* Posts by Herby

2772 posts • joined 14 Dec 2007

Audio tweaked just 0.1% to fool speech recognition engines

Herby
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Pay no attention...

...to the man behind the curtain.

Speech is noise if you don't understand it. And Vice-versa.

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Wanna gobble Google's custom chips? Now you can – its Cloud TPUs at $6.50 an hour

Herby
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Begs the question...

How much does it cost to mine bitcoin? Can it be done at a profit?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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Secret weekend office bonk came within inch of killing sysadmin

Herby
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On AC and condensate

Many moons ago, I was traveling (for work actually) with a work companion in of all places Tyler Texas, where the motel rooms had occupancy sensors on the thermostats to "economize". Of course this was totally unacceptable as we wanted to return from our outings to a reasonably cool room rather than sweat it out while the AC attempted to cool things down in glacial time.

Our solution was to open up the thermostat and "bypass" (I believe it involved a screwdriver adjustment) the motion sensor. This meant that we slept comfortably at night and came back to a nicely cool room after the days outing. When we did come back, we noticed that the condensate which drained from the AC onto the exterior walkway looked like a river for our room, but the other rooms had barely a trickle. We just smiled and carried on.

Yes, Tyler Texas in the summer is both hot and humid.

No need to be part of the gunpowder plot, this was back in the 80's and the company is long gone.

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Herby
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Re: @Chris King -- Aircon Leaks

Of course, Boris said to Natasha "Stroke, stroke, stroke".

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Why is Bitcoin fscked? Here are three reasons: South Korea, India... and now China clamps down on cryptocurrencies

Herby
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Fool...Money...

Soon parted. To me it seems that fools are the ones who dabble in Bitcoin. Given a chance, it can be rigged, and the mining is mostly a zero sum game when you consider energy costs (at least in the USA).

Sorry, I'm not using my machine to heat the house, especially since it is a nice balmy 65 degrees (F) outside. Winter is over.

Maybe that is the reason the value tanked. Winter is over (mostly) and nicer weather is around the corner, and soon we switch on the air conditioning. Sounds as good as any other excuse for the value of Bitcoin.

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NASA's zombie IMAGE satellite is powered up and working quite nicely

Herby
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Re: Funding?

"I doubt ground stations would need to be *rebuilt* they just need to tune in to the correct frequency and position..."

This depends... Sometimes the receivers need special hardware to receive the data. If said hardware is lost/scrapped you need to re-create it.

Also the deep space network can get pretty busy looking after things, as there are bunches of satellites outside of earth orbit (quite a few in or about Mars).

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Ghost in the DCL shell: OpenVMS, touted as ultra reliable, had a local root hole for 30 years

Herby
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Wasn't VMS...

The pattern used for Windows NT. It was my understanding (I could be wrong though) that the head of VMS development went on to Microsoft to do Windows NT development.

Of course this explains Windows problems, etc...

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$14bn tax hit, Surface Pro screens keep dying – but it's not all good news at Microsoft

Herby
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Just waiting...

For one of the fondleslabs to go "total inability to perform usual service" right in the middle of next Sunday's Super Bowl. You will see a vivid demonstration of frustration with said device. If this happens, the words "extreme prejudice" will be the least of the problems.

If it happens to more than one on the sideline something close to a volcanic eruption will take place.

To mitigate this I strongly suspect that the fondleslabs will be very well tested. Then again, you never know.

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Good news, everyone: Ransomware declining. Bad news: Miscreants are turning to crypto-mining on infected PCs

Herby
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Then there is another way...

I recently got a nice email that said that the people sending it have my keylogging and know that I have surfed porn. They won't tell if I send some bitcoin.

Thankfully I just ignored it as I knew it was untrue. On the other hand I suspect there are people out there who have fallen for it. At least there are no infections to deal with. Of course given the amount of infected email I come across (and ignore), it is but a small blessing.

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Intel alerted Chinese cloud giants 'before US govt' about CPU bugs

Herby
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Possible word to wise...

El Reg is really on top of things. Be well advised to monitor it closely.

Look, if Vulture Central is being noted in the WSJ, it must be doing something right.

Can't say much for Chipzilla Intel or others. Some genetic diversity in chip designs might be something to strive for. Of course I long for 68k processors, but that is another story.

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Newsflash: Car cyber-security still sucks

Herby
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Dude...

Where's my car...

Not far off, as one might think. We will soon have autonomous vehicles, and after you "park" and go into the pub, you whip out your smartphone app and ask the vehicle to meet you at the front door. I see all sorts of problems here, including getting the wrong car (probably the same make).

Of course if it is the boss's car, there are all sorts of BOFH scenarios available (sorry about that cliff/river).

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User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

Herby
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Happy

You forgot...

The cup holder on the big box.

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Blockheads changing company names to surf crypto wave get a warning from the SEC

Herby
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Crypto currency FRAUD?

Well, you could have blown me over with a feather.

When something bounces up and down by 50% in one week or so, one needs to be VERY suspicious. Somehow I would short the security about a year out, and probably make money. Then again, some people think the lottery is a good investment.

(*SIGH*) Not me!

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'WHAT THE F*CK IS GOING ON?' Linus Torvalds explodes at Intel spinning Spectre fix as a security feature

Herby
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All of this makes me long for...

68K architecture, which I read somewhere doesn't have this problem. Unfortunately they stopped with the 68060 and didn't go farther. All in all a MUCH cleaner architecture. Probably slower, but WAY more compact in instruction count. Yes it was very CISC, but when memory was more expensive it was the way to go.

Now we have these problems, and with very little genetic diversity, I suspect it might not be the last.

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You get a lawsuit! And you get a lawsuit! And you! Now Apple sued over CPU security flaws

Herby
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But will it get fixed?

Given the amount of sueballs thrown, I suspect the the only "fix" to the problem will be in lawyers pockets. Little (if any) money will be put in the pockets of people who were harmed (assuming they were).

Answer to the joke "A good start". Joke supplied upon request.

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Wanna motivate staff to be more secure? Don't bother bribing 'em

Herby
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Front doors?

"Do you keep your front door unlocked?"

Well, when I was growing up, that is exactly what we did. Of course it was in simpler times (the 50's and 60's), but if you knew where, there was an unlocked door in the house that only got a lock (mini deadbolt) when the selling realtor put it in.

Yes, much simpler times. I compare them to PC's with no networking in locked offices (usually on some "executive's desk rarely used").

Times have changed.

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Trump backs push for bumpkin broadband with presidential orders

Herby
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Somebody...

Needs to pay the bill for all of this. Whoever this is will need to build things to make it work. You have several technologies that vie for this, cable, wireless, DSL, etc. When we use the broadband internet, for whatever price whatever company provides the service must not do it at a loss (or it won't last long). All of this costs $$$ (or whatever your local currency is today), and the money comes from two sources, a government, or individuals. Take your pick. For the most part government money comes with a spaghetti mess of "strings attached" that some politician (or group of them) has put in place to accommodate someone. Private money wants to be paid for, so I pay for my DSL.

Do you get what you pay for? I really don't know, but I do get DSL for a few bucks a month, and it seems to work OK. Yes, I wish it were cheaper, but life goes on. (*SIGH*).

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

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Getting clost to being explosive...

As batteries get more "efficient", they approach being explosive devices. The problem is that the batteries are self contained energy devices, whereas common fuels (diesel, petrol/gasoline) need to be supplied with oxygen form the air to be useful.

Another way to have self contained energy sources, is to use hypergolic fuels (rockets use these). At least they are binary in nature and need both parts to generate heat.

This is the reason that batteries catch fire/explode all by themselves. Not fun.

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US border cops told to stop copying people's files just for the hell of it

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Wonder what would happen...

If you had very descriptive names of random number data. Put in a directory/folder labeled "encrypted".

I really don't want to try this though. I like being "free". I leave it to those who are suitably endowed with lawyer like skills on tap, as well as time to spare.

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Nvidia: Using cheap GeForce, Titan GPUs in servers? Haha, nope!

Herby
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Note to Nvidia:

Look guys, you sell HARDWARE. Let anyone do anything to it. You might even sell more.

Even better would be open source the software so we could all improve it.

Will it happen? I doubt it.

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Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

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Genetic Diversity?

Given that a major share of the CPUs out there are from one vendor, this is what you get. A hardware bug that permeates over several chips. Nice to see that AMD (minority report) doesn't have the problem.

Maybe Chipzilla Intel is too big and needs to be sliced and diced.

Thought experiment: What would Intel be if IBM had picked a different processor for its PC back in 1981 (Motorola 68000?)?

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Long Island Iced Tea Corp renamed itself to Long Blockchain – and its shares went bananas

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Names change opinions of lots of people.

Just remember that MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was once called NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance). The name was changed because of the bad vibes that anything with the name "nuclear" in it.

So now you know the rest of the story.

Yes, there was a company that changed its name from "Apple Computer" to "Apple, Inc.". If it changed to "Apple Blockchain" I might be a multimillionaire.

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Fridge killed my baby? Mag-field radiation from household stuff 'boosts miscarriage risk'

Herby
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Joke

Danger...

Will Robinson...

Watch out inside your computer are ONE MILLION ohms. With that many, it is overloading, and quite dangerous.

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Hot chips crashed servers, but were still delicious

Herby
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The first question you ALWAYS ask...

Is the power plugged in?

Second question:

Is the On/Off switch in the proper position.

Funny how this cures quite a bit of user (1d10t) problems.

If you want to go further you can always ask:

Are the lights on?

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FBI tells Jo(e) Sixpack to become an expert in IoT security

Herby
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Maybe they shoud also turn off...

Something that Microsoft calls "Universal plug and pray play".

All of this "automatic" stuff makes for complacent users that probably don't know better. How many times have you wandered around to find routers with default names.

Another alternative might be to require vendors that don't keep updating software on their interconnected devices to release it under a GPL type license.

Then there was the router near my mother-in-law's condo that had its default credentials (and was open). I made a point of adding a password to the administrative access and locking it up to keep it open. It has since gone dark (*SIGH*).

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IETF protects privacy and helps net neutrality with DNS over HTTPS

Herby
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This proves it...

There was an old adage (from when Usenet was going strong), that went like "The net sees censorship and routes around it".

Now we know for sure!

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Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

Herby
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Punched card equipment...

If you have worked with this stuff (especially punches) that are high speed, they had lots of pent-up energy. You took off ALL your rings, and ties if you ever worked with this stuff. Most were belt driven which increased the likelihood of getting stuff caught in the "works".

Be careful out there!

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Boffins foresee most software written by machines in 2040

Herby
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Wasn't COBOL....

Designed to make it to code for accountants back in the 1950's. You wouldn't need programmers, and anyone could "write code".

This whole thing is a case of "been there, done that", and it will continue. We humans are the ones that think into the future and can "design" things. Very little (if any, as I can't think of anything) is designed without human input. I have strong doubts that this will change.

Nice try though.

p.s. COBOL is still here, writing paychecks and checking general ledger stuff.

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Voyager 1 fires thrusters last used in 1980 – and they worked!

Herby
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Interesting skit about the "record".

Saturday Night Live back in the 70's announced that they had received a message from someone who intercepted the Voyager probe. They held up a card that said:

SEND MORE CHUCK BERRY

Oh, and he was a guest of JPL at the "finish" party after the Neptune encounter.

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Expert gives Congress solution to vote machine cyber-security fears: Keep a paper backup

Herby
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Need to seperate casting and counting of ballots

The casting of a ballot should be a simple and verifiable action. The voter should be able to "count" his own ballot to see that he actually did the "right thing" (another topic for discussion). The counting process can be "automated" or "manual", but it should be doable by ANYONE who desires. Sure they might take multiple days of time to manually count the ballots, but the same result should be obtained as from an "automated" process.

Yes, some sort of nice paper as the intermediary is necessary for this to happen. It should be both human AND machine readable. For all the flaws, punch cards were human readable, but there was the silly "hanging chad" problem.

There should be no "trade secrets" in either process, and an advance "audit" (if necessary) of ALL the software should be available. Sorry, I really don't trust Diebold.

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Stick to the script, kiddies: Some dos and don'ts for the workplace

Herby
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Check for "errors" and make sure!

Yes, they are wonderful, but scripts should be through. Many a time I have looked at scripts only to find out that the writer is lazy n the third degree. Some examples:

Routing stderr to /dev/null

chmod 777 <file> just because it solved the "problem".

Leaving temp files floating around

Such things as "cat file | command"

No explanatory comments on what is going on.

Scripts that say "Doing xxx" when they are actually "Doing yyy".

scripts that mimic standard commands in weird ways with errors themselves (see above)

right

Unfortunately this happens with all to much regularity, and the "clean-up" usually find an error undiscovered that will really much things up if executed in the wrong/right way.

So we all fix them drawing from experience, and life goes on. (*SIGH*)

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Boss made dirt list of minions' mistakes, kept his own rampage off it

Herby
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Don't touch switch

A friend of mine had his "shop" setup with one like that. He had gotten a load of flash bulbs with edison (screw( bases, and decided to wire all of them up to the "do not touch" switch. On many occasions we had left the room only to return with the person he had left behind in a somewhat blind and dazed look. He mentioned that it was "priceless".

Yes, I have plugged 120 volt kit (my case it was a tape recorder in the 60's) into 240 volt outlet. In my defense, I didn't know the outlet was 240 volts. I confirmed that it was by looking at the light bulb in a lamp socket. Of course I did "return to shelf" the item and didn't say many words about the incident. Oh, and yes, it was in the USA, and I was in the third form.

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Arm Inside: Is Apple ready for the next big switch?

Herby
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There is ALWAYS an option...

One wonders what Intel might be had IBM picked the 68k as its processor for the PeeCee. Then (1980 or so as I recall) IBM had a chunk of ownership in Intel, so the choice was made for them. Fast forward to around 1990 when Apple, IBM, and Motorola chummied up and eventually decided to go the PPC route. Who knows what the world might be if they had different decisions. Sadly the 68k processors didn't get the backing from Motorola (Freescale, whoever it is now), and the shift was on again. It happens. For the most part if all you need to do is cycle the source through a different compiler chain, and you get something that "works", I suspect that nobody will really care. Rare is the application now that touches the instruction set directly, it is all some sort of compiled code.

Personally, the 68k instruction set was pretty good, and could have improved given the chance (*SIGH*). Who knows, maybe there is a 68k emulator that runs under ARM (at reasonable speed).

Life goes on.

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Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

Herby
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Meanwhile in sunny (it rained last night) California..

We have these things issued by our wonderful friendly DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) called stickers. We attach them to our license plates to indicate we have paid $$$ in fees and taxes to our wonderful state. These change color every year so friendly policemen can tell if you have paid up. Thankfully, they allow one to renew registrations online eliminating ghastly lines at the local DMV office (hours!).

Of course the local police aren't that observant. While I do renew, the sticker on my vehicle still says 2015. In a year or so the color will be back in vogue. If you DON'T pay (and get your vehicle smog checked every other year), the fines are a real mess. I won't even go there.

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Windows Update borks elderly printers in typical Patch Tuesday style

Herby
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Of course, one wonders...

If Apple still supports an Imagewriter (2). That would be telling..

Sorry I just don't know.

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How can airlines stop hackers pwning planes over the air? And don't say 'regular patches'

Herby
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Coat

This gives new meaning to...

The friendly skies. Friendly to WiFi intrusions.

My coat is already on.

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Red Hat opens its ARMs to Enterprise Linux... er, wait, perhaps it's the other way round

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What is really needed...

Is some vendor to make nice form factor compatible motherboards with ARM CPU chips. Throw in a couple of PCI (or whatever buss is popular) slots and there you have it.

Given this, just plunk down a Linux distro and you are in business.

Works for me. Arm & Linux, a nice alternative to "wintel".

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Guess who's now automating small-biz IT jobs? Yes, it's Microsoft

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Haven't I heard this before??

I'm from Microsoft and I'm here to help you.

I'm sure everyone knows how this turns out.

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Funnily enough, when Qualcomm's licensees stop sending in their royalty checks, profits start going south

Herby
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Could be....

That Qualcomm is an acquisition target. When Apple gets a chance to repatriate all of its overseas $$$$ it might want to spend it on something worthwhile.

You never know.

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A draft US law to secure election computers that isn't braindead. Well, I'm stunned! I gotta lie down

Herby
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Couple of things needed here...

There are TWO parts of an election with very different qualities needed.

First, there is the voting itself. Very "private" by its nature, and should remain so.

Second, there is the counting. It needs to be VERY public so we have some faith in the process.

The big problem is attempting to combine these two very different functions into one "device". It shouldn't be done AT ALL.

What to do? Have the "voting machine" accept nice inputs from a touch screen, and with a connected printer generate a both human and machine readable document that you stuff into a ballot box. Then anyone can tally up things and all is good. If the voter doesn't like the votes recorded (by inspection), tear it up and try again.

Will it be done this way? Probably not, but we can hope.

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

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Joke

Microsoft Windows...

Is a feature, not a bug...

Sorry, I must categorize this as a joke, but for some reason, it isn't that much of one.

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US-CERT study predicts machine learning, transport systems to become security risks

Herby
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Nothing...

Will go wrong go wrong go wrong...

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You're doing open source wrong, Microsoft tsk-tsk-tsks at Google: Chrome security fixes made public too early

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This reminds of...

Pot...Kettle...Black.

Enough said.

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Microsoft Azure ████ secret ██ █████ ██ US govt's ███ ███ centers

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Strange partners...

Microsoft and the Government.

They probably deserve each other, but I can always turn off Microsoft, but not the government, so I wonder what is going on.

Of course mentioning security and Microsoft in the same sentence is always problematical.

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Programming bootcamp compiles $375,000 check after triggering New York AG's error handlers

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So...

This is where the "wonderful coding" that populates The daily WTF. They must use the _Learn_<insert topic here>_in_24_hours_ as a textbook.

Sorry, but it takes a few years to be "good", and hopefully you have some "real world" experience.

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Watch out for Microsoft Word DDE nasties: Now Freddie Mac menaced

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Joke

Security warnings??

Isn't that the Windows Boot screen. There is no 'OK' there.

Maybe this isn't a joke after all.

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Has Git ever driven you so mad you wanted to bomb it? Well, now you can with this tiny repo

Herby
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Joke

That does it...

I'm going back to SCCS.

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

Herby
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What, me worry?

I always called it FORTRAN.

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Software update turned my display and mouse upside-down, says user

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It just happened to me...

Yesterday the power went out (unbeknownst to me) and my wonderful wife with iPhone in hand complained to me that out WiFi wasn't working. So she rolled over and handed me the iPhone and I attempted to look for WiFi to no avail. The next complaint was that the charger wasn't working either. This usually happens when I switch off the outlet connected to the light on her size of the sleeping apparatus (there is a switch on my side). So I flick the switch and hope that the light comes on. Nope that doesn't work either. I then "rise and shine" and look around. No power. Not a good thing.

So, yes, it can take a few minutes to realize that the power is out, and it did happen to me.

(*SIGH*)

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FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

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Is anything ever obsolete?

I suspect that "new" video display boxen (aka TV's) will attempt to be compatible with new standards, but you never know. In my house, I still have (count 'em) 5 NTSC only TVs. They still work quite nicely with the TiVo box that emits proper signals. Yes, I do have a bunch of "adapters" (with enough $40 coupons you can get quite a few) and a single W I D E screen video display box for watching sporting events at times (it also makes a great display for a Raspberry Pi).

Someone should have designed the ATSC standard to last a bit longer. NTSC lasted over 60 years in one form or another, and served us quite well. One thing I learned is that we humans can interpolate quite a bit in the visual field, and while some things need lots of resolution (computer monitors seem to be high on the list), entertainment TV got by quite well at 480p resolution for quite a while!

So, life goes on and another standard goes obsolete. (*SIGH*)

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