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* Posts by silent_count

399 posts • joined 21 Nov 2011

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The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?

silent_count
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Fun huh?

There's the intellectual challenge of constructing a tower of invisible blocks. The quiet satisfaction of a job well done when it withstands the worst battering of the testers can inflict. And the pride in seeing the tower you've constructed improving someone else's life, even if it's only a little bit.

Fun? Not so much. I know nobody, and nor do you, who says, "Ya know! Screw this trip to the beach/movies/restaurant. Let's stay home instead and write an optimised red-black tree implementation in assembly. 'Cause that'll be way more fun."

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Watersports-friendly e-reader: Kobo's Aura H2O is literary when wet

silent_count
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Re: Reading in the bath

If you haven't already, can I suggest trying (the badly named) pbchess, which comes with a build of CoolReader. The virtue of using it instead of the kobo software is that it loads the books from the file system, so you can name the files as you see fit and arrange them in whatever directory structure makes you happy.

http://wiki.vlasovsoft.net/doku.php?id=en:pbchess-1.2.6

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Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?

silent_count
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And once I had all 2,048 speakers arranged in a fractionally asymmetrical snowflake pattern, as suggested by the Antikythera mechanism, I was able to listen to the Sesame Street theme song *as it was meant to be heard*.

This is kind of like the Concorde. Sure it works but it'll never be a practical option for the vast majority.

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Scientists skeptical of Lockheed Martin's truck-sized FUSION reactor breakthrough boast

silent_count
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I Want To Believe

On the one hand the LM Skunk Works are not an unmitigated bunch of vapourware merchants. On the other hand, the most knowledgeable physics dudes I know tell me that practical fusion energy is for physicists what a real AI* is for programmers - tantalisingly close but always a bit beyond our reach.

* The kind that can pass a Turing test.

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Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'

silent_count
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"Weaponized Powerpoint"

Am I the only one picturing...

"No. No, Ahmed. No more bomb belts or explosives in cars for us. From now on we will be using weaponized powerpoint. It's pie charts and meaningless graphs will bore the yankee, imperialist scum into submission. Ha har!"

Ok. Maybe it was just me.

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'MYSTERIOUS PYRAMID STRUCTURE' found on COMET beyond Mars: Landing planned

silent_count
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Joke

Re: Pyramid?

Now that would be silly!

Ever noticed how strange it is that there are pyramid structures in both Egypt and in central America? Well that's the best replica our ancestors could manage of the one pyramid that spawned us all... which just incidentally happened the last time p67 visited.

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Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

silent_count
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Congratulations to the protesters

For protesting peacefully. There are too many out there who think their cause, whatever it happens to be, will be served by behaving like ferals.

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Adobe spies on readers: 'EVERY page you turn, EVERY book you own' leaked back to base

silent_count
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Default deny!

This software should not be allowed through one's firewall as there is no logical reason why an ebook reader program would need to access the internet.

I'm caught between my usual level of contempt for Adobe* and a lack of sympathy for anyone who still hasn't gotten around to reading Mr Radnum's list (#1 on the list is 'default permit').

* Is there anyone here who sees the number of vulnerabilities found in Flash on a regular basis and thinks that installing more Adobe software is a good idea?

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Revenge smut bullies who send 'grossly offensive' messages WILL be prosecuted

silent_count
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Re: re: revenge porn can affect anyone

@Patrick R

The issue with explicit photos of children is that children are deemed too immature to be able to provide consent.

The issue with explicit photos of adults is that adults are deemed too immature to be able to provide consent.

It's a good thing that it's Ms Miller who makes that argument because if it were a bloke saying that (predominantly) women are too stupid to make their own decisions, he'd be considered sexist and there would be large sections of the mainstream media baying for his resignation.

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JPMorgan CYBER-HEIST: 9 US financial firms snared by 'Russian hackers', says report

silent_count
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Well now we know

IT security is *not* what JPM spent their bailout money on.

It's perverse that the yanks have RICO laws to get rid of corrupt organisations but their policy regarding incompetent ones seems to be to throw money at them.

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Wide Open Data: NYC taxi dump catches strip club Johns

silent_count
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Freedom of Association?

John Doe, who lives by himself, regularly catches a cab to an address where they have AA/NAACP/GoP/whatever meetings. How is this release of data not a violation of John's right to freedom of association?

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Windows 10: One for the suits, right Microsoft? Or so one THOUGHT

silent_count
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Multiple desktops?

Honest question. Can the "multiple desktops" under Win10 do anything more/better than Win7 + Dexpot?

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Opposition: we passed Australia's 'spook's charter' on PURPOSE

silent_count
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Stranger and stranger.

The ALP: passing legislation which is bad* for the nation because it's politically expedient.

Do you reckon they'll be able to fit that on their 'how to vote' cards for the next election?

* Incidentally, I don't believe they honestly do object to government bodies intruding into citizens lives. They definitely didn't have a problem with it when it was Ms Gillard and Mr Conroy running the show.

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Telstra, Vodafone at odds over data retention

silent_count
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Re: Cue stampede of punters

Cue stampede of punters to foreign-based VPN providers who don't retain records and will tell .gov.au where to get off, should they come calling.

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'Trust ASIO': Australia passes spook's charter Part A

silent_count
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Ya know

There's nothing inherently wrong with what is being proposed - I mean, honestly, is there anything in there which a spy agency (assumed to be operating in your interest) shouldn't be allowed to do?

Of course the catch with any such laws is how they're applied. If it could be taken for granted they're going to be applied with common sense, then all is well. If they're not, and we are talking about a fairly adept spy agency here, then we've got bigger problems than if they're strictly abiding by the letter of the law.

Incidentally, the problem for the NSA is not whether (or not) they've abided by the letter of law but that the American people don't want their own spies, and by extension their own government, working against them. And countries take umbrage at spies from an assumed-to-be friendly nation acting against their citizens.

So in the end, I guess I'll be very Aussie, say "she'll be right", and see how this all shakes out.

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Adobe swallows Aviary, hopes to stuff Creative Cloud into mobes

silent_count
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Re: Why?

Apples to oranges, qwertyuiop.

Aviary is good* for simple photo editing - a crop or rotate of a snap you've taken with your phone. It is not in the same league as taking photos with a SLR and editing them with Photoshop and Lightroom.

* Or at least was until Adobe gets their mits on it.

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Net Neutrality? Hold my coffee, I got this: FCC says it's still considering all options for Open Web

silent_count
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Re: Considering all options

"Considering all options"

==

"The pro and anti bribes are about even and were still accepting offers. And my aren't the Caribbean islands are nice this time of year. I'd like one of those, thanks."

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Feds act to stop cyber-bullying, whatever it is, at some future point

silent_count
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This is ominous

Vaguely written legislation, whose purpose is to suppress free speech, and which will be voted into law without anyone reading it*. What could possibly go wrong?

*What politician is going to speak out against legislation designed to protect our precious kiddies from the big, bad bullies from cyberspace?

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Student pleads guilty to Frances Abbott 'secret' scholarship leak

silent_count
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Re: No HELP* debt for the PM's daughter, I guess.

If you so greatly resent paying a higher tax rate then feel free to submit your resume to McDonald's. A high tax rate will thereafter no longer be an issue.

And if you don't want to pay for a university course, don't go to university. How hard is that to understand?

Anyhow, you won't need a degree for your low tax, dream job at Maccas.

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The Apple Watch and CROTCH RUBBING. How are they related?

silent_count
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Heh! You know what I'm waiting for? Some poor, deluded hipster who will try to get away with wearing an iWatch and a Google Glasses at the same time.

They'll bring their wrist to face level, to talk into their iWatch, and what follows will be a blinding moment of unexpected interoperability. The Google Glasses will beam the image of the person's wrist to the iWatch's display and the iWatch will beam the image of the glasshole's face to the Google Glasses' display. At that point we've either discovered the secret to a perpetual energy loop, or an Earth-rending implosion resulting in a black hole.

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NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies

silent_count
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Looking at who does have an embassy in NK, I imagine the Russians and Chinese would tell Pyongyang where to go and the others would sooner shut up shop and go home before they give the North Koreans access to their communications. This is weak sabre rattling because Kim Jong-un found out that Julian Assange had more column inches devoted to him in the past few weeks.

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Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes

silent_count
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Re: Proof of the gateway theory

I can't help but think: If only the poor chap had found his way to some respectable musicians, like Black Sabbath or maybe Guns n Roses, perhaps his life would have down a less destructive path.

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Google extends app refund window to two hours

silent_count
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Good

This will solve the problem of apps (mostly games) which need to download a large amount of extra data before you get a chance to test if it works... by which stage the 15 refund window has already expired so you're SOL if it doesn't work.

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Amazon axes hated Fire Phone price: 99 pennies but a niche? Ain't none

silent_count
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Re: They call $1920.99 a "fire sale"??

The idea is that you're so focused on the alluring "99¢ up-front" cloak that you fail to notice the sword the matador cashier is holding behind it.

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Hey hipsters: Tabs are so last year, fat phones are where it's at

silent_count
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Joke

Re: I wonder how they decided the size range for "phablets"

"you forgot the latest fad ---

Being seen pretending to speak into your mammoth 10in phone that is clasped to your ear.

Oh look at me it shouts."

For the truly hipster, nothing beats "making calls" on a 30 inch CRT.

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Nvidia blasts sueballs at Qualcomm, Samsung – wants Galaxy kit banned

silent_count
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Thumbs up for nVidia

For actually listing the patients which they claim have been infringed upon.

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Love XKCD? Love science? You'll love a book about science from Randall Munroe

silent_count
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Re: The author of this book is an internet cartoonist,

Kindle version: $15.83

Hard cover: $14.40

http://www.amazon.com/What-If-Scientific-Hypothetical-Questions/dp/0544272994

What if... ebooks with almost zero storage and distribution costs were cheaper that the hard cover edition?

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Racing Post escapes ICO fine after leaking info of 677K punters

silent_count
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“If that is the case, it should be the agency that gets hammered, not the headline company, or they'll just keep churning out the same old rubbish."

That would leave the headline company with absolutely no incentive to perform any kind of due diligence.

"Yeah look. We hired the CEO's four year old nephew to design and implement the website. We paid him in Fruit Loops and performed no testing of any kind. How could we know the website would leak customer data?"

If the Racing Post, or any other mob, chooses to have a website, the buck *should* (well played ICO) stop with them.

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Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch

silent_count
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Re: "a battery life of up to two days"

I wonder if any of the manufacturers have given serious thought to using an e-ink display for their smart watches.

A display which uses little power would seem like a natural match for a device which has to have a tiny battery.

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Six of the best gaming keyboard and mouse combos

silent_count
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Re: I would really like a decent gaming mouse and keyboard

+1 for the ducky keyboards.

Rock solid keyboards which are pleasant to type on. I could happily live without the back-lighting but whatever - it's easy enough to switch off.

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Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?

silent_count
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"Statistics are one thing, but actually having a randomised controlled trial is still the gold standard in medicine."

And it can not be stated too emphatically - this is the difference between medicine and homeopathy (and similar bunkum).

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My big reveal as macro-economics analyst: It's a load of COBBLERS

silent_count
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A wicked problem

I'm paraphrasing Steve McConnell (author of 'Code Complete') - a "wicked problem" is one whose nature can not be adequately understood prior to attempting to solve the problem.

This is what I think of whenever I look at macroeconomics. It's easy to be wise afterwards and note all of the subtle clues which could have predicted yesterday's results. Yet trying to choose which of the myriad available clues will foretell tomorrow's outcome, that's closer to voodoo than scientific methodology.

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iPhone owners EARN MORE THAN YOU, says mobile report

silent_count
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Re: In other news ...

Next up, research shows that owners of the Diamond Crypto Phone (USD $1.25 mil a pop) have a higher average income than iPhone (around USD $600) owners.

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Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

silent_count
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Re: Stand clear! Will HTC's One act as a defibrillator for Windows Phone?

"Nothing constructive"? Really! You made me laugh and it usually takes a politician talking about honesty to achieve that.

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Help Australia's PM and attorney-general to define metadata

silent_count
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Re: Papers Please!

"Time to migrate to a less oppressive regime. Iran maybe."

Send us a postcard when you land at Imam Khomeini Airport. Be sure to try the faludeh. It's really nice.

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BANGKOK-BLOCKED: Thailand's dictators 'ban dictator sim Tropico 5'

silent_count
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Re: Too good to be true?

I'm on holidays in Phuket. No troubles accessing

http://www.worldoftropico.com/us/

using the hotel's wifi.

I'm not however going to buy a copy. Not for fear of government censors kicking down the door but for the (hopefully!) more rational fear of wasting my money on a crap game.

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Lawyer for alleged Silk Road kingpin wants all evidence thrown out

silent_count
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Re: I just don't care.

@AC

And how much latitude - to prosecute someone beyond the letter of the existing law - would you consider acceptable if you, or someone you give a shit about, was the defendant?

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Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS

silent_count
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It's hardly Windows' fault if people choose to use a battery draining program. The user has presumably chosen to install a program which behaves in this manner.

I'm no MS appologist but, in this case, it really isn't their fault. If they don't allow programs to change the timer resolution, someone's 'cure for cancer' program will depend on being able to change the timer resolution, and then MS are autocratic pricks who won't let people use the hardware which they've paid good money for.

If they do allow it, someone (hi there, Google) will use it for something stupid and MS gets the blame for allowing them to.

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I've got 99 problems, but a Facebook boycott ain't one

silent_count
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“The campaigners claimed that quitting Facebook for more than three months "saves the average user [...]"

I question their premise - that without facebook, these people will spend their time on more productive pursuits.

The kind of people prone to 'wasting' time on facebook would, sans facebook, simply find something else to waste their time on. There is no time 'saving' to be gained.

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Google YouTube U-turn: Indie music doomsday 'postponed'

silent_count
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At least someone at google seems to recognise what a PR and legal (vis-a-vis the EU) own goal this would prove. The next trick would be to see if they can get over their collective ego long enough to back down.

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Voteware source code requester labelled 'vexatious'

silent_count
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Notwithstanding the contemptible behaviour of the AEC in this matter, I think there's more important question. How did we end up with closed source vote counting software?

Who was the minister responsible for allowing this to happen? A quick search says the AEC answers to the special minister of state... but I don't know when this software was procured, thus who the minister was at the time.

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Qualcomm fires DMCA shotgun at alleged code thieves on GitHub – including itself

silent_count
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When's the next round of elections in the US? 'Cause I think I've got a solution.

All that's needed is a asset-free shell company and someone with enough time to issue DCMA takedowns for advertising from both major political parties. Every single bit. Anything with the image of an American flag, the word 'and', or the number '1', contains IP belonging to the shell company.

Or did they remember to add some weasel clause in the DCMA to exempt political material?

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Conformist Google: Android devices must LOOK, WORK ALIKE

silent_count
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Re: Google, your megalomania is showing

Hi Mr Roper, I see where you're coming from but I think you're not quite getting the right 'read' on google's thinking. They don't really care about stifling UI creativity. They care about user data and sales though the play store.

If you want to be a cynic, goggle wants to make sure none of the OEMs will screw with google's ability to slurp every bit (geddit?) of data from every user. They want their RoI for the OS.

If you'd like a more benign read, they don't a repeat of the fragmentation mistake that plagues their phone platform. Its the OEM's 'creative input' which means that users have to wait, often in vain, for the OEMs to send out OS updates rather than the users getting updates from google.

As with most things, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

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Facebook 'manipulated' 700k users' feelings in SECRET EXPERIMENT

silent_count
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So, people are happy when their friends are perceived to be happy and sad when their friends perceived to be sad. Well done. Now where's my 'research' money?

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What is ex-NSA spyboss selling for $1m a month, asks US congressman

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Thumb Down

As a former lawyer, Mr Grayson should be aware that the correct thing to do with evidence of illegal activity is to present it to the police. As he doesn't have any such evidence, what he's doing is using his position as an elected official to organise a witch hunt. And that's just low.

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Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls coding' campaign

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Re: Progressive

I like your version better 'cause google's is just patronising.

"C'mon girls. Spend your time learning to write software while everyone major company in your newly-acquired field conspires to keep you from getting paid a fair wage. And that's only when they can't import people who'll do it cheaper than you can live on. And that's only when they can't outsource your job to someone who can't do it half as well, but will do it a little cheaper."

At least as a cook, it's easier for the layman to appreciate the value of your work. And it's readily apparent if someone tries to substitute your quality work with cheap garbage.

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The rise of the humans: How to outsmart the digital deluge

silent_count
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chief envisioning officer

Yes, that job title really should come with tights and a cape.

"My gawd! That dude's expression! It's like he's just been hit on the head with a cricket bat."

"Nah. Show some compassion. He looks like he's constipated."

"No, no guys. Stand back and let him do his thing...

That's the Chief Envisioning Officer."

(Possibly, chiefly envisioning where his life could have gone so dreadfully wrong to end up with such a crappy job title)

Bullshit aside, it does sound like a moderately interesting read.

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Apple, Cisco line up to protect offshore data

silent_count
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"The issue here is that US law doesn't allow for the consideration of other countries"

And the folly of this position will rapidly become apparent the moment other countries decide to play quid pro quo. ie When Ms Merkel (to pick an example) summons the chief of Apple's (ditto) German subsidiary and demands large swathes of their American-held customer data... with the threat of crippling fines for non-compliance.

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Car titans WON'T STEAL our tech, says Musk: DAMNIT, I'll GIVE IT to 'em

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@James Hughes 1

I don't have a problem with Mr Musk making money. May it bring him joy and may he make lots more. And furthering the state-of-the-art for electric cars and bringing them closer to a mass market reality are both good things. I have no complaint about any of that.

What does get on my nerves though is that a substantial number of my fellow countrymen apparently can't spot the difference between enlightened self-interest and altruism. One of the reasons I read El Reg is that the people here thankfully aren't quite so credulous.

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