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* Posts by John Smith 19

9599 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Boffins' better blues beat battery blues

John Smith 19
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Impressive.

But how do organic LED's compare with the regular sort for life time to begin with?

A 10x improvement should not be sniffed at and a 4x improvement in energy efficiency is good too (it's true this trick is not necessary for lower energy photons but applying it to those colours should give some improvement there as well.

The real proof of the pudding will be how many mfg's introduce it in their displays and when.

Thumbs up for some solid science.

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Patch Bash NOW: 'Shellshock' bug blasts OS X, Linux systems wide open

John Smith 19
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Re: Linux novice question.

"The problem with something like this is that it's a design error. The reason you can pass function definitions into environment variables is so that when a Bash process creates a child shell, it can inherit the parent's defined functions. So a child shell is created, environment variables are inherited and when that happens the child shell notices something has a () in it and executes it thinking it's a function definition."

Interesting you should say that. This suggests you are looking at design patterns rather than coding errors.

Searching for such patterns was a key part of why the Shuttle software design programme had such a low error rate.

In the 30+ years since that programme started developing software techniques to find such patterns have improved quite a bit.

Now what happens after each case of that pattern can be a difficult decision but it seems hard to believe this can't be done on a large enough or fast enough to bring about a substantial improvement in delivered software.

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John Smith 19
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Linu novice question.

What open source code scanning tools exist for GNU or Linux?

Has anyone run them over the source code for bulk of the core systems?

On this basis the answer seems to be "none" and "no."

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John Smith 19
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Re: Always been there or new?

I think the words " twenty two year old bug" give some idea of how long it's been in code.

So since about 1992?

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FBI: Your real SECURITY TERROR? An ANGRY INSIDE MAN

John Smith 19
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Since the days of "The Consultant" the *real* enemy

has always been the enemy within.

p**sed employee X insider knowledge X poor internal security -->disaster.

PHB's only see power in terms of salary and the ability to hire and fire people.

Employees know there are many other ways to get even, if people are prepared to take the consequence.

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John Smith 19
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Big Brother

Re: An excellent excuse to label all our employees as potential terrorists,

"It's voters that are the potential terrorists, I mean some of them aim to bring down the current government!"

Not a problem.

In America voting will literally change nothing.

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Yahoo!... Our Alibaba stake's worth BILLIONS. Oh – our shares are in the toilet

John Smith 19
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Just to be clear Yahoo! is delivering $1Bn *profit*

That may be peanuts compared to Google but how does that compare to say Amazon?

I've known a number of people who'd love to run a $1Bn/yr business "failure."

The challenge as Tim point out is how to use some of that money to a)Grow their core business or b)Buy into something else to increase profits.

And given the market Yahoo is in that's a pretty tough question to answer.

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MOM: CHEAP Mars ship got it right first time. Nice one, India

John Smith 19
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1st time out with a significant science payload is *very* impressive.

I think the mission trajectory was a key part of keeping the rocket size (and hence cost) down. IIRC it was quite tricky. The other option might have been a solar sail.

However as readers of the Mythical Man Month know a strong early success (and this is very strong indeed) can lead to the oh-so-difficult 2nd mission. They had better watch out for that.

Thumbs up for this which I think beats India's greatest rivals (China and Pakistan) to the post by a long margin.

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John Smith 19
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Re: Nice package...

""They may have invented place number notation to, indicating the lack of a power of ten which became the Zero

More relevant in this regard is that the optimal rocket nozzle shape (what most people call a "bell") is actually known as a "Rao" nozzle, after the Indian who invented it.

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Supercapacitors have the power to save you from data loss

John Smith 19
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Re: Back in the day...

"I seem to remember that the angular momentum in those washing-machine sized drives was used to generate the power to complete the pending writes and withdraw the heads in the event of the electricity going off."

We used to cal them "Twin tubs." With an aircon failure in the machine room in Summer they could cook you pretty well.

That sounds like a UL as the exchangable ones packed a fair amount of energy that generation of write heads would have needed quite a bit to flush any caches.

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80 PER CENT of app devs SUCK at securing your data, study finds

John Smith 19
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"Most responding devs were from the financial sector, with < 2 years' experience."

So they thought they were quite good.

Turns out they weren't.

I think I'll be sticking with my no apps dumb mobile for some time to come.

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THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

John Smith 19
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Re: If you give a politician 1£ ...

"And that leads to another facet of the popular vote, maybe the hardest of all: you should learn all you can about the subject before voting and if you feel that you do not know enough d o n o t vote!!"

Possibly leaving you with this result?

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Poverty? Pah. That doesn't REALLY exist any more

John Smith 19
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Now let's see part 2. Where you point out that inequatiy is *rising"

Where for example the ratio of CEO income to that of the median for their work force (for some FTSE 100 companies ) is > 1000x

I agree that absolute poverty in the UK no longer exists. Someone with a cooker, microwave, washing machine, TV and computer can be potentially better fed, looked after and entertained than a rich landowner living in a capital city of one of the great nations of Europe in previous centuries.

Unfortunately inequality (or "relative" poverty) is getting worse.

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John Smith 19
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Meh

Re: "you've got that $1.25 a day at US prices to play with...

"It might be $1.25 in some shanty town some place warm in south America, but it's a lot more in the UK or the US for that mater."

That's the point between absolute poverty and (relative) poverty.

No one in the UK is absolutely poor by global measures, although there are many countries in the world where the citizens are also absolutely poor as well.

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SpaceX blasts a mischief of mice, a 3D printer and a cuddly toy* into SPAAAACE

John Smith 19
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What's the towers are for.

"What are the four towers around the launchpad? They look like mobile phone towers but I doubt the mice needed really good reception in the minutes before launch."

AFAIK they are lightning conductors. I think they have cables strung between them to attract away any lightning bolts in case of thunder during the launch period.

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John Smith 19
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Re: 57.7-foot ... robotic arm

"WTF? Doing it in decimal is silly -- at least get rid of the imperial measure.

Tell that to the Americans. AFAIK they are one of only two countries in the world with the Imperial system (the proper name for this system of unit, which Americans don't seem to like it being called for some reason).

The other is some pestilential hell hole in Africa.

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Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone

John Smith 19
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@Graham Marsden.

"You know, Matt, you'd have been an even better Witch-Finder than Matthew Hopkins. Why bother with actually looking for suspects first, just assume that *everyone* is guilty and investigate to your heart's content."

He does, or at least they people who pay him seem to, which is pretty much the same thing.

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New UK.gov DATA SLURPING diplomat to push US telcos to share more subscriber info

John Smith 19
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Gimp

Anyone think Cameron thought this one up by himself?

Elect a PR goon this is what you get.

PR.

You can bet the usual group of vermin advisers have been "having a quiet word" to "explain" to call-me-Dave that "this is how it's done, blah blah" and like a good little sock puppet he's trotting along.

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Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list

John Smith 19
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Re: FIX: No permission to accept cards for 30 days

"I propose a business which has a breach resulting in the theft of one million cards or more receive a ban on acceptance of cards, credit or debit, for 30 days. Lesser numbers of cards would result in a lesser ban. T"

Personally I like this. Butlikely to make businesses even less likely report a breach.

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Your location info is too revealing: data boffins

John Smith 19
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Mobiles are the new email.

Historically the clueful knew you shouldn't send anything you didn't want at least a dozen total strangers to see.

Today you don' want people knowing where you are.

Switch it on for when you're places you want people to know you are.

Switch it off the rest of the time.

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SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

John Smith 19
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"Thanks to the wonders of modern manufacturing we can bend complex pipework from a single length or fabricate complex components from a single billet rather than having to weld simpler sub-components together. "

This was why one of SpaceX's first investments was a pair of German CNC pipe benders.

Pipe bending sounds kind of dull but the ability to do it with high precision, and repeatability helps a lot.

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John Smith 19
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"Silly question, but if they hate the Ruskies so much, why haven't the US cloned the engines yet? Cheaper, stable supply ..."

Fair question.

In theory the US/Russian joint venture that buys the engines in from Russia, Americanises them and ships them to Boeing can do this and have done some small scale tests on various bits of the engine.

But it's estimated they'd need 5 years and at least $1Bn to set up a production line (on the usual cost plus contract basis naturally, as this "experimental" work we're dealing with). It's beleived the RD180 is quite manpower intensive to build (because man power was cheap in the former Soviet Union at the time it was designed?) so it needs a fair bit of metal bashing on each one to get it working properly.

Man power intensive design + Cost plus development contract --> much more expensive clone version.

Basically Boeing has the pain but the joint venture would be responsible for fixing it.

BTW IRL (not on Twitter) It's actually been BAU. Russia is shipping new engines and presumably America is handing them the cash to buy them.

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John Smith 19
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Re: What a total rip-off!

"Unless Boeing performs better than SpaceX

I suspect SpaceX will perform better."

As do many others.

But until deliveries start nobody knows and the "Old Space" companies can still play the "(sniff) Well anyone can claim they can do it cheaper but that's because they don't understand the real costs of doing a proper job (like we do)"

So now we get to see if they are right and SpaceX can't deliver or if the they are just spouting the usual cost plus BS, Musk was right all along and in the next round of cargo and crew transport services contract both Boeing (crew) and Orbital (cargo) have to cut their prices or be turned into road kill.

Things are getting interesting.

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John Smith 19
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Re: ... the greatest nation on earth ....

"I was going to ask, by what metric are USA the greatest?"

Teenage pregnancy rates in the highest GDP countries in the world?

I'm pretty sure they score #1 in that table on a regular basis.

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John Smith 19
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Re: "if disaster strikes"

"I would think that disaster would entail something like being knocked out of standard orbit and having no thrusters. "

Not considered what would happen if there was a fire in the ISS?

"210 days is a bit much but may allow you, "

That is the length of time the vehicle can be docked to the ISS in standby mode.

If it all goes pear shaped the plan is to pile into the vehicle, undock and return to Earth.

BTW the big difference between what SpaceX is doing with Dragon now and this is that the cargo vehicle is berthed, need in active assistance from the ISS IE someone to operate the robot arm. "Docked" vehicles can separate from ISS under their own steam.

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Rejoice, Blighty! UK is the TOP of the WHOLE WORLD ... for PHISHING

John Smith 19
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Headmaster

Re: mimicking organisations like the Royal Bank of Scotland.

"As a hard working Nigerian scammer I resent the implication that we are anything like RBS.

Although if I was to receive a few billion quid in a government bailout I would need trusted people such as yourself to help me transfer the money - just send your account details to ..."

Nigerian scammer grammar fail I think.

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

John Smith 19
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Have an idea --> gather evidence -->analyse evidence --> form conclusion

Proper science.

thumbs up for field work, analysis and caution on the meaning of the results.

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Credit card cutting flaw could have killed EVERY AD on Twitter

John Smith 19
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Actually this is an error I'd quite like to see more of.

Doesn't hurt the user.

f**cks the company big time.

Of course if you haven't worked out by now that you are the product Twitter is selling to its' customers, the ad buyers, you're pretty dumb.

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Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars

John Smith 19
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EPOC32 seemed very good.

Sybian.

Not so much.

I still think the idea of publish & subscribe modules is the way to lower power consumption but that's just me.

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NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine

John Smith 19
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Re: So the £64Bn question.

"So you think they should have stuck to numerous incompatible local systems?"

Do you know why ARPA net (whose protocols the internet uses) was built?

To allow researchers to at remote sites to access incompatible machines without needing multiple terminal (apparently some really did work that way) on their desks.

And by incompatible I mean machines that could not even agree how many bits they have in a byte, or what alphabet to use.

IOW it's all about setting up data standards, mandating that different parts of the NHS use them and letting the individual parts (and the are very individual parts in the NHS) work out how to implement them.

So no I don't think p**sing away £15Bn to get systems to share data better was needed or good value for money.

"Prior to this they didn't even have a global NHS email system".

Great.

Just a single address book to hack and you can spam the whole NHS.

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John Smith 19
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Sot he £64Bn question.

Did this system produce more productive outcomes of the NHS as a whole than having no system at all?

Yes going to a very large open source system is a bold move by the NHS IT operation.

But was it needed in the first place?

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John Smith 19
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Re: The numbers don't add up

"There are some 36,000 GPs in the country, seeing an average of one patient every 12 minutes; making a total of 50 patients per second. That's an order of magnitude less than the number of messages per second that the system is processing. What are all these messages?"

You're assuming that GP's are the only users of this system.

How many pharmacies are there (that have a link into the system)?

How many hospitals?

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TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists

John Smith 19
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No doubt the authors will issue an update shortly.

Or hopefully not.

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Three photons can switch an optical beam at 500 GHz

John Smith 19
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Awsome.

Just to put this in perspective.

Usual IR frequency used for fibre is equal to about 1eV.

so 3eV of control energy switch 1W or 1 J/s

3eV is about 5 x 10^-19 J

IE a signal 2 billion billion times bigger.

Which is quite impressive.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

John Smith 19
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"Lets hope this is put a stop to it before they start putting them in."

Still possible IIRC. Write to your local MP now and tell them that flushing £10Bn of cash to the USA (where most of these meters are coming from IIRC) is a complete wast of money.

IIRC this is not an EU requirement. countries can say no if its not economically viable.

And frankly it's not.

This has nothing to do with lowering electricity bills (where do you think the £215/meter is coming from, a UK govt grant?) and everything to do with giving utility companies the ability to a)Change tariffs on the fly (naturally you wont' be able to switch suppliers as fast as they can jack their charges up) and

b) Remote kill switch for non paying customers/ customers who don't have an assured supply contract with them and the ongoing b**locks about deciding when and if new power stations (proper ones that can run 90+% of the time, not the 6-30% of windmills)

All delivered using the same kind of s**t that US cybersecurity researches have already found plenty of exploits in.

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John Smith 19
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"Well done The Public Accounts Committee for stating the bleeding obvious, shame you are 3 or 4 years too late. Not that it would make any difference because as I stated here nearly 3 years ago the reason we are getting smart meters is..."

No shame on the "Honorable Member" of the HoL for trousering a large stipend to get it included in the relevant "Green" legislation.

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John Smith 19
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Re: Smart meter vs dual-tariff (Off Peak) meter ?

"For comparison: in Victoria, Australia, where smart meters are now near-as-dammit universal, customers used to be charged about $25 to get a meter read when you move into a new house. Now the charge is about $5, which of course is still far more than it actually costs (approximately nothing, with a smart meter), but unarguably better for the consumer, and less error-prone."

Or you could just send your meter readings over the internet?

It's funny how utility companies "estimated" bills always end up being higher.

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Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS

John Smith 19
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Give us your biometrics. We won't abuse them.

Promise.

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John Smith 19
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Gimp

"Nothing to do with socialism and everything to do with fascism."

Actually nothing to do with either

Data fetishists want data.

They will attach themselves to whatever government is gullible enough to believe the satisfying of their fetish will cure whatever "problem" they have.

In reality the satisfying of the fetish is what matters to them.

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Moto 360 wristputer batt boob, elderly internals revealed in teardown

John Smith 19
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1st class work from iFixit

Not so first class work from Motorola?

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NBN Co says Melton test not valid, likely uses processes developed there anyway

John Smith 19
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"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain"

The Great Oz has spoken.

Indeed if it's so unrepresentative of the country as a whole why choose it in the first place?

And does this mean the overall bill might be knocked down a bit?

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Whopping 10TB disks spin out of HGST – plus 3.2TB flash slabs

John Smith 19
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Re: Shingles is a nasty painful disease

"partially overlapping racks to cram more tracks on a disk "

You'll never get them in a box that small.

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China is now 99.8% sure you're you, thanks to world's-best facial recognition wares

John Smith 19
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Big Brother

"help from the University of Illinois"

Is that legal under US law?

And that figure is impressive (I though facial recog got about 50% right in US casinos, which was why the FBI dumped it's facial recog project after decades).

So 99.8% accurate.

Only 100 000 people being mis identifed then.

Not to worry. A little trip to the Miistry of Love will show they are guilty of something.

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China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE

John Smith 19
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Re: Can I just say....

"Standby to launch SkyDiver!"

Strictly speaking...

Launch Sting Missiles.

Who knew?

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John Smith 19
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Re: Why use the military?

"They can just sit back and watch USA destroy itself financially. Much easier than getting that messy red stuff all over you!"

Destroy itself?

Who do you think owns most of the US governments debt, and thereby picks up the US's bills?

The only reason the US can go on running around playing "Team America" is because Beijing holds their IOU's.

Something the US collective simply can't cope with thinking about.

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EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz

John Smith 19
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Stuff that. What about getting *rid* of this space crap?

Which would be the best long term approach.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

John Smith 19
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Re: It isn't called "Word" for nothing

""Word" is a program to enter words. You'd call it "Sentence" if it was good at creating sentences, and "Novel" if you wanted it to help you write novels."

Neat.

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John Smith 19
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Re: @BongoJoe: Word isn't the best tool for job

"That rather suggests that you think there is some other software that is the best tool for the job. S"

Well Word Perfect was use to write the manuals for Boeing aircraft.

But Microsoft managed to kill them pretty well.

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Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

John Smith 19
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So it runs Windows, but it's not really Windows?

Yes it looks nice and the underlying hardware may be quite impressive.

Accountants might well be satisfied that this is the biggest windows phone that people in Europe and North America have never heard of.

But I doubt that's an accolade Microsoft are keen on.

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UK.gov sinks another £1.6m into Internet of Stuff spec HyperCat

John Smith 19
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WTF?

So enabling *universal* plug-n-play of the IoT

Isn't the first order of business when securing a PC disable the UPNP functions?

I think it is.

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