* Posts by MacroRodent

763 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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Judge spanks SCO in ancient ownership of Unix lawsuit

MacroRodent
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groklaw and grokthelaw

I'm surprised the file is at groklaw.net, which PJ stopped updating over a year ago. Maybe she saw this news as important enough (in any case, there is no link to it at the front page).

But this news and related discussion can be found at http://grokthelaw.freeforums.net/ which was set up to try to continue Groklaw, but is not affiliated with it (and has been a rather quiet place).

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Dr. Dobb's Journal sails into the sunset - yet again

MacroRodent
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Went downhill even earlier

I used to subcribe to it in the 1990's, but stopped because at some point too much of the magazine started to be full off tips and tricks specific to Windows programmers, and I just didn't care to read about the finer points of OLE automation. Older Dr.Dobbs tended to be useful for programmers on all platforms. Besides it was no longer tongue in cheek, hacker style had changed into white shirt and tie...

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Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: German

It obviously has to wait for the ends of sentences, and not just for German. As anyone who has done translation the old fashioned way knows, words usually cannot be translated properly without knowing the context, and the word order often has to be rearranged for the result to sound natural in the target language.

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Web daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee: Back off Putin, I'm no CIA stooge

MacroRodent
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Re: No such thing

even education although it should be a right is not basic.

In a modern society, not being able to read, write and to do simple arithmetic relegates one to a second-class citizen status, with hardly any jobs available. Therefore at least the elementary education should be considered a basic right in our current society.

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Google App Engine has THIRTY flaws, says researcher

MacroRodent
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Re: Do these flaws apply to all GAE; or just to Java GAE instances

I also wonder if they escaped the Java sandbox only to be confined in a private Linux virtual machine instance. Or does Google run multiple Java sandboxes in one (real or virtual ) host? The latter case would make the exploit very bad news.

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Yotaphone 2: The two-faced pocket-stroker with '100 hours' batt life

MacroRodent
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designed by ex-nokia guys

The YotaPhone was actually designed in Oulu, Finland by a team which included ex-Nokia engineers.

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Apple knob refusenik Sir Jony Ive handed award - for talking BOLLOCKS

MacroRodent
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Re: Crown is correct

Maybe it was common parlance when wrist watches were the kings of personal technology, but Ive's reference to it is the first I have seen for many years.

(I stopped wearing wristwatches years ago, because they seriously irritated my problematic skin, particularly in winter, and the mobile phone became available as an adequate replacement timepiece. Apple and others can keep their smartwatches as far as I am concerned).

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Orion: To Mars, the Moon and beyond... but first, a TEST FLIGHT through Van Allen belt

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: Competing with Soyuz...

So in order to have heavy shielding we're going to have use an absurdly large number of launches to get it up there

The radiation refuge for the crew (where they would sleep and otherwise spend as much of their time as possible) could be a polyethylene sphere some metres across inside and with 2m walls (some article or other on SciAm suggested that is enough). The weight of this component is in the 100's of tons, could be launched in 2..3 parts on existing launchers. This sphere could of course be reused on multiple flights.

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systemd row ends with Debian getting forked

MacroRodent
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Re: enterprise systemd

>Depends on your definition of pretty soon.

Well, two or three years... The server guys here are just starting to install RHEL6 instead of RHEL5, and we have just barely got rid of RHEL4...

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MacroRodent
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enterprise systemd

> Of course not that it would matter much in the enterprise, systemd has never been there and never will.

systemd is in RHEL7, so it will be in widespread enterprise use pretty soon.

I'm personally still suspending judgement on systemd for lack of experience with, but that is likely to change, as I am seeing more and more of it at work, as Linux systems get upgraded.

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Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows

MacroRodent
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Re: VLC

> Why does everyone love VLC so much, I've always found it to be resource hungry and buggy.

I at least have not found it to be resource hungry and buggy. Don't know about loving it, but since VLC generally plays any type of media I throw at it, and is free, I tend to install it on any computer I use for any period of time.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Cygwin

The trouble with Cygwin is that it runs applications on a kind of Unix/Linux compatibility layer, which leads to various impedance mismatches with Windows. For example, under Cygwin file name wildcard expansion is done case-sensitively, which is OK for Linux, but frustrating on Windows. Performance also suffers. If you want to use Linux apps on Windows, a better solution is to run a real Linux distribution inside VMWare or VirtualBox.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Paint.net

>Is to MSPaint what NotePad++ is to notepad.

Not only that: Paint.NET is also capable of most common photographic fix-up operations, and is smaller and starts up fast compared to heavy-duty image processing applications.

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We have a winner! Fresh Linux Mint 17.1 – hands down the best

MacroRodent
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Re: I can't agree with this

>openSUSE is now either the longest running distro (1993?) or second,

SUSE was introduced in 1994. Of the still existing distributions, Slackware and Debian are slightly older, 1993.

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MacroRodent
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Herd of cats.

> Enjoy the homogeneity coming to your favorite Linux distro.

Not likely to happen, unless systemd clearly beats all other init systems by its merits (in which case, where is the problem?). Also I have a hard time picturing Slackware switching away from the BSD-style init it has been using since the Big Bang...

I am pretty tired of this flame war (especially arguments that systemd somehow makes Linux like Windows. Ridiculous!) There is no way the herd of cats that is the "Linux community" is going to be forced into any single solution by some company or evil overlord. Just consider the number of different package managers in different distros, all practically identical when viewed from distance.

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SandWorm thrived thanks to botched MSFT patch says HP

MacroRodent
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Re: Polish the turd, yo!

Please remind us again - how many patches were needed to kill Shellshock?

Three, I think, but they came within days or hours of each other, not two years. Also the proposed solutions were discussed in the open, ensuring the quality of the final solution, but giving bystanders an impression that there were even more issued patches in the end than there really were.

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Bang! You're dead. Who gets your email, iTunes and Facebook?

MacroRodent
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Boffin

wiping iThings

Apple declined to wipe the device, citing security concerns.

At least an iPad can be reset by the user, wiping (or at least making very hard to access) any old contents. I had the occasion to exercise this, when my son set a passcode to his iPad and then forgot it. After several guesses the iPad locked itself irrevocably. The reset procedure did require buying a USB connection cable (expensive Apple-specific, of course), installing iTunes to a laptop, and then following instructions from a web site, so it might be beyond nontechnical grieving relatives.

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USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked

MacroRodent
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Re: It will: I won't be exchanging the DVD drive

This isn't just an initial distribution vector. It's also a re-infection vector.

That line of thinking would require stripping out any peripheral with reprogrammable firmware, whether USB-connected or not, which is practically all of them these days!

Back to MFM disk drives...

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MacroRodent
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Re: DVD reborn

"the fact that these days DVD drives tend to be external USB, maybe that won't help."

It will: I won't be exchanging the DVD drive itself with others. I can keep it under lock&key when not in use.

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MacroRodent
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DVD reborn

So, back to DVD:s for sneakernet file transfers...

(From article: ""As long as USB controllers are reprogrammable, USB peripherals should be shared with others," the team said." - Surely there is a missing "not" here? Or should we strive to share the fun?).

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BOING, BOING! Philae BOUNCED TWICE on Comet 67P

MacroRodent
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Uh!

A real nail-biter! Can't wait to get more on the lander status. There is supposed to be a press conference about 2.5h from now.

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DODGY THRUSTER won't stop PHILAE hurtling toward COMET SHOWDOWN

MacroRodent
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Unhappy

The thruster

The out of action thruster could be bad news. Now if the ground is hard when Philae fires the harpoons, won't the recoil kick it back into space with no way to get back (since the harpoons will not have penetrated the ground)? The comet has almost no gravity!

Soon we will know.

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SO LONELY: Woman DARED to get rid of her iPHONE - Apple DUMPED all her TXTS

MacroRodent
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Re: User error

It depends if iMessages were the default (are they? I have no idea, not owning an iPhone). Most users don't try to change settings, if the defaults appear to work. So any problems caused by them cannot be called a user error, when talking about a consumer product.

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Patch Windows boxes NOW – unless you want to be owned by a web page or network packet

MacroRodent
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Heartbleed V2.0

The first one sounds a lot like the infamous OpenSSL bug (in effects, if not in details).

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GOD particle MAY NOT BE GOD particle: Scientists in shock claim

MacroRodent
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WTF?

Re: Science marches on then stubs its TOE

"If we have two theories that make the same predictions, then you can take whichever one you prefer. "

Shouldn't you in this case take the simpler theory, the one with less "epicycles"? (Which in this case would be the original one, with no techni-quarks).

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New Euro digi chief says he WILL consider an EU-wide copyright law

MacroRodent
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Re: Pedantry

The real purpose that it is easier and cheaper for industrial lobbyists to get what they want at the EU level, instead of cajoling legislators in each individual state (some of whom may occasionally have the interests of their voters on their mind - ok, that part may be fantasy).

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OpenSUSE 13.2: Have your gecko and eat your rolling distro too

MacroRodent
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Linux

Re: Avoid btrfs like the plague

How fresh are your experiences? btrfs has evolved, and I find it hard to believe the SUSE guys would pick that bad a file system. Maybe it has been fixed?

(Personally I have no btrfs experience yet, xfs is my favourite, ext4 is also OK nowadays. ext3 was not, it really had a horrible performance).

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MacroRodent
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Re: Gecko? Really?

> Chameleon. But "Gecko" is a nickname for it.

Actually, the nickname is "Geeko".

(I suspect the confusion happened at the beginning of SUSE because whoever decided on the mascot (or perhaps the one who first drew it) did not know the difference between a gecko and a chameleon, and the nickname business was invented to cover up the mistake).

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UNCHAINING DEMONS which might DESTROY HUMANITY: Musk on AI

MacroRodent
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Re: So why didn't ancient Greeks progress?

Mental barriers are more significant. It has been claimed the Greeks did not bother with more machinery, because the hard work was handled with slaves, so why bother. Automata remained toys for the elite, and when wars and conquests destroyed the elite, knowledge was lost.

I fear the 20. century (and 19. before it) may have been exceptional. Shifting ideologies might mean science is de-emphasized, or crippled (worrying signs in U.S about some scientific knowledge being effectively banned from schoolbooks because of religion). Rising income equality may result in knowledge again being confined to the elite, why educate the plebs? The pool for new talent becomes shallower. We may also have already picked all the low-hanging fruit in science and technology. Certainly we have already mined the most easily accessible resources. Further progress becomes harder.

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MacroRodent
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So why didn't ancient Greeks progress?

"Progress is exponential not linear."

Until it hits some serious limit! Consider the ancient Greeks and the Antikythera mechanism. It took something like 1500 years before any mechanisms of comparable sophistication were constructed again. Why? If progress had been exponential, by now we would have colonies (complete with temples of Athena) on Gliese 581 C...

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MacroRodent
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Faust

"Remember Dr Faustus? The bloke who did a deal with the devil? Elon clearly remembers one part of the story, which didn't turn out so well for its hapless devil-summoning eponymous hero."

Goethe's version exonerates him at the end. Faust got thoroughly tired of carnal delights and started applying his talents to useful ends. So God ignored the bit about striking a deal with the Devil.

(Not sure if there is a lesson here as far as robots are concerned.)

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Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data

MacroRodent
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Re: In Switzerland, the Confederation says no to USA over reach

The Romandie seems to get its story from Berner Zeitung, in German. Link for those that read German better (like me, I almost learned German, but French overloaded by brain).

http://www.bernerzeitung.ch/schweiz/standard/Bund-traut-der-Cablecom-nach-NSAAffaere-nicht-mehr/story/30526870

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MacroRodent
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IS (Re: Europe: firewall your data)

Hopefully the spread of IS will be limited by the fact that its ultra-violence will turn everyone except lunatic-fringe islamists against them. Also there is the matter of resources. The narcotics cartels have a money-machine in the inexhaustible demand for illegal drugs in the US. But illegal oil is harder to smuggle and sell profitably (for one thing, oil is bulky), so that source of funds is easier to shut down.

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Trips to Mars may be OFF: The SUN has changed in a way we've NEVER SEEN

MacroRodent
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Re: Project Orion*

" But there has always been a bit of hand waving when it comes to the "shock absorber" needed to stop the crew becoming jelly when they switch the rocket on."

I believe they calculated that, and it was feasible. Or at least if you believe the BBC documentary about the ORION project you can find on Youtube. By coincidence, watched it a week ago. Highly recommended (about an hour long, worth it).

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UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan

MacroRodent
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Re: Gimpd

You can always use Slackware if you prefer an old-school init. Haven't run it for years, but it was one of my first Linux distributions. As the Slackware philosophy is doing things the Unix way (see http://www.slackware.com/info/), they are unlikely to adopt systemd anytime soon.

A good distro, but not for newbies.

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MacroRodent
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Re: the "fun" part about systemd

"It's not like we reboot our machines all the time."

Servers, no. But PCs and laptops do get booted, because they are turned off. Some people claim they are capable of "suspending", but I have found it far too often results in a crash or odd behaviour (like wlan connection not getting restored) when the machine is supposed to wake up, no matter if it is is running Linux or Windows. So now I don't even bother to try, and use a proper shutdown.

I have come to the conclusion that suspending works reliably only in systems where the computer and OS have been designed together with power management in mind, as is the case with smartphones and pads.

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MacroRodent
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Go

So fork, then

What's the big deal? Freedom to go your own way is one of the great things about free software.

In this case it is a good thing, as it sets a nice experiment about which approach is better. Let the best init win!

Personally I have never liked sysv init much with its huge pile of little shell scripts sequenced by a funny naming rule. The systemd can hardly be worse. Haven't used it much yet, but it appears to be well-documented, and brings up my personal OpenSuse spin snappily. Investigations continue...

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

MacroRodent
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Re: Game changer

"For over 150 years all the life changing major innovations came from America"

So wrong I suspect you are trolling. But one thing U.S. did exceedingly well is putting ideas from elsewhere into practice. E.g. the first automobiles with an internal combustion engine were made in Germany, but Ford in the U.S. turned them into an affordable product.

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MacroRodent
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Re: To the skeptics...

"and that killed the last big international attempt"

Uh, isn't the ITER project still going on? Pretty big, and international.

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Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'

MacroRodent
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Windows

Re: Branding bugs

"Who are the 23% of Windows XP users?"

My guess: unsophisticated home users whose existing computers work well enough so they don't feel the need (or cannot afford to) upgrade the hardware. The same people who could be seen running Windows 98 still in 2008...

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MacroRodent
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Branding bugs

Seems it is obligatory these days to give major vulnerabilities cool logos.

The "XP not affected" bit was a let-down. Here I was thinking the major advantage of Vista and later was tightened security. Seems it was not.

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Shh! Bose and Apple ink SECRET deal to settle 'noise-cancelling' suit

MacroRodent
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Re: When

1978? If the technology is that old, it should be off-patent by now. Even if Bose patented it sometime in the 1980's.

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Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20

MacroRodent
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Boxed set

Netscape was the first an only browser I actually bought off the shelf in a computer store. I think it was version 3.0 and the year perhaps 1996. Wish I had kept the packing, it might be a collectible today. It definitely was the best browser at the time. IE was yet a joke compared to it and Mosaic was falling behind.

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'Bill Gates swallowing bike on a beach' is ideal password say boffins

MacroRodent
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Not compatible

I think using a long phrase is a good idea, Unfortunately, most places that expect passwords severely limit the length, and even if they don't may require numbers and special characters which may be hard to include naturally in a phrase, and may reject spaces. The example would have to be something like "Bill@Gates2swallowing#bike/on!a!beach" to be accepted in them.

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Adobe spies on reading habits over unencrypted web because your 'privacy is important'

MacroRodent
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Re: Or it would have if I'd let it...

This isn't about Adobe Reader, it's about Adobe Digital Editions

Nevertheless, my trust in the company vanished entirely after reading this article. I'm going to delete all Adobe software from the computers I have control over, as much as feasible (it may be that removing Flash plugins from the home computers could cause too much domestic disturbance...).

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Inflatables in SPAAACE! ISS 'nauts to enjoy bouncy castle spaceship

MacroRodent
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Re: Well this is fun but...

I'm really looking forward to the next bit of news about progress on Skylon. I realise it's very complex engineering,

I have always felt the concept of taking in air at Mach N+1 and liquiefying it in microseconds is something that makes even cold fusion seem plausible in comparison...

(But I hope I am wrong... the idea is cool if it works ;-).

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How much is Microsoft earning from its Android taxes again?

MacroRodent
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Re: Microsoft scrapping WP royalties

Chromebooks are cornering the lower end of the laptop market

Tablets, actually, and big smartphones. I don't think I have seen anyone use a Chromebook, but my morning commute in the Helsinki local train is full of people staring at tablets and smartphones, with a sprinkling of laptops. They now clearly outnumber people reading newspapers, magazines, or books.

No wonder the paper industry is in difficulties.

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Nokia Lumia 735: Ignore the selfie hype, it's a grown-up phone

MacroRodent
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Crash!

Article: "This is the first Windows Phone to crash on me, reading a page on the Times website. I've clocked up thousands of hours with Windows Phones, and never experienced a crash before;"

Then you have been lucky. My Lumia 710 does crash occasionally. Granted, it usually is many months between crashes, so I'm not really complaining (my old Symbians crashed far more often). But I have decided never to buy a phone that cannot be hard-reset by removing the battery. Software is just too hard for mere mortals to get right...

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So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code

MacroRodent
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Notes

" developing the Notes email system, "

Notes is not just an email, but also a document management system and database. "Groupware" is the term used at some point, I think. It did what "intranets" do these days (or at least that it how it was used at the corporation where I worked), but required its own client.

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Windows 10: One for the suits, right Microsoft? Or so one THOUGHT

MacroRodent
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Re: Peak operating system?

Very true! The role of an OS is basically manage the hardware reliably, provide some common services a lot of programs use, let the user start the programs he/she really is interested in and switch between them, and otherwise STAY OUT OF THE WAY! Earlier OS'es often failed in some of these areas, so new versions were justified, but now all major OS'es cover the basics. Nobody (except a few nerds) is interested in running an OS itself, it is the applications that matter. And an OS upgrade frequently ruins the experience here. No wonder people stick with XP...

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