* Posts by David Roberts

302 posts • joined 25 Jan 2007

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Ex top judge admits he's incapable of reading email, doesn't own a PC

David Roberts
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Re: Say What?!?

Perhaps you can inlude a reference to the UK Liberal Party just to clear up any remaining confusion?

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So, was it really the Commies that caused the early 20th Century inequality collapse?

David Roberts
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Re: Well, that's one man's opinion...easy credit?

Easy credit didn't suddenly appear with credit cards.

Hire purchase, the never never, goes back a lot further.

Invented in the 19th century, I beleive, as an alternative to an unsecured loan.

Yes, credit cards decoupled the loan agreements from individual purchases and made

the whole thing swifter but then a lot of people (myself included) use credit cards to slightly defer the time of payment instead of for longer term loans. So easier credit for some, perhaps. Before that there was always the overdraft.

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David Roberts
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Correlation?

The slowdown in the 20s and 30s may also match the decline of the British Empire as the US and Germany became the leading world industrial nations.

It could have taken the second world war to make the UK self reliant and invest desperately in manufacturing, instead of relying on sucking the rest of the world dry.

Post war economic boom because everyone was so relieved to have survived, and the end of rationing made pay and conditions look good?

Pick your isolated facts to fit your theory.

We did get a boost to the work force in the late 60s and early 70s with the Asians being chased out of Africa.

As far as I can tell none of these factors seem to relate to high taxation and strong unions.

Global mobility of wealth and labour should prevent any attempt to recreate the 90% tax rates that drove some into tax exile.

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NCA arrests six Lizard Squad users after gaming firms, retailers targeted

David Roberts
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WTF?

National Crime Agency?

So do I go to them if i want to commission a crime?

Whatever happened to the crime prevention agency?

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Password 'XXXXairocon' pops Wi-Fi routers from ASUS, ZTE and others

David Roberts
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Shields Up?

Perhaps the first thing you should do with a new router is use Shields Up to check if your router has any open ports?

I haven't used CLI on a router for a long time (used to have a Perl script to tune the ADSL) but I suspect that there is probably a lot more functionality under the hood on most routers than is exposed via the web interface. So access to the CLI (which will probably be Telnet) internally is IMHO a good thing on balance.

Not externally!

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Why Nobody Should Ever Search The Ashley Madison Data

David Roberts
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Facepalm

It would have taken less time to spot the joke..

...if the article hsd been in the humorous Bootnotes section.

Oh, wait.....

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David Roberts
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Joke

Pray tell.....

.......whoooosh....I keep hearing that sound...........

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David Roberts
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Whoosh?

Apparently I am the only one to find this entertaining.

More of a weekend article, perhaps, but some of the hypocritical justifications sounded sadly true to life. The warnings about virus infections and email address harvesting are not too far fetched, either.

Oh, and as it happens I know both the author and his partner and am happy to realise that I am about to receive a totally unsolicited long term loan offer to participate (in a passive way) in the ongoing research project. Euros preferred unless printed in Greece.

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'Web brothel' CEO, staff cuffed on prostitution rap – clue: the website is called Rentboy.com

David Roberts
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Joke

Did someone finally notice......

....that her partner advertised on that site?

[Actually looks more like opportunistic career promotion.]

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Manhattan-sized iceberg splits from glacier – and spotted FROM SPACE

David Roberts
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Cool

See above

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White Stork mates with ISS, delivers bundles of resupply joy

David Roberts
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Boffin

Dehydrated beer...

...in known as Malt Whisky.

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Suffering a comms blackout in the loo? Now you don't have to

David Roberts
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Coat

Comms black out?

Never suffered from that.

I do have regular brown outs though.

Mines the one with a copy of the Times in the pocket. I find it very absorbing.

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

David Roberts
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Re: Stanford

Upvote for the classification as a hedge fund.

Reminds me of Trinity College Cambridge.

Allegedly you can walk from the coast (Port of Felixstowe) to the college in Cambridge without even once stepping off land owned by Trinity.

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Embracing the life-changing qualities of USB power packs and battery extenders

David Roberts
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More than one device?

External power packs come into their own when you have more than one device.

Say, two phones and a tablet between a couple.

You can also offer emergency support to others if you have the comprehensive connector pack.

YMMV.

However not everyone lives their life chained to a desk or car seat.

Walking or cycling all day and using your phone as a satnav can benefit from spare juice sources.

As can international travel.

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Pirate MEP: Microsoft's walled garden is no consumer pleasure park

David Roberts
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Black Helicopters

Unauthorised peripherals?

A lot of potential there.

Including a scheme where you have to get Microsoft to authorise and distribute device drivers (for a price) instead of downloading direct from the manufacturer. Or device him not work.

Possibly welcomed by larger manufacturers who can sell loads of new kit because the legacy stuff no longer works.

All the way down to mother boards, memory, discs, USB pen drives.......

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Why do driverless car makers have this insatiable need for speed?

David Roberts
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Off road vehicles?

I can see that automated driving could have benefits in optimising traffic in towns and on major roads.

However the farmer driving a truck load of hay across a hill farm is a totally different challenge.

So there will have to be manual controls for the forseeable future (although automation is already present along with GPS in large agricultural machinery).

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Parrot drone pwned (and possibly killed) with Wi-Fi log-in

David Roberts
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Coat

You missed out

All your drones are belong to us...

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Donald Trump dumps on Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg

David Roberts
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WTF?

Surely he doesn't mean that?

Nobody so far has posted a costed engineering design for such a wall, nor the personpower needed to police it 24 x 7 x 365/6. Built and run by immigrant labour?

Perhaps he should look at East Germany where they could only afford a wall for a small part of the border. The rest was machine guns and land mines.

Or is this perhaps the real long term plan?

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Ransomware blueprints published on GitHub in the name of education

David Roberts
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Coat

Personal ransomware?

If you are concerned that you may be asked for the encryption key for your pr0n stash by the authorities , you could always infect your PC with ransomware so that when it boots you can claim you have just been hacked and have no idea how to recover your data.

Hmmm....ransomware as a service?

Have a 3rd party encrypt your PC before you travel then pay them to decrypt it afterwards?

[Don't try this at home, children.]

Mine's the crusty brown one with a copy of Debbie Does Dallas in the pocket.

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David Roberts
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Re: Shouldn't be up.

I expect it is because if you encrypt a vast number of known files with the same key then it becomes easier to analyse and recover that key.

So you encrypt each file with a unique key, then encrypt the table of files and keys with another key which you then ship off to the server.

Also less network traffic.

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Sony PC owners to get Windows 10 upgrade as early Christmas present

David Roberts
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Sensible Sony

Sage advice to wait a few months after first launch before upgrading.

There is more chance of a stable platform, and less chance of fail early fail often.

Am I the only one to have cleaned out all the upgradeware from Windows Update so that I can decide later if I want to upgrade or stay put?

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Flying Spaghetti Monster spotted off Angolan coast

David Roberts
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Boffin

Upside down?

Probably just me, but this looks very much like a sea anemone which has become detached and is slowly floating down to the ocean bed upside-down.

Earlier footage where the ROV bounces off the undersea installation it was inspecting?

Voices off saying "that's better - last few trips it felt like we were towing something"?

Thankfully His Noodly Goodness does not require literal belief.

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Jail incompetent council folk who leak our data, thunders furious BBW

David Roberts
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FAIL

Show me the money! + Admiral Bing

For the papers left on the train - without total IT suport for all processes and procedures, case workers will have to carry their paper files with them every day as they move between office, home, and clients.

I have yet to see securely encrypted paper forms (although some come scarily close).

So until you have a fully functional, implemented and supported electronic system which covers all aspects of case work along with a strong and constant drive to prevent anyone taking paper notes and trancribing them later you will always have thousands of case workers every day carrying paper based information in public areas.

Some of these will certainly be lost each year, probably each week.

Jailing people randomly (on the Admiral Bing principle) will just make people who have no choice but to breach DPA guidelines every day just to do their jobs go to extraordinary lengths to conceal any loss of sensitive information.

Implementing fully electronic systems is demonstrably far beyond the capabilities, resources and funding of the current IT infrastructure.

So to do this you need to fund a massive increase in development, testing, support, training, and compliance monitoring. Which will cost money.

Threatening to jail people for being forced to adopt procedures over which they have no control is IMHO a totally stupid and immoral politician's response. A problem you say? Look, legislation. Now it is a crime. My work here is done! Meanwhile the police can't even afford to attend crime scenes and are asking for photos instead.

So show me the money!

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Foxconn to build 1,500-acre, US$5billion complex in India

David Roberts
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"But also, you are underestimating the damage the EU economic crisis is having. If you take a typical international manufacturer like Samsung, 69% of their sales are in the Americas and 52% in the EU (2013 numbers from Samsung's 2014 Facts and Figures report)."

Where are their other 123% of sales, then?

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'Sunspots drive climate change' theory is result of ancient error

David Roberts
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The article seems to suggest that groups of sunspots are now being counted as one.

I think.

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A close shave: How to destroy your hard drives without burning down the data centre

David Roberts
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Wonder if they tried two shaped charges top and bottom.

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Perhaps middle-aged blokes SHOULDN'T try 34-hour-long road trips

David Roberts
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Re: Traffic Management

Just to note that to the best of my memory, when travelling on the M25 clockwise between the A1M and the M11 there are a number of hills where a new fourth lane opens on the right hand side, and then at the top of the hill the slow lane merges into the next one across.

This seems to work, because lanes 1 & 2 seem to be travelling at roughly the same speed whilst lane 4 is full of mad buggers going hell for leather nose to tail and not wanting to slow down for anyone.

In effect it releases a bunch of pent up speed freaks to charge on ahead and lets those of a more sedate nature politely sort things out amongst themselves.

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David Roberts
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Holmes

Marketplace?

As asked before, roughly how much is the saving?

If you are saving over 1000 Euros then there is scope for an innovative new service.

Perhaps have a student drive it down then take a cheap flight back. After the first trip the driver just swaps over cars.

Find someone who wants to do the trip anyway and have them drive it and share the petrol and tolls.*

Perhaps club together and have a car transporter move 8 - 12 cars up and down each 6 months.

You could always take it easy and stop in some very good B&Bs on the way down and enjoy the trip.

Or is the saving minimal, and just an excuse to be "laddish" and have a Road Trip to show you are not yet middle aged? Which apparently turned out not to be the epic experience you were seeking.

*Bootnotes:

This is roughly how they move hire cars from North Island to South Island in NZ because the main flow is from South to North.

There is a famous road trip novel from the US about a person being hired to drive a car across country. On the Road?

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Sane people, I BEG you: Stop the software defined moronocalypse

David Roberts
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Legislation and enforcement

People here are talking about crimes and fines.

This requires both legislation and effective enforcement.

This, of course, costs money.

Let's take the dubious comparison with Civil Engineering. There are vast bureaucracies to set the rules, inspect, and enforce. Because the human cost of the collapse of a tower block or a railway bridge over a river is potentially enormous and tragic.

For less critical projects such as building and extending small domestic properties there is Building Control at the local council.

For building a small patio there is no regulation because the risk does not justify the formation of the Patio Police.

So this model might be roughly applied to coding.

Complex and rigid code and deployment safety requirements requiring certification before deployment for large commercial deployments.

Lighter touch control for smaller business platforms.

All of this will cost time and money and the careers of all in GDS, Steve Bong, and anyone else who loves anything with the word "agile" associated with it. Fair enough - fail early fail often doesn't fit comfortably with building suspension bridges.

A line has to be drawn somewhere.

Most "free" software has rapid development and low overheads. The Raspberry Pi is being pushed to encourage people to write (and presumably share) code. Requiring a full security audit before you can post your 50 lines of code online is obviously not practical.

So - people can post free stuff without warranty because it is free.

Malicious code should incurr penalties (but that is in current legislation).

App stores should be held responsible for all the code they publish.

However all this will requie a global Inspectorate to prevent shonky software just moving offshore.

Quick and dirty software will become less easy to deploy to seed a business - Twitter and Facebook anyone?

All this will cost an enormous amount of money to set up and police, which means that the general public has to be really hurting before they will agree to fund it. So far all I see seeis minor irritation.

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Blighty a 'smartphone society' amid rise of 4G middle class

David Roberts
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Desktop for email and word processing.

Tablet for reading El Reg, random voting by accident, and losing posts when they are ready to submit.

What about Raspberry Pi users? Where do they fit in?

Other because the poll is wierd.

Oh, and my Good Lady has two laptops - one upstsirs and one downstairs. Allows me free use of our tablet. In fact it is usually tablet upstairs and desktop downstairs for me.

I have even read El Reg on my smartphone, but it takes a bit more effort.

Also the Kindle app on my smartphone works really well, surprisingly.

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Microsoft vacates moral high ground for the data slurpers' cesspit

David Roberts
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WTF?

Privacy settings utility?

It is getting pretty bad when the only utility offered to turn off Microsoft’s data slurping is itself data slurping adware.

Where are providers of things like Classic Shell when we need them?

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Telcos' revenge is coming as SDN brings a way to build smart pipes

David Roberts
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Net Neutrality?

So there is a big punch up going on about paying the carrier extra for preferential services.

This article is bigging up SDN as a method of implementing this kind of service, such as paying extra to get high resolution video or low latency gaming.

Is the only difference that the consumer pays for access to all high resolution video, not just Netflix, and the providers are not allowed to buy preferential access on behalf of their customers?

Some possible grey areas here.

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Sony Xperia Z4 4G Android tablet – gift of sound and vision

David Roberts
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Updates

My original Z has just been updated, alongside our Galaxy S4 phone. No sign of any update for the S3 though.

So updates don't seem to be an issue with the Z range.

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Nokia sells HERE maps to Audi, Daimler and BMW for €2.8 billion

David Roberts
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Massive write down?

Bought for 8.1 billion USD and sold for 2.8 billion Euros (about 3.1 billion USD).

Where did the 5 billion value go?

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How much of ONE YEAR's Californian energy use would WIPE OUT the DROUGHT?

David Roberts
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Pint

And the water went.......

...where?

Having read the articles I already know that the water has been pumped up and used, mainly for agriculture. So will most others who have read the article and comments.

So it runs off or evaporates....fine.....so where does the run off go, and where does the water vapour go?

Does it all end up diluting the ocean?

Is another part of the US or elsewhere getting extra rainfall courtesy of CA?

Because if it is nearly all going into the ocean, it is presumably diluting the ocean to some extent - probably much the same extent as replacing it by desalination of ocean water would increase the salinity of the ocean.

If it is changing the rainfall patterns elsewhere in the world then changing the irrigation patterns in CA will have an impact, and should be taken into consideration.

I was just wondering if anybody had bothered to find out.

Beer because it is warm and sunny and I'm having an Old Speckled Hen (and no, that isn't code).

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David Roberts
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Where has all the water gone?

If the aquifers are nearly empty it must have gone somewhere.

Has evaporation taken it to a different part of the globe, is it all tied up in extra living things, or has it passed into the ocean?

Nobody seems to have mentioned this so far.

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$100m fine? How about, er, $16k? AT&T teabags FCC with its giant balls

David Roberts
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It is a bit like an "all you can eat" buffet where you get a watch glass to hold the food and a pin to eat it with.

Did they promise unlimited bandwidth or just unlimited data? Although to throttle the speed is of course to apply a limit anyway. Not that logic applies at this level of corporate negotiation.

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Bitdefender feeling a bit tender: Hackers enter anti-distemper vendor

David Roberts
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Honest response?

Should just have said:

"Oh bollocks, that was pretty stupid, wasn't it! Never mind, we've fixed it now and there was no real damage."

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Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

David Roberts
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Happy

W7?

"The daftest theory I’ve heard is that offering Windows 10 for free will encourage users to move away from older versions of Windows because Microsoft wants to stop supporting them. How does that work, then? It strikes me that 99% of all support calls taken by Microsoft at the moment will be from users having trouble with Windows 10. It would surely be in Microsoft’s own interest to dissuade users from upgrading at all, and support Windows 7 until the end of time."

Consider that W10 may be W7 with what MS considers to be the bits worth saving from W8.

Backward migration to W7 doesn't seem an option, especially as W8.1 is allegedly faster and smaller than W7.

MS may have worked out that all the time wasted trying to prise XP from various cold dead hands has got in the way of world dominance and can't be allowed to happen again.

Not paying for an upgrade by people who weren't going to pay for an upgrade anyway until their hardware died under them isn't a massive loss of revenue anyway. As I understand it most revenue comes from the sale of new systems. I would be still grimly using Vista32 if MS hadn't offered extremely reasonably priced upgrades to W8 64 bit (well, ordered on 64 bit W7 and then fettled via the clean install route). I did then get a free upgrade to W8.1 which is arguably a lot more than a service pack but more a mechanism for cutting W8 adrift from long term support or at least trying to persuade everyone to move on.

So, although I enjoyed the light hearted article and especially the picture, it may be that in five years time we look back on the free upgrade as a stroke of genius.

Or then again perhaps not.

Oh, and to comply with commentard rules "Let the upvotes commence!"

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Sue us for Safari ad tracking? You'll be lucky, peons, cackles Google

David Roberts
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IANAL

However my understanding of the law concerning damages in the UK (or at least in England and Wales) is that the aim of any monetary award is restitution not revenge. If you have suffered financial loss you should be compensated to remove that loss.

You don't get additional money to teach the bastard a lesson or compensate you for your indignation.

So you generally have to show a financial loss to sue for damages.

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SPUD – The IETF's anti-snooping protocol that will never be used

David Roberts
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OSI?

Sounds a bit like someone trying to re-invent the seven layer model.

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Octogenarian accused of performing sex act with a SHRUBBERY

David Roberts
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My wife told me that today....

.........I could {please insert bush joke of choice}.

It did seem a little odd but she was very insistent....

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Bloke cuffed for blowing low-flying camera drone to bits with shotgun

David Roberts
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FAIL

Stupid?

Assuming thst the report is reasonably accurate, here were a group of four people who thought

(1) It was acceptable to fly a drone over other people's houses.

(2) When someone shot (and they should have heard the loud bang) the drone down they thought it was a good idea to storm round mob handed to have words with the guy who had just used the gun (i.e. armed and on his own property).

So he was also wearing another gun. Still stupid to go up against a shotgun. I understand that they are used for riot control as well as shooting birds. So not the brightest in the neighbourhood.

Should make a good test case.

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

David Roberts
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WTF?

Microsoft has lost the plot....

.......tradition is to launch a crap product, wait for a 3rd party to make it useable, then buy the 3rd party.

Why haven't they bought Classic Shell?

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Let kids delete their online rants, demand campaigners

David Roberts
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Does this mean the Queen....

.....can have those embarrassing pictures of her aged 7 deleted from the Interwebs?

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Today's smart home devices are too dumb to succeed

David Roberts
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Re: White light explained

Also covers the probably common use case:

I can't find my phone!

Well, turn the lights up, stupid.

Oh fsck!!

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ICANN further implicated in .Africa controversy

David Roberts
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I'm hearing only bad news

On radio.africa

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Southern biscuits and gravy

David Roberts
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Gravy?

Took me a while to realise this is white sauce or cheese sauce.

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YOU! DEGRASSE! It's time to make Pluto a proper planet again, says NASA boffin

David Roberts
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Moon?

It has been suggested that our Moon (up there in the sky) may no longer fit the formal definition of a moon, but might be a dwarf planet in a binary system with Earth.

Given that it gave the name to the class of objects currently described as moons this does make the whole naming argument a little surreal.

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All wristjobs are as insecure as $#@%, reveals unsurprising research

David Roberts
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Thumb Up

Chocolate?

"Alexander Martin should be ridiculed in the same articles mocking the credulity of journalists reporting that Chocolate helps you lose weight."

But...but...chocolate does help you lose weight.

As part of a calorie controlled diet of course.......

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