* Posts by JimC

1535 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle

JimC
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Re: Lockin

I wonder just how many non software companies have ever taken advantage of this wonderful way of avoiding lockin. I can just imagine the conversation on the lines of "hey, the xyz system is no longer being maintained, but we have the source code so all we need to do is to create our own project team and we can maintain it ourselves." Actually I can't imagine even bothering to start the conversation.

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JimC
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Re: Windows based version of Wordstar or WordPerfect.

Now then, lets not spoil the argument with exaggeration. Do you not remember how appalling Wordstar for Windows and Wordperfect for Windows actually were? Its my contention that a really good Windows word processor is yet to appear, but MS Word, at least until MS lost the plot on usability, was at least bearably OK.

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JimC
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Re:our idea with moral duty is all fine and dandy but look at Apple.

Well, you see, I don't really care what other people do. That's down to them. If any of the snippets I've released under NCSA get included in a product that someone sells closed source for megabucks then good luck to them. I've chosen to give them the freedom to do that.

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JimC
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Re: GPL is not freedom at all.

But be careful about copyright - copyright is essential to the Stallman vision. Without the copyright on the code the restrictions in the Stallman vision cannot be enforced. Copyright makes the GPL vision work, which is awfully ironic when you consider how ardently Google's anti copyright useful idiots trumpet open source. Yes, Stallman wants you to hand your copyright over to his foundation, but that's again about enforcement - we as individuals are virtually impotent to enforce restrictions on our copyright, which is why its more or less essential to have co-operative or support organisations like the FSF to enforce the restrictions by means of copyright. Or for another example of such an organisation (in order to get a lot more downvotes from Google's useful idiots) the RIAA.

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JimC
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Re: GPL is not freedom at all.

Well, there's more nuance to it than that. The Stallman political vision of "freedom" for the end user necessarily takes away freedom from the developer, who is restricted in how she/he can reuse the code.

I think the problem with Stallman's vision is that its all about the 60s / 70s world where there was no real boundary between developers and end users. Most IT users these days couldn't give a flying **** about modifying the application, nor could they if they wanted to, they only want the bloody stuff to work. Thus Mr Stallman's freedom to modify is essentially worthless to them. By contrast Mr Stallman's restrictions on reuse limit what fellow developers can do with the code.

By contrast the much less restrictive licenses like NCSA are about payforward. You benefited from studying or reusing code other people made freely available, and where possible within your working environment you have a moral duty to pay forward by making your code freely available, but there are not the restrictions on what you can do with the code that there are from GPL. But the point is that because its pay forward you are not seeking to put restrictions on what your sister/brother coder does in the future. Your moral duty ended with the act of paying forward.

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Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

JimC
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Call the speaking clock...

Goodness knows how many times I must have done that - every time I set up a new server and every time I was at a site and they complained the clock was out.

And of course there was also the spoof business card "Want a good time? Dial Guildford 8081"

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MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

JimC
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Re:That wasn't in space. That was on the moon.

I do believe it may have traversed space on the way to the moon...

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Assange fails to make skipped bail arrest warrant vanish

JimC
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Re: A Flagrant Rotten Denial of Justice and a Blot in the UKGBNI Landscape

In other news, campaigners are protesting about the injustices to the late Ronald Arthur Biggs, forced to live in Australia and Brazil for 36 years.

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You're the IT worker in charge of securing the cloud for your company. Welcome to Hell

JimC
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Re: Two - treat your staff well enough that they do not want to steal data

I don't suppose there is a single company in the whole world that could legitimately guarantee they achieve that, especially if there's a sufficiently well resourced bad hat to offer generous bribes.

OTOH there are no doubt millions of managers that would claim that's a legitimate strategy that they successfully operate.

In practice your No 2 is another variation of making nice noises, crossing your fingers and hoping someone else gets hit - always a popular security strategy.

Treating your staff well has an important role in reducing the threat, but never kid yourself it will eliminate it.

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Web searching died the day they invented SEO

JimC
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The two worst things that happened to the net that could have been prevented

Were SEO and Domain name registries

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Cox blocked! ISP may avoid $25m legal bill for letting punters pirate music online

JimC
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I think your headline is misleading. All that's happening is its being sent back to the lower court for a new trial.

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Thar she blows: Strava heat map shows folk on shipwreck packed with 1,500 tonnes of bombs

JimC
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Looking closer

The area of the actual exclusion zone appears to be unvisited with one exception.

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IT 'heroes' saved Maersk from NotPetya with ten-day reinstallation bliz

JimC
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Standard builds

AIUI desktops were the least of their problems. Umpteen different systems had to be rebuilt from backups, brought up again and then the data from the emergency processes merged back in. Never underestimate that, its one hell of a job.

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F-35 'incomparable' to Harrier jump jet, top test pilot tells El Reg

JimC
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Re: It takes very little to be better than tha Harrier...

Well, the Harrier, at least in its pre prototype development version as the P1127, went into service 50 years before the F35. Go back 50 years before that and the new fighters going into service were the Sopwith Pup and Sopwith Triplane.

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NHS: Thanks for the free work, Linux nerds, now face our trademark cops

JimC
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Re: NHoS means NHoS is not NHS

The complications and implications of branding, naming, reputation and all the legal implications are so damn complicated that no sensible person goes anywhere near it unless their profession requires it. So changing from NHS to NHoS, when requested to stop using NHS, was, well, maybe not the best decision.

And if you didn't go back and get specific clearance for NHoS from the people who objected to the previous titling *before* you started using it, that would be distinctly unsensible.

Its been well said that everyone is an amateur away from their own field, and sometimes those of us who work in IT need to remember that.

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Heathrow Airport's local council prohibits drone flights from open spaces

JimC
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Re: irritating noises, but so do many other things -

However if your source of irritating noise is 500 feet up in the air then its going to be audible to a whole load more people than a leaf blower at ground level.

But reading the whole document its pretty clear that the order is about a whole raft of what they consider antisocial behaviour, and not intended to target drones specifically. My reading is that noisy motorised toy cars are deliberately targeted.

And honestly folks, the bit about noisy toys is maybe 1% of the document. There's a lot of other stuff in there that s equally dubious.

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JimC
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Re: does this mean...

You're surely not trying to make logical sense out of lawyerese are you?

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Carphone Warehouse cops £400k fine after hack exposed 3 MEEELLION folks’ data

JimC
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Re: With a law like that,

> the proper way to handle such punishment is not to fine them,

>but to force them to put into an escrow account the cumulative

> maximum amount that could potentially be stolen

With a law like that, Directors will plunder as much as they possibly can out of the business and then declare it bankrupt before anything is paid out, and injured parties will get nothing...

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JimC
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The word any

- as in any loss or any inconvenience - should be banned from press releases!

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UK exam chiefs: About the compsci coursework you've been working on. It means diddly-squat

JimC
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Re: CompSci without coursework

Well there's a strong argument for picking maintainability over speed...

However I think the problem here is the art of the practical in marking. If, instead of checking against a list of bullet point features that have been taught, the examiner has to sit down and evaluate every paper from scratch, including running the code in detail, how long is it going to take to mark each paper?

I always strongly suspected that writing code that was more advanced and sophisticated than we'd really been taught was what cost my my third distinction grade in my college course, but after a long career in the industry I have much more sympathy for the examiner now than I did back then...

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JimC
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CompSci without coursework

You can't have coursework to which the answers have been published either. So what were the alternatives? Either do what they've done and ditch the coursework, or else produce a whole new set of coursework, publish it in a mad panic and put the kids under extreme pressure to finish it all up in a fraction of the normal time? Oh, and hope that they've plugged the leak so the new coursework doesn't get published too. And deal with endless whinging about how shabbily the kids have been treated because they weren't given enough time.

Nope, when there are no good answers you have to make a guess as to which is the least bad one.

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Jocks in shock as Irn-Bru set to slash sugar and girder content

JimC
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Re: sachet of sugar... do the trick.

Not if they've replaced the sugar with some godawful artificial sweetener.

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And we return to Munich's migration back to Windows - it's going to cost what now?! €100m!

JimC
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Re: 'Most research is sponsored by proprietary software companies, and as such might be biased'

I don't believe its possible to find an independant expert, and for that matter I don't even believe its possible to make a fully informed rational decision about these issues. I always considered it to be an almost religious decision made on faith. Certainly IME that was what was going on where I worked.

But I'm rather of the opinion that if you have your support staffing and training sorted out it probably doesn't matter too much what you use - and if you havn't got your staffing support and training sorted out it probably still doesn't matter.

But as others have said I am sure the key issue will have been support for specialist applications. IME they will be Windows only, and anything away from a pure MS environment will greatly increase the amount of resource you need to put into the specialist apps because the vendors won't. Use different vendors? Its hard enough finding a competent package for these jobs anyway without excluding from consideration all the ones who won't support a multi platform shop. We're there to serve the users and deliver them the best working environment...

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SuperFish cram scandal: Lenovo must now ask nicely before stuffing new PCs with crapware

JimC
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Re: Eeek

Seems unlikely that they would be shipping boxes with retail software installations to their users.

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When neural nets do carols: 'Santa baby bore sweet Jesus Christ. Fa la la la la la, la la la la'

JimC
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Headmaster

But (it was a long time ago and I was an *appalling* greek student) wouldn't the greek, transliterated, be hippopotamos, plural hippopotamoi? So hippopotamus is indeed the latin borrowing, and would have the latin plural hippopotami?

Incidentally, doesn't this demonstrate that those churchmen who get upset about the santafication of Christmas have a very good point?

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UK teen dodges jail time for role in DDoSes on Natwest, Amazon and more

JimC
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Re: another perspective.

Victim blaming?

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Oi, force Microsoft to cough up emails on Irish servers to the Feds, US states urge Supremes

JimC
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It should be about where the user was, not the server, it seems to me.

Storage ought to be irrelevant I think, what should matter is where the user was situated when the emails were created. If you're in the US when you type that email you are subject to US law, and US law should apply to handing that email over to the US government. But if you are in Ireland when you type the email you are under Irish Law, and Irish law should prevail.

Of course the big cos are going to say this is difficult to manage, but the lawmakers would probably say tough.

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Tired of despairing of Trump and Brexit? Why not despair about YouTube stars instead?

JimC
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The reason for despair

Is not so much the existence/activities of both, but the observation that almost everything published by either/both sides is so embellished with exaggeration, misdirection and outright invention that its nearly impossible for a dispassionate observer to gain some sense of the truth.

So instead of a culture trying to make the best of things for real people we are reduced to two gangs standing on opposite sides of the playground throwing stones at each other, whilst the main are of the playground is uninhabitable due to the objects falling short.

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Oregon will let engineer refer to himself as an 'engineer'

JimC
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Re: What about after hours service?

I dunno, millenials. When I was in my early 20s, living in a not very rural area in SE suburban Surrey (England) you couldnt buy fuel after 5pm on Friday until 8am on Monday without drving 10 miles to the nearest big town. So you looked at the little needle or took the lid of the fuel tank and looked in, and made sure you had enough to get to the pub on Saturday night and work on Monday morning.

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Mailsploit: It's 2017, and you can spoof the 'from' in email to fool filters

JimC
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Re: By design you can set the from email address to be anything

In the early days you more or less had to. And that was the whole point of doing it. There were so many useful things you wanted to do that required it. Ideally smtp should have been ditched years ago in favour of something that actually copes with the inherent problems that weren't really problems in the early days, but somehow its never happened.

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Brit MP Dorries: I gave my staff the, um, green light to use my login

JimC
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Its convenience

so long as its quicker and easier to give the temp your password than it is to get support to set up a new account with all the correct shared access this will continue to happen. Bashed my head against that wall so many times I ended up with no hair and semi-permanent migraines...

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Report: Women make up just 17% of IT workforce, paid 15% less than men

JimC
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Re: The question is more "are things changing"?

I would say that when I started out in the IT industry in the late 80s there were a lot *more* women than there are now, at least in the networking/support areas I was in. In the early 90s there would always be several women on every external tech course I attended, but by the 2000s they started to be few and far between.

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BT lab domain grab – 17 years after cheeky chap swiped 'em

JimC
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Re: not happy when I said it looked like a great place to get legless in.

Well, I can't imagine they've heard that crack more than about fifty thousand times...

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User dialled his PC into a permanent state of 'Brown Alert'

JimC
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Re: so only highlighted text could be seen.

I once had a call from a very aggrieved user because I'd messed up her PC so only a few random letters were scattered round the screen. DOS Wordperfect highlighted certain letters, I forget details, but I think it may have been the beginning of sentences. You know the rest.

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Don't shame idiots about their idiotically weak passwords

JimC
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new password ... PC client apparently couldn't authenticate with.

Its remarkable easy when you have a whole lot of linked systems, all with their own rules. You have to try and work out a set of rules for the web system that make every password viable for *every* downstream system. Unless you can get permission to really relax the rules on the downstream systems it can be suprisingly difficult to do. Ideally you also need something in the ID management that will alert the user if any of the cascading changes fail.

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Linus Torvalds on security: 'Do no harm, don't break users'

JimC
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Point missed

No, it needs to be secure and keep working. If its secure but doesn't work its at least as useless as if its insecure and working.

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User experience test tools: A privacy accident waiting to happen

JimC
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Re: F-ck Digital

I've always worked on the assumption that there is no privacy on the net, and no secrecy. As long as you operate on that basis there isn't really a problem. There's no privacy or secrecy in a busy restaurant or crowded pub either, and it doesn't stop us using them.

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Massive US military social media spying archive left wide open in AWS S3 buckets

JimC
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Re: The current state of US politics is chaotic. I don't recall in my lifetime more rancor here.

Yes, same this side of the pond. I think its a major problem for our political system. Whereas the other party were once "people with some strange ideas who I suppose probably mean well" now they are "evil monsters who want to destroy civilisation as we know it".

And the result of having two sides who gallop for the extremes can only be bad for the rest of us.

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JimC
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Got it, thanks. It's all clear now.

I must admit the arrant hypocrisy is somewhat glaring. The west has shown no hesitation whatsoever in telling other countries citizens how to vote. Indeed I seem to remember a US President stepping in loudly on the UKs EU referendum.

Hell, its probably even the duty of one's spooks to try and influence other nations' voters to vote in a way that advantages their own country. And its interesting (and depressing) to consider how much damage has been done round the world in the last decade or so as a result of the US' rather romantic view of revolutions, which is all tied up with their own self deceiving vision of their history.

This side of the pond we're a bit more aware that revolutions tend to put bad guys in power, even if they are on the right side... and even if they *are* on the right side they are still bad guys.

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JimC
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Mind you

if all this stuff is publicly accessible and visible social media posts...

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

JimC
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Re: Here's a thought

If you think train travel is any less vulnerable to malign interference... Coincidentally there was a feature on Railway signalling on BBC this am... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-41970331/signal-failure-the-train-traveller-s-nightmare-explained Talk about a target rich environment...

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Munich council: To hell with Linux, we're going full Windows in 2020

JimC
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Re: declared a success before the election

Oh how naive we are. Of course it was declared a success by the people responsible for introducing it. Every major project is. The reason you'll often see a strategy change with a changing of the guard is that when no-one who came up with the idea is still there then the ballsups can happily be ditched. If you propose that while the proponents are still there you just label yourself as not having a can-do attitude. Of course that presupposes the alternative will be any better.

But, having worked in local government IT, much as I loathe Microsoft and their deeds, I really don't know how one could avoid them. The hundreds - and there are hundreds - of specialist applications just don't exist on other platforms. The result is that you are condemning your users to half ass lashups and second rate apps. And the IT is supposed to be there to help the users deliver services to the public.

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Parity's $280m Ethereum wallet freeze was no accident: It was a hack, claims angry upstart

JimC
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Re: It is all a fraud and illegal cryptocurrency...

Rather than a fraud by bankers I thought crypto currencies were more of a money grab by those who kick the things off and generate large quantities of pseudo money which then inflates in value... Certainly seems to me that those who get in the ground floor of a crypto currency end up with a lot of "dosh" for moderate effort.

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SCO vs. IBM case over who owns Linux comes back to life. Again

JimC
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You Seppos really need

to do something about your civil law system... I suppose the trouble is it succeeds in its first priority - to make lawyers rich.

Ironic that the case has managed to outlive Groklaw.

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Google AMP supremo whinges at being called out on team's bulls***

JimC
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Google imagines itself ... more important than ... people creating

> Google imagines itself, as the aggregator of other people's content,

> as more important than the people creating that content. And, sadly,

> in terms of reach, they are.

Nothing new there. Its the whole big advertising ethos that only silicon valley megacorps are allowed to earn money and the creators can go starve.

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BOFH: Do I smell burning toes, I mean burning toast?

JimC
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Re: Good on ya, PFY

If you really want to feel old, calculate how old the PF"Y" must be now...

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JimC
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'No decisions have been made yet',

> "Whenever someone has to point out that

>'No decisions have been made yet',

> it pretty much means that those decisions

> HAVE been made," I note.

How very true. It means "the final rubberstamp is hovering over the paper"

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US energy, nuke and aviation sectors under sustained attack

JimC
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> time to start using text only e-mail clients

IMHO there was never a time to stop using them. It was obvious from day 1 that html capable email and clicky links would be a delight for the malign.

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JimC
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Re: a complete stranger does not send you confidential documents out of the blue.

Even more depressingly I have had genuine confidential documents from complete strangers out of the blue, not to mention documents from out of the blue that purport to be or genuinely are from people who aren't complete strangers, and I have come across companies who have user names like SomeGuy2748. I can read email headers and readily spot messages that are not what they say they are, but the average user can not.

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Wowee. Look at this server. Definitely keep critical data in there. Yup

JimC
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> exclude all the fake servers

The end users' front ends simply won't access the fake servers, so no problem there.

You probably don't want them excluded from backup since in the event of requiring DR fake and live will both need to be restored.

And of course you do want to monitor them - that's the whole point!

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