* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1182 posts • joined 23 May 2011

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Who would code a self-destruct feature into their own web browser? Oh, hello, Apple

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Like a moth to a light

Haven't tried it on Windows, but "crashsafari" with Firefox on Mint Linux causes FF to pause for about 10 seconds, then tell me a script is unresponsive, to which I click "stop script", and it gracefully recovers.

That's because the script blocks the browser while it fills your history to bursting.

This page will hang chrome and Firefox until they time out:

<html><head><script>for(;;);</script></head></html>

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Has Mr Dabbs got much better recently?

The Register has gone all PC?

It's a fucking PC magazine. Of course it's PC.

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Universal Credit slammed by MPs: Late programme branded 'unacceptable'

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Re: Not surprised

Comments like this are why I read El Reg. Thanks.

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Google ninjas go public with security holes in Malwarebytes antivirus

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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They've fixed the problems and the fixes are undergoing testing. Testing can't be rushed, particularly given the radical changes it sounds like they've been forced to make. So, in reality, they probably only had 60 days to fix the client problems, and those 60 days included the Christmas holidays. And if you read the article, you will see they were using their resources to fix server side problems. Nor is throwing new programmers at a problem a viable solution because, as we all know, adding programmers to a late project makes it later.

Some of the problems sound particularly dumb, especially for a company that specialises in security. But I do sympathise with them over the timescale.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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So running AV slows down your machine, increases the amount of memory it needs, and increases your vulnerability...

Okay, that's a cheap shot. I know all software has bugs. I know that for the uneducated masses AV is a net gain. But...

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You've seen things people wouldn't believe – so tell us your programming horrors

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: SWAP

I would expect the original to perform better than Duff's device because the case statement is either eight "ifs" or a slow lookup table. (Cf. Wikipedia, "When numerous instances of Duff's device were removed from the XFree86 Server in version 4.0, there was an improvement in performance and a noticeable reduction in size of the executable.")

On x86 I'd be tempted to replace loop &= ~7 with loop >>= 3 delete loop -= 8 and use while (loop--) in its place. But I'm not sure it would make any difference on ARM; it might even make it worse.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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More memories of 8-bit micros...

Had VARPTR disappeared by then?

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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IIRC, Commodore BASIC as used on the Vic 20 and C64 had that first two character approach - though probably not the only version.

Right era. Difference device. This interpreter was written by a company based in Redmond -- giving me early warning of what to expect. All numbers were treated as floats, too, so performance was terrible; but it spurred me into learning asm.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Windows

>(Step 1.5 should probably be "Don't call your variables 'a' and 'b' ")

The first BASIC interpreter I used only paid attention to the first two characters of a variable's name. So the variables STRENGTH and STUPIDITY were both handles to the variable ST. For that reason, it was considered good practice to only give your variables two letter names so as to avoid unintended collisions.

Even today, Chrome decides to inline based on the length of the text in a javascript function. But obviously, good practice is to minify.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: An excerpt from the Rogue's gallery...

if ( x!=x ) { // (floating-point NaN: it never equals anything,

That lies on the line between idiomatic and problematic.

Most languages have an isnan utility, which I'd use. In javascript, isNaN(x) and Number.isNaN(x) are probably slower than x !== x but the minifier sorts that out.

However, it can be useful in javascript, where NaN proliferates. For example, writing if ( !( x > 0 ) ) fail(); rather than if ( x <= 0 ) fail(); will mop up NaN in a single test. I do comment it. I probably should write it as two tests; call it job security.

But floats do require deep understanding. In general, the way the sum is written can affect how the error accumulates and thus the outcome. So I can write a formula a very specific, rather inefficient-looking way, and some numpty comes along and "corrects it" and then gets puzzled why tests fail.

Incidentally, there's a similar trick with ints in C where x >= 0 && x < 100 can be written x < 100U or, if I was being more explicit, (unsigned)x < 100U. I've considered doing this via ( x >>> 0 ) < 100 in javascript, but I worry about whether the compiler will keep it as a uint or turn it back into a float.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"Which is why I'll never open source anything of mine. At all. Ever."

That was one of my objections to open-sourcing my stuff. In reality, nobody noticed.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Or rep movsb and friends.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Everything I've ever written. It's awful. Don't look at it. Any of it.

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Microsoft: Yes, we are going to kill off Enterprise Agreements

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: This is going to be the death of Microsoft

That's my Hate Microsoft Buzzword Bingo card filled. Thanks!

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Did water rocket threaten Brum airport Airbus?

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IT Angle

Re: Just remembered

Are you, in fact, a sitcom character?

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Cops hate encryption but the NSA loves it when you use PGP

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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I don't generally comment on downvotes, but...

...that's either a grammar pedant or the highest quality downvote I've ever had.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: To the spooks, be careful....

Is that the abelian Gods or the non-abelian ones? (Inquiring commutators want to know.)

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'Unikernels will send us back to the DOS era' – DTrace guru Bryan Cantrill speaks out

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: "Operating systems these days..."

There's still a "user/kernel" split. But we've gone from user/kernel to user+kernel/hypervisor (via user/kernel/hypervisor). So we're just returning to the two state model, while redefining what counts as user and kernel.

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Five reasons why the Google tax deal is imploding

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Re: Think about it...

Not every sector of the economy is overflowing with competition. The grocery sector is pretty cut throat, at the moment, but there's almost a monopoly when it comes to selling adverts on internet search results..

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Holmes

Re: Think about it...

Well Google's profits comes from advertisers. But okay, that ultimately comes from consumers. Still, faced with lower rates of corporation tax do you think companies would (a) pass on the savings to customers, through lower prices, or (b) pass on the savings to their shareholders as higher dividends?

A two pipe puzzle, that one.

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Microsoft releases deep learning toolkit on GitHub. Now bring on the AI research

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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CouNT?

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Women account for just one fifth of the EU’s 8m IT jobs

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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@codejunky

You've got to look at the proportions. There are always a few bad apples who have to be excluded. I won't judge 1.6 billions Muslims on the basis of a few violent twats or every male IT worker on the basis of El Reg commentards. El Graun has a stable of feminist columnists some of whom advance women's causes. Elsewhere in the media you can find columnists who advance men's causes. It's free; go where you like. (And don't blame feminists or SJWs for the closure of Nuts.)

But El Graun is a million miles from the radfem extreme. I would link to some posts but I recoil from dipping into that horrible, corrosive cesspit. Even, JV, who I haven't read in months, is speaking to an American audience, rather than a British one. I just wish she would stop fighting for an easier life for herself and start fighting for equality.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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@rtb61

>You really do not get it. IT is a great field for introvert computer geeks,

This I almost agree with. But unless the gene for being an introverted geek is specific to the Y chromosome, then introverted computer geeks comes in all karyotypes, gonads, phenotypes and genders.

>In contrast got to the IT areas of a university and it because a place of peace and calm,

Out in the real world, IT can be a little more turbulent and social interaction important.

>Such is life, of two sexes, one the sacrificial donor and the other the carrier and rearer

And now we've hit outright sexism. You can be a carer and a nurturer, too.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: My guess

I think most people want to be with people like themselves. If people don't share your values then every decision becomes a negotiation and the losers harbour resentment or end up "at war" to defend their culture. That's an exhausting way to live.

TL;DR there won't be more women in IT till there are more women in IT.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Seriously?

If you really can't see a difference between El Graun and those "men haters weeklies" then you've got to get out more. Those blogs are just awful. But El Graun is relatively sane, modulo Jessica Valenti.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Tell the media to stop to tell us how much (female) fashion models are cool...

I say we pay coders metric fucktonnes of cash, have paparazzi camp out round their mansions 24/7, and devote magazines to rating the slogans on our T-shirts. Who's with me?

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Bell end reader?

Can you explain how one's genitalia affect one's ability to work in IT? Do you use an exotic form of 2FA where you plug your penis into a USB port in order to log in? (What I'm calling the "bell end reader".) Does code only work if it's written in sperm?

>Honestly, when I hear PC shit like this I can half understand why people listen to Donald Trump as an antidote.

People listen to him because they're authoritarians.

I really shouldn't be so combative. But...

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How to save Wikipedia: Start paying editors ... or write for machines

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Thumb Up

Re: Remove anonymity

Upvoted for having the chutzpah to post anonymously.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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In as much as there's a problem with Wikipedia, it's a cultural problem; it's the culture of the editors that's got to be changed. That could, perhaps, be done by bringing in new people. And paying editors might be one way to get those people. Or it could just end up attracting authors who are interested in earning cash.

But the kind of problems prevalent on Wikipedia also exist in academia, government departments, private institutions, charities and website comment threads. It's just human beings at work and play.

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Oz stargazers serve up interstellar noodles

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Headmaster

Denuding scare quotes leaves you an illegal bareward token

...the thin interstellar atmosphere...

It's the interstellar medium; not an atmosphere. The press release includes scare quotes ("They figured out this behaviour was the work of our Galaxy’s invisible ‘atmosphere’...") to keep us pedants happy.

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Five technologies you shouldn't bother looking out for in 2016

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: 4G

Yeah a Moto G 3rd Gen and a GifGaff PAYG SIM and I pick up 4G fine. When in the rural wilds of Lincolnshire. Farmers, eh?

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Oracle blurts Google's Android secrets in court: You made $22bn using Java, punk

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Unhappy

"If you allows APIs to be copyrightable, you're going to have a bad time."

That boat has sailed; an Appeal Court's already ruled Oracle can copyright its APIs. However AFAIK it's not been decided whether Google's use constituted fair use or was infringing.

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Robots. Machine learnin', 3D-printin' AI robots: They'll take our jobs – Davos

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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As I've said before: there were 3 million horses in the UK in the 19th century; there are now only about a million.

So far computers have been pretty dumb and we've been able to employ people in jobs no machine can do. But the machines are getting smarter. We've just had a story about Skype doing real time translation. I'm sure it can't replace a human being. But in ten years? Twenty years? Fifty years?

And wherever you look, you find the machines are now able to do jobs that need a degree of creativity. It can't be long before phone systems move from "Press 1 for.." to ones that can interpret and answer simple questions or chuck you to an operator. So there goes a swathe of front-line helpline operators. And that's on top of advances like internet shopping that reduce the need for sales assistants.

At some point, we're going to find the jobs we're creating can all be done by computer, and we don't need as many horses people.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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There will always be things that are excludable; for example we can't all live in Buckingham Palace or have our patches accepted into the Linux kernel or have our band's album at number one in the charts. The rights to these scarce but desirable resources can form the basis of a currency. (After all, gold was just a scarce but desirable resource.)

So currency ain't going away, even if the cost of goods approaches zero.

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It's Wikipedia mythbuster time: 8 of the best on your 15th birthday

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"...but the Ars article's main bugbear of complicated things like quantum mechanics not being explained in kidergarten-compatible language just sounds ridiculous..."

Being old enough to have sat in a library using Britannica, I can confirm its articles were every bit as confusing erudite as Wikipedia's.

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Comet halo theory for flickering 'alien megastructure' star fails

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Re: We'll have it done by next Thursday

Can I point out the data only starts in 1890. This paper doesn't tell us what was happening before that. So it's possible the star has been dimming for centuries.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: A theory

IIRC gas was ruled out by the original paper.

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You, yes YOU: DevOps' people problem

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Re: What's textbook CD?

Yeah, I pretty much do all of that or it's on the roadmap. Except Docker.

As I said, the good people do this stuff intuitively. And it is obvious that the probability of an error is O(εN) where N is the number of times a human being has to intervene. But even if that wasn't the case, I'm a dev: I transform boring tasks into programming projects, even if I'm only going to do the task once and programming it takes 100 hours more than the 10 minutes it would take to just do it.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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So it's this scene from Jabberwocky?

(It's the moment where Michael Palin encounters a pair of blacksmiths nailing rivets into a piece armour. Palin peers at them and says, "Excuse me, I couldn't help noticing you'd improve your efficiency if you moved your box to here." Palin then moves the box of rivets, the blacksmith putting in the rivets get his hand hit and his reaction leads to the whole tent collapsing.)

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: You will find true resistance...

"We'll outsource this and that to company X that will do it in less time and a cheaper price!"

Well, at least you'll be able to savour the schadenfreude of managers failing to receive their bonuses.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Cargo Cult processes

These fads do seem to be about making bad people behave like the good ones in the hope that it will somehow make them good.

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"to be continued."

Is about the best thing in this article. Because a sentence like:

"A fair number of people think they’re doing continuous delivery, but when compared to the textbook definition, they’re more like dabblers, picking and choosing practices that are easiest and leaving out the rest."

needs expanding. What's textbook CD? How are those of us dabblers who've been delivering updates since the Cretaceous getting it wrong? Why should I spend my time looking into DevOps?

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Boffins baffled by record-smashing supernova that shouldn't exist

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Re: @LedSwinger

>>Like, blackholes, this is an area where General Relativity breaks down. The maths can't handle a finite edge: spacetime needs to be infinite or loop back on itself.

Imagine a particle reaching the edge of the universe. If it stops dead or bounces back, there's no conservation of momentum. If it falls off the edge, there's no conservation of energy. That wasn't the way I was thinking about it, but it shows the problem.

>Treating this with the gravity it deserves, what happens if instead of a light beam, we send a cat + radiation source off in a straight line? Presumably we get half a dead cat back?

You get back a dead cat. Probably from natural causes. Possibly from cancer. Or perhaps with a note from God saying, "never blend quantum theory and general relativity".

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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@LedSwinger

Now expand this thinking into three-dimensional space - our universe. No matter what direction you fly in - north, south, east, west, up or down - if you keep going in a straight line, you will eventually return to where you started

What persuades us of this? If it were correct, then surely light would have an "incoming from the opposite direction" component, subject to the right conditions?

People have looked and nothing's been found. But there are plenty of reasons why we might not be able to measure it and the alternative is a universe that's infinite (in space).

Like, blackholes, this is an area where General Relativity breaks down. The maths can't handle a finite edge: spacetime needs to be infinite or loop back on itself.

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Skype now translates in real-time into seven languages

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Re: Any commentard reviews?

"How does it deal with...'rare' tenses?"

Very occasionally.

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Stephen Hawking reckons he's cracked the black hole paradox

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"However, once those ridiculously large number of billions of years are up and the black hole disappears, what happens to all the hairy information stored in its, now non-existant, event horizon?"

I haven't read Hawking's proposal so I don't know his answer. But I'm sure he's aware of it -- since the problem he's trying to answer is, "Where does the information go?" The hair is an attempt to prevent the information entering the black hole so that it can leave again as it boils away.

One thing is certain: our theories predict information is lost. Which means something is wrong somewhere. There are a good number of guesses as to what. Some modify our existing theories; some accept the loss is real and use it predict the final state of a black hole.

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Anyone using M-DISC to archive snaps?

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Re: Just encrypt your data and email it

"But where will you archive the key?"

Under the mat with the begonia on it.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: My back up regimen....

Is this blackmail material?

Seriously, what are you keeping that's so valuable?

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UK energy minister rejects 'waste of money' smart meters claim

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I have one of those cupboards, too. Yes, we've always kept our tin foil in there. Yes, we always keep it unrolled and pegged to hangars. Doesn't everybody?

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SwiftStack CPO: 'If you take a filesystem and bolt on an object API'... it's upside down

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Re: The wheel turns...

But the directory was introduced for the computers; not for us. It's always possible to produce a view that shows what you want. ("Source code belonging to project X".) Servers on the web aren't really hierarchical and we manage.(And often the "filesystems" are virtual paths that are turned into a database query.)

My argument was, I guess, that directories were a technical kludge that the technology is outgrowing. (They will no doubt return.)

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