* Posts by Joe Montana

653 posts • joined 12 Mar 2007

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Which? calls for compensation for users hit by Windows 10 woes

Joe Montana

Re: Where's the problem?

If you need to do maintenance yourself then it's not suitable for the typical user, who has no idea how to perform these maintenance tasks. People complain about linux, but windows is actually worse in this respect - more maintenence required, and more difficult to fix anything that breaks. The typical windows workarounds posted on forums involve registry edits and powershell scripts, which is just as difficult for non technical users as shell commands if not more so.

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US regains supercomputer crown from Chinese, for now

Joe Montana

Downloading porn...

Most of these research institutes have extremely fast internet connections, so yes it can download porn faster than your desktop...

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Have to use SMB 1.0? Windows 10 April 2018 Update says NO

Joe Montana

Re: So for a while now...

Ditto, as someone who rarely uses windows but has been using linux and unix for years i've rarely seen kernel panics, and those i have seen were usually down to either hardware faults or me testing/writing experimental kernel patches.

The few times i've used windows, or seen someone else using it, i always wonder how they put up with it. Just last week a friend of mine was unable to connect to wifi and had to reboot before it would work, and after rebooting the system was sluggish for several minutes and inundated with focus-stealing popups.

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Joe Montana

Re: FFS microsoft

Well perhaps someone should have thought about that before implementing a critical system using such a poorly designed protocol...

Really the problem is that SMBv1 was so badly designed in the first place that it needs to be turned off for security reasons. There are plenty of other protocols that are old and still in use and also still widely supported by backwards compatibility even when newer versions also exist.. SMTP/ESMTP, HTTP 1.0, DNS etc.

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Joe Montana

Why?

What exactly is wrong with smbv1 thats fixed in newer versions?

I still use NFS, sometimes NFSv2 or v3 depending on the use case - i'm aware it lacks security features present in newer versions, but in many cases those features are not necessary. I have a readonly share full of videos and music for instance which is shared by multiple clients in my house, including linux based media centre boxes. I don't care if someone gains access to that data, and i'm not aware of any vulnerabilities in the server software itself.

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Pwn goal: Hackers used the username root, password root for botnet control database login

Joe Montana

Hacked box

Chances are they deployed the C&C on a compromised box, and root/root is probably how they themselves got access to it in the first place.

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Whois? Whowas. So what's next for ICANN and its vast database of domain-name owners?

Joe Montana

Personal vs business

Nominet at least makes a distinction between personal and business registrations, with the latter detailing information about the business.

Having full contact information about a business is extremely useful and desirable, you want to be able to contact a business and a legitimate business wants to be contacted and for its companies to know it truly exists and isnt a scam etc.

Also in the case of a genuine business, all of the information is already going to be available publicly anyway.

Doesn't the GDPR require companies to declare what they collect and what they do with it? If they're up front that your details will be collected and published on the internet then whats the problem? You have the choice not to use the service, or to use an anonymising service etc. The GDPR is supposed to give users control over how their data is handled, it shouldn't prevent someone from publishing their own data if that's what they choose to do.

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Arm emits Cortex-A76 – its first 64-bit-only CPU core (in kernel mode)

Joe Montana

Other processors

Intel and AMD have a lot more legacy 32bit (and even 16bit) code hanging around, removing 32bit support would cause a lot of headaches. ARM chips are usually used in embedded devices which are typically designed together with the software they will run so there's far less problem.

There have already been pure 64bit chips with no 32bit mode, such as Alpha...

Interestingly while ARM64 is quite new, their primary competitor in the embedded space is MIPS, and MIPS64 has been around since the early 90s, but they failed to capitalise on their lead over ARM.

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Samsung escapes obligation to keep old phones patched

Joe Montana

Phone contracts

A lot of phones are purchased on 2 year contracts, so at the very least the manufacturer should be required to support the phone for the duration of any such contracts.

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Internet engineers tear into United Nations' plan to move us all to IPv6

Joe Montana

Re: Mapping plan

You may have missed the bit about developing countries...

They have slower connections, which don't need these new expensive routers, so they buy older routers that providers in developed countries have discarded, which is part of the problem as many are using equipment which doesn't support ipv6 or incurs significant performance penalties when doing so (eg ipv4 in hardware, ipv6 in software on a slow cpu).

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Joe Montana

Re: Mapping plan

There is already a mapping from ipv4 to ipv6 - the 6to4 address space:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6to4

Every routable ipv4 address has a /64 of ipv6 space in this way.

The way to encourage ipv6 adoption is to make it a desirable feature that users demand from their ISPs... Microsoft do this to a small degree by stating that the xbox one works better with ipv6, but more is needed.

If big services like google and facebook start promoting ipv6, and making new desirable features available on ipv6 first then people will start asking their isps for ipv6, and are more likely to favour providers that are offering it. ISPs don't bother at the moment because its a cost, if they start to lose customers due to lack of ipv6 then they will take action.

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It's World (Terrible) Password (Advice) Day!

Joe Montana

Account lockouts = stupid

Account lockouts do very little to stop brute force, an attacker isn't going to try thousands of passwords against a single account - they're going to try "Password1" against thousands of accounts as this has a far greater chance of success, and systems which lock based on account will do nothing to stop this attack despite the fact that thousands of attempts to login to different accounts is clearly a malicious activity that should be detected.

Not only that, but locking accounts makes it very easy for someone malicious to intentionally lock accounts, causing severe inconvenience and disruption.

You need to develop a sensible strategy like exponential backoff and detecting anomalous behaviour like the above, not just blindly lock accounts.

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UK gov grilled over massive exposure to struggling outsourcer Capita

Joe Montana

No new contracts?

If they cancel any existing plans they might have had for new contracts, that will only hasten the demise of capita...

There is ALWAYS a risk of suppliers failing, and a sensible exit strategy should be a standard requirement for any contract or procurement... Sadly this is almost never the case, as suppliers want to keep their customers locked in - not make it easy to migrate.

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OK, this time it's for real: The last available IPv4 address block has gone

Joe Montana

Incentives / Demand

Currently there is very little reason for users to demand ipv6, about the only vendor doing anything positive is microsoft who publish documentation for the xbox one which encourages you to use ipv6 for a better experience. Users are not asking for ipv6, so providers don't bother offering it.

If users were demanding ipv6, isps would start providing it or lose customers, and sites would start offering dual stack at least.

A lot of US government sites are available over ipv6, because the government demanded it... In the UK, there are no government sites available over ipv6 that i'm aware of, even the relatively new gov.uk site is ipv4-only.

Even when everything supports ipv6, many people will not bother to configure it or even explicitly disable it.

One approach would be for the likes of google and facebook (who both already fully support ipv6) to start offering new (ie beta) features over ipv6 first, and displaying warnings to users accessing services without ipv6. Having beta services available over ipv6 would result in better beta testers in the short term (people with ipv6 now are more likely to be tech savvy), and result in more users demanding ipv6 from their isp.

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Microsoft Office 365 and Azure Active Directory go TITSUP*

Joe Montana

Re: How can we learn from this?

The problem is that the people making the purchasing decisions don't understand technology at all, so they don't question what sales people or random websites are telling them.

Most such purchasing decisions are not made by the IT department, but even the IT dept often don't have much of a clue either. The requirement for staff increased much more quickly than the availability of skilled staff, so companies have to take whatever they can get - including people who don't have much of a clue.

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Joe Montana

Re: Why???

The keyword is "resilient", but the frequency of outage reports posted here seems to suggest that it isn't really very resilient at all...

Running an unreliable isn't very expensive or difficult.

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'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service

Joe Montana

Own domain

If email is important to you, then you should always own your own domain. Then it's under your control, and so long as you keep paying the registration fees every year it won't be taken away.

If you're using someone else's domain not only do you usually end up with a stupid username because everything sensible will already be taken, but you also are subject to the whims of the provider who could at any time decide to shut off the service.

If you own your own domain then its portable between providers, or you can even host your own - a cheap virtual server or a raspberry pi running at home (assuming you have a home internet service with static ip) will be more than adequate for personal email hosting.

Perhaps someone should sell PIs preconfigured for this purpose.

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Law's changed, now cough up: Uncle Sam serves Microsoft fresh warrant for Irish emails

Joe Montana

Re: Violation of national sovereignty

They're not claiming rights over another nation, they are claiming rights over data which is privately held by a subsidiary of a US corporation that just happens to be located in another country.

If the data was held on a server belonging to an Irish company then the US would have no way to demand the data, and would need to apply for an order through the Irish court system.

The fact is while Microsoft employees in Ireland are not directly answerable to the US government, they are answerable to senior Microsoft employees based in the US who in turn are answerable to the US government.

Employees working for an entirely Irish owned company with no US parent company would not be answerable to the US government at all, and could only be compelled to perform any action by Irish or EU governments and courts.

If you're concerned about foreign governments interfering in your business, then support local businesses and only worry about your own government (which you cant avoid anyway, and theoretically have some control over).

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Developers dread Visual Basic 6, IBM Db2, SharePoint - survey

Joe Montana

Diversity?

The poll was of developers, the fact that the majority of those answering the poll were straight white men means the poll was aimed at the target audience as the vast majority of developers are straight white men.

Diversity should never be a priority, the top priority should be hiring the best talent irrespective of who they happen to be. It's not the fault of employers that the majority of those who studied for development roles are straight white men, there is nothing stopping anyone else from learning how to develop software, they simply chose not to.

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Full shift to electric vans would melt Royal Mail's London hub, MPs told

Joe Montana

Re: Hmmm

"Or stopped if necessary"...

So you leave your car to charge overnight, and it may or may not do so... When you wake up for work in the morning the car might not move, that's not really usable.

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Fun fact: US Customs slaps eyeglass taxes on optical networking gear

Joe Montana

Photoshop cloud

"The optical signals acted upon by these products are never visible, and therefore the subject merchandise is never used to create or enhance visible images."

But with things like photoshop moving to being cloud based, you could argue that all networking gear is used to enhance visible images...

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Symantec ends cheap Norton offer to NRA members

Joe Montana

Age limit?

If someone is underage, or cannot legally buy a gun for whatever other reason, but wants to use one for some kind of illegal activity then they're going to acquire one illegally on the black market or steal one.

If acquiring a gun is too difficult then they will use whatever else they can get their hands on which might be a knife, a bomb or even a car. The fact is crazy people will do crazy things, using whatever tools are available to them, and focusing on guns just distracts from the actual problem.

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Windows slithers on to Arm, legless?

Joe Montana

Re: Going from 32 to 64 bit was so simple nobody really noticed it happened

NTVDM uses vm86 mode on 32bit x86, but on other architectures (mips, ppc, alpha) it would emulate the cpu... There's no reason they couldn't use an emulation mode for 64bit x86 too, dosbox works fine like that.

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Joe Montana

Re: "Windows NT has historically supported five different platforms "

MIPS is still competing in the embedded space, although they are way behind ARM, and really missed their chance to get ahead of ARM in the transition to 64bit.

MIPS had a 64bit variant *long* before ARM, it's been around since the early 90s and has mature compiler support, as well as hardware available easily and cheaply. ARM64 was only announced in 2011, and took a while to get OS and compiler support.

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Joe Montana

Re: "However it is really difficult for them to change"

Binary backward compatibility on unix is excellent too at the kernel level, the problems people encounter are due to distros not shipping the expected old versions of libraries but there is nothing stopping you adding those libs and having everything work...

Microsoft ship with mountains of backwards compatibility libs, linux generally doesn't because 99% of applications come with source and can thus be recompiled against the newer libs.

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Joe Montana

Re: Wedded to Intel

Chicken and egg... Vendors won't port to a platform with no users, and users won't buy a platform with no software.

The unix world was always different, you had several large well established vendors each with their own OS and later their own processor architecture (many started off on m68k before developing their own). Developers of software for windows on the other hand have never really had to deal with portability, they typically never considered processors with a different byte order or pointer size.

Then there is the open source nature of many unix systems, especially today. Not only is most software portable, anyone can recompile it for a different architecture. You don't get the chicken and egg problem, as the vast majority of software is a recompile away once you have a unix-like kernel and gcc ported to the new architecture.

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Hyperoptic's overkill 10Gbps fibre trial 'more than a clever PR stunt'

Joe Montana

Chipsets

A lot of cheaper chipsets are capable of connecting to a gigabit ethernet connection, but not actually transferring data at the full rate...

Aside from the chipset, it also depends on your (pci/e/x/etc) bus, memory, processor, and if your downloading data - the disk onto which the data is being written.

There have been gigabit ethernet nics for nearly 20 years, some are better than others.

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IT 'heroes' saved Maersk from NotPetya with ten-day reinstallation bliz

Joe Montana

Firewall rules

If you allow rules for AD, then you allow the very ports that most of this malware uses to propagate.

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NASA is sniffing jet fuel over Germany

Joe Montana

Re: Market distortion

Taxing fossil fuels only causes hardship for those who have no alternative...

Provide usable alternatives and people will use them without being coerced.

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UK's Just Eat faces probe after woman tweets chat-up texts from 'delivery guy'

Joe Montana

Canned response...

It's clear that "trixie" was just following a script... The response "can't fix a bad meal" says it all - the script is aimed at people complaining about the food being bad, but clearly this complaint had nothing to do with the food.

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Junk food meets junk money: KFC starts selling Bitcoin Bucket

Joe Montana

Re: Issues with Bitcoin

Several currencies have suffered from hyperinflation which effectively zeroed their value, there is always the risk of catastrophic failure.

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Heart of darkness: Inside the Osówka underground city

Joe Montana

Regulation...

Less regulation, less paperwork, less red tape, cheaper labour, more relaxed health+safety/labour laws, much easier to get things done...

Look at construction projects taking place in third world countries, they generally have inferior equipment and lower skilled labourers and still manage to get large projects completed.

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Heathrow Airport's local council prohibits drone flights from open spaces

Joe Montana

Re: Bah!

Drones make irritating noises, but so do many other things - vehicles, aircraft, gardening equipment (especially leaf blowers), construction equipment, kids, animals etc. If you start banning things which make obnoxious sounds then there won't be much left and you'll end up living in a giant public library.

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Joe Montana

Re: does this mean...

If it's manned then it's not a drone, it becomes a light aircraft and falls under separate regulation...

Interesting this includes "vehicles", so kids playing with radio controlled cars is out.

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WikiLeave? Assange tipped for Ecuadorian eviction

Joe Montana

Re: He may regret waiting

I believe Trump has a reputation for valuing and rewarding loyalty, so it's quite possible he would reciprocate towards someone who provided assistance to him.

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Parliamentary 'puters made 30k tries to procure pr0nz last year

Joe Montana

Security testing

Security is important in the adult entertainment industry too, so these companies hire security testers to check the security of their websites. I've had to sit in an open plan office working on porn and other sites that would usually be inappropriate to view in the workplace at the direct instruction of my boss.

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Here come the lawyers! Intel slapped with three Meltdown bug lawsuits

Joe Montana

Re: Sorry, Itanium sucks

ARM is not exactly a clean 64bit architecture either, like amd64 it's an extension to a 32bit architecture that was never intended to be extended. The only difference is that the 32bit architecture was cleaner in the first place.

There are much cleaner 64bit implementations in the form of Alpha, POWER, MIPS and SPARC. Alpha was even a pure 64bit design with no 32bit mode at all.

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Whizzes' lithium-iron-oxide battery 'octuples' capacity on the cheap

Joe Montana

Re: Nevertheless...

You miss the point with cars...

Adding a larger fuel tank adds less weight to a vehicle than a larger battery. The range of diesel vehicles is limited by the size of tank, and a full tank of diesel still weighs less than a battery of a similar size/range.

Electric cars have been around a LONG time, they've just only recently started to become popular again. The reason they fell out of favour was due to the weight and lack of range, milk floats were almost always electric because they were quiet and didnt require a long range or high speed etc.

There's also the consideration of how fast you can recharge, and the availability of charging stations. A diesel car can be filled in a couple of minutes, and diesel is available almost everywhere... A battery takes longer to charge, and in doing so it occupies a charging slot for much longer than a diesel car does. On the other hand, once the infrastructure is in place the power can be transported far more quickly than liquid fuels.

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Microsoft patches Windows to cool off Intel's Meltdown – wait, antivirus? Slow your roll

Joe Montana

Disabled by default?

If this update is disabled by default, how many people will install it and assume they're good to go without even realising that it needs to be enabled?

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How much will Britain's next F-35s cost? Not telling, says MoD

Joe Montana

Re: Quality vs quantity

Quantity matters a great deal...

A large but low quality force could still wear down a superior but smaller force... Weapons that are cheaper and simpler to build may not be as effective, but they are also cheaper and quicker to repair or replace when they get damaged or destroyed.

Also if you're using expensive missile to destroy cheap disposable drones, it will cost you a lot more to keep firing the expensive missiles than it costs the enemy to launch the disposable drones. You may have a 100% success rate at killing the drones, but that rate turns to 0% once you run out of missiles to throw at them.

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UK good for superfast broadband, crap for FTTP – Ofcom

Joe Montana

Myanmar

Getting FTTP is even relatively easy in Myanmar...

The UK will be behind North Korea too before too long.

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YouTuber cements head inside microwave oven

Joe Montana

Re: Twat

Any profit made from videos in which an ambulance or the fire service need to be called should be given to the service in question. Idiots should not profit from having to waste emergency service time.

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UK government bans all Russian anti-virus software from Secret-rated systems

Joe Montana

Re: Jet Engine

Having highly advanced but expensive and complicated weapons is not really ideal in a war situation unless they are massively superior to the enemy such that the enemy can't damage them.

If the difference is small enough that the inferior enemy equipment can still inflict damage, and the enemy equipment is much cheaper they will just build large numbers you won't be able to match due to the cost.

Also during combat, equipment will get damaged or destroyed. If repair/replacement is expensive or complicated it will become difficult to maintain enough working equipment. The AK47 is a good example of this, reliable and quick/cheap to build.

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Mythical broadband speeds to plummet in crackdown on ISP ads

Joe Montana

Up to?

Saying "up to" is the only real way to describe an internet connection, where the quoted figure is either the technical capability of the physical technology in use, or an arbitrary figure to which the provider has capped the service.

Beyond that, the actual transfer rate you could achieve at any given time is dependent on so many factors that there's no way to realistically estimate.

This bit about "so long as part of the connection is delivered over fibre" is stupid tho... I could use fibre to link my desktop to a 14.4kbps modem, would that be a fibre connection by their definition? In fact virtually all internet connections would at some point be delivered over fibre if you follow the traceroute.

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Uber loses appeal against UK employment rights for workers

Joe Montana

Re: Surely...

Drivers are free to not accept a potential customer, but if they accept a customer and then cancel that causes inconvenience for the customer who then has to find another driver willing to take them which reflects badly on the service.

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Android at 10: How Google won the smartphone wars

Joe Montana

Re: Horsecrap

The OEMs (and network operators) and their customisations are the problem, and the same thing does happen with windows but to a much smaller extent... Various vendors (eg of ATMs or POS systems) provide preinstalled versions of windows which you aren't supposed to update using the standard updates, if you do so the device becomes unsupported by the vendor and it may well break their custom software.

I had similar problems with symbian phones, where operators would provide their own hacked versions with features broken or disabled etc, and often very unstable... Usually you could wipe them and install the stock nokia firmware which i'd done on several occasions.

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Brit moron tried buying a car bomb on dark web, posted it to his address. Now he's screwed

Joe Montana

Re: er...

Actually the primary purpose of a car bomb is usually to blow up the car and kill the occupants, trying to kill or injure nearby pedestrians with shrapnel would usually be achieved by filling the entire car with something explosive or flammable. A car bomb is usually small and concealed so the driver of the car doesn't notice its presence until it detonates.

That said there is also a small chance that this guy was driven by curiosity rather than nefarious purposes, perhaps he wanted to buy an old car and blow it up in a field somewhere to make a youtube video? People are *supposed* to be innocent until proven guilty and destroying your own property is not a crime.

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New phishing campaign uses 30-year-old Microsoft mess as bait

Joe Montana

Re: Invoice attachments

If you forward an email which contains spam or phishing, it's likely the recipients spam filter will pick up on the spam content and consider you a bad sender.

I reviewed a bank where they setup a phishing@ address for customers to forward suspicious mails to, and they commented that they didn't receive many examples... Turns out their corporate spam filter was catching a majority of the suspicious emails forwarded by users, and they had no way to turn filtering off for just one address.

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Joe Montana

Re: Now you are blaming the victim.

General purpose computers are not suitable for most people, and aren't aimed at such... They are tools meant for geeks and well trained IT departments.

Games consoles, iPads etc are more aimed at end users and don't require anywhere near as much maintenance as a general purpose os.

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Yes, British F-35 engines must be sent to Turkey for overhaul

Joe Montana

Turkey

So the only place that can service the engines of these planes is bordering on the region where these planes are most likely to be fighting...

So what happens if IS take over or destroy the only service location?

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