* Posts by Kubla Cant

1928 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

'Please label things so I can tell the difference between a mouse and a microphone'

Kubla Cant
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Re: Easily fixed...

Pedestrian crossings on dual carriageways often have instructions painted on the road telling you which way to look to avoid being run over (because you have to look right, not left, when crossing from the central reservation).

The trouble is that when I'm preparing to cross a busy road I don't look down at the gutter just in front of my feet, where it says "Look left", I look across towards my destination, where it says "Look right". The writing is upside-down, of course, but most people find that easy enough to read, and, as far as I'm aware, there is no law of the universe that says things in upside-down writing mean the opposite of what they say.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: When we get to the stage where we have to label everything...

The very worst outbreak of icon disease is the pandemic that has taken over instruction leaflets, especially those for power tools and domestic electrical appliances. These days, before you can use a new purchase, you have to puzzle your way through complex assembly and use advice written entirely in pictograms.

The manufacturers seem to be unaware that one of the reasons we're now using power tools instead of flint axes is that we developed a sophisticated communication system that allowed us to convey information unambiguously. Their argument, presumably, is that the picture-message transcends language barriers. If so, it's entirely nullified by the fact that their safety warnings are always fully translated, no doubt on the advice of their lawyers.

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Robots blamed for wiping 10 per cent off the value of sterling

Kubla Cant
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Most of the knee-jerk, fact-averse downvoting seems to happen early on

It's a downvote flash crash caused by algorithmic forum reading systems.

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Invasion of the virus-addled lightbulbs (and other banana stories)

Kubla Cant
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Re: Third time (un)lucky?

Just seen the following error message from an application that has nothing whatever to do with toast:

angular2-toaster.js:2Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'Toast' of undefined

Coincidence? I think not. But if the toasters' plan to exterminate humanity is executed with the same efficiency they bring to their primary toasting function, then we have little to worry about.

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What’s that Sooty? You want a girlfriend?

Kubla Cant
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Re: on the grounds that sex would be creeping into the programme

I don't recall any objections to Bill and Ben's ménage à trois with Little Weed, nor Andy Pandy's relationship with the sultry temptress Looby-Loo.

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User couldn't open documents or turn on PC, still asked for reference as IT expert

Kubla Cant
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I rated myself as 4/5 for HP-UX Unix

A bit tangential, but that reminds me of the following killer interview question:

"What are your five favourite Linux commands?"

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HP Ink COO: Sorry not sorry we bricked your otherwise totally fine printer cartridges

Kubla Cant
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Re: I took my home printer to the tip a few weeks ago.

I have a sneaky suspicion that nobody actually *likes* the printer they have. It was something they've just learnt to tolerate

True. But for real annoyance you have to have a wireless printer. The stupid thing sulks in the corner waiting for opportunities to go offline and disconnect from the network.

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

Kubla Cant
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Re: Nonsense.

Exactly. The results of the study demonstrate the limited ability of the CS course and its final exams to discriminate on the basis of innate ability. Which is as it should be: the exam isn't designed to spot outliers.

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Dev teaches bot to talk spammers' ears off

Kubla Cant
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Phone bot

Here are some hilarious examples of a phone bot deployed against unsolicited phone calls. I especially like the ditzy receptionist bot.

It would be great to have a phone bot for the Indian "errors on the Windows server" scammers.

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Pull the plug! PowerPoint may kill my conference audience

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

A 200-strong audience of paying conference attendees stare on impassively in disinterested silence.

They may be disinterested (why wouldn't they be?), but I suspect you mean uninterested.

disinterested = not influenced by considerations of personal advantage

uninterested = having or feeling no interest in something; bored

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Half! a! billion! Yahoo! email! accounts! raided! by! 'state! hackers!'

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

Re: Wondered that too about BT

I contacted BT Support to ask them how the Yahoo breach affected their email service. I wish I could say the reply was convincing.

Me: What are the implications for BT email of the massive Yahoo data breach? Your site claims my account uses BT Mail, but your web mail page is titled "BT Yahoo", and it is served from a Yahoo domain: https://us-mg42.mail.yahoo.com.

BT: Hello. I'm <name redacted>.Thanks for that information, I'll check it and get back to you in a moment.

Me: Thank you

BT: Your e-mail would be powered by Yahoo, so you have to use Yahoo page to login.

Me: So what are the implications of the Yahoo data breach for me?

BT: There is no data breach using Yahoo page, as it is secured.

Me: The page may be secured, but Yahoo has just admitted they have been hacked. What is BT's position on this?

BT: There is no such update for BT e-mails.

BT: If there would be any we will update you thorugh text

Me: What does that mean? Have BT Yahoo email accounts been hacked or not?

BT: No, they have been not. However, you can change your security question and answer, along with password for your e-mail.

Me: Thank you

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Behold the fruit of your techie utopia: A $43 San Francisco fog-infused martini

Kubla Cant
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It's distilled

It probably makes no difference whether the water comes from the fog or the kitchen tap. Most distillation processes result in flavourless alcohol. Gin is subsequently flavoured with botanicals, whisk[e]y and brandy get their flavour from the barrels they're aged in. I don't know what they do to the sort of vodka you use to make Martinis - it has very little flavour anyway.

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She cannae take it, Captain Kirk! USS Zumwalt breaks down

Kubla Cant
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Re: "So called" tumblehome?

I don't think it even needs quotes. Anyone who's read Patrick O'Brian* knows what tumblehome is.

* If you haven't, you should start now, as there are about 13 books to get through.

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Oracle confirms Java EE 8 is delayed for 'major enhancements'

Kubla Cant
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Lambda?

To help simplify coding, Java SE 8’s Lambda is coming to Java EE 9.

What does this mean? Lambda expressions are a syntactical feature of the Java SE 8 language (and lots of other languages, of course). Java EE is a set of standards, frameworks and libraries, but the language used to create JEE applications is... Java. So lambda expressions are available regardless of the JEE version, as long as you're compiling your application code with Java 8.

Have I missed something?

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2,000 year old man found dead near 2,000 year old computer

Kubla Cant
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Re: Finding DNA could tell archeologists more about the ship and where it came from.

I think the origin of remains is usually determined by analysis of minerals in the teeth, rather than DNA. I have to confess that my knowledge of archaeology is largely derived from episodes of Time Team.

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Going, going, done: Trio of prolific auction fraud fraudsters jailed

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

As a matter of interest, are "auction fraud fraudsters" different from "auction fraudsters"?

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EU ends anonymity and rules open Wi-Fi hotspots need passwords

Kubla Cant
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Re: Even EU supporters hate these sort of rules.

He's just a fool.

No, he isn't a fool. He just acts like a fool because he's pissed all the time. Brandy for breakfast, apparently.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Users required to reveal identities

you have to prove your identity before Postman Pat will give you the password that allows you to receive letters

In future, you will require a password to post a letter.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Meh

Oddly enough it's the eurosceptic countries like the UK and Denmark that have implemented the largest number of EU directives in national law

That's why they're Eurosceptic.

In the EU, the Germans like plenty of rules, the more unreasonable the better. The Club Med countries don't care whether you have a lot of rules or not, because they ignore them.

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'Google tax' already being avoided, says Australian Tax Office

Kubla Cant
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Re: Get expert advice

The problem is that the best experts are all hired by the multinationals.

It's essentially an endless churn cycle. Tax experts spot a loophole and advise their clients to exploit it. The government acts to close the loophole, but by the time they do the tax experts have a new loophole ready.

The only way for a country to ensure it gets a fair slice of a multinational's tax is to levy taxes at competitive rates. That way it becomes the haven where the taxes are eventually paid.

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Rise of the Machines at Sea: The British firm building robot boats

Kubla Cant
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Re: Submarine tracker

Once you’ve found a sub, it is cheaper to drop a small roboat on the surface to track it where ever it moves.

I should have thought it would be within the capability of a competent submarine commander to ensure that the roboat suffers some kind of accident.

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The Internet of Things isn't just for Bluetooth toothbrushes, y'know

Kubla Cant
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I read

Thingmonk...

Internet of Things conference...

London’s Old Street district...

located under an East London railway arch

but for some reason I found it difficult to continue lost the will to live.

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JDK 9 release delayed another four months

Kubla Cant
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The trend seems to be to mix a high level scripting language with a low level language.

For very small values of "trend". There are currently 6 out of 14,500 jobs on JobServe.com that require Lua.

Seriously, the world that Java (and COBOL) development mostly serves is more interested in consistency than the latest whizzo idea.

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Ad flog Plus: Adblock Plus now an advertising network, takes cash to broker web banners

Kubla Cant
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Look and learn

It goes against the grain to cite Google as an example of virtue. But it's the biggest ad publisher on the web, and it got that way with unobtrusive, text-only ads. Most of the search engines that plastered their pages with annoying display ads are dead.

Maybe there's some kind of lesson here.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Wouldn't take much for someone to Copy and Paste the AdBlock concept

How does Privoxy handle HTTPS sites?

Privoxy is a proxy. It filters on the basis of URL patterns, so HTTPS and HTTP are both handled the same way.. That obviously isn't foolproof, but it works well enough.

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Oracle happy to let Apache Foundation adopt NetBeans

Kubla Cant
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Re: "“I'm worried that anyone is still using java to be honest"

This is an excellent reason to use node.js

This is the second post to suggest node.js as an alternative to Java. It's a category error, and it implies a degree of ignorance: one is a server/platform, the other is a programming language.

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Kubla Cant
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the tentacled monster called jDeveloper

Uuurrgh! Does that still exist?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Worried that anyone is still using Java

So which programming language does the "chief data officer at the University of New South Wales" use in her job? My guess is she's basically a pen-pusher.

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The next Bond – Basildon or Bass-Ass? YOU decide

Kubla Cant
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Re: Milk Tray Man

I thought the milk tray man was George Lazenby?

No. George Lazenby was Big Fry.

IIRC the ad said "Big Fry comes into town..." and featured Big Fry with a massive chocolate bar on his shoulder. I'm guessing this ad was produced by a team that had just enjoyed a long lunch and had to have something ready for a client presentation at 9:00 tomorrow.

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Notting Hill Carnival spycams: Met Police rolls out real-time live face-spotting tech

Kubla Cant
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Of all the carnivals in the world, why is the Notting Hill carnival always referenced without an article? Not "a carnival" or even "the carnival", just "Carnival".

The self-important implication is that this is the original and best, the Platonic ideal of all carnivals. In fact it's comparatively recent and derivative. If it's because "Carnival" is supposed to be a festival like Christmas or Easter, then shouldn't it be celebrated before Lent?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Maybe it's because it's Friday

I'm very much enjoying the distinguishing biometric features of the young lady in the picture

It's her face you're supposed to be looking at.

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Excel hell messes up ~20 per cent of genetic science papers

Kubla Cant
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“Automatic conversion of gene symbols to dates and floating-point numbers is a problematic feature of Excel software,” wrote Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren and Assam El-OstaEma

At the risk of appearing xenophobic, I have to ask whether the authors munged their own names through Excel?

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

Kubla Cant
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Re: bash/dash borked, won't fix it for a week...

But Linux shells are just shells. Microsoft's shell is a PowerShell.

Have they ever heard of hubris?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Embarrassing

If you were asked to deploy a Linux desktop across your enterprise, would you run for the hills? I would.

This is certainly the conventional wisdom. But people are more adaptable than you think. During my too-long career in office environments, I've seen the non-technical staff learn to use MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, 95, 98, NT 3.5, NT 4.0, XP, Windows 7, to say nothing of the disruptive changes to Microsoft Orifice.

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Das ist empörend: Microsoft slams umlaut for email depth charge

Kubla Cant
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Re: English is wonderful

a German umlaut can be replaced with an "e" after the other letter

This can be quite annoying. If you're searching for, say, hotels in Rösenheim, you also have to check Roesenheim and Rosenheim. If you're searching a sorted list, will it be near the start of "Ro-" or near the end, or wherever "Rö-" collates?

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Five-storey Blue Screen Of Death spotted in Thailand

Kubla Cant
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Re: Stanstead Airport

Stanstead had a fish pond projected onto the floor in Arrivals that rippled as you wanked across it.

Bit public for that, isn't it?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: It sucks when it's your bank's ATM...

I once had a very excited woman ring me up from that bank and tell me I had too much in my currant account and the bank would give me 1.25 percent interest if I put it into a savings account.

At least she gave you a raisin for using the savings account.

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Password strength meters promote piss-poor paswords

Kubla Cant
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@AC Password strength meters should work like this:

"Well, your password is WEAK, so we won't allow it until you bring it up to standard."

Instead of:

"Well, your password is WEAK, but okay..."

Since the article points out that password-strength meters are useless, this seems like a pointless suggestion.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Passwords need to be rethought

Thumbs up to the initial letters method.

I favour lines, couplets, or even stanzas from poems or Shakespeare plays. You can include punctuation, it's far more memorable than horses, batteries and staples, and it's moderately incomprehensible to anyone who doesn't know the source quotation. If numerics are required, it's easy to add a bit of 1337 substitution.

For example: Nadwh,nafn,4hcttrwh - long and obscure, yet absurdly easy to remember when you know the secret. You can probably guess it, but it may take a while.

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Ad-blocking ‘plateaus’, claims hopeful ad industry

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Ad-blocking 'plateaus'

Using nouns as verbs is a legitimate feature of English.

The use of "plateau" as a verb is common enough that it's questionable whether it's even an example of verbing. Would you raise a similar objection to "Ad-blocking peaks"?

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London cops waste £2.1m on thought crime unit – and they want volunteer informers

Kubla Cant
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Re: No evidence necessary

"Good morning, Miss Jones. You certainly look nice today!" is an indefensible punishable offense of sexual harassment if Miss Jones perceives it to be!

It's worse than that. The guidelines say "perception of the victim, or any other person". Even if Miss Jones likes the compliment, even if she blushes and says "Thank you kindly, Sir. Fancy a quickie in the stationery cupboard?", it's open season for anyone within earshot to get the Police round and have you cuffed before you've finished that second cup of coffee.

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Kubla Cant
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No evidence necessary

An interesting article in The Spectator (paywall, probably - extract below) recently pointed out that "Hate Crime" is unique in requiring no evidence. So how come it costs £2.1m to investigate?

The police’s ‘Hate Crime Operational Guidance’ now stresses that the victim’s perception is the deciding factor in whether something is measured as a hate crime. No evidence is required. ‘Evidence of… hostility is not required for an incident or crime to be recorded as a hate crime or hate incident,’ the guidance says. ‘[The] perception of the victim, or any other person, is the defining factor… the victim does not have to justify or provide evidence of their belief, and police officers or staff should not directly challenge this perception.’ So you don’t need actual evidence to prove hate crime, just a feeling. The police are discouraged from asking for evidence.

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Baffled Scots cops call in priest to deal with unruly spirits

Kubla Cant
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Amorth

Am I the only one to think "Amorth" sounds like one of the entities an exorcist is supposed to get rid of?

Is there a mole in the Vatican?

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Adblock Plus blocks Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook ads

Kubla Cant
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Re: I find the best way to avoid adverts on Farcebook...

I find that if I want to leave a forum comment, but have to have a Facebook login to leave one, then what I wanted to say was probably 1) not worth saying 2) to the wrong audience.

A site that uses Oauth to have logins processed by other sites such as Farcebook isn't necessarily endorsing Farcebook or subscribing to Farcebook's standards. It's not uncommon to offer several proxy authentication routes.

Having said that, I dislike Oauth because it's such a pain to code with, and I'm suspicious of the way it provides a single point of security failure.

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The curious case of a wearables cynic and his enduring fat bastardry

Kubla Cant
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Re: Remotes

My old Sony audio centre has a remote control that allows you to open the CD drawer without leaving your chair. Even after 20 years I have a low success rate throwing CDs across the room and into the drawer, and there seems to be no way to get them out remotely. I suppose a remote-control vacuum cleaner would be useful for that.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Fat chance

...I'm highly unlikely to actually find anything with a 30" waist...

But try buying casual shirts, and you won't find anything that isn't slim-fit. Most shirts cling like a corset, and are quite uncomfortable to wear for a day. I confess wear 32" trousers, but I don't think I'm very fat. I can only assume the fat bastards are also pigeon-chested.

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Italian MP threatens parents forcing veggie diets on kids with jail

Kubla Cant
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Vegans are all pale, scrawny and weak - look at Venus Williams, for example.

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'Nigerian scammer' busted after he infected himself with malware

Kubla Cant
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The headline started an interesting train of thought about the more traditional Nigerian-style email scammers.

Do these scammers have rock-solid malware protection? I've seen sites devoted to stories of stringing these guys along, and sometimes even getting money out of them. It would be so much better to disable the systems they work on by replying to them with infected attachments.

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The developer died 14 years ago, here's a print out of his source code

Kubla Cant
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Re: E.E. "Doc" Smith

settled down to read "The Silmarillion" again

Impressive. Most people (including LOTR enthusiasts) can't get through it once.

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Violence, vandals and vomit: London's naughtiest tech Tube stations revealed

Kubla Cant
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Re: The Taking Of Pelham 123....NOT!

The original wasn't a bad film. But I've always wondered if the concept was a Springtime for Hitler plan. "This is a hijack! Take this tube train to Mogadishu!" has an air of implausibility, even if you substitute Cockfosters.

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