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* Posts by alain williams

578 posts • joined 29 May 2007

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Cyber scum pump ransomware at victims from spambot-stuffed websites

alain williams
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I may be naive ...

but these bandits extract money from their victims. That money will need to be extracted from a bank or similar somehow - why can the police not ''follow the money'' and collar whoever walks away with the foldy stuff ? I accept that it might be hard, but that they don't seem to do it at all suggest that the cops are not interested; each one might be small beer, but added up it is a lot of dosh, quite apart from the anguish caused and time wasted.

Also: Edward Snowden has told us how much the NSA/GCHQ snoop - why do they not put their efforts to some useful end -- I thought that they were charged with protecting us from harm. If this is not harm ... then what the hell is ?

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Snowden wants YOU – yes, YOU – to build spy-busting tech

alain williams
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Re: Educate the public

Add to that:

"I know, but what can I do about it ?

"I am too busy

I quote pastor Martin Niemöller at them, but they still can't be arsed :-(

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The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots

alain williams
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Is the sun growing up ?

No longer a teenager - no more spots on it's face ?

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British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles

alain williams
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Re: See ...

Am I the only one who wonders about the coincidence of timing:

* government rushes through act for preservation of snooping powers. Ministers cite dangers to this country from terrorism and paedophiles.

* last week there were increased restrictions of mobile phones, etc, on flights to the USA

* today 660 suspected paedophiles were arrested after a 6 month operation

Just what was needed to ensure that the act sailed though Parliament!

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YES: Scotland declares independence ... from the dot co dot uk empire

alain williams
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Not an ISO 3166 code

So it isn't a real country TLD therefore it is a vanity one.

Are they also going to get their own 'phone telephone country code or continue to live under +44 ?

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'The writing is TOO SMALL': MPs row over Parliamentary move to Office 365

alain williams
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Re: Security?

Giving the NSA all the UK government confidential information is part of its bid to become the 51st state of the USA.

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Lyft hits the brakes: Ban threat stalls taxi app's New York City launch

alain williams
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Robot taxi cabs

I wonder what grounds the TLC will use to ban robot taxi cabs when they become feasible in a few years time.

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Doctor Who season eight scripts leak online

alain williams
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A lack of training by the BBC

This sort of thing will happen again & again. Education about computers in schools is hopeless; for most it centers around things like trying to produce powerpoint presentations in a point and click manner without much thought and imparting little insight. Few are taught a bit about what is happening behind the GUI menus. Hardly surprising since most school teachers do not have much IT clue.

Talk to many about security and they will think of blocking porn sites and stare blankly if you press for more.

Companies are generally little better: assume that staff will muddle through.

Until some real understanding is properly taught this script will be repeated endlessly.

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Oh SNAP! Old-school '80s Unix hack to smack OSX, iOS, Red Hat?

alain williams
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This is easy to prevent

The problem is that file name starting with a '-' will be pattern matched; words on the command line that start with '-' can be interpretted as options. This is not usually a problem as most people do not create files with names starting '-', but a cracker might.

So get the shell to not expand (do wild card matching) on file names that start '-'. Put the following into your environment (eg via /etc/profile):

FIGNORE='[-.]*'

GLOBIGNORE='-*'

The first is for ksh, the second for bash. QED.

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alain williams
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Re: dot and slash

P.S. If you really *were* trying to write a trapdoor into a system, surely you'd use "invisible" files with names containing backspaces or octal \000 characters?

You cannot create a file name with a NUL character in it - that would be the end of string to the system call.

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Snowden defends mega spy blab: 'Public affairs have to be known by the public'

alain williams
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We owe this man a debt of gratitude

for providing the evidence of what the spooks were up to in a form that is hard for them to deny and available to the general public.

However: let us not forget others who have helped to expose the malfaisance of governments, eg: Bradley/Chelsea Manning and those who have helped them, eg Wikileaks. Here is a list that may be of interest: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_whistleblowers

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Tor is '90 per cent of the net' claims City of London Police Commish – and he's dead wrong

alain williams
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Re: I harbor some darknet myself

The folders in which said pics are stored are not indexed by Google because there is no link to them.

And if you send the private URL one of your friends via their Gmail account ... does google still not index it ? Are you quite sure about that ?

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One EURO PATENT COURT ruling for all from 'early 2015'

alain williams
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Software patents ?

We don't have them in Europe (yet), will this bring them in by the back door -- eg if some country allows them, then filing in that country will grant an EU wide software patent? This has been twisty turney and I have lost track.

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Google CAN be told to delete sensitive data from its search results, rules top EU court

alain williams
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Barmy

They are going after the wrong people. If the content is deleted on whatever web site then, after a few weeks, Google will remove it from its index.

I suppose the court can twist Google's arm, whereas whatever web site might be outside its juristiction.

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Oracle vs Google redux: Appeals court says APIs CAN TOO be copyrighted

alain williams
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And SCO will rise from the dead ...

again to attack Linux -- after all, Linux follows the Unix (well, POSIX) API and since APIs are now copyrightable - then Linux will be subject to SCO royalties -- so beware the lawsuits!

Complete bollocks: but well worth Microsoft revitalising the umpteen times dead SCO corpse and create some more FUD to try to scare some of those contemplating a MS Windows -> Linux migration.

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Titsup UK Border IT causes CHAOS at air and seaports in Blighty

alain williams
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Who pays for missed connections ?

Several people will have missed connecting flights/trains/... Will the UK border agency pick up the bill of rebooking these journeys and maybe hotel bills ?

I suspect not.

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Speaking in Tech: What do you MEAN, US court can demand OFFSHORE public cloud data?

alain williams
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Skip to interesting bits ...

Thanks for giving the times of the various parts of the discussion. Unfortunately the El-Reg player does not show you the time-since-start when you move the slider around.

Please add this and I might listen to (what I think are) the interesting bits next time.

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Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers

alain williams
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Re: America

What makes you think that other governments are really any different ?

BTW: I assume that you are talking about the USA, America is a continent.

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You use Office 365, SQL Server or Azure, right? Great, you're invited to Microsoft's data insights

alain williams
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Will they cover their NSA links ?

Ie how long it takes them to forward a copy of all your documents and spreadsheets to the NSA for analysis ? This is not just about personal data but also loss of commercial secrets to the USA.

If someone goes: please ask the questions and let us know what they say.

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It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer

alain williams
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What is the purpose of checking another site ?

The recommendations appear to be to change passwords but not bother until the site(s) have patched the problem. As a result I have changed many passwords in the last few days, I have often used one of these vulnerability checkers to see if the site was no longer vulnerable (or maybe never was).

The intention is to protect my security, not to try to break in somewhere. Also scanning implies testing many machines, usually at random - I have done targetted testing of sites where I have accounts.

So, PC Plod: if I have done wrong email me via el-Reg and come to arrest me. My conscience is clear.

Disclaimer: I did not read the relevant acts before writing this.

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Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit

alain williams
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Banks sue for *their* loss ...

But how many banks have been sued for the devastation that they caused to the rest of us ?

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Homeopathic remedies contaminated with REAL medicine get recalled

alain williams
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Homeopathy works ...

simply because your body will cure itself of many illnesses given a bit of time anyway. The other thing that a homeopathic practitioner will do is to spend much more than the NHS 10 minute GP appointment with the patient, a bit of sympathy goes a long way to making people feel better.

OK: not really homeopathy working, but probably explains why some people think that it does.

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Judge throws out lawsuit lobbed at Facebook for using kids' pics in targeted ads

alain williams
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Read the T&Cs of the web site

Most people do not bother, partly because they are often long/hard-to-understand and partly because unlike a normal contract they are non negotiable - and most often because they are lazy/will-not-take-the-time.

Maybe people will slowly start to understand that they are agreeing to things, even if they can't be bothered to find out what.

What is needed are a set of standard agreements that have been approved by trading standards or similar ... they could have attached schedules to deal with thing like delivery times.

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You TWITS! Facebook exec erects billboards shaming texting drivers

alain williams
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He is just annoyed that they are texting ...

and not updating their facebook page.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

alain williams
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Re: This is why I don't have a sunroof in my car!

Why are you afraid that the spooks will see that your head is bald ?

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Show more CANADIAN-MADE PORN, insists Canadian government

alain williams
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Radio as well ?

Maybe they ought to schedule a reading of ''Eskimo Nell''

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Bill Gates is BACK... as CHIEF RICH human of PLANET EARTH

alain williams
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Toilets

Well, as long as Bill keeps pushing some of his loot down 3rd world toilets & similar - it is better spent than on what some of the other rich boys do with theirs.

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UK.gov back-office battle may see British Justice offshored

alain williams
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Can't we do it ourselves ?

Some time ago David Cameron made a good analogy of us having overspent on the country's credit card and having to live within our means. Since the UK does have the skills and companies to provide the services that are talked of being off-shored; a good analogy would be of a plumber getting in another plumber to fix his bathroom tap as the other plumber has a B&Q discount card & so can buy the washer more cheaply - the job still ends up costing the householder plumber more.

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Two in five Brits cough up for CryptoLocker ransomware's demands

alain williams
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Backups

Is it really that hard ?

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Q&A: Schneier on trust, NSA spying and the end of US internet hegemony

alain williams
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Re: "Encrypted them in a way he could not decrypt them"

If he encrypted them using someone else's public key, then that someone else could decrypt them but he could not.

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What's up with that WhatsApp $19bn price tag? Answer: Voice calls

alain williams
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Who really bought WhatsApp

So what you are really saying is that Facebook bought WhatsApp because the NSA could not be seen to be buying it themselves ? Ie Facebook is acting as a NSA proxy/agent ?

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Nokia launches Euro ANDROID invasion, quips: 'Microsoft knew what they were buying'

alain williams
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Nokia by itself maybe ...

but with the smell of Microsoft (including an NSA fragrance), the answer has to be 'no'. A shame, since I liked the Nokias that I had.

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London calling: Date set for launch of capital's very own domain name

alain williams
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domain name explosion

We have a nice tree type heirarchical domain name system with only a few roots: .com, .org, .uk, ... this is now going to be turned into a bramble bush with roots all over the place. The only people who win out are the domain registrars as companies run to grab their name in multiple places. Everyone else gets confused.

Fail.

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A Year of Code timeline: History of a HYPEGASM

alain williams
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Message to Rory Cellan-Jones

I think that the Year of code is a good idea in principle, but:

* why only one year ? It is a skill that will be needed by all kids from now on, forever.

* 'exclusive' ? Eh ? I see the main value of the year of code as giving people a clue as to how computers work; lift them up from the level of icon button pushers. This should make them more effective users since they will have some clue as to the limitations and strengths of computers. I don't expect many of them will want to become programmers. This insight is similar to the reason why history and geography are taught in school - education on matters that are important so that we understand our place in the world.

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Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

alain williams
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Re: WTF!

I was told that one large UK Gov't department has several values for gender: male, female, male was female, female was male & I think 'unknown' & a couple more where people had decided to revert to their original gender.

None of this is about preference of sexual partner - and is (or should be) of no interest in a corporate database.

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GPs slam NHS England for poor publicity of data grab plan

alain williams
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I did not get a leaflet

I always look through the rubbish that comes through the letter box - just in case.

I had heard about this (here or on slashdot & friends emailed me) so I wrote to my GP, to be asked to fill in a form that contained the same information that I had given them in my letter. I had previously written to my GP to opt out of a similar scheme in 2010.

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'No, I CAN'T write code myself,' admits woman in charge of teaching our kids to code

alain williams
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Lottie Dexter should be sacked

Would they appoint as head of the English Tourist Board someone who had never been to the country or even seen a map ? Of course not. However: the numpties who appointed her are so clueless that they could not understand that having some understanding and insight is necessary.

Pathetic!

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CERN outlines plan for new 100km circumference supercollider

alain williams
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Re: How much?

Well, just slice something off government departments that do not really benefit mankind:

World wide military spending $1.7tn

NSA estimated $10.8 billion

USA armed forces 2011 $664.84 billion

GCHQ, MI5 & MI6 £1.9bn

Note that the above are annual budgets, a new collider would only be paid for once.

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Hands up if you have one good reason to port enterprise apps to ARM

alain williams
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Re: Hand is up

If your application only works on machines of a particular endian - it is broken, full stop, no excuses.

It is not hard to make applications work on machines of different: endian or word lengths.

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Vodafone's Euro revenues slump by nearly TEN PER CENT

alain williams
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So - no tax payment then ?

Their accountants can probably use this to magic away any profit at all.

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IBM nearly HALVES its effective tax rate in 2013 - report

alain williams
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If the big companies need to do it ...

to be able to turn a profit, what hope us small, non multinational, businesses that don't have the ability (or desire) to evade tax by shuffling money around the world?

Politicians from different countries need to get together and agree ways of stopping this sort of thing, even if it does hurt donations^Wbribes for research^Wfavours.

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Apple and Samsung STILL in bitchfight over banning ancient mobes

alain williams
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I wish ...

these companies would compete by producing the best products rather than hitting each other with lawyers over trivia.

The real message is to small competitors: don't mess with us, we can afford more legal firepower than you can.

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Volunteers slam plans to turn Bletchley Park into 'geeky Disneyland'

alain williams
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Re: Says it all really

Yesterday Iain Standen phoned me back after I called to complain about the fracas. He told me that the tours had been standardised and that 90 minutes was too long for visitors.

I said that visitors should be given the choice.

He seemed to know of the discussion on El Reg; I said that he should contact them to give his side of the story.

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Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

alain williams
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Phone them, tell them what you think

I just did (01908 640404), I had been asked to organise an outing there - but it will prob not happen, there now seems to be little point.

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The internet is 'a gift from God' says Pope Francis

alain williams
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Re: Pope in believing in God shocker

and I always thought that it was Al Gore who invented the Internet!

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alain williams
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Manipulating others

He must be referring to the church itself, after all it is an expert organisation at convincing people that its mythology is true -- in the fact of facts and lack of evidence.

The violent agression is what they threaten will happen to you in a supposed after life if you don't do what they say.

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And the winner of the most reliable disk drive award is ...

alain williams
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Buy from different batches

All disk fail sooner or later. I always mirror disks in machines, so my main concern is if the 2 disks fail close together in time. That is why I try to install disks that are likely to not have the same lifetimes, so preferably made by different manufacturers or at least different batch numbers.

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IBM's Watson-as-a-cloud: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's another mainframe

alain williams
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IBM should ask Watson itself

If it is as good as it is cracked up to be it will be able to tell its keepers how best to use it to earn $10bn per year :-)

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Campaign to kick NSA man from crypto standards group fails

alain williams
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Better to have him where you can see him

Remove him and the NSA will just put someone else into the standards group, but this time it won't be known who he is. Keep Kevin Igoe and at least we know to treat all his suggestions with a shovelfull of salt.

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Amazon, Hollywood, Samsung: PLEASE get excited about 4K telly

alain williams
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Spend the money on script writers

rather than on shoving more pixels at me.

Give me plot over special effects every time.

This seems like just an excuse to pursuade people to buy a new TV that they don't really need.

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