I said ‘no’ to a million-pound Tech City empire

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: "Ah. I see."

Live webcams

Paid sunscriptions.

He'll raise the dosh in no time.

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TOO GOOD! Groupon ex-boss to drop, er, 'motivational business album'

Peter Simpson 1
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Megaphone

Re: '...releases an album of "motivational business music".'

"Ever Onward, IBM!"

(they play it at the Computer History Museum in Silly Valley)

Someone should do a "greatest hits" collection and sell it on late night TV.

//well, I guess there's always YouTube

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UK.gov blows a fuse at smart meter stall, sets new 2020 deadline

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Happy with mine

Around here, that's against the law, no matter what the reason. And just in case the supplier messes up, I have a wood stove to keep me warm while they figure out who to blame.

Seriously, I've had a smart electric meter for 20 years. Never had a problem with it.

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Feds use Instagram pic of delicious steak dinner to nab ID thieves

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Shoddy reporting

Sun Sentinal link in the article has the photo

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Penguins in spa-a-a-ce! ISS dumps Windows for Linux on laptops

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Howard Johnson's and the "old" Bell System logo, for me.

IIRC, Bell changed their logo to the "outlined bell" very shortly thereafter.

//still my favorite movie

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The IT Crowd returns to Channel 4 for a final episode

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Ah yes...

I built a copy of The Internet for my daughter's birthday. She's in IT and a fan. She thought it was brilliant. Only the most refined of her coworkers appreciated it.

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Thongs of praise: Slip on Japan's skimpy mobe knickers

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Missed marketing angle

Secondary market:

Can you purchase previously used ones from a vending machine?

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Microsoft: All RIGHT, you can have your Start button back

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Re: Hmm...

I'm from the school that says:

"If it works, DON'T FIX IT!"

The UI used on XP has been my interface to Windows for many years. I have grown used to it, and I use it to efficiently do what I need to do on my Windows machine. Now, in the name of "delivering what users want", Microsoft feels they must radically alter the UI I have grown used to. Not once (ribbon), not twice (Win 7), but THREE separate times (Win 8). What was initially an annoyance that could be handled, has become a constant barrage of UI changes, some minor (Win 7 has the "show desktop" button on the far right, as opposed to the far left in XP), some major (the ribbon -- no, I don't like it), but all without the option of going back to what was working fine for me in the first place.

It's enough to make one wonder if Microsoft is TRYING to alienate their customers.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: We told you it was shit

The real question is: "Why can't we have both ribbon AND traditional menus?"

Given that there are different types of users and strong feelings on both sides, why do Microsoft (and Canonical -- sadly, Linux isn't free of this silliness either) feel that it must be "their way or the highway"?

And, as long as we're bitching, go ahead and move the "show desktop" button from the far left (XP) to the far right (Win7), if you feel the aesthetics of your new OS demand it, but for heaven's sake, make it so I can move it back to where it has been for the past umpty-ump years I have been using XP, if that's what I want to do!

Honestly, this change of UI for the sake of change, with no possibility of user configuration is beginning to annoy me!

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NORKS powers down whole towns to find pirates

Peter Simpson 1
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Boffin

Powers down whole towns...

Don't you mean "sporadically powers *up* whole towns"?

//I recall a night satellite photo that implied "power" was a concept only familiar to residents of Pyongyang...

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

I have a cunning plan...

I think I see a business opportunity for stick-on DVD labels bearing the image of the beloved Leader.

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Not cool, Adobe: Give the Ninite guys a job, not the middle finger

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Someone should tell Adobe

Nobody likes a company whose updater pops up in the middle of a {presentation, experiment, editing session for a document due in 10 minutes} taking up a good chunk of the screen, right in the center, asking you if you want to update their damn PDF viewer now.

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Surprise! Republican bill adds politics to science funding

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: "this shows a basic misunderstanding of how scientific experimentation works."

He's not just a Republican, he's the poster child for the "party of stupid"

There are signs that the Republicans are starting to believe that there might not be an inexhaustable supply of older wealthy white guys. One by one, they are beginning to understand that the conservative wing of the party isn't resonating with the majority of US voters.

But Lamar Smith stands proudly for the old ways.

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Combover King Donald Trump: 'I miss Steve Jobs'

Peter Simpson 1
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Paris Hilton

The Donald

A legend...in his own mind.

//he'd get along great with Paris

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Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Have you got the right date?

"The date was for the Unix version but I couldn't find that one easily..."

Funny you should mention that. I went through this same experiment about a year ago, when I found and resurrected an SGI Indigo here at work. It had Netscape Navigator, and my results were pretty much the same as yours: very few sites opened, many caused the browser to go down in (virtual) flames.

Old UNIX systems are cool...this one was being used as a footrest until I spent close to $200 on adapters to allow use of PS2 keyboard and mouse, VGA display and twisted pair Ethernet. The payoff was a classic /etc/passwd file with usernames of people long gone from the company (but who I knew, either personally, or by reputation) and lovely graphics demos. Loads of un for the idle mind.

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Microsoft hoists ZTE onto the Android patent bandwagon

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: Not Android

"The FAT file system for one is a native part of Android."

Do you want to know how I know you are completely ignorant of how an operating system works?

No file system is "native" to any OS - they're bolt-on appendages, and Android can support many, of which FAT is but one.

FAT is a file system structure, of which there is a dazzling variety. Android and all other operating systems support FAT simply because it is a defacto standard, having been the original MS-DOS file system. So if you want to read and write files to a storage device, FAT is the "common denominator" format. It is in no way innovative or patentable, as there were many, similar file systems being used at the time it was chosen for MSDOS.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Another anti-competitive win for MS by bullshit patents

@AC: You're confusing FOSS with bittorrent.

Software patents are a bad thing for innovation.

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Chinese IEEE members want MAC control for cognitive radio

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Privacy is orthogonal here.

"And you think your mac isn't already being broadcast over the net? along with your IP address????"

Not necessarily. The MAC address of the transmitter is going out, but that may not be your MAC address (if your transmission is being repeated, for example).

MAC addresses aren't usually passed beyond the first router. So if you're going through some kind of access point, the MAC that goes out is that of the access point, not the one of your computer. Of course, you may own the access point or router, so in that case, it would be "your" MAC address, but it would be lost (actually, replaced) as the packet goes through the cable company's router.

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Brit cops blow £14m on software - then just flush it down the bogs

Peter Simpson 1
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FAIL

Re: Place your bets

Too many managers, not enough experienced and capable software engineers?

//Mythical Man-Month should be required reading for all

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French spies do a Barbara Streisand over secret nuke radio base

Peter Simpson 1
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Le voici

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Creek_Naval_Radio_Station

//go big or go home!

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Peter Simpson 1
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Alert

Re: VLF tales

I don't htink you'd want to be any lower...they pump out megawatts at VLF.

Here in the US, we had (have?) a good part of upper Michigan devoted to VLF antennas...

//there's a design for one directional antenna array floating around on the web that spanned a valley somewhere

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