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* Posts by Jonathan Richards 1

446 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

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How Microsoft can keep Win XP alive – and WHY: A real-world example

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Liability mentality

> Lawsuit

I really don't think so. Read through the EULA some time when you have a spare four hours. Microsoft has foresworn any liability that they possibly can, and (from memory) where they can't, the limit of their liability is the price you paid for the software.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: XP will only be insecure if connected

Procedures, procedures, procedures ...

Said machinist then takes the USB key home

Bzzzt. Machinist to collect cards from office.

Procedure: Securely fasten CNC machine USB devices to 15 cm mild steel angle iron. Fixed.

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Dropbox nukes bloke's file share in DMCA brouhaha – then admits it made a 'HASH OF IT'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: hash

> it's also possible...

Yes, if I was sharing a draft of my first novel with my editor, for instance. But in that case, it's hardly likely to be the subject of a DMCA takedown notice in the first place, is it? DMCA takedown has to be initiated by the copyright owner or his agent.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Inappropriate emoticon?

Prolly thought it was a reasonable facsimile of an "arms in the air" celebration

\o/

|||

/ \

PS El Reg's insistence that it knows where I want to put <p></p> tags is a bit irritating sometimes...

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US Supreme Court Justices hear arguments in game-changing software IP case

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Similar programs

Steve Davies wrote:

Until I do, I am very reluctant to release any of my software under a GPL License

I'm not sure what your concerns are. If we are talking about software that you wrote, then the GPL is the licence you might choose if (a) you want people to have the freedom to modify, change, and improve your code and (b) you want to ensure that those improvements are similarly free (as in freedom), i.e. that nobody can take your work and make it proprietary.

Many people seem to think that releasing under the GPL is equivalent to putting something in the public domain, and that's just SO wrong. You retain the copyright to your GPLed code, and license compliance is enforced by the automatic removal of the copyright permissions if someone is foolish or ignorant enough to transgress.

On the other hand, if you do not want to GPL your code, in order to keep it proprietary, then please don't. Or if you want it to be freely available, but without the protection at (b) above, you might consider a BSD licence?

None of the above is legal advice, b.t.w., for the good and sufficient reason that I'm Not A Lawyer!

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Jonathan Richards 1
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@ willi0000000

I think "substantial copying" is indeed established by the evidence of experts, though in the US I believe that experts are hired by the opponent parties rather than by the courts. It is a defence against the charge of copying, though, if it can also be established that the code in question is the only sensible way to write something for interoperability, hence SCO's claim of copyright infringement relating to errno.h failed.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: A thought experiment

Your thought experiment terminates after parsing the first sentence.

Suppose I have an algorithm.

Algorithms are mathematics, and ergo are not patentable: this is well-established in both the UK and US courts. To extend your experiment, suppose I have an algorithm for fast factoring of huge prime numbers? Such a thing would be hugely valuable. Could I patent it? No, I could not. If I made some silicon which implemented the algorithm, then the exact form of the carefully arranged sand would be protectable, but the algorithm wouldn't. Somebody could extract the algorithm, and implement it again in whatever way they liked, because it's just mathematics: pure ideas are not patentable.

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Raised £350bn in crowdsourced funding? Tell me about it (not)

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

Daily FAIL

> *Insert item* causes cancer

*Insert item* causes cancer and reduces house prices.

FTFY.

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Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

Jonathan Richards 1
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Holmes

Sixty three comments...

...as I write, and nobody has pointed out Sir, You Are Being Hunted.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted is a procedurally-generated first-person game of stealth and survival set in a very British world where robots hunt humans for sport. You must use your wits and possibly a flask of tea to stay alive.

Deerstalker FTW!

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Dear Reg: What is a 'Lag' and a 'Jacksey'?

Jonathan Richards 1
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Search terms, pl.

The "offending" article isn't very long; one wonders what Cecilia was searching for when she discovered the report of our hero's charger discomfort. Presumably "lag" and "jacksie" weren't in the search string, since Cecilia is unfamiliar with those terms, so was it "Swaleside Prison"? "drug and phone smuggling"? "cannabis and cocaine"?

Unfortunately, the original story at The Sun and Lester's story are both on the first page of GoogleTM results for "Tony Pile".

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Twitter sneaks in Facebook-ish photo-tagging – how to switch it off

Jonathan Richards 1
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WTF?

How does this work?

There's the set of all people, and the sub-set who are Twitter users. The screenshot seems to indicate that a specific Twitter user can "forbid" their identification in a posted picture. What is the nature of that ID? Is all tagging done exclusively by Twitter handle, or can one post a picture and tag it with a free-form name, nickname or description, e.g. "that smelly bloke who hangs around by the lavs on the way back from school"?

If it's somewhere in the latter categories, then there's no mechanism for opting out that's workable, as far as I can see.

Now, pictures identifying living people (as opposed to just featuring them) are definitely personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act, therefore anyone can require that Twitter disclose the personal data that it holds about them, with a Subject Access Request.

Hmm. Despite the fact that there is a Twitter UK Ltd at 100 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6JA; Company No. 07653064, there seems to be no registration of a Data Controller with the Information Commissioner's Office. That doesn't seem right...

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Inmarsat: Doppler effect helped 'locate' MH370

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: doppler shift is one of the things *all* GPS signals have to account for.

> Inmarsat actually collects that much fine detail about the signal, as well as the messages it transmits and receives

I have seen this explained, in that the spectrum is very expensive, and crowded, in that band, so there is a negotiation of frequency between the co-moving satellite and aircraft, such that the transmission occurs right in the middle of the band where it's meant to be. So there's a reason that the frequency is measured.

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British trolls to face 'tougher penalties' over online abuse

Jonathan Richards 1
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Holmes

Re: MP & a puzzle for to solve before she does anything else ..

Firstly, I am not Ms Bray;

Secondly, I am not a lawyer;

Thirdly, all that sodding around with VPNs and Tor makes no difference if (a) the Twitter post in question was "grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character" and (b) it was read in the UK. Your hypothetical Crimean traveller has prima facie committed an offence under S.127 of the Communications Act 2003, and the UK courts have jurisdiction because the message has travelled over a UK public telecommunications network.

Now, the HCT has covered his or her location fairly well, but he or she has posted something to an identifiable Twitter account, so isn't anonymous, at all. On reaching UK territory, arrest may ensue. I have no idea if the offence is extraditable, but I suspect not.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Toughen up?

Indeed, Corinne has got it right. Not all of us are talking about the same things in this thread. The politicos have found out that there's something called "Trolling", and they've misidentified it. That word doesn't mean what they think it means. Trolling, in the old Usenet usage, was deliberately trying to get a reaction from someone by being controversial, mostly by adopting a ridiculous position (argumentative position, not anatomical!). Calling people names is the lowest form of the art, hardly worthy of the title.

Threatening people's lives, welfare and families, though, is certainly not Trolling by the original definition, and it doesn't need a new word, there are perfectly good ones already. Furthermore, I'm quite happy if people who do it (online, offline, by telephone, letter, fax or brick through the window) meet with criminal penalties.

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It's EE vs Vodafone: 'How good is my signal' study descends into network bunfight

Jonathan Richards 1
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Boffin

Re: Personally I am now....

We can't help what you are personally on, as the man said to Zaphod Beeblebrox, but you must have noticed that T-mobile and Orange have merged...? To form the EE entity that is the subject of The Fine Article...?

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Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: It depends on the distro...

For must-have Windows (TM) apps (or definitely-want ones!) there's the option of running XP in a virtual machine. You can set up VirtualBox on Linux so that the guest XP has no network device, and is thus beautifully insulated from the Webs of Pain, but shares storage with the Linux host. This might work for some apps, though things that must be network connected, or need blistering graphics performance etc. are unlikely to benefit.

I speak from experience: I have a VM set up just like this to host (a) Garmin software that doesn't work well under Wine, and (b) an ancient version of MathCAD which remains useful at rare moments.

Oh, and inexperienced folk are going to want a helping hand to set that up, too.

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The plot to kill Google cloud: We'll rename Windows Azure to MICROSOFT Azure

Jonathan Richards 1
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Trollface

Maybe there's a different reason...

... maybe they're not going to run it on Windows(TM) any more, but port it to, oh, I dunno, BSD?

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Turkey's farcical Twitter ban leads to SPIKE in tweets

Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

Vital... really?

Useful, I could see. Widely-used, certainly. Desirable, even, in the context of not being muzzled by your own government. But vital, I think might be hypeing it a bit.

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RISE of the LIVING CHAIR: Boffins recruit E coli to build futuristic materials

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

Re: Tomorrow's World my arse!

TFA said

> to program cellular systems to make new materials from the bottom up

Ha, I see what you did, there!

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Vote now for the top reader Limerick limerick

Jonathan Richards 1
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WTF?

Contributions gratefully discarded

Oh well, if we're doing free-form limerick contributions, I have several in this vein:

A buxom young cannibal from Towcester

Was a great and inveterate bowcester

Her friends cried “Enough!

We are tired of such stough:

Let’s make up a fire, and we’ll rowcester”

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

Jonathan Richards 1
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Balancing act

As far as I can make out, those are Australian coins, not UK 50p ones. Cripe's, he's hung them from an upside-down table!!

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Nokia tries to lure Android porters with free Nokia X mobes

Jonathan Richards 1
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Unhappy

Awww...

...I though I was going to read about little green robots which would carry my bags at the railway station.

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'Zotob' hacker 'Diabl0' arrested in Bangkok after three-year hunt

Jonathan Richards 1
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Coat

Rama IV Road

But... but... Ramans do everything in threes!

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Spy satellite?

> can we not assume that the entire surface of the globe has been scanned several times

No sir, we may not. For the good and sufficient reason that the entire surface of the globe is FREAKING HUGE, and a global survey, even the STS missions with resolutions much bigger than a field-mouse, took years. Sure, you can do something like that hair counting stunt if you know where the field-mouse is already: the high-resolution technology is more about identifying military targets in an already-known location.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Accident or Malicious? -- Moonlight

> I haven't checked whether the moon would have been up during the flight

I have, now:

The following information is provided for Kuala Lumpur (longitude E101.7, latitude N3.1):

Saturday 8 March 2014 Universal Time + 8h

SUN

Begin civil twilight 07:01

Sunrise 07:22

Sun transit 13:24

Sunset 19:26

End civil twilight 19:47

MOON

Moonrise 12:07 on preceding day [i.e. 7 March]

Moonset 00:40

Moonrise 12:57

Moon transit 19:13

Moonset 01:29 on following day [i.e. 9 March]

First quarter Moon on 8 March 2014 at 21:27 (Universal Time + 8h).

Source: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php

So the moon set over Kuala Lumpur almost at the same moment as MH370 took off, and would not have risen again over any plausible location for the aircraft before the fuel ran out circa 8 hours later. It was a moonless night.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop that!

> I read today that some old biddy on a remote Maldive atoll has told her local news website that she saw a big old 'jumbo jet' [sic] screaming over her roof later on Sat 8th March.

Where did you read that? Which atoll? What time?

Without answers to these questions that contribution is noise, not signal.

Thank you.

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Previously stable Greenland glaciers now rushing to the sea

Jonathan Richards 1
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Joke

Re: On-going Research

Ah, Tony. All that gin has clouded your judgement for experimental design. What you need is an island, surrounded by a lake of gin and tonic, with glaciers of potable ice flowing into it. Now, you don't want to retire if *that* setup gets funding, do you? (Though we'll have to allow for the effects of lab. staff dipping pints of G&T out of the lake. We certainly don't want them replacing the volume by the obvious means...!)

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: 6 m

> Does that account for the crust rebound

I am not a geophysicist, but I'm sure that crustal rebound takes vastly longer than the melting that triggers it. As you say, North America is still seeing the effect, and England too is still lifting in places and tilting following the last glaciation. I was just pointing out the scale of the matter: I don't expect the Greenland icecap to disappear into the ocean any time soon.

PS: if you were to melt the Antarctic ice cap, you could add another sixty metres to sea levels. Now you're talking!

Go for it!

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Jonathan Richards 1
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6 m

I looked up the ice volumes in the big land-based icefields only recently. If the Greenland icecap were to melt entirely (which would take a hell of a long time), global sea levels would rise about six metres. Of course, it's not strictly necessary for all of it to melt. The same effect is achieved by sliding it off Greenland into the ocean.

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PAF! MPs go postal over postal location data sell-off by Coalition.gov

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: OS

Yes; postcode was not intended to map to geospatial coordinates and cannot be made to do so reliably now.

I am reminded of the use of Unit Identity Numbers in the UK military. Originally intended to identify units (i.e. elements of the Order of Battle; the clue is in the name), they came to be conflated with the physical location of the Unit, typically the HQ, meaning that a deployed unit got a new UIN, and furthermore *at the same time* conflated with a segment of the accounting system, so you had (maybe have, I've lost touch) one code doing three distinct jobs. This is not pretty, and postcodes are likely to go by the same road to hell, paved with good intentions.

+1 for six- or eight-figure map grid references.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Ownership matters

Furthermore: STHL 1ZZ, St Helena

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Surrender your crypto keys or you're off to chokey, says Australia

Jonathan Richards 1
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For information

The UK analogue of the proposal is Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

The main difference I see with the Australian proposal is that in Oz an application will be made to "an independent issuing authority" for a warrant. Under RIPA, anyone exercising a UK statutory duty who comes across encrypted information is entitled to issue a S.49 notice if he believes that it is necessary and proportionate (see subsections (1) and (2) at link above). So the Australian proposal has a check and/or balance that the UK RIPA does not have.

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WhatsApp chats not as secret as you think

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Crazy

> this file is private and can only be read by apps in this family

This is just what one uses users and groups for in a Unix-like environment. It's so odd that the security model for Android seems to ignore that heritage, or at least not to use it efficiently.

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Dying for an Ubuntu Linux phone? Here's how much it'll cost you

Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

Oh, no you can't!

You can metaphorically hear them, or you may be experiencing a particularly intense auditory hallucinatory episode (remember the pills?) but you can't literally hear them.

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Five unbelievable headlines that claim Tim Berners-Lee 'INVENTED the INTERNET'

Jonathan Richards 1
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Stop

Re: Macs ARE PCs.

> correcting a colloquial term like internet to www

Now you're making me think that you don't understand... The Internet is a network of packet-switching networks; the World Wide Web is something that runs on top of the Internet, along with any number of other protocols, like ftp, f'rinstance, and who remembers gopher? Lots of us here were using the Internet before there was a World Wide Web on port 80.

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NZ bloke's drunken poker bet ends in 99-letter name

Jonathan Richards 1
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Traditional

I believe the traditional nickname is 0x10.

AFAIK, no-one has attempted to name a child with a URL/URI.

4, 3, 2, ...

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Google opens Docs and Sheets to tinkerers with new add-on APIs

Jonathan Richards 1
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Google is hoping...

> that developers will latch onto the new add-on APIs and produce a whole slew of components that will help drum up interest in Google's web-based productivity suite

While developers are hoping that Google does not drop or modify out of recognition the API on which their development efforts have been founded, but have little assurance that this will not be the case, see RSS reader, Wave etc., passim.

On reading stories like this why do I get a vision of baited hooks?

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We all owe our EXISTENCE to lovely VOLCANOES, say boffins

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Turns out

Yay, well done, guy. An ON-TOPIC comment!

If you drill down into the supporting information [pnas.org, PDF], though, it's a long way from supporting the hypothesis that my great^n-grandparents shacked up near a volcano to sit out a glaciation, or even that ice-worms like a sauna.

The study looked at estimated and observed species richness, and which models best predicted it, for plants, for fungi, and for invertebrates. Plant and fungal richness were both frequently best described by models including volcanism, or distance from it, but invertebrates? Hardly ever.

Of course, invertebrates are mobile in ways that plants and fungi are not, so you might expect the volcanic proximity effect to be wiped out more quickly as the glaciation recedes.

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CIA hacked Senate PCs to delete torture reports. And Senator Feinstein is outraged

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

Re: Found Jesus. Then Lost Him at the Bar

Yabbut, as I understand it, the CIA removed the "offending" source documents after the congressional committee had noted their contents, an attempt to bolt the stable door after the cat was out of the bag. Or similarly muddled thinking. On being called out, the CIA tried to blame a contractor, and finally 'fessed up, but Brennan still thinks they did nothing wrong. Pass the popcorn. Thank you.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: So the CIA...

I believe it's more subtle than that. The CIA set up, and loaded data into, an airgapped network for the use of the Congress committee personnel, to trawl through the Big Data (a technique called "I Dunno, It's In There Somewhere, Guv"). Later, the CIA discovered that one of the needles extracted from the haystack was something that they would rather not have disclosed to the committee. How inconvenient. So they deleted some of the data that they had previously supplied to Congress, presumably thinking "hey, this is our network, ain't it? Well, look here, we've got access and everything, why don't we just put it right with a touch of rm?". Sen. Feinstein doesn't see it this way. She doesn't think her oversight should be partially blinded.

FWIW, neither do I. There should be nothing that the CIA hides from the appointed overseers, and that should go for all the TLA's, and the four-letter one in the UK.

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Irish plod biro outrage invites Limerick Limerick challenge

Jonathan Richards 1
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Go

Insufficient spec.

I reckon a good limerick ought to have terminal two-syllable rhymes in the first, second and fifth lines, and the third and fourth lines must also properly rhyme. If you can arrange for anapestic meter, (short-short-long) that's all to the good.

This needs some serious thought!

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X marks the... They SAID there was a mystery planet there – NASA

Jonathan Richards 1
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Headmaster

Bzzt. Power law, not exponential!

> the effects of gravity fall off exponentially

As any fule kno, gravity obeys an inverse square law, F = GMm/r^2

If it was exponential, it would have some constant k to the power of r in the denominator.

Sorry to nitpick, but 'exponential' has a useful exact meaning which is literally diluted by using it wrongly.

:)

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Distro diaspora: Four flavours of Ubuntu unpacked

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: Too much choice for the average desktop user

Excellent graphic, illustrates exactly the survival of the fittest in the distro ecosystem! But it only goes up to August 2010. Does anyone know of a more recent edition?

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Zaphod Beeblebrox style third arm cyborg prosthesis unveiled

Jonathan Richards 1
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Beeblebrox arms

In the original radio series, let me see, must be in the second episode, I think, but I'm working from memory, Zaphod says to Trillian that he grew his third arm "especially for you". This explains why Arthur didn't notice anything extraordinary when he met Beeblebrox some time earlier, at a party in Islington. Oh, that party. :)

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I NEVER DONE BITCOIN, says bloke fingered by new Newsweek

Jonathan Richards 1
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The Press Corps has no standard of decency

> an informal "car chase"

You'd have thought that for a story involving $400m they'd at least dress properly and arrange a proper formal chase. Jeez...

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Hey, MoJ, we're not your Buddi: Brit firm abandons 'frustrating' crim-tagging contract

Jonathan Richards 1
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It does _what_, now?

> Existing tagging technology sends a fax to police stations if an offender leaves their home

Fax, eh. I wonder if they've considered homing pigeons.

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Windows XP market share GROWS AGAIN, outstrips Win 8.1 surge

Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: only in the warped reality field of the Register...

> Which is faster growing now that it is no longer a ratio of a ratio?

Ummm... the one that is adding the most machines per year, maybe? The one that's added 300,000, as against the one that's added only half that?

I see what you're driving at, that a small company growing its market share by half as much as a big company would be impressive, but in this case both companies are Microsoft.

If you plot the data El Reg is punting, though, it becomes clear that the Jan-Feb changes don't support drawing any conclusions at all.

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: only in the warped reality field of the Register...

Wait a minute... 29.53% - 29.23% is 0.30%, while 4.1% - 3.95% = 0.15%. So the growth in the former is indeed higher. Uh, tell me you wouldn't be tempted to work out the percentage difference in the percentages... because ratios of ratios are Math Abuse of a high order!

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Jonathan Richards 1
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Re: I worry about the squirrels and otters

> a lot of perfectly good computers going into landfill

Actually, that could be a source of the apparent growth, if you think about it. If large numbers of corporations are finally biting the bullet and replacing their XP installations by upgrading both hardware and software, lots of re-purposed XP machines might be coming out from behind NAT curtains and appearing on the interwebs? Just a thought...

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GNU security library GnuTLS fails on cert checks: Patch now

Jonathan Richards 1
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Show us the code!

The diffs are here [gitorious.org], if you want to see the details, and/or care enough to patch your library in advance of a distro update.

CVE-2014-0092 is being tracked by Ubuntu here [canonical.com], which says Priority=Medium.

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