* Posts by Barry Rueger

459 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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4K-ing-A! Roku bangs out broad range of new streaming boom boxes

Barry Rueger
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Um. With my Oculus headset?

"Where the Roku falls down is where it isn't leaping ahead: where is 3D support? "

Seriously? I thought 3D TV kind of stopped being kewl about two years ago.

I'll check out the new Roku boxes very soon in the hope of replacing the truly pathetic Sony software that our "smart" TV inflicts on us.

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That's cold: This is how our boss told us our jobs are at risk, staffers claim

Barry Rueger
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Plan For The Future!

All of this reminds me that it's never too early to begin stocking up on PostIt notes, copier paper, and markers at your employer's expense.

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Intel, Lenovo officially gone to the dogs – with FIDO fingerprint logins

Barry Rueger
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Scary stuff

In the first place, I have to assume that someone will manage to beat the FIDO system within a year.

In the second place, right now you can refuse to give police or customs your passcode or encryption key, and about all they can do is jail you.

If your finger is your pass key it only takes a couple of burley cops to unlock your device.

Finally, what this really looks like is a fantastic tool for tracking individuals with no chance for anonymity.

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'Everyone' is buying Twitter

Barry Rueger
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Re: Sigh, It was inevitable I guess.

Me too. It's bizarre that you can be downvoted for saying that you get value from a particular platform.

Do these people also say "Because spam, all email is bad, and no-one should ever use it."

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Barry Rueger
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Sigh, It was inevitable I guess.

Twitter is actually one of the things on the Internet that works well - if you have half the sense needed to use it effectively.

It's managed to avoid becoming the massive craphole that is Facebook, and has resisted the urge to try and add a thousand and one "features" that add nothing to the actual utility of the service.

It's one of very few things on the Internet that I actually use and enjoy.

Given Google's ongoing campaign to either ruin or just shut down anything they touch, this could be a sad day. Microsoft - not much better.

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Brave telco giants kill threat of decent internet service in rural North Carolina

Barry Rueger
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Re: Only in US

So in the land of the free and home of the brave local communities are forbidden to look after, you know, the local communities?

I'll remind you that this is one of the basic rules of modern "free" trade agreements - no government may pass a law that infringes on corporate profits.

Do so and you'll be frogmarched to an "independent" tribunal that will forcefully remind you that mere governments are NOT allowed to infringe on multinational corporations.

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Two Sundays wrecked by boss who couldn't use a calendar

Barry Rueger
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Looking Out for Yourself

Regardless of what your contract might say - and especially if you don't have anything on paper - your actions during the first week or two on a new job will define how things are done in the future.

If you get sucked into working ten hours of unpaid overtime in the first week, because you want to show that you're an eager employee, you will have established that this is a normal practice, and will keep doing it pretty much forever.

If though, during that first week, when asked to donate time for unplanned work, you can beg off - "gee, if only you had told me earlier, my kid is having a heart transplant, and I'm assisting the surgeon, otherwise I would have been happy to do it," you will have established on some level that doing extra is an unusual situation.

Funny thing is, if you can consistently avoid extra, unpaid work, you'll find that they'll manage just fine, or that someone less clever will be given the work.

Timesheets are a GOOD thing, not because bosses insist on them, but because they force YOU to keep track of what you do.

Even if they're not required, it's very good practice to sit down at the end of each day and make notes about how your time was consumed.

It's good for you to actually think about these things, and it will make you a more productive employee. It also allows you to spot problems that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Best of all though, in the event that you and your employer wind up facing off behind lawyers you'll be very, very glad to have documented your work patterns and conditions.

Detailed notes and time sheets can save you if there's any dispute.

Which is why you not only fill out the damned time sheets, you make sure to take a copy off site, and store it at home.

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HP doorsteps Apple shoppers at the altar of dreams

Barry Rueger
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Re: This is what innovation is?

True story. GF was shopping for a laptop. Price was not the deciding factor, but does matter.

At Best Buy there were a handful of Apple notebooks, and a few dozen with Windows to choose from at much lower price.

The kicker though were two things she felt she would use (and does) - the ability to flip the screen and use the laptop as a tablet, and a touchscreen.

I was actually kind of surprised that Apple products didn't offer either feature.

I might agree with the feeling that Win10 is a mess, and with the piles of bloat ware, but in pure hardware terms HP felt like HP was five years ahead of Apple.

And yes, it's pretty thin too.

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New Skype for Linux Alpha

Barry Rueger
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Download link

Download: https://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-computer/

For those who care,

a) It installed easily on my Mint box

b) As far as I can tell it's audio only, not video

c) The actual UI looks like about 1998

d) There was some confusion because I tried to sign in using my email address (which works if you sign as a Microsoft account holder) rather than my Skype ID, which apparently I do not have even though I had set up a brand new Skype log-in mere minutes earlier.

Aside from all of that, if Skype works in your browser why would you bother?

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You should install smart meters even if they're dumb, says flack

Barry Rueger
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Refrigerator

17 billion would easily replace about 17 million 20+ year old refrigerators.

I suspect that would save significantly more electricity than "smart" meters ever will.

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Is there paper in the printer? Yes and it's so neatly wrapped!

Barry Rueger
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Re: Locked in? BTDT.

It's often the case that internal walls don't extend above the suspended ceiling tiles.

Climb on a file cabinet, pop a tile, over you go.

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Excel abuse hits new heights as dev uses VBA to code spreadsheet messaging app

Barry Rueger
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Fundraising Drive

Managed a community radio station.

One volunteer, yearly, came in with a floppy disk that generated a massive group of linked sheets.

One sheet* for each radio show; probably twenty shows each day. added rows automatically so that each pledge phoned in could be entered with a name and amount.

Plus daily summaries, and weekly, and grand totals.

It was, for its time, (c 1999) a truly wonderful and impressive feat.

Probably still have it buried somewhere on my hard drive.

* tabs? We didn't need no stinkin' tabs in those days!

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Rate our bugs, says Yelp

Barry Rueger
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Bugs aren't the problem

Methinks Yelp would do better spending time to fix a system which dumps legitimate reviews into a hidden cupboard while obvious spam raves are filtered to the top.

Then again, if I paid them maybe my ratings would improve.

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Google emits three sets of Android patches to fend off evil texts, files

Barry Rueger
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Imaginary Bugfixes

As far as I can recall, my Motorola phone has seen one major upgrade (to Lollipop) and one lesser bug fix update - maybe six months ago.

I highly doubt that I'll see any other system upgrade, either major or minor.

The whole Android concept, where end users are at the mercy of device manufacturers and carriers, is insane.

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If you haven't changed your Dropbox password for 4 years, do so now

Barry Rueger
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Re: Sounds fishy to me

I'm also a fan of Lee D's system - 99 times in a 100 I know the likely password from memory. Or the previous password for a security level, missed when I last did a global "change all passwords," sweep, a semi-annual practice.

Barring that, I'm a heavy user of "Reset password" and will sometimes abandon a site if that's too cumbersome.

For some reason user forums are a specific problem, which leads to multiple accounts of the Barry, Barry1, Barry2 variety.

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EE looks at its call charges, hikes a bunch, walks off giggling

Barry Rueger
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Re: Welcome to Britain. Home of the shittest customer service, anywhere in the world.

"Welcome to Britain. Home of the shittest customer service, anywhere in the world."

Hah! I'm from Canada.

I win.

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Microsoft promises free terrible coffee every month you use Edge

Barry Rueger
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Re: I've seen some desperate stuff over the years...

God yes! The guy with a dozen tickets check, cash in, or renew, plus he wants to buy five scratch tickets, no, not that one , THAT one there, and can I choose which one you give me, and no, I won't accept a ticket with a random generated number, I want my LUCKY number.

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Polish developer hacks Android rewards app for free beer

Barry Rueger
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Re: I once

Northern Brewery in Sudbury, Ontario was I believe worker owned back in the 90s.

Brewery tours included ample free samples, but best of all the actual tour was conducted by a random factory employee - much more entertaining than a real tour guide!

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Two-speed Android update risk: Mobes face months-long wait

Barry Rueger
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Re: long term

The added problem is determining whether the fault lay with Moto, or with the wireless company.

Even getting our wireless provider to actually say what phones are on track for updates, and which are abandoned, is nigh impossible.

What consumers need and deserve is to be told "this device will be updated until this date."

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Ford announces plans for mass production of self-driving cars by 2021

Barry Rueger
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Follow the Money

Had a discussion just this morning, gist of which was: who, exactly, is pushing for autonomous cars?

More specifically, who expects to profit?

Somehow it keeps coming up: insurance companies, not so much insuring autonomous owners, but positively soaking the drivers of non autonomous cars for at least a couple of decades under the guise of "increased risk."

Aside from accident avoidance, and some utility on long highway trips, I'm not convinced there's a market for these unless drivers are forced to buy them.

Aftermarket chip reprogramming already is an automotive thing, and there will be a brisk market for disabling these things.

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Google Chrome will beat Flash to death with a shovel: Why... won't... you... just... die!

Barry Rueger
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Re: Dear Google,

"If I want product X, then I download product X. I don't want Y, Z, some spyware toolbar or any other junk / hidden software."

Whoa. Let's return to the good old days of Netscape, when using the Internet required you to install a seemingly endless parade of players and add-ons.

Asking millions of browser users to find and install plugins for different media is a recipe for disaster.

Sorry, but the best user experience is when most common functionality is bundled with browser.

And yes, I don't even mind if my distro includes proprietary codecs when I install it.

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Facebook to forcefeed you web ads, whether you like it or not: Ad blocker? Get the Zuck out!

Barry Rueger
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It's Not Ads Per Se....

Even though I finally succumbed and installed an ad blocker, it wasn't because I have any great resentment to being served ads by the likes of Facebook or Twitter, it's because 98% of what they served up was entirely pointless, of no interest, and a waste of both my and the advertisers' time and money.

Google, despite their faults, actually managed to push ads for stuff that I might want.

Do advertisers really not understand that they're paying large amounts of money to have their message delivered to people who don't give a rats' ass about their product?

Print media would never allow that - they sell a specific demographic to advertisers, and do it very well.

You would think that, given the volume of data collected, on-line publishers could do the same.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update crashing under Avast antivirus update

Barry Rueger
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Real Users

Lord, bring on the anti-Windoze rants and raves, the anti-AV rants and ravs, the complaints about all users who aren't superior like ME.

An average user wants to buy a system, not build it, plug it in, and use it.

And that's an entirely reasonable approach.

Which means AV and security stuff built in, and everything set to autoupdate.

Not the admonitions to not click phishing links, to delay updates for weeks or months, to fiddle with firewalls and routers.

I can repair my truck, build my own PC, and even find my way around Apache, but I realize that this is all pretty exceptional.

What is needed in these discussions is less juvenile Windows bashing, and more useful advice on how to make average users' Windows machine safe and functional with little or no user intervention.

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Google deleting websites

Barry Rueger
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Yet Again

Like many people I've been moving most on-line functions away from Google precisely because of this : the last thing I need is to have another service that I rely on "disappeared" by Google.

It has happened too many times.

That's my overall discomfort with all variety of "cloud" services - you quite literally have no assurance that they won't disappear tomorrow.

Still, running a website off of Drive?

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Protect your staff from Toronto's terrible Twitter trolls, bosses told

Barry Rueger
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Twitter for Support

Dunno about others experience, but there are any number of companies for whom Twitter is my first choice for support.

In Canada at least many companies refuse to include an email address on their sites, or take days to respond.

Phone calls drop you into multiple choice hell, followed by twenty minutes on hold, after which one of three first level phone drones - serving several hundred thousand customers - will demonstrate that they know significantly less than you.

Twitter, for whatever reason, usually generates a response fairly quickly.

Often a useless response, but often enough to eliminate gross problems like "is your service down?" from the mix.

Where Twitter is best is giving customers immediate information about outages.

It's fast, it comes directly to my device, and doesn't force me to waste time phoning or surfing to a Web page.

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Calling all Droids: BlackBerry’s giving away the Hub

Barry Rueger
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Re: Meh

Agreed, the BlackBerry soft keyboard is fantastic - I've got it installed on my Android device and can't imagine ever going back to the craptastic Google version.

I found the Hub pretty useful when I had a Z10. I really appreciated being able to look in just one place for whatever was coming in via email, Twitter, Facebook, SMS etc instead of opening apps.

However, I'm brutal about managing my accounts - I unsub from any email service that isn't entirely essential, or of significantly high signal to noise. I also have a few people that I need to hear from but who can be ignored 75% of the time - Gmail pushes their messages a folder that I only see once I'm back at my desktop.

I keep social media accounts to perhaps a dozen or two people or entities followed, and regularly pare that list to those that I find most useful. I also quietly block people whose crap to value ratio is below a certain threshold. Including family members.

Really, if you're complaining about getting too much email to use the Hub, you're doing a pretty pathetic job of managing your communications.

I'm always amazed at the people who are on fifteen or twenty mailing lists from decade earlier, plus all of the opt-in commercial stuff from every time you shop on-line.

Click "Unsubscribe" for God's sake on anything that you know is legit.

Sadly I rely on a Canadian wireless company for service, so don't expect to ever see Marshmallow on my phone.

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The return of (drone) robot wars: Beware of low-flying freezers

Barry Rueger
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Drone Delivery? Sign me up!

Let's see. How to design the perfect delivery service.

a) Only deliver between 9 and 5, when no-one will be home.

b) Insist on a signature, but accept a scribble from any semi-sentient being that happens by, with no thought to their actual identity.

c) If no-one is home to accept delivery, attempt again the next day, at the same time.

d) If your company has a nearby retail outlet, refuse to drop the parcel there for pickup, because "only the recipient is allowed to sign for it."

e) Or just return the parcel to the courier depot an hour away at back of the airport.

The sole saving grace for United Parcel Service is our local driver, who cheerfully bends or breaks UPS rules when it helps the customer.

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Jacob Appelbaum is a bullying sex pest, says ex-employer Tor Project

Barry Rueger
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Depending on the jurisdiction, an employer must be required to provide some lawful evidence for dismissal,

Actually, in North America at least, that's almost never true.

Employers are generally free to unemploy you at any time, for any reason.

What is generally required is that you receive notice that you are going to be terminated, or payment in lieu of the termination period.

In other words, here's two weeks ' pay, be gone with ya.

But yeah, Jake may have had a better deal, but possibly also had some kind of "morals" clause in his contract.

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It's 2016 and your passwords can still be sniffed from wireless keyboards

Barry Rueger
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Not my biggest concern!

As luck would have it, just bought new Logitech keyboard and mouse, wireless, on sale when my last KB started missing every third keypress.

The possible security of my keyboard is so far down the list of security concerns that it doesn't even register.

Then again my bank still doesn't allow "special" characters and Uppercase in passwords, so I may not be the best role model.

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Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it?

Barry Rueger
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Ahem. Actual real user here....

As much as I like foaming at the mouth about MS, someone had to offer a sensible opinion.

I run Mint with Vista in Virtualbox for those times when Windows is needed, but GF bought a brand new HP laptop and immediately let it upgrade to Win 10.

In practical terms, for her, a skilled but average user, there is little difference between Win 10 and her old XP system.

Word is Word, email is email, Chrome is Chrome. Once we got the Start menu back to "Normal" she was happy.

Still, like every MS OS upgrade, it does tend to crash more or less daily. I assume that will diminish in due course.

Being an ordinary user, everything is set to autoupdate, and she isn't the least bit worried about MS phoning home.

You see, average users just want stuff to work, preferably the way they did last week.

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Starbucks bans XXX Wi-Fi

Barry Rueger
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Re: Pathetic

Yeah, but where but in the US can you order that watery coffee in a 36 oz travel cup!

I was raised on bright yellow French's mustard on hotdogs, and can't imagine anything else.

But, back to the point, many years ago, when web sites were a new thing for some people, The Appalachian News Express, a Kentucky newspaper, launched with what seemed like a perfect URL, only to find that they were blocked in many places: http://www.newsexpress.com

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Debian: s/Chairman/Chair/g

Barry Rueger
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Seriously? I'm 2016?

Pretty much any organization I've worked with adopted "Chair" some time back in the 70s or 80s.

The whole "debate" disappeared about the same time that most of us stopped referring to "coloured people."

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5G: Mother of all pipes, or actually useful?

Barry Rueger
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Not in my country

All of this assumes that the greedy pig wireless companies eliminate the 1 or 2 gig cap on "free" data.

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So. Farewell then, BlackBerry Classic. You were a classic ... of sorts

Barry Rueger
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Know your market

The biggest mistake made by BlackBerry was trying to become a consumer brand, selling pink phones to teen-aged girls.

Inevitably the qualities that made it an essential tool to corporate and government users were bound to slip while BlackBerry tried to be kewl.

Yet again, a really good product is squandered while abandoning loyal customers.

Was Google advising them?

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Wealthy youngsters more likely to be freetards than anyone else – study

Barry Rueger
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Young people most likely to vote for an integrated society, have the wherewithal to use Bittorrent

Trust me, people who were downloading illegal content thirty years ago using zmodem are equally capable of using Bittorrent.

Hell, ten years ago I had a 65 year old mother-in-law who was trading bootleg Disney computer embroidery patterns on the 'net.

Probably still is.

Age is in no way a determinant of technical comfort or ability.

Especially among those people who created personal computers, software, and the whole damned Internet before you were born.

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Here's how police arrested Lauri Love – and what happened next

Barry Rueger
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Re: Although the burden of proof lies with Love

It's entirely plausible that a long, complex passphrase could be forgotten, in whole or in part, in the months after equipment was seized, but before the key was demanded.

Especially given the stress levels Love would have experienced.

Human memory is unreliable at the best of times.

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'Leave EU means...' WHAT?! Britons ask Google after results declared

Barry Rueger
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Re: So how long before ...

Gasoline jumped 5 cents/litre today - IN CANADA!

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'2nd referendum' topples site

Barry Rueger
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The Elephant in the Room

I prefer to look at the Brexit vote and see more than half of Britons standing up and rejecting decades of neo-liberal punishment.

Right now the powerful in Europe (and likely elsewhere) are soiling themselves at the thought that "Those People" might just figure out how to vote in a group that won't sell the country off to the lowest bidder.

If the Greek anti-austerity vote scared them, this must have them in a total panic.

What the right wing has tapped into is pretty simple: there's a large and growing part of the population who are worse off economically than they were thirty years ago, and who can see that there's no likelihood of that changing.

Sooner or later there had to be a tipping point, and this may be it.

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Good hacker uses vid vulns to spy on Quebec Liberal Party meetings

Barry Rueger
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Re: Off topic

Up vote that! Abandoned the desktop site when it was redesigned to fill the screen with massive pointless pictures.

I prefer wordy sentency paragraphy information delivery.

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How's your driving, Elon? Musk tweets that Tesla Model S 'floats'

Barry Rueger
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Patent Infringement?

Big deal Elon.

Volkswagen advertised the same feature 50 years ago

Https://thinkingouttabox.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/67vwfloatingbeetle.jpg?w=490

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Tor torpedoed! Tesco Bank app won't run with privacy tool installed

Barry Rueger
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Re: "preventing free speech and internet security"

"As for Tor, it was a good idea, but it is being used by some of the worst people on the planet to conduct their despicable business."

Oh, the misery of the irony challenged.....

Please Google "Panama Papers."

Is there another industry or tool used widely by "some of the worst people on the planet?"

Maybe used to manage and hide their ill-gotten gains.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Best security practice

YMMV. My Moto G has seen exactly one minor system update since buying it a year and a half ago, and Marshmallow is not even a glimmer on some distant horizon.

My experience is entirely the opposite of yours, and I assume my phone is always long out of date.

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You Acer holes! PC maker leaks payment cards in e-store hack

Barry Rueger
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Re: Bah!

I'll hazard a guess that high credit card fees also reflect the greed that demands multi-billion dollar profits each quarter.

Losses are likely insured.

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Vid: New 'The Office' trailer

Barry Rueger
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Cumin Indeed

Sad to say, but Gervais really did peak with the Office. So much of his output since then has been dismal, and this looks like a new low.

Extras was fun, and the series with the dwarf was a chuckle for a while, but his humour just seems tedious at this point.

Far, far better was Office alumnus Mackenzie Crook's The Detectorists.

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Fat fibre taxes strangling us – UK broadband providers

Barry Rueger
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Call Me Skeptical

Whenever a major corporation starts whining about "unfair" taxes, fees, or regulations, my first instinct is to look at their balance sheet

99 times out of a hundred it's companies with billion dollar profits that claim "We can't afford to pay our way!"

Usually while they're outsourcing staff to India, and manufacturing to China.

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Google doesn’t care who makes Android phones. Or who it pisses off

Barry Rueger
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From talking to most customers they actually find phone updates annoying as it 'breaks stuff'.

Because it's true, whether "breaks" means, changes the UI, or removes a feature that I need, makes an installed application stop working, or (with Google) removes an entire on-line service with little warning.

Regular end-users, who lack the skills to ferret out fixes and workarounds on the Internet, are justifiably afraid of updates.

(My Mint box being the exception. Somehow they manage updates without breaking stuff.)

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British Airways slaps 'at risk' sticker on nearly half its app delivery dept

Barry Rueger
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Joys of Free Trade!

No need to worry about all of those BA employees.

Since Free Trade will make us all incredibly wealthy they soon won't need a job!

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Let's Encrypt lets 7,600 users... see each other's email addresses

Barry Rueger
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Re: For extra Chuckle Brothers effect

There was an apology? I didn't see it.

And because I wasn't going to scroll through an endless list of addresses I also didn't see the new TOS.

LetsEncrypt is a great idea, but the overall implementation could use some work.

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SLACKOUT

Barry Rueger
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All Of Your Eggs

SLACK IS DOWN, REDECENTRALIZE THE WEB QUICK!!1

This is actually a valid point. Far, far too much of what we do on-line depends on one large corporation or similar point of failure.

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EU referendum frenzy bazookas online voter registration. It's another #GovtDigiShambles

Barry Rueger
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Hire Amazon*

Seriously. Just write them a cheque and be done with it.

They've built a business on being available 24/7/365, before, during, and after peak shopping days, in the most consumerist country on the planet.

You want reliable uptime? Hire someone who's already succeeding.

*example. Quite sure there are others.

Query: was the failed registration IT internal, or outsourced to the lowest bidder?

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