* Posts by smudge

525 posts • joined 8 Aug 2008

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UK spookhaus GCHQ can crack end-to-end encryption, claims Australian A-G

smudge
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Re: Wait for it...

Agreed - but they still have to be voted into power.

Just heard that the second law of thermodynamics has been declared unconstitutional.

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What? What? Which? Former broadband minister Ed Vaizey dismisses report

smudge
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Re: This summer

They refuse to adhere to OSPF because "We have walked along this route for over 200 years, so we have!".

And don't even start them off about BGP.

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US engineer in the clink for wrecking ex-bosses' smart meter radio masts with Pink Floyd lyrics

smudge
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Re: Well, at least he has good taste in music

I do hope it was "Is There Anybody Out There?".

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Blighty's first aircraft carrier in six years is set to take to the seas

smudge
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Facepalm

Google Earth image

You didn't have to investigate the ship in the dockyard to establish how old the photograph is.

The new Queensferry Crossing is missing!

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PC rebooted every time user flushed the toilet

smudge
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Over 30 years ago I worked for a company that supplied minicomputer systems for pathology labs in hospitals. I was on-site at one location, where the customer had complained of the system continually restarting itself.

I was staring blankly at the machine, wondering where to start, when there was a "whump!" that was felt rather than heard, and the lights flickered.

"What was that?", I said.

"Oh, just the X-ray department next door".

Problem found!

In an existence before that, we used to have similar problems on our micro development kit. We noticed that they got more frequent around 5pm. We eventually realised that it was due to the lift in the building.

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Canadian sniper makes kill shot at distance of 3.5 KILOMETRES

smudge
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WTF?

Let's assume that there were several sighting shots, and that they got closer to the target. Wouldn't the target therefore know that he was under fire, and consequently be unlikely to hold still in an exposed location for nearly 10 seconds? It's either complete bullshit or a lot of luck.

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Queen's speech announces laws to protect personal data

smudge
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Re: "United Kingdom retains its world-class regime protecting personal data,"

Allegedly HM the Q explained that it was clear as can be that the (unwritten) constitution required her to invite the Party with the most seats to try to form a government.

Not so - it's not "who has the most seats?", it's "who was there previously?".

In the event of a hung Parliament, the Government in power before the election has the first chance to form a Government. Think of Brown in 2010 hanging on for days in No 10 until it was clear that Labour could not form a Government (ie could not command a majority in the Commons).

http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/general/hung-parliament/

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Brit uni blabs students' confidential information to 298 undergrads

smudge
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Re: Yeah, right.

"Could you please delete this without opening/reading."

Doesn't exclude saving a copy!

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Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

smudge
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Thanks, we got it first time round.

You don't have to repeat it for nine hundred years :)

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Infosec guru Schneier: Govts WILL intervene to regulate Internet of Sh!t

smudge
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Which governments?

As a general point, I don't see any government having enough knowledge of the problems, and of how to address them, to enable them to introduce meaningful, effective regulations.

But specifically, which governments? Doesn't sound to me like the sort of thing that the Trump administration would do, unless there is a "make America great again" angle. I am assuming that the UK will have a Conservative government again after today, and they have already shown uncharted depths of ignorance about infosec. Anyway, whoever the UK government is, they will be pre-occupied - overwhelmed perhaps - with Brexit for the next couple of years.

It seems to me as though it's the sort of thing that the EU could do, perhaps with Germany's leadership - although that's just my instinct, and I have nothing to back that up. In which case, we could expect the UK to reject it as more unnecessary regulation from Brussels!

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Obama's intel chief says Russia totally tried to swing it for Trump

smudge
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Re: Clapper

Everything he's quoted as saying here can be independently verified, so it is perfectly possible to give it credibility.

Well I hate to sound like a Trumpeter - because, believe me, I am NOT - but if that's the case then let's see the independent verification.

And I then return to my second point - he has been such an asshole that he should be vilified, shunned, and should not have any further place in public life.

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smudge
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Re: Clapper

The relevance is that this is a man who lied under oath to a Senate Committee, denying that the NSA collected data on Americans, other than some picked up "unwittingly".

This was the final straw for Snowden - the moment when he decided to blow the whistle.

Clapper is a proven purveyor of an immense lie, and so it is impossible to assign any credibility to anything that he says, even if it supports one's own views or if one wishes it were true.

Regardless of any acknowledgement or apology, the man should have no further place in public life. And should think himself lucky that he wasn't charged with perjury.

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The biggest British Airways IT meltdown WTF: 200 systems in the critical path?

smudge
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Re: Risk Management 101

On the other hand, if the chances of my pen failing is quite high it wouldn't be classed as HIGH RISK since the impact would be low* (I can just use another pen).

You just failed risk management 101 :) Your initial risk analysis should not include the mitigating effect of countermeasures.

So if you were an old-fashioned author or a proof-reader and your pen failed, then it would have a high impact on the service that you provide. Fortunately, in this case there is a low-cost and effective countermeasure.

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smudge
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Re: Typo? Looks strange

Yup. 1 in 100,000 was the figure projected by NASA.

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

smudge
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I wonder if the reason stated on the submitting engineers paperwork that this is a contractual requirement is enough to get the travel authorised?

Possibly not.

I used to work for a once-great UK company that had been taken over by a three-letter behemoth from across the Atlantic. We were having a conference call with faceless ones from Head Office across the Pond. I was quizzed about why we were doing something on my project - for one of the largest companies in the world - because it wasn't "the company way". My reply was that it was a contractual requirement, that my first and second objectives were to fulfil the contract and to keep the customer happy, and that "the company way" came after that.

I was then told "Never let anyone hear you say that again. The company way IS how we do everything, and it suits most customers".

Fortunately, there were a number of us at the UK end of this call, and we all stared at each in open-jawed astonishment. My resignation followed shortly thereafter.

Hi to my former colleagues who will recognise me from that!

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At the feet of the Great Monad, or, How the functional programming craze plays out

smudge
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Been there, done that

Back in the mid-70s, at the U of St Andrews, one of our lecturers was Dave Turner, who created the functioning programming language SASL, and later moved to Kent at Canterbury where he developed Miranda, an ancestor of Haskell.

His colleagues thought it was a great joke to allocate him to give us the Fortran course... and scheduled the lectures for 0900 in the morning.

For some reason, my Fortran was never very good...

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TRUMP SCANDAL! No, not that one. Or that one. Or that one. Or that one.

smudge
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Holmes

Re: Weird.

You all hate a president that you think is "racist" because he took a stand against Islamic Terrorism

That's not racism. It's religious bigotry. Although you presumably think there is a Muslim or Islamic race?

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The revolution will not be televised: How Lucas modernised audio in film

smudge
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Thumb Up

Star Wars (the first one when it was just Start Wars) opened in the UK only at the Dominion Tottenham Court Road and the Leicester Square cinemas. I was there.

I saw it at the Dominion too - January 1978. I was down from Scotland for interview at either Scicon or Logica, who had offices in neighbouring streets nearby. My first time in London. With some time to kill before the overnight sleeper back north, I wandered round, and came across the Dominion. "Can I really get in to see this? Later this afternoon?".

It was fantastic!

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UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

smudge
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Re: The encryption horse is free

The only respite we got was with the Lib Dems from 2010-2015.

Ehh??? Have you forgotten who was Home Secretary? Kim Jong-May. Snoopers Charter, etc etc...

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Telecoms fail in UK takes down passport scanners in Australia

smudge
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Big Brother

Re: International data transfer?

Interesting point about data going international though, were they trying to connect to GCHQ?

I suspect they route them all to Assange for him to check, since he's an Aussie with time on his hands. My guess is that he had a visit from Pamela Anderson last night.

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Bye bye MP3: You sucked the life out of music. But vinyl is just as warped

smudge
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Re: Fidelity portable

I played to death Concerto for Group and Orchestra (those who know, know)

Not only do I have it, but I have the DVD too. Was at both nights of the 30th anniversary shows at the RAH in 1999. And have the DVD and CDs of that. Plus a bootleg of the material that wasn't released. Saw them perform it on tour in Prague in 2000. And have the 2012 studio version.

But I bought a BMW today :(

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UK.gov plans to overhaul £6bn in big IT deals 'watered down'

smudge
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Facepalm

Re: What a surprise...

In addition, there will surely have to be a large fortune spent on upgrading systems to handle the new rules, regulations, tariffs and taxes which will be in force in the post-Brexit UK.

And of course we can't start working on that until we have a confirmed, detailed deal.

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Do we need Windows patch legislation?

smudge
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Black Helicopters

A different question

For former GCHQ chief Sir David Omand :

"Should government agencies - such as NSA and GCHQ - be obliged by law to inform manufacturers about security vulnerabilities in PCs which those agencies know are used for essential public services?"

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74 countries hit by NSA-powered WannaCrypt ransomware backdoor: Emergency fixes emitted by Microsoft for WinXP+

smudge
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Re: "Ban Bitcoin!"

Maybe she should talk to Jeremy Hunt about why he stopped paying for extended support from Microsoft in 2015, and why he vetoed any upgrade strategy from XP?

Here is what she has said to Sky News, according to the Guardian:

“It is disappointing that they [the NHS] have been running Windows XP - I know that the secretary of state for health has instructed them not to and most have moved off it.”

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10Mbps universal speeds? We'll give you 30Mbps, pleads Labour in leaked manifesto

smudge
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Holmes

5G coverage

"We will improve 4G coverage and will invest to ensure all urban areas as well as major roads and railways have uninterrupted 5G coverage,"

Excellent! I look forward to my uninterrupted 5G connection as I drive or take the train between Blair Atholl and Inverness.

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TalkTalk full-year profits rise but shares slump after raid on dividends

smudge
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Holmes

Thanks, Dido. The new job is a bit of a come-down, isn't it?

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IBM: Customer visit costing £75 in travel? Kill it with extreme prejudice

smudge
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Re: nothing new

It happens everywhere - not just IBM. In one company I worked for, we knew how well we were doing according to whether the (hired) potted plants in the office were still with us or had been taken away.

Another time, a PHB thought they could save money by not providing cardboard cups at the coffee machines. Everyone could use their own mugs. But someone then pointed out that a mug holds more coffee than than a paper cup...

The one I always anticipated but which never happened was the request to charge up laptops at home and run them off the batteries in the office. I offer that to any beancounters reading this.

And finally there is my favourite Dilbert of all time - http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-08-24

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Sorry, Dave, I can't code that: AI's prejudice problem

smudge
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Re: Transparency...

It didn't decide to do anything. The input photo is all the data collected about you. The output photo might be a single pixel describing your credit rating. And the filter is the entirety of the program.

One of us isn't getting this, and I don't think it's me!

To derive a description of my credit rating from all the data about me, the program/filter/macro/neural net/AI must have followed a finite number of steps of sequence, selection and iteration.

All I'm asking is why people think that that cannot be logged and output - ie why the AI cannot explain how it arrived at an outcome.

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smudge
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Re: Transparency...

For each pixel in the output we can say it added 1% of the pixel to the left, 2% of the pixel two to the left, and so on, but that doesn't really help us understand why the first photo looked good and the second looked awful.

Thanks, but that's not answering my question. I wanted to know "why can't an AI explain how it came to a particular decision?". Not "was that a good or bad decision?".

In your example, explaining what happened to the pixels is simply describing what the program did. My question would then be "how did the program decide to do these things?".

Whether or not the processed photos look good or bad - or whether an AI's decision was good or bad - is not the question that I was asking.

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smudge
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Re: Transparency...

Someone can tell you the architecture of their AI, and all the weights of the trained network, but it doesn't tell you why it makes any particular decision. Perhaps we have to wait until AI is conscious enough to explain itself.

OK, everyone can call me naive and shoot me down in flames, but is there any reason why an AI CAN'T tell you why it has made a particular decision?

It's just a computer program. It must have followed a particular series of steps and decision points. Why can't it log these along the way? (Just like I did years when I used to insert code into programs to help debug them.) Even if it has derived the rules it is using - rather than the rules being explicitly coded into it - then the rules must be represented somehow, and its path through them must therefore be loggable.

I know nothing about the size and complexity of today's AIs. Answers such as "it would slug the performance" and "it would generate too much information" would be perfectly acceptable responses to the question "why DOESN'T an AI tell you why it has made a particular decision?".

But "why CAN'T it..." is a very different question. I see no reason why not - they are only finite state machines after all, albeit with an awful lot of states and state transitions.

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Intel's data center boss Diane Bryant logs off

smudge
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No, dickhead, we're thinking that people at that stage in their career often have an elderly parent with serious health problems. I did. Although it could be children problems, divorce, etc....

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Male escort forgot pregnancy protection, scores data protection instead

smudge
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Coat

So if his name...

... was Lou, he'd have been Halle Lou, ja?

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Shooting org demands answers from Met Police over gun owner blab

smudge
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Holmes

Re: it's happened before, a few times

You are obviously from the US. This is London, England we are talking about here.

We have a different approach to firearms, and to data privacy.

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30,000 London gun owners hit by Met Police 'data breach'

smudge
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Re: Now now...

Seriously though, im astonished at the number of people that own guns...why?

Most likely target rifle shooting and clay pigeon shooting. Both perfectly legit - and well controlled - sports. With national HQ just outside London, at Bisley.

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Lochs, rifle stocks and two EPIC sea gates: Thomas Telford's Highland waterway

smudge
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Facepalm

Looks like someone has got feet and metres mixed up

No, smartarse. Much of the canal - eg the bit between Tomnahurich and Loch Ness - IS 100 feet wide. The locks are narrower.

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smudge
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Minimal disruption?

Opening and closing in a remarkably quick fashion, the [Muirtown] bridge operates in such a way as to cause minimal disruption to the road it bears.

Errr, no. Half-mile queues the length of Telford Street are the norm. Great article, though!

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UK gov draws driverless car test zone around M40 corridor

smudge
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Re: "UK...leader"...?

Google, Apple, Tesla are all years ahead. Have we got even a single manufacturer working on this - and I mean under UK ownership?

Fair point. But I'll bet you that none of them has thought about producing an autonomous car that drives on the left.

And before you shoot me down, I'll remind you that Google Glass was available only for the right eye.

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Confidence in £70m customs system has 'collapsed', warns Treasury Committee

smudge
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Holmes

Requirements?

The CDS is needed in order to handle a possible five-fold increase in declarations that could occur when the UK leaves the EU.

I'd like to assume that this has been included in the requirements, either as a requirement for the appropriate capacity, or as a requirement for scalability up to that capacity. But I'm not optimistic.

And, of course, if the requirements were specified before the Brexit vote, then there is going to be the mother of all change requests....

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Cambridge wheels out latest smart city platform, ready for devs

smudge
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Pint

Re: Hmm...

Do they have anything which can detect puddles of sick on a Friday night and help drunken students navigate safely around them?

Some sort of chemical (but not radioactive!) marker in the beer, together with sensors for detecting it? Personal sensors would have be mounted well away from the wearer's head, to avoid false positives from the wearer's exhalations.

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Calling your redundancy programme Baccarat? Immense Bummer, Management

smudge
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Devil

Re: They called it Baccarat...

... or because the house always has the edge over the punters :(

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

smudge
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Re: Dont fly Emirates/Etihad/Turkish/etc...

... fly US companies!!

I've just checked - very quickly and informally - and as far as I can see, there are no US airlines using these airports. I'm surprised - I guess I always thought that any route would have airlines from at least the two end-point countries flying on it. It seems not.

US to Saudi or UAE must be popular business routes? Or am I assuming that there is trade when there isn't that much?

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Fire brigade called to free man's bits from titanium ring's grip

smudge
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Re: Do I see a new product opportunity?

Now... what can one charge for such a thing, and what the hell to name it?

About £1.50. A Jubilee Clip.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubilee_Clip

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More Brits' IDs stolen than ever before

smudge
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Holmes

Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

At best that Jimmy Krankee look alike you have whining in your parliament will resign. Thats good for everyone...her only mission seems to be independence, I've never heard her talk about anything else.

That's because she is only shown on things like the "national" news when she is talking about something that affects the UK as a whole. Independence, in other words.

Meanwhile, on the same "national" news, the people of Scotland have to endure endless reports on things like the failing health, social care and education systems. Reports which very seldom make it clear that they are not "national", but apply only to England and Wales, or even to England only.

Just another reason why the people of Scotland are fed up.

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US regulator looks at Internet of Things regulation, looks away

smudge
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Holmes

Re: @ Alister

The problem with that approach is stopping good things from happening and regulating everything pointlessly. Solving a problem when there is a problem is better than stopping progress.

So you drive on whichever side of the road takes your fancy? Until a problem occurs.

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Kaspersky launches a range of perfumes to, er, defend your odour

smudge
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Paris Hilton

Has to be advertised using the old Blind Boy Fuller song "What's That Smell Like Fish?"!

Paris because she's trying to figure out the answer.

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Police Scotland and Accenture were at odds over ill-fated IT project i6

smudge
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Facepalm

Of course they did. You make most of your money from change requests.

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MP brands 1,600 CSC layoffs as the 'worst excesses of capitalism'

smudge
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Facepalm

DXC

Great choice of name!

"O, I wish I was in the land of cotton

Old times there are not forgotten

Look away! Look away!

Look away! Dixie Land."

"Since the advent of the Civil Rights Movement, many have identified the lyrics of the song with the iconography and ideology of the Old South. Today, "Dixie" is sometimes considered offensive, and its critics link the act of singing it to sympathy for slavery or racial separation in the American South."

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Mars orbiter FLOORS IT to avoid hitting MOON

smudge
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Re: CAPS LOCK

Pah! I wrestle poodles and win!

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RAF pilot awaits sentence for digicam-induced airliner dive

smudge
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Not wishing to add to his woes...

... but are personnel allowed to take cameras - presumably it was his own camera - into military planes? No classified documents or instrumentation in there?

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Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions at one London court targeted women

smudge
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Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions in a London court were brought against women

Our weekly local newspaper in Hertfordshire lists cases from the town's Magistrates Court. I noticed a long time ago that 75% or more prosecuted licence evaders were women, and I often wonder why this should be so.

Looks as though it may be a widespread phenomenon.

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