* Posts by davcefai

141 posts • joined 21 May 2007

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Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab

davcefai

No, nothing will convince them except possibly their $DEITY chucking a stone tablet down a mountain.

Let's face it, how can they stand the idea of being "descended from a monkey"?

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Icelandic Pirate Party asked to form government

davcefai

Re: Enquiring minds want to know..

There was a short story with this theme. Wife kills hubbie with a frozen leg of lamb, then cooks it. She then offers it to the detectives who unwittingly eat the murder weapon!

Not sure of the author, maybe Roald Dahl.

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3,500 Verizon call center workers can't hear you now

davcefai

Making Money.

"realign our real estate portfolio "

Does this mean "we can make a lot of money of selling the sites"?

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McDonald's sues Italian city for $20m after being burger-blocked

davcefai
Happy

Good on the Italians. 35 years on I can still remember my bitter disappointment when I discovered that a Danish smorrebrod (open sandwich) restaurant in the Copenhagen Town Square had become a Burger King "outlet".

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Dirty COW explained: Get a moooo-ve on and patch Linux root hole

davcefai
Flame

Whinging

Amazing, the lengths some people will go to in order to diss Open-Source!

So Linus made a mistake (sort of). He admitted it, fixed it and moved on. MS have had known bugs running for years. I remember one where I found 6000+ questions about it on the web dating back 7 years. I forget the details but it affected data transfer, via SQL Server, between machines.

The root solution is simple. Don't use Linux, then complain about what you are using - there will ALWAYS be something to complain about. The difference is that, in open-source, the discussions are open and frank.

Thank you for Linux, Linus.

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But is it safe? Uncork a bottle of vintage open-source FUD

davcefai

User Importance

I have come across another obstacle to open source adoption. There are users who consider themselves too important to use free software. They deserve expensive stuff.. I kid you not!

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Ludicrous Patent of the Week: Rectangles on a computer screen

davcefai

Spreadsheets

So half the world's spreadsheets are infringing on this patent because the author drew black borders around some groups of cells.

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Termination fees for terminated people now against the law

davcefai

"I would have thought that a contract with a dead person is void."

Ah, but this is big business in the USA!

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'Geek gene' denied: If you find computer science hard, it's your fault (or your teacher's)

davcefai

I think the researchers were studying the wrong thing. To my mind, what matters is a particular, possibly disciplined, way of thinking.

Yes/No and very few shades of grey. I once worked very closely with a man who went on to hold a *very* senior Civil Service post with great success. He bragged that he always explored all possible options, even the unlikely ones and was horrified when I said that once I saw a suitable option I followed it. Any time wasted was less that his exploration of "everything"

However I had to explain, in "Peter and Jane" language, how and why we backed up our data. We turned out some superb work together but I think that this may indicate that what the researchers should have looked at was not a sample of computer students but a sample of people and studied how their methods of thinking affected their geekiness.

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Google's become an obsessive stalker and you can't get a restraining order

davcefai

Re: Do people care?

I think your problem will be that you can prove where your phone, and you, were. If British law is similar to Maltese you have to prove that you CAR was not there. All fines are directed at the owner, not the driver so, in theory, your wife, offspring or a car thief could have parked the car.

So you also need to prove that you were in full possession of the car at the time.

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Edward Snowden's 40 days in a Russian airport – by the woman who helped him escape

davcefai

It seems to me that Edward Snowden has has done most European countries an enormous favour. Isn't there ONE country whose politicians have the cojones to give him asylum?

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It's time for humanity to embrace SEX ROBOTS. For, uh, science, of course

davcefai

Rather than waffle on about ethics and legality, isn't this a clear case of "if it could be fun it must be wrong so ban it."

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Windows Update borks PowerShell – Microsoft won't fix it for a week

davcefai

Re: Ah, Microsoft

Yes, the BSOD. It has worked reliably for years.

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Robot surgeon outperforms human doctor with porcine patients

davcefai

Diagnosis

I think it was a character in a Tess Gerritsen novel who remarked "I can teach a monkey to operate. I cannot teach it _when_ to operate."

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US govt quietly tweaks rules to let cops, Feds hack computers anywhere, anytime

davcefai
Happy

Reactions

I'm looking forward to reading Angela Merkel's reaction to this :-)

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Linux greybeards release beta of systemd-free Debian fork

davcefai
Linux

Poettering Free Systems.

First we had Pulseaudio. When googling solutions to problems I almost always came across a post by Poettering raving about how wonderful Pulseaudio was and it didn't need fixing.

Pulseaudio went to the great bitbucket in the sky and my systems stabilised again.

Until SystemD. When I allowed SystemD on board it was like going back to the awful Windows days. Bugs, problems, opaqueness and no fixes.

Now I'm back to SysVinit and no longer have frustrating mornings getting the PCs to boot properly. The sad thing is that I cannot yet uninstall the the SystemD mess 'cos too many packages have dependencies on it.

If Debian stick with SystemD then, sadly, it's bye bye Debian.

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Ad-blocker blocking websites face legal peril at hands of privacy bods

davcefai
FAIL

The marketeeers have shot themselves in the foot. There is a place for discreet ads on a page but large flashing red ads are what drove me into the arms of adblock, a cosy place where I intend to stay.

I have no right to force myself onto a web site which doesn't want me to use an adblocker but I can, and do, vote with my feet and wallet. (OK, for the pedants: my fingers and little stash of cash.)

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Microsoft drives an Edge between Adobe and the web: Flash ads blocked

davcefai

So Bill Gates has caved in to Trump. MS have "switched off part of the Internet"!

(Joke Icon if it were available, which it is not)

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Raspberry Pi 3 to sport Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE – first photos emerge

davcefai

Feature Creep

Most of the comments above are relevant and thoughtful BUT seem to be missing the point.

We have here a reasonably sophisticated, very inexpensive little computer. Those of you old enough to remember will recall that a Sinclair Spectrum was a sizable investment in its time. The Pi is practically a pocket money device. The foundation emphasises low price. If you're worrying about SATA ports and USB speeds and really do need them then you can doubtless afford something more upmarket than a PI.

The Pi is cheap enough to embed in a number of tinkerer's projects such as a super doorbell or a baby monitor. You can also turn the kids loose on it. If they destroy it it won't break the bank to pop out and get another one.

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Google human-like robot brushes off beating by puny human – this is how Skynet starts

davcefai

Asimov's Laws

Obviously the builders have implemented the first law: "A robot may not harm a human being...".

Otherwise towards the end of the video the robot would have been quite justified in thumping the bod with the stick!

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Roll up, roll up to the Malware Museum! Run classic DOS viruses in your web browser

davcefai

Just to add a little info, the Maltese Casino was a modified, already existent, virus. I examined the innards and saw that the date check code was very clumsy although it did work. It was nowhere near as elegantly written as the rest of the .com file. However it served as a good detection string.

Strangely enough the 15th August is a national holiday in Malta - a big one - where we literally celebrate not becoming part of Germany during WW2. Malta was out of food and aviation fuel. Fighters could not take off. The Ohio made it into harbour and fuel was trucked straight to the waiting planes!

Anyway, the point is that the writer set his code to trigger on a day when the fewest computers would have been turned on. Most businesses would be on Summer shutdown and everybody would be at the beach!

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'Right to be forgotten' festers as ICO and Google come to blows

davcefai

Is this the correct approach?

Google, the advertising company, supplies a search function to world+dog. You ask, it searches. If one wants to be forgotten then the thing to do is surely to delete the embarrassing data. Then Google won't find it.

As I understand it, the way this 'right to be forgotten' is being implemented is that Google, having found the data, has to take steps not to display it. At the moment it is almost working but can it scale up?. Can it handle photos? Can Google notice that Mr A Politician is in that group of drunken guys skinny dipping 20 years ago?

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Linux clockpocalypse in 2038 is looming and there's no 'serious plan'

davcefai
Flame

Somebody Else's Turn to Suffer

Listen here you lot. Y2K was bad enough. We worked for months to fix it and got through with flying colours. For my part only one (non critical) field on a GUI misbehaved on the 1st January and that was because, according to the supplier, they changed the specification for the function. ("We'll be sending you the compiler upgrade")

So a few days later the know-it-alls were trumpeting that there never really was a problem.

Now with the progressive dumbing down of non-technical management I forecast that not enough resources for fixing and testing the 2038 bug will be made available. (After all Y2K wasn't a problem was it!) My condolences to those whose job requires them to somehow make bricks without straw.

So I suggest that those of us who may be around at the time should read all the pre-Y2K articles about surviving it. Have ready cash, canned food, extra petrol for the car etc. Thankfully I am retired but at 88 I don't really want to be patching anything - not even my alarm clock.

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Google Translate MEAT GRINDER turns gay into 'faggot', 'poof', 'queen'

davcefai

The entire discussion has ignored the fact that the word "gay" really means something like happy, lighthearted, carefree, and was only hijacked into a sexual meaning in, I think, the sixties. Time Magazine actually wrote about this once. I can only place the article to pre 1972.

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TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'Nauts end panic by switching computer off and on again

davcefai

From experience I have noticed that a very slow ammonia buildup may go unnoticed until it reaches an uncomfortable level.

I remember arriving late at work and smelling ammonia. Nobody else in that section of the building had yet noticed it - it was a leak into a cold airstream which cooled a store. I ordered the building evacuated. As people left a phone rang from the engine room. "we think there might be an ammonia leak....."

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Google v Oracle: US Supreme Court turns to Obama in Java copyright war

davcefai

Re: Linux? PC BIOS?

That's another good example. Phoenix went to great lengths to show "no copying" while writing their BIOS. The process was "refereed" all the way. However we are here talking about the US judicial system which has been described as "the best that money can buy" (or was that the govt?)

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davcefai

Precedent

Wasn't the API copyright issue done to death during the SCO vs Rest of the World litigation? I am under the impression that US law is precedent based so that this would be a non-issue.

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Microsoft patch batch pre-alerts now for paying customers ONLY

davcefai

Isn't this an attempt to "monetize" bugs. (Note the z :-) )

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BAN email footers – they WASTE my INK, wails Ctrl+P MP

davcefai

Re: What kind of numpty prints out email, ever?

I used to work with 2 people who ALWAYS printed out their email to read. So typically:

"What do you think of XYZ's proposal" (sent yesterday)

"Oh, I haven't printed my emails yet"

"Well when you do you'll find you missed the deadline."

So they would print the emails, read them and then use the back of the paper as rough paper or to print the next crop of mails. (eco friendly, see?)

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BLAST-OFF! BOAT FREE launch at last. Orion heads for SPAAAAACE

davcefai

Project Name

Isn't it a shame that they called it "Orion"?

As far as I am aware "Orion" was the name given to the concept of nuclear pulse propulsion where a rocket would be propelled by small nuclear explosions "pushing" on a plate at the back of the craft.

Has anybody read Larry Niven's "Footfall"? An Orion craft spearheads the best space battle I have ever read.

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'You have no right to see me NAKED!' Suddenly, everyone wakes up at the Google-EU face-off

davcefai
FAIL

Wrong Target?

Why are they targeting the search engine? It simply tells us WHERE the information is. To me, this seems analogous to instructing map-makers to leave out the shadier streets in a town.

If people want to remove embarassing information they have to get the website to remove it. I know that this is impossible but frankly getting Google to censor information makes me feel uneasy.

Somehow the terms "security by obscurity" and "start of a slippery slope" spring to mind.

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Flies WANT beer booze and now we know why - yeast

davcefai

The importance of yeast.

I don't know who decided that the importance of yeast has been underestimated but it certainly was not a brewer.

Breweries go to great lengths to "protect" their yeast. This includes maintaining cultures at two independent laboratories and growing up a new culture from a single cell every 8 to 12 generations and maintaining "backups".

In emergency procedures manuals it is not unusual to find yeast preservation as a priority. During normal production yeast quality is monitored more carefully than the average baby's health.

(I am both a father and a brewer)

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Linux systemd dev says open source is 'SICK', kernel community 'awful'

davcefai

Regression

I can only state this from a personal viewpoint. Systemd appeared out of nowhere and suddenly I felt I was thrown back 20 years. My systems are more difficult to maintain and stability is not a fact of life. This guy has the cheek to complain about his treatment. Yes, he has reduced a large number of previously happy users to nervous wrecks!

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Rise of the Machines: FIRST HUMAN VICTIM – 2015

davcefai

Why?

Is "the internet of things" another fad like cloud computing?

I can understand linking a fridge to the web, so that it can order stuff I might not want, but why on earth would anybody want their car management system linked to the www?

Or, even even worse, a pacemaker. You really need to have absolutely no enemies to do that safely <g>

Please note, I assume a difference between "connected to the web" and "accessible under controlled conditions".

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Music-mad Brits drive up hardware sales too – claims BPI

davcefai

Missing Data?

Granted that Brits spend more than others on music, what is the price per song/track whatever?

Are the British buying more songs or paying more per song?

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Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol

davcefai

Incorrect

Panadol + Codeine + Caffeine preparations work a treat on me. I know that codeine is addictive but as my consulting surgeon put it, it doesn't matter 'cos I'll always need to keep taking it.

All of which makes me wonder how well the test was conducted.

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Tech talk bloke compares girlfriend to irritating Java tool – did he deserve flames?

davcefai

I remember something called a "sense of humour". Has this been filtered out of the gene pool?

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The Internet of Things helps insurance firms reward, punish

davcefai

Spelling and Grammer

"incentivize" on a supposedly English web page?

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'We don't use UPS. If we did we'd have huge UPSs and tiny computers'

davcefai

Re: Coolers on the roof?

Quite possibly a cooling tower(s) is part of the system. This needs to be in the open. Also compressors generate a lot of heat so it is normal practice to put them on roofs, even in hot countries. They can always be shaded by a lightweight panel.

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LogMeIn: We're stopping our free offering from, errrm, NOW

davcefai

VNC?

I've never used, or even seen, LogMein but wouldn't TightVNC do the job? I have have controlled Windows PCs from a Linux one using Tight VNC over a phone line or a VPN.

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Want to be a better CIO? Get a twenty-something to show you the ropes

davcefai

What's New and What's Different Here?

In any field, senior personnel age and need to "bring up" their successors.

You start by training them in the basics - reality rather than what they learned at University.

"Do it my way" should be the first approach. Then you give them more leeway as they grow into the job. It works - it has worked for me (NOT in IT) and it's a poor pupil that cannot surpass his master.

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World's OLDEST human DNA found in leg bone – but that's not the only boning going on...

davcefai

The meaning of "Theory"

My father used to say of evolution "After all, it's only a theory".

To many people theory does not even mean "hypothesis", more "wild guess".

The best reply I've found to people who pick on "theory" is "So music probably doesn't exist does it? We study the theory of music!"

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Can't stand the heat? Harden up if you want COLD, DELICIOUS BEER

davcefai
Pint

The original story

I am old enough to remember when this started. (That's not a brag, more of a rueful comment.)

New Scientist carried the story in the early 70's following a letter from the teacher involved.

Mpemba was late to class, when they were making ice cream. The process involved boiling the milk. After the cooling down period Mpemba's batch was noticably hotter than that of his classmates but it got put in the freezer anyway.

To everybody's surprise it was the first to harden. The beauty of this phenomenon is that every time the subject is raised the reactions are similar to these. My mother's comment when I mentioned the Mpemba effect was "Everybody knows that it happens that way"

Sadly I have never got around the testing the phenomenon in practice.

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'Modern warming trend can't be found' in new climate study

davcefai

Shurley not Sho!

Obviously rubbish. This does not contrbute to "Global Warming" hysteria and must therefore be wrong. Don't these people know that science works by stating unfounded opinions and not by careful measurement and study?

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Delta Air Lines makes mass Windows Phone 8, Lumia 820 buy

davcefai

Security!

This announcement comes on the same day that the German govt announced that Windows 8 devices have Trusted Computing backdoor.

So MS or the NSA can change my order of coffee to tea and record my subversive eating habits.

http://investmentwatchblog.com/leaked-german-government-warns-key-entities-not-to-use-windows-8-links-the-nsa/

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Steelie Neelie: One cloud contract model to rule them all

davcefai
Boffin

Puzzled

I may be naive but would appreciate a PRACTICAL reason for going to cloud data storage.

Are the cost savings that great? And is the security risk that trivial?

I would have thought that most potential cloud customers could "get away" with a decently specced server, thereby retaining control of their data.

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Boffins develop 'practically free' sulphur-powered batteries

davcefai
Flame

Temperature

The article mentions "at 60 deg C". If that is a requirement, not "extreme" conditions then there could be a problem commercialising the beast.

Do you really want to insulate your phone, MP3 player etc?

No icons available. Please imagine "Doubting Thomas"

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Good news: Debian 7 is rock solid. Bad news: It's called Wheezy

davcefai
Flame

Debian Flavours

Please remember that Debian comes in Stable, Testing and Unstable flavours. Frankly I have fewer problems with Unstable than I used to have with any version of Windows.

There is also "Experimental" but i would recommend safety clothing before playing with it :-)

The way Debian works, Unstable is cutting edge (for Debian anyway). Packages then drift down to Testing and finally to Stable. With Unstable you always have the latest and greatest - at a slight risk of course. Version numbers are irrelevant here. I installed debian once, over six years ago, and have had a relatively pain-free (almost boring) experience ever since.

Interestingly, I twice unsuccessfully tried to install Ubuntu on clean machines - Crap! Now I won't touch it - it has gone "commercial"

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Forget value-added broker jokes: Could YOU shift nuclear plant scrap?

davcefai
Thumb Up

Excellent article. I suppose how interesting one finds it depends on ones kind of work. Have you ever tried to find a buyer for one million obsolete bottles (the product failed) or wanted 4 RS232 cables for an HP95, 20 years down its lifetime?

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Lucy in 3.4 million-year-old cross-species cave tryst

davcefai
Alien

Pak

Obviously a Pak breeder...:-)

If you haven't read Larry Niven just move on.

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