* Posts by Arthur the cat

219 posts • joined 18 Aug 2009

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That's cute, Germany – China shows the world how fusion is done

Arthur the cat
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Re: "super-heated plasma that turns the Earth into another star"

I'm not a physician

I think you mean physicist. A physician deal with different sorts of piles.

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Go phish your own staff: Dev builds open-source fool-testing tool

Arthur the cat
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Re: Phone phishing for phun

All I get are Indian ambulance chasers.

I get those too.

Him: Have you had an accident recently?

Me: Yes.

Him: Was it serious?

Me: Very. I died at first.

CLICK.

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Arthur the cat
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Trollface

Re: Phone phishing for phun

My record was 35 minutes, but a shorter call was more fun because the crook on the other end got really angry and started shouting insults down the phone.

I do the same when bored. They usually get around to telling you to open the event log because it baffles most people who don't realise much of it is completely harmless information. This is when I really have "problems" and have to repeatedly ask them to run through that again because it isn't working as the program isn't found. In the end I say "shall I just more /var/log/messages?". A small number get it, most need the further explanation that my computer runs FreeBSD, not Windows. Invariably they shout at me for wasting their time.

When busy I simply ask them which IP address they mean, as I run four class C subnets. That usually makes them go away.

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It killed Safe Harbor. Will Europe's highest court now kill off hyperlinks?

Arthur the cat
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Non hyperlink pointers

If I was to write a newspaper article which said "bootleg copies of most commercial software may be found in the electronics markets in Hong Kong"(*) then it would undoubtedly be protected under Article 10 of the ECHR, and yet it's still a pointer to copyright infringing material. Politicians and judges seem to think that "online" is a magic place where centuries of legal practice can be torn up and everything reinterpreted for the benefit of large companies with expensive legal teams.

(*) Not sure whether that's currently true, but it certainly used to be.

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Get ready to tear into next round of hacker tool rules in Wassenaar Arrangement refresh

Arthur the cat
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An ideal international agreement

would be that politicians can't legislate on anything they don't understand. It would also have the advantage of ultimately reducing the number of lawyers.

Where's the icon for utopian dreaming?

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Did you know ... Stephen Fry has founded a tech startup?

Arthur the cat
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What was he bitten by?

hours after being bitten by an insect

His reaction sounds more like he was bitten by a vulture.

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Microsoft buys SwiftKey, Britain's 'stealthiest software startup'

Arthur the cat
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Re: Lots of staff

150 staff for a company with basically one product?

Might be because they support over 100 languages.

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Arthur the cat
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Headmaster

The technology also powers Stephen Hawking's wheelchair.

Nitpick: I think you'll find it's batteries that power his wheelchair. SwiftKey handles the input to the text to speech system he uses.

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'Dodgy Type-C USB cable fried my laptop!'

Arthur the cat
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Re: Not just sensible cables please - sensible hardware too!

A few diodes here and there would save a lot of money

The problem is that diodes have a voltage drop across them, ~0.7 V for standard Si, ~0.4 for Schottky diodes. That means you have to design for a slightly lower power rail *and* have to have a large enough diode to dissipate the heat if you're taking any significant current.

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Arthur the cat
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@Dave 126 Re: Who ever designed..

It doesn't help that PSUs don't come branded "Seagate" or "WD", which would make reuniting the right PSU to the right gadget easier, but instead all seem to be labelled "Asian Power Supplies"

Get a Dymo labeller and label the power supply when you unbox it. It'll save your sanity as well as your devices.

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Europe wants end to anonymous Bitcoin transactions

Arthur the cat
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Joke

Re: Numpties

In a nutshell, that's why I'm going to find the IN/OUT decision quite a challenge.

Ditto. Maybe we need a "shake it all about" option?

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Socat slams backdoor, sparks thrilling whodunit

Arthur the cat
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Re: Obvious, indeed!

I tried that on my puny little Ubuntu box, and the factor command choked pathetically on a number of that size

I just checked the source code for the FreeBSD version of factor and it uses the openssl bignum library to handle its arguments, so has no limit to size of input. The time to get the factors is another matter.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: Interesting point.

Given that various researchers have done some serious crunching using Amazon web services for just a few dollars, checking a 1024 or 2048 bit number for primality should be relatively cheap and only needs doing once.

The big problem is not individual numbers but when an entire algorithm has been back doored by a state level actor. That requires the sort of informed scrutiny most of us simply aren't qualified to supply.

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Did water rocket threaten Brum airport Airbus?

Arthur the cat
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Re: Just remembered

Are you, in fact, a sitcom character?

Not last time I looked, but with decades of acting as a sysadmin as well as doing my main job because no-one else in the department/company(*) knew what they were doing(**), if I were, it would be The IT Crowd.

(*) delete depending on which job.

(**) In one startup I got in late to find a clueless colleague trying to dig the "no user maintainable parts" potting compound out of an early Ethernet switch "because the bloody thing didn't work". They tend not to when one device you connected for testing is on 10.0.0.* and the other is on 192.168.1.*

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Arthur the cat
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Just remembered

Many years (~3 decades) ago in a supermarket I saw a woman trying to get a 2l bottle of coke from the top shelf. She managed to drop it in such a way as to punch a hole in the bottom, at which point the bottle flew down the aisle and demolished a stacked display at the end, leaving several wet, sticky and exceedingly disgruntled shoppers in its wake. Highly amusing for those who weren't sprayed.

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Arthur the cat
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Boffin

Extreme water rocket

A barking mad friend of mine (Hi Dan) has a design for a water rocket that uses an oxygen bottle (as in oxyacetylene welding) pumped up to its maximum pressure. I'm not sure which is scarier, the speed and altitude it could reach or the thought of it coming down in a random location.

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Reg readers battle to claim 'my silicon's older than yours' crown

Arthur the cat
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Re: 30+ years with my clock radio

Ditto, with a cube shaped Sony clock radio from 1984. One knob has been held together by tape for the last decade, apart from that it works fine. I just hope they don't scrap FM for DAB.

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Arthur the cat
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Happy

Long lasting DEC kit

I've got a piece of DEC kit that's still working after 27+ years - a cotton shopping bag. I was given it at OOPSLA 1988 in San Diego containing documents on the then newly defined Modula 3 language. I used it while shopping this morning. The DEC logo and slogans on it usually get a blank look, although the occasional greybeard will ask where I got it from.

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Former tech PR Jeremy Hunt MP ordered by judge to delete tweet

Arthur the cat
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That Hunt should make such a fat finger error is surprising???

Hunt got his start in life as a tech PR man.

The significant part of that is "PR". Aka clue free zone.

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How to build a starship - and why we should start thinking about it now

Arthur the cat
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Has nobody read this?

Charlie Stross' article on space colonisation The High Frontier, Redux.

TL;DR version: we haven't a clue how to do it, just a load of utopian handwaving hot air, and that's before you consider the economics or the politics.

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This gun says you ain’t leaving until my PC is fixed

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

Pr1me field engineers

I was sysadmin for a Pr1me machine for ~4 years in the early 80s. Usually the field engineers were brilliant. However, there was one who I'd rather lock out of the machine room rather than lock in. Australian and very accident prone. Used to take working boards out and then manage to break them by treading on them and once dropped a bolt into a washing machine disk drive that was spinning with its lid open. Shudder.

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Brit censors endure 10-hour Paint Drying movie epic

Arthur the cat
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Boffin

Re: no doubt

there'll be an even more dramatic sequel: 'Glass Flowing'.

and the sci-fi version, The Pitch Drop Experiment

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US rapper slams Earth is Round conspiracy in Twitter marathon

Arthur the cat
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Hmm

US rapper fails to understand science. News at 10(*).

(*) I'm in the UK.

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Time to worry about container standard's AWOL dates?

Arthur the cat
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Re: freebsd !=linux

What's more FBSD jails are better described as light weight virtualisation rather than containers. Containers can be built on top of jails (and ZFS) which is what Docker on FreeBSD does.

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Going on a date, and it's just the two of you? How ... quaint. OkCupid's setting up threesomes

Arthur the cat
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"sapiosexual."

Does that mean likes thinking about sex?

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Call of Duty terror jabber just mindless banter

Arthur the cat
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Trollface

Re: >THE>EGGS>ARE>IN>THE>BASKET...

your postcode is AA1 2BB

The gardens of Easton Lodge???

No, the drone strike should be on SW1A 2AA.

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Dr Sue Black among handful of IT Brits getting New Year gongs

Arthur the cat
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Semi-IT person

David MacKay got a knighthood and among other things he did the prototype of Dasher way back in 1997.

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher/

http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/dasher/History.html

He also wrote a book on machine learning.

http://www.inference.eng.cam.ac.uk/mackay/itila/

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Brit 'naut Tim Peake thunders aloft

Arthur the cat
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"Tim Peake thunders aloft"

I'm afraid the headline makes me think of the metaphor "as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit".

Why isn't there a "lowering the tone" icon?

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Kids' TV show Rainbow in homosexual agenda shocker

Arthur the cat
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Re: All we got in my day . . .

Bill & Ben, the flower pot men

Don't forget Andy Pandy, who used to sleep with Teddy and Looby Loo.

Exposure at a young age to two guys with weed, troilism and Muffin the Mule, it's no wonder my generation acted like we did in the 60s.

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Arthur the cat
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Happy

Re: Sentenced to zippy.

Anti-gay idiots in the US decried the Tellytubbies

Well, there genuinely was the time I turned on the TV in order to program the DVR and was greeted by the Teletubbies commentary "Oh no, Noo Noo has sucked off Tinky Winky's ball". Quite surprised me, it did.

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HPE's private London drinking club: Name that boozer

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

The Fiorina and Fiasco

A friend of mine had a fairly senior position with HP during the Fiorina period and all the stories I heard ranged from bad to "she did what???"

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World needs 252,288,000 seconds to decide fate of leap seconds

Arthur the cat
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IERS

the slowing rotation of the earth means that readers' descendants may end up out of synch with reality

What we need is the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service to live up to their name. Get pedalling, dammit!

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Ofcom asks: Do kids believe anything they read on the internet?

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

Households with kids are in the minority

If you look at the ONS statistics on households you find that households with dependent children are just under 30% of all households. Also, the definition of "dependent child" includes 16-18 year olds in full time education, who can no doubt acquire porn if they want to. David "where's my pig's head?" Cameron's much loved mandatory filtering "for the sake of the children" would impose controls on 70%+ of all households for no reason whatsoever.

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Coffee fixes the damage booze did to your liver, study finds

Arthur the cat
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Re: I think I'll do a one-man test...

Coffee with bacon in it? Oh dear.

Is that better or worse than bacon with coffee in it?

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Google, didn't you get the memo? Stop trying to make Google+ happen

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

"We’ve spent a lot of time listening to what people using Google+ had to say"

And there's their first mistake. They should have listened to people who don't use it about why they don't use it. Preaching to the choir doesn't get converts.

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Commentard achieves bronze badge, goes directly to jail

Arthur the cat
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Re: Huzzah. Badges!

In my case:

Our records show you have been a member since 2008-08-08

I think the Chinese would regard that as a very auspicious date, but I still haven't got a badge. Probably not that much free time probably.

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Big Bang left us with a perfect random number generator

Arthur the cat
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Flame

"Couldn't the same be said for anything fractal with a bit of movement? Like -say- videoing waves on a beach?"

As I recall, someone made a pretty good true RNG by pointing a video camera at five lava lamps and applying MD5 to the camera's output. I think it's also been done with a multi-jet fountain. Fluid dynamic processes can be pretty chaotic. The only problem is that you can't leave the RNG untended in case someone switches off the lamps/fountain.

Icon because I suspect a fire would be a good source as well.

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What the Investigatory Powers Bill will mean for your internet use

Arthur the cat
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Big Brother

Re: Ha-ha

"Until IPv6 that is."

And coincidentally, BT have announced that IPv6 will be deployed across their entire network by December 2016, with 50% roll out by April.

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Yahoo! crypto! queen! turns! security! code! into! evil! tracker!

Arthur the cat
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It failed utterly with my browser

I tried it and it gave me a huge list of places I haven't been, some I'd never heard of, others I'd definitely visited, and couldn't tell me a single place I'd been. Just one data point I know, and maybe my browsing habits are unusual, but obviously it's not going to work on everyone.

FF + AdBlock Plus + NoScript.

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Another go at remote objects: Google gRPC hits beta

Arthur the cat
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Re: It goes back...

Indeed. The ACM TOCS paper on Sun RPC was published in 1984, over 30 years ago. I remember it being introduced on SUN boxes (along with NFS.)

It's amazing how many "new" technologies introduced these days have actually been around for at least a generation. Still, the great advantage of reinventing the wheel is that you get to decide how many sides it should have.

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R&D money for science – from your taxes?

Arthur the cat
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Patents

"Once the new knowledge is known then everyone knows it: it's "non-excludable and non-rivalrous" in the jargon."

Don't patents stuff that up, if only for 20 years? Patented IP seems to be a private good to this non-economist. OK, that's why they were created in the first place, to give the inventor a reward, but with the current mania for patenting anything and everything the patent system appears to work against innovation in some cases.

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Pluto flashes its unusual pits

Arthur the cat
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Alien

Aligned pits and troughs? It's a DVD.

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WIN a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive with El Reg

Arthur the cat
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Sarah's colleagues still hadn't told her about the Ctrl-Alt-Down Arrow trick.

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Boffins: We know what KILLED the DINOS – and it wasn't just an asteroid

Arthur the cat
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"I'm sure I remember reading that at the time of the Chicxulub impact, the Deccan Traps area would have been almost directly opposite on the other side of the Earth,"

I was told exactly the same thing by the geologist brought along to explain the interesting bits of Iceland to us when I went to see the annular eclipse of 2003 there. (Very strange looking north across the Arctic to watch an eclipse on the other side of the planet.)

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Find shaving a chore? Why not BLAST your BEARD off with a RAYGUN

Arthur the cat
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Smell?

Burning hair smells appalling. Not the sort of thing you want after a night on the sauce.

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OnePlus 2: Disappointing Second Album syndrome strikes again

Arthur the cat
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My take

I've had one for 10 days and have very few complaints, added to which it's got generally better specs than my old HTC One M8 at 55% of the cost. Given that I always buy off contract, that's a big factor.

NFC: had it on the HTC, never used it. Seems to me NFC is pretty useless in the UK.

USB-C: different, just like switching from mini-USB to micro- was, and I've no idea why the article says "And the supplied USB-C cable doesn’t fit any regular USB plugs or ports, although it should" because I have zero problems with it. Also it avoids the usual Lovecraftian geometry that requires you to have at least three attempts to plug USB in.

Oxygen OS: not really stock Android. It sits over SELinux, has user accounts, and can control app permissions so you don't have to live with the over-generous rights grab most apps seem to have these days. It's remarkably quick to encrypt the phone as well - it warns you that it will take up to four hours, then does it in about 7 minutes.

Can't persuade the damn launcher to give me a 6x4 grid though, and I agree the lack of customisability of the quick settings is a PITA, although you can reorder them (unlike the article claim).

Fast charge: no big deal for me. The battery lasts me two days normally, one while travelling and using maps a lot (plus being in the wilds so the phone shouts harder to out of range base stations), and I charge overnight.

Fingerprint scanner: works fine for me unless I have wet hands (maybe Andrew O moisturises a lot?). Setting it up automatically let me use it for unlock (as well as the PIN I'd set up), no problem.

Camera: if I want seriously good photos I get out the DLSR. Good enough for using as an aide memoire, and the only reason I use selfie mode is to act as a mirror so I can see the backs of monitors when plugging cables in.

I'm far from a typical phone user, but for my use it's great. The only major problem is the ridiculous "invite" system - I'm somewhere around number 500,000 and only have my phone because I know a OnePlus 1 owner who got an early invite and took it intending to resell.

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Cambridge University Hospitals rated 'inadequate' due to £200m IT fail

Arthur the cat
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Re: Bah!

"And here we see the inevitable result of putting highly-placed techies in a real-world problem. We have raised two generations of CS graduates to expect to have the latest and greatest instead of getting the job done with what is at hand. "

No, the techies who actually do the implementation are at the bottom of the heap. I've not done medical IT (thank Dawkins) but I've done similar work. The spec is put together by senior management with MBAs and no practical shop floor experience, aided by expensive consultants who've taken to heart the Demotivator poster "If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made prolonging the problem". The wanted solution is usually a big bang switchover, rather than prototype roll out, testing and refinement, and if the implementers ever met the people who will actually be using the software then the universe would explode or something, so you can't officially ask anyone about the ambiguities and downright contradictions in the spec except for the idiot who created them in the first place.

Oh, and the spec changes whenever someone has a bright idea or a change of mind, which is often, but the deadlines don't, so the testing period gets shorter and shorter.

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Indianapolis man paints his ball every day – for FORTY YEARS

Arthur the cat
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Re: Darwin Awards Equivalant

Call it the "Watching Paint Dry" award and this guy's a shoo-in for first winner.

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A krayshee sexy Dutch post-pub nosh neckfiller: Stamppot

Arthur the cat
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Re: May I hereby apologise..

Obligatory xkcd references:

https://what-if.xkcd.com/53/ (check out the final map)

https://what-if.xkcd.com/54/ (ditto)

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We are the Knights who code Ni!

Arthur the cat
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Re: I sneeze in your general direction

It wasn't "sneeze" as I recall.

You have to know these things if you're a king^W cat.

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