* Posts by Esme

862 posts • joined 24 Oct 2007

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How is 55 Cancri e like a Sisters of Mercy gig? Astroboffins: It has atmosphere

Esme
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Re: I have been to a Sisters of Mercy gig...

Bless you, AC, for bringing TMT to my attention! Have a beer!

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Sure, Face ID is neat, but it cannot replace a good old fashioned passcode

Esme
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Cheap, secure, convenient - you can only have two of 'em...

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Knock, knock? Oh, no one there? No problem, Amazon will let itself in via your IoT smart lock

Esme
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Buggering orft...

IT, I remember when you and I were both relatively young and shiny. Ah, happy times! You and I had such fun together, I'd invent algoritms and code them for you, and they fit you so well, you ran so sweetly, and I adored you, and wanted to make you happy. I'd fondle your blue cabinets and massage your tape disks into place, and you'd mumble sweet nothings into my eyeballs. You were mine, I was yours, and we were happy together.

But now we're older, I got bigger as you got smaller, and you've turned into a promiscuous constantly nagging harridan with eyes for just about anyone but me. Well, I've had enough. I am a human being, not a doormat to bend to your every whim without any consideration of what I want. You may have come into your prime just as I have left mine behind, but I showed you far more consideration when you were young and in need of careful handling than you show me now that I am getting old and frail. I REALLY don't want to catch something nasty secondhand from one of your 'friends'. One can only take so much childish and abusive behaviour before one has to admit the relationship's broken, and I am calling time on ours.

I am packing my bags and buggering orft back to the mid-late 20th century, where I was much happier. You, 'dear', can go f**k yourself. Oh, I see you already are. Charming.

(slams door, walks away)

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Watership downtime: BadRabbit encrypts Russian media, Ukraine transport hub PCs

Esme
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Re: Like all software

@Pu02 - I feel it'd be harsh to give you a downvote, so I haven't, but one of the things that was enormously pissing me off in the tail end of my recently-ended IT career was the fact that so many UI's were actually becoming less user-friendly over time. What they were becoming was more arty, showy, featureful, slower, confusing and user-hostile.

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I love disruptive computer jargon. It's so very William Burroughs

Esme
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Re: Real High Virtual Roller Stakes Poker Play ....... for Phantom Ghost Hosters.

@amanfrommars1 - 'ere - you bin at moi zoider, young man? Gerrof ahtovit! It bain't fer younguns loik you!

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Esme
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Re: Hmm.

@Rameses Niblick etc (lovely moniker, btw!) - no. Squirrels are called squiggles, because when they move fast they run in a squiggly kinda way, squiggle, squiggle, squiggle.... (says my inner 7-year old)

SQL is pronounced sequel by folk who are trying to get the job done and haven't got all day to worry about what some twonk thinks about how it should be pronounced.

GIF is pronounced with a g-sound identical to that in the word graphics, because that's where the g in it comes from. See previous reference to not caring about twonks with too much time on their hands.

I'm loving the change from being a helldesker to being a hort (note that T on the end!) which is what horticultural students are called - I no longer GIF a fsck how folk pronounce SQL. It's fun leveraging the synchronicties of object-oriented living! And who'da thunk my left boot makes a decent de-bugging tool? Hort's kinda like open source, too, as the answer to a lot of things seems to be to fork it!

Icon because I'm enjoying a nice glass of the college's very own sweet cider. First time I've really enjoyed using the products created where I work!

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1,000 jobs on the line at BAE Systems' Lancashire plants – reports

Esme
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Re: Europe

@frankly - I got made redundant recently and am now taking a degree in horticulture (YES! I've finally escaped the clutches of IT!). At least I'll be able to grow me own food if/when the UK economy collapses due to the dunderheadedness of HM Govt.

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Esme
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Re: How to solve Brexit.

It'd be way better if the HM Govt decided that cancellng Blue Streak was a bad idea, decided to get the UK a serious home-grown space programme again, and asked BAE to build Skylon using engines built by Reaction engines. Thta'd be BAE jobs saved, Reaction engines with firm orders for the future, the UK with a native launch to LEO capability, and money coming in from abroad with kit purchases and launch contracts.

But nooo, far better blowing billions on HS2... </sarcasm>

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New coding language Fetlang's syntax designed to read like 'poorly written erotica'

Esme
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Re: I think I prefer...

Noes! Can haz LOLCODE!

kthxbye!

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Dome, sweet dome: UAE mulls Martian city here on Earth ahead of Red Planet colonization

Esme
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Already been sorted. See 'plug nozzle' design. It's lke an inside-out bell nozzle; the plug in the middle acts as one side of the nozzle, and the surrounding atmosphere the other side. To keep the plug to a reasonable length, an aerospike nozzle can be used. This uses gas vented through a stubby plug - typically exhaust from the turbopumps that drive fuel into the reactio chamber - to from the pointy bit of the plug. Such nozzles automatically compensate for altitude from sea level all the way up to vaccuum.

We've known how to do this for decades. Since the 1970's at least.

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Microsoft gives all staff a marked-up 'Employee Edition' of Satya Nadella's new book

Esme
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Re: A, ey?

@BomgoJoe - nah, that's someone doing 'long eared rabbit' in the projector beam in a particulaly dull meetng, 'cause Powerpoint has mercifully died

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Programming in the Middle Ages: Docker makes a lovely pair of trousers

Esme
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@AC - I suggest that some of us are old enough - more than old enough - to remember proper billions (ten to the twelfth) and trillions (ten to the eighteenth) and that's why the values we say sometimes sound wrong to youngsters raised on governmentally-downsized billions and trillions.

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Welcome to the future: Bluetooth jackets you can only wash 10 times. Gee, thanks, Google

Esme
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Re: you should never wash a pair of jeans

Terribly sorry to have to correct Sir, but it is the job of Sir's valet to deal with the washing of Sir's jeans, not Sir's butler.

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Want to keep in contact with friends and family without having to sell your personal data?

Esme
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Re: It really needs to be sold globally.

@Telwaz - give one o'they boxes to me, and I'll show yer 'Granny proof', eheheh...

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

Esme
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All of the above - and more

"Now over to you, dear readers. If it’s the battery, the archaic UI, the Apple tax, or something else that keeps you from an iPhone: let us know. Write in the No.1 missing feature for you in the Comments."

For a phone, I want battery life in days, not hours. I want a UI that makes using the functions I want of a phone pleasant to use, not irritatingly fiddly, I am not interested in making rich people richer at the expense fo myself and the poor sods actually making the device, and I want a device that is unequivocally MY device, not one effectively leased from one company and under the sway of another any time it likes.

For a pocket computer, I want a battery life of a couple of days if possible, but 6 hours minimum, and full control over the machine, with an operating system of my choosing.

<Jediwave>I am not the target audience you are looking for, Apple</Jediwave>

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The new, new Psion is getting near production. Here's what it looks like

Esme
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Want!

This has all the hallmarks of what I expected pocket computers to become back when I first started fooling around with them (I had a Sharp PC1211, and then other pocktables, like the Sharp PC1500 and Casio FX702) - and yes, I very much want something like this. I don't give a monkeys if modern phones have the same kind of computing power - in the condition they're sold they don't really belong to you. (And I've had a taste of what Android is liek tehse days from the secondhand Samsung tablet I purchased for use soley as a media player. It is bloody awful, and actually user-hostile in places, IMO) A Linux machine I can do useful work with and stick in my handbag? That'll do nicely, if executed well and not too horribly expensive. I await further news on this with interest!

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Stuff the movement of celestial spheres, let's sit down and watch Bonnie Tyler on TV

Esme
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Get back to your what, Dabbsy?

"Look, whatever, just let me get back to my box set." - you have a set of boxes? What are you a cat with kittens? Oh a boxed set of DVDs or BluRays you meant? Well why didn't you say so?!

(mutters about the youngsters today buggering the language...) <grin> Mines the one with the wooly hat and the OAP bus pass in the pocket.

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Facebook claims a third more users in the US than people who exist

Esme
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Re: "...18 to 24-year-olds..."

I've had 78 and I'm 59.

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SpaceX sneaks in X-37B space plane launch ahead of Hurricane Irma

Esme
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Re: Iain M Banks lives!

If I were Elon Musk, I'd be sorely tempted to gift ULA a landing barge called "Catch Me If You Can" or some such, just for the laugh.

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It's official: Users navigate flat UI designs 22 per cent slower

Esme
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More like too many companies aren't willing to allow any kind of feedback from users of their products. I still shudder recalling efforts to give feedback to a couple of companies, both of whom assumed that absolutely everything any customer might complain about could be adequately answered by a FAQ, but theyd make you jump through multiple hoops and several web pages before it became apparent that their 'contact us' section didn't really hold any contact details at all, unless you fancied making an international phonecall to spend upwards of half an hour discussing with someone what you found problematic about the product in question and why - rather than being allowed teh ease of sending an email or completing a text box in a web form.

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How the CIA, Comcast can snoop on your sleep patterns, sex toy usage

Esme
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Re: I suppose it would not be considered friendly

@Neil Barnes - genius! Have an upvote from me. Hmmn, I think I know a chap who might know how to fake such stuff, I wonder if he fancies a free Italian meal? :-)

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Living in space basically shoves a warp drive into your blood stream

Esme
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That wouldn't have been large enough to let astronauts experience more than microgravity, though, due to its small diameter. II'd love to see something like, say four Bigelow B330 units such that two form a cetral axis, with two on cables at right angles, spinning around the central axis. Use one of the two outer B330;s for plant experiments, and teh other for human experiments. Rig 'elevators' to transport astronauts from teh core two modules to the outer two. Not entirely sure whether that'd be dynamically stable, might need three or fout units out on cables, instea dof two, but you get the idea. You would, of course, ensure that each B330 unit had plenty of emergency supplies and an emergency 'scooter' so that if something bad like a cable snapping happened, folk in teh outer modules could get back to teh spoke modules, which could, if need be, be detached from teh rest and allow teh astronauts to await rescue.

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Paris nightclub red-faced after booze-for-boobs offer exposed

Esme
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Re: Surely men should be offered a free shot

Ahem - my namesake does NOT wear fishnets - it's stripey tights and more layers of petitcoats than you can shake a wizard's staff at. Hobnail boots is perfect, though.

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BT's spam blocker IDs accident claims as top nuisance call

Esme
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Why can't phones have whitelists?

I've asked this before, but no-one's responded with an answer - not knowing how the phone system works, I'm genuinely interested to know why phones can't have whitelists, ie: all calls are rejected except those from given numbers. Is there some technical reason this can;t be done on either landlines or mobile phones?

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Why do you cry when chopping onions? No, it's not crippling anxiety, it's this weird chemical

Esme
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Re: Sharp cutlery knives

I disagree - knife and spoon, so you can cut the damned spaghetti into small lengths that you can then spoon up!

Personally I prefer lasagna to spag bol for the very reason that it's less faff to actually eat.

Yes. I do realise that the civilised folk look somewhat askance at me at mealtimes, but I am at least a house-trained barbarian! 8-}

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Ten new tech terms I learnt this summer: Do you know them all?

Esme
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Re: Teledildonics

I recall a late-night conversation with my (also female) boss whilst between backup jobs on the mainframes we were running back in 79, when we jokingly discussed the possibilities of "remotely controlled 'joysticks' (fnar,fnar)" - we'd both heard of the term teledildonics by then.

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Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Esme
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Firefox isnt getting better in my experience

It's still managing to crash my PC every now and then, and more frequently than that, crashes itself, this on Linux Mint. And it;s slow. Mozilla needs to just fix the friggin' thing and then stop buggering around with it. I used to love Firefox, but nowadays it really annoys me, and I only stick with it because I can;t stand Google and thus avoid Chrome as much as I can.

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Luxembourg passes first EU space mining law. One can possess the Spice

Esme
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Re: Existing Sentient claims

@allthecoolshortnamesweretaken - Yep, for at least a decade previously Mr Heinlein in his historical document "Starship Troopers" released in 1959 was writing about space marines.. I still have a NEL edition showing lots of white space-suited figures with red weapons 'on the bounce' during combat on the cover. Still one of my favourite books, and far, far better than the dreadful film of the same name.

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Esme
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@macjules - y'don't want to be eating too many cabbages if you'll be wearing space-suits a lot - and don't even think about baked beans!

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The curious case of a Tesla smash, Autopilot blamed, and the driver's next-day U-turn

Esme
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Re: They're both faultless...

@TRT - I thought you were channeling Kenny Everett!

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Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Esme
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Re: If you're all in favour of strong female roles...

@AntiSol - thumbs up from me. Joanna Lumley was absolutely fabulous as the Dr for her all too brief appearance in 'The curse of fatal death", played the part exactly right and IMO would make a good Dr Who in the actual series any time they care to offer her the part.

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UK spookhaus GCHQ can crack end-to-end encryption, claims Australian A-G

Esme
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Re: Install Spyware

@EricM - I don't like beer, but you may assail me with a nice cup of Horlicks any time you like :-}

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OMG, dad, you're so embarrassing! Are you P2P file sharing again?

Esme
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Re: Same here

@Voland's right hand - My brain misread that as a G4M2 Betty - if you actually ARE pootling around Europe in an antique propellor plane , may i just say how utterly envious of you I am? :-}

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Astroboffins spot tiniest star yet – we guess you could call it... small fry

Esme
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Hmmn.. interesting..

I did a quick search for the star by name and found this: https://arxiv.org/abs/1706.08781 where it remarks that the star " is one of the densest non-stellar-remnant objects currently known. These measurements are consistent with models of low-mass stars. "

Which is perfectly true. Starting with a planet the size of Saturn and piling extra mass onto it does not result in size growth to teh extent that you;d imagine, due to gravitational compression of the matter in the object. Similarly, one of the reasons larger stars are less dense than smaller ones is because the energy generated by the fusion proceses within make the thing swell like a balloon until the point is reached where radiation pressure and gravity balance out. A star only just massive enough to have any fusion going on at all would be very dense indeed, not generating enough energy to develop a greatly swollen photosphere, and probably the core would be the densest that matter can get short of being crushed into neutronium.

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May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Esme
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Best spacey-type series ever, no arguments!

Fireball XL5.

Mine's the brown one, as it happens..

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Bonkers call to boycott Raspberry Pi Foundation over 'gay agenda'

Esme
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@bombastic bob - I'm well aware of the research on such matters, m'dear (I've read quite a lot of biomedical and psychological texts and research on the subject), but given some of my comments tend to the overlong, I was doing my best to keep it reasonably short, rather than write a dissertation! Well done, and have an upvote from me for a quite reasonable posting on the subject.

However, it's still true that on the whole, for most folk sexuality is not a matter of choice. If you're homosexual, the availability of potential sexual partners is much more limited than for heterosexuals, and social pressure can make it extremely hard to even locate suitable partners, never mind actually get together with them. I know that many women of my age who now identify as lesbian have been in heterosexual marriages before because they were lonely and saw no hope of being able to enter into a lesbian relationship, when they were younger. Extreme lonliness can drive one to extremes of behaviour, including going against ones innate sexuality, particularly with huge social pressure to conform pushing one in that direction. That doesn;t really equate to choice in the sense of free choice though, now does it?

The plain fact of the matter is that I'm just not terribly interested in guys that way, and that is NOT a matter of personal choice. I'm not anti-guys though, heck, some of my best friends are male... 8-} ;-}

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Esme
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Re: Wow!

I'm still in shock from the three-in-a-bed episode... 8-O

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Esme
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@kain preacher - yeah, that's what fuckwitted bigots usually presume, that being gay or trans is a matter of choice, AND that gay and trans folk want to recruit AND that children are so easily suggestible that they can be persuaded to be gay or trans. Which of course completely ignores the fact that if children were so easily persuadable there wouldnt; be any homosexual or trans folk as the amount of heterosexual/cisgender-normative material and role models out there waaaay exceeeds those of the homesexual-transgender ones. And I've yet to meet a trans person who didn't feel the condition they were born with to be a painful one that they wouldn't wish on anyone.

I recently had the amusing experience of having a Christian evangelical woman striking up a conversation with me on the bus, and somehow she got onto the subject of not being able to compliment other women in case folk think you're lesbian. She clearly hadn't 'read' me (I am a lesbian) . Somewhat startled, I told her I thought she was being paranoid, I compliment women on therir appearance without anyone reacting negatively, I said. Just because someone tells you 'that's a nice outfit you're wearing' doesn't mean they want to jump you, seems to me it's the ones fretting about being thought lesbian that have sex on their mind the most, I continued. 'Nice hat', I said as I got off the bus. Her face was a picture..

Logic doesn't tend to be the forte of bigots.

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One thought equivalent to less than a single proton in mass

Esme
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Re: Well given that said columns are basically a vacuum

@MHFW - egad, I do believe you've solved a major problem in astrophysics! So that's what dark matter probably is!

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Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

Esme
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Nice one, Dabbsy!

Howsbout a message from the hereafter saying that the results have just come back and everyone that's been in contact with you should see their GP to get the jabs, pronto?

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Virus (cough, cough, Petya) goes postal at FedEx, shares halted

Esme
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Re: "Bastardware"

Nice name, but it's hardly new - the original virii's only purpose was to upset the users of the infected machines. It's just that modern malware has a new method of getting from machine to machine - the net.

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Esme
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Re: Humidity control

@Gordon Pyra - interesting to hear you say that about how firms look after their kit. My first proper job was as a mainframe operator for SERC nearly 40 years ago now - the computer room had aircon (indeed, me and my team leader used sign language to communicate from one end of the compuer room to the other, the aircon was so noisy). Following that, I worked for Fedex on their mainframes - also in an airconditioned room. Twent years ago, and I was working for the local council, NOT in IT , but their equipment was in an air-conditioned room.

My impression has been that all companies keep their IT gear nice and cool, even if they don't care if their staff fry!

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The 'DUP' joins El Reg’s illustrious online standards converter

Esme
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Re: Let's not ask who really benefits from the Union

@JamieL - yup, me for one. Notionally, I've always been in favour of a united Ireland, but I've always loathed the RA and loathed the DUP even more, because , as noted, they actually do manage to make Sinn Fein look relatively good by comparison. If it weren't for the fact that it'd almost certainly cause further bloodshed, I'd be very happy for the UK to simply disown Northern Ireland, just to piss off the Paisleyites. I dunno what the so-called 'Loyalists' think they're loyal to, but it certainly isn't life as we know it in mainland UK. Both sides of that particular poisoned chalice should, IMO, be grateful that both the UK proper and Eire have been so patient with the fuckwitted but troublemaking minorities of all persuasions causing all the grief. Pity we can't weed them out and drop them on a nice uninhabited island somewhere so that the peaceful types in NI can get on with building a saner society.

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Esme
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Re: HMS Queen Lizzie

@Vic - that's a problem for most seaborne fixed-wing aircraft, not just the Harrier. I well recall how insanely difficult I found it trying to practice carrier landings in MMOL WW2 air combat sims, and at first feared I'd never manage them (which would've been a shame, as I played at the serious end of things, organised units and sides in proper scenarios, chain of command, etc..). Then I realised that typically planes would have near empty fuel tanks when trying to land, so I started taking off with only a quarter of a tank of fuel and no external munitions and found it rather easier. Still nerve-wracking, but with a lower stall speed and lighter all-up weight, unladen landings are somewhat easier and MUCH less dangerous than fully-laden ones. Aircraft undercart just isnt typically designed to take the weight of a fully-laden plane coming down, whether conventionally or otherwise.

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Blighty's first aircraft carrier in six years is set to take to the seas

Esme
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Re: What's in a (nick)name

He should be fine so long as lovable Lesley isn't handling the navigationals.

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Microsoft admits to disabling third-party antivirus code if Win 10 doesn't like it

Esme
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Re: '34 years of development - Windows 10 is the result'

@Naselus - do you not think though, that a lot of the problem with user support at work is that most companies don;t seem to want to train their users in IT at all, and just go for the 'learn which options to select and which buttons to click, that's all you need to know' route instead? Thus because the suits that make the decisions dojn't want to rock the boat stick with Windows for various reasons (some good, some not so good) yer average workplace user's only experience of retraining is either being shown or discovering where the heck Microsoft decides to move that particular option to when the OS updates.

The amount of people sat at computers at work that simply learn by rote and don't have even the faintest clue of very simple stuff that'd help them immensely in their jobs is enormous, in my experience. Because companies won't ensure that their staff have even basic IT understanding (because that costs), they're kept in a state of thinking of IT as magic and fear using what they aren.t already using at work - which MS is fine with, because $ (naturally - that's what they exist to produce).

In effect, bosses don't want to move from Windows even when its practical through a combination of lack of understanding of IT and the retraining costs and because they know their staff will prefer the familiar because the bosses cant be bothered to train them properly, Yup -I understand well that there's lock-in on Windows due to machinery in some cases, and that doing anything about those is non-trivial for perfectly good reasons.

But I'd argue that just because MS managed to achieve lock-in on the desktop doesnt mean that Linux couldn;t do the necessary for a alrge chunk of users, because what most of them are susing these days are just browsers, so that they can access things like Salesforce. Even word processing, email and calndaring is or can be in the cloud (which personally I'm skeptical about but that's beside the point). So I'd disagree that Linux couldn't be used more widely in the workplace, I think it's essentially down to the hierarchy not understanding the issues and sticking with what they already know, in a lot of cases.

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Esme
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Re: '34 years of development - Windows 10 is the result'

@Patrician - I don't know what scenarios you have in mind that require using the command line in Linux, but I wouldn't use Linux if I had to keep going to the command line for everyday stuff, and I most certainly wouldn't reccomend it to friends if that were so. And yet I do use it every day at home, and have reccomended it to friends, most of whom are still using it. And I'm closer to being a user than a tecchie than most that frequent these forums.

Even with the UI, I find Linux easier to use than Windows (At home, I'm a long-term Xfce user, but can live with MATE or Cinammon. At work it's Windows 7). The WIndows Control centre is , to this user, an unintuitive mess, despite having had to use Windows at work since it came out, and using it at home for about four years when Win98 came out.

Sure Linux has its faults, but for the average user it's a damned sight easier to use and less hassle than Windows is, in my experience. I've had little problem with printers, webcams and graphics cards for years now. (I actually cannot recall the last time any hardware I wanted to use didn't just work once connected). As for the command line - what in gods name are you DOING with it?! You dont need it to start and close browsers, office software, games, media players - you don't even need it to install or remove software.

Of course, YMMV depending on what kit you have/buy/want to connect, but honestly, the non-tecchies I've introduced to Linux are happy as a wossname with it, and wouldn't countence having to mess with the command line at all. And Linux wins hands down on value, of course. (In the dim mists of time I have bought both Mandrake Linux and SuSe with support, but more to give back something to teh creators of the distros, as it turned out it worked so well I didn't need support). (shrugs. sorry, but to imply that Linux isn't suitable for non-tecchies 'because command line' just is not true for the vast majority of users, IMO.

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Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Esme
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Re: What about Oxygen?

@Chemist - I thoroughly reccomend that you read the the literature on the subject, it's extremely interesting. The people who've already looked into it are qualified scientists, not wide-eyed amateurs guestimating numbers (which is what I would be, if I tried). In 'The Case for Mars' Zubrin goes into this in detail, pointing out various options,and how the exothermic reactions can be used to help drive some of the endothermic ones. Indeed he looks at the range of gases and metals and plastics that might be produced in situ and how the various setups to produce them could/would need to interlink for best effect.

I've seen many critiques of Zubrins notions for how best to explore Mars, mainly to do with radiation throughout the trip and perchlorites in the dust once at Mars (and personally, I think he underestimated the amount of living room required to keep people sane for such an extended trip). I've yet to see anyone say that he got his chemistry wrong.

To quote from the NASA refernce design for a Mars mission:

"1.3.3.2 In Situ Resource Production

The highly automated production of propellant from martian resources is another defining attribute of the Reference Mission. The technology for producing methane and liquid oxygen from the martian atmosphere and some nominal hydrogen feedstock from Earth is an effective performance enhancement and appears to be technologically feasible within the next few years.

The split mission strategy allows the propellant production capability to be emplaced, checked out, and operated to produce the required propellant prior to launching the crew from Earth. In addition to spacecraft propulsion, the production capability on Mars can provide fuel for surface transportation, reactants for fuel cells, and backup caches of consumables (water, oxygen, nitrogen, and argon) for the life support system."

http://spacecraft.ssl.umd.edu/design_lib/NASA-SP6107.Mars_DRM.pdf

And that is the most critical assesment of the issue that I've come across - NASA saying that they think it'll possible in a few years, as against Zubrin saying that it's all known technology and could be made right now. If you feel like telling NASA that their chemists don't know what they're talking about, I'd be most interested in the response!

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Esme
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Re: Hmmmn.. pizza!

@ I ain't Spartacus - I live in the UK, though. Mind you, it's a tough decision - stay in the UK and be able to get real Italian pizza within half an hour, or go to Mars taking a pizzeria with me... hmmm... the lower gravity'd be good on these old bones of mine... - shame about the unpleasant qualities of the dust there though!

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Esme
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Re: What about Oxygen?

@Chemist - - sure - but there's an awful lot of a very thin atmosphere, and the production of fuel from simulant Martian atmosphere has already been tested, and it worked well - see Zubrin's 'Case for Mars' for the full story (I only linked to the article I did as it was the first hit I found and appeared to be correct). If there's one thing that IMHO there is little doubt of regarding Zubrin's plan, it's that in situ fuel production is entirely possible. Indeed, NASA's revision of Zubrin's plans for getting us to Mars also included in-situ fuel production.

Don't forget, people, that in order to get oxygen from the atmosphere it doesn't have to be either molecular oxygen or ozone - it can be chemically bound, and the Martian atmosphere is mainly carbon dioxide, so you take some hydrogen to Mars, use it to produce methane using the carbon in the carbon dioxide, and use the byproduct oxygen as the oxidiser.

So, as I said - in order to get exploration going, there's more than enough in the Martian atmosphere for that. Long-term, though, you'd be wanting to use non-atmospheric sources. Seiously, the numbers have been checked thoroughly by experts in the field, and the processes tested. It's one of the things about potential Martian missions that we can be very sure about.

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