* Posts by Def

573 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

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BOO! Grave remote-code exec flaw in GNU C Library TERRIFIES Linux

Def
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Re: re Using zero terminated strings in C didn't turn out to be the best design decision ever

I agree that the design goals of C didn't include security. Back then I'm sure people were too busy being excited about every little thing they invented. I totally get that.

But that brings me back to my original comment. Technology has moved on. Times have changed. We've grown up and matured as an industry and as individuals - well most of us have. Anyone can write software today, not just people who spend their days in labs wearing white coats and smoking pipes. And because of this, our tools and technologies need to mature as well. No longer should we be making it so easy for programmers to make what are, essentially, simple mistakes. Sure, the languages of today can allow access to hardware and allow programmers to overrun buffers, but these things should not be considered the norm. There should be better alternatives in place for 99.99% of the tasks developers need to perform.

A lot of C/C++ compilers these days can issue warnings if you use unsafe/legacy functions. Turn those warnings into errors and let's move forward together as an industry.

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Re: re Using zero terminated strings in C didn't turn out to be the best design decision ever

Shoddy programmers who don't check length parameters are the fault here.

You can blame the programmers all you want, but at the end of the day, your language/library of choice either allows programmers to make such mistakes, or it doesn't.

The design goals of any language (or coding standard for that matter) should include "make it as hard as possible for people to fuck up", because at some point in time if someone can fuck up they will, and the easier it is for someone to fuck up, the more often it will happen.

You could be the best programmer on the planet, and you'll still make mistakes - probably on a regular basis. The more mistakes that can be caught before you even attempt to run your code the better.

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Def
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Still using C today (or the C-Runtime Library in C++) has always baffled me to be honest. It's obviously not designed to be secure (yes, there are more secure variants of most functions these days) so I don't understand why people act so surprised when exploits like this are discovered.

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Opera Jon weaves a brand new browser

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I finally got fed up with Opera 12. It's falling apart these days as the web moves forward.

I plumped for Firefox with the "Tree Style Tab" (which is far superior to Opera's tab grouping IMO) for tabs down the left side of the screen.

I customised the address bar a bit too, so I can 'g...', 'w...' for Google and Wikipedia respectfully. I'm just missing Paste & Go on a single keyboard shortcut.

I'd like to find an extension which lets me block content selectively (and show me the URLs so I can add them to the filter on my router), but that's all I'm missing at the moment, I think.

Other than that, I have to admit I'm reasonably happy. Which is definitely different to when I tried Firefox many years ago.

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'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?

Def
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Re: How bad is Torvalds?

Actually, he's given us a kernel that is running on an immeasurable number of devices from embedded devices and phones right up to the majority of super computers. There are very likely far more running instances of Linux in total today than there are Windows PCs (and certainly phones).

Popularity is a terrible measure of quality.

Quite.

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Seagate's spinning rust most likely to crash, claims backup biz

Def
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Joke

Seagate sounds more like a political scandal involving half a kilo of Colombian nose dust, a few scantily clad women of negotiable affection, three overweight Gibbons, and a couple of Panamanian registered boats.

I'd certainly prefer that over having to use one of their hard drives any day. Except maybe for the bit involving Gibbons.

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Video nasty: Two big bugs in VLC media player's core library

Def
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I don't know how much effort is required to build Win7 / 8 / 10 compatible apps out of an older XP codebase...

Building can be a hassle, but more from using an updated compiler than an updated OS. The STL that shipped with Visual C++ 6 and earlier was vastly inferior when it came to obeying the C++ standard. If you use anything from there, expect to have to change a lot. There have also been major changes and conformance clean-ups in the C-Runtimes too.

You generally have to add a manifest file to your project, and link that in too, but that's not more than a few hours work to look up how to do it online and add the bits you need (they're just XML files).

If you use third party libraries, you'll obviously have to find or build conformant versions of those too, which can be the biggest problem if you're tied to particularly obscure ones.

Once you've managed to get things building, the main issues are when the application "assumes" things about the system. Like where it can save configuration/temporary files to, where the Program Files folder is, trying to do things only an administrator can do, etc. I don't think there are many kernel functions that have been removed since XP (that said, if you use an old version of DirectX - specifically D3DX, you're in for a world of hurt).

Ironically, moving to a 64-bit OS and a 64-bit process (more pain if you think sizeof size_t still equals sizeof anything else) can actually reduce application instability simply because you're less likely to run out of memory if you think memory is there to be leaked.

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Def
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As I do for my development; the Win7 machine is too flaky compared to XP.

Or perhaps Win7 doesn't let your dodgy apps run rampantly through the system raping whatever they like along the way? ;)

Seriously though, I don't think anyone can really call Windows XP more stable than Windows 7. All my Windows 7 systems have been rock solid since the day I built them. Most of them are usually up for weeks - if not months - at a time with no problems at all.

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Facebook worth more than Portugal? Hell, it's worth a LOT more than THAT

Def
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Re: Opportunity cost? @DavCrav

Good God, man, that was 13 years ago. Almost 14 if you can count properly right off the bat. (Which I clearly can't.)

I have trouble remembering last Wednesday's breakfast. (But putting White Russians on your Cornflakes can take you that way sometimes.)

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Re: Opportunity cost? @DavCrav

I guess my argument would have made more sense if The Register had a tongue-in-cheek icon, huh? ;)

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Re: Opportunity cost?

Substitute "Facebook" with "The Internet", and you might be on to something.

As much as the Internet has helped us, it has also reduced productivity - especially in the office. Back when I first started working (early 90s) there was no real Internet (technically there was, but we didn't really know about it), and email rarely happened (I vaguely recall some convoluted DOS prompt login process which allowed me to be informed I had no new messages). When I sat at my desk, I worked - or looked at and discussed the cool things people around me were working on (I worked in the games industry at a well respected developer - the stuff going on around me was cooler than cool).

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Google reveals bug Microsoft says is mere gnat

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Again Google?

I'm starting to see Google as that annoying kid at school who just won't shut up.

Like this one.

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Polish chap builds computer into a mouse

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Joke

Meh

It's not even cordless.

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Tesla S P85+: Smiling all the way to the next charging point

Def
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WTF?

Re: giant Scalextric tracks

Bit of a pain having to stop every few miles to clear off the cat fur and stray pubes, though...

If you regularly drive through an area with enough stray pubes to bring down a Tesla, I think you probably have more important things to worry about.

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Re: If only..

All you actually need to do is stick a couple of metal brushes on the bottom of the car, and turn all pedestrian free roads into giant Scalextric tracks.

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DAMN YOU! Microsoft blasts Google over zero-day blabgasm

Def
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Re: Sorry, but Google were uttely wrong.

By all means release PoC code after the patch has been released, to show what was done, but making code available to exploit the bug before the patch has been released?

Even releasing source code after a patch is still pretty irresponsible IMO. There are millions of PCs out there that either won't be patched at all, or will be patched days or weeks later. (Either by lazy fucks like me who restart their PCs once in a blue moon, or by IT administrators who like to try stuff out for a while to make sure it doesn't break anything else.)

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Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Def
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Re: Smoke and Mirrors

My take has always been this:

Agile development is project management for managers who can't manage projects.

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Toyota to Tesla: we can play the free patent game as well

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Re: Where exactly can you refuel?

Four cars an hour isn't much slower than a single pump in a petrol station. At best, a single pump can't serve more than 15 cars an hour. (Once you've filled, paid, taken a quick selfie, and posted an update to Facebook.)

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Def
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Royalty free until 2020?

So let me get this right...

You can start using the technology in the patents for free now. But in 2020 Toyota will come a knocking looking for their cut?

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About 4King time: Panasonic finally reveals voice-control Firefox OS TVs

Def
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Re: Bought a Panasonic TV over Chrimbo...

What I want is a telly that can stream from a NAS box with a client/application that respects account/folder permission structures (unlike DLNA unless it's changed recently).

Eh?

Maybe I'm missing something, but when I'm streaming video from my Windows 7 "server" to my iPad, I see DLNA servers for every local account on the PC. I would assume depending on which server I connected to would control what I could watch from that server.

That's not something your TV should care about, that's a server configuration issue. Just create a DLNA TV account and set permissions accordingly.

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Samsung forks 4K with Tizen tellies

Def
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Paris Hilton

Re: I want

How about this 5120x2880 Dell monitor? http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/dell-up2715k-monitor?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&s=dhs

Paris, because 19 inches just isn't enough.

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Mirror, mirror: Seagate shows off 1TB data shiny at HDD beauty contest

Def
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Re: Please

Actually, I was wondering while reading the article what Seagate drives are like these days. I remember when Seagate was a synonym for garbage, and I tended to avoid Seagate drives like the plague. I still avoid them now simply because I have so many bad memories - mostly of stories that happened to other people I might add - I only ever bought one Seagate drive - that was more than enough.

Anyone care to share their opinions on Seagate these days?

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Pirate Bay admins 'couldn't care less' about police raid

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Joke

Re: Sadly...

In other news, crass generalisation made on Internet forum found to be not true.

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Sadly...

"If [Pirate Bay's] code wouldn't be so shitty we would make it public for everyone to use, so that everyone could start their own bay."

That's never stopped anyone from open sourcing code in the past.

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Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

Def
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Re: Money

It's like commercial television; programs are a necessary cost centre, without them nobody watches the ads.

Does anyone actually watch ads on TV? I generally do one or more of the following when they come on:

Change channel.

Mute the TV.

Head to my PC and check email/messages/etc.

Go make a snack.

Go get a drink.

And to keep this about Google:

Has anyone *not* skipped the ads when watching a video on YouTube? Apart from being incredibly annoying, they are the lamest implementation of adverts ever - I just love the way they start playing adverts mid-sentence, halfway through a scene.

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Google+ to offer 'infinite' gender identity options

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Re: ?

Unknown is more than a bit worrying. I have twice encountered unknown as a gender in HL7 messages (the 'standard' messaging format for health data). Both times it has been where an unknown emergency patient was involved in an accident of sufficient severity that their gender could not be determined.

Google probably don't need to worry about this one then.

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Which country has 2nd largest social welfare system in the world?

Def
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Re: Def yay, statistics

I picked Norway because it was mentioned in the article, and happens to be where I currently live. if I could be bothered, I'm sure I could make the same point with many other countries.

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Def
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Re: yay, statistics

The point I was making (or trying to make) is that while the US may spend a larger percentage of its GDP on social welfare, the actual amount isn't proportional to the size of its population (or the percentage of that population that relies on it). In fact the number of unemployed people in the US is more than triple the entire population of Norway. Putting those numbers into the equation implies that the US spends even less per capita than its #2 ranking would suggest.

As an aside, sucking oil out the ground accounts for less than half the oil industry revenue in Norway. More money is made from services these days. (For which I am grateful every pay day. :)

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yay, statistics

The US GDP ($16.25 trillion) is 32 times larger than that of Norway ($500 billion), of which each country spends 30% and 20% respectively (according to the article).

Which by my maths works out that the US spends approximately 4.9 trillion dollars a year on social welfare, while Norway spends about 100 billion dollars a year.

The population of the US (320 million) is 61.5 times larger than that of Norway which currently stands just under 5.2 million.

So per person, the US spends just over 15,000 dollars a year on social welfare, while Norway spends just over 19,000 dollars per person.

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VCs say Uber is worth $41bn... but don't worry, we're not in a bubble

Def
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Re: It probably IS worth $41B

Potentially worth.

I have to agree though. Uber have a service that involves customers actually paying for something.

Ultimately, I suspect they'll just register themselves as a bona fide taxi company where they've been banned, and their business model will adjust accordingly in those areas.

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Man asks internet for $1k for pebbles. INTERNET SAYS YES

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Re: erm just put your whisk(e)y

A friend tried this once. He just used regular ice trays though.

After taking the frozen water off the top, he ended up with really strong, cold whiskey, which was much nicer than the watered down crap they sell you in the shops. So he did it again, and again, and again.

Eventually he acknowledged he had a problem and finally stopped doing it. Which was just as well because it was starting to eat through his coffee table.

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Wikipedia won't stop BEGGING for cash - despite sitting on $60m

Def
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Joke

Re: Straight into a special account

Did someone forget to tell the USA that we have been in the Digital Age for quite some years already?

I think someone sent them an email. Maybe it's still downloading...

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

Def
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That lightsabre...

...will be perfect in the upcoming Jedi Vampire Hunters spin off show.

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South Londoner wins Reddit MILLIONAIRE not-a-lottery lottery

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Re: errrm....

"but then it occurred that there are people who --if they were empowered financially-- might do greater good"

Or go out and spend it on booze, drugs and "ladies of negotiable affection" - and then waste the rest.

Interestingly, nearly all the experiments involving giving people a monthly salary, or basic income, just because it's the right thing to do, resulted in nearly all of them actually wasting less money on trivial things and spending it on bettering their lives and the lives of those around them.

TEDx talk by Rutger Bregman.

Washington Post article on free money.

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Useless 'computer engineer' Barbie FIRED in three-way fsck row

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Paris Hilton

"...she starts a pillow fight with her sister."

Barbie Does Paris?

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HALF A BILLION TERRORISTS: WhatsApp encrypts ALL its worldwide jabber

Def
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Bit of an odd name for a messaging app, isn't it?

I believe it to be a play on the words "What's up?", a phrase commonly used by the young people when greeting each other. Because it's an application running on a mobile device, it cunningly combines the aforementioned phrase with the increasingly accepted shortened form of the word "application", viz "app".

But yes, it's a bit odd, as you so eloquently put it.

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GIANT sunspot returns, bigger and belchier than ever before

Def
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Thumb Up

@Stuart

Do you have any idea how hard I resisted making some pun about Maunder being late for tea time? :p

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Def
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Headmaster

We might be due another "Minimum", but it won't be Maunder's. The Maunder Minimum was very specifically the period of low sunspot activity between approximately 1645 and 1715.

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Elon Musk hits the brakes on Tesla's e-SUV Model X production

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Re: e-SUV? (@AC)

I guess you misunderstood me, and the comment about the letter X probably didn't help. :)

On the whole, I quite like Tesla and what they're doing. I just don't think they've tried very hard with the Model X. That said, one of my gripes before was with the ridiculous lack of wheel clearance shown in all the pictures (the entrance to my driveway is rather steep and very angular - I always end up on three wheels when backing out and turning into the road at the moment), but a friend bought his Model S up to my place the other day with no problems at all, so I guess the Model X wouldn't be any worse in that respect. I still reserve my doubts about the wing doors though - I definitely wouldn't want to clear the snow off by hand before being able to get tools out to finish the job. (I live in Norway, so we're talking real snow here, not the light dusting that closes the UK every winter.)

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Def
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Re: e-SUV?

I'd be quite interested in an electric SUV - even one made by Tesla. But there's no way in hell I'd buy a Model X. Sticking a letter from the arse-end of the alphabet on something doesn't make it cool.

Also, I'd like to see someone open those wing doors with a metre of snow on top (or more specifically clear off a metre of snow by hand before being able to get the thing open to retrieve the snow shovel/brush), or enjoy sitting on a soaking wet seat after climbing in during a thunderstorm.

And I don't know about you, but I like being able to wipe water off the back window from the driver's seat - not have to get out and wipe it by hand. (No rear wiper.)

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Google Glassholes haven't achieved 'social acceptance' - report

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Re: I'd get some for the workshop.

This was the one sensible use-case I came up with:

Overlaying measurement markers, levels, and design schematics on real-world objects.

(At the time I was framing up and laying a shit-tonne of concrete for a patio and steps.)

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European SPACEMAN exposes EERIE snaps of ISS in Twitter feed

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Re: Up-side-down

... is it just me that thinks the Isle of Dogs looks like a scrotum being cupped by a hand?

That is definitely just you. :)

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Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012

Def
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I never said it's a perfect idea. But at least it's an idea.

You could, for example, tax revenue after in-country costs. So for companies which only do business in a single country, nothing would change. Maybe allow overseas costs for tangible goods not to be taxed either, to prevent companies which have to genuinely import raw materials being unfairly taxed. For companies that have to pay "licencing costs" to overseas subsidiaries revenue directed to those costs would be taxed prior to the money leaving the country.

Or you could just leave the system as it is and carry on complaining for the rest of your lives.

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Def
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How do you stop that with a UK law change...

By taxing revenue and not profit. You know, how it works for people. (How that would work with regards to international trade laws, I don't know.)

As a paid employee, I would love my salary to be taxed after I've finished paying all my bills and expenses.

That said, as a company director, I am quite happy that I can spend as much of my company's revenue as possible and then pay tax on the remains - if any. Speaking of which, I feel a "business meeting" coming on in the Caribbean soon...

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US government fines Intel's Wind River over crypto exports

Def
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If governments around the world all stopped being massive dicks, people might be less inclined to use encryption in the first place.

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Mobile coverage on trains really is pants

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Re: Almost every developed country seems to do much better

Norway sounds like it's probably a little better than the UK, but not by much.

Most trains have free WiFi these days (the ones that don't are slowly being upgraded), but it's usually saturated because everyone and their dog is using it. (Have you ever seen a dog using an iPad without a decent internet connection? It's pretty tragic.)

Standard mobile coverage is pretty terrible too even just a few kilometres outside of Oslo. I would estimate I have adequate coverage for about half my daily commute, and absolutely none for about 40% of it (for a 40 minute journey).

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Antarctic ice at ALL TIME RECORD HIGH: We have more to learn, says boffin

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FAIL

Re: Antactica is melting too

*sigh*

Not that fucking graph again. Look at it again. And this time actually read what it's telling you, without glancing at the clearly incorrect and sensationalist text dropped over the top.

It's stating, quite obviously, that the mean temperature over the last 18 years has increased by about 0.24 degrees.

If the temperature hadn't increased, the big blue line across the graph would be next to the 0.0 towards the bottom of the side scale.

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Coming to a theater near you: the TETRIS MOVIE

Def
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Coat

Re: This will be a ...

blockbuster

No, you're thinking of Breakout the Movie.

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Def
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Re: why goes it have to be the game?

You don't even need the blocks falling into place. (Really?) Just make it a good story about how the inventor of the game nearly lost everything.

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