* Posts by Paul Hovnanian

903 posts • joined 16 Mar 2008

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Equifax fooled again! Blundering credit biz directs hack attack victims to parody site

Paul Hovnanian
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Why a new domain name?

Why not security.equifax.com? Or equifax.com/security?

The former is under the control of the owners of the equifax.com domain and the latter can be covered by the same https certificate as the parent site.

Oh yeah. These people are idiots. Asked and answered.

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Microsoft's AI is so good it steered Renault into bottom of the F1 league

Paul Hovnanian
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Boffin

New Drivers

Drivers are not supported for your system.

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The developers vs enterprise architects showdown: You shall know us by our trail of diagrams

Paul Hovnanian
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Enterprise Architects

When I worked for a large Seattle-area aviation concern, the position of EA was created to wrangle multiple development teams and internal customers into not using yet another host architecture, OS or tool suite. 15 minutes after the job was created, vendors* figured out that the EAs would be an excellent foot in the door to shill for their particular products.

*Being just across the lake from one of the biggest OS vendors, you can probably guess who had the biggest foot.

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Stack Overflow + Salary Calculator = your worth

Paul Hovnanian
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Boffin

All we need to know

Do you use tabs or spaces?

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Drones aren't evil and won't trigger the Rise of the Machines: MoD

Paul Hovnanian
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Alien

We are supposed to trust ...

... the Lizard People at the Mod?

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F-35 firmware patches to be rolled out 'like iPhone updates'

Paul Hovnanian
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Mushroom

As long as ...

... support for the headphone jack doesn't disappear.

By the way, what is error EIEIO?

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Surprising nobody, lawyers line up to sue the crap out of Equifax

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: @AC

"1) Pay $10 per credit bureau and 'freeze' your credit reporting. (Meaning no one can pull a credit report without your approval)"

This is done on a per agency basis. So you'll need to lock Equifax, Experian and TransUnion records individually. But then never unlock your Equifax account. If a bank or lender wants your credit info, tell them to use one of the other two. Or take your business elsewhere.

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Please, pleeeease let me ban Kaspersky Lab from US govt PCs – senator

Paul Hovnanian
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I would hope ...

... that the illustrious guardians of our government data (the NSA) would have some way of testing/vetting software allowed to be installed within security perimeters. Software (without the source code) is pretty much a black box. And there's no telling what might be going on in its innards whether it was written by Kaspersky or Microsoft. You've got to put it in a 'clean room' and watch it for a while. And then you've got to watch your perimeters once it has been installed for suspicious activity.

Personally, I'd worry more about trojans installed by Boeing, Lockheed and the like to get the jump on defense department bidding information.

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Vivaldi boss: It'd be cool if Google went back to the 'not evil' schtick

Paul Hovnanian
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Google: We'd go back ...

... to the good side, but the market for secret lairs in extinct volcanoes is a bit weak right now.

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Mazda and Toyota join forces on Linux-based connected car platform

Paul Hovnanian
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systemd

I tried to change my radio presets. The audio went dead, the battery caught fire, the tires went flat and the nav system directed me to the middle of the Australian outback.

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Kill animals and destroy property before hurting humans, Germany tells future self-driving cars

Paul Hovnanian
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Joke

Re: Do not let El Reg headline writers program cars

Too many software types here. Lets take it back to the top of the road, restart it and see if it does it again.

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Paul Hovnanian
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Statistics?

I wanted to review the relative death rates of car occupants vs bicycles, pedestrians, motorcycles, etc. So I Googled for some info. And I found (among other things) this article in The Guardian. Problem: The category 'other road users' seems to be the most variable between regions. In some regions, like S.E. Asia, car occupants are less (and motorcycles more) likely to perish probably due to the relative use of each type of vehicle. But a lot of the data appears to be hidden in this 'other' category. And it is not well explained. Perhaps it is bus plunges.

I was prepared to make some snide remarks about pedestrian deaths in Asian countries, after having seen quite a few gruesome surveillance cam posts and apparent lack of traffic/pedestrian control compared to Western countries. But the death rate in this area (according to the WHO data) appears to be lower. Perhaps the worst thing we do here in the West is to lull pedestrians (and cyclists) into a false sense of security by painting green boxes and crossings for them to use. And then we run over them. In Asia, there appears to be less of this. And the pedestrians (and bicycles) watch for the crazy drivers. And survive at a far greater rate.

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Forget sexy zero-days. Siemens medical scanners can be pwned by two-year-old-days

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: Same impression here

"X-Windows and Motif, however, were a whole together different kettle of fish. Did the job, but buggy as hell, and highly idiosyncratic."

To an extent, yes. But with a bit of practice and attention to (poorly documented) details, it wasn't that difficult. I never had an opportunity to do much X/Motif development. But I have done some Perl/Tk interfaces. Not really all that difficult.

"If it weren't for the flakiness of that particular platform, I doubt that O'Reilly publishing would be the power house it is today."

If I recall my last peek at my O'Reilly manuals, they were little more than reprints of the X/Motif man pages. Back in my days at Boeing, we got a set of these shipped with every HP workstation. Most of them ended up in the dumpster, never unwrapped. So have got a complete set at home (somewhere).

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Paul Hovnanian
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Re: Same impression here

"For a long time, medical equipment chose Windows because you had many tools (development environments and libraries) to quickly write applications with a complex GUI, and print out or export results."

*NIX systems (and others) had had a GUI and supporting libraries since before Windows 1.0. What they did not have was a WYSISWG IDE for creating these GUIs.

Which turns out to be not much of an impediment. In practically every application which offers both a point and click as well as a keyboard input (like AutoCAD, for example), skilled users tend to rely on the keyboard input. Skilled users like the developers of complex medical imaging applications (I would hope). What the point-and-click or drag-and-drop environment does is impress management. Who don't have the same skill sets and extrapolate their ability to MS Paint a simple app to the output of their s/w deportment's productivity.

I've built a few enterprise web applications using vi. With management continually looking over my shoulder, asking if some web tool set would be faster. Given the amount of time I'd have to spend with a text editor, repairing broken HTML and filling in generated function stubs; Nope. Might as well just use a text editor from the start.

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A sarcasm detector bot? That sounds absolutely brilliant. Definitely

Paul Hovnanian
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Hmm. A sarcasm detector.

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

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WannaCry kill-switch hero Marcus Hutchins collared by FBI on way home from DEF CON

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: That damned sinkhole server

That server hosted the 'kill switch' for the underlying NSA toolkit upon which WannaCry was built. My guess is that it also inadvertently shut down a bunch of Five Eyes spyware as well.

Someone has to swing for the NSA's incompetence and it looks like it will be Hutchins.

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Welcome to the Rise of the Machine-to-Machine. Isn't it time to 'block off' some data ducts?

Paul Hovnanian
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Many years ago (in the last century) I wrote some M2M applications for a company Intranet that used oddball ports. Not initially for security reasons, but to keep various functions logically separated. The added benefit was that our Intranet was pretty well firewalled from the Evil Outside World. All the ports used were blocked, keeping script kiddies (but not internally infected machines) from probing our stuff.

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Fan of FBI cosplay? Enjoy freaking out your neighbors? Have we got the eBay auction for you

Paul Hovnanian
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FBI cosplay?

Had me thinking of J Edgar Hoover for a moment. Until I scrolled down and saw the Dodge.

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€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine

Paul Hovnanian
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Found this typewriter ...

... in my cellar. Must be defective, as it just produces gibberish when I type something in. Into the dustbin it goes.

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Bah Gawd! WWE left wrasslin' fans' privates on display online

Paul Hovnanian
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WWE?

Search engines still direct me to World Wrestling Entertainment sites when I enter 'WWF'. I thought Vince McMahon got smacked down by a panda.

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US Senators want Kaspersky shut out of military contracts

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: NSL

"and now cannot talk about whatever transpired"

Just see how many have carried empty canary cages out to the trash this week.

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Paul Hovnanian
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Linux

Or ...

... US Senators could push the military to switch to platforms less susceptible to virus attacks in the first place.

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In touching tribute to Samsung Note 7, fidget spinners burst in flames

Paul Hovnanian
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I prefer ...

... the classic, non IoT fidget toys.

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Privacy, consent laws under 'unprecedented strain'. We need a data-watcher watcher

Paul Hovnanian
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But who ...

... will watch the watcher watchers?

It's turtles all the way down.

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Paul Hovnanian
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Notice to all data center employees

"All underwear must be removed when in the vicinity of the mainframe."

The sign painters have the work order.

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Paul Hovnanian
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Re: Cats at 40,000 volts

Cats can be smart. Friend of mine was cleaning out his workshop and offered me some antique electronic test gear. A couple of General Radio units including a beautiful capacitance bridge in near mint condition. Sitting right next to them on his shelf was a piece of junk Fluke VTVM. His wife's cats had peed all over the Fluke, rusting it's innards beyond repair. But they left the GR equipment untouched.

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Don't panic, but Linux's Systemd can be pwned via an evil DNS query

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: VM and container users where they need to shutdown and reboot rapidly

"Are they running a reboot farm?"

No. They are running a Windows server farm. Where stopping/starting individual services with the /etc/init.d scripts is beyond their comprehension.

Yes, systemd makes for faster startups. In a world where every time you change anything you have to restart the O/S.

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Kaspersky Lab US staff grilled by Feds in nighttime swoop

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: "told them that they weren't under criminal investigation, "

But will they replace my dog?

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Paul Hovnanian
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"I haven't used McAfee software in maybe 15 years because IMO it's a POS."

And John McAfee agrees with you. He has a video out disavowing any association between himself and the current software. And an explanation of how to remove McAfee AV from a machine.

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Paul Hovnanian
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Equal probability

that the FBI is investigating Kaspersky Labs for espionage on behalf of Russian intelligence and that they are leaning on Kaspersky to ensure that their AV stuff doesn't rat out the NSA's spyware.

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Concorde without the cacophony: NASA thinks it's cracked quiet supersonic flight

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: Noise complaints...

We had a series of tests conducted in the USA in 1964 to evaluate the public acceptance of sonic booms in preparation for our SST program. The public was generally accepting of the noise levels of up to eight events per day. But there was an outcry when NASA, having originally agreed to pay for any damage, dismissed many claims. It turns out that people were turning in claims for glass and plaster cracked by thunder among other things. Politically powerful people were upset and triggered an anti sonic boom campaign.

If sonic booms are intolerable, most of the southern and midwest USA would be uninhabitable due to frequent lightning/thunder storms.

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

Paul Hovnanian
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Hmm

An article on units (monetary and otherwise) in a UK publication and all you can find in your sofa cushion is an American quarter?

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Heaps of Windows 10 internal builds, private source code leak online

Paul Hovnanian
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32TB?

How much is left if you skip all the #ifdef BUGS code?

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'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: the reality of buying a shower

"..gravity. Now there is something that doesn't wear out over (my life) time."

Indeed. It seems to be more effective as time passes.

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Paul Hovnanian
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"Software is never done"

... until it can read e-mail. (Zawinski's Law)

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We're not saying we're living in a simulation but someone's simulated the universe in a computer

Paul Hovnanian
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Computers. Meh.

Playmobil recreation of the universe when?

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Human-free robo-cars on Washington streets after governor said the software is 'foolproof'

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: Have you ever heard of a politician...

"Washington has a lawyer governor"

Who eventually will go back into private practice. Perhaps personal injury law. This could be his most cunning job security maneuver to date.

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Teen texted boyfriend to kill himself. It worked. Will the law change to deal with digital reality?

Paul Hovnanian
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What responsibility ...

... does the average member of the public (i.e. not trained in psychology) have to avoid triggering an unstable person to commit a crime?

This case may be over the top in that it was an ongoing effort on the part of Carter to get her boyfriend to commit suicide. But how many repeated contacts does it take? Can we hold Sarah Palin responsible for Loughner's attempted assassination? In Palin's case, she didn't contact Loughner and didn't even know him. But the public nature of her publicity (the crosshairs political ads) ensured that they were bound to fall on the ears of at least one person crazy enough to carry them out.

And can we apply the same standards to anyone who preaches "Kill all [insert name of demonized group]!" when someone actually drives a truck through them?

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Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

Paul Hovnanian
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Privacy versus Security

The security services need to protect their access with more jealousy. Reading our e-mails for the purpose of uncovering terrorist plots might be tolerated by a portion of society. Might.

But once granting these powers and they are used to see who might be looking at other people's naughty bits, we get the feeling that we were being lied to.

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IBM: ALL travel must be approved now, and shut up about the copter

Paul Hovnanian
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Bureaucracy

Where have I heard this before?

"Listen, this old system of yours could be on fire and I couldn't even turn on the kitchen tap without filling out a 27B/6... Bloody paperwork."

- H. Tuttle

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Cuffed: Govt contractor 'used work PC to leak' evidence of Russia's US election hacking

Paul Hovnanian
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Too many contractors

Perhaps more of this sort of work needs to be handled in-house. Contractors don't seem to have a good system in place for vetting their own people. Sadly, even the background checking for civilian employees and contractors has been outsourced.

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Pai guy not too privacy shy, says your caller ID can't block IP, so anons go bye

Paul Hovnanian
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"Regarding "Blue Alerts" probably 99% of the time cops would probably want the public to stay out and away from whatever is occurring,"

You see a car described in an Amber Alert and call it in. It's probably some jerk violating his child custody visitation rights.

You see a car described in a Blue Alert. It's someone crazy enough to kill a cop. And he sees you behind him phoning in his location. No thanks.

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Paul Hovnanian
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Re: Phones and cars

"I'd be in a mind to have a dummy phone and give it a good fondle at the lights."

Sorry officer. Just adjusting my insulin pump.

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Whoops! Microsoft accidentally lets out a mobile-'bricking' OS update

Paul Hovnanian
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Joke

Windows phones bricked?

All three of them?

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BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted

Paul Hovnanian
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Re: If it got interrupted...

"The Times suggests a big red button"

These exist in many date centers. But the are not intended for normal, sequenced shutdowns or to initiate failover to backups. They are usually placed near the exits and intended to be hit in the event of a serious problem like a fire. They trip off all sources _Right_Now_ and don't allow time for software to complete backups or mirroring functions.

*Usually for events that dictate personnel get out imediately.

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Event horizons around black holes do exist, say astroboffins

Paul Hovnanian
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"I've always been concerned about a singularity being totally unexplainable"

And possibly not even needed to explain black holes and even horizons. The common description of a black hole: A region of space where space-time is so curved by the total mass contained within such that that light cannot escape. That describes the closed version of our universe. That is, if you had binoculars powerful enough, you could stare off into space and see the back of your head as you stared off into space (billions of light years in the past, so be patient).

Given sufficient mass (dark matter, etc) we might be living in a black hole. With no singularity in sight.

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Plastic surgery patients face extortion in wake of clinic data breach

Paul Hovnanian
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Paris Hilton

A list of proud new owners of Bulgarian airbags? I can hardly wait.

Pics please.

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UK surveillance law raises concerns security researchers could be 'deputised' by the state

Paul Hovnanian
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Gimp

On this side of the pond they call them National Security Letters. If 'they' need your assistance to snoop on someone, or keep quiet about existing snooping you might have come across, you can be served with such an administrative warrant.

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New 'Beaver' web server has exactly ONE user outside China

Paul Hovnanian
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One User

... outside China. Let me guess: The British Airways reservation system.

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BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

Paul Hovnanian
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Power Supply Issue

Someone tripped over the cord.

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