* Posts by Stevie

6328 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008

Microsoft sysadmin hired for fake NetWare skills keeps job despite twitchy trigger finger

Stevie
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Bah!

Many, many years ago I used an agent who was somewhat legendary for what would become known as a "wide boy" approach to the business. He was a total villain who would upsell a job and then downgrade the pay once the interview was won, but I learned to factor in the "shrinkage" and he always, *always* paid and paid on time - a major plus in them cowboy days. If I tell you the agency was situated across the road from the Paul Raymond Revue Bar in Soho in the early 80s you may be able to intuit the atmosphere or even recall a contract of your own with the un-named agency that went pear-shaped big time.

One of my agent's endearing qualities was to tell the prospective employer that I would be arriving in my-estimated-time-of-arrival minus 30 minutes. I drove long distances several days a week and had a very good idea of how long it took to get from A to B even in places I'd never visited before, but he never learned and it always landed my with an initial job of explaining that I was actually wherever-it-was in good time but we had both been had by Mr Never-Learns.

My next job was to ask for the CV they had in hand, before the interview started properly. I would then go through it and correct it for creative writing "slips of the pen".

Lovely times.

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John McAfee is 'liable' for 2012 death of Belize neighbour, rules court

Stevie
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Bah!

According to a documentary I just saw there was a bit more pushing and shoving between neighbours* than depicted here.

The murder also allegedly involved multiple "unnecessary" stun-gun burns on the victim's back, leading to a supposition that he was tortured before being shot.

The film purported to have found the person wot done it after being paid $5000 from an account owned by the subject of the article.

I have no idea what the truth is, but I have to say that the youtube screengrab shows that McAffee is capable of producing the most stunning state-of-the-art virtual stately-home class libraries in which to host his blitherfests. Most convincing.

* - Neighbours who were hundreds of feet apart too. Imagine if they'd been in a terraced road near you.

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Facebook's CEO on his latest almighty Zuck-up: OK, we did try to smear critics, but I was too out-of-the-loop to know

Stevie
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Bah!

Was totally buying Big Z's waffle until he announced he'd "read the article" [in the New York Times].

Zuckerberg reads newspapers? That is one bridge too big to swallow. Or something.

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Trump in Spaaaaaaace: Washington DC battles over who gets to decide the rules of trillion-dollar new industry

Stevie
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4 StargateSg7

TS:DR

(Too Shouty:Didn't Read)

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Bloke fined £460 after his drone screwed up police chopper search for missing woman

Stevie
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The actual reason for rubbernecking

Nah, it's prurient interest and nosey-parkerism plain and simple.

Getting rid of this idiotic traffic-jamming practice is one item on a very short list of reasons I can see for virtualizing the view from car windows. No accident/police stop/bloke changing a tire (for fuck's sake), no mile-long tailback on the opposite carriageway of the Long Island Expressway.

(If you are interested, in-fog vision enhancement and heads-up navigation (that blocked lane presents as a simple chicane with no work crew to cause rubbernecking) are the other items.)

It's incredible. You change a tire on the LIE and you have half a million people who need to get a good look because they've never seen such a miraculous sight before. Get rear-ended on the same stretch of road, no-one sees anything.

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Sorry, but NASA says Mars signal wasn't Opportunity knocking

Stevie
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Bah!

Oh for a human being with a dollar-store whisk broom ...

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Court doc typo 'reveals' Julian Assange may have been charged in US

Stevie
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Vapid etc (4 Greengrocer LucreLout)

cat's nickname for its owner

8o)

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Stevie
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Bah!

That cat has secrets! A campaign to persuade the Ecuadorans to take the cat to a shelter must be set in motion soonest.

Then, a special team of fur-work experts can spirit the cat to a secret location where it can be plied with tuna, shrimp, long pieces of string and all the catnip mice it can sniff in an effort to loosen its tongue.

We may yet have found the chink in the vile Assange's armor!

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Bright spark dev irons out light interference

Stevie
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Re: Split infinitive

Or simply stop for to read.

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A new Raspberry Pi takes a bow with all of the speed but less of the RAM

Stevie
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3 cameras, Galileo GPS, SATA

And runs off zero point energy.

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Hands up who isn't p!*$ed off about Amazon's new HQ in New York and Virginia?

Stevie
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Bah!

Long Island City.

Long Island (no city) means the whole fish.

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Clunk, bang, rattle: Is that a ghost inside your machine?

Stevie
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Pint

Re: Bah!

Dry ice requires very hot water to work, and is expensive. Almost every facet of the handling is prone to accidental burning (cold burning in one sense, scalding too).

Glycol foggers are basically vape pens on steroids and altghough there is talk of health hazards, nothing is in print definitively tying any known problem to them, which is how they still get used in clubs etc.. The chilled stuff stays on the floor anyway.

The only real hazard I can think of, and it is a real one, is that hardwood floors will become "dewed" and possibly slippery as a result. Oh, and you can get a burn off the fog projector if you buy a cheap one or run an expensive one too hard too long (intermittent use is the key).

I like the ultrasonic fireplace, and your trident is masterful. Have an e-beer.

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Stevie
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Re: Many values for true

No it is NOT logical. If the compiler "knows" it is dealing with a logical data item, and it does according to everyone involved in the discussion, why in Lovelace's name would the compiler deal with it in a non-Boolean two-state manner?

I get that the data location can hold more than one value. I've been doing computers long enough to have seen real core memory and know how binary numbers work.

But what I DON'T get is why, having decided to allow a programmer to define such a piece of storage for Boolean use, it would then structure a test for true against an unknown exact arithmetic value rather than the one it knows will work against a definable template: "non-zero". The assembly language involved would lean one toward that solution in any event.

And yes I know that in certain one's compliment architectures you can have two non-identical values for zero. Testing against two possible values versus testing against 2 to the power of $BITCOUNT values? Should have been a no-brainer.

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Stevie
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Bah!

No IT component, just some makering.

My wife, daughter and I used to decorate our house for Halloween with a "wrought iron arch" and fences (actually panels from an old "tent" gazebo corner bits strapped to the fence with black cable ties and festooned with purple lights). We had a small graveyard in the little garden you had to walk past to get to the front door, with bones and skulls and bats and so forth, and I seeded the lawn with some nifty flats I made from plywood that made ghostly shadows of, er, ghosts and black cats. Passing cars would throw shadows from the matte black painted flats that were very effective.

All designed to be "six year old scary". We left "terror" to the neighbour five doors down, who had a "working" electric chair out front. One Christmas he was executing Santa in it. I digress.

Each year we would go to the post-halloween sales and add to the kit at rock-bottom prices. I picked up six sets of "ghostly marching footprint" lights for a song one year, enough to make for a ghost padding alongside the pathway as trick or treaters dared the front porch.

Every year it was the same. Before sunset mothers would turn up with their youngsters and ask if they could photograph their kids in some part of the display. After dark is was Dads with kids in tow, and they would hang back at the gate while the kids came in for candy.

One year, towards the end of the era when the nabe had young kids, I splurged and bought a smoke machine. Of course, the problem is that the "smoke" is actually hot glycol-based vapour and it goes *up* in the cold November air. So I made a fog chiller. I started with an old 40 gallon beer cooler, and cut three inch holes in each end near the bottom. I glued in some PVC schedule 40 pipe with gorilla glue and connected the two ends inside the cooler with a pipe made from chicken wire.

I built a "U" bend from pipe so that the fog machine could sit on the cooler and shoot the fog into the bend, through the cooler and out through a two-foot extension pipe I fed into the graveyard foliage. Eight three pound bags of ice went into the cooler, forming an "ice-pipe". Still with me?

When it got dark I turned on the fog machine and slow-moving clouds of ground-hugging fog enveloped the graveyard. Passing cars would dissipate the fog quickly and any wind at all was disastrous of course.

But that night the Halloween Gods were on my side and the wind dropped and the traffic was non-existent for once. The fog built to Hammer House of Horror levels across the entire property. The black cat flats were poking out just enough to show heads and tails, and kids would be walking shin-deep in the lovely stuff.

That night I opened the door for the kids and was greeted by the sight of a garden full of wandering dads trying to figure out how the hell I had managed to fill the garden with horror-movie fog.

An hour or so later the traffic picked up and it was all dispersed.

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Stevie
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Re: Library of Doom

Well everyone knows you have to chain the books down tightly or universe-ending mischief of the most virulent stripe is possible.

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Stevie
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Bah!

The OS1100 operating system used to have a vary rarely seen feature in which the console would clear, a giant eye would appear, wink, and then the console text stream would be replaced.

There was just enough time for a shocked operator to recover his/her wits turn away to a colleague and say “have a look at this” for the evidence to vanish.

The big 132 character impact line printers were very Stephen Kingy too, if placed behind the operator’s seat. When they ran out of paper the lid would slowly open like the maw of a vengeful machine on The Rise. The operator would feel the change of air pressure behind his/her seat or maybe catch the light being reflected off the console as the printer window angled up and turn to see the printer apparently in full Zombie mode, about to take a bite.

And an ICL engineer once told me of an old 1900 that was surplussed and the engineers fitted with an exec that played the Dead March on it’s teletype whistle and various noisy peripherals (percussion courtesy of the old barrel printer hammering all Xs in proper time and so forth). Then an emergency customer need was fulfilled by delivering said 1900 to the customer, who was not impressed when it was fired up.

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Stevie
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Re: Many values for true

But wouldn’t the compiler build the test as not-false in that architecture? If not, why in Cray’s name? If the defined type is Boolean, the “many values for true” thing is asinine.

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Stevie
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Re: Given the toxicity of the toner powder, Mike called an ambulance forthwith.

The urge to have the boob in blackface insert cones of A4 into each nostril and his mouth while waiting for the medics “so he could breathe comfortably and safely” would have been overpowering for me.

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'My entire company is without comms': Gamma's Horizon cloud PBX goes DOWN

Stevie
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Re: Did the person responsible for the DR plan ever test it?

"Plan? There ain't no plan"

Pigstealer

Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome

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Did you by chance hack OPM back in 2015? Good news, your password probably still works!

Stevie
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Bah!

Budget?

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Scam or stunt? It's looking like the latter... Xiaomi so sorry for £1 smartphone 'promo'

Stevie
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Bah!

So a bunch of tech twonks wrote sniping software to grab phones from those using the "fair" method (a mouse in the hand) and are pissed that the company was just as crummy as they were?

Hard to feel sorry. especially since I'm sure a fair number of them would be spouting "if it looks too good to be true, it is!" in these pages if they hadn't been caught up in the frenzy.

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Open the pod bay doors: Voice of HAL 9000 Douglas Rain dies at 90

Stevie
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Re: Unexpected Fame

I doubt Alec Guinness is smirking it up for that reason.

He had few happy words to say about Star Wars. I rather think Doctor Lazarus was modeled in part on AG's displeasure at how far he had sunk.

I reckon he achieves brilliance in The Ladykillers (a rare movie where the remake is as enjoyable for different reasons as the original) and Kind Hearts and Coronets. There are any number of "better" movies he has appeared in as grumpy angst-ridden Army Officers/NCOs, but he was a comedic genius and I like comedies that are clever.

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Stevie
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Re:I was a Consultant / Diagnostician for ICL

I used to be fond of our 1901T's singing "weedleweedleWOOOORP" over and over during a sort. The night shift ops would sit in the OpsMan's office drinking tea and smoking* with the phone off the hook and connected to the console phone while the evening batches were running. Never had a late finish with our own blokes.

One contract op used to like to knock off early so he would poke a metal rod through the louvers on one cabinet, cause a momentary voltage excursion and crash the machine. We caught him because he wasn't bright enough to vary the times or give it a miss every now and then. Idiot.

* - In those days men were real men and our lungs had more tar than the road 'neath your car.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Oh man, I was working late one night and had to perform an operation on a Sperry mainframe that first took away, then reinstated an in-core shared resource pool. The dialogue that the command to release the BDIs brought on was so HAL-like it was damn scary, alone as I was in a big office late at night.

It went along the lines of:

"Are you sure you want to do that?" - "yes"

"I will be unable to do x,y, and z if you continue. Please reconsider."

"Daisy" was running loud and strong in my head as I typed in the confirmation order, and it took me almost a minute of paranoid re-checking my notes before I nerved myself up to do so.

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Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone

Stevie
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Bah!

Dead simps, this one. Fire up the trusty Raspberry Pi, plug in and stand ready with the trusty lump hammer if teh warez gain the upper hand.

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Brit boffins build 'quantum compass'... say goodbye to those old GPS gizmos, possibly

Stevie
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Bah!

Bad news is the subspace quantum nuclear magnetic flux buggers up mechanical *and* digital watches, so while you might know exactly where you are, you won't ever be able to calculate your average speed over the orienteering course.

I had a pedometer once. I switched it on and walked twelve miles. I checked the output on the device while celebrating in the pub and it correctly showed I had two feet.

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Scare Force: Pakistan military hit by Operation Shaheen malware

Stevie
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Pint

Re: Belgium, man.

Naughty man. Have an e-beer.

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OK Google, why was your web traffic hijacked and routed through China, Russia today?

Stevie
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Re: I've got the answer!

And I've been saying for years that we should reboot the internet to flush out all the warez and 4chans. I get downvoted every time but now look what's happened!

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Stevie
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Bah!

World War Three will not be televised. Or browsed, apparently.

As I read the article, for some reason that Monty Python/Terry Gilliam "bit" with the German fish being eaten by the Japanese fish, which in turn was eaten by the British fish was running in Mr Brain.

I may have the order of fish wrong, because the nationalities don't matter in the analogy.

All our cat pix are belong to bad actors at the state level t'would seem. Then again, given the three-letter agency oversight it turns out *isn't* just a paranoid fantasy, that's been the case since, well, forever.

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Junior dev decides to clear space for brewing boss, doesn't know what 'LDF' is, sooo...

Stevie
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Why would database software be written ...

... such that deleting an ancillary file ( such as a log file of historic steps) cause it to fall over?

It is the way of things.

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Can your rival fix it as fast? turns out to be ten-million-dollar question for plucky support guy

Stevie
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Bah!

I imagine everyone who grew up in the interface between greenbar reports and print-to-disc has at some point spent all morning getting more and more annoyed at a fix that won't, only to find they've been editing the bloody output from the compiler. Found a boss doing that, gently pointed out the error (and pointed out that the reason I spotted it was been there, done that) and got snarled at.

But the best was when I returned from a stint in a youngish start-up to an enterprise I had years of working for/with/in and was given the task of administering the product I had been supporting while on the bleeding edge.

One day I get an incandescently angry phone call from someone who has never thought much of me over the years and who is trying to administer the same product on a different site where they flew in the face of Sperry's advice and eschewed the software-building tool in favor of "pick what's best".

This has meant that a certain vital shared memory resource with absolute addressing involved (BDIs for the cognoscenti) is a jumbled hodgepodge and that now *any* software install must be a very manually intensive thing indeed instead of a few parameters and a COMUS script. Think IRQs in the bad old days, and raise it a few binary orders of magnitude if you don't know Sperry stuff.

Anyway, the lady is screaming at me because she has been looking at "my configuration file" and is demanding to know why I set all the values the way I did. This means of course that she is trying to sneakily take over my project - which unbeknownst to her is jake with me.

"I didn't fill in any of those fields" I say, baffled. I've no idea what you are talking about. I accepted the defaults in every single case when running the set-up utility."

"Oh yes you did! I'm looking right at the file as I speak. Why did you even set all those field values?" she howled.

The penny dropped. I dialed down my own reaction to her snottiness in order to get exactly the right tone. I was aiming for George Sanders at his evil lizard best. It probably came out more like Snidely Whiplash, but that's life.

"Which file are you looking at?" I asked innocently.

She told me.

"Ah, I see the problem you are having now. I'm afraid that *isn't* the configuration file. What you are looking at is the report you get when you run such-and-such a utility, which fills in all the missing info with the defaults that will be assumed by the software. I can understand your confusion now. Why on earth didn't you simply call me and ask me which file you needed to look at? You must have wasted your whole morning."

She hung up with ill-grace once I had told her where she should be looking for her sneaky recce, she in the sure and certain knowledge that the story would be passed to people she *did* respect.

Because I can be a miserable c*nt too if the circumstances call for it.

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Astroboffins spot one of the oldest, coolest stars in the universe lurking in the Milky Way

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

Your understanding is incomplete. Metals are created by the fusion process in a star, as far down the periodic table as iron. You don't have to start with them in the mix.

Citation: http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/ast122/lectures/lec18.html

When the star makes iron, that's the end of the line, because Iron takes more energy to turn into other elements than it throws out in the process. That's when the star starts wending its way toward a possible supernova event, but starts dying whether or not it will experience a giant space kablooey.

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Stevie
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Bah!

I thought stars cooked metals themselves, at least as far down Mr Medeleev's bedsheet as iron.

Clearly "metal poor" is not a helpful terminology, unless fusion isn't working in the new killer star.

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Dell upping its margins again: Precision 5530 laptop will sting you for $13m. Yep, six zeroes

Stevie
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Bah!

Okay, lesson learned: Attention entry-level Java programming new hires!

a) No more doing currency calculations in real data types.

2) Those huge negative numbers on the monthly sales report? They mean whoever added a second title line to the report needs to go back and look hard at their code too because the word "total" is being read as the total.

*) Perhaps cracking a manual instead of breaking from twitter just long enough for a search of Stackoverflow will save your jobs.

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Macs to Linux fans: Stop right there, Penguinista scum, that's not macOS. Go on, git outta here

Stevie
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Re: "secure" boot is *EVIL* 4 Chronos

Intersting link there.

But once again no mention of price without a frustration-inducing hunt.

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Russian computer failure on ISS is nothing to worry about – they're just going to turn it off and on again

Stevie
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Re: lash one to your effin' body.

Paging Captain Cyborg!

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Stevie
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Bah!

Three Computers?

Then the ISS is really ... A BERSERKER???

AIEE!

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Dutch cops hope to cuff 'hundreds' of suspects after snatching server, snooping on 250,000+ encrypted chat texts

Stevie
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Re: That broke rule 1 of creating secure services

Well if the Dutch peelers were worried about drugs, I'd have to say the "crime" must have been a biggie, obvious to all.

And then there was talk of murders, which is usually a litmus test for crime.

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Foxconn denies it will ship Chinese factory serf, er, workers into America for new plant

Stevie
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Bah!

Attention all those indignant c-ards who indignantly put me in my place two weeks ago: Read the bit about the wetlands again, then tell me again how fabbing isn't filthy.

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Stairway to edam: Swiss bloke blasts roquefort his cheese, thinks Led Zep might make it tastier

Stevie
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Bah!

Anything by Culture Club, no?

Keep on Rennin (Marks and Spencer Davis Group)

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Which scientist should be on the new £50 note? El Reg weighs in – and you should vote, too

Stevie
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Re: One problem with this

He also had a collection of expensive toys including Britain's model field guns with spring-loaded shell casings.

I had an extensive collection of those. From memory: The 155mm howitzer (with the aforementioned breech mechanism/shell casing) the 25 pounder, the Battalion Anti-Tank gun, the 105mm Howitzer, the 18th century cannon, the Ballista and the Catapult. Oh, and a Swappets 52mm mortar team with a working mortar.

Britain's stuff used to be great. Their Elephants (from he Zoo range) are eagerly sought out for wargamers to this day. I have the Livery Stable from the western buildings range they did and a bunch of American civil war stuff. Always wanted the Civil War cannon/limber and team.

The artillery pieces were all in a box that my father, gorblessim, lifted and the bottom fell out. The 155mm cannon had about a dozen separate bits. only about 8 survived to be passed back to me. Ditto the 105mm howitzer.

You don't see anything like those toys these days. I mean, the guns could be taken out of the swappets cowboys' holsters, and when you took the hats off there was no peg/hole - magnificent construction.

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Stevie
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No James Clarke Maxwell?

Gak Eisenberg for the win.

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Stevie
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Bah!

If we pick the penicillin bloke we can sing the name of Fleming with pride.

Fleeeeeeming!

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Google logins make JavaScript mandatory, Huawei China spy shock, Mac malware, Iran gets new Stuxnet, and more

Stevie
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Re: People called Romanes they go the house?

And what have they ever done for US?

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DBA drifts into legend after inventive server convo leaves colleagues fearing for their lives

Stevie
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Bah!

Can we have a regex (or maybe an el-regex ahahahahaha) set up to automagically reject any post talking about flipped monitors?

In a world where the in-jokes are defined as not funny in the general sense to start with, the flipped monitor story is old, boring and done to death.

Either that or have the post replaced to a link to the better examples from the archives. One or two elaborately dressed monitor flips were technically interesting.

But not funny.

Oh and the same for cup-holder CD-ROM trays too.

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30 spies dead after Iran cracked CIA comms network with, er, Google search – new claim

Stevie
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Bah!

I wonder if OPOTUS will be as vocally critical of this as he was over Hillary’s emails, another case of convenience over security concern. We will pass over the issue of phones.

At least this is one thing from that era that cannot be blamed on the Snowden leaks.

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Stevie
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Re: Of Course...

Well said, I think, but for the love of Mrs Hill, fourth year English teacher at St John Backsides comprehensive, PARAGRAPHS, man!

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Smartphone industry is in 'recession'! Could it be possible we have *gasp* reached 'peak tech'?

Stevie
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Peak Tech?

Howard might be thinking of Peck Teak a Formica-like "space-age" plastic laminate from the late 1960s that was going to be used by boatbuilders in sailboat decking to alleviate the worldwide shortage of teak hardwood, until it was discovered:

a) That when wet, Peck Teak is almost frictionless

2) That the only glue capable of bonding Peck Teak to the hull of a boat was derived from White Rhino horn and had a persistent smell when exposed to water described those who encountered it as "like a pub toilet after teenagers have been drinking Snakebite all night"

*) That when all was said and done, even under the best conditions cladding a boat in Peck Teak gave it all the ambiance of a backstreet Soho knocking shop.

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Stevie
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Bah!

My mind boggles at the mentality of spending a thousand local currency units on a piece of technology in which one may change the battery only by substantially destroying the device withe the aid of chemicals and devices outlawed by international treaty.

When I consider that it is not unknown for the pusher manufacturer to update the microcode of older units to artificially nerf battery performance, my wallet creaks with self-tightening.

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Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity

Stevie
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our banknotes have poetry on them

Not poems and rubbish ... SCIENCE!

Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll capture a fighting machine, learn how it works, then;

WHOOSH! WITH OUR FIGHTING MACHINES! WHOOSH! WITH OUR HEAT RAY! WHOOSH! AND THEM RUNING AND DYIIIIIIIING!

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