* Posts by Brewster's Angle Grinder

1329 posts • joined 23 May 2011

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Want a Brexit? Promise you'll sort out UK universities' £1bn research cash loss

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: The answer is...

I'm not good at creating wealth. But I'm really good at creating losses. Huge fucking losses. Can I still comment?

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Catz: Google's Android hurt Oracle's Java business

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Aha, an isonomikos!

Is the supply of lawyers in the universe held constant, then?

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UK needs comp sci grads, so why isn't it hiring them?

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@AndrueC

Most people can bash out "chopsticks" on a piano. Few people can play Rachmaninov. Same with coding, I think.

Disclaimer: I have ZERO qualifications in Comp.Sci

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Inter-bank system SWIFT on security? User manual needs 'revamp’

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Alert

As I've said before, we really need an icon for "We need an icon for..."

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Work begins on Russian rival to Android

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Joke

Re: Building a more secure system than Android shouldn't be hard

Since that burglary in the street last week, we've all learnt that locks are no longer able to securely defend our homes. So we have all done away with locks on all windows and doors.

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Blocking ads? Smaller digital publishers are smacked the hardest

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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We need a cultural shift towards paying for stuff.

I suspect we'll be adding advertisements to our app shortly because desktop sales are sinking and, despite a six-figure user count, not enough people are upgrading from the free mobile version. Initially, the advertising will be a stick to push you towards the paid version. But if the advertising revenues look solid we'll move more of the content to the free version -- on the assumption the more content we provide, the more people will use it, and the better advertising revenues will be. As I say in the title, if you don't want advertising, you need to start paying for stuff.

And I'll hold my hands up and say I'm as guilty as the rest of you of not sticking my hand in my pocket. And yes, I run ad blocking in the browser.

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A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Well you say that

Have you checked you don't live in a Baba Yaga hut?

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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All your points are valid. But why should a private company care about any of that?

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Trollface

This complicated, expensive, time-consuming problem MUST have a simple solution.

But, waaa, I want faster broadband! And, waaa, it should be easy - it's just idiots laying cables! And, waaa, I want somebody else to pay! And, waaa, a commercial organisation shouldn't be maximising shareholder returns, they should be maximising my quality of porn!

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Kepler space telescope spots 1,284 new planets

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Oh dear...

Thanks. This is far more elegantly articulated than the plaintive cry I uttered before arriving at your comment. We don't have to amplify the polarisation of society.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: I'm calling it !!!!

Why do people have to bring religion into this? Really, why? What has any of this got to do with ${deity} one way or another?

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Ireland's tax arrangements are as clear as a pint of Guinness

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Disposing of VAT and personal income tax

@DougS

The only people exempt from corporation tax in the UK are sole traders and I presume, if we were doing this for real, we would make them pay corporation tax. (If you're a small business, this might actually be simpler.)

Your analysis also overlooks the ability to raise capital. I think that's more important than the limits of liability.

But it wasn't a serious suggestion.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Trollface

Re: The problem with getting rid of corp tax

Equally, we could do it the other way round: we could dispose of VAT, income tax, and personal taxation in all its varied forms, and just tax corporations. After all, it doesn't matter where in the system we tax it; and all that money has to flow through these wealth "creating" businesses at some point...

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Tabby's Star's twinkle probably the boring business of calibration

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Re: But why would it show a consistent decline over 100 years?

@Martin My memory of the original paper is they did do exactly that. This new paper suggests that when you test hundreds of stars (rather than a couple) you find the trend in KIC846285 is unusual but not extraordinary.

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Lyft, Uber throw Texas-sized tantrum over Austin driver law

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It does sound disproportionate.

If I hire a cab, I want to be certain the vehicle is well maintained, the driver competent, and the journey insured. How does fingerprinting the driver help? Are Uber drivers stealing cars, spending the night hiring it out as a taxi, and then retuning the vehicle before the registered owner wakes?

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Server-jacking exploits for ImageMagick are so trivial, you'll scream

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Lest we forget

Yeah, PNM files have saved my hide. But that was in the days before PNG.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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I hate to defend H4rm0ny, but

If this was an SQL injection caused by home-spun quoting, everybody would condemn the coder as idiots who should have used placeholders. But because its happening on the command-line, everybody's defending it. (Ironically, the unix command-line has the potential to be a safe API: but not when the tokenisation is done by a shell.)

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Old, complex code could cause another UK banking TITSUP – study

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: "Even if something has been written in Java in 90s that is still 20 years ago."

As any fule kno: software documentation wasn't invented until 2003 so the code will be undocumented.

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One black hole, three galaxies, four BEELION solar masses – found by accident

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@Rich11

I can construct solutions to the Einstein Field Equations which bridge between causally disconnected patches. Or those patches could be brought into contact again if space contracted superluminally. Neither can be completely ruled out, although both are very unlikely.

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Docker hired private detectives to pursue woman engineer's rape, death threat trolls

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Re: Troll mentality? - a story of abuse

Someone got a bit obsessed with me on Twitter: they invited me to their home, wanted my address so they could come visit (thank $deity I don't use my real name) and made suicide threats. I talked to them sympathetically but unemotionally until they realised I wasn't interested, and then they moved on.

I suspect, but can't prove, they became a voluminous and slightly incoherent commenter on the popular blog of a well-known sf writer.

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Good enough IT really is good enough. You don't need new hardware

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: why is everything Javascript these days?

@Skoorb Which is why you use '==='.

But PHP has an equals operator that coerces. And if you've come from, C++, you dumbly expect a == b to call decltype(a)::operator==(decltype(b)) (If you implemented std::string yourself, you could alter operator== to get some of those behaviours, if you wanted.) And while we're on the subject of C, how well do you know the promotion rules in C/C++? Because they make the above look straightforward.

All languages have misfeatures.

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Hackers so far ahead of defenders it's not even a game

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: I will openly admit

You could write a bot and single handedly bury them.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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ηβπ

(See title.)

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Vanity dating site BeautifulPeople popped

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Re: I'm the only HOT Reg reader?

I was tempted to down vote you out of pure spite.

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If Android’s wings are clipped, other Google platforms may gain

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Re: people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

"They are the ones that took more than others to start, and don't have a native UI."

A blank web page starts quicker than any other app I've got on my phone. I agree start up time is a huge problem, but that's true of native apps as well: they've got to load quickly because it happens so often, whereas a desktop app can take minutes and nobody cares. That's one of the adjustments you have to make when coming from the desktop.

And, as for UI, none of the apps I have here seem to use a native UI; they all seem to invent their own. And none of them appear to be web apps.

What we have is a network operator writing a crud app shocker. If they'd written it as a native app, it would still be crap. But I wrote my first commercial app in 8086 assembler. I've written apps in C++. And I've not felt more limited by web apps than by native ones; so far, everything I've needed is there.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: people shown they like app(lication)s, not browsers

*cough* phonegap (cordova) *cough*

Also embedding native webviews.

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'Impossible' EmDrive flying saucer thruster may herald new theory of inertia

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@Chemist

"Which you shouldn't really AFAIK. A particle of zero rest mass has no increase in mass with velocity - indeed it is constrained to travel at c at all times in a vacuum."

No, he's right. GR has no notion of mass; its defined in terms of energy and momentum (cf the Stress-Energy tensor) and it's the energy that shapes the metric ("distorts spacetime"). So every particle and non-gravitational field distorts spacetime. (And if the gravitational field itself could distort spacetime then that might explain dark matter.)

The reason we talk about rest mass is precisely because a particle has an "effective mass" or "relativistic mass" that depends on the relative speed between it and you. It's that effective mass that means two observers travelling at different speeds end up agreeing that a particle has the same total energy, even though they disagree about its kinetic energy (speed).

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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@frank ly

"...if they are affected by gravity (attracted to matter) when they are fairly stationary?"

Photons are never stationary; however much you confine them, they'll still bounce around at the speed of light. Being massless means travelling at the speed of light; no ifs or buts.

"If you're equating the energy of a photon to an 'effective mass'...then you'd have a situation in which X-ray photons...should be deflected more by gravity."

This argument turns out to be the same as arguing heavier masses experience greater acceleration than lighter ones, which Galileo disproved. Do the full calculations and you'll see the angle of deflection is independent of mass. (And we can check this by looking for chromatic aberration in gravitational lensing which, AFAIK, isn't seen.)

However Bob is right inasmuch as photons do distort space time. If that wasn't the case, ~90% of the mass in a proton wouldn't count for gravity (since only ~10% of the rest mass of a proton is due to the rest mass of its constituent quarks). But the distortion caused by a photon is negligible: we can't even measure the gravitational interaction between protons, and they have a rest mass of ~1GeV.

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Chrome lives in dog years: It's seven years old but just turned 50

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Re: Those damn poorly coded sites

I take it you're using the definition of "poorly coded" that means "has greater than zero bugs"?

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Mitsubishi 'fesses up: We lied in fuel tests to make our cars look great

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Coat

Re: Only 10%?

The grading above "A" is "@". The grading above "@" is "?". The grading above "?" is ">". And so on.

Mine's the one with the ASCII chart in the pocket, thanks.

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Prof squints at Google's mobile monopoly defence, shakes head

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Partial Order vs Total Order

"Android is the more open eco-system."

That's a false dichotomy. A system can be open in some respects and closed in others. I love developing for Android because of how open it is to me as a developer; Google doesn't care what technology I use, because Google doesn't make money off the hardware I buy.

But if I were a developer of location services, Android would seem very closed: Google's solution is baked in and there's no option for me to compete.

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Clucking hell! Farcical free-range egg standard pecked apart by app

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Pirate

Re: And the information is...

"...it won't be the App developers who get sued no matter what."

You don't have much legal experience, do you?

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UK authorities probe 'drone hitting plane at Heathrow'

Brewster's Angle Grinder
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The weather balloon that launched a thousand saucers.

Definitely, given that UFO simply means "Unidentified Flying Object".

"Unidentified Alien Object" is a different TLA..

If you believe UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object then you're putting words into my mouth by assuming I'm using it to mean something different. And the fact that you assume I mean "UAO" probably means UFO really means UAO, even to you. And, opening up the OED on my desk, I find UFO defined as "a mysterious object seen in the sky for which it is claimed no orthodox scientific explanation can be found, popularly said to be a vehicle carrying extraterrestrial." No other definition is given. And it's not defined as an acronym, although it notes that was the origin of the word. (I note that a UAO would qualify for your definition of a UFO provided it was airborne.)

By and large, I tend to be generous to bug reports: the user saw something. But a user's analysis can often be suspect; even pilots can be confused about unexpected events. Google returned a page of pilot reports: the top one being a mile wide object seen over Guernsey. I believe the pilots saw something; I will refrain from believing any analysis they provide.

And, as to this incident, if the drone is on the ground then it's cut and dried. And, if I not, I will still believe the pilot hit something. It may even have been a drone. But I'm not going to give him magical authority by virtue of being a pilot -- unless this pilot has experience of hitting drones.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: Kudos to the idiot responsible

"...I think we can trust a pilot to know the difference too."

I presume, then, you believe all the UFO reports made by pilots?

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Job ad promises 'Meaningless Repetitive Work on the .NET Stack'

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Re: I was cross training legacy COBOL programmers 30 years ago...

Well that explains all the buggy C we've spent decades fixing.

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Flaw-finding Ruby on Rails bot steams past humans

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Devil

Everybody in

I can't speak for python programmers, but Rails coders hate PHP coders and they also hate node coders. And PHP coders hate node and Rails coders. And node programmers hate PHP and Rails programmers. But there's one thing guaranteed to make us put aside our differences and unite in a common cause: and that's a smug Java programmer proclaiming the superiority of their language.

I'd include perl programmers in the anti-Java coalition. But they have been extinct for the last 300 trillion milliseconds.

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Linux command line mistake 'nukes web boss'S biz'

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Re: Top trolling

It does appear to be fake. Unfortunately, I can easily imagine such a person getting into such a position. All it takes is a little skill and a lot of money.

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Google yanks Chrome support for Windows XP, at long last

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Joke

Re: Performance on XP was already unusably poor...

Google's last XP machine broke.

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BT hauled into Old Bailey after engineer's 7-metre fall broke both his ankles

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Re: The three-week trial

"...how do you expect the company to enforce it if the engineer is working on his own and does something stupid?"

I don't. But I do expect them to do everything reasonable. Which, to repeat myself, means reprimanding employees caught breaking the rules, and terminating the contracts of anyone who persists.

But if this was a single engineer who did something stupid I doubt it would be in court. A three week case suggests there's plenty of evidence to be heard. So perhaps a disagreement about whether the procedures were adequate. Or perhaps there was a management culture that pressured people into ignoring the rules.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: More than reported here?

"But my question is, why are they spending on three weeks worth of lawyers, rather than what I suspect wuld be the considerably cheaper option of admitting "

Because, presumably, admitting liability means they'd have to change their practices, which would impact their profitability. Or it could just be because they're huge arses. But either way, it'll be about the bottom line.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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Re: The three-week trial

But you can expect a company to make sure their employees are properly trained, to make sure the correct equipment is available and that there are enough staff to do the job safely, and to give anyone who breaks the rules a bloody good bollocking rather than turning a blind eye or, worse, cajoling them into breaking the rules. Roughly this can be summed up by saying a company has a "duty of care".

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Prof Hawking to mail postage-stamp space craft to Alpha Centauri using frickin' lasers

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Mushroom

"heard above all the other noise out there at that distance with the path loss."

Noise dwarfs path loss. It's got to be heard over a pair of omnidirectional transmitters broadcasting 1027W spread over every frequency band from RF to X-rays.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"At 20% of the speed of light even a small amount of tenous gas or dust will turn the craft into high temperature plasma."

The Local Interstellar Cloud contains both Sol and Alpha Centauri and is about 0.3 particles/cc. Iff the energy from all those hits was fully absorbed, it would result in a few millijoules per second of heating. (I've assumed the atoms were stationary -- i.e. ignored their thermal energy.)

But heating is not going to be a problem because those particles are protons with tens of MeV: they will punch through the wafer-thin probe, taking most of their energy with them. The sail is expendable, once accelerated. But the electronics needs to survive a billion cosmic rays per second for decades. Expect to find more of your electronics on the outside that the inside. As I said, evaginated.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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"They've been able to hit mirrors on the moon as part of the Lunar Ranging Experiment since the 60s, so there's no reason why not with today's technology."

LLR targets are about ~0.5m wide. But by the time the beam reaches one, it's ~6km wide. And the amount of energy reflected is not enough to be seen by the naked eye. It's hitting it and hitting it with enough energy that's the problem.

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Brewster's Angle Grinder
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They're aiming for a metre-wide sail and it's suggested the lasers will use adaptive optics. They admit they can't afford the lasers (about $1-trillion), that the array would be a handy ground based weapon, and that we have no material that can be used to build the sail. They even acknowledge there is no way for the probe to communicate back. The $100-million is to research these problems.

They don't mention that getting the probe to hit Alpha Centauri will be really tricky; small errors add up over a parsec. Nor do they talk about cosmic rays which will evaginate the unshielded silicon -- they're going to have to fire a lot of probes in the hope one gets there.

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Universal Credit at high risk of cyber-attack, fraud from the outset

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Mmmm... brains....

"...and senior people not engaging their brains."

The person who, at the time, was most senior doesn't seem to have had a brain to engage.

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The future of Firefox is … Chrome

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I'm in mood for collecting downvotes...

"...I'd prefer Firefox not change...."

And there we have it: the reactionary face of IT. Nobody wants change for the sake of change. But progress requires change, and, if you're stuck in a local minima, that can lead to things getting worse.

For the record, I hate retraining as much as the rest of you.

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Graphene solar panels harvest energy from rain

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Re: lightbulb moment...

But how much energy would it generate? My guess is there's more chemical energy that gravitational energy and that's its easier to harvest. (A raindrop will bounce so it will retain most of its kinetic energy.)

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Citrix asks you, yes you, to write its certification exams and courseware

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Trollface

The answer they're counting on is, "Happily, because I like showing off."

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Microsoft rethinks the Windows application platform one more time

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Re: Microsoft made it clear that security has taken a back seat

"...the process of installing Windows apps wasn't a problem before, anyway."

There speaks someone who's never had to write a windows installer.

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