* Posts by Oliver Jones

668 posts • joined 14 May 2007

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All this Brexit talk derailed UK tech spending, right? That's a big fat NOPE

Oliver Jones

Re: The referendum is not legally binding...

Well, it seems the electorate decided by themselves, Farage notwithstanding.

Not that it matters, though: It seems that your political class are desperate to make the UK look like the next banana republic - and simply ignore the result - because it wasn't the "right" one. This is going to be a real popcorn moment, given the global publicity of Brexit.

(I DID tell you not to hold your breath about the referendum, did I not?)

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Oliver Jones

I'm more of a technical bod, but I (obviously) can't do my own research...

Watch Brexit The Movie, then. It's all nicely explained in about 90 minutes. (It's also freely available to watch on YouTube, at no cost.)

Sometimes, when someone posts something on the Web or forum, these days, everyone seems to expect them to provide an encyclopaedia's worth of links to back up their arguments. Totally unreasonable, in my book: Take some bloody responsibility for informing yourself! We live in the Information Age, with unprecedented (and rapid!) access to information, after all. It is NOT the responsibility of posters to educate you. I mean, what next - will I have to provide multiplication tables whenever I make a point using simple math? Frankly, I'm beginning to wonder.

If you are at all mildly curious about what's being said, you Google material that satisfies you, or not. If you aren't curious, then why bother even replying? It makes you look like a cow waiting to be fed. You DO know what eventually happens to cows, don't you?

There is actually plenty of information out there that shows that the only elected positions in the EU, namely the EU Parliament, actually has no real power at all. (Nigel Farage has also said as much - and he'd know: He holds a seat in that Parliament.) Laws are created by offices in the EU that are not elected, so no EU nation state actually has a say in the creation of legislation. That, to any rational, intelligent being, says what needs to be said.

But don't take my word for it...

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Oliver Jones

The referendum is not legally binding...

...so don't hold your breath. The result, even if 100% Leave, is purely advisory, from a legal standpoint. Probably one of the most-overlooked pieces of small print in the whole campaign.

I voted with my feet: It's the only way to get real results in a timely manner (put another way, I have already been "Out" since 2012: Greetings from Switzerland!)

Still, I will miss Nigel Farage's amusing outbursts in the EU Parliament: With the referendum over on Friday, either way, his crusade will finally be at an end - and one of the UK's most entertaining (and straight-talking) politicians will probably be stepping down for good. So enjoy him while you still can.

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UK's education system blamed for IT jobs going to non-Brits

Oliver Jones

Re: Why I left the UK

I have to admit to the same: I got the hell out of Dodge and left the UK for Germany in my late twenties. Met a very nice young German girl a couple of years later, and we married a few years later, just after she earned her doctorate. In 2012 we had a Brexit vote of our own, of sorts - with our feet - and we're now enjoying our fourth year outside the EU in beautiful Switzerland.

(That's why I'm not holding my breath about the referendum: When push comes to shove, I've already feathered my nest, and I won't have to live with the consequences - whatever Britain decides to do. I am already "Out".)

Technical work is respected here, by the way - and salaries are decent, even if the cost of living is eye-watering. Best of all is the sound of church bells (usually in Surround Sound (R), from several churches) when you wake up, and the realisation that most of the immigrants who you bump into here (and you WILL bump into a few!) are here because of their skills, not just because of their price.

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Lester Haines: RIP

Oliver Jones

Jesus. 55 is far too young.

Rest in peace - or, as my late grandfather would have said (especially with regard to LOHAN and the idea of cremation), "Rest in pieces".

You'll be missed. :(

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Google Research opens machine intelligence base in Zurich

Oliver Jones

Actually...

...in these here parts, that would be Chäs, not that fancy High German-sounding stuff they serve in Hannover and places like that. Just imagine the "Ch" as a fairly guttoral approximation of white noise, and you'll get it. :)

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PC market sinking even faster than first thought, thanks to Windows 10

Oliver Jones

Re: False premise

This suggests that sales should pick up once Microsoft ends its magical upgrade offer. If so, why are sales projected to decline even more?

Well, I certainly can't wait for Microsoft to end its magical upgrade offer. The moment it does, I will be able to tell my friends and family that it's now safe to enable Windows 7 automatic updates, without fear of running into the (repeatedly-hidden) KB3535583 scourge.

So said that smug bastard still running XP x64 on Ivy Bridge...

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Dedupe, dedupe, dedupe dedupe dedupe... Who snuck in to attack Microsoft Edge?

Oliver Jones

Re: Awaiting a "fix" from MSFT...

All operating systems are affected by this, because Rowhammer is a hardware exploit, not a software exploit. Running on a computer system without ECC memory is what makes an operating system most vulnerable, and the Google team who documented Rowhammer made a veiled comment that Apple equipment seems to be particularly sensitive to this. They also mentioned that server-grade hardware with ECC memory wasn't so vulnerable, because ECC simply caught and corrected single-bit errors as they happened. Non-ECC systems simply do not enjoy this level of protection.

In other words, if you visit untrusted Web sites on any operating system running on a computer without ECC memory, you may as well go full Hillary Clinton and forget about using a password. ;)

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GCHQ is having problems meeting Osborne's 2020 recruitment target

Oliver Jones

The civil service will eat you alive - it just takes a few decades to digest you.

I bumped into a few "patriotic" types at a certain weather forecasting arm of the Civil Service, about 15 years ago. One guy there even ostracised me because I eventually quit for what was a ~50% raise to work for Sun Microsystems.

The irony he could never know was this: What prompted me to leave was a very bitter conversation I overheard in the kitchen: One guy had been a lifer in the organisation, and was lamenting what the return on his time had been, and how things could have been so much better if he'd put his own interests first. I remembered thinking to myself: "Good point!" - I was still in my twenties, then.

(To me, the scene in The Great Exotic Marigold Hotel, where those two civil service workers were being shown around the pitiful retirement accommodation they were just starting to realise was the only thing they were going to be able to afford in their old age, was particularly poignant, because it was exactly the same tone of anger and regret I had witnessed in that kitchen so many years earlier.)

The other thing is that I could never bring myself (or my wife) to live in the UK: It's getting closer and closer to African living standards every time I visit to see my parents, and I would know: I was born in what is now Zimbabwe, and I have many relatives in South Africa. I enjoy internet access speeds most of you won't see in the UK for at least another 10 years, and a general quality of life here in Switzerland that simply can't be had in the UK unless you're a multi-millionaire.

It was worth learning German for.

My beef with GCHQ is their supposed role in looking after UK interests: Exactly how does that work when the same UK government is practically falling over itself to allow as many immigrants (many of whom will be terrorists with EU passports) into the country as possible? I can understand Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US. But I don't get why the UK is the only member of the Five Eyes that seems to think that the individual merit of applicants has abolutely no place in a modern immigration policy.

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Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Oliver Jones

Re: Sounds great !

Shopping will fit. But fit the dogs and kids with a leash, crack the whip - and claim all that green energy!

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BT broadband is down: Former state monopoly goes TITSUP UK-wide

Oliver Jones

Well, now we know:

BT = Back Tomorrow.

(ducks)

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Evil OpenSSH servers can steal your private login keys to other systems – patch now

Oliver Jones

Re: Languages other than C @Passive Smoking

Yup.

It's for this reason that C89 is still alive and well -.and long may it continue to be. I have a subscription to the Intel compilers for Windows, Linux and FreeBSD - and I've noticed that even the latest standard for C has become horribly complex and C++ - like.

As for C++, that has become a clusterfart beyond all recognition - and for those who are still blissfully unaware of its unmitigated horrors, I would recommend a shufti at the following presentation:

http://www.fefe.de/c++/c++-talk.pdf

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You ain't nothing but a porn dog, prying all the time: Cyber-hound sniffs out hard drives for cops

Oliver Jones

Re: Sounds Expensive

I think Benjamin Franklin was more succinct:

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

It's still as true today as it was when it was first written in 1755: Human nature has not changed.

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'Unauthorized code' that decrypts VPNs found in Juniper's ScreenOS

Oliver Jones

Juniper probably saved a lot of money avoiding security audits of its code. A shame, however, because I would say it's probably going to cost them what they saved (and a whole lot more) in lost customer loyalty.

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One Bitcoin or lose your data, hacked Linux sysadmins told

Oliver Jones

ZFS is looking more and more attractive...

As is FreeBSD (particularly the idea of running Linux-based apps like these in FreeBSD jails, with access to a ZFS volume loopback-mounted over NFS.)

SELinux isn't much protection against an attacker with root access!

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Startup founder taken hostage by laid-off workers

Oliver Jones

Re: Sir

These days, they will just disable your badge - and you won't get past the automated barriers.

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How Microsoft will cram Windows 10 even harder down your PC's throat early next year

Oliver Jones

As a user of Windows XP x64...

...I'm having the last laugh.

Who would have thought that "continued support and updates" would turn out to be such a liability?

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Huge, absorbent iPad rumours recycled – and this time it's REAL. True

Oliver Jones

Killer feature:

Will it include the ability to visit Web pages without the message "A problem occurred with this web page so it was reloaded" constantly appearing?

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Oliver Jones

Re: this one must crash too

I always liked Haiku's (formerly BeOS) error messages, viz:

---

Three things are certain:

Death, taxes, and lost data.

Guess which has occurred.

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Australia cracks tech giants' tax dodge code

Oliver Jones

Flat 20% tax on international currency transfers

Pay 20% up front, and a recursive tax return is required to prove what profit is taxable. (Easily enough done with modern technology. It's one of the prime jobs computers were invented for in the first place!)

If the money happens to pass through a tax haven, where profit and cost can't be conclusively proved, then there is no eligibility for a tax refund on the 20% advance paid - and the tax would therefore be 20%. Quite soon, tax havens would find themselves going out of business, because the black holes in corporate accounts would instantly turn from being a huge asset into a huge liability, overnight.

Companies automatically respond to financial stimulus (that's capitalism for you), and if you make something more profitable, you can bet that companies will end up taking that route. Make opaque accounting hideously expensive, and firms will stop doing it.

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Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

Oliver Jones

Re: I think all my laptops ( bar one) and PCs would run Win10

They only have themselves to blame, because they aren't producing kit that people want to buy. Just cheap crap for the consumer market.

I have a 2009-vintage Fujitsu Celsius H270. It was one of the last models they made with a sensible screen resolution (1920x1200) - pretty much all their "workstation" laptops are now with "consumer" screen resolutions with a 16:9 ratio. I don't know who in their marketing department approved that decision, but they must have been snorting something pretty good at the time. From a workstation user's point of view, It's pretty crap - as even if I wanted to edit HD video, I'd need extra vertical resolution, so the buttons and menu bar would fit on the screen alongside the footage.

So, instead of replacing it with a faster model, it got a new 1TB Samsung 850 Pro SSD. My god, what a difference it made! I'll probably get a few more years of life out of that laptop, yet. Fujitsu's loss became Samsung's gain.

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I cannae dae it, cap'n! Why I had to quit the madness of frontline IT

Oliver Jones

Two quotes that apply here:

"IT is so expensive because the labour is so cheap."

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Security is almost a zero-sum game, but it's asymmetrical: What you do not spend on security will be taken out of your wallet by the hackers, but you will lose more to hack attacks than it would ever have cost you to spend on defences.

The problem for managers and beancounters is that security risks are a latent threat, and they do not appear on balance sheets, where they can easily be seen and budgeted for.

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So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

Oliver Jones

Re: It's simple, really.

Please tell that to the good people of Sheffield, Liverpool and Hull.

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Oliver Jones

It's simple, really.

Inflation has been restrained because Western countries have pursued heavily deflationary policies, like offshoring jobs to the Far East, et cetera. Even today, an Indian coming from India to work in the UK has a huge tax advantage over a native Brit, because the playing field is stacked in their favour: The Indian gets to use tax structures and benefits not available to local Brits, and while it means they can be only in the UK for a total of 51 weeks, most UK employers are quite happy to chop and change every year, if it means they get cheaper staff.

Manufacturing has been totally decimated, and many services positions are in the process of being offshored as well. When this is finished, there won't be anyone left earning money with which to buy any of these "cheap" products or services from overseas.

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Windows 10 won't help. The PC biz is doomed, DOOMED, I TELL YOU

Oliver Jones

Re: Lack of trust: re 4K sectors

4K native drives won't work on XP, period, unless you run them through a RAID controller that presents the raw disk blocks as 512-byte blocks.

512E (4K emulation) drives will work on XP (but are not supported officially), and they will work even better if you use Diskpart to align the first partition to a 64K+ boundary before installing the operating system (however, that requires extra buggerment factor, because you need to boot with a Windows OPK to prep the system before you boot with the CD media to install the operating system itself.) But it does work very well.

Windows 7 does take the aforementioned buggerment factor out of the equation by automatically aligning the first partition to a 1MB boundary. However, like XP, Windows 7 does not support 4K native drives - so, as far as 4K native drives are concerned, Windows 7 users are in the same boat at XP users.

See this page:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2510009

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Oliver Jones

Re: Lack of trust

They will stop selling them, because Microsoft will lean on them to stop selling them, just as they have leaned on Intel to make it extremely difficult to find drivers for XP x64 and Windows Server 2003 x64 for Ivy Bridge kit, which *is* officially supported on that platform.

What's the commercial advantage for Intel to reduce demand for its kit?

The drivers *are* out there, on Intel's site, but you won't find the latest ones with a simple search. Using the search will get you drivers from 2008, which certainly won't support Ivy Bridge. Yet it one knows the version number to look for, Google finds the requisite page quite easily - even if Intel has done a slap-up job of trying to hide it.

If it's being done to XP x64 and Server 2003 x64 now, it's not too much of a leap of the imagination to figure that it'll also be done to Windows 7, when the time comes.

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Oliver Jones

Re: Lack of trust

Windows 7 will be going the way of the dodo when manufacturers stop selling hard disk drives with 512-byte sector emulation. 4k sectors are now the standard, and Windows 7 won't ever support them.

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Facebook: Your code sucks, and we don't even have to run it to tell

Oliver Jones

I hope they ran the tool on itself.

Just... well... you know, in case. :)

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Fanbois designing Windows 10 – where's it going to end?

Oliver Jones

Re: Design by Comittee!!!

The answer is because Microsoft employs more people who think like this:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/uibook/chapters/fog0000000059.html

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All-Russian 'Elbrus' PCs and servers go on sale

Oliver Jones

Nobody considered world war?

Speed is irrelevant. When an EMP renders most Western-based equipment obsolete, the ability to manufacture a machine that goes even at 800MHz will be beyond the capabilities of many in the West.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king: When we are returned to the stone age, even a Commodore 64 will represent a huge technology leap for the masses - let alone an Elbrus.

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Microsoft: Profit DECIMATED because you people aren't buying PCs

Oliver Jones

Not quite true: I have been building plenty of PCs - and they all had FreeBSD installed on them. One of the luxuries of putting together your own kit is the option of not having to pay the old Microsoft tax.

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US govt bans Intel from selling chips to China's supercomputer boffins

Oliver Jones

Re: Q:

Most of the Xeons in my abode (and I have a couple dozen of them) were made in Malaysia and Costa Rica. Those are the 22nm Ivy Bridge Xeons (E3-1280v2s and E3-1265Lv2s respectively) - so we're not talking about ancient history, here.

I anticipate a huge change in the popularity of server, ATX, microATX and mini-ITX platforms based around the OpenPower platform. That would be a walking nightmare for Intel, a boon for Microsoft and not much of a big deal for Linux.

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Pull up the Windows 10 duvet and pretend Win8 and Vista were BAD DREAMS

Oliver Jones

Re: @ Kubla Cant -- Not too sure

"Took MS 20 yeas to play catch up and they still haven't replicated all of the functionality yet."

Nor all of the 20+ year old vulnerabilities in X, either. Still, that hasn't stopped them from trying. :)

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ALL comp-sci courses will have compulsory infosec lessons – UK.gov

Oliver Jones

I'm not sure infosec is a UK priority.

They certainly want to outlaw (or, for the pedantic, mandate backdoors in - which is another way of outlawing) encryption, thus seriously limiting the market for people skilled in information security.

If memory serves, the encouraging of mass immigration, IR35 and some special tax exemptions for Indian staff also limited the market for people with high-end IT skills, and the result is plain to see: They're now mostly working for (and paying taxes to) foreign countries.

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Britain needs more tech immigrants, quango tells UK.gov

Oliver Jones

I'm not UK born and bred - I hail from what is now Zimbabwe, and merely spent 22 years in the UK, but I largely agree with your experience: UK management is generally composed of myopic, egotistic navel-gazers.

They are a significant part of why I left: One learns from working with people who are better than you, not people who are worse.

Greetings from Switzerland, BTW.

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Oliver Jones

Supply and demand meet at a place called price, as the saying goes.

Unfortunately, too many so-called execs seem to be ignorant of the properties of the price discovery mechanism: As anyone in Venezuela could tell you, when you fix the price of toilet paper (and other commodities most people take for granted), the result is an immediate supply shortage.

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Ex-Logica beancounter pleads guilty to insider trading

Oliver Jones

£30k? Was that it?

Can't have been much of a financial planner!

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Wall St wolves tear chunk off Microsoft: There goes $30bn!

Oliver Jones

Re: Stock pricds tend to be foward looking

No, all they need to do is produce a product that people would actually want to pay for.

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

Oliver Jones

Re: How bad is Torvalds?

Yawn.

Please get over yourself. I run BSD on my Panasonic TV, Playstation 3 and, as it happens, on my web and FreeNAS servers, too. What most penguinistas are quick to forget is that the technology world functioned perfectly well without Linux, and many viable (and superior, to boot) alternatives to Linux exist, even today.

I will not be handing back anything.

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QWERTY-tastic BlackBerry Classic actually a classic

Oliver Jones

Re: "Good old days"? Not really

Not true: Said customer base usually has a workflow that they would like to keep, rather than wanting to throw all productivity out of the window for the sake of nothing more than aesthetics.

If you had ever really worked for a living in the technology arena, this would have been obvious to you. Unfortunately, the technology industry has long begun to resemble the fashion industry - for all the wrong reasons.

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No more free Windows... and now it’s all about the services

Oliver Jones

Re: It will be a cold day in hell...

Everything you want to run != everything other people want to run

I know that might come as a shock to you, but Linux has a ~2% desktop market share for a very good reason. Even OS X, which requires an extremely expensive fruit-themed dongle, has more market share on the desktop than Linux - and cost has absolutely nothing to do with it.

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Microsoft's dodgy new Exchange 2010 update breaks Outlook clients

Oliver Jones

@Vince

It's happening in many industries: Proper testing is expensive, and - as it turns out - completely unnecessary, because the lazy and apathetic customer base will no longer punish you for making them alpha-test your products.

You can't blame Microsoft, et al for learning (and then applying) this.

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RBS's Ulster Bank whacked with enormous IT cock-up fine

Oliver Jones

I don't want to see fines for this sort of thing.

I want to see senior staff (like the CEO) doing porridge for an appropriate period of time (1 day in chokey for every customer affected seems reasonable to me.)

Only when these nitwits see a clear link between their own responsibility (which must be enforced!) - and their own personal actions, will they enforce the kind of corporate policies that will help to keep themselves out of jail.

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KRAKKOOOM! Space Station supply mission in PODULE PRANG EXPLOSION CHAOS

Oliver Jones

Re: just like the good old days.

Technology has nothing to do with bugs.

Bugs are merely a symptom of the kind of tolerances we have developed for bad quality products, and our greed in wanting to see (or sell) a product before it is ready. You can see what bad buying habits have brought about: Cheap crap everywhere, no quality control and no attention paid to detail. Even Apple, which was once prized for quality, is now missing beats on hardware design and operating system bugs that interfere with even basic functionality.

When buying habits change, so will the quality and quantity of bugs. Until that happens, though, I expect the problem to get worse. Technology cannot help us if we're willing to continue paying good money for shit quality.

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NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)

Oliver Jones

Re: Enuff already !

Simple:

rm -- -rf (or rm -rf -- * if you want to recursively delete everything in a directory) will do the trick.

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

Oliver Jones

Re: systemd to incorporate a shell too!!!

SMF also has a decent debugging facility: If your service did not start, you can ask it why - and get a sensible answer.

I've long gotten used to the fact that software is getting steadily worse, and it's mostly down to crappy design decisions, rather than poor coding. My work laptop forced an install of Lync 2013, which has roughly the same feeling as typing on a text terminal operating at 9600 baud. As if that wasn't enough, gads and gads of screen real estate are just wasted - as if I could never have too much.

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Microsoft left red-faced after DMCAs dished out to Windows bloggers

Oliver Jones

Don't worry.

It's karma. Or something...

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Stop ROBOT exploitation, cry striking Foxconn workers

Oliver Jones

Re: Will become a familar issue in coming years

"I think we're starting to see this in the UK already, too many people not enough jobs, yes some of that is due to lax immigration policies but also a lot of jobs have disappeared due to automation already."

Ebola is planned to fix that.

I say "is planned", because rather than letting the disease die out, most Western countries seem fairly intent on shipping infected bodies (or soon-to-be-bodies) to Europe/USA, where the infection then spreads.

Even our ancestors had the good sense to check for infections at ports of entry.

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Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9

Oliver Jones

Re: This is why there was no Win7 SP2

Windows 7 does not support native 4k sector hard discs, though - and it will be useless when you can no longer find 512e drives ("Advanced Format", but with 512-byte sector emulation.)

Windows 8 *does* support 4k native sector drives, but it has all the appeal of a three-headed Alsation.

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