* Posts by John Smith 19

11462 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

After London attack, UK gov lays into Facebook, Google for not killing extremist terror pages

John Smith 19
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@Tom Dial

"Search monopoly - a service for which they do not charge users."

They charge the advertisers plenty for knowing about what you do.

What Google does (to users) is complementary.

It's not free.

Either you don't know this or it's in your interest to pretend you don't know this.

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John Smith 19
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"more chance of winning the lottery than being murdered by one of these scumbags. "

Exactly.

And how many people here know someone who have actually won the UK Lottery?

I'll note 2 things.

"Sad middle aged failure wants to make a name for himself" isn't nearly as a dramatic headline as

"Terrorist slaughters 24 in terror attack."

And BTW IIRC in London police routinely carry tasers, pepper spray and telescopic batons. Yet this officer is killed by a man with a man stabbing him with, what a 6 inch blade before man is shot by armed officer who happens to be close by.

How very inconvenient for the purposes of interrogating him.

You know, how actual police work gets done.

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Pure Silicon Valley: Medium asks $5 a month for absolutely nothing

John Smith 19
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WTF?

"a website to engineer, a platform to run, infrastructure to manage and so on. But 150?!"

Exactly.

I find it very hard to believe anyone looking at what is being "run" isn't wondering "how" many people is this thing needing? Where's all that money gone?

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John Smith 19
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FAIL

So they got $135m for this bo***cks?

This looks like another of those "deals" where the insiders (somehow) persuade a bunch of VC types (WTF were they thinking?) to hand them a big bag of coin for what is basically FA.

Seriously.

what is that? $4m for the devs, $1m for the servers and (oh yes) $130m for the CEO, COO, CFO for "conceptualizing" and "imagineering" this bu***hit.

They may think they are "special" but I'm not seeing it.

So long.

Who were you again?

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Carnegie-Mellon Uni emits 'don't be stupid' list for C++ developers

John Smith 19
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"Smart pointers are for programmers who can't handle memory management correctly."

Whenever you hear "buffer overflow" that's another of those programmers who can't do this.

Of which there seem to be a very large number.

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John Smith 19
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"For absolutely critical performance,..access to the...instruction set that C denies you."

I see, you don't use a profiler so can't spot where the 5% that actually matters is being executed.

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John Smith 19
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"I say be clever enough not to aim at your foot in the first place."

Which suggests you practice these rules (or things with equivalent effect) unconsciously

These rules are not for you.

They are for the people who don't do so, who need to be told this is a bad idea, before they do it.

Of course whether they will bother to read these rules before they make an almighty clusterf**k (is core Windows still written in C++ ?) is another matter.

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US Senate votes to let broadband ISPs sell your browser histories

John Smith 19
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Gimp

""innovative and cost-saving product offerings""

So that's the new BS for "We're going to pimp your browser history to whoever can afford to buy it."

And

"Selling your location and personal information to marketers: this is something that some ISPs do now but are loathe to admit because they fear a consumer backlash. "

Well to slightly restate in the words of Creepy Eric Schmidt perhaps if they fear a consumer backlash that much, maybe they shouldn't be doing it in the first place?

To our US readers, say hello to the "data fetishist," US style, for whom more data (especially yours) is good data and all data (held indefinitely) is best of all.

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Boffins reveal how to pour a perfect glass of wine with no drips. First step, take a diamond...

John Smith 19
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"My teapot in Japan in the 1970s had a grooved spout to stop the "English Tea syndrome".

Except, it seems, in England.

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First the Rise of the Machines, now this: UK military's Exercise Information Warrior

John Smith 19
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"from its traditional “prime contractors” "

or prime Cons as I like to think of them.

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Error prone, insecure, inevitable: Say hello to today's facial recog tech

John Smith 19
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Big Brother

"The issue is not of following up on leads but the shift of onus."

Correct, hence my suggestion that it only be used on a DB of known criminals.

On the fine old Stalinst view that "We know you've done something, even if it's not what we're charging you with."

But personally a system that 14% that can't match someone who's in the database but will throw out a bunch of total strangers is in fact a machine for wasting police man power or generating wrongful convictions.

Both of which should be grounds for extreme concern in a civilized society but probably aren't in a police state.

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John Smith 19
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And then there are the "identical" strangers.

Two people who are mistaken for each other but are in fact not genetically related.

Interestingly some matched on FR, some did not.

Obviously someone who matched on both but you were not related to, and who committed a crime you have no alibi for would drop you right in it, unless they left DNA which was not yours, but then the police would say you were just careful.

Given the plods fondness for Occams Razor you're chances of getting out of this would be quite slim unless they committed more crimes.

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John Smith 19
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FAIL

""We do not need to choose between safety and privacy. Americans deserve both,""

Should read

"We do not need to choose between safety and privacy. People deserve both,"

FTFY,

Just to be clear

"with one in seven FBI facial recognition searches incorrectly returning a list of innocent people as matches, despite the presence of the actual matching image in the database. "

means the software is producing both a false negative (in DB but not listed as a result) and

multiple false positives (in DB but not the correct person).

Which sounds like an epic fail level of result.

On that basis a file of only known criminals should be used.

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TRAPPIST-1's planets are quiet. Quiet as the grave, in fact

John Smith 19
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"Earth has a one in a million combination of life supporting conditions."

The fact we can now spot extra solar planets and can count (sort of) the number of stars and galaxies in the sky means we are in a position (just) to start to put some actual numbers on the Drake Equation.

The crude way would be take the number of planets found around a particular class of star and divide by our estimate of how many of that type of star we can see, keeping in mind it's easier to find gas giants than anything even reasonably (EG 3-5x bigger) Earth sized.

We now know for a fact that the Solar System is not unique in the galaxy for having planets (and even more bizarrely that old SF trope of a planet drifting through space without a sun is not that uncommon) so the real question remains the Fermi Paradox. If the odds on bet is there is a planet for most suns, where is the alien comm chatter from a million billion inhabited worlds?

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John Smith 19
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"tidal locking" seems like a pretty big problem if you want to live there.

The spinning of the planet seems to be quite important if you want the atmosphere to be pulled round fast enough that it can't be frozen out on the permanent night side.

I think it's pretty clear no one will be visiting any of these places without an uncrewed probe first.

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Spotted: Bizarre SpaceX rocket-snatching machine that looks like it belongs on Robot Wars

John Smith 19
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"Luckily, where humans fear to tread, a robot is ready to rush in "

Of course, having the survival instincts of a depressed lemming helps here.

Happy because I'm not one of the meatsacks involved.

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US military's latest toy set: Record-breaking laser death star, er, truck

John Smith 19
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"Oxfam etc could do wonders with rugged mobile 200 kW generators."

You do realize that's about a269 Hp engine, right?

Like a pickup truck.

Now a 200 MW engine that size would be very impressive.

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John Smith 19
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WTF?

OMFG this is an astonishing story.

No not the laser..

LM spends own money on new weapons tech.

This is about as common as (for example) BAe delivering a new warship on time.

My flabber is duly gasted.

Obvious counter measures will be shooting at it with an AA gun (good for about 5Km at ground level) and coating the missile with a multi-layer fabry-perot mirror. These can deliver 99.9% reflectivity and can be made in flexible sheets. Paint over with a burn off camouflage paint and when the laser hits it will look impressive for a few seconds (while the paint spot burns away) then 99.9% of the light reflects in whatever direction the surface is angled at (it's unlikely to be flat on at 90 degrees).

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Wanted: Bot mechanic. New nerds, apply within

John Smith 19
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"We cannot use technology to solve social problems. "

We shouldn't use technology to solve social problems.

But we do.

I think the ongoing brisk business at US ER's demonstrates some societies unwillingness to confront the root causes of problems and use technology (IE medicine) to temporarily deal with them.

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John Smith 19
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Go

Yes, on that basis the future is going to be quite exciting.

Lot's of new skills to learn and new problems to deal with.

Although I suspect the successful players will start with things that are really RPV with remote operators "driving" an adequately strong, adequately agile unit that for so many hours a day, or in emergencies. Otherwise it sits on the wall charger.

Over time it will develop better "reflexes" and acquire more canned sequences for known tasks until it only calls home when needed, or for a (secure and authorized) software upgrade.

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John Smith 19
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"Isn't there a danger of effectively creating a ponzi scheme?"

Are you aware of how the British "National Insurance" scheme actually works?

Look up the term "rollover fraud"

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Bloke, 48, accused of whaling two US tech leviathans out of $100m

John Smith 19
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"the secretary kept the cash and school funds paid out the coach firm."

Note that's £35K over 7 years

What you have here is the classic "single person of trust" in a small firm story.

"We've never had a problem, we trust him/her implicitly."

Proper accounting systems don't need trust.

They need separation of authority from request generation and regular oversight. Good systems cannot be gamed without significant collusion, not just one person inside the company.

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John Smith 19
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The "hi tech" version of the old "pro forma invoice" scam?2

"Hello, yes there's been a terrible mixup. You've sent your payments to the wrong account. It needs to go to...."

Possible 20yrs of Jail.

IE $5m/year.

Anyone else wondering what happened to the money?

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Calling your redundancy programme Baccarat? Immense Bummer, Management

John Smith 19
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The board game invented by John Nash comes to find.

His original name for it was "F**k you buddy," but the mfg found that unacceptable for some reason.

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Coppers 'persistently' breach data protection laws with police tech

John Smith 19
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"Seems there are damn few trustworthy individuals out there in trusted positions, given the data."

And I think you'd be right.

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John Smith 19
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"they were fitting up the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four for the right reasons."

In the words of "Truscott of the Yard" "We always arrest someone, it's bad form if we don't."*

*One of Richard Attenborough's finest performances, back to back with his portrayal of John Christie, who was also only caught after they'd hanged the wrong man first.

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John Smith 19
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FAIL

"majority of cases, the officer thinks that they are doing it for the right reasons"

New flash. Police always think they are doing whatever they have been caught doing for the right reasons.

If this is so useful why can't everyone do it?

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Malware 'disguised as Siemens software drills into 10 industrial plants'

John Smith 19
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The ineritors of Stuxnet

so how does one make money out of ICS mallware?

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Uber bans 'brilliant jerks', will train staff on Why Diversity Matters

John Smith 19
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Big Brother

Ah but she has a secret weapon

Persistent offenders will report here for "retraining"

Be seeing you.

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UK vuln 'fessing pilot's great but who's going to give a FoI?

John Smith 19
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Let's see how this works in practice.

The UK government and disclosure.

Not the happiest of bedfellows.

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

John Smith 19
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"I wonder if this is a "security" measure - or a masked commercial one."

Given what's come out of Mogul's mouth what's the difference?

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DNS lookups can reveal every web page you visit, says German boffin

John Smith 19
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Gimp

"Put simply, because of all these side requests, just one page can create a fingerprint "

I'd guess the pix in particular may well be near unique to each Wiki page.

2 good rules of thumb are

a) If Google supplies it how does it allow them to extract more knowledge about you (because if Google supplies it it always will)?

b) Don't use Google.

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Nuclear subs seek virtual SAN, says VMware

John Smith 19
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Let's hope it's not like the F35's logistics system.

Mostly written in C/C++ and needing to call home (IE the Pentagon) to get an authorization to do something.

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This AI stuff is all talk! Bots invent their own language to natter away behind humans' backs

John Smith 19
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So getting agents to evolve a language is possible but tricky.

Obviously needs some kind of counter incentive to make the "language" more flexible.

1 message per complete sentence is bandwidth efficient but not memory efficient.

Which suggests some kind of "penalty" function to encourage them to evolve a balance between verbosity and uniqueness (IE "words") might work.

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Home Office admits it's preparing to accept EU ruling on surveillance

John Smith 19
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Gimp

"putting forward robust arguments"

So another couple of £m of taxpayers money ending up in some briefs pockets.

And I will be most surprised if this new approvals body is as much a rubber-stamping-n-cheerleading operation as the "Interception Commissioners" office seemed to be.

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Plans to force ISPs to filter content branded 'disproportionate'

John Smith 19
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Childcatcher

mass surveillance of the UK public. No probs. But OMFG the kiddy of some Tory MP might see..sees...

whatever and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

By all means provide such filtering.

By all means let customers know it's available (and make it simple to manage)

Because if it's not some other SEL Tory MP will tell you her little ones have seen something on the interwebs again.

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Uber president quits, says company's values inconsistent with his own leadership style

John Smith 19
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FAIL

"The SJW mob never let the facts get in the way of a good lynchin'."

And the person who uses "Social Justice Warrior" is usually either running a business that treats human beings like cattle or looking to set one up to do so.

But that's just my personal experience.

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John Smith 19
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"The drivers are driving out of their own free will, because it benefits them." etc

Here's the thing.

In pretty much all countries this (ongoing) process is called "running a taxi firm."

Taxi firms are regulated.

BTW that "business pattern" you've described fits quite a lot of "personal service" businesses.

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John Smith 19
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"a sign that even a marketing executive can spot an utterly lost case ..."

In fact that's one of the key skills that a top Marketing person has to have to ensure they become a top Marketing person.

Turning round a really tough marketing pitch is very good for the CV.

Hanging on will the company crashes and burns is not.

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Confirmed: TSA bans gear bigger than phones from airplane cabins

John Smith 19
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Facepalm

"soon set up special waiver programme for US passported.. first class travellers,"

A company did this handling, taking care of all the pre booking process, took particulars of addresses, preferred CC numbers etc.

Then a laptop with the whole datebase of high value, frequently absent individuals disappeared from a locked office in the air side (not public) part of an airport.

Officials were baffled by the theft.

Visiting America.

What video conferencing was designed for.

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John Smith 19
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Obviously a real bummer for the Theives Support Association

Who will have less opportunities to "inspect" you luggage.

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'Sorry, I've forgotten my decryption password' is contempt of court, pal – US appeal judges

John Smith 19
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Childcatcher

"the looks of it the guy is a real scumbag if the government is right."

Child pornography cases always guarantee public sympathy for law enforcement.

Which is why it's always best for the government to use them if law is likely to be contentious.

Note BTW this is the case in a United States court, just in case anyone thought this was the position in every other country in the world.

Since we are talking the US Constitution 5th Amendment IE the right to not incriminate yourself, I'd guess the question is what would be the story if (in earlier days) he was a Mafia book keeper and kept the books in his own personal code ?

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FCA straps on rubber gloves, eyes Redcentric's accounting mess

John Smith 19
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WTF?

So PWC audit or are just the accountants?

Because if you've missed this for how many years what sort of auditors are you?

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IBM finds Wanda-ful new way to add China to its cloudy Bluemix

John Smith 19
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" re-vamp its economy through automation and digitisation."

And the collection of any and all data by the government.

China.

Where they didn't need THE PATRIOT Act to be put into law.

That's baked in already.

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National Audit Office: Brit aircraft carrier project is fine and dandy... for now

John Smith 19
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I'd always thought the nukes were naturally quieter

Which compensated for their enormous cost, and the long delays between the start of contract and actual deployment.

Seems not.

So I guess that just leaves the ability to never surface, and hence have their snorkel seen on satellite, as their major remaining USP.

You do wonder what would happen if Rolls Royce Nuclear could be allowed to supply a reactor for one of these.....

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John Smith 19
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"a piece-meal basis via a steady stream of Post Design Services contracts, "

This sounds an awful lot like the usual Outsourcing/PFI process of making the profit on "change requests" because the mugs clients either failed to plan ahead for support needs or did not know what they needed to begin with.

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John Smith 19
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"hang every defence minister of the past half century, "

That would probably include most of the 23 000+ who work in MoD "procurement"

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Friday security roundup: Secret Service laptop bungle, hackers win prizes, websites leak

John Smith 19
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"multiple layers of security including full disk encryption "

So better than any UK government/local authority/NHS laptop then?

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Open wide, Node.js! NodeSource will certify you now

John Smith 19
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"They wave their magical chicken over your code and proclaim it "safe". "

Then (as Raffles, The Gentleman Thug might put it) I fear I must decline their kind offer as I am not in fact a total f**king imbecile

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Hell freezes over: We wrote an El Reg chatbot using Microsoft's AI

John Smith 19
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To think in the mid 1960'sthey thought they could build a computerised psychiatrist

They didn't know what they didn't know.

But now they know a lot more about what they don't know.

But they still don't know it.

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