* Posts by Mike 16

653 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009

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Net neutrality advocates freak out as lobbyists pull rug from California's draft net neutrality law

Mike 16
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Who would miss California?

Well, many of the reddest states who depend on federal subsidies, paid for by CA taxes. yes, CA is a net exporter of taxes to the federal government. Of course, Washington and Oregon might welcome the boom for their ports.

BTW: Anybody who equates "Democrat" with "Liberal" should check into DiFi's persistent support for "Whatever privacy invasion the police claim they need".

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Having ended America's broadband woes, the FCC now looks to space

Mike 16
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Does that ever actually happen?

@onefang: I suppose it might if the alternative is losing out on deeply discounted (subsidized by U.S. Taxpayers) top of the line military hardware for their love and peace patrols. Or the threat of a "terrorist money laundering" investigation of some top officials might sway the decision. It is indeed brown envelopes all around.

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What a time to be alive: LG and Italian furniture-maker build smart sofa

Mike 16
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Alexa in the sofa with a TV remote

"Oh, Reginald, do me"

"Finding movies featuring Reginald Toomey"

"Honey, why is Amazon recommending DVDs of old Reginald Toomey flcks?"

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Get the FTP outta here, says Firefox

Mike 16
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Re: TFTP is better

I suspect that an installation that does not have a chrooted TFTP server probably has bigger problems.

Not to mention that having an intruder on my LAN is probably of higher priority than protecting against someone who wants to _read_ a copy of the firmware for bespoke lab instruments.

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Linux Beep bug joke backfires as branded fix falls short

Mike 16
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Re: Does the speaker sound driver still exist?

Would it run on WfW? I still have a few licensed copies on (formerly) sealed floppies. Raises the question of whether the "Breaking this seal..." contract would apply, as the glue sealing the envelopes rotted away some years ago.

Anyway, if someone has a set of samples to mimic Votrax. we could combine them with your speaker driver and a text-to-Votrax driver I have around here somewhere. Isn't Science Wonderful?

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Mike 16
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Does the speaker sound driver still exist?

I recall many years ago when someone (ESR?) published a sound driver (maybe for ALSA?) to allow one to use the PC speaker as a generic audio output device, so you could, for example, play your pirated Duran Duran mp3s _anywhere_ (until the sound stack broke again).

Compare and contrast to my memory of setting up racks of headless servers where ticking the "Server" install config would load up an impressive collection of audio and video drivers, in case I wanted to watch a movie on the non-existent monitor with 5.1 sound via the non-existent sound card.

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Russian regulator asks courts to disconnect Telegram

Mike 16
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Peer-to-peer voice text encryption

You'd be surprised how difficult it is to send data encoded as a typical modem signal through the voice codec of a typical mobile phone. Or maybe you wouldn't, if you had ever used a decent landline and are now familiar with the crappy voice quality over most mobile networks. Then think about doing that with anything over 50 bits per second and full duplex. I would love to hear about promising research in that area.

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Mike 16
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Stenography?

Pittman, or Gregg? Or did the various commenters mean steganography? Just remember that shorthand is a bit of a dinosaur, like stegosaurus. Oh, wait, I have that wrong way round.

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Birds can feel Earth's magnetic fields? Yeah, that might fly. Bioboffins find vital sense proteins

Mike 16
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Re: How would it feel?

Can't speak of humans, but back in the last millennium I read about a study of crawfish (under whatever name is locally used. Freshwater mini-lobsters). They apparently use externally acquired grains of sand in the equivalent of our inner-ear balance organs. Scientists with a sense of humor, or possibly just a mean streak, placed some in a tank with "sand" containing iron filings or some such. After an interval to allow the subjects to refresh their "sand", the boffins applied various magnetic fields and took notes on the subjects' attempts to right themselves.

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Why a merged Apple OS is one mash-up too far

Mike 16
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Re: Having a common kernel is a good idea,

Of course experience suggests that when a bug is created once, it is propagated everywhere. Apple has been a real master of this lately.

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Apple, if you want to win in education, look at what sucks about iPads

Mike 16
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Tablets and STEM

@Snorlax

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People moan when kids are given access to tech in school.

People also moan when kids show no interest in STEM subjects.

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I think you have explained your own conundrum. Tablets as they are today teach primarily one thing about tech: It is unreliable and capricious, and will defeat most attempts to Get Stuff Done (tm).

It's a miracle when a child exposed to technology only through such a device is interested in "Technology" at all. "Yeah, we realize that getting waterboarded can be unpleasant, by why have you lost interest in swimming in the Olympics?"

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US Congress quietly slips cloud-spying powers into page 2,201 of spending mega-bill

Mike 16
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what else is in it?

Well, for one thing, an exemption for Major League Baseball from paying minor league players minimum wage. I am certain that is one of many such blatantly corrupt insertions. Welcome the the U.S. Here's your lube.

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We sent a vulture to find the relaunched Atari box – and all he got was this lousy baseball cap

Mike 16
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Not even trying

I recall when Coleco showed their "Gemini" at some trade show and Curous Minds discovered the cables running under the tablecloth to an actual 2600 under the table. Or the time I peered into the cabinet running (IIRC) Space Invaders at a coin-op show, to see an Apple ][ inside. If you are going to fake a product, give it a _bit_ more effort.

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Mike 16
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Re: Reliable Atari

Of course, you are forgetting the "Great Mind Swap" where a bunch of Commodore folks followed Tramiel Per. to his new home at the company formerly known as Atari, oh, wait, it was still known as Atari after Warner gave it to Jack. Meanwhile a bunch of ex-Atarians were busy making a little box you may have heard of: The Amiga. The 520ST was definitely a Commodore design, with all that implies.

A friend worked for Commodore back when they did calculators (pre-Pet), and would come home exhausted from her job of trying to follow the Cutomer Service script while being yelled at by dissatisfied customers.

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Linux Foundation backs new ‘ACRN’ hypervisor for embedded and IoT

Mike 16
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Layers

So, the solution to buggy (if not now, then just wait a few updates) software is to wrap it in more buggy software. Threads within processes, within a genetically predisposed to fail at realtime OS, within a buggy VM, controlled by a buggy hypervisor on a processor with buggy microcode. And all those well-defined, designed and isolated protocols? Trash them and get some modern "Well the API used to follow that spec, but we decided that it looked so much better on the Powerpoints if we mixed stuff up a bit".

It's like the whole software world are Skeksis ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dark_Crystal )

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Look! Fitbit's made a watch that doesn't suck!

Mike 16
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Re: Four Days?

Hmm, we have a fair number of old-school spring or weight driven clocks in this house, and I can wind all of them in less time than it takes the missus's Apple Watch to charge.

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Privacy folk raise alarm over schools snooping on kids' online habits

Mike 16
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School-installed spy/mal-ware

So, this protects the kids on the same principle of always flying with a bomb in checked baggage, because, I mean, what are the odds of two bombs on the same flight?

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What would Jesus sue? The FCC, it seems

Mike 16
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Offering a what?

@Just Enough:

-- It's a open invitation for corruption. You don't need the messy risk of offering a bride to a public servant. --

I doubt we have gone quite _that_ far, yet. But come back and take a look in a decade or so.

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Apple's new 'spaceship' HQ brings the pane for unobservant workers

Mike 16
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That Picture

Did you use a stock photo of GCHQ, or is that a screen-shot from "The Circle"?

(BTW: IIRC, the Apple HQ is (sort of) built on a Pet Sematary, as the land was formerly occupied by HP buildings. I would indeed be afraid it was haunted by the ghosts of engineers formerly proud of their work and company)

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Great, we're going to get DevOps-ed. So, 15 years of planning processes – for the bin?

Mike 16
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Re: The key seems to be doing only what works

--- Everyone wants to be Netflix, Facebook or Google. ---

Of course they do, like everybody wants to own a gold mine and nobody wants to be stuck down a mine-shaft 18 hours a day. Netflix/Facebook/Google "customers" (aka "product") may not be so overjoyed.

I will admit that I never did "I.T.", but rather embedded systems, which had the quaint notion that if the software screwed up, the manufacturer of the device that contained it (and whose purchaser often had no idea even had a computer) was on the hook for making it right.

This mania for "move fast and break things" and "change is good" seems to only be from the point of view of the folks cashing in, not on the "customers" (what happened to "stakeholders"?) subjected to "Your inability read your old documents on our shiny new system is not our problem. You should just be happy we gave you a new poop emoji with animating wet-shimmer"

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I'll bee back: Boffin's bionic bug Band-Aid after real ones all die

Mike 16
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Nothing to fear

When swarms of robotic bees are deployed, just hunker down until the first software update, which will either totally disable them or make the Africanized organic sort seem positively benign. far more likely the former. (Always look on the bright side of life). Or, you know, stay in a mobile dead-zone.

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We all hate Word docs and PDFs, but have they ever led you to being hit with 32 indictments?

Mike 16
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Re: Well, you see, now there's the problem...

Movie Recommendation: "The Accountant" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2140479/

which covers this situation. The title character has many skills appropriate for his client base.

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That microchipped e-passport you've got? US border cops still can't verify the data in it

Mike 16
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But the other function works?

You know, the "Who in this crowd is from the USA?" one, to aid in targeting them.

Or should I say "Who in this crowd is from the USA _and_ dumb enough not to RF shield their passport and credit cards?"

And the digital signatures? I assume the private keys will be from Verisign.

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Winter is coming for AI. Fortunately, non-sci-fi definitions are actually doing worthwhile stuff

Mike 16
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"A few bricks shy of the moon"

Or roughly that, was what I heard Hubert Dreyfus say back in the early 1970s. Some of you cursed that name when you read it, some nodded in agreement, and most went "Whodat?".

Anyway, his point was that much of AI seemed to consist of grant proposals that were equivalent to someone stacking one brick atop another and noting that the height of the stack had doubled, thus "proving" that in only about 30 such steps the stack would reach the moon.

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I see you're writing a résumé?!.. LinkedIn parked in MS Word

Mike 16
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HR versus hiring managers.

A few data points:

I have gotten all my jobs since 1973 via word of mouth, and dropping a CV directly to the hiring manager. The job in 1970 I got by walking into a shop with a "Help Wanted" sign.

The VP of my most recent job confided that they got their best non-personal-referal candidates from a Craigslist ad. The well-advertised agencies were essentially worthless.

One job, the manager wanted to offer me a job but had to go through HR, who would only accept a CV in Word .doc format. For a diagnostics and Linux Drivers position. (OpenOffice export to the rescue)

As for leaving, I'd do it in a shot if I didn't have to pay for Premium just to message those of my contacts who I would actually want to keep, updating my actual email address. When did the ability to send messages become an extra-cost feature?

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A tiny Ohio village turned itself into a $3m speed-cam trap. Now it has to pay back the fines

Mike 16
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The usual practice

is to put the trap-cams on a stretch mainly used by tourists, not locals. Faced with paying $95 or traveling several hundred miles to fight it, the usual choice is to pay.

Just like "the accidental broom sale" is not generally tried on folks who know your birthday and the names of all your grandkids.

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As Facebook pushes yet more fake articles, one news editor tells Mark to get a grip – or Zuck off

Mike 16
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The irony...

So, this is from the editor of a (since 2000) Hearst newspaper. Yep, _that_ Hearst, co-inventor of "Yellow Journalism" and major sponsor of the Spanish-American war.

Not to say the Chronicle today follows that path, as I have not read it in years, but "What goes around, comes around"

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Super Cali's unrealistic net neutrality process – even though the sound of it is something quite... ferocious

Mike 16
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Re: Federal and State Law

Not so tongue in cheek. There's a movement to force all states to honor concealed-carry permits issued in any state. This could revitalize the economy in some states.

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Ignore that FBI. We're the real FBI, says the FBI that's totally the FBI

Mike 16
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Re: Arrests?

IIRC, Florida is the nexus for internet scams, sort of "The Detroit of Wire Fraud", but still a going concern.

Definitely "in jurisdiction".

Meanwhile, with the revolving door at the FBI, you just have to wait until someone who would do this sort of stuff is the head. I hear this guy is next in line.

And to those whose bank has never sent them email that looks very much like a phish: "Lucky You!"

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OK, who had 'Montana' in the net neutrality state pool? Congratulations

Mike 16
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Take there business where?

I have to imagine that Montana has even less competition among providers than, say, California. So, when the one provider decides to implement a "no s*it in the soup" surcharge, Who they gonna call?

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Firms pushing devices at teachers that let kids draw... on a screen? You BETT

Mike 16
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Art and Tech

Reminds me of the old joke:

It took Michelangelo nearly four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He could have done it over a long weekend if he'd used a power-fed roller.

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Today in bullsh*t AI PR: Computers learn to read as well as humans (no)

Mike 16
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Which border?

Sounds like the test would be a bit like Sister Mary Discipline, who would ding you (perhaps literally) for using a slightly different (but valid) word order, or even for not pausing the precise amount of time she associated with a comma in the One True Answer from the Catechism.

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Now Meltdown patches are making industrial control systems lurch

Mike 16
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Tailored Compilers?

I keep seeing variants of this, but I have to wonder how we get all the malware writers to use compilers that prevent code that exploits Meltdown (or Rowhammer, or various others over the years) from being developed. "When non-gimmicked compilers are outlawed..."

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Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

Mike 16
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Two options next to each other...

@ecofeco:

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I have used so many interfaces like this. To exact opposite commands right next to each other. Really bad design.

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And you forgot "Running on an OS or browser that regularly twitches the mouse pointer (or maybe shifts focus to an entirely different window) just as you click".

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Mike 16
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Re: time to shelve the development standards

Red Button/Blue Button?

And when you get a color-blind operator?

BTW: Has the news not percolated yet? They knew they had screwed up in about 3 minutes, but there was no "Oops, that was a mistake, stand down" message in the system, and they had to wake up a programmer to enter the text (and some sort of template, and maybe rebuild the message database...) before they could "publish". That took 15-30 minutes.

Yes, that totals to more than the numbers given in the article. Here in the US the times reported were 3 minutes to "Oops".. 38 minutes to "All clear" actually broadcast.

Maybe one of those "US using old-school minutes while UK uses metric?

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PC lab in remote leper colony had wrong cables, no licences, and not much hope

Mike 16
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Uses for AOL CDs

A friend made himself a nice suit of "fish scale" armor from his collection.

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Heart of darkness: Inside the Osówka underground city

Mike 16
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Speer got a waiver?

IIRC, the use of reinforced concrete was verboten for buildings of the Thousand Year Reich, as it made for ugly ruins after the thousand years (or, 5 years in our own world).

Or was that only for monumental government buildings?

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Teach citizens IoT dangers, engineering students cybersecurity, Uncle Sam suggests

Mike 16
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One request

Could any legislation mandating automatic mandatory updates also include a prohibition of extraneous changes whose purpose is solely to the detriment of the user and benefit of the vendor?

Of course legislatures are pretty good at ignoring their own rules (if any) about "No unrelated riders on must-pass laws", so if the regulated firms "do as government do, not as they say", we are in for bruising time.

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Trump backs push for bumpkin broadband with presidential orders

Mike 16
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Clever Plan

1) Define "broadband" in terms of "what average people in this area subscribe to". "If all they want" is 56Kbps up, 9000 up, then so be it.

2) Use the death of Net Neutrality to institute "Fast Lanes", So one can, for enough money (if you have to ask, you can't afford it", get "up to" 50Mbps down, 10 up (YMMV, and will probably be lower, just not as low as the schlub next door who can only afford $50/month for his standard line)

3) Profit! (for the monopoly-awarded cable company, plus some backhanders)

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Boffins use inkjets to print explosives

Mike 16
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Ebay, or Amazon? Re: This might not bode well

A friend ordered some fine Al powder for use in paint, and Amazon popped up that "People who bought this item also bought" Fine iron oxide powder. (They also suggested glassine envelopes and blue rock candy when he bought a hazmat suit just before All Souls day...)

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Woo-yay, Meltdown CPU fixes are here. Now, Spectre flaws will haunt tech industry for years

Mike 16
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Re: Insider trading

Sure, Martha did time, but if she had had the insight to transition to "Marty" she may not have been prosecuted at all.

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Qualcomm joins Intel, Apple, Arm, AMD in confirming its CPUs suffer hack bugs, too

Mike 16
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Last word from Apple?

IIRC, there was an announcement (or _reported_ announcement), that Apple would also patch previous versions of MacOS/OSX, back to the non-EOLed 10.11. Then that was removed/redacted/"never happened. Get with the program, Winston".

Are they (still) planning on doing that, someday, or does the Mac user who would rather not face the dumpster fire that has been the 10.13 rollout now face the choice of that or Meltdown/Spectre.

"Do you feel _lucky_?"

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the data centre temp's delightful

Mike 16
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Re: 100mph

(First off: Vincent, Hoorah! One customer of mine had a Comet, not even a Shadow or Prince, and I was mightily jealous )

Back when I was gainfully employed (in Silicon Valley), there were occasions it seemed that I would not hit 100 meters/hour on the "expressways".

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FBI tells Jo(e) Sixpack to become an expert in IoT security

Mike 16
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Pray they update?

And don't forget to pray that none of those updates don't introduce backdoors of their own.

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Los Angeles police tell drivers not to trust navigation apps as wildfires engulf area

Mike 16
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Re: Modern systems

There's your scenario for the 3rd version of "The Italian Job": Snarl traffic in Venice by hacking the system to claim the Grand Canal is on fire (Sadly believable, even if Benny Hill is unavailable to do the hacking)

As for Finland, this "Not a country" thing is obviously just the raving of someone disgruntled because when they looked for Tom's of Finland they ended up at Tom's of Maine (or maybe Tom's Hardware).

If there was no Finland, who was flying those Brewster Buffalos against the Soviets, with help from the Luftwaffe?

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Yes, Britain has an urban-rural 4G schism. This is what it looks like

Mike 16
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Thousands of British mobile sheds!

I came here to find out more about them, and why they are lighting something or other.

Sad.

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Something weird to deck the Xmas tree with: 3D-printed Wi-Fi baubles

Mike 16
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45bps?

Crikey! If they can up that by 1% they'll be able to communicate to a WWI (or older) Teletype(tm) machine.

(They are also nearly all mechanical)

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La La La, I can't hear you: FCC responds to net neut concerns

Mike 16
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Joke

We'll build a wall,

I beautiful wall, around these whiners' internet connection, And we will make them pay for it.

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Linus Torvalds 'sorry' for swearing, blames popularity of Linux itself

Mike 16
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Re: So drink wasn't involved then? - Drink isn't involved now!

More like anti-immigrant (Irish, Italian, German) fervor. "The right people" could get booze with no problems throughout. They could (and did) even get non-poisonous booze, unlike those who played whack-a-mole with the escalating "denaturant" efforts of the feds.

All of which strays a bit afield of the Linux developer discussion. Sorry.

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Baaa-d moooo-ve: Debian Linux depicts intimate cow-sheep action in ASCII artwork

Mike 16
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Over 18?

IIRC typical Penguin lifespan is 15-20 years. So that would have to be an elderly "actor" (model?)

OK, Tux himself was apparently "born" in 1996 (This is why we have Wikipedia, right?), so is beating the odds (or maybe something else in his classic seated pose, but it's hard to tell in typical ASCII-Art resolution)

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