* Posts by Voland's right hand

1565 posts • joined 18 Aug 2011

Evil NSA runs on saintly Linux, Apache, MySQL

Voland's right hand
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Childcatcher

They have sysadmins who knows autofs

Now that is commendable. I approve. It allows you to build filesystem distribution out of thin air on any odd commodity box. The problem is - it is "old school" sysadmin tool. The whippersnappers have no clue what it is and how to use it.

Last time I interviewed candidate sysadmins out of 87 (or was it 92?) CV submitted by UK recruiters for a Linux sysadmin position the number of people who have heard of it was a nice round ZERO.

It is a pity it does not see the attention it deserves (for that exact reason) in Linux lately. It still works, but various corner cases (containers, phys filesystems, etc) are broken.

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Behold the mighty Swiss SPACE JUNK NOSHER PODULE

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Not so sure

The long lived space junk is from retired observation/spy sats and retired geostationaries. These are too high to experience significant drag and will remain there for ages. They are big so the net approach does not make sense. Similarly, nudging them is not going to push them out of the way. You need to attach and push it for quite a while to deorbit it.

Everything else we launch is in relatively low orbit and will end up reentering within a few decades anyway.

Also, trying to get anywhere near a retired spy sat (even with the intent to clean them) may earn you a set AEGIS crosshairs locked onto your cleaner satellite.

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Linux on the desktop is so hot there's now a fight over it

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+1

Linux on the "commoner's" desktop is not likely to happen. The PC industry has tied its fate to Microsoft and it is even less likely to try something stupid in lean times like this.

The target markets in the announcements are quite descriptive - these are all people who can afford something that fits their very specific needs and see Clippy (and its more voluptuous Cortana incarnation) as a parasite which gets in the way.

Disclaimer - the last Windows desktop in the house was wiped in 1997 and I presently have 5 (a personal per head + 1 shared) Linux desktops, 4 Linux laptops, 3 Linux STBs and 2 RPi based controllers. All of that is running Debian. Based on running that Linux is fit for purpose to be a desktop for Joe Average User 99% of the time.

The problem is not in fitness for purpose. The problem is that the PC industry will not accept it. It has become dependent on the upgrade cycle brought by MSFT OS releases and even the abject failure of the last 3 releases to bring new PC requirements is not likely to wean it off this dependency.

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7/7 memories: I was on a helpdesk that day and one of my users died

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Re: When being made redudant turned into a positive...

At least you were dialing from home.

I had an interview that day and they stopped the trains right before I got on the one to Kings'X. So I drove all the way to the other side of London (and made it) instead. I have never seen so many Chelsea tractors on their roof. The older RangeRovers and Discoveries are extremely unforgiving to trying to dial without a handsfree while way above the speed limit (it was mostly big 4x4 - I did not notice any overturned "commoner'"s cars)

I counted 10+ on my way that day (one motorway and a piece of M25). If we extrapolate that number to all motorways leading into London the overall casualty number will probably be significantly higher than the official one.

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AMD looks at sinking sales, gulps: It's worse than we thought

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Re: Try to stop relying on Microsoft

Not relying on Microsoft == certain death for a PC component manufacturer. Anyone who tried this switched back or did not live long.

Microsoft system reqs have been dropping since Vista. So it is not particularly surprising that the PC industry is suffering. The "upgrade every 2-3 years" demand cycle created by the ever growing resource hog that was Windows 95-98-Me-2000-Xp-Vista train is just not there any more.

Even games find it hard to continue pushing the hardware to new horizons. There is very little new hardware can add in terms of visual reality beyond what has been achieved already. We are clearly in diminishing returns territory here. While AI can be (it is not today) an even bigger CPU hog making the user shell out extra dosh for a more bastardly computer opponent is a questionable proposition. The user will prefer to shoot at other users with a similar level online instead.

Even the developing world is no longer a market driver. Whoever wanted to have a PC there got one. The rest may never purchase one and go straight to "consumption" mode on a tablet or phone.

So any PC component manufacturer which pretends that there will be growth in the future is not sharing whatever their marketing team has been smoking. PC is a legacy business now and should aim for what it can deliver - steady slowly declining or "business as usual" revenue stream with a steady profit margin. From there on the infestors can take it or leave it - you cannot get growth where there are no conditions for growth to be found.

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Look! Up in the sky! Five Brit satellites on one Indian rocket!

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The natural result of abandoning a space program

The natural result of abandoning a space program is that you get a country which you supply with humanitarian aid to sort out things like basic sanitation to launch stuff for you.

If shame could be mentioned somewhere within the same sentence with the words "Westminster" and "politician" this would have made for a nice "commemoration plaque" of national shame. Unfortunately, those 3 words do not quite go together. There is an odd one out. Usually the "shame" one.

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WHY did NASA probe go suddenly SILENT - JUST as it was about to send pics of remote ice-world?

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Re: Repair job

You never know, there are a couple of bandit garages on the last junction of the galactic bypass before Alpha Centauri. They are supposed to be cheap - they service vogons and making a prostetnic pay is rather difficult.

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Google's Cardboard cutout VR headgear given away GRATIS by OnePlus ... SELLS OUT

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This would explain some of the price differentials

Well, a decent set of lenses which does not introduce horrible chromatic aberration would cost at least 30-40 £. That would explain some of the price differences.

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Kobo Glo HD vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Which one's best?

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Re: Kobo keeps you free

There is an excellent script that comes with Calibre which reformats Gutenberg (and other free ebook sources) content into Kindle format. I have loaded quite a few books on mine using this method.

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Voland's right hand
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The war is not being waged on the device

The device is a proxy - the real war is in the backend and is a war Amazon has won. Though if the war was being a device-only it would have won too. The software (and hardware quality is higher).

Our household started with both in the days of the first kobos sold in the UK (the ones resold by WHSmith) and the first kindle (the one with the keyboard). We kept that for a while, but nowdays I am actually inclined to even re-buy books I actually "own" on Kobo to get them on the kindle.

A recap after 4 years:

1. The 3 kobos we have had over the years are dead and buried now.

1.1 Flimsy USB connectors. I re-soldered or hacked 2.5mm plugs instead of them as they were broken, but all in all nowhere near Amazon old kindle (the newer ones are worse) build quality.

1.2. Seriously buggy software which breaks and cannot be recovered without a windows PC. After resetting it for the 8th? or 9th time I got sick of it and assigned it to the scrapheap. A device that needs a service laptop to carry just to fix it is not a device fit for purpose.

2. Amazon has managed to convince quite a few publishers that did not give Kobo international rights (especially kids and teenage books) to sell e-book version in Europe.

3. The Kindle bought at the same time as the first Kobo is still alive and in use. It is joined by a kindle app on every android device in the house and a new (though much flimsier) little 6 inch brother.

Check, Check, Mate. No more kobo in this house.

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Will rising CO2 damage the world's oceans? NOT SO MUCH – new boffinry

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Re: Not news?

Not quite correct in either case.

Ca and Si (for diatomic plankton) as well as microelements is the actual limiting factor to plankton formation, not CO2. The level of CO2 in the tropics and let's say off Alaska in spring is about the same. However, the tropical ocean remains crystal clear, mostly devoid of plankton compared to a blooming ocean in the temperate and polar regions. The latter simply have higher mineral contents due to the vagaries of seasonal circulation and/or more stuff being brought up from the deep by winter storms.

Depending on how much microelements and Ca+Si you add to your plankton soup you can get any result you like starting from "whoa this is good" and ending up with "certain doom".

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German army fights underground Nazi war machine hidden in Kiel pensioner's cellar

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Stalin and co just made folk vanish

Stalin also documented it. The big ERASURE of the tracks is Chrushov's job.

If you pick the 1952 edition of the World map printed in any Warsaw pact state you will notice an interesting anomaly - there are 16 Soviet republics, not 15. Stalin had no qualms to put his Super-Getto on the map. There is a 16th republic - the Jewish Soviet Republic which is beyond Kazahstan on the Chinese border. You can even see why too - the map shows rare earth, etc being mined in the area (what is missing is the Uranium mines and supporting industry, but that is an expected "detail").

If you pick the 1956 edition (I have both) that is missing. NEVER EVER HAPPEND Товарищ. Понятно? Chrushov and Co disappeared it from history completely (along with quite a few other things).

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Voland's right hand
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Indeed

Sounds like the nuthead 2.5 miles down the road (next village) from me who has a Churchill tank parked in his yard. AFAIK nobody is bothering him. He is not paying road tax on it and as far as I know it does not have a valid MOT and insurance :)

Nobody bothers other nutheads either. I nearly crashed into a wall of an old house in the Czech republic last year. I was driving peacefully down the road and from behind the bend came out a WW2 Willis with a twin Erlicon 50 cal mounted in the boot barrels pointing straight at me (the incoming traffic). I nearly lost control there and then.

My granddad used to own a WW2 BMW bicycle with a sidecar (it was supposed to be mine when I grow up, but my older cousin destroyed it by smashing in it). In full SS regalia with markings, nazi crosses, etc (AFAIK it was abandoned after a mechanical problem by the guys assigned to arrest him and execute him on the spot in 1944 - two weeks before the country was liberated). The only thing the milicia (on the other side of the iron curtain) made him do was to remove the machine gun and hand it in.

And so on. They should just leave the history buff alone. He is harmless.

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Voland's right hand
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Re: Pity it wasn't a French tank

Really? Does not sound like scarper to me: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Abbeville

Their performance in the first gulf war does not sound like scarper either. In fact if memory serves me right they were the _ONLY_ ones to engage Iraqi armour directly armour to armour within cannon range and they steamrolled over it by all means. Compared to them yanks just drove down a shooting alley opened for them by A10s without ever firing a shot in anger.

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Hold my vodka, comrade – I got this: Ruskies blast supplies to the ISS

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Why are you concerned or surprised

Norhing surprsing. Cold war is back by all means. We will see and hear even less as we go along.

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Voland's right hand
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Re: Bring incense!

Ok, who is the downvoting bastard!

The ghost of Werner von Braun.

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Boffin: Will I soon be able to CLONE a WOOLLY MAMMOTH? YES. Should I? Hell NO

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Re: Let 'em loose in Russia

Good - that depends on the definition.

Providing a viable meat and dairy producing animal for the far North of Russia, Finland, Norway, Canada and USA - that sounds good as an idea. However, that begs the question - why not achieve the same using Caribou?

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What's black, sticky, and has just 8GB of storage?

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That is half of the story

Linux also does not have a corporation behind it which has been burned once by a class action suit (the early Intel onboard IGP case). That is the reason why MSFT is quite strict as far as the minimum spec nowdays.

Windows can run on lower spec machines than that (albeit not anywhere near as low as Linux). It is MSFT which is refusing to endorse such low spec machines for end-user shipment. You cannot get discounted OEM licenses and you cannot sticker the machine with the precious MSFT stickers if it does not pass their min spec tests.

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Voland's right hand
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Re: Thin clients on wifi

Used to, but not any more. People requirements have changed, applications requirements have changed too.

I have a big box of retired thin clients and the exec summary from using libreoffice and el-reg without the adverts in firefox over X as a test is:

* 100Mbit and 600-800MHz 32bit in-order CPU (Crusoe, early Via Eden): barely usable. User experience is awful, you can see it redrawing, it stalls, etc.

* 1Gbit and single power 1GHz low power Athlon: works. Just about. CPU load is regularly past 50%.

* 1Gbit and dual core 1GHz Via (recent HP thin client models): works perfectly, but why? You might as well stick some flash into it and run things locally with the user data over NFS. That's what I did and it is now "happily ever after"

* X terminal thin client on wifi is a complete oxymoron. I tried to run that in the past several times both with and without OpenVPN (for compression purposes - it actually improves things quite a bit). The most recent one was using Samsung chromebook. Same story - more flash (hacking a 64 SD card into it permanently), apps locally, data in the network and "happily ever after".

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to run "Terminal" type thin clients any more for performance/cost reasons. The sole reason is management. Even in that case it makes more sense to run the applications locally on the stupidly overpowered recent CPUs and have only the data in the network.

Do we like it or not this is a reality - VDI is dead.

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Original LIZARD JESUS is found in Wyoming

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It it me or it looks more like an imperial fleet tecnical staff...

Like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMXbodUzeR8

Around 0:20

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Apple's Swift creeps up dev language survey – but it's bad news for VB

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Stack Overflow use introduces a big bias

Languages which make your head hurt and have sub-par online documentation will be significantly ahead of stuff that "just works".

Github will have similar (albeit less pronounced bias) - stuff that is buggy or in need of constant redesign and refactoring because of language choice (and/or lack of understanding of how to use the language due to bad documentation) will also have significant bias - commits will be posted by the hundreds if not thousands instead of just getting it to work out of the box.

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Rosetta spots potholes IN SPAAACE: Someone call the galactic council

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Did someone do the math?

the surface falls in and creates a sinkhole In that gravity? It is more likely that it is being blown out to space by the escaping gases (just gently, not violently) and possibly resettling somewhere else around the comet.

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Cash-strapped Chicago slaps CLOUD TAX on Netflix, Spotify etc users

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Legal challenges aside

Well, I did not know that Chicago is in Greece, I know now.

There are two sides to a tax and formulating it is only half of the equation. The other half is collecting it and enforcing compliance. This looks like something which will have a distinctly Greek level of tax collection and compliance.

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Congratulations! You survived the leap secondocalypse

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Android does that only if you do not have sync on

If you have time from network it works fine - I did not notice anything (the household has a mix of 4.x and the sole remaining 2.3).

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Script-blocker NoScript lets in ANYTHING from googleapis.com

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It does not over here

The one packaged by debian does not. It is not in the whitelist.

That particular list entry can be a pain in the a*** as that is the download domain of the ajax libraries - most places pull it from source instead of having a local copy. As a result a large percentage of websites breaks pretty badly. As there is no 2nd level whitelisting (allow if pulled by this site), you end up whitelisting (very grudgingly) anyway.

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Giant FLYING SPACE ROCKS could KILL US ALL, warns Brian May

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Re: So what's the chance...

Sang by the asteroid chorus during entry into the Earth atmosphere:

We will we will rock you

We will we will rock you

Anyway. Who wants to live forever...

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Crowdfunded beg-a-thon to bail out Greece raises 0.003% of target

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I do not see why it should succeed

It will yield the expected democratic result which is a NO. Just expressed in money.

I love the idea by Greek politicos to put the conditions of the bailout in Greece to a referendum.

We should do the same (all countries involved in bailing them out) so that democracy is matched by democracy and the Greeks see exactly how much goodwill is there to bail them out. Based on opinion polls it is <20% in all European union countries.

I would definitely be voting no on this one and I would not be the only one.

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Supreme Court ignores Google's whinging in Java copyright suit

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@Mark65

That's just stupid. Who's got the copyright on Math.Sin...

Why such complex, expressive and original API as an example (sarcasm intended)? Let's keep things simple shall we? ==, + and -. These _ARE_ APIs too.

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Voland's right hand
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Re: Amusing.

They are interoperable - at source level. The same level which is fine enough for most languages.

The whole "build once, run nowhere" delusion is what it says on the tin - a delusion. The moment you start doing something vaguely more interesting in Java you run into that.

Timers, name lookups and even basic things like sockets will have subtle differences running on different OSes. More than enough to flip the cart. The fact that the clueless *** who wrote the runtime have deliberately if-def-ed the source so that it does not use "universal" functions such as getnameinfo(), getaddressinfo(), etc and goes for obsolete, unmaintained and os specific equivalents such as gethostbyaddr_r() is not helping either. And do not even get me started on the subject of using obsolete code from old Solaris for thread scheduling and the mandatory waits in the java equivalent of posix thread notifications. Just read the source of the runtime. And weep.

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Voland's right hand
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They should have gone with python from the start

For crying out loud we live in a world where Apple has managed to make Objective C palatable to developers. If that is possible, anything is possible. Google should have gone with python from the start. By the way - it is used internally in the latest BlackBerry OS so quite clearly it is fit for purpose to run on mobile even without significant runtime investment.

By the way - I agree with you - more than 60% of the java development footprint today is Android related. Oracle _IS_ p*ssing in their own cornflakes here.

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Australian government demands signoff on telco network designs

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Re: "Notify security agencies of any changes…"

That's hundreds and on a bad day thousands of change orders for a network the size of Telstra a day because any corporate VPN or large wholesale deal means a recompute of the LSP paths and a change to some or all of them to make sure they are where you want them to be to comply with contract terms.

Someone in the attorney general's office is smoking something very cool. The really criminal bit is he is not sharing.

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Subaru Outback Lineartronic: The thinking person’s 4x4

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NIce opening rant

Nice opening rant, wrong conclusion.

It used to be the right one - in the days of the great Forester of old before Toyota made something fit for a supermaket parking out of it. Definitely not Outback though - it cannot get to my summer house (which is a mere dirt track, not even proper offroading) without scraping.

Today the conclusion is actually Isuzu Denver. Starting with the older model 2007 "mid-life" uplift revision and till now (current model) it is the right conclusion of that rant. It drives at 90mph on the autobahn with no fuss. The suspension is on par with a luxury sedan (and much better than the Outback) and it goes anywhere. Including through walls if you ask it.

I test drove the entire Subaru stock from the Toyota acquisition boundary, an L200, a Nissan ballroom truck and an Isuzu when I switched cars last time. Only the Isuzu passed both the offroad test and the suspension quality test. It was entertaining when the car salesman understood that I am not joking when I was pointing at the 3 year old daughter and said "If she likes it". He thought I was joking. That thought lasted until I started lining half of the rear seat area with plastic for the road test. Then he got the message - that I will be using a "live" suspension quality indicator. You should have seen his face at that point :)

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Space station cabbage: To boldly grow where no veg has grown before

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Re: "Just Read the Instructions"

Did someone read the ship list?

At this rate of losses in a couple of years the GCV "Kiss My Ass" will proudly sail out of port to meet the next landing attempt.

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Samsung vows to stop knackering Windows Update on your laptops

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Get them by the contract and their minds and souls will follow

It also has contractual commitment not to interfere with key OS functionality under their OEM agreement.

I suspect that a call from Redmond along the lines of "Mr Chrisoprase is very upset" was involved in getting this one right as promptly as they did.

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Who wants a classic ThinkPad with whizzy new hardware? Lenovo would just love to know

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Re: ME! Oh ME! MeohmeohmeohMEEEE!

Based on your reaction this one will be reassuringly expensive.

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Abort, abort! Metal-on-metal VIOLENCE as Google's robo-car nearly CRASHES

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Re: FURY ROAD!!!

Not sure what is more applicable... Zelazny's "Auto-da-Fe" or the other one... about cars gaining self awareness, killing their "occupants" (not drivers any more) and roaming free the California and Nevada wilderness. I am having trouble remembering the author of the latter one off the top of my head. It is one of the Sci Fi greats of old, but not Zelazny. Either Shekley or Larry Niven.

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Hi-res audio folk to introduce new rules and weed out impure noises

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Re: Self confessed audiophile

Replying to myself (I know - bad sport).

A lot of the damage done during bad remastering today is deliberate because marketing insists on making the sound mp3/modern friendly. There are a couple of pretty good studies on this. The summary is that:

1. Quiet transitions are gone - think of Pink Floyd. It would never get past marketing in this day and age. Everything should go off the median volume just a bit and be LOUD. VERY LOUD. EXTREMELY LOUD. As LOUD as the encoding in iTunes will allow.

2. Bass. Beats is not alone here - making the bass go BOOM is a must.

You can see that most remasters surrender to marketing and make it sound "modern" by comparing the tracks (remastered and original) on an analyzer - it is bloody obvious. _THIS_ has nothing to do with audiophilia. It has to do with idiocy and lack of artistic control over the remastering.

For example - I bought a remastered Scorpions album this week and I could not recognize it. It was vandalized to the point where it was barely recognizable.

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Re: Self confessed audiophile

You are mistaking damage from lousy remastering by a moron who was given some fancy studio gear to play with during his intern year for difference from "audiophile sound".

Grab something that was remastered properly under paranoiac original (or at least some of them) artist control like the reissue of the Moody Blues albums and compare.

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Re: Monty....

30p headphones are fine. I will take 30p headphones over 100£ ones with "Bass enhancement" DSP and its associated crappy ADC + DAC pair any day. Beats(tm) me why someone would Beats(tm) his head with ears nonsense (and wear a Beats(tm) advert on his head).

Pun intended.

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Beyond the Grave: US Navy pays peanuts for Windows XP support

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Joke

Re: Since it is the taxpayer's money paying for it...

Shame the NHS didn't have the negotiators from the US Navy

Ever heard of gunboat diplomacy? Last time I checked Redmond is not that far from the coast. Granted, Iowa is now retired, but even in its absence the Navy can still pack some very good "negotiating punch".

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Flushed with success: No bog standard Canadian goldfish these

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Re: Diversify!

I did not know that CMOT moved to Alberta.

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Re: I thought they have Herons in Alberta

Come on, carp is tasty if you _KNOW_ how to cook it.

Getting carp, tench or juvenile European catfish right so it does not have the foul stench of a London canal is culinary art - on par with Michelin 2 star +

While at it, looking at the way the ducklings have steadily decreased on the London waterways I am pretty sure that there is catfish in the canals now. Probably time to set out the rat trap to get some bait for fishing it the Eastern European way (steel rope, tripple (no way out) hook and a rat for bait).

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Voland's right hand
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I thought they have Herons in Alberta

Dunno about Alberta. There are no goldfish around these parts. The friendly neighbourhood heron takes care of that. It does a regular survey of all garden ponds and water features. Anything up to small koi carps survives for about a week, tops. Usually less. My neighbour tried to have goldfish in his garden feature 3 times and then gave up.

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CIA-funded spy data safe Palantir doubles in value in 18 months

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I doubt that

Don't forget gathering all that yummy data and passing onto those willing to pay for it.

In this specific case there is more money in not passing as well as even more money in access control to analysis results. Otherwise you are not getting the roster of clients these guys have at present.

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Do svidaniya to public record as Russia passes NEED to be forgotten bill

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The person in the picture is definitely not forgotten

That's Ezhov - the only person in the 1930-es CK with this height.

He definitely will not be forgotten. No law and no "index removal tools" can remove a name written into history using the blood of half a million people.

The law as it stands today is a "beefed up" version of the Eu directive without some of the checks. It will definitely be (ab)used to remove information about small crooks. Information about something on the scale of the example given here with this picture - I doubt it. That cannot be removed without removing people too. Lots of people. On the scale used by the character who gave Ezhov the orders (in the picture too).

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Killer ChAraCter HOSES almost all versions of Reader, Windows

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Welcome to the last 20 years of software development

I have yet to see a _SINGLE_ large corporation where "reliability and security" of the developer's code is fed back into his rating.

It is actually trivial - the source code control system can trace a particular commit to a particular person - that should go automated on his current perf review regardless of how old is the code in question. In reality - it never does.

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Ecobee3: If you're crazy enough to want a smart thermostat – but not too crazy – this is for you

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Re: Does it really save that much?

Depends where.

USA - maybe.

UK (or another place with water radiator central heating) - definitive no. Fitting Danfoss Living Eco or one of its equivalents to key radiators will get you to the same place for a fraction of the money ~ 31£ per room + the price of 2AA batteries per year. I have had them in all rooms which are not used 24x7 (sitting, dining, home office, etc). They are programmed to allow the temperature to drop to 15C at night as well as during well known "unoccupied" periods and power up back to 20C at 6am. The overall cost saving is quite noticeable too.

The only case where you need something more complex is when you have a really weird and irregular usage pattern and only if you can hook up the central heating control to the occupancy sensors.

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USA-isian only

24 V standard HVAC control. That is a USA specialty.

Most of Eu have 12V. For example my home office aircon/heat pump has a 12V dry terminal block board because it was built to Eu market reqs. IIRC rest of the world with the exemption of the UK is also predominantly 12V control.

UK is an odd one out with a very large install base of 220V direct action thermostats where the thermostat directly on/off the heating pump without an interim relay. Some systems even have 220V servos. I showed the spec on one of them (funnily enough built by Honeywell) to one of my USA friends and he choked on his coffee: "Are you nuts? 220V for a servo?"

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Failing to zap bogus reviews about your biz is illegal, snarls regulator

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Pointless until someone gets fined

Investigations are all good, can we actually see fines (and punitive ones too). Just pull some search results on trip advisor or yelp on restaurants and start nuking from orbit.

Fining the top 10 will probably be not far off. Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

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