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* Posts by William Towle

216 posts • joined 8 Jun 2007

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Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM

William Towle
Black Helicopters

Re: What are your predictions?

> If so, 55% yes, 55% no.

I'm impressed you got close ... http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/3205477/posts

Personally, I'd heard the turnout was good ... but not that it was *that* good!

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JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!

William Towle
Joke

Re: Best Reason to Vote NO

Best reason to support the yes vote*:

"If Scotland votes yes, the average annual rainfall in the UK will decrease by 20cm"

-- https://twitter.com/qikipedia/status/509313256679550976

* noticeable results not guaranteed

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OH SNAP: Getty Images sues Microsoft over Bing pics widget

William Towle

Re: No slideshow?

> Is it just me, or is the promised Vulture slideshow missing in action for everybody?

YMMV I think, but it's not visible in Wheezy's iceweasel at least. At time of writing, View Source shows a div tag [with class="bingwidget"] in which the terminating slash appears not to be separated by whitespace from the close quote of the preceeding attribute.

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Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM

William Towle
Coat

Re: Interesting times

> Usually, when high energy physicists try to do optical measurements, it ends with erroneous results.

Doesn't have to be high energy physicists. Or optical measurements.

// "...if it doesn't work... etc etc" (and yes, I did study physics)

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Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage

William Towle

Re: Don't know if it's related, but...

> I noticed that, however as of late last night some programmes from after the outage (e.g. Monday's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue) still weren't available so I dispute that the system is back to normal.

The system is still returning to normal service, evidently; further to my previous post, Pick of the Pops [Saturday] became available mid-week, as has the third episode of "It's a Fair Cop" ... which is roughly on schedule however the bbc.co.uk availability data says ep1: three weeks; ep2: four weeks; ep5: five days.

Clue fans will be happy to read, from a get-iplayer search earlier (Fri AM):

11473: I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue: Series 61 - Episode 3, BBC Radio 4, Comedy,Highlights,Popular,Radio, 3 days 20 hours ago - Harry Hill joins regular panellists Tim, Graeme and Barry. Jack Dee hosts.

11474: I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue: Series 61 - Episode 4, BBC Radio 4, Comedy,Highlights,Popular,Radio, 0 days 1 hours ago - Harry Hill joins regular panellists Tim, Graeme and Barry. Jack Dee hosts.

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BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled

William Towle

> @Tom Chiverton 1 sure it's not just you? Was working for others in Manchester yesterday.

I've heard that, but was getting an uninformatively black screen from the app on our STB on Sunday.

Access to radio programmes has been most notably bad, with some shows "not currently available on BBC iPlayer radio" (normal service mostly resumed for Radio 4* but "Pick of the Pops" on 2 still affected), some that could be started but bombed out (Ross Noble Goes Global wouldn't play for me last night, presently back at "will be available shortly after broadcast"), and some available but not especially promptly ("Laura Solon: Talking and Not Talking").

* prioritising, perhaps ... although as a devotee I'm biased as to what I'd notice ;)

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Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot

William Towle

Re: Unique Passwords

> I don't understand why password systems *insist* on capitals, numbers, non-alphas, etc instead of just *allowing* them - it reduces the possibilities, I think

While announcing a policy decision such as this *does* inform an attacker they don't need to start with a simple dictionary attack, it has benefits with regard to intrusion detection: a) where an intruder has not seen an announcement of the policy, they will make themselves more obvious by repeatedly trying more and more invalid patterns; and b) where an attacker does know the policy the time taken to compromise all accounts remains significantly large because the proportion of the search space removed through denial of some passwords is relatively small.

Remember that the system should be storing a hashed and salted version of the password which means that a) finding another string with the right hash is hard, and b) that precomputed lists of hashed passwords are useless. This gives the assurance that the uneven distribution of password strings can lead to uneven distribution of digests post-hashing without this having a negative impact on overall security (AFAICT ... I was hoping this might be expanded on in the article)

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Doctor Who season eight scripts leak online

William Towle
Joke

Confirmed?

https://twitter.com/RyanJohnNelson/status/483630909972033536/photo/1

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DANGER MOUSE is back ... and he isn't half a GLASSHOLE

William Towle
Thumb Up

Re: BBC Radio 4 Extra

+1: also thoroughly enjoyed that

...actually, "in 1983 Cosgrove Hall Films' Danger Mouse topped the TV ratings with 21 million viewers - beating Coronation Street[...]" from the show description (at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03ccz0r)

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Snowden's Big Brother isn't as Orwellian as you'd think

William Towle
Alien

> Wow! How the last 10 years have flown by....

In the space of half a sentence, no less :/

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Happy Birthday Tetris: It's flipping 30

William Towle
Happy

Oblig.

http://xkcd.com/724/

http://www.kongregate.com/games/banthar/hell-tetris

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korobeiniki

...I used to think I liked the Spectrum version most but after lots and lots of time on the Gameboy in two-player mode I found it odd to go back to. These days, I find Hell Tetris (see above) oddly calming whether taking it seriously as a game or just exercising the physics engine for a giggle.

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TrueCrypt hooked to life support in Switzerland: 'It must not die' say pair

William Towle

Re: "What difference..." @John P

> That the proposed migration path was Bitlocker doesn't exactly make it commendable.

That's not in contention; it's the decision of the developers to not leave end users with data that cannot be transferred (or otherwise recovered) that I'm commending above.

Going back to the line I originally quoted, I don't think it's necessary to finger point code quality in Windows (whatever one thinks of it) although obviously it does drive those concerns I listed to an extent (as it would for any other end-of-line OS).

...and since you've brought up Bitlocker I'm not blaming the team for wanting to not compete against the evolving market -whether any strong-arming has taken place or not- and having spoken highly of the TrueCrypt effort to people recently am pleased there is news of an effort to continue it ;)

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William Towle

"What difference..." @John P

> What difference does the XP EOL make to the code quality of TrueCrypt?

None whatsoever, and AFAICT there isn't a claim here that it does or should.

Microsoft's decision to discontinue post-sale bugfix support to members of the public running XP means newly-discovered holes through which data(/code?) could leak out are going to stay open longer (if not forever). It seems reasonable that the team should want to take a course of action based on a) not suffering slights on the software due to problems in the underlying OS, b) not feeling obliged to build more and more plugs into the software due to holes in the host OS, and/or c) not needing to keep suitable-for-testing copies of XP around for longer than necessary. That they also supply advice and a migration path is commendable.

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Shocking 'new iPhone' is also - BZZZZT!! - a Taser-like stun gun

William Towle
Coat

also - BZZZZT!! - a Taser? So...

..."there's a zap for that"?

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GNU security library GnuTLS fails on cert checks: Patch now

William Towle

Re: Goto considered harmful

> I've been at a meeting at one of the big interwebs companies where it was stated that their coding standards forbid the use of increment and decrement operators.

I've been at a company that insisted the same.

Admittedly, they weren't outright verboten; it was due to inheriting some platform-portable C code containing `array[index++]= expr;`, which the compiler/assembler had optimised badly (as if it had seen `array[++index]= expr;`), causing an off-by-one error. Hence these constructions were disallowed.

These things are almost always written from experience and then corrupted by Chinese whispers until people circulate some nonsensical bastardisation of what used to be sound advice :(

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

William Towle

Re: The director of 'year of code'

> Paxman asked her "So. What *IS* code?" He must be an IT Crowd fan.

He's read yearofcode.org - "What is code? Code is the language we use to instruct computers".

In my head, the voice I heard reading that bit out was Philomena Cunk's... ;)

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Mandela memorial. Yup, let's SNAP A SELFIE, say grinning Obama, Cameron

William Towle

Read All About It:

Funeral selifies endorsed by Cameron, Obama!

Sun headline in funeral selfie "gaffe" shocker!

Made my morning ;)

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BOFH: GOATSE? No, I said goat fetis... you know what, forget it

William Towle

...AKA "williamt"

I have worked at two small enterprise jobs where the scheme <firstname><initial-of-surname> was used for usernames and/or email addresses. It was only briefly policy in either case; in the former we had second thoughts about giving someone who came in at managerial level "christ@....".

// icon would be facepalm but selection mechanism is broken

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Psst.. Know how to hack a mobe by radio wave? There's $70k+ in it for you

William Towle

Re: Here. You've proven this is broken.

> So as a reward, they're given something they themselves have proven to be insecure

Quite, but then if I were inclined to enter then I'd probably appreciate a spare/new-and-interesting device for experimental purposes - plus the quality of advice on what to avoid* as a replacement for the old kit (or what to shield, if keeping it) would be unparalleled ;)

* sadly not on what to buy, as the closing paragraphs convey :/

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'WTF! MORONS!' Yahoo! Groups! redesign! traumatises! users!

William Towle
Unhappy

Re: That's odd

> Yahoo e-mail hasn't been wrecked yet by NEO so no changes there, just in the groups websites.

I've seen recent changes to both Notepad and Mail (with /neo/ in URLs in the latter case).

Changes to Mail are just about tolerable on a small screen, but I find Notepad's new layout most uncomfortable when it gets just a small handful of lines. Notepad without the old right-click menu would benefit from tab handling such I now see Mail gets, except that Mail seems to open more of its tabs more often than I trust my system to deal with at its usual(ly high) load levels - I used to be able to choose to avoid that before. I have read that denying javascript permissions renders Inbox's message titles as links again, however the Notepad update breaks completely without javascript support and therefore can no longer be used to cut and paste email content into!

"Quickly spewed on to the interwebs with little testing before going live" - quite.

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Selfie twerks its way into the dictionary

William Towle
Coat

Re: Selfie, Girl Crush, Twerk

> Selfie, Girl Crush, Twerk : Are anyone of these "words" used by anyone over the age of 11 ?

I've only heard the former in context. I learnt of the latter at work, when a colleague was struggllng to describe a rather technical problem in terms other than "doesn't work". Later, I thought that asking my team "what are these twerks he had twelve of?" [IGMC, obv] might be funny ... and was promptly directed to Urban Dictionary for a schooling!

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Dalek designer Ray Cusick passes away aged 84

William Towle
Alien

Re: From somewhere behind the sofa

> Never was a sink plunger so terrifying

Someone* recently said it was about the voices, and I have to agree - they go about committing acts of atrocity in a completely calm manner, basically until the Doctor comes along - and suddenly there's an "angered" upward inflection that wasn't there before.

* not sure, but a sufficiently insightful comment to have been Nick Briggs.

// "Eggs eggs eggs"

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El Reg contemplates the ultimate cuppa

William Towle
Thumb Up

Re: It's a very personal thing...

"It's a very personal thing...

...But my own preference is Earl Grey left to stew until it's almost cold. No milk or sugar. Great in a hot climate."

I wouldn't leave Earl Grey to go cold deliberately, but it definitely benefits from not being rank when left.

I also wouldn't add milk or sugar to any other tea as a general rule - it seems to me that the desire to do so stems either from inappropriate selection (I've normally got two or three varieties on the go at any time) or poor preparation.

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Hacker faces 105 years inside after FBI 'sexploitation' arrest

William Towle
Coat

Re: perilously close to thinking it's the 1950s and rape jokes are funny

> Some Rape, Barly, and Wheat went into a bar...

A feed line like that *definitely* deserves a punchline.

Preferably something ...seedy?

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Author of '80s classic The Hobbit didn't know game was a hit

William Towle
Thumb Up

Assembler

> For a lot of the old computers, a decent assembler was hard to get and we often had to write our own.

I remember that sort of thing. I typed in the assembler from INPUT magazine but don't recall ever getting it to work (it could have, in which case I lacked patience with it - and the commercial offerings we also had).

Ultimately, my machine code ended up finding its way into RAM courtesy of a short routine that read the target address/es and corresponding hex byte sequences from a BASIC program's REM statements ... and being small and simple, it ran from the printer buffer.

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Sex offenders need internet access, judge rules

William Towle
Joke

Re: Terrorists

"Encrypt the hard drive, and then the police probably wouldn't even be able to access restored data"

http://xkcd.com/538/ ?

// several icons applicable, but I'll take TWAJS.

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Sinclair BASIC comes to Raspberry Pi

William Towle
Thumb Up

Re: Procedures????

"Because line numbers are used, you can easily abuse procedures too - they use the subroutine stack like other handlers, so you could in theory jump in and out of them at will, without having to even call them. Not that I'd advocate that sort of code, but still"

I never felt restricted enough to need this, but did see it done. I liked the Spectrum 16/48K Othello game (CDS Microsystems, http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0003554) so much I had a go at porting it [to AMOS BASIC on the Amiga, for speed]. To save space for the 16K machine they had subroutines that were sometimes GOTO'd to in it - the routine to determine the computer's best move thus doubled as that for the player's help, except there was a priority order to check the empty spaces in the former case but no such favourable weighting for the latter. It took a few goes to get my head around the spaghetti, and I either I became very good at beating the game as a result or failed to port it sanely ... possibly both ;)

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It’s official: Google shrinks the world!

William Towle

Re: Are you anti-European and anti SI?

"It's all in the comma / dot difference between European and British / American number usage.

Also 11,190 km/s is good SI usage, 11,190 m/s is not"

That's as may be, but google.co.uk and google.com are using the same notation - you can't argue that Brits are seeing European notation because that's what they've deemed is appropriate.

I also note that "the speed of light = 299 792 458 m / s", which clearly demonstrates that their preferred thousands delimeter is the space (consistent with SI recommendation) but they're not using the prefixes as you suggest they ought...

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Ig Nobels 2012: Physics of ponytails, chimp arse-cognition and more

William Towle

Re: One of these was already invented

> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_auditory_feedback

QI demonstrated this recently, which was particularly good viewing.

Stephen Fry was busy explaining the principle while they primed Alan Davies with a challenge to read something out ... only he wasn't fazed at all. Different panellists were affected by varying degrees.

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Jaw-jaw no more-more as calls fall down tally of phone tasks

William Towle
Facepalm

There is still something to be said for the simplicity of a phone that only makes calls.

Reminds me of the Stroustrup quote, "I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone."

;)

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Users still slack about passwords: Trustwave

William Towle
Stop

Re: Sad but true..

One of our systems doesn't even allow *any* characters to be repeated ...as I found out on the third attempt to pick a password it would accept.

Really. Would a "full list of rules" link have been all that hard to put *somewhere*?!

...I kept a record of what these rules were to avoid the same rigmarole when I'm obliged to change it in future (most likely after I've had it reset because I can't remember what it made me use in place of what I originally wanted...)

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Moore's Law has ten years to run, predicts physicist

William Towle
Joke

Re: Chinny Reckon?

> "the first proper quantum systems won't come online until late in the 21st century"

> I'd give it 20 years meself, and I'm not known for my optimism.

And even then they'll be online and not online at the same time (...er, if I've understood it correctly?)

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Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros

William Towle
Happy

Re: Tape errors

> One of the attractions of the Amstrads was that the built in tape deck took away all the hassle.

Allegedly. I remember a cousin having no end of trouble with the one in his Spectrum +2A, and ended up running wires outside the case to attach one externally.

Me? I had one of "Uncle Clive"'s original 128s and a WHSmith data recorder, complete with VU meter for instant feedback on whether the volume needed adjustment ;)

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It's game over for pinball pioneer

William Towle
Pint

Re: I don't think there are any tables around here

Very few tables around here too, for shame, but at least there are some. Notably a Batman: Dark Knight [Gremlin Solutions/Stern] on which I got 90mil -nearly as much as the second replay value- without really trying (pint in hand, mate's band on stage adjacent ... as much as you might think both would scupper your concentration levels!).

Would have been an excellent effort had I played in tournament mode :(

RIP that man.

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Gutsy golf-club granny collars crim in Flying Squad bust

William Towle
Pint

Re: Supergran!

No need to apologise.

Made me chuckle to have the following exchange in our local Fab Cafe:

Quizmaster: "Which TV theme is this?"

Me, to scribe: "Supergran"

Me, to team: "it's Billy Connolly singing this"

Quizmaster: "...and, for a bonus point, who's singing?"

Adjacent team: "they just said who it was. Did anybody hear it clearly?"

// Pint, 'cos we usually won.

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Chocolate weighed in Schwarzeneggers: Official

William Towle
Go

As I read once...

"Any noun in the English language...

... can be verbed"

Verbing weirds language.

// as in http://madshakespeare.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/calvin-and-hobbes.jpg

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Valve pushes Portal freebie

William Towle

@Clive

> When I go there I get a holding page - "Business profile for learnhwithportals.com".

> FYI learnwithportals.com is translating to 205.178.189.129 for me

I see a parked domain at that IP address too (did that result from your typo?), but learnwithportals.com (apparently 63.228.223.103, but doesn't give the same page) is OK.

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Ten years on from Nimda: Worm author still at large

William Towle

@Alfie

> MCSE == Must Consult Someone Experienced

I always liked "Minesweeper Consultant and Solitaire Expert".

// YIK, there are probably some for the the linux equivalents as well

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Nokia offers $10,000 for new ring tone

William Towle
Coat

Variant with "..., impending doom"?

Grande Valse for the first nine notes (since they want a variation of something they've done before) and then ... tack on the theme from Jaws?

// yeah yeah, going!

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appToyz appWheel

William Towle
Boffin

Re: Remember...

For the record, this was Formula One Simulator.

From http://zxspectrumgames.blogspot.com/2009/08/zx-spectrum-games-formula-one-simulator.html:

"Mastertronic (unwittingly hilariously) included this little gem in the instructions:

'Steering wheel - Use a sellotape tin or similar object, about 4 1/2" indiameter and 1" deep, hold it at the top and position it at the centre of top row of keys so that it nestles against the ridge at the back. Roll it to theleft or right with moderate pressure to steer. To begin with, a rocking motion on the wheel may help get the feel of the car.' - Priceless!"

See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Widh72v-Wfg

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Seven Dwarfs password gag declared Fringe's best

William Towle
Facepalm

Car parks? Pah!

Prefer the Stewart Francis feed line where it's about f*rting in lifts (see Mock the Week, ooh, ages back probably).

Of those, I think I like the Buress one.

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Google promises fix for jittery Usenet addicts

William Towle
Joke

Re: <waves dead chicken>

Chicken? After having "not killed its Usenet service, it's merely experiencing technical difficulties" it's *got* to be a parrot, surely?

// originally clicking through to "oblig. ..." the Dead News Server sketch (http://everything2.com/title/The+dead+news+server+sketch)

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Canon crossbreeds mouse with adder

William Towle
Linux

Re: Numeric keypad too?

If it works as a numeric keypad, then you could also use shift-ctrl-numlock to control the mouse pointer with it... ;)

// Tux: depending on your choice of OS, obv.

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Hitchhiking snails scoffed, pooped out alive by birds

William Towle
Facepalm

@N'n'G

+1 parable of the cow, the bird, and the cat (if I'm not mistaken)

...although my train of thought went via The Plan ("It is a crock...") first, d'oh! ;)

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Bug-Byte Manic Miner

William Towle
Boffin

@Allicorn

The top screenshot has the tree trunk rendered one character-cell wide (in red/yellow) with red/green cells immediately above and yellow/green below. There's no confusion here - look across to the garden and you'll see where the cell boundaries roughly lie.

Agree about the other one though.

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William Towle
Terminator

Re: Final Barrier?

I reckon it's from a Beeb from the look of the fonts used.

...and a quick google confirms this level was indeed one that was "introduced (or modified) by non-Spectrum versions of Manic Miner" on the Beeb: http://members2.boardhost.com/jetsetwilly/msg/1240870196.html

// Terminator because the icon reminds me of one of the baddies

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Intel teaches machines to build own device drivers

William Towle
Boffin

...possibly more appropriately:

"After very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your system sucks"

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Marathon Facebook scam targets Mac, Windows users

William Towle
Big Brother

Remediating?

"re·me·di·a·tion (r-md-shn), n.

The act or process of correcting a fault or deficiency"

...in the users.

How very BOFH. Speaking of which...

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Asus revamp adds tablet-phone dock

William Towle
Pirate

Decapitated ... or disassembled?

Could be - in which case the hands are on this one:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/03/students_build_rubik_bot/

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Submarine seized by pirates turns up in Vegas pawnshop

William Towle

Not the first time...

...what next, a bridge?

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