* Posts by Allan George Dyer

1139 posts • joined 12 Jun 2009

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Independent inquiry into British air-traffic-control IT nightmare

Allan George Dyer
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Re: If it works, don't fix it.

@BearishTendancies - thanks for the link, it's quite mind-boggling:

"GDS is not just trying to make government services online as easy as shopping at Amazon"

So we can look forwards to a third-party software glitch to set all our tax bills to 1p?

What's the air-traffic control equivalent of setting prices to 1p - altitude to 1 foot perhaps?

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Senator: Backdoor for the Feds is a backdoor for hackers

Allan George Dyer
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That most rare of species...

an intelligent, informed politician.

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Chum's house burnt down? Facebook mulls 'DISLIKE' button for that

Allan George Dyer
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I'm split between, "Why didn't they think about this years ago?", and "Perhaps Zuck can make a more mature decision now".

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So - you thought you knew all about the INSTANT COFFEE DUNES of TITAN?

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Lakes of methanol and ethanol

@Martin Gregorie - propane and butane are intoxicative inhalants. I'm not sure if methane and ethane are too, and you'd have to be insane to book a package tour to Titan to find out. There again, methanol isn't really a tipple for the sane, either.

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Kaspersky: That 2 years we took to warn you about Regin ? We had GOOD REASON

Allan George Dyer
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Re: What else is out there?

Hundreds of thousands of unique samples a day. The numbers don't mean very much anymore. Lots are corrupt samples, or repackaged known malware. It's like trying to do paleontology by picking through the rubble after bulldozers have flattened the Natural History Museum.

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SCIENCE LAB TERROR: MYSTERY of the MISSING BRAINS

Allan George Dyer
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Trollface

Re: Don't loose your head

@Doctor Syntax - It would be surprising if it was, though I don't doubt it was tried. King's is nothing more than an annoyance to UCL. How's Reggie?

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Allan George Dyer
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Pirate

Don't loose your head

Jeremy's head was never on display, it was damaged in the embalming process and is kept in a wooden box, at one time at his feet. The visible head is a wax copy.

Whether Jeremy's head was ever stolen by King's is uncertain, the students tended to target the mascots, which, for UCL, was a Scottish Highlander figure taken from a tobacconist's shop on Tottenham Court Road.

I'm particularly fond of the story that Jeremy's head is still taken to Council meetings, where he is recorded as "present, but not voting".

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Boffins unearth the ultimate antique art - 500,000 years old

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Shark tooth huh.

'Calling it "art" is stretching things a bit though.'

Perhaps Unk did it while he waited for his elder sister to finish her detailed sand sculpture of a palm tree? We only find the stuff that survives.

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Device fingerprinting tech: It's not a cookie, but 'cookie' rules apply

Allan George Dyer
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Re: @Ole

@Ole Juul - I was making the point about HTML canvas fingerprinting specifically, which, if I understand correctly, depends on Javascript to work, therefore it fails when it is off. The downside, of course, is the loss of useful stuff that depends on Javascript.

Yes, my browser is unique among those the EFF site has tested, but if I turn off Javascript, then there are, apparently, three others that are indistinguishable in the ~4 million tested. Not really much of a gain.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: @Ole

@Brewster's Angle Grinder

Turn off Javascript?

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Hominid ancestors beat humans to the drinks cabinet, say boffins

Allan George Dyer
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Windows

Depressing...

We're not descended from the graceful apes that swung through the trees, plucking the juiciest fruits, but their degenerate wino cousins, shuffling across the forest floor, rummaging in the piles of trash.

Need a drink to forget...

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Star Wars: Episode VII trailer lands. You call that a lightsaber? THIS is a lightsaber

Allan George Dyer
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A Light-Basket-Hilt

would look Really cool. Also great for punching you opponent in the face when you go corp-a-corps, but you have to be very careful picking it up, if you like having fingers.

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Holy sh*t! Amsterdam man in pop-up public toilet shock horror

Allan George Dyer
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Re: They play the opening bit of "Thus Spake Zarathustra" when they rise, right?

But a step forwards for public health and street fragrance. Though it wouldn't make much difference, as Hacney Carriage drivers were allowed to urinate at the offside rear wheel of their vehicles, and, anyway, everything was horse-drawn.

I also recall (from an antiques program, I think) that ladies had specially-designed pots they would use during long sermons at church.

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World's best threat detection pwned by HOBBIT

Allan George Dyer
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Mushroom

Solution...

Pack the mouse with C4, and connect a detonator to the left button.

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Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Hang on...

"WTF is an AV outfit doing NOT dealing with or reporting…"

From the article, F-Secure did deal with the malware, Mikko's tweet was, "Malware decoded, detection added". When you're receiving hundreds of thousands of samples of dozens of varieties of malware a day, something has to be pretty exceptional to deserve a press release, if the only known victim doesn't want it publicised, what's left to talk about?

Full disclosure - Mikko is a nice guy to have a drink with.

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GOTCHA: Google caught STRIPPING SSL from BT Wi-Fi users' searches

Allan George Dyer
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Facepalm

Re: And...

"Who's reading my posts! (If it's anyone but Balmer, we'll have words!)"

Uhh... I read that post, sorry. But, if you tell me what you don't want me to know, I promise to try to forget it.

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State Dept shuts off unclassified email after hack. Classified mail? That's CLASSIFIED

Allan George Dyer
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Re: ...why wasn't it air-gapped,

"I actually worked on a site where internal network was air-gapped from Internet." - So, how did that work against email malware? OK, you're protected against anything not in the SMTP stream, but a simple packet filter could do the same.

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DEATH fails to end mobile contract: Widow forced to take HUBBY's ASHES into shop

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Untrustworthy automatic billing

"Unless you set up your DD with a credit card, in which case you can not cancel the DD, only the company you have the DD with can do it."

That, too, can be dealt with. I was trying to terminate a phone service, and the company was being unhelpful. So, I called my credit card company and we had a little discussion about withdrawing authorisation. I granted the authorisation, so I can withdraw it, simple. Unfortunately, they disagreed, so I terminated the credit card account.

Of course, it's important to do this before any disputed money has been transferred. If you're trying to get back the cash they've overcharged you, you're probably buggered. Which, to return to the topic of the article, is difficult when there are unexpected changes in circumstances.

Have you noticed how often it is that the account termination part of a billing system is badly designed? It's almost as if it were intentional...

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Bible THUMP: Good Book beats Darwin to most influential tome title

Allan George Dyer
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Re: The bible is a book ?

Well, that's a bit unfair, the bible isn't one book. How about we stitch together the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Origin of Species, Relativity and Lady Chatterly's Lover (you have read the Song of Solomon?) as a more fair competitor?

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FALL of the MACHINES: How to KILL the Google KARATE BOT, by our expert

Allan George Dyer
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Hong Kong University has one of these, I believe they are teaching it Tai Chi.

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Someone has broken into your systems. Now what?

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Honeypot should already be in place

Or just redirect based on the Evil Bit, see RFC 3514

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Trickle-down economics WORKS: SpaceShipTwo is a PRIME EXAMPLE

Allan George Dyer
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Re: @ Allan George Dyer

@Tom 13 - which was my point: economics says those things are interchangeable, but I still want my bloody breakfast! Economics is a useful model, but, like all models, it is not a complete, perfect explanation of the world. And the word I was missing last night was "externalities" - isn't trickle-down technology happening outside the economic considerations of those concerned?

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Not Trickle-down economics...

@I ain't Spartacus - Have an up vote. Maybe I want to phrase things differently, and I wouldn't say an economy dominated by the mega-rich is "more open".

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Not Trickle-down economics...

@ I ain't Spartacus - I wasn't trying to make a point about free market economies, and I certainly didn't suggest a command economy was a good idea, but is there really such a thing as a free market, anywhere? Trickle-down advocates oppose progressive taxation because they think it limits the ability of the meg-rich to start the trickle, but I'm suggesting that the trickle tends to pool at the top end, and dries up before reaching the bottom.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Not Trickle-down economics...

@Squander Two - Well, I thought economics was about movement of goods and services through society, which does not have to involve any movement of technology. Technology can move without direct economic exchange - e.g. when a patent expires. Economics is abstract, you can redefine any activity as economics, but there is a certain quality about, for example, "my breakfast" that is not interchangeable with "a drug patent" or "a performance of Beethoven's 5th". You can say that a billionaire eating breakfast and a billionaire launching a spaceship both have an economic trickle-down effect, but only one of them has a technology trickle-down effect.

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Allan George Dyer
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Facepalm

Re: Not Trickle-down economics...

You've missed my point. It's the technology trickle-down that brings the benefits, not the (supposed) economic trickle-down. Then I confused things with chicken-devliery because I didn't want to suggest that every technology is appropriate everywhere.

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Allan George Dyer
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Not Trickle-down economics...

The money sloshes around the top-end, among high-paid managers and consultants, but doesn't increase the number of toilet-cleaners required, or their wages.

However, trickle-down technology can work. Throw enough money at developing fancy devices with bright screens and long battery life, and you've developed a lighting system efficient enough to be run off a solar panel in some third-world village schoolhouse. But trickle-down technology can also fail, usually when someone insists on deploying the shiniest new tech, without considering how it will work at the delivery point... "With SpaceShipTwo, these villagers can deliver their chickens to market much faster, via SPAAACE!"

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Allan George Dyer
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Pirate

Re: Why supply-side / trickle-down failed...

@James 51 - That would be bribing the Government promoting your legitimate business concerns.

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Russia to ban iCloud.. to PROTECT iPhone fiddlers' pics 'n' sh*t

Allan George Dyer
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"The Register has long been known as an on-line lesbian magazine"

But, but, but… I only read The Reg for the the articles.

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Russians hear Tim Cook is gay, pull dead Steve Jobs' enormous erection

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Cheap dig

Chris G, when you went horseback riding with no shirt, did you ask your publicity office to take a snap and publish it? It reminds me of Chairman Mao swimming the River Yangtze; Putin is building his personality cult as his country's "Great Leader", so he deserves to be lampooned at every opportunity.

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So long, thanks for all the ...er, FISH BRIGHTER than boffins thought

Allan George Dyer
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Headmaster

Re: Deep Sea?

Demonstrating the importance of using scientific names. Yes, Danio rerio is freshwater (Himalayan), and so is Percina kathae (North American), but Pterois volitans (Australian) is marine - though coral reef, not deep sea. So which was it, and did Dr Proulx et al really do the experiment deep-sea?

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Allan George Dyer
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Holmes

Re: Fish get bored and like to play

Or were they feeding on the algae growing on the bottles?

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MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer

Allan George Dyer
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Paris Hilton

"Hi, I'm taking part in a scientific study, and I wonder if you could help me?"

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Rise of the machines: Silicon Valley hardware store to deploy ROBOTS for customer service

Allan George Dyer
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Paris Hilton

Language capability?

I suspect speech recognition is merely a difficult problem, compared to deciding which language to recognise the speech in. Of course, it could always fall back to selection from a list, producing a new circle of Hell:

"Je suis désolé, je ne reconnais pas votre langue, si vous voulez que je parle français, soit un.

Nasikitika, sikuweza kutambua lugha yako, kama ungependa mimi kuongea Kiswahili, wanasema mbili

對不起,我不認識你的語言,如果你想我講廣東話,說三

...

I am sorry, I did not recognise your language, if you would like me to speak English, say Seventy Nine."

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Planning to fly? Pour out your shampoo, toss your scissors, RENAME TERRORIST WI-FI!

Allan George Dyer
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Re: They did exactly what they should have done

"What’s in a name? that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet;"

I'm not sure why a genuine terrorist would feel the need to set up their own WiFi hotspot at an airport when "talking on a mobile phone, looking anxious" is perfect cover. However, if I was concerned about it, I wouldn't ground flights. First, I'd offer free WiFi throughout the airport, then I'd watch out for all private hotspots (not just the ones with suspicious names) and I'd listen silently, checking the number of connections and their distribution.

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Allan George Dyer
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Joke

Just be thankful...

That the network wasn't named "Al-Quida Free Terror Network 02", or they would still be there, plane grounded, while they search for the first one.

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Happy 2nd birthday, Windows 8 and Surface: Anatomy of a disaster

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

@big_D - well, Nick De Plume's scenario was "a skype appliance on a shoestring budget, sans the budget", so I'd say any machine that could run skype when it was new, and still works today. For example, I've got a couple of AmazePC netbooks from about 2007 running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS here, could you install Windows 8 and run skype on them today? For additional points, explain how to do it without exceeding the budget ($0) or breaking the law ;-)

There is clearly a market segment that Microsoft is not addressing, though as the projected revenue is $0, perhaps that is to be expected.

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Allan George Dyer
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Meh

Re: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

@Nick De Plume - Two of your examples are a chicken-and-egg problem, with a cuckoo chick in the nest (have I tortured this metaphor too much?).

The exception is the Skype appliance - is there even a Windows alternative for that scenario? Good luck installing a new version of Windows on an old laptop (after magically extending your non-existent budget for the licence).

The other two are a problem of availability of 3rd party drivers. The manufacturers get the Windows drivers right, because that's where the biggest market is, and the non-techies don't move to Linux because the drivers are buggy or unavailable: chicken and egg. The cuckoo is Microsoft, making sure the non-techie Linux installation always has another problem to deal with.

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RUMPY PUMPY: Bone says humans BONED Neanderthals 50,000 years B.C.

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Pääbo.

@Vociferous - "Pääbo, who isn't a taxonomist"

Sorry, I assumed he was. Do you have a guide on identifying taxonomists? ;-)

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Pääbo.

@cray74 - You did say, "why didn't we bring Neanderthal girls home to meet mom and dad?", which I took to be a way of saying "we didn't interbreed with the Neanderthal girls", was I wrong? What did you mean?

Yes, I was wrong about the mitochondrial DNA… I was confusing the date of MRCA (about 3000 years) and the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (mitochondrial Eve, about 100,000 years).

I'm not sure how the statistics play out… I wasn't suggesting that a single avalanche would destroy all Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA descendants in a single event, but that the total hominid population at the time was small, split into related groups, and random events in small samples easily give extreme results. How often do you roll three avalanches on three dice, or two avalanches and a mammoth stampede? I'd like more evidence before saying the "blitzkrieg" scenario is the most likely.

So, another possibility, as you hint, there could still be living groups with Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA that haven't been sampled by a passing geneticist. Ah, Vociferous seems to be proving us both wrong :-)

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Pääbo.

@cray74... You're arguing that the hybrid males were mostly infertile, and we didn't interbreed with the Neanderthal girls; so, tell me, where did that small percentage of Neanderthal DNA come from?

On the other hand, if you remember i) that the estimate for the most recent common ancestor of all today's humans is only a few thousand years ago ii) there is no mixing of mitochondrial DNA, then you'll realise that we'll all have either Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA or we'll all have homo sapiens sapiens mitochondrial DNA, and, by chance, it's the second alternative.

Also, we're talking about small wandering groups occasionally meeting, so a small disaster, say an avalanche, could have wiped out an "interesting lineage" (meaning one that would overturn accepted theories and cause endless academic discussions today), without any need to invoke a "blitzkrieg" theory.

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Allan George Dyer
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Re: Pääbo.

At this point, taxonomists should be getting a little embarrassed, shuffling their feet and admitting their discipline is not entirely scientific. Instead, they become ever more strident about how the divisions should be made.

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Allan George Dyer
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Paris Hilton

The Neanderthal must have been really drunk...

One thing is clear, fertile interbreeding is the definition of species so we are the same species as Neanderthals, and we're both human.

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How to get $542m from Google: Dress as a SPACEMAN with dayglo dancers – Magic Leap

Allan George Dyer
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Pint

I didn't notice the gorillas, but the spaceman didn't pass the basketball, either!

And was that Ed Snowden on drums?

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Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz

Allan George Dyer
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Headmaster

Re: I love Gartner

"a warning label that a product contains nuts, on a packet of peanuts"

I've been wondering about that… peanuts are technically legumes, so they should be harmless to nut allergic people, but do many people with a legume-allergy incorrectly label themselves because they believe a peanut to be a nut?

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Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'

Allan George Dyer
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Re: Social skills and techies

@lotus49: they simply don't have the ability to behave like civilised human beings

"The wizards were civilised men of considerable education and culture. When faced with being inadvertently marooned on a desert island they understood immediately that the first thing to do was to place the blame."

Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent

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Ancient Brits 'set wealthy man's FANCY CHARIOT on FIRE' – boffins

Allan George Dyer
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Joke

Re: Top Gear iron age? Intruiging

"Some say he slayed Grendal and nail his arm above the door"

Boewulf was his intro-speil?

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Bird of HEY.... that's MY DRONE! Hawk attacks geek's quadcopter in nature v machine clash

Allan George Dyer
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Terminator

ROTM

The hawks are taking no chances.

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To Russia With Love: Snowden's pole-dancer girlfriend is living with him in Moscow

Allan George Dyer
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Headmaster

"worked as an occasional exotic dancer"

There are exotic dancers that can be hired for occasions? I'd love to see the adverts:

"For your next furneral, why not hire one of our exotic dancers!"

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Judge nukes Ulbricht's complaint about WARRANTLESS FBI Silk Road server raid

Allan George Dyer
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Re: LMAO!

But it could be equally:

"Your Honor1 the cops broke into my friend's flat to plant that smoking gun with my fingerprints, lifted from the water glass I used when they interviewed me."

The computers were hacked by the Police and who else; without chain of custody, what is the evidence worth?

1: Amercan spelling because UK Police aren't arrogant enough to break other countries laws to plantsearch for evidence... well, OK, here's the missing 'u'.

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