* Posts by Robert Carnegie

2181 posts • joined 30 Sep 2009

Magnetic, heat scanners to catch Tour de France electric motor cheats

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Being blessed with a body honed by sitting at a desk all day...

Can we crowdfund development of this secret electric bike for office commuters?

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400 million Foxit users need to catch up with patched-up reader

Robert Carnegie
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Also

For those who don't know, Adobe also provides a PDF reader product.

If you try it I think you'll never uninstall it. (But if you find out how, pass it on.)

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Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Robert Carnegie
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I don't think Asda is cheap for cables either. Their target market is people who haven't heard of Maplin.

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Robert Carnegie
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Cheeky but effective?

This seems to be asking suppliers to cut prices on LAST year's goods in return for continued business. An after-the-fact refund for no reason except for what smells to me like demanding a bribe. I think Tesco recently said they would stop doing the same thing to their suppliers, and Premier Foods perhaps hasn't - anyone know? But apparently it still sounds like a good idea.

The police should send in that American smut labrador.

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Robert Carnegie
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Not a gay hookup service... I hope

To avoid embarrassment - I am pretty sure that Maplin is not where gay men go to connect.

Maplin is not for sex, it is instead of sex.

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Israeli researcher fans fears: here's another way to cross the airgap

Robert Carnegie
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I'm worried

What is the British equivalent of kilobyte or megahertz? We haven't had our own computing standards since Turing.

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Robert Carnegie
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Just fanless. Can do.

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Get ready for Google's proprietary Android. It's coming – analyst

Robert Carnegie
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Oracle

may be considering launching a proprietary Android product.

I have no particular reason to think so, except to make a joke. But maybe they would.

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Our CompSci exam was full of 'typos', admits Scottish exam board

Robert Carnegie
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Re: English, 1st language?

If it sounds right, it is right for all intensive purposes.

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/8-embarrassing-yet-common-malapropisms/

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: Q5 is wrong

Wrong in what way? It looks OK to me. SELECT * FROM StudentLocker ORDER BY YearGroup ASC, LockerNumber DESC

ORDER BY HouseName, LockerNumber gives the same result, but that isn't the point, I think.

The punctuation goes wrong when it starts talking about football.

"The second level of sorting only takes place when there are any matches, like a phone book with people with the same surname. They are then compared on forename or in football tables when teams have the same points. They are then sorted on goals scored."

It should say:

"The second level of sorting only takes place when there are identical values in the first level, like a phone book with people with the same surname. They are then compared on forename. Or, in football tables when teams have the same points, they are then sorted on professional fouls."

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Who's to blame for the NHS drug prices ripoff?

Robert Carnegie
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Drugs patent length

The argument that I referred to is the claim that too much of the term of a patent for medicine has to be spent expensively testing it for safety and for how good it actually is, before they can sell it and make their money back.

I think the system isn't failing yet (although medical science ought to be led by government and above commercial limitations), but cutting from 20 years to 10 probably would cripple drug research as private business.

As for music and words... they are protected for a very long time, but mostly that doesn't matter, you can write your own. Whereas the patent law is designed to give the man who invents the square paperclip his just reward, and then share his invention with the world.

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: I've read the original article

As far as I can tell, this isn't "cheap medicine for the Third World" generics of patented drugs as you are apparently reading it, it is drugs whose patent term has ended and anyone can legally make them, for a rather restricted set of "anyone".

There is a claim that patents should be longer, but they are not.

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Software snafu let EU citizens get referendum vote, says Electoral Commission

Robert Carnegie
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Error?

"The Electoral Commission said it is working on identifying how many EU citizens have wrongly been issued polling cards allowing them to vote"

They didn't say or shouldn't have said that. The polling card does not allow you to vote. I'd say it invites you to vote, but, as explained, you may be not entitled to, and the card doesn't prove that you can.

Maybe you could apply for quick British citizenship if you do want the right to vote, but that isn't easy to get if you don't have it, unless you are rich.

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Computerised stock management? Nah, let’s use walkie-talkies

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Floor standing foot measurers

After the X-Ray machines (perhaps more dangerous to the operators, who got it all day), there was a machine that just slid metal bars in from all sides to gently grip your foot and report a measurement. a bit of a gimmick, but so was the X-Ray machine.

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You deleted the customer. What now? Human error - deal with it

Robert Carnegie
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Re: A cautionary pair of tales (pt2)

I think Notepad++ struggles with files of even a few hundred megabytes.

OTOH I think it now has a "tail" mode i.e. when the file grows on disk, its view in NPP is updated.

Alternative suggestion though - have your routine editor be one that quickly fails out, SAFELY, on oversized files. MS-DOS EDIT or EDLIN may qualify, may not.

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Robert Carnegie
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Delete some things.

Sometimes, responsible use of data includes deleting it when you don't need it any more, such as when it's the law regarding personal data or credit card numbers. Keeping what you shouldn't keep means it also can be stolen and misused and it's your fault.

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Marketing by opt-in, opt-out, consent or legitimate interest?

Robert Carnegie
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"The Bottom Line" - details

The programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07c4tqf

The company: https://www.davidnieper.co.uk

Beware - if I heard correctly, not only does Christopher Nieper want to reach out to non-customers at will, but I -think- he said that the business also relies on sending goods without bothering to have a customer order them first - apparently something that there was a risk of the European Union banning, but averted..

People who have never heard of him are safe for now (so, whoops), but put the two together and he will be sending -you- his cashmere T-shirts with an unexpected invoice. A ticklish situation.

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/distance-selling-regulations

doesn't mention what to do if you are sent stuff you haven't ordered. I think I remember that if you open it then you may have to pay for it, but the smart thing is to call back and say "Something I didn't want has been delivered, do you want to come and get it?" Something like that.

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Robert Carnegie
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This week on BBC radio business discussion show "The Bottom Line"...

Topic: British membership of the European Union - good or bad for business?

One contributor was complaining that the EU wants to legislate over and over again to restrict his ability to collect data and locate and market directly to prospective customers...

That's spam, I do believe. Spam, or maybe junk post.

I was slightly surprised that no one said so on the air.

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Feds raid dental flaws dad

Robert Carnegie
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There is a password, though.

It's "default". Or it may as well be. But it -is- a password.

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You wanted innovation? We gave you Clippy the Paperclip in your IM client

Robert Carnegie
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Re: A.I. or M.I? There's a big difference

I dunno. An artificial hand may be a fairly good hand if you don't have enough natural born hands for the job at... the moment. An artificial leg may be a satisfactory leg, at least on a table. And artificial grass may be a good alternative to grass - at least a colleague's neighbour apparently thinks so.

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Robert Carnegie
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Of course any human can distinguish between sarcasm and irony.

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Pastejack attack turns your clipboard into a threat

Robert Carnegie
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Apparently yes

http://www.dpriver.com/pp/sqlformat.htm is an online service to make SQL more readable[*]. It provides a "Copy to clipboard" button - and using that produces a message saying that I'm also giving it permission to READ the clipboard. Oh, and I'm also giving a stranger some SQL program that I wrote with my own hands. (The program's owner is my boss, though, so I don't much care if it's stolen by sinister Eastern European database engineers.)

It's useful, probably legitimate - maybe, and probably honest - maybe.

It seems to say "Copy Successful!" even when it isn't. I think my browser is lying to the web site. At least the browser is on my side today.

I think Notepad++ also comes with a desktop SQL formatter, but my boss says we can't afford to get Notepad++ (it's free).

[*] Feed it this:

select a, b, c from someTable

Much more readable now! :-)

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Microsoft bans common passwords that appear in breach lists

Robert Carnegie
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Your password must be changed monthly.

So I have set it to ChangedMonthly-May-2016. in a few days I will set it to ChangedMonthly-June-2016.

Not really. But what -is- the point of that compulsory change anyway? My best guess is it's so that everybody that I myself told my old password to can no longer use it. Unless they understand my system. And perhaps they now use it for their own... why don't I ask them.

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Want a better password? Pretend you eat kale. We won't tell anyone

Robert Carnegie
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A capital, a number, and no repeated symbol

No repeats is another annoying condition that leads to reasonable pw choices being rejected.

I therefore use N letters, the first being a capital (which may be too obvious or may not make much difference), excluding repeats, then two digits produced by looking at minutes and seconds on a digital watch which may or may not show the correct current time - whenever a new password is required.

I may also add spaces in a regular pattern, just to help me read and type the thing.

Now, how big should N be?

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Norton bans kernel.org

Robert Carnegie
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Now it says "OK"

https://safeweb.norton.com/report/show_mobile?name=kernel.org

I don't know if it's possible to see what the threats are believed to be, while they are shown. You could try putting in a risky site name. Note that 4ch*n.*rg is also "OK" apparently, so goodness knows how bad it has to be.

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Being an IT trainer is like performing the bullet-catching trick

Robert Carnegie
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Good news,

This is a dream! Wake up!

And the bad news. Today isn't Friday, it's Monday!

My last memorable dream involved having accidentally a mouse having got into my parents' old house... it was wearing fancy dress... possibly clown.

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Nuisance caller fined a quarter of a million pounds by the ICO

Robert Carnegie
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Coincidence?

I rarely get marketing calls on my mobile but I got one this morning - presumably: it was an 0845 number reported, I didn't answer, I put it into Google and various web sites say it's a nuisance service, usually for car accident claims.

Perhaps it was this company or a reincarnation of it making a rude gesture by spamming everyone in the country.

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The fork? Node.js: Code showdown re-opens Open Source wounds

Robert Carnegie
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Re: "Then what?"

Strictly, open source just means that users can see and/or use the source code if they want to. It doesn't mean that no licence applies or even that no non-restrictive licence applies. Just that there is source code. But it may be still mine and copyrighted and if I decide to take it away, which this bloke did, then I can. Since he could and he has.

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Big Pharma wrote EU anti-vaping diktat, claims Tory ex-MEP

Robert Carnegie
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Nicotine?

Presumably the nicotine is in fact extracted from tobacco plants, so is a tobacco product?

As for prominent display of products in TV shows, there is a reason for that. There also is a notification symbol for that. In UK TV programs it is a rather small letter P hidden somewhere on the screen nearly the same colour as the background and/or made to look as though your digital telly is playing up. Try to spot one this weekend and win my sincere respect! (quantity of respect may vary).

In Swedish television I think the equivalent symbol appears as a birthmark on each corpse when it is found. Or if the camera dwells on the rather nice wristwatch it is still wearing.

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Switch survives three hours of beer spray, fails after twelve

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Football clubs

The comms stuff will be in some server room or cabinet surely, not in the bar. Mind you, that probably will be physically secure as well.

I suppose you can either disable it remotely when not paid for, or divert POS electronic payments to pay your outstanding bill first. Surely it must be possible to write a contract with a clause that says you can do that.

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Sysadmin given Licence To Perve shows why you always get it in writing

Robert Carnegie
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Filtering never works.

Detection and alerting is feasible. An Internet connection with an absolute smut block is impossible, unless Far Eastern computer appliance vendors have finally stopped displaying their electronic delights by having them cuddled by young ladies in swimsuits... maybe that doesn't sound like porn to you, but back in the day it was something to... notice in the classified advertising in dear old "Personal Computer World". There must be middle aged ladies now who still have indentations in the shape of the BNC port or the Dvorak keyboard.

I think also that warning the browser before letting them see anything that might be inappropriate is simply fair, and, even better, applying a browse time quota to ALL internet access, not only the fun stuff. Most people don't need more than a limited time for work-related browsing, and it will be humiliating and worse to use it all up even on adorable kitten videos and then be not able actually to work. I wonder if any office has tried it that way?

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Admin fishes dirty office chat from mistyped-email bin and then ...?

Robert Carnegie
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On reflection: Return to sender. Not an option?

I think this is different for external and (genuine) internal e-mail. (I've had spam "from" my own address, presumably used because assumed to be whitelisted.)

External e-mail is likely to benefit the business, even if it's just social. it should be delivered as the sender intended.

Having reflected on the unwanted harassment question, internal e-mail should return to sender, with a covering message that looks like an automated response, but with a hint of doubt. If they want to correct it and send it again, that's up to them. If they're ashamed to, that may be for the best.

I quite often get e-mail intended for a colleague with the same forename, but it is almost never as much fun as the case described.

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Pair programming: The most extreme XP practice?

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Agreeing (but quietly)

God forbid the child makes an arbitrary decision on their own.

(I suppose by definition that makes them an innie.)

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Would you let cops give your phone a textalyzer scan after a road crash?

Robert Carnegie
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According to the article "driving is illegal in New York". It's got tougher since the time Woody Allen shot a moose.

Just don't fool around with your other devices while in your car. Just don't.

By next year the phone will be driving, anyway, not you.

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Bug hype haters gonna hate hate hate: Badlock flaw more like Sadlock

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Bah!

Competent professionals won't be distracted by the hype. Instead they will use the hype to increase non-IT colleagues' awareness and understanding of the need to maintain and patch all the systems that a business uses, whether there is a logo campaign and T-shirt or just a faceless bug number.

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Field technicians want to grab my tool and probe my things

Robert Carnegie
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Things To Come

Goodness, why would the Thing Replacer be a person? Either there will be a Thing made for the purpose of bringing you a new Thing and taking away the old one, or your Things themselves will do it: those that are mobile anyway or supposed to be. Your front door will have a Thing-flap so they can let themselves in and out - or rather you will have your own app for control of your flap.

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Fake CEOs pilfer $2.3bn from US biz pockets in three years – Feds

Robert Carnegie
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Think twice

if you are asked to provide "a wire fraud transfer", it may not be an authentic request.

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Flaw found in Lhasa makes for compression confession depression

Robert Carnegie
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If I've got this straight, everyone in Japan uses "Lhasa" as their zip tool?

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Let’s re-invent small phones! Small screens! And rubber buttons!

Robert Carnegie
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To hold a big tablet phone,

I think several products exist - cases etc. - which basically fix a large handle to the back of the tablet, to hold it securely with one hand, operate it with the other.

Mine however is glued and taped inside old hardback book (desk diary) covers which I can wear on a cord around my neck, like a slate accessory for someone lacking the power of speech. Sometimes.

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You can't dust-proof a PC with kitchen-grade plastic food wrap

Robert Carnegie
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Screen saver

Nowadays your PC or laptop does "screen saving" by turning off, more or less. Or by turning everything off. It's a standard feature and it saves electricity.

You can however set the display to stay on, for applications where the device needs to keep running while not being touched.

The screen saver or lock screen mainly reminds you that you haven't actually turned the PC off.

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Oz uni in right royal 'indigenous' lingo rumpus

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Historical correction...

Wikipedia says the Dutch arrived in 1606 and the continent was called "New Holland" - by them - until the British barged in. But as far as exploitation goes, it seems that they mostly couldn't be bothered going all that way to make people miserable.

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ICO fined cold-call firm £350k – so directors put it into liquidation

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Anyone for GDPR?

No need for any of that - just press 5 and the company stops calling your number. (I did. They haven't. I was joking.)

I wonder if the banks are sponsoring the "annoy people about PPI claims" phone spammers / scammers. It must encourage support for a "put an end to PPI claims" cutoff date, and maybe also the bank gets a lot of its PPI compensation penalty returned to it via the dodgy PPI agents - lovely! Yes, I would do that! If I had my soul removed beforehand.

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Medical superbugs: Two German hospitals hit with ransomware

Robert Carnegie
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If people die because hackers hacked a hospital, arguably that is indeed murder.

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This is why copy'n'paste should be banned from developers' IDEs

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Code Review

I got caught out by reading something on a support blog.

"Why does powershell 4 automatically convert my UTF-8 text to Unicode?"

That was what actually I wanted it to do.

But it doesn't. It just treats it as ASCII or ANSI or something.

Powershell 5 does allow e.g.

powershell -version 5.0 -command "&{gc -encoding utf8 euro-utf.txt | sc -encoding unicode euro-ucs.txt}"

I am going to need a little more than that though. Specifically, arbitrary input file name, e.g. to be dropped onto the CMD file. I can have four of those, because I want four output files.

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Linode SSH key blunder left virtual servers open to man-in-the-middle fiddles for months

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Finger trouble

You can stir your coffee with a box cutter knife, but most people do not. They use a more appropriately shaped metal tool. Or plastic, indeed.

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Bitcoiners are just like everybody else: They use rubbish passwords

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Hmmmm

If it's also the door guard's day off, sure.

Then again, maybe it also voice prints selected senior British actors.

Ian McKellen

Michael Hordern (BBC radio Mithrandir)

Peter Cushing (always possible, e.g. he played Doctor Who in movies, but also a Star Wars baddie)

Christopher Lee: obviously not. He's a vampire.

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: "...I'll be hacked"

I usually have 6 letters (from any untraceable text document), 2 numbers, and no Bitcoins. How secure is the virtual money that I haven't got?

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What's it like to work for a genius and Olympic archer who's mates with Richard Branson?

Robert Carnegie
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Constructively criticising the Amstrad Emailer

That was Dave Gorman in his UKTV one man show.

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Socat slams backdoor, sparks thrilling whodunit

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Dyslexia?

Dyxlesia is a bastrad

But that mistake everyone has mad

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When customers try to be programmers: 'I want this CHANGED TO A ZERO ASAP'

Robert Carnegie
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Here 1 perhaps is a semaphore flag that means "Test that the data meeting valid accounting standards", things like sales x tax rate = salestax and so forth. Disabled (set 0) in development when processing produced no output at all with no visible reason, necessarily enabled at all times in the live system.

I agree that these stories probably are edited down to get us to the punch line faster.

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