* Posts by Kubla Cant

1604 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Pirate MEP pranks Telegraph with holiday snap scaremongering

Kubla Cant
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Re: I doubt it's hard to prank them

The Telegraph's online edition has no sub-editors - they publish directly to web without any proofreading or fact-checking of any sort

That explains a lot. I glance at the online Telegraph over breakfast, not because of deep sympathy with its views, but mainly because it's not behind a paywall. I've often been astounded by the typos and sloppy editing.

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'Backronym' crowdfunds itself into Oxford English Dictionary

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: For all those pedantic bastards out there....

A pedantic bastard writes:

That doesn't mean "anything goes". I think you're making the incorrect assumption that prescriptive usage is the basis of pedantry. Not so. What pedants are trying to protect is defined by usage.

As a matter of fact, the errors corrected in postings to El Reg are mostly malapropisms, spelling mistakes, and solecisms such as "there" for "their". These would be wrong in any language community.

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Indiana Jones whips Bond in greatest movie character poll

Kubla Cant
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Re: Limited

10.The Dude - The Big Lebowski

Never heard of him.

He's the only one in the top ten whose primary activilty isn't fighting and killing people. The reason I rarely watch films is that these days they seem to be targetted at people with the taste and discrimination of ten-year-olds.

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Online gov services are mostly time-wasting duplicates, says EU

Kubla Cant
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Why am I more likely to make a type in my email address than anything else? Doesn't everybody just copy and paste it between the fields, anyway?

Yes, but there are a significant number of sites where some bastard UI developer from hell has gone to the trouble of disabling copy and paste in these fields.

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Kamikaze Rosetta probe to ram comet it's chased for billions of miles

Kubla Cant
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Re: NEAR Shoemaker

To judge from the bouncy-bouncy problems with the Philae lander, it may not be a very hard landing.

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THEY WANTED OUR WOMEN: Neanderthals lusted after modern humans

Kubla Cant
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Early modern

Interesting, though slightly less astounding than I expected when I saw the title An early modern human from Romania with a recent Neanderthal ancestor. In most history books, the Early Modern period runs from c1500 AD to c1800 AD.

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This whopping 16-bit computer processor is being built by hand, transistor by transistor

Kubla Cant
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Re: Transistors?

No. Gears.

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In My House, Stalin's Daughter and The Smartest Book in the World

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

A bit less baseball next time out, eh?

I know what you mean. Not so long ago I read Bill Bryson's One Summer: America, 1927. It's a fascinating and entertaining book, except for the two or three chapters where he gets stuck into baseball. Then it becomes a farrago of meaningless decimal statistics about players you've never heard of, playing for teams you've never heard of, achieving feats you don't understand.

Now if it was about cricket... that would be more comprehensible, but just as boring.

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At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

Kubla Cant
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Re: When did it become a thing for illegal behaviour

I thought I'd Google "slamming" too. The first result was an article from the Independent, summarised thus:

The trend – known as “slamming” – gives users a more intense high and commonly takes places at sex parties which can go on for several ...

So it's not just a case of phone hijacking.

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Take that NATS! Jocko IT is also totally rubbish. BOOM!

Kubla Cant
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Meh

Who's crap at IT?

both nations seemingly equally crap at IT

The article reports that the Scottish government and the UK government are both crap at IT*. I believe the British, as a nation, are actually quite good at IT. It's the government that's crap at IT. No surprise there, being crap at things is a government speciality.

*Maybe because they don't know that it isn't called "ICT". Wasn't ICT the name of the company that became ICL?

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MOUNTAIN of unsold retail PCs piling up in Blighty: Situation 'serious'

Kubla Cant
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Mushroom

Re: The channel is talking itself into a panic - Stop it!

No, don't stop it. You're all doomed, doomed, I say!

(I'm thinking of buying a new PC soon.)

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It's OK – this was an entirely NEW type of cockup, says RBS

Kubla Cant
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Re: du -sh @ orig ac

It's reasonable to assume that the RBS systems have are able to handle exceptions at a transaction level, i.e. reject records that contain bad data, rather than the entire file. If they didn't, problems like the recent one would happen at least once a week.

If a system that can handle bad records rejects a whole file, the likelihood is that the third party that supplies the file has modified the format, either deliberately or accidentally.

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Samsung spins up its latest rusty rotators for release

Kubla Cant
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Re: Not necessarily

With 2400h of video it sounds like you're hoping to keep the back seat occupants quiet until they're old enough to drive their own cars.

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Airbnb beats actual posh hotel chain with stupidly large valuation

Kubla Cant
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IT Angle

Storage?

I'm trying to work out why this article is classified under Data Centre / Storage. I suppose accommodation is, loosely, storage?

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MILLIONS of broadband punters aren't getting it fast enough – Which?

Kubla Cant
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To produce reliable figures, you'd need a minimum % of the providers customer base (or of the entire customer base).

Statisticians may correct me, but I was under the impression that statistical significance is determined by a combination of absolute sample size and the relative frequency of the attribute being sampled for. For example, if you're measuring the percentage of population under 20, a sample of 1000 produces results that are equally significant for Cambridgeshire or the whole UK.

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Kubla Cant
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Does the CAP fit?

BT uses the method to describe our speeds that is defined by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)

I think I'd place more trust in a method devised by network specialists than one made up by a committee of admen.

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JavaScript creator Eich's latest project: KILL JAVASCRIPT

Kubla Cant
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Kill JavaScript?

I don't think the availability of other languages for the browser will kill JavaScript now. Five years ago, maybe, but today most of its peculiarities have been turned into strengths.

It's very odd. JavaScript spent the first half of its life as the idiot cousin of the family of block-structured procedural languages. Then, apparently without significant change to the language, developers started to bend and twist it to the extent that modern JavaScript looks very different, and can do some remarkable things.

Personally I still find working in JavaScript makes me feel like I'm going round Hyde Park Corner on a bicycle, and it's exasperating the way every month brings a new best-ever framework or library. But these days it doesn't owe its continued existence to the fact that it's the only thing that runs in the browser.

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Version 0.1 super-stars built the universe – and they lived all the way over there, boffins point

Kubla Cant
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Re: Question

It would have been less confusing for us non-boffins if the star populations were numbered in order of creation, rather than discovery, but that would have meant knowing from the start how many populations there were to discover.

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Downing Street secretly deletes emails to avoid exposure to FOIeurs

Kubla Cant
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Email isn't (shouldn't be) a filing system...

Why? Most email clients go out of their way to provide filing-system-like features such as hierarchical folders.

Important documents should be kept in a version controlled respostory.

Maybe, but emails, however important, are intrinsically different from version-controlled documents. It's rare for an email to be modified, as opposed to being copied into another email.

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AdBlock aims to send filthy malverts on one-way LSD trip

Kubla Cant
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Proxy server

Why mess about with browser-level filters? Almost all big companies access the Internet via a proxy server, and in my experience the proxy server also filters content. I should have thought that ad-blocking would be a logical extension.

I use Privoxy at home, but I don't know whether it has the capability required of a corporate proxy.

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The insidious danger of the lone wolf control freak sysadmin

Kubla Cant
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Re: It happens

Pour petrol on it.

Exactly. If the team in the story was gifted with any ingenuity, they could have made Tim's life hell.

Take the example of not committing router config to NVRAM: it shouldn't be hard to make sure Tim gets to reconfigure one router an hour throughout the day and night.

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Hating on 'Like Farms': boffins trawl for Facebook fakes

Kubla Cant
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most net users are not native English speakers, and by that I mean US/UK/AU

Cue angry responses in fractured English from Canada, Ireland, New Zealand...

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British banks consider emoji as password replacement

Kubla Cant
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Re: Somebody please stop the planet...

My recollection is that blancmange only came in two colours, white and pink, or, if you prefer rosemange.

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Somebody please stop the planet...

@MrXavia a dead, cold, dessert of a planet

Made of blancmange?

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Zionists stole my SHOE, claims Muslim campaigner

Kubla Cant
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Re: A few pointers

there's 1.6 billion muslims in the world from every walk of life

Including, presumably, the one-shoe hobble.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Stasi

The Stasi also used to steal people's underwear* so they had a smell sample for their tracker dogs. There was a program on TV that showed all these jars with grubby kecks in them.

* And socks? Somebody's certainly stolen a few of mine.

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Limited edition Iron Man S6 sells for $91,000 thanks to ... serial number

Kubla Cant
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Re: 69 more lucky?

6 and 9 are both 'lucky' numbers in Chinese

And according to other posts here, 8 is lucky, too. 30% of the single-digit integers. The Chinese must get a lot of good luck.

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Sun's out, guns out: Plucky Philae probot WAKES UP ... hits 'snooze'

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

DLR

DLR project manager Dr Stephen Ulamec explained the probe's current status

I think it's fantastic that in this day and age we have a commuter railway that can convey a probot to a comet millions of miles away in space. Did Dr Ulamec also offer an explanation for the delays at Canary Wharf? Perhaps you should have got an explanation from somebody at Network Rail as well.

(It's the only reference to DLR in the article, and a Google search for those initials returns a page of results about the Docklands Light Railway.)

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I Saw a Man, Once Upon a Time in Russia and How to See the World

Kubla Cant
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Blue marble

the famous ‘Blue Marble’ photograph of Earth taken from an Apollo spacecraft, the first time the author claims that humanity could see itself as a whole

It's a beautiful photograph, but my recollection is that the most striking thing about it was that it was just as expected. Terrestrial globes had shown the world in a similar way for centuries. It's a bit like the way the view from a plane window changes from surroundings to map as you climb.

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Cortana threatens to blow away ESC key

Kubla Cant
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Re: Why not just use the Windows key?

Two Ctrl keys as well. What's going on there? The world's gone mad

I think most keyboards have two control keys. VirtualBox uses Right-Ctrl to control window capture.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Cortana lived a VERY

an assistant will HAVE to track your speech patterns, habits, friends and generally 'know' a ton about you to even get close to being as good as a human PA

But why does it need Internet connectivity to do all this? Modern computers have plently of local storage. This is especially annoying on phones:

Cortana, how do I get a network connection?

I'm sorry, Dave, I can't tell you that without a network connection.

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Entertaining prospect: Amazon Fire TV Stick

Kubla Cant
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How does the remote communicate?

To judge from the pictures, this thing will be dangling just below an HDMI port. On all the TVs I've seen (not, admittedly, a large number), the HDMI ports are at the back, so the dongle will be out of sight. All the remote controls I've used communicate by infra-red, and so need line-of-sight to the receiver. Does the Amazon dongle use RF or something?

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Microsoft to Linux users: Explain yourself

Kubla Cant
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Re: Data, not information

how long it is going to take that file to copy

<flappyDocument>

12 hours... 5 min... 2 years... 4 min... 3 min... 1 min.. (getting excited) 25 sec... 5 sec... (oops, just found a bit I missed) 10 min... 20 min...

</flappyDocument>

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Belgium trolls France with bonkers new commemorative coin

Kubla Cant
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Re: Rewriting history yet again

That's a bit rich, considering the Gare d'Austerlitz in Paris.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: for collectors

why would you use it if it cost you 6Euro and it's only worth 2.5Euro

You might feel it's worth € 3.5 to annoy some French people.

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Future Range Rovers will report pot-holes directly to councils

Kubla Cant
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Reporting potholes

I have read in the past that it's easier to get compensation from a council if the pothole has previously been reported to them, presumably because they have willfully neglected to repair it. If that's the case then it can only be a good thing if there's a continuous electronic stream of reports being submitted by cars.

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A 16 Petaflop Cray: The key to fantastic summer barbecues

Kubla Cant
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Can anyone clarify?

Let me be the first to confess that my knowledge of this kind of computing, and indeed of statistics, is rudimentary. Perhaps that's why I'm having trouble understanding some of this article.

computational algorithms that produce results that can be explained in terms of certainty – the probability that a given will take place

Which is it, certainty or probability? They surely can't be the same thing, even in the domain of weather forecasting.

...customers who make sophisticated, risk-based decisions can benefit from having probabilistic rather than deterministic decision on events of weighing up the probable chances of an outcome rather than working with a black and white.

Come again? I can imagine it's a challenge to render this stuff into plain journalistic English, and I sympathise wholeheartedly. But that last para seems to be the product of some kind of random word generator.

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Power your temperature sensor with this BONKERS router hack

Kubla Cant
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Distance

The researchers reckon they've powered temperature and camera sensors at 20 feet and 17 feet respectively. Coin-cell batteries can be charged at greater distances.

I believe you can actually buy power cables in 20-foot lengths (maybe even more if you go to a specialist shop). As the WiFi router is presumably connected to a power source of its own, it might just be possible, with the right technology, to share the power between both devices. Further research is needed.

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The watts in a box that kept West London's lights on

Kubla Cant
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Where?

I wouldn't describe Kingsway as "central West London". That sounds more like Hammersmith.

Depending on your criteria, Kingsway about as central London as you can get. Bank is probably the centre of the Roman city, but Aldwych, at the bottom of Kingsway, is named after Lundenwic, the Saxon trading settlement.

Was the expression "central West London" derived from the fact that Kingsway has a WC2 postcode?

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Voyager 2 'stopped' last week, and not just for maintenance

Kubla Cant
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Small dog

We should build up a rapid reaction force of small dogs in readiness. They can be trained to eat anything that looks like a space ship. To be on the safe side, we should include some large dogs too, in case our calculations of scale are inaccurate.

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So why the hell didn't quantitative easing produce HUGE inflation?

Kubla Cant
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Re: Is that the sound of a can being kicked down the road?

Someday that housing crash is going to happen...

Is this an echo?

I've been hearing exactly this prediction for the past 40 years, during which time there have been corrections, but nothing that could legitimately be described as a crash. The allusions to a "housing price bubble" are equally misplaced. True, houses are expensive. But it's only a bubble if the price is sustained largely by confidence, and that confidence liable to be destroyed by a sudden large reduction in demand or increase in supply.

* I should make it clear that I'm writing about the UK housing market.

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Oh, shoppin’ HELL: I’m in the supermarket of the DAMNED

Kubla Cant
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Tesco automated checkouts have an "own bags" button at the start. A nice idea that discourages the use of one-trip plastic carriers.

Unfortunately, nobody seems to have thought this through. When you put your hessian bags-for-life in the bagging area, the till says "Please wait while we verify your bags" and blocks until the harrassed assistant notices your flashing light and comes over to "verify". If you're in a hurry it's best not to be ecologically-minded.

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Kubla Cant
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Devil

B&Q

The automated tills at B&Q are voiced by the most annoying woman in the world.

To start with, her voice has a horrible, naggy timbre, but they've made it far worse by setting the timing so that she nags you to do something just when you're about to do it anyway. As you lift an item up to the scanner, she says "Please scan an item...", if you pause for a second after scanning, quick as a flash she's in with "Place the item in the bagging area".

The one thing that impresses me in B&Q is that the checkouts appear to have a scale that can weigh anything from a plastic catch to 50kg of sand.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: I just go to the tills

lick your fingers. You'll get enough traction to open the bags.

There's a simpler and more hygienic solution to the thin-carrier-bag problem. Hold the bag with one hand at the centre of the top edge (i.e. between the handles) and the other on one of the side edges. Stretch the top. This causes the corener of the pleat in the side of the bag to stick up above the top edge. Pulling on this corner while holding on to the body of the bag will open it.

It sounds incredibly complicated, but that's just the way I tell it.

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Your servers are underwater? Chill OUT, baby – liquid's cool

Kubla Cant
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And at the other end of the scale

I recall reading an article about five years ago, on an overclocking site, where somebody immersed the electronics of his PC in a tank of Mazola or something. Workable but messy.

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Large Hadron Collider gives young ALICE a black-hole ray gun

Kubla Cant
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Re: Famous Last Words

There are always a few parts left over.

Especially if you buy your LHCs from Ikea.

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Sysadmins rebel over GUI-free install for Windows Server 2016

Kubla Cant
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Why Powershell?

For the first 30 years or so, Microsoft refused to accept that their operating systems would be better for having a decent scripting and command-line language. Instead they made half-hearted updates to the brain-dead MS-DOS batch language.

Meanwhile, 99% of non-Microsoft operating systems* offered the same family of scripting languages. They aren't perfect, but they are powerful enough to do pretty much any job you want, and they work in much the same way everywhere.

So when Microsoft come along and say they have this great new Powershell thing that can be used for scripting on Windows, I'm afraid my reaction is "Do I have to learn this? Why?"

* made-up statistic

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Small business server community?

Yeah, well, I thought SMB was Server Message Block protocol, which made the whole article rather confusing.

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Couple sues estate agent who sold them her mum's snake-infested house

Kubla Cant
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Re: Inspections dont work in the UK

Since when have uPVC door and window frames been superior to oak?

Precisely. And not just oak. The softwood sash windows in my house are between 200 and 250 years old. They've obviously had some repair and maintenance during that time, but they're basically original.

I wouldn't want to ruin my house with chavvy uPVC windows, and I'm not allowed to anyway. But I find it's an amusing gambit to say to the salesmen "My wooden windows are 200 years old. How long will you guarantee your plastic ones for?"

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Windows 10 upgrade ADWARE forces its way on to Windows 7 and 8.1

Kubla Cant
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Re: I'm confused

@Belardi Uh, only crappy 8bit computers or that very crappy MS-DOS had 8.3 File names.

The 16-bit PDP-11 operating systems RSTS/E, RT-11 and RSX-11 all used even shorter (6.3) filenames. So, IIRC, did the DEC-10 and DEC-20 mainframes. They may be old, but in no sense were they either crappy or 8-bit.

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