* Posts by Luiz Abdala

83 posts • joined 3 Jul 2007

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Body of evidence: Biometrics and YOU

Luiz Abdala
Joke

So, if you use fingerprints...

... you can only change your password 10 times.

Or 20, if you are willing to remove your shoes to scan your toes.

That will teach them to stop asking me to change passwords.

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BOFH: Sure, I could make your cheapo printer perform miracles

Luiz Abdala

Re: Slight tangent

Try scanners on W7 and W10.

Then try Vuescan.

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Luiz Abdala

I can relate to that disassembly of a LJ 1...

When I was 17, I wanted to make an upgrade to my IBM Aptiva PS/2. Yes, the one that came with Windows 95 and OS/2, and let you choose between the two. (I still have those OS/2 disks shrink-wrapped somewhere).

So, I wanted to have a new HDD. Nothing fancy, getting a 20GB IDE unit installed where the original 1.2GB was should be a breeze. Except it wasn't. Both hardware and software had issues:

The first part: Hardware. It's not an standard ATX cabinet. The motherboard doesn't have PCI sockets; instead it has an huge riser with all the boards slapped on it: sound, network, modem and the HDD are all hanging on that riser. Thank IBM for manuals, because it told me I HAD to remove all of that, along with 32 bolts. As you turned the riser UPSIDE DOWN, the CD-ROM and HDD caddy were strapped in there. So, I got to them, and finally removed the failing HDD.

Mom walks in and asks me "Will you be able to put everything together?" to what I take a look up and there are PCI board pieces EVERYWHERE. I half jokingly wave the thick IBM manual at her; "Sure, all in the manual." I never managed to convincingly lie to mom before. She bought it.

I slap everything back together. Everything strapped and working, minus 18 bolts. The thing could take an earthquake, survive an atomic blast with that much over-engineering. Screw it, I got 18 spare bolts. You gotta give IBM the credit, that thing was sturdy.

Now the 2nd part: software. IBM's BIOS couldn't handle the 20GB HDD, not even 8GB in fact. Nothing a quick flashing won't solve. Flash the BIOS, all good, at least it acknowledges there is an HDD in there. It won't boot with a 20GB partition, but fdisking the sucker to a 8GB partition and Windows manages to complete the setup.

It took me a good 5 hours to go through all that, and I managed to get a running PC with Win 95 as per IBM specs with 18 spare bolts.

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Here's a great idea: Let's make a gun that looks like a mobile phone

Luiz Abdala
Coat

Bonus points if you manage to attach a working LCD screen to it running Android.

That would make it a killer app.

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Mystery Kindle update will block readers from books after Wednesday

Luiz Abdala

I had the Kindle Reader not long ago for my Android.

I bet some form on encryption is being enabled right there on that firmware. That is a potential vector for somebody to invade Amazon or something on a different hardware than their own devices.

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Gopher server revived after 15 years of downtime

Luiz Abdala

Re: "a file system is a good model for locating documents and services"

don't you forget also those precious gems in file systems used by more than one person:

New Folder

-> New folder

->New folder

and my favorite:

New folder

New folder(1)

New folder(2)

Copy of New Folder(1)

Copy of Copy of New Folder(2)

... repeated ad nauseam all over the system tree.

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Building a fanless PC is now realistic. But it still ain't cheap

Luiz Abdala

Re: The most practical solution...

Exactly. Modern gaming cards - specially one older model I had - toned down its cores to a measly 30W TDP when not gaming.

Which is well within passive cooling already embedded in the card. This older model I had simply would shut the fans down outside gaming. It was a Radeon HD 5950 that didn't even bother to turn fans on when running on desktop.

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What we all really need is an SD card for our cars. Thanks, SanDisk

Luiz Abdala

Re: SD cards were tested to 1000G

Humans are not radiation hardened either, but still made to the moon and back.

But no, no radiation hardening was considered in both projects.

Neither any car, save for a few coats of paint that were meant to sustain and endure solar radiation.

Your affirmation is correct, nonetheless.

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Luiz Abdala
Coat

Re: Car interior temps

At -32ºC, both temperature scales match.

-32F or -32C, you are freezing just as bad.

Give me my damn coat before I freeze.

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Luiz Abdala
Go

SD cards were tested to 1000G

... or something to that effect. They can take a shake and a wobble.

You could ship these tiny little buggers to the moon and back and they would still work perfectly.

(Didn't a bloke recover a SD card that was sunk underwater for 2 years, a couple weeks ago, recovering his pictures in the process?)

You'd have to smash the car into bits a little bigger than the card itself before it stopped functioning.

Except for temperature, these things are nigh-indestructible.

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'I bet Russian hackers weren't expecting their target to suck so epically hard as this'

Luiz Abdala

I can create the algorithm, but I can't for the life of me to code properly. My college teacher told me that, and he was right.

These days I just write the algorithm down, describing what I want the code to do, and let a competent coder to sort it out.

I was able to code in Pascal (Pre-delphi) though.

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ADpocalypse NOW: Three raises the stakes

Luiz Abdala

Am I paying for ads?

I have a 2GB monthly mobile access plan. I wouldn't be surprised if all the ads loaded made up 50% or more of the traffic that I wanted to see on the pages.

If I go beyond 2GB, the bandwidth is cut, or the whole web access is blocked altogether, unless I pay more for it.

If they can identify the bandwidth consumed by the ad, they can charge the marketer, and NOT THE CONSUMER, for said ad. But not block it entirely.

And I get my whole 2GB monthly limit consumed only on stuff that I wanted to see, even if the raw traffic flow was larger. Does it makes sense now?

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The paperless office? Don’t talk sheet

Luiz Abdala
Windows

Mobile Phones???? Try a PS3!

My Playstation 3 found my Epson Printer over the network at home! I found out that I can print HTML pages and photos straight from my PC right into the printer using the freaking PS3.

I knew my webcam and my keyboard could work on the PS3 (and the webcam works without the freaking windows driver, no less!) but not the printer over WiFi.

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Whitman's split: The end of Fiorina's HP grand expansion era

Luiz Abdala

HP still sells ink made of unicorn blood.

Their printer ink still costs more per gallon than a nice bottle of Dom Perignon or Veuve Cliquot.

And their inkjet printers still break every so often.

I'm guessing that was their profitable part of business. I got rid of their inkjets long ago, right after they printed their last single smile font on every sheet of paper in a 100-stack of A4.

Never again.

Now I have an Epson printer that hadn't failed once in 2 years, and didn't even have to put more ink in it yet.

And that's how you break a company.

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California cops pull over Google car for driving too SLOWLY

Luiz Abdala
Joke

Nothing prevents...

...cop cars emiting a fax tone that automated cars could pick up and pull over.

Sirens are annoying already, they emiting a fax tone yelling "pull over" at 14.4kbps wouldn't be more annoying than it already is.

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Dry those eyes, ad blockers are unlikely to kill the internet

Luiz Abdala

Newsflash!

If I am looking for something that is known to be advertised, I turn the adblockers off and go into "Amaze me in the next 30 seconds" mode.

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After Burner: Sega’s jet-fighting, puke-inducing arcade marvel

Luiz Abdala

Mega Drive version...

...was exceptionally fast. It was so fast that my mom threw me an apple; I turned around, looked at the apple while searching for the stem, and picked it up by the freaking stem in an awkward hand twist, while pausing the game. I could swat a fly with 2 fingers if I wanted that day, I was totally in the zone.

That freaked me out.

That was the sign... to stop playing. And eat the apple. And go outside to ride a bike. And to not play that game again for the next 10 years.

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Want cheaper AT&T gigabit service? Move to a Google Fiber city

Luiz Abdala
Go

Please visit Brazil!

Hey Google, please promise to roll fiber broadband to Brazil. Pronto.

I'm paying 50 dollars per 10mbps. Not megabytes, megabits. 1.2MB/s. (And the TV service is shoved down your throat, since they charge more if you choose to buy only the web access.)

Telefonica, Vivo, GVT and Net Cable are actually avoiding each other, with each one installing their services where the others are not present, so you can't choose.

The bastards.

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Wangling my way into the 4K gaming club with a water-cooled whopper

Luiz Abdala

You don't even have to dim the lights with that rig.

It will do it for you. And your entire neighbourhood. And somewhere in your street you probably didn't hear a transformer switching breakers to keep the voltage up.

On another note, NOW I have a Full HD monitor, and any R9 280-era graphics card can run GTA V at full glory and 60-ish FPS.

A GTX 970 can probably run it at 120Hz, which I wonder could be used in one of those 3D-glasses thing to fully benefit.

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Salesforce plugs silly website XSS hole, hopes nobody spotted it

Luiz Abdala
FAIL

My Kid's name is DROP TABLES

Now, where was that anecdote? I can't find it anymore.

Oh yes...

https://xkcd.com/327/

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Windows 10: A SYSADMIN speaks his brains – and says MEH

Luiz Abdala
Windows

Re: What about 8.1?

Is there anything, at all, preventing me of just keeping the whole windows 7 interface, including but not limited to Aero Glass, in a Windows 10 runtime?

I don't give a rat's ass what is running below it... be it a virtual machine inside windows 10, be a linux pretending to be windows, I just want all my programs, all my icons, exactly where they are now in this Win 7 setup. Did I mention Aero Glass?

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Luiz Abdala

Re: "You'll get used to it"

Ok, tough time with that Windows ME.

In fact, most of the UI was ok, but the machine under it...

So, Windows 10 is the polar opposite of ME. Lousy interface, laid over solid runtime?

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X-wings, pirates and a generic Lara: Gamescom 2015

Luiz Abdala

What about Blizzard?

You didn't even mention Blizzard announcing the next expansion for its Cash-Cow World of Warcraft, INSTEAD OF BLIZZCON, and the major cockup they are trying to cover in the process?

If someone has 10M customers, and in the span of 2 and half months THEY LOSE 3M of those customers, (but you didn't know that), you have to ask yourself why in the heavens would they announce a new game outside of their own conference. Even the ceremony Host got her lines crossed and said BLIZZCON instead of GAMESCOM at one point.

If they had THEIR OWN STAGE at some point power-pointing their hype for ONE AND A HALF FREAKING HOURS, the question that begs is: Why the HELL are you squelching this information? I'm at a loss of comprehension here.

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Crazy Canucks heat their lab with muahaha-capable server

Luiz Abdala
Flame

It can run Crysis 3 and GTA 5 and...

Finally a machine can run everything you throw at it. At full tilt.

Something to stress-test the machine...

But you have to use headsets.

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Ford's 400,000-car recall could be the tip of an auto security iceberg

Luiz Abdala

How do you turn an engine off if the off-button doesn't work?

Can you just plop the hood open and cover the air intake, or will it suck your hand in? Is there a hard kill switch somewhere? Or should I just start yanking the circuit breakers?

No, seriously, my dad got himself a Fusion with that remote start.

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Windows 10 is due in one month: Will it be ready?

Luiz Abdala

Re: clean install

I understood your concern here. But MS "generates" the hidden CD-key, with which they track your PC, only if you upgrade first and the setup sends them the hidden key.

Then you can setup from scratch, and the setup program will be able to compare your setup with a stored key in MS servers as soon you activate the network access. That's why you don't need a cd-key, because the program generates one and compares with an authorized one in MS servers.

That is their DRM, disguised during setup, in short.

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Luiz Abdala

Aero Glass.

I'm not having solid colors on my windows frames ever again. Windows 8 is horrendous, so I kept with 7. Yes, nitpicking.

I want my freaking Aero Glass working from day one along with most of my modern games. Otherwise I will uninstall.

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'The server broke and so did my back on the flight to fix it'

Luiz Abdala

Re: That is a really idiotic design choice.

My Tomtom has this button... wait for the signal before showing the planned route or...

just show the planned route, even if the GPS was turned off in a different place that he is now and cant get a signal just yet...

Major facepalm.

JUST SHOW ME THE GODDAMN ROUTE from whatever place you think you are AND LATER YOU FIGURE WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED WITH THE SIGNAL.

But other than that, he works better than my android. No advertising, no lock-ups, no facebook beeps, it is great!

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Boffins set networking record with marathon 12,000 km fiber data run

Luiz Abdala
Pint

Re: 12,000 km at, for example, 0.4 dB per km

I was trying to grasp the concept of 4800dB... and I found that the most stupid SPL competitor (sound pressure level) managed to put together a sound system capable of 170dB. For comparison, a noisy jet takes off at 130dB. And dynamite detonates with a 200dB "noise" shockwave.

After that, boffins measure in the Richter scale. Yes, the earthquake scale, which also happens to be logarithmic.

So yeah, 4800dB is one hell of a bang in terms of amplification. Well, at least the noise won't need expensive filtering gear anymore, (and amplification is still required), major achievement. Kudos.

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Samsung vows to stop knackering Windows Update on your laptops

Luiz Abdala

Samsung's hardware drivers were not removed or overridden by Microsoft's upgrades.

If it is different from MS, why don't you use a different version number for it? Like "this driver is specifically designet for model X, and other (MS) drivers are incompatible by default".

HP has done it with their printers for ages; most of them work on generic PCL drivers, but few of them run on "special cookie" drivers particular to that model to enable some "extra" features. The option would be that they won't work at all, and ask for the original drivers, which is no surprise. If the MS driver is bogus, just flag it incompatible and deny the change.

Am I missing something?

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GM's cheaper-than-Tesla 'leccy car tested at batt-powered data centre

Luiz Abdala

What's the point of the paint job?

They are upgrading the god damn freaking powertrain in the car, not the paint job or bodywork. Might as well leave the car painted in drab white that nobody would even notice.

And it the mule is an Opel Corsa, I sure as hell want to know how to convert gas Corsas into leccy ones.

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Future Range Rovers will report pot-holes directly to councils

Luiz Abdala

Future Range Rovers will report inability to dodge pot-holes directly to councils.

Fixed it for ya. Because you only fall in pot-holes if you can't dodge them by going into oncoming traffic, killing pedestrians on the sidewalk, etc etc etc...

Unless you have a death wish and wants all the pot-holes in your route dutifully reported. But I recommend you do that with the mayor's car, not yours.

A little pedantic, but yes, some potholes around here are likely to break your car permanently and in such an horrific fashion that no transmitter may survive.

I would do it on purpose on speed bumps, though, thus declaring they are potholes, and have them leveled out.

On second thought, around here I would reverse the transmitter to broadcast which sections of road are NOT potholes. Less data to transmit.

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Got a Samsung Galaxy S5? Crooks can steal your fingerprint – claim

Luiz Abdala
Joke

You can change your fingerprint 10 times...

...plus another 10 if you remember to wear flip-flops and take them off when reading it!

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Norton Internet Security antivirus update 'borked Internet Explorer'

Luiz Abdala

False positive...

The day Norton Internet Security found a virus in my ORIGINAL Windows 7 disk after an update, I uninstalled it, and never looked back.

God, was I stupid until then.

But then again... auto-update will bork the machine, while the user-driven update input won't??? WTF?

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Data centre dangers: Killing a tree and exploding a UPS

Luiz Abdala

Nice lab after-hours incident...

I don't work in IT, but several PCs were harmed during this incident. Here we go...

I was visiting my sister in her experimental lab. A true lab, with mice, and electrodes, and of course, PCs. Well, they asked the local sparky to "upgrade" the lab to handle more things: another fridge for the experiments, more PCs, the usual lot.

So we were there, 9 pm on a friday, when she is done and we are leaving. As she turns off the lights, all hell breaks loose. EVERYTHING hooked to mains claps out, fries, or quits, except the few brand-new PCs with multi-voltage PSUs (multivoltage psu was new back then). And all the wall sockets sparked at the same time. I found that odd, and asked for the multimeter left in the bench (some lazy sparky).

All the mains that were supposed to be 110V, were now 220V. But ONLY with the lights TURNED OFF. As you turned on the lights, the sockets would jump back to 110V!

The amazing sparky had the lights mixed with the wall sockets in such misterious ways: he managed to make the wall sockets change voltage as the lamps were turned on and off!

So, we just shut down the mains for that whole mess, and left a big red warning note that all the circuits were on the wrong voltage, while my sister left an e-mail for her teacher-supervisor saying that all the gear running at 110V was deep-fried. Luckily they had a spare fridge in another circuit, and she saved most of the experiments.

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MOULDY DICK: France aims to snatch EXPLODING WHALE crown from U.S.

Luiz Abdala

Cetanic

I concur. Poke some holes in it and drag it to a place where nature can take care of it. The last exploded one didn't quite work well to vehicle owners in the vicinity.

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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...

Luiz Abdala
Windows

What the hell?

I just gave away to charity a Pentium 4 Northwood box, with everything in it, including 2x 160GB HDDs in stripped raid plugged in an ASUS motherboard that I lost all the drivers, including the raid ones. I was not searching for them, because, as I said, I was about to dump the machine.

But I was not giving away my Windows XP license, expired as it was. Cue Ubuntu.

I had, 3 FREAKING DAYS AGO, searched for the last Ubuntu version to get it burned to a CD. It was 12.04 LTS or something. And I had to get the 32-bit version, after downloading the wrong 64-bit one (d'oh!).

It didn't just find the raid array, but politely asked to be installed on said array, formatting it as needed. The little bugger just asked my time zone and keyboard layout, and off it went, formatted, installed, and remembered me to take the CD off the tray before rebooting. As it rebooted, it was running the vintage CRT monitor at 1600x1200, a resolution that I never thought possible on that particular screen, at 60Hz, just to complete the miracle. Windows never listed that resolution, as even remotely possible. Just as the raid drivers, it found the sound and network card, that were equally iffy to install in Windows.

As a Windows user, I was dumbfounded. The installation was faster and more plug-n-play than any Windows ever on that machine, and I'm pretty sure it was running faster than ever. I just felt sorry I had to dump the machine before playing with it myself. The poor kids that receive that machine will have the chance to learn something.

But on the Ubuntu site, no 14.x LTS in sight. I guess I missed the debut just for a couple days, huh?

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Sony promises PC-based PlayStation 4 for Christmas

Luiz Abdala

Re: "So ready ..... to run PS4 VM on my laptop."

No, the currency is not $USD, and neither it is important. The point was to show the ratio between PC and console games, that are 2 or 3 times more expensive around here.

FYI, it was Brazilian Reais (R$), back then, when 1 USD = 2 R$

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Bioshock Infinite, Devil May Cry, SimCity

Luiz Abdala
Go

Re: I miss space combat too.

I too, miss space combat. A LOT. And I don't even care if they go for Newtonian Physics or WW II style dogfighting.

There is even some mix of it with online FPS via mod for Half-Life, on the same Steam. It is totally free, being a mod, if you have HL2, called Eternal Silence. On this, you can literally engage "Newtonian Physics" and let the ship fly straight without powered engines, while turning to shoot your enemies, like a Chicago gangster drive-by shooting.

I remember Freespace (or Descent Freespace) to be quite nice, except for the targeting system that was WAY too complex - "target your target's target" actually describes one of the keybinds,

I heard of Eve Online being about ships in outerspace, but I don't know how closely related to the genre it is, since I never played it.

The first two occasionally force me to dust my old joystick...

On WW 2 style, we may have in the near future World of Warplanes, that would be a spinoff of World of Tanks, that broke the record for the "Game with the most simultaneous players online". It is expected to be a Freemium release, which means you can literally "pay to win" upgrades and new planes at your disposal. Being russian, and never having played World of Tanks, I don't know what to expect either.

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Ten affordable mid-sized Full HD monitors

Luiz Abdala

2010 is calling back.

Samsung T240M is 24" 1920 x 1200, takes DVI, HDMI, RCA for your vintage VHS, and analog Tv tuner with coaxial cable. Did nothing change in 3 years? I dont care if its a TN panel, to fit in my tiny den. There are no angles but straight up front. There was a newer version from samsung, where you'd be back at 1080. Fail. It was cheap then.... out of stock now.

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Gigapixel camera heralds new world of snoopery

Luiz Abdala
Go

slap that on the hubble.

the hubble definitively has the optics to match that.

And carl zeiss didnt get his reputation for endorsing crappy lens. As others said, crappy lens, crappy pictures... that now takes gigabytes to store. It already got the looks of a LHC or NASA part anyway. Wires and polished stainless steel...

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IT guy answers daughter's Facebook rant by shooting her laptop

Luiz Abdala

If she'd written that in paper... (diary?)

would daddy shoot it dead with a .45 'n hollow point rounds? He wouldn't have spent 150$ in software for it, at least.

Some things are better kept in paper or nowhere at all but your noggin'.

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Swiss-based Balesio takes the knife to PDF files

Luiz Abdala
WTF?

Original .DOC is huge.

Original Word file, one page, text only, barely no formatting - 75kb.

Using one of those free ad PDF printers - 15kb PDF. Text file, no tables, converted to IMAGE PDF, as if you just scanned the thing. I believe there is some JPEG compression behind the scenes too?

Same file on notepad, that is barely just ASCII - less than 1kb.

Yes, I'd guess MsOffice wastes space on those files. OK, I can agree that in order to make a file editable, you must have a bit of over-coding... but WTF?

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End of UK local dialling in sight as numbers run out

Luiz Abdala
Meh

Adding a digit before the title...

Be glad you don't have to dial an IPV6 number... yet.

Around here they just added another digit and presto, 9 times the available numbers. Yeah, 9... (or 8?) everybody that had 7 digits got a 3 prior to their previous number. Nothing really fancy, and no need to use the whole area code either. And that capacity bump worked for *each* area code.

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Chrome 9 debuts with WebGL, app store, instant annoyance

Luiz Abdala
Coat

re: "Printing works in the majority of Chrome installs" #2

Oh, so I'm not in the majority, because the print preview is still a no-go. I tried to preview yours truly El Reg forum page, and... it shows a lateral tab with printing settings, but in the main window... a whole lot of nothing is visible.

Curiously it showed the word MAIN greyed out, as if it was "behind" the page.

BTW, now that Google can handle PDFs natively, (or appear to do so) what about using that capability to advantage on print previews? No wonder it is in ALPHA stage, and it could "blow in my face".

I'll get back when they fix it. And where the hell is my coat?

PS. Anyone even mentioning IE tabs for Chrome as viable will be downvoted.

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World of Warcraft bot ban ticks off world of critics

Luiz Abdala
FAIL

Mixed feelings #735

I don't like bots, like most people here already commented.

But let's face it, you start playing some class of toon, you learn it, you grow in experience AND YOUR PLAYSKILL with it, playing honestly, you join a Guild, great; you have enjoyed the game.

But now, you want to create another toon, of a different class, but you want to play the game around your beloved Up-level friends and not stay around newbieville for long. They won't wait your grinding until you reach their level with another toon. You don't have that much friends to give you XP gifts (whatever, I play other MMOs besides WoW), but still... you already have plents of in-game currency...

Hmm... see a need... fill a need. You have a fat virtual wallet and an unlevelled toon.

How about Blizz selling XP directly to people that already reached high levels, gobs of $$$, earned respect, collected merit badges, whatever?? Two choices:

Oh, Blizz has it? My bad, carry on, bots suck.

Oh Blizz doesn't have it? What are they waiting for? If you manage some form of lazyness for those that already proved their worth, they won't risk getting near a bot. As of playskill, it is your choice if you don't want to grind another toon just to party with your regular folks.

On other MMOs, there are some equipments that have no bottom limit of usage, so you can equip a freshly created toon with TOP GEAR and power-level in a flash. We called them "golden babies". No special grinding, and you get to follow your friends easily from the get-go.

It is a win-win-win scenario.

Blizz wins, it got a player hooked for a while longer, paying monthly fees.

Your friends win, they now can count on you for more than one class.

You win, TWICE. You keep playing with your friends and made yourself a favor of learning versatility, making your hobbies more enjoyable.

Ops, it is a 4-win scenario.

But in the end, they want you to keep grinding, since logged time counts as addiction and ensures you will be a loyal monthly source of real cash. They should know when they are pushing the grinding too hard, when that sort of things happen.

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The Mac that saved Apple (and Steve Jobs)

Luiz Abdala
Alert

That's why...

...only Mac engineers had the guts to follow what their fellow designers had envisioned to the letter.

The last PC, that had joined bodies like this one, that I have seen, was way back in the 80's or 70's (CP500 - Prologica is an example...here: http://www.museudocomputador.com.br/imagens/cpu/cp500/cp500-02.jpg ) but none ever since.

And I bet those allowed access to PC parts with no need to get near the CRT parts.

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BOFH: Pepper-packing bot plot

Luiz Abdala

re: Imparting Spin

That's what mythbusters faced when spinning CDs to oblivion-y RPMs. No eletric motors they had could go over 10k-50k rpm.

The solution? Compressed air. 10 bar on the edge of the shurikens on a really narrow launch tube should do it.

Using air turbines simply maxed out their measurement apparatus. Plus it could help on the launch itself.

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Vacuum-wielding thieves siphon €500,000 from store safes

Luiz Abdala
Coat

The best to do with that kind of money??

Blow it, of course!

I will buy a new coat when I get to Monaco.

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