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* Posts by Peter Simpson 1

966 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Vulture 2 autopilot reports for duty

Peter Simpson 1
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The SPB

(and Lester in particular) seem to be having *way* too much fun with this project!

Keep up the good work, guys.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Reprogramming

"I must have missed the article where they drove to Tesco's because there was a 2 for 1 sale on C4."

I've just go back. It was yesterday.

It always works that way...by the time I get there, the sale's over.

No way I'm paying their regualr prices for C4.

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We made the iPhones, now we want OUR 'UNPAID' WAGES – student Pegatron toilers

Peter Simpson 1
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I get "valuable industry experience"...

...every time I have to repair something.

Seriously, these are university students taking summer jobs. If they're of average intelligence (and there's no reaon to believe they're not), they pick up what they need to know to do the work in the first couple of days on the job. And mandatory meetings should be paid meetings.

Deducting 20% of their pay *for the entire summer*, because they're "interns" is nothing but straight out robbery.

Good on them for standing up and saying so.

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Kamikaze Moon mission on track as NASA grips its tumbling LADEE

Peter Simpson 1
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Just like the old days

I, too, stayed up to watch the moon landing. I'll never forget the thrill of hearing "Tranquility base here, the Eagle has landed."

Friday night, I stayed up again, with NASA TV on the computer, some red-filtered lights and a pair of binoculars. I even cajoled my wife into staying up. Two minutes after launch, in the south-east sky, I saw the rapidly rising point of light that was LADEE. We both watched, fascinated, as the second stage burned out and LADEE headed off towards the Moon.

The thrill was still there. Go, NASA!

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Verizon finally drags FCC into court fisticuffs to end one-speed internet for all

Peter Simpson 1
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"Information Service Provider" vs Common Carrier

When I signed up for Comcast, they made clear (in the fine print of the Service Agreement) that they were operating as an Information Service Provider rather than a Common Carrier. The difference being that they claimed (rightly or wrongly is open to debate) that they were providing me information, not carrying my packets. They also claim that I can't deliver the information "they" provide me to anyone else, and that they retain the right to do pretty much anything they want. It's written more like a cable tTV contract than an internet connection contract.

Were they operating as a Common Carrier, they'd be obligated to carry whatever packets I sent and to deliver whatever packets were sent to me. And this requirement would be enforced, just as it is for wireline telephone companies, of which Verizon is one (although they are trying very hard to get rid of the "wireline" part right now).

The problem with ISPs, IMHO, is that they are generally not considered Common Carriers, that they claim to provide some additional value. This, too, is open to debate. Basically, yes, their suits have won and gotten themselves classified so they can have fewer regulations and make more money with less oversight. I guess that seems fair, if you're Comcast or Verizon, but maybe not so fair if you're one of their customers...

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Enterprise storage: A history of paper, rust and flash silicon

Peter Simpson 1
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IBM cards

Make great bookmarks and shopping lists. They also fit neatly into a shirt pocket. At Christmas time, they can be made into decorative wreaths when spray-painted gold.

Paper tape for Teletypes came in both 5-level (Baudot) and 8-level (ASCII) widths (along with some other special-purpose formats for typesetting and from other manufacturers)

Kids nowadays will never experience the joy of seeing their names spelled out in holes on tape or cards.

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Autogyro legend Ken Wallis hangs up wings at 97

Peter Simpson 1
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Coat

That's the mark of a great man - one who takes time to explain what's going on to interested kids.

What a life -- but I disagree with the poster above that those days are gone. There are still folks building electric motorcycles in their sheds, along with electric conversions for cars and the random homebuilt aircraft.

And let's not forget our own SPB team!

The spirit is still alive, and we owe it to the meomory of those like Wallis (and ourselves) to get back in the shed and keep building!

// the one with the aircraft drawings in the pocket...

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'Peeping while you're sleeping' NSA parody T-shirt ban BACKFIRES

Peter Simpson 1
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Pint

Re: Who really owns the seal?

The NSA do, and by law it's only allowed to be used for official purposes...that's why it's called a "seal".

They have no right to the letters NSA, regardless of what TFA says. It's the same for most government agencies with seals -- they and they alone have the right to determine how they're used.

//proud owner of a coffee mug with the NSA seal (purchased at the NSA museum, just outside the gates...

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Keep on truckin'... Qualcomm sells OmniTRACS for $800m

Peter Simpson 1
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It's not that *no one* wants satellite phones

It's more that the intersection of those who want them and those who can afford them is quite small. Small enough that there aren't enough customers to sustain a satellite phone business.

You'd think they would have researched that before starting the biz...

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Another big SAP project hits the rocks in Oz

Peter Simpson 1
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An asset management system for a government?

Surely, these have been done before? 250k people can't require too many assets, can they? And how much managing can these assets require? Geez! Any medium sized town probably has software that could be converted or used directly.

SAP seems to have done an epic fail here. If only because they didn't check their files to see if they had recently done something similar for someone else.

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Zuckerberg: I want the WHOLE WORLD in my hands

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: Dear Mark, they don't exist

Hey Mark -

How about working on literacy and equal rights for women first?

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Reg hack battles Margaret Thatcher's ghost to bring broadband to the Highlands

Peter Simpson 1
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I hope

...that the long-suffering and generous Claire is receiving something for her trouble. A portion of the contents of the warehouse you mentioned might be appropriate. Claire is the personification of the Good Sport.

And well done, for finally getting your broadband -- bigger antenna, higher up = Good Thing!

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Legal bible Groklaw pulls plug in wake of Lavabit shutdown, NSA firestorm

Peter Simpson 1
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Holmes

Re: @Roo - There are some brilliant technical minds out there

"If they have brilliant technical minds, why do they seem to think..."

Because, while they do employ many brilliant technical minds, they also employ the not-so-brilliant. And they outsource hard-drive smashing to the Police, who employ include a much smaller percentage of brilliant technical minds.

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Cool cars, cat-crushing chronometers, cashmere ... is this your IT boss?

Peter Simpson 1
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Black card

There's nothing like the "clank" of a titanium Centurion card hitting the table to announce yourself...

// don't have one, don't know anyone who does

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Behold, replica Nazi-code-cracking Colossus computer IN LEGO FORM

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Wow

So...the Space Shuttle had cupholders, then?

America...yeah!

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Arrr! Comcast working on new tech to nudge PIRATES to go straight

Peter Simpson 1
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Priorities

I wish Comcast would use their "considerable engineering resources" to do something about the way my cable throughput seems to drop every evening from 5 to 9, as the online gamers chew up the shared bandwidth.

Is it too much to ask that they just provide a big tube to the interwebs, and stop trying to "add value"?

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Limbaugh: If you hate Apple then you're a lefty blog-o-twat hipster

Peter Simpson 1
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Paris Hilton

Re: Limbaugh is so far to the right that everyone is a 'Leftie'

I'm constantly amazed at how much media exposure this guy gets, simply for spouting complete drivel.

I guess it's all about marketing and appealing to the lowest common denominator.

// Paris, because...intellectual equals, right?

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Rejoice! Sysadmin day is... TODAY. Now get in here and win free stuff

Peter Simpson 1
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Cake

We're getting ours a cake after lunch...they don't suspect a thing yet...

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What did the Romans ever do for us? Packet switching...

Peter Simpson 1
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Vail

A friend of mine, who claims to be a distant relative of Morse's assistant, Alfred Vail (so perhaps not the most objective authority...) claims it was Vail who made the code a statistical one.

// de KA1AXY

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Sammy had Sweet Fanny Adams to do with Swiss Fanny madam's blast

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Problem is the cost of originals.........

Re; "Atherton" "Would bringing the misdirection of the seller to the websites operators have an effect - I didn't think it would."

And you are correct in that -- "Atherton" increasingly seem to be relying on outside suppliers and they do not really care about those independent suppliers' business practices. 30 day limit on defective returns, etc. I received a product that was considerably different from the image shown on their website (not in original mfr's package, but was shown as such in the image). "Atherton" showed a complete lack of concern when I pointed it out to them, vendor merely offered a refund.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: So...

She may not even have known it was counterfeit. When I was buying a replacement battery for my Nokia, the warnings were not to check that it had a hologram sticker, but to actually check the hologram did the correct thing (right number of fingers on the hands, and that sort of thing)

Apparently, the fake holograms are now almost as good as the real thing and very hard to spot.

// too cheap to believe isn't reliable either -- selling off old stock at a discount as a new phone comes out, etc.

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Burger-rage horse dumps on McDonald's: Rider saddled with fat fine

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: Eh?

"for pedestrians - it's a narrow, winding lane wrapped tight around the building, where drivers are not expecting to see pedestrians. They should be going slow, but pedestrians shouldn't be there."

Maybe they've figured it out by now, but the geniuses that designed the McD's restaurants near me (are they all built to the same standard plan?) thought it would be a good idea to put the entrance door right in front of the drive up window...so people coming from the parking lot walk right in front of the punters picking up their bags of goodies, while checking to see if they got enough ketchup packets as they hit the gas...

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Boffins, Tunnel Tigers and Scotland's world-first power mountain

Peter Simpson 1
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Snowy Mountain Scheme

When I was a little nipper, we used to spend parts of school holiday at the Mt Buffalo Chalet in Victoria, Australia. One of the excursions offered was to the as-yet uncompleted hydro scheme. Tours through the control rooms, turbine halls and at least one tunnel. All very impressive for an 8-y.o. (who was constantly listening for the trickle of water coming down the tunnel behind him)

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Beijing fanboi in coma after iPhone 4 shock treatment

Peter Simpson 1
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Stop

Re: I'm No Fan

"The CE on many of thsoe devices is china export, not the europian conformance mark. "

"China Export", my ass!

It's a fake of the CE mark, designed to fool people yet be just different enough that the manufacturer thinks they can get away with it in a court of law.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: I'm No Fan

I have personally seen ... and disassembled, dodgy Chines-manufactured kit with all kinds of official looking certification lables on it. After looking inside, I highly doubt the labels were genuine (in the sense that the equipment they were on had been tested and certified to comply with the regs).

I have also seen Chinese stuff with counterfeit branding, some of it very good.

It's a real problem. How do you know that the cheap wall-wart you just purchased is safe? Short answer: you don't. The solution? Use it safely. Don't handle it when you're soaking wet, just out of the shower. Wear shoes, or stand on dry wood or vinyl flooring. Think before you grab. Use a GFI outlet.

// need an electric shock icon...

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Knocking China with shocking phones and mocking tones

Peter Simpson 1
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Mostly true

"...practically all the sexiest, highest quality and most expensive computing devices we use here are manufactured there. And they do it because we can’t."

My iPhone is manufactured in China because labor and components are cheap over there. If labor were that cheap here, it would be built here. We're perfectly capable of building that stuff over here, we just can't afford the labor.

In addition to my iPhone, other, not-so-well-built stuff comes from China (different factories, same country). The power adaptor that fell apart, the kitchen timer that doesn't and the rest of the junk. That's not racist, it's a fact. You get what you pay for. Chinese factories will build it...well or poorly, depending on your cost target.

It's not racist, more like slavery. Chinese workers are, even at the factories that make the high end stuff, paid far far less than a western living wage. And environmental, health and safety regulation is, shall we say, unevenly enforced? Everything comes at a price.

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Microsoft's next device could be a Surface Watch

Peter Simpson 1
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WTF?

Re: "they've been about being in the market"

I'm sure they'll be lining up outside the Microsoft stores for an opportunity to run Office on their wrists.

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El Reg Playmonaut soars to 113,000ft

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Affinity for treetop landing?

Trees are magnetic.

So are balloons, kites, aircraft, etc.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Well done, team!

All those fields and one magnetic forest. But we knew that would happen, right?

Love the Burberry plaid title.

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Botch Tuesday: Redmond frags video codec

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: VLC?

Our IT dept installs it on all machines here. Because it is the only one they need.

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Click here for hot live SPEARS test action

Peter Simpson 1
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I can't help but notice

The team seems to be growing.

You're going to need uniforms. Nothing says "professional" like uniforms. Remember how sharp the Mars rover team looked in their control centre in their blue golf shirts? Of course, for the SPB, they'd need to be red.

Oh, and well done. Very well done.

//extra points for dry land :-)

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'Clippy' coup felled by Microsoft twitterati

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: You're being chased by a giant paperclip...

_Clippy is to Gates what Windows 8 is to Ballmer (or so I think)._

I always thought there was a strong resemblance between Ballmer and Microsoft "Bob"

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STEVE BALLMER KILLS WINDOWS

Peter Simpson 1
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Linux

Re: Farewell, old firiend

_Where's my old SCO Unix distribution disks...?_

Screw them, Linux is your best bet at this point.

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What it was like to grow up around the world's first digital computers

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Use case

When I was at university (in the dark ages, not quite Wilkes era, but not too long afterwards), we had a Control Data CYBER74. It ran exactly this way -- big motor-generator sets in the basement converted line voltage to 400Hz AC -- allowing the power supply components to be smaller was the reason I was given -- which was then used to power the beast.

I believe it was a case of "horses for courses" -- the electronic converters available at the time were more expensive and less reliable than the good old electromechanical way of doing the job.

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Love in an elevator.... testing mast: The National Lift Tower

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Not Orthanc

It doesn't *have* to be an ugly concrete tower.

You could hold a contest and paint it.

Of course, then you'd have to re-paint it periodically...

Ahhh...just leave it the way it is.

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Bolivian president's jet grounded so officials can look for Snowden

Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

Re: Boss!!!

"Just bags and bags of white powder."

Coals to Newcastle?

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Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: More to come?

"The launch codes for all the Minutemen"

I thought that was "0000000"?

"The combination of the bathroom immediately off of the Oval Office where US Presidents go for some quality time."

"123456"

(Wouldn't want it to be the same as the nuclear missile code, would we? That would be stupid!)

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Microsoft talks up devices, Windows 8.1 at developer shindig

Peter Simpson 1
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IT Angle

Re: Question for you enterprise chaps

Ours do. 100 person design company with four IT bods and a mix of Apple/MS gear. The networking is primarily MS, and we're pretty much Win7 at this point. It was XP before that. No real impetus to go to Win8 and I don't believe I ever saw a Vista machine.

// not in IT, but work with them enough to know how they think -- good folks, all of them

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: The rot has firmly set inn

Mint/Mate 15 is on my second machine at work, and will shortly be on my main machine at home. I've been running Ubuntu for ages, but their Unity interface ha driven me to Mint and Mate (Gnome 2). I run a copy of XP under VirtualBox at home, for those gadgets (cameras, cellphones, iThings and GPS) which require a Windows program to configure them.

I find Linux meets my needs at home, and except for the Microsoft network environment at work (Outlook/Exchange, shared drives, printer servers, etc with MS's network login protocol) I could use it here, as well.

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Peter Simpson 1
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Happy

New work lappie came with Win7

Now, tell me again why I *need* Windows 8?

Windows 7 seems to me to be pretty much the same as XP, in terms of what it does for me. Except for the fact that the "show desktop" button is now on the far right and HyperTerminal is nowhere to be found (thankfully, it can be copied from an XP system), it does everything I need it to, pretty much the way XP did.

My point here, is that, aside from annoying UI changes, there doesn't seem to be any reason I need to "upgrade". Except, of course, to improve Microsoft's bottom line? And, of course, the joy of trying to rearrange the UIs (OS andOutlook) to something I can actually use...

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Ex-inmate at Chinese prison: We made airline headsets

Peter Simpson 1
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Joke

They don't need to worry about worker retention?

// captive workforce, amirite?

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Finance CIOs sweat as regulators prepare to probe aging mainframes

Peter Simpson 1
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Linux

Mainframe reliability

What OS are these mainframes running that makes them more reliable than clustered UNIX?

I can't argue that mainframes are probably more reliable than individual rack servers (better cooling if nothing else), but UNIX is pretty damn reliable. I would expect mainframes running AIX to be right up there in reliability.

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El Reg rocket squad poised to select Ultimate Cuppa teabag

Peter Simpson 1
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IT Angle

Re: Robert Roberts

@Caff - gets the prize for mentioning Lyons, and thereby providing the IT angle to this story :-)

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Peter Simpson 1
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Re: Just wondering

I prefer the spring-loaded double strainer gadgets. Just enough for a cup, and the same utensil can be used to scoop it out of the tin.

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Nuke plants to rely on PDP-11 code UNTIL 2050!

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: I too

You can still get that PDP-11 feel when you look at the registers in a 68000...

I am a proud graduate of Digital's "Intro to PDP-11" course (Westfield, MA, 1977)

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BBC-featured call centre slapped with hefty fine for unwanted calls

Peter Simpson 1
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Mushroom

Re: 'The bigger problem is that there is a cold calling industry'

They would claim (though for some reason, nobody else would agree) that a small segment of the population actually *appreciates* their calls.

Our elected officials, for some reason loathe to offend this miniscule segment of the population, and the industry that reaches out to it, refuse to make unsolicited commercial calls illegal.

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SCO vs. IBM battle resumes over ownership of Unix

Peter Simpson 1
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Re: This will only end when the case is ruled on

@AC "There is a possibly apocryphal story..."

True:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050505145639180

:-)

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Peter Simpson 1
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Linux

Re: This will only end when the case is ruled on

Your summary is dead on.

SCO claimed that portions of its valuable UNIX source code had been stolen after being shared with IBM during an abortive collaboration. Never mind that IBM has probably forgotten more about writing operating systems than SCO ever knew. Also please ignore the fact that SCO, when pressed, was not able to show examples of where this valuable source code was located in the publicly available Linux sources.

Looking forward to seeing these bozos slapped down hard. This has gone on long enough.

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