* Posts by Kubla Cant

1769 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Windows 10 handcuffs Cortana web search to Bing and Edge browser

Kubla Cant
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Re: Cue the EU competition watchdog...

Stop bitching: you have a choice. Use one of the several hundred Linux distros available. Then you can bitch about Unity and systemd ...... and choose another fork that is free from them..

The only truly safe option is RSTS/E.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Cue the hackers in 3, 2, 1...

"phone" number order, rather than keyboard keypad number order

Does anyone know why push-button phones were designed with these ridiculous keypads in the first place? I'm reasonably sure that calculators (desktop, not pocket) had keypads long before the first push-button phones were made.

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The case for ethical ad-blocking

Kubla Cant
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Typical of the advertising industry

Good products don't need to advertise. Somehow everyone seems to just know they're the best in their industry

Schnorfle! You owe me a new keyboard. How do I find out which is the best?

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German prof scores €2.4m EU grant to crack software on your bicycle

Kubla Cant
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Re: Its a bike...

Actually, it's an electric bike. It presumably requires assistance from an electric motor because the batteries, motor, electronic suspension and brakes make it too heavy for human propulsion.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware storms live TV weather forecast

Kubla Cant
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Re: "Trust me, Microsoft reads these forums. "

Where are all the Microsoft Online Reputation Managers this morning?

I assumed that they were responsible for the many (and prolix) posts saying "wrong edition of Windows... should be using WSUS... should know better... should have an IT Department staffed by Windows experts...".

It's striking how this band of smartarses knows the TV station's business better than the TV station, when none of them appear to work there.

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Docker hired private detectives to pursue woman engineer's rape, death threat trolls

Kubla Cant
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Re: How endemic is it?

Social Media, number of active twitter accounts - around 230 million.

So if you can find 100 people in that 230 million who want to abuse you via twitter then that is 0.0000435% of the user base.

True, but in this case the abuse seems to have been a response to Jessie Frazelle's activities on behalf of Docker. No disparagement to Docker, but that's not exactly mass exposure. Most of the 230m Twats have never heard of Docker and wouldn't be interested in a presentation that explained it.

One of the many depressing things about this story is that the abuse presumably emanated from IT specialists, people who might be presumed to be better-educated and more intelligent than average.

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Kent Police handed domestic abuse victim's data to alleged abuser – a Kent cop

Kubla Cant
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What about the solicitor?

Are Shyster and Shyster going to be fined? If the DPA doesn't place a responsibility of care on recipients of data, it ought to.

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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS arrives today complete with forbidden ZFS

Kubla Cant
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Re: Another routine desktop upgrade.

People looking for excitement will need to look to the server, including the new IBM mainframe support.

I'm always on the lookout for excitement, but I don't think my house is big enough or my electricity supply powerful enough to run an IBM mainframe.

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Are bearded blokes more sexist?

Kubla Cant
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The last few years have seen an explosion in beardedness*. It's hard to believe that we're all becoming commensurately more sexist.

* I get the impression that it isn't very age-specific. Younger guys grow a beard to look cool. Old geezers like me grow them because they're tired of shaving, and in a probably futile attempt to conceal facial shortcomings.

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AMC sobers up, apologizes for silly cinema texting plan

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

A pedant writes...

What are they going to do? Patrol the isles and ask people to leave?

I've never seen any isles in a cinema, though most seem to have one or more aisles.

Also, why does the article use the Merkin spelling "theater"? The AMC document depicted spells it "theatre".

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Pair programming: The most extreme XP practice?

Kubla Cant
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Treadmills, grindstones and noses

I'm not qualified to comment on pair programming, but here's a theory about how agile methods increase productivity for rather mundane reasons.

Despite all the waffle about ownership and empowerment, one of the ways in which methods like Scrum improve productivity is simply be exposing every developer's efforts to the team. In a waterfall environment you get a piece of work and a relatively long slice of time to do it. Depending on your outlook, you may get it all done quickly then spend the rest of the time surfing, or spend most of the time surfing then get it all done even more quickly. In agile development, the smaller tasks and reporting to the daily stand-up tend to cut down on the time spent goofing off*.

I wonder if pairing enhances this effect? The two developers are unlikely to conspire to spend part of their time doing nothing much, so their noses stay in contact with the grindstone and the treadmill keeps on turning.

* I wish to make it clear that I personally think the goofing off time is when your brain does its best problem-resolving work. YMMV.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: But is it DevOps?

Pairing one of the few remaining programmers with one of the few remaining sysadmins is probably not a recipe for success.

Isn't that how you breed DevOps people?

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SpaceX's Musk: We'll reuse today's Falcon 9 rocket within 2 months

Kubla Cant
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Re: "Merlin engines"?

... after mythical characters ...

I always assumed the RR Merlin engine was named after the hawk, rather than the wizard.

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That naked picture on my PC? Not mine. The IT guy put it there

Kubla Cant
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Re: Another reason...

@MonkeyCee b) IT not reporting the user, but advising them to knock it off

I agree with everything you say, but I think "knock it off" is an unfortunate expression in this context.

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Ultra-rare WWII Lorenz cipher machine goes on display at Bletchley Park

Kubla Cant
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Tunny

Another reconstructed machine on display at TNMOC, the Tunny, was used to decrypt the Lorenz traffic after it was configured with the wheel settings found by Colossus.

I'm pretty certain that Tunny was the codename for the cipher system, or, by extension, messages encrypted by it. Have you actually seen this machine?

The messages which (as was later found out) were enciphered using the Lorenz machine, were known as "Tunny". (The Lorenz Cipher)

and again:

Bletchley Park decrypts of messages enciphered with the Enigma machines revealed that the Germans called one of their wireless teleprinter transmission systems "Sägefisch" (sawfish), which led British cryptographers to refer to encrypted German teleprinter traffic as "Fish". "Tunny" was the name given to the first non-Morse link, and it was subsequently used for the Lorenz SZ machines and the traffic enciphered by them. (Wikipedia)

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1,000 cats await stadium-sized sandwich bag launch

Kubla Cant
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Odd to choose "the wingspan of a 747" for the height. If a 747 has its wings vertical, then there's probably something seriously wrong. Couldn't they find anything 68.96m high that's naturally vertical?

And can you imagine the sound 10 grand pianos would make when dropped from a height of 33.5km?

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Barbie-brained Mattel exec phell for phishing, sent $3m to China

Kubla Cant
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Re: Blonde moment

Finance is hard! Let's go shopping!

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Brits rattle tin for 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

Kubla Cant
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Re: Company wordsmith?

looks like a "superstar's car"

Unfortunately, the superstar in this case is Virgil Tracey.

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FreeBSD 10.3 lands

Kubla Cant
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Joke

Let me get this straight. Is BSD the operating system advocated by the Judean People's Front and Linux that favoured by the People's Front of Judea? Or is it the other way round?

Joke icon, just in case.

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Bloaty banking app? There's a good chance it was written in Britain

Kubla Cant
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Re: The average lines of code (LOC)

If you've ever spent time mentoring inexperienced developers, you'll be familiar with the "clever way of doing something".

The kiddie manages to compress something into a couple of lines of code, perhaps using undocumented features. At best this results in something that's hard to understand and maintain; at worst, something that's broken in a subtle way that will only become evident after release. In all cases, the LOC is smaller.

Code spends most of its life in maintenance, so anything that makes things clearer is a good feature.

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India orders 770 million LED light bulbs, prices drop 83 per cent

Kubla Cant
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Re: Dull

It's odd, isn't it. You can get ferociously bright LED torches and cycle lamps. I suspect the domestic LED bulbs are dim because they're replacements for CFCs.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: new lighting options

I replaced the unreliable G4 halogen lights under my kitchen cabinets with self-adhesive LED strip. The existing transformers, with the addition of bridge rectifiers, provide a suitable power supply. Being waterproof, they're resistant to many of the problems that bedevil kitchen cabinet lights.

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Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

a sale price of 85 rupees ($1.28)

Meanwhile all the supermarkets and DIY centres in Britain continue to charge £10 (949.93 INR).

(I don't want to appear insular, but if you're converting rupees into a more familiar currency for our convenience, why USD? Why not GBP, EUR or AUD?)

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Who's paying the piper?

Here in Cambridgeshire, UK, there's been an extensive program to replace sodium street lighting with LED. The white light is much more pleasant than the horrible sodium orange, but the light source is slightly more dazzling.

I get the impression that the illumination is slightly more localised, with dark patches midway between lamps. Personally, I find this effect pleasant. It reminds me of the charm of gas-lit streets. (Yes, I am that old, though I was reacquainted with it recently in The Park, a private estate in central Nottingham that retains its gas street lighting.)

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Blighty starts pumping out 12-sided quids

Kubla Cant
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Re: counterfeit pound coins

Counterfeit pounds do seem to exist, if the number of coins rejected by machines is any indication. Then again, a lot of 20p coins are rejected, and I really can't believe anyone's faking those.

It's not just the cost of materials that makes it seem improbable. Assume you have £1000 in fake pound coins - how long will it take you to spend them and get the value back from the change? You'd be lucky to make the minimum wage.

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Which keys should I press to enable the CockUp feature?

Kubla Cant
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Which keys should I press?

We used to have a lot of PCs (Gateway?) where the keyboard included a keystroke macro feature. Essentially this meant that most of the keys could be programmed to do something completely different from what was on the key cap. The potential for pranks was endless, but in fact most of the problems arose from users accidentally programming their keyboards.

The BSOD screen-saver was good for a (brief) laugh.

In the days before computers, desktop phones offered opportunities for pranks. Call person A, then transfer the call to person B and hang up, so they're left arguing about who called who. Sellotape the buttons on a receiver rest so the user can't answer calls. Worst of all, put double-sided adhesive tape on the earpiece of somebody's phone.

Eventually, we grew up.

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Hacker reveals $40 attack that steals police drones from 2km away

Kubla Cant
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The attacker's remote AT commands ...

Police drones use the Hayes AT command set? Do they do the warbling noise too?

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Elon Musk takes wraps off planet-saving Model 3 vapourmobile

Kubla Cant
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Re: Sedan (definition?)

I think a sedan has two blokes carrying it on long poles.

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BMW complies with GPL by handing over i3 car code

Kubla Cant
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Re: Is there still such a thing as a non-outsourced call center?

I think the company I'm working for at the moment has a call centre downstairs. And I've worked for another company recently with an internal call centre. When they're internal, they're less likely to be called a "call centre" and the people who staff them have less of a call-centre outlook, so you don't hear about them.

I guess the hierarchy from best to worst is: internal, external UK based, offshore with good English, offshore incomprehensible.

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'No regrets' says chap who felled JavaScript's Jenga tower – as devs ask: Have we forgotten how to code?

Kubla Cant
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Re: "Brenna" and "Sarah"

It's striking that women's names are much more common in books and articles about programming than women are in actual programming environments. A similar phenomenon is the way "ethnic" names are used in material aimed at schoolchildren far more than would be warranted by the actual proportion of the corresponding population.

The intention in both cases is to encourage an inclusive attitude to minorities, which is wholly laudable, but the actual effect can be rather patronising.

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Ever wondered what the worst TV show in the world would be? Apple just commissioned it

Kubla Cant
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Re: It could be good, or it could be a barely disguised ad for the App Store..

I found The Soul of a New Machine a strangely unsatisfying book. When you reach the end you feel as if you've read an account of the design and building of a computer, but you haven't learned anything about what they did or how they did it. I've re-read it more than once, but the effect doesn't change. I suppose it's because it's really a description of the personal, social and commercial aspects of the enterprise.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: apple wants to video about computer stuff ?

I think I've read The Cuckoo's Egg about three times, but this is the first time I've seen any mention of it.

The Newtonian Casino seems to be out of print, but I've ordered a second-hand copy at Abe Books.

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London's $40m 'flash crash' trader is to face extradition to the US

Kubla Cant
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Flash Boys

The relevant book here is not The Big Short, but another book by Michael Lewis. Flash Boys describes the extraordinary antics of high-frequency traders. It opens with a description of the speculative construction of a fibre link from New York to the Chicago mercantile Exchange. Speed is so important that they can't even afford to route the fibre round a car park when the owner refuses wayleave.

The story revolves around a trader who finds that his trades are effectively sabotaged by HFT algorithms that manipulate the market while his trades are in flight. He sets up an alternative exchange that incorporates delays so that HFT is denied its advantage.

Read it.

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Tracy Emin dons funeral shroud, marries stone

Kubla Cant
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Re: I love it when the amateur art critics come out to play

Lots of criticism, but it's all directed at a silly cow who "marries" a stone. I see no art, and no art criticism.

Why did she go and marry a French stone? Are our British stones not good enough for her?

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Error checks? Eh? What could go wrong, really? (DoSing a US govt site)

Kubla Cant
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Re: But the program is error free!

@Version 1.0 My favorite was standing behind one of my programmers ... I gave him his exit interview later that day.

So, the boss hangs over the guy's shoulder while he's working - no pressure there. He lets out a slightly ill-judged expression of pleasure when he gets a clean assembly. So you sacked him.

I think he had a lucky escape.

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PC World's cloudy backup failed when exposed to ransomware

Kubla Cant
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Re: Or she hadn't completed a backup in the previous 30 days

Frankly, this sounds like the most probable explanation. A cloud backup may fail to complete for a variety of reasons. A likely cause is that the size of the data becomes too large for the backup window.

If a professional server backup fails to complete, alarms sound and operators and system managers rush round trying to solve the problem. In a home office environment, it could be easy to miss, or to misinterpret, warnings from the backup program.

Backup and anti-virus software on Windows often seems to suffer from over-engineered UI syndrome: the standard UI isn't flash enough to pull in the punters, so they make it look like something else. After 30 years working with computers I expect to be able to understand most software, but my wife's copy of BitDefender induces a kind of brain-fog.

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Swede builds steam-powered Raspberry Pi. Nowhere to plug in micro-USB, then?

Kubla Cant
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Loop much?

the Pi's greater demand for juice when it boots causes a voltage drop big enough to force the mini computer to reboot

I assume "the mini computer" refers to the Pi*. So what you're saying is that the Pi's demand for juice when it boots causes it to reboot. Whereupon its demand for juice causes it to reboot.

I'll have to stop there, as I can't stand typing "demand for juice" any more.

* Unless there's a PDP-11 or the like in the setup, which rather detracts from its simplicity.

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Jump aboard our load balancing Maglev, Google tells devs

Kubla Cant
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Re: 20 millions line for 900 projects?

a measly 22k lines for each project

“Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.” - Bill Gates

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How Microsoft copied malware techniques to make Get Windows 10 the world's PC pest

Kubla Cant
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Mushroom

1. Windows is insecure, so Microsoft has to release numerous security patches. It is stressed to users that they must install all security patches to keep their system safe.

2. Microsoft subverts the security patch system to distribute nagware.

3. Everybody complains.

4. Microsoft tells them they can avoid the nagware by changing their security update settings.

5. goto 1

What part of quis custodiet ipsos custodes don't they understand?

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She's coming... the Chief Data Officer

Kubla Cant
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Toxic

I know the world supply of TLAs is rapidly becoming exhausted, so we have to recycle old ones. But "CDO" hasn't really had time to shed its toxic associations. The first Google page of results is almost entirely about Collateralized Debt Obligations and how they landed us all in Carey Street,

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Middle-aged US bloke pleads guilty to iCloud celeb nude photo hack

Kubla Cant
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"Celebrity nude photos stolen from hacked cloud" seems to be a story that recurs every few weeks. newspapers could keep the page as a template and just change the names. What I can't understand is the back-story:

Agent Congratulations, Miss X, you've got the part/won a quiz show/appeared in a tabloid story/etc. You're a celebrity!

Miss X Whoopee! I'll rush off home and upload lots of nude selfies to AWS.

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Bloody Danes top world happiness league

Kubla Cant
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Switzerland

It's happiness, Jim, but not as we know it.

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'Just give me any old date and I'll make it work' ... said the VB script to the coder

Kubla Cant
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Re: Visual Basic

I was certainly a grep user at the time, though whether I was judicious I leave to others to decide. Unfortunately, grep doesn't solve this sort of problem.

Your mission is to find cases where a function or procedure that expects a Date (probably along with lots of other arguments) is passed a String or Variant. The first problem is that the argument list is frequently stacked over several lines, because developers have been encouraged to use long variable names. All grep can do is output the line with the function name (current greps can output several lines of context, but this was 2003). Even if you manage to output the complete call with all its arguments, how do you tell what type they are? They might be local variables, module-level variables, values returned from other functions, or expressions evaluated when the call is executed. Tracing each of them back to the point where the type is defined is a non-trivial task.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Not all of them...

On VMS Ctrl-T displays a line of information about the running process, including, IIRC CPU and IO statistics. It's very useful if you think a process might be stalled or looping.

If you want Ctrl-T to be sent to the program, you can disable this feature with SET NOCONTROL=T.

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Watch six tiny robo-ants weighing 100g in total pull a 1,769-kg family car

Kubla Cant
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Thumb Up

Re: I, for one,

@Steve K

Emphatic upvote for the Waif-o-matic (TM)!

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LG builds a DAB+ digital radio radio into a smartmobe

Kubla Cant
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Re: DAB, DAB+ and Digital Radio Mondial

FM is better. Even AM can be better.

Perhaps. One reason I use DAB at home is because I got sick of fiddling with the tuning on (medium-quality) FM portables. Typically, you'd get the thing perfectly tuned, and it would stay that way as long as you were standing right next to it. Cross the room, and everything turns to noise. It's possibly because my house has thick walls.

With DAB, it's all or nothing, and I've had no signal loss anywhere in the house.

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Microsoft's done a terrible job with its Windows 10 nagware

Kubla Cant
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Re: The Terrible...

The sooner they realise that the old way worked and the new way doesn't

I suspect that the old way isn't working the way it used to. Microsoft has been heavily reliant on OEM Windows sold with new PCs, which produced healthy revenue as long as there was a fairly high churn rate in the PC market. This was driven by (i) people buying a PC for the first time and (ii) people replacing PCs because of poor performance running new applications. Both these drivers have lost a lot of their power over the past 10 years, and will probably continue to do so.

I don't dispute that Microsoft has made mistakes with its new versions and its update process, but that doesn't alter the fact that they have to change their business model.

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Behold, Microsoft SQL Server on Linux – and a firm screw-you to Oracle

Kubla Cant
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Re: More spyware ?

@Danny 14 Our sql server isnt internet facing so it wont be phoning anyone home.

Good point. Anyone who runs a database server that has an open internet connection fully deserves to be spied on.

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Chinese boffins grow new eye lenses using stem cells

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Author needs eye treatment

I can't help thinking the author or subeditor needs eye treatment. This article is full of sloppy mistakes. (In the past I've used the Tips and corrections link, but lately it results in no acknowledgement and no correction.)

"... boffins grows ..." - assuming there are several boffins, I think you mean "grow", the plural form of the verb.

"Most

Operation success rates..." - why the new paragraph in the middle of a sentence?

"... the first instance regenerative medicine." - missing "of"?

Unclosed quotation.

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Electrified bird bum bomb shuts down US nuclear power plant

Kubla Cant
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Re: Shouldn't there be something to prevent this?

If a streamer contacts an energized conductor, the electrical current may travel through the streamer back to the bird

I Am Not An Electrical Engineer, which is perhaps why I can't understand this. If the bird's in the air (not specified, but strongly suggested by the reference to takeoff), where's the current going to? It's no different from a bird on a wire.

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