* Posts by Kubla Cant

1239 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

re: 20,000,000 manufacturers

I imagine I could compile a list of about 50 mobile phone manufacturers. Assume my list is incomplete, and that there are 500. Who are you other 19,999,500?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Standardised connector

@cosymart The "car power socket" inherits its shape from its original function as a cigar lighter. The size was presumably the diameter of the fattest cigars.

I once took a job where I inherited the company car of a cigar smoker. No amount of steam cleaning could rid the interior of the vile smell. Also, the car was a clapped-out Volvo with burnt orange paintwork. The only solution was to find a new job.

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30 years on: The day a computer glitch nearly caused World War III

Kubla Cant
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Big Brother

Re: "the Americans obsessive fear of communism"

hearing the Americans ranting (accurately)

That's right. Senator Joseph McCarthy was a normal, rational person. His committee did a good job getting rid of all the commies.

</irony>

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Congrats on MP3ing your music... but WHY bother? Time for my ripping yarn

Kubla Cant
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Re: grip on Linux does a nice job

feed in, wait a few mins, auto-eject, feed in next one

Anyone old enough (and stupid enough) to have backed up a Windows 3.x system to floppy disks can tell you what's wrong with this. I stopped doing this when the disk count reached 40.

The interval between "feed" and "feed in next one" is too short to fill with any useful activity, but long enough to be very boring.

I have an old 10-disk CD changer that used to live in the boot of my car. This has got me wondering whether it could feasibly be converted into a multi-ripper.

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Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me

Kubla Cant
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Re: WTF......

You do know that oil rigs undergo frequent, and *very* expensive corrosion inspections.

True, but, on the other hand Victorian seaside piers seem to have survived - where they haven't caught fire. Perhaps we should build offshore wind turbines in wrought iron.

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Asus NV550JV 15.6in full HD notebook - the one we didn't have to send back

Kubla Cant
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Thumb Down

A woofer in a tweeter's clothing

To my mind, the whole B&O sound system+woofer thing is utterly stupid.

If I'm at home, I don't want to watch video or listen to audio on a laptop. It's too small for video and too inconvenient for music. I have dedicated appliances that do the job properly.

If I'm travelling, then I might use the laptop for entertainment. But how do I carry the stupid woofer around? Too many portables are already compromised by a brick of a power supply that makes them less portable than they at first appear. The woofer with this one is going to make a very nasty bulge in your laptop case. You could leave it at home, of course, at which point the machine becomes just another laptop with tinny speakers.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: A note to UI designers

Upvoted - you beat me to it.

Remember when it was obligatory for DVD player software to have a UI designed to look like an especially chavvy car radio? Because people are used to watching DVDs on the car radio.

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Apple Maps directs drivers INTO path of ONCOMING PLANES

Kubla Cant
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Not really the drivers' fault

I know this seems to have a lot in common with idiots driving into rivers and trucks stuck on farm tracks, but when you think about the environment of the average airport, it's not so clear-cut.

I imagine Fairbanks isn't exactly Heathrow, but if it's an international airport it's likely to be surrounded with a maze of approach roads and ramps, together with a forest of signage that guarantees information overload. Add to that the tension that frequently accompanies a drive to the airport, and you can understand people taking the wrong turn when the satnav tells them to.

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British Gas robo home remote gets itself into hot water

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Why fiddle with a thermostat?

If the thermostat is working properly it will maintain a constant temperature in the house. I get really annoyed with people who believe they can increase the speed with which something heats up by turning the thermostat up.

How of ten do you think "today, I'd like my house to be really hot"? I'd guess that most people change the thermostat setting about once a year, if that.

The author's description of his use of this app suggests that he's interacting with the timer to activate the heating when it's not yet on.

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UK's Get Safe Online? 'No one cares' - run the blockbuster ads instead

Kubla Cant
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Re: Blaming the victim?

Don't you find the pizza from your bank is expensive and stodgy?

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Austerity BITES: Greece ends extra hols for civil servants forced to use hated COMPUTERS

Kubla Cant
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Re: our Western financial institutions

@The First Dave:

I don't think the prime meridian is the dividing line when people talk about Eastern and Western countries. Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk are east of the meridian, but I don't expect much Oriental mystery in Lowestoft. My house is 1'53'' east of the line, but the people in the next village aren't noticeably more thrifty and hard-working.

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UK.gov's e-Borders zombie still lurks under the English Channel

Kubla Cant
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Big Brother

How's it supposed to work anyway?

So they get a massive list of everybody who comes in to the country, and a similarly-sized list of everybody who leaves. In due course they have a smaller list of people who were entitled to come in but should have left by now.

What then? Do they scour the country looking for all the aliens who should have left but haven't (or maybe have left, but weren't noticed)? They don't seem to have much success doing that at the moment, so it seems unlikely that an increase in the number of aliens they have to find will make things better.

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Shopping list for Tesco: Eggs, milk, bread, tablets (the £60 7in Android kind)

Kubla Cant
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Re: Who cares what it's called?

@Steve Davies 3 "a £60.00 fine through the post". Not a fine. Parking fines can only be issued by governmental and quasi-governmental authorities. What the supermarkets send you is an invoice.

Mind you, a supermarket that charges for parking should expect to end up with tumbleweed blowing in its aisles.

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'Occupy' affiliate claims Intel bakes SECRET 3G radio into vPro CPUs

Kubla Cant
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Re: Phantom Power

@Steve Graham : I'm neither a pilot. nor an American, but I thought that's what FAA stands for. Is there another meaning?

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Mobile broadband 'fastest growing technology in history' says ITU

Kubla Cant
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I doubt it

I've recently been thinking of changing my phone contract. The prices charged for mobile data are absurdly high, and the allowances pitiful*. I doubt whether the technology is growing at all.

*Yes, I know 3 makes a big fuss about its unlimited data contracts, but to use that data I'll need to be able to get a connection.

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Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

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TPG flashes cheeky 'down under' CAPTCHA

Kubla Cant
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Anus

The other week on University Challenge there was an anagram question to which the answer was "anus and sauna". There was a perceptible pause while the student who answered it calculated whether he was really supposed to say "anus" on national TV.

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Sofas with a roof and Star Trek seating: The future of office furniture?

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Loosing

I regret to report that this is the second posting on El Reg today that uses "loosing" to mean "losing".

Shall we run a sweepstake on how long it will be before the verb "to lose" disappears entirely? When that happens it will, presumably, be impossible for archers to distinguish between firing an arrow and misplacing one.

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Kubla Cant
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Notwithstanding

not what you’re talking about – lip reading (and laser beams picking up vibrations from the windows) notwithstanding

My understanding is that "X notwithstanding" means something like "despite X".

So are the occupants of this thing protected against lip-readers and lasers, or aren't they? If they are, how does the anti-lip-reading device work?

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Leaked docs: NSA 'Follow the money' team slurped BANK records, CREDIT CARD data

Kubla Cant
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Re: "Patriot Act Compliant"

"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" - Samuel Johnson

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I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Kubla Cant
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Re: If you live in a lake, it takes longer to walk to the well

@Flocke Kroes the population will grow until some resource becomes scarce

That's been a widespread assumption since Malthus, but it's not what happens in the real world. Rates of human reproduction are on the whole lower in well-provisioned societies and higher in societies suffering scarcity.

From the perspective of evolutionary genetics, this makes sense. When fewer offspring survive to breed, an organism has to produce more of them to ensure the survival of its genes.

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Korean stealth-scraper plans will turn 450 metre tower INVISIBLE

Kubla Cant
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Lubberly

'Tis just 8 sea miles from Incheon, spike me if it ain't

Avast yon lubberly talk o' "sea miles". 'Tis two point six recurrin' leagues.

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DARPA: You didn't think we could make a Mach 6 spaceplane, so let us have this MACH TEN job

Kubla Cant
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Re: Basic questions for DARPA projects

"How much in the world of medicine has its roots in military R&D do you think?"

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

The military R&D contribution to Reconstructive Plastic Surgery consisted entirely in supplying horribly injured patients for surgeons to work on in civilian hospitals. So their contribution was not dissimilar to that made by Burke and Hare in an earlier era.

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Official crackdown on Apple fanboi 'shanty town' ahead of London iPhone launch

Kubla Cant
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Re: What an advert for tolerance

Do none of us spend time watching our fishing tackle? No

Or sitting around watching 22 over paid blokes run around a field? No

Or melt our brains watching Big X Brother Celeb Bake House Watch? Definitely no

Or grind for gold in GTA-World of-Diablo? No - dunno what you're on about

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MPs: This paperless health service plan isn't worth the paper it isn't written on

Kubla Cant
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Sorry, you wouldn't have stood a chance. The scale of a project like this is so massive that it takes a really big company to fuck it up.

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London Underground cleaners to refuse fingerprint clock-on

Kubla Cant
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Re: Its kind of pointless really

The doors in the office where I work are controlled by fingerprint readers (Samsung IIRC). The false negative rate, at least on my fingers, seems to be about 75%. Some days I've obviously put on the wrong hands when I got dressed, because it won't recognise me at all. Fortunately there's a card backup.

Some colleagues never seem to have problems. I suspect that the care with which the original data is captured and verified is critical.

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OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Kubla Cant
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Re: Not just broadband

That's interesting.

I too have a btinternet.com email account, though I no longer use BT as my ISP. Every week I receive emails that say something like "Important changes to your BT email account". I always delete them unread because they look like phishing messages - the login links appear to point to domains that have nothing to do with BT (or, indeed, the UK).

I've always wondered why the btinternet.com spam filter can't catch messages that spoof BT. Now I'm wondering if they were genuine messages in which BT was too stupid to use recognisable domains.

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iPhone 5S: Apple, you're BORING us to DEATH (And you too, Samsung)

Kubla Cant
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Re: From the X Labs

@DougS Why the hell should anyone care about battery life longer than a day?

Why the hell should anybody have to remember to charge their phone every day?

More seriously, poor battery life can be a real inconvenience. I just got back from a trip to Italy where we used a phone for navigating. Even a fairly new phone ran out of power after about an hour, and the USB socket in the car didn't deliver enough current to recharge it while it's navigating. (I should add that an old Nokia Symbian phone had no such problems a few years ago, and the maps were better.)

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Lip-wobbling boffins: Eating Chinese food is like kissing a vibrator

Kubla Cant
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Re: Really??

A better understanding of the mechanisms of pain may help the development of ways to alleviate chronic pain and develop analgesics.

The fact that you missed this fairly obvious point may be due to your having been hit in the face with a cricket ball.

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Borland's heir Embarcadero says one dev tool can rule them all

Kubla Cant
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@petboy

How many £18k "developers" does it take to write a "Hello World" application?

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Boris Johnson floats idea of 'London visa' to attract tech talent

Kubla Cant
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Re: Silicon Roundabout Bollocks

@phil dude so long as it's not 8th week in Trinity

I was at Trinity, and I don't recall getting stupider in 8th week. Drunker, maybe.

You're not from Balliol are you?

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Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

Kubla Cant
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Brake lines?

puncture the brake-lines on their car

As most things on a car are now controlled by software, I'd have expected a less hardware-based revenge from Linus.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

Kubla Cant
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Re: it will probably be an expensive boutique operation.

Nobody points out that cruise ships must fail due to the slow nature of the journey, because the point isn't the speed, but the journey itself.

Cruise ships seem to contain a vast amount of stuff* to keep the passengers amused between stops. This is easier for ships because they're very, very big. It also suggests that the journey itself is less alluring than you might think.

*Water slides, gourmet meals, lectures, adultery... you can probably tell I've never actually been on a cruise.

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BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

Kubla Cant
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Stairs and manhole covers

Following the disappointing revelation that daleks actually can climb stairs, the new strategy is to trick them into falling down manholes.

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Do not adjust your eyes: This Kobo ten-incher has a 2560 x 1600 resolution

Kubla Cant
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Re: 2560 x 1600 - About Time.

I could be wrong, but I believe font hinting, unlike ClearType, is not about compensating for low resolution. Its purpose is to describe the way in which the components of a character scale differently. The differential scaling affected Gutenberg too, though it probably took a few centuries before the rules were formalised.

As for the resolution achieved in the 15th Century, it was limited by granular phenomena just as much as today's pixel displays. The paper used was rough, the ink was grainy, and type matrices were not very accurate.

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iPad classes for DOGS offered in New York

Kubla Cant
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Result?

So what does she train the dogs to do with the iPad? Even her witless customers presumably expect to see some result for their $50.

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Star Wars revival secret: This isn't the celluloid you're looking for

Kubla Cant
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Re: Lens Flare...

Surely the viewer is supposed to "forget" that there is a camera filming and be immersed in the film?

Yes, but to achieve that the director has to use the grammar of film. If the whole thing was shot with a single static camera the audience would soon lose interest.

The point of lens flare is not to replicate a live experience, but to signify one. Not "this is like real life", but "this is like other cinematic experiences that meant something". The same is true of cut-away, zoom, panning, tracking and all the other elements of film grammar. They're only bad when they're intrusive.

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Meet the world's one-of-a-kind ENORMO barge-bowling bridge of Falkirk

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Snowden journo's partner wins partial injunction on seized data

Kubla Cant
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I'm pretty sure it's just you.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: There's more going on here...

...an Airport Transit area. It's important to remember that he wasn't, technically, stood in the United Kingdom

IANAL, but I think the idea of extra-territorial zones is a myth. Some areas, such as embassies, are subject to diplomatic protection, but they are still part of the UK. There's a bit of US territory at Runnymede, and a bedroom in Claridges was declared to be Yugoslav soil during the war. But there's no reason why a transit area should have any special privileges beyond the fact that people can go there without passing Customs or Immigration. It's more like a bonded warehouse than an embassy.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Irony strangely uncommented upon

@Dan Paul

There have been several other articles and discussions relating to Mr Miranda's detention and the episode in the Guardian cellars during the past few days. If you look at those you'll find that the significance of his name has been repeatedly pointed out.

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Kubla Cant
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Windows

Re: But whose data is it?

NOFORN has a quaint hillbilly ring to it: "We don't want no fornahs readin' this heah"

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Total cost of that axed NHS IT FIASCO to taxpayers: £10.1bn

Kubla Cant
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Re: How many lives

In 2012 the NHS budget was set at £104 billion so £12 billion is over 10% of the budget.

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Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again

Kubla Cant
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Re: "that's called Democracy"

@Pascal Monett

What we have today is not a "parody of democracy", it's representative democracy, the worst possible system except for all the others.

The pure, direct democracy practised in the Greek city states of antiquity was impractical in the populous Western European societies that re-introduced democracy. With modern information technologies it might be possible to revive direct democracy, but that wouldn't necessarily be a good idea. The voters of Athens may have been in a position to know everything about the subject of a vote, but that didn't necessarily mean they took the trouble to do so. Don't forget that "demagogue" is a Greek word.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: At the risk of...

@AC 19:37 Because when things go wrong, they can go wrong in a BIG way

This is exactly the mental process behind fear of flying. Air travel is much, much safer than road travel, but the rare accidents are much more noticeable. People think (wrongly) that they can escape from a road accident, but that they're powerless in the face of an air crash or nuclear incident.

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'Symbolic' Grauniad drive-smash was not just a storage fail

Kubla Cant
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Joke

Re: And why aren't the Government using the law for these things?

Some of the data leaked is stuff the UK gave to the US

So, now we know they can't be trusted to keep it secret, I expect we'll stop giving it to them.

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FoundationDB ACID-lovers price up NoSQL database

Kubla Cant
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limits deployment to clusters of up to 6 processes per month

A FoundationDB process is a single worker process you run on a computer

OK, I think I grasp what a process is. But what's a "process per month"? It sounds like floating-point ops per foot. or GHz per millibar.

Or does this in fact mean that every month you can deploy to 6 cores? So at the end of the year you have 72?

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MYSTERY of Guardian mobos and graphics cards which 'held Snowden files'

Kubla Cant
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Boffin

Re: Huge flaw in article

"You're assuming the people from GCHQ are in some way competent."

Let's not be too condescending. Remember that these people are from the organisation that pretty much invented the computer*.

I think JonP has it about right.

* GCHQ was previously called GCCS, and was based at Bletchley Park.

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Snowden journalist's partner gave Brit spooks passwords to seized files

Kubla Cant
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Black Helicopters

Coat trailing?

I would love to believe that the whole Miranda affair was a successful coat-trailing exercise. There seems to be no particular reason why he should carry Snowden-related documents on his laptop, especially if flying via London. It's probably not an accident that the Guardian acceded to the disk-destruction demands of GCHQ on the same day.

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Guardian lets UK spooks trash 'Snowden files' PCs to make them feel better

Kubla Cant
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Tantrum

The only word that adequately describes the recent pointless behaviour of the security services. They're incapable of doing anything effective, so they start detaining people and smashing kit to show how tough they are.

It's especially disturbing that stuff leaked from an American agency by an American national is safer in New York than London.

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