* Posts by Peter X

194 posts • joined 12 Apr 2008

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It walks, it talks, it falls over a bit. Windows 10 is three years old

Peter X

Cost

Do they still charge for Windows, or is it free yet? Because, presumably that will happen at some point?!

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The butterfly defect: MacBook keys wrecked by single grain of sand

Peter X

Re: black LED

I was going to try to explain a sketch with Paul Whitehouse painting light bulbs black... however I couldn't remember it, but the whole sketch (and indeed this comment) is wildly off-topic anyway.

But it's Friday and it's a funny sketch: https://youtu.be/86uuxCzNOI0

The light-bulb bit is just before the 2 minute mark but you're better watching from the start.

BEER TIME!

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What can you do when the pup of programming becomes the black dog of burnout? Dude, leave

Peter X

Re: Make time for yourself - Don't go above and beyond

(and Register upvotes).

You take that back! RIGHT NOW! :D

unless you're working for TSB

I think that particular case is better covered by the "just quit" idea.

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1,300 customers of Brit bank TSB defrauded due to botched IT migration

Peter X

How?

Can anyone explain how any organisation, but especially a bank, can so comprehensively cock up a system migration?

Surely they must have tested this? Isn't the system they were moving to already in use by the Spanish parent company? And on their list of contingencies, surely at the very end it said something like "...and lastly, Plan-Z, if it looks like we really can't get the migration working in a reasonable time-frame, we migrate *back* to the Lloyds system"

It's so ridiculously bad it's like they have no IT staff at all. It's like they just asked, I dunno, the cleaning staff it they knew about computers and if they could do it. And they said no. But they asked them to do it anyway.

How? How? How? I really can't wrap my head around that simple question!!

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Ex-CEO on TalkTalk mega breach: It woz 'old shed' legacy tech wot done it

Peter X

The old bramble covered shed analogy

Pretty sure I could've used that very same analogy. Except, the old bramble covered shed would've represented board, and why companies should "prune" execs that fail to understand how their business actually operates.

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

Peter X

Re: Rejected one year moratorium oddly similar to 12 months they say they need to devise a new model

I think something has changed.

I believe previously they were hiding contact details if the domain was registered to an individual but not if registered to a company or organisation. But I registered a bunch of domains prior to them bringing in that rule, and so they didn't know and seemed to decide randomly if a domain was personal or not... and there was never a clear way to fix it either.

So I'm glad GDPR is here to fix that. :D

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ISP TalkTalk's Wi-Fi passwords Walk Walk thanks to Awks Awks router security hole

Peter X

Checklist at the ready...

[ x ] ...we take the security of our customers very seriously...

[ x ] ...an industry-wide problem that affects all ISPs...

[ x ] ...we're just here to make money and do as little as possible!

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The harbingers of Doomwatch: Quist is quite the quasi-Quatermass

Peter X

Re: God!!!!

...this really makes me feel my age.

Yeah... EXE magazine. I've still got a stack of them!

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How many ways can a PDF mess up your PC? 47 in this Adobe update alone

Peter X

I've said it before...

...more bugs than bytes!

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What most people think it looks like when you change router's admin password, apparently

Peter X
Stop

Re: FUD

It probably wouldn't be very difficult to craft some Javascript to poll the usual router IPs, brute force the IP, open the admin interface on the WAN side, and log it somewhere for a hacker to access.

If they then uploaded modified firmware then you'd never be able to fix it either. It could then route (say) common bank domains through a remote proxy to capture password.*

* This bit would be beyond me personally, but I suspect a fake site with a LetsEncrypt cert, would be sufficient to fool the aforementioned 82%. The firmware upload might be hard on recent ISP routers also but maybe just changing the nameservers would be enough to redirect certain traffic.

My point is, I don't think this should be written off a FUD.

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Boeing ships its 10,000th 737

Peter X

Re: A milestone, surely

A320 - 4241 out of 4835

I seem to recall reading something about some hooligan landing one of them in the Hudson river? Or is that one back in service? ;-)

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Keep Calm and Carillion: Outsourcers seek image rebrand after UK construction firm crash

Peter X

Re: No ideas what to do?

Launch an advertising campaign!

This. And we know who will end up paying for said campaign too.

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Mum? Dad? Can I have a 3D XPoint disk for my birthday?

Peter X

Instead of RAM

When we first heard mention of XPoint, the obvious market was in high-IO environments. But there was also mention of the idea of using this stuff in low-end hardware to replace the typical RAM + Flash.

I suspect the price is still too high for that to make sense right now, but who knows. Is that still a likely thing?

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10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

Peter X

Re: The best thing about the ZX81...

The cover art for both, but (IMHO) the Spectrum in particular, was great as well.

(google image search for "zx spectrum manual cover art")

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CSS and Javascript on GOV.UK page take early Christmas holiday

Peter X

Companies House issues too?

I had problems with the Companies House website earlier this week; specifically, the main site would work, but trying to login to actually do stuff, it seemed to get stuck not being able to resolve "ewf.companieshouse.gov.uk"... but it was *very* intermittent. In the end I had to stuff the IP I did manage to obtain into my hosts file.

The odd thing is, all companieshouse.gov.uk domains (that I've looked at) seem to have a 60 second TTL... which... you know, could've been a thing whilst they were trying to fix/migrate/mitigate some other thing. Maybe? But that was a few days ago (Monday 18th) and today, Thursday 21st, it's still like that.

But maybe they have a good reason, who knows!

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Ubuntu 17.10 pulled: Linux OS knackers laptop BIOSes, Intel kernel driver fingered

Peter X

Blame

Surely building a computer where software can perma-screw it up is the problem?

I mean, we _could_ blame Canonical for not testing it (or possibly using code not ready for release), or Intel for writing that code in the first place, but I can't help thinking that having the ability to re-write firmware *WITHOUT* any method to restore said firmware back to factory default/known-good-state is... well... shit.

I think if anyone should be sued, it should be Lenovo (and any other affected manufacturers), and they in turn may sue Intel because it's probably Intels fault. Some how.

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YouTuber cements head inside microwave oven

Peter X
FAIL

Response to BBC reporter

A response is here. To quote the end part...

"

Reporter: There are some people who've seen what you've done and think, "what a complete idiot. You're time wasting for the fire service". What would you say to those people?

Jay Swingler: I don't care! Like. There... what about people who drink and drive? What about people who drink and start fights in the street at night? Is that not wasting police time as well?

In fact I wasn't wasting their time. They saved my life.

"

It's a compelling argument! Although, not wishing to pick nits, but no one ever said he was wasting _police_ time, since they weren't called. But otherwise, a rock solid square lump of an argument.

Honestly, when I heard about that flat-earther launching himself in a rocket to prove the Earth's flatness the other week, I did not think someone would out stupid him so soon.

And re people arguing about various dangerous things other people get up to, such as riding motorcycles fast, etc, they do at least have a "fun" factor to them. Ride bike crazy fast... dangerous... but you can see the fun and excitement.

Stick head in bag in cement in broken microwave. Wait for it to set. Nope... call me old fashioned, but I'm really not seeing how that works for anyone, although I'm possibly more troubled that this clown has a YouTube channel and presumably people watch it? Why? Exactly how dull does your life need to be that looking at that would be worthwhile?

Grumpy grump. Lawn etc etc.

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AI researcher pulls best Blue Steel in Yves Saint Laurent fragrance ad

Peter X

Hang on... so, you're saying that working in IT is cool now? So cool that "sexy" brands actively try to identify with jobs in IT?!!

Seriously, this is a total game-changer. Can I finally apply for a job at Reynholm Industries?

Also, is this the harbinger of an approaching apocalypse?

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Pro tip: You can log into macOS High Sierra as root with no password

Peter X

Re: Not all installs of High Sierra are affected

...only 1 out of the 12 has a blank root password. I have reset the root password on all devices anyway however, I am struggling to see why only 1 of the 12 has this condition? Any thoughts other than someone else reset the password?

Total guess, but perhaps if you've upgraded the OS then you'd have a root password set previously, whereas a fresh install fails because of a bug in the new installer?

At risk of #whataboutism, there was an issue with Ubuntu way way way back, where the installer stored the root password in a temporary file and then failed to delete it after install. Leaving it world-readable. That, from a technical standpoint, was similarly embarrassing!

To be fair, it was fixed quickly. And Canonical's entire annual development budget was probably a pittance compared with Apple. But embarrassing bugs are embarrassing. And for some reason I always remember those ones.

Heh... in many ways, far far worse! ;-)

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SurfaceBook 2 battery drains even when plugged in

Peter X

Re: Remember back when Apple did the same thing?

My old MacBook 3,1 will run the CPU (Core2 Duo) at half clock speed if used without it's battery. I don't know why this is, but my suspicion is that the PSU is unable to supply enough juice if the CPU is running full-tilt and presumably relies on the battery to pick up the slack in those instances.

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Roaming charges drop smacks O2 daddy Telefonica in the profits

Peter X

Re: Correction

"Chief reckons biz did well despite 'negative impact' of EU regs"

Maybe this was because they basically didn't deliver the expected service: O2 admits to throttling network bandwidth for EU data roamers

...so yeah, that'll help. And also brazenly patting him|her self on the back for it too. Profit, profit, profit... and screw the customers.

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Samsung to let proper Linux distros run on Galaxy smartmobes

Peter X

Slight tangent: compute module!

Slightly off topic here, but DeX was mentioned so...

The whole idea of using just one phone to fit my entire computing needs just seems a bit pointless given that computers aren't really all that expensive?

Surely the reason high-end mobile phones are expensive is largely down to the R&D costs of squeezing lots of high-performance components into a ridiculously small package and then optimising the software to switch most of it off most of the time in order to save power.

It's clever, and brilliant... but I don't feel any great need to only have one CPU/data-storage device. That only really makes sense if you're trying to sell expensive phones and can try to justify the cost by saying "yeah, but you can also use it as a computer", like some how that makes up for it.

The down-side is I'm going to be even more screwed if I lose/break my phone because now I can't even use my computer!

However, what I *do* want is the SoC from one of these high-end phones, in a box, with high-bandwidth ports available. So imagine a Samsung Pi (for want of a better name); it would have a high-performance SoC, but with a heat sink on it so it can run in Full-Beanz mode for sustained periods. It would have display-port and USB-C for decent bandwidth peripheral connection. It would have at least SATA 3 for SSD connection.

And then I can buy that *AND* a phone!

What's in it for Samsung? Well, if I can run Linux on something like that, then really that can happily be my regular desktop (I don't personally need Windows apps), and so presumably lots of other devs/nerds would think like-wise. And that would likely mean people would actually develop specifically for that platform.

... So pretend I'm from Samsung and I'm taking orders; who's in?

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UK Treasury Committee chairman calls on Equifax to answer for breach omnishambles

Peter X

Why are the details of 700,000 non-US "customers" included in along with test data?

They said some was duplicate and some test data, so at a guess, there was a "test" DB that was a duplicate of a production DB that they used for testing with. So that's all fine then! :D

1
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Mozilla whips out Rusty new Firefox Quantum (and that's a good thing)

Peter X

Raspbian builds?

Are there builds for Raspbian available? The "uses less memory" thing might be useful on the Raspberry Pi as that's where Chromium can be a bit painful.

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Pretend Python packages prey on poor typing

Peter X

Re: This should be easy to detect.

Cool!

So, Levensthien Distance you say? ;)

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Google puts the last coat of polish on Chrome 61

Peter X
Happy

Web Share API

The Web Share stuff seems like a good idea, but I can't help wondering if the likes of Facebook and Twitter will really be happy with *not* having their code embedded on loads of websites and therefore no longer being able to glean meta-data about where their users browse?

Wasn't some company recently accused of tracking users on third-party sites even after they'd logged out?

Also re the WebUSB stuff... it'll be fine! Seriously you guys are worrying about nothing. It won't do anything without confirmation, and it means you can update some kit without needing to install Windows *just* to do that. It may be exploited, but outside of a bug in the implementation, I can't see it being more exploitable than downloading *.exe files.

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Microsoft, Red Hat in cross-platform container and .Net cuddle

Peter X

Partnering with the beast

I appreciate MS isn't quite the same as MS of old, and I do understand this might well be good for both parties and customers alike. But historically, partnering with MS hasn't turned out well for the partner that isn't MS... so I'm wondering what Redhat hope will come out of this?

Or is it Redhat shareholders hoping that eventually Redhat will be bought out?

Or maybe I'm just being cynical?! :D

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UK mobile number porting creaks: Arcane system shows its age

Peter X

You managed to speak to "the wise one"?!!

To give Three some credit, once we’d found someone senior enough she was genuinely interested in the problem, took ownership and got it sorted

The only way I can think you could speak to someone who actually knows stuff is... SHIBBOLEET! Am I right?

Also, is this a problem that could be solved by DNS?

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Brit neural net pioneer just revolutionised speech recognition all over again

Peter X

Re: It's the complexity we need

<quote>I remember learning that Gaelic didn't have words for the same colours as English, they had ones for blue-greens and grey-blues that we don't have.</quote>

I seem to recall seeing a programme on TV in the last... year or three... about somewhere foreign* (even more exotic that Scotland), where they also had names for colours that we* would consider mere shades. To their way of thinking, those colours were utterly distinct. The opposite was also true, so (I can't remember the colours in question) there was this funny thing where they'd ask them to spot the difference between one colour and another, and they honestly struggled.

So it's interesting how language affects how individuals perceive the world. It's also probably a reason why I *should* learn at least one other language... I won't though! ;-)

* For context, I'm from England, don't speak anything but English, and anywhere outside the British Isles *is* both foreign, and probably exotic to my mind! :D

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NASA flies plane through Earthly shadow of Kuiper Belt object

Peter X
Coat

MU Year Party*

"At least until January 1st 2019, when New Horizons arrives at 2014 MU69."

Awww... it'll just miss the MU69 New Year celebrations, which according to Trip Adviser, are out of this wor... not to be missed.

* apologies for the pun

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

Peter X

Wind up

Someone should tell him that internally all the 1's are 0's and the 0's are 1's. Bet that'd really annoy him! :D

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Shock: NASA denies secret child sex slave cannibal colony on Mars

Peter X

Ark B

Can someone just build "Ark B" now please? And send Robert David Steele a ticket... make him "Captain" if it helps!!

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

Peter X

Re: Not the Internet?

@LeahroyNake

I don't believe the printer includes the date, time or location.

Apparently, these days, they do... :-O (as well as serial no.)

slashdot.org (how a few yellow dots burned the intercepts nsa leaker)

I've linked slashdot simply because there's a bunch of links to useful articles from there.

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Wannacry: Everything you still need to know because there were so many unanswered Qs

Peter X

It's possible the eejit probing, wasn't actually probing themselves*, but had been owned by malware and that was doing the probing.

* Nope. Stop that.

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Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry

Peter X

Re: Hang on a minute... @Ledswinger

From a management/planning perspective, pulling support without having some sort of migration plan was always going to end in disaster. If I was being kind, I'd say that Mr. Hunt at least got part way there in that he recognised that spending a shit-ton of money on support was a waste and needed to be solved... but simply pulling support? Nope, unquestionably, that was a bad idea.

I'll go along with your opinion of MS however! :D

Really, the bigger problem with all government IT is that there is no long-term plan. They've put themselves in a position where they're using an OS with a single supplier who, essentially, have them over a barrel.

So I'm another one voting for Linux. But not so much because of any technical superiority versus Windows, but more because of the Free as in Freedom aspect... if UK.GOV sourced their own standard Linux (think of what Goobuntu is to Ubuntu), then they can pay any IT support outfit to manage it. Maybe a UK based one for example?

Also... this isn't just the NHS is it? Aren't UK police using lots of WinXP too?

3
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Curiosity Rover's drill is ill. But chill: we can dig Martian sand instead of rocking hard

Peter X

Re: Ingenuity at work

Curiosity's twin Maggie. (https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/51m2b4/meet_maggie_the_earthbased_copy_of_the_curiosity/?st=j2bu8dtu&sh=81b405b4)

Should we worry that the " L-A-B T-E-C-H-N-I-C-I-A-N " * is _completely_ naked from the waist down? Because, quite frankly, that sort of behaviour is filthy!!

* (big air-quotes, and pronounced loud and slow for full comedic effect)

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'A-Team'-style tactics: Legit tool welded to kitchen sink to make off-the-shelf snoop kit

Peter X
Joke

Forensic evidence

...particularly the fact that it is assembled out of publicly available tools leave no forensic evidence...

It's a French car in the picture though - and there can't be many episodes where the team modify a Renault. Maybe they should start with that evidence?

Or have I misunderstood the entire article?*

*It's a Friday - I'm allowed to start early! :D

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Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04

Peter X

Re "Files" speed

Ubuntu 16.04 running on a Core i5 with nVidia graphics vs. Raspberry Pi 3 with Raspbian/Pixel: I find the file manager on the Pi (PCmanFM) to be much snappier than Files on the Core i5.

I appreciate that there's less thumbnailing enabled by default on Raspbian, but even so, I struggle to understand how Files manages to be sooooooooooo slow!

As for Ubuntu/Unity, I've stuck with Unity thus far because, it's good enough. I like some Canonical stuff, like all the polish with colours/icons/fonts, but it's always disappointing how many bugs there are... it always feels like Canonical don't dog-food the LTS releases, so they get pushed out but the user has a ton of work to do to make them usable. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Linux remote root bug menace: Make sure your servers, PCs, gizmos, Android kit are patched

Peter X

Red Hat

So how did Red Hat manage to completely avoid this?

0
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Microsoft's in-store Android looks desperate but can Google stop it?

Peter X

Sympathy for The Beast?

Whilst I'm certain I should want greater competition in the mobile-OS world, I'm really struggling to care about MS at all.

Didn't they try to have an alternative Android stack to the Google stuff at one point? Didn't they have a good map application?

Anyway, this whole loading software at retail thing clearly won't scale, so has considerably less chance of working than Windows-phone did... by MS surely know this. So are they trying to provoke Google into doing something that help MS (and others) launch a legal attack?

*Need a popcorn icon for this post!

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Reg now behind invisible HTML5 Bitcoin paywall

Peter X

My Eyes!

Genuinely, opened the article but was also naffing around with a music player... so brain not fully engaged... looked at the article and thought my eyes were going a bit funny!

As for bit-mining... yeah, great idea, except - and I think I speak for the majority of readers here - "We're all browsing using modified commodore-64s! So, the mining operation might take... some time"!

1
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Samsung plans Galaxy Note 7 fire sale

Peter X
Happy

Sitting on them?

Samsung's not disclosed how many Note 7's it's sitting on

Now that's bravery!

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Astroboffins stunned by biggest brown dwarf ever seen – just a hop and a skip away (750 ly)

Peter X
Happy

Party!

It was previously classified as an M-type star, but the paper has boosted it to an L‑type star, after discovering it had lower metallicity levels and a dimmer surface than expected.

Just imagine the parties the beings of SDSS J010448.46+153501.8 are having right now (or in 750 years when they get the news)!

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Airplane bomb fears spark America's laptop, tablet carry-on ban

Peter X

Re: Exactly...

Not that I'm affected by this but it makes you wonder how long before it spreads.

.. and the answer is: NOT LONG AT ALL!

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Peter X

Re: or stowed in the hold

where it can be lost, dropped, kicked around, stolen, found, thrown around a bit more

This bit was my immediate concern; when that lady's headphones exploded on a recent flight, I believe an article that covered it, mentioned another incident where a device's battery was crushed/punctured by - if my memory serves correctly - a seat mechanism being moved.

Regardless the cause, surely if people have to stuff these devices into baggage... particularly this week, when they might only be made aware of this requirement whilst in the airport, there's surely a *GREATER* risk that the batteries in these devices may be crushed/punctured, and potentially result in a fire/smoke related air crash?

If they *really* cared, if they *really* had intel. suggesting these devices could be disgused as a bomb or hacked/modified into a bomb, then surely the sensible thing to do is not allow any electronic device on board and *only* allow things such as USB flash drives/SD-cards to people to transfer data... albeit, I suppose you could argue they could use the internet for that!

This all smells like a Trump Theatre Production to me. Statistically, at least one plane will crash somewhere this year, and my money is on Trump tweeting some absolute BS about it immediately after, proving once again (to his supporters), what a great** president he is.

** (leans closer to the mike)... NOPE.

8
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'Password rules are bullsh*t!' Stackoverflow Jeff's rage overflows

Peter X

Re: Even the big companies fail at this

Oh, and let's not forget the Apple GUI dialogs for unlocking encrypted hard disks images, which you can't paste into.

Also, when you paste into a password field (where you can, e.g. in a browser), why doesn't it clear the clipboard for you? I hate when I know I've got a password on my clipboard... it's like... this OCD thing where I feel like I need to wash my hands immediately.

Paste password... immediately find something innocuous to copy onto clipboard to clear it!

8
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The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer

Peter X

Re: OS

If it could run something Debian based, e.g. like Raspbian is, then that would... absolutely perfect actually. This _could_ be a seriously brilliant device!

I guess the problem is that an OS like Android is easier to sell to most consumers.

Would it be viable for them to ship with Android, but provide a community supported Debian based distro? As long as it looks like they're (Planet/Gemini/whatever-they're-called) committed to the linux distro and can provide drivers/documentation, then I'd be happy with that.

7
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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

Peter X
Coat

James May?

It'd be hilarious - he'd be all "oh cock" and "you've gone and cocked it up - you cock" when ever the Tardis went wrong or his sonic screwdriver broke.

0
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Euro space agency's Galileo satellites stricken by mystery clock failures

Peter X

Re: "halt launches until the problem has been traced and cured"

There is no other way, since Humanity has lost the possibility of going up to fix the damn things ever since the Shuttle program was canned.

Ignoring that ESA never had a shuttle in the first place, could the Shuttle ever reach geo-stationary orbit?

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Seagate hauls out fat form factor throwback hard drive

Peter X

I was hoping for something a bit larger. (Fujistu Eagle spinning up)

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