* Posts by Def

1066 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

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That terrifying 'unfixable' Microsoft Skype security flaw: THE TRUTH

Def
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Unfixable Bugs

We've all seen those. Bugs that, at first sight, seem so embedded in the surrounding systems that nothing short of a nuclear explosion would shift them. We say as much to our bosses, many times (because they never listen the first time) and finally the message gets through and utimately someone puts out a press release or updates the original issue as Can't Fix.

Meanwhile the problem is eating away at our minds while we're munching on our cornflakes, and suddenly we realise that our first fears were completely unfounded, and a fix is a simple one-liner in a seemingly unrelated part of the code. We try it out, and lo and behold it works. Who would a thunk it? Job done. :)

(The more cynical reader might suggest we made the bug appear to be impossible to fix so that we could claim extra glory later on, but we don't do that. We're professionals. Honest, guv.)

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Arrrgh! Put down the crisps! 'Ultra-processed' foods linked to cancer!

Def
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Headmaster

Re: "containing a myriad of nutrients and food additives"

"A myriad of" is wrong, it's like saying "a seven of".

No, "a myriad of" is just fine. It uses the word myriad as a noun, meaning "an indefinitely great number".

When used as an adjective, myriad takes on the slightly different meaning "of an indefinitely great number".

Myriad was used as a noun at least 250 years before people started using it as an adjective.

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Magic Leap's staggering VR goggle technology just got even better!

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However, I do want to watch a 3D film on my coffee table (courtesy of Star Wars Chess game) - or like K's girlfriend in Bladerunner 2049, an external laser array of some description.

How would that work then, exactly?

How would you fit a scene showing, for example, someone standing on a roof top looking out over an entire city? Specifically, how would you fit the entire depth of view into a finite 3D space that works for everyone sat around trying to watch it?

I certainly don't want my dog to stick her nose through Leia's face, to pick an example, at an inopportune moment because she was bored.

Until they occupy an entire room and fully immerse you in the scene, holographic displays are going to be worse than 3DTVs. (And know I don't have to remind you how God awful they were.) And even when they do occupy an entire room, I'm not sure how I would feel about my sofa (and coffee table) floating through space (if it were a Chesterfield, it'd be a different story, but, sadly, it's not) with me hanging on for dear life.

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Microsoft whips out tool so you can measure Windows 10's data-slurping creepiness

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which is the ridiculous update schedule

That can be annoying, yes. But you can also pause updates on a machine for up to 35 days at a time. Which is what I do on nearly all my machines now.

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US govt shutdown lobs spanner in SpaceX's Falcon Heavy launch

Def
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WTF?

Re: Long live marketing

Falcon Heavy: 63.8 tons to LEO

Energia: 100 tons to LEO

Saturn V: 140 tons to LEO

I'm launching (quite literally) my own rocket next year. It'll have the capability to lift 1 MEEELLION nano-tonnes to the top of my Uncle Leo's shed roof, and will be powered by blockchain rockets.

(Sorry, this stinking cold has affected my humour gland. Normal service will be resumed shortly - just as soon as I figure out what normal is.)

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'Mummy, what's felching?' Tot gets smut served by Android app

Def
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Unhappy

Re: I learned a new word today...

...and I really wish I hadn't.

On the bright side, not having an appetite ever again should cut down on grocery bills.

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Facebook gives its 007s license to kill M, its not particularly intelligent AI

Def
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Re: Private company, private reasons

Facebook isn't a private company. It's publicly traded on NASDAQ.

And as such will have an obligation to its shareholders to disclose exactly how much money was burned though and how many resources were utilised (burned out?) in this experiment.

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You GNOME it: Windows and Apple devs get a compelling reason to turn to Linux

Def
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Re: lack of good tools for GUI development

...integrated gdb debugging...

This is why Linux will never succeed in developer's eyes. The Visual Studio debugger is light years ahead of GDB in every way possible. And has been for decades.

A lot of the problems can't be solved by just getting rid of GDB either. The whole Linux subsystem (specifically how it approaches debug symbols and core dumps) needs to be thrown away and rewritten by someone who knows what they're doing. (Which will never happen - so basically on Linux you're always going to be stuck with shitty AT&T assembler syntax and whatever crappy UI has been slapped over GDB that implements a quarter of the useful functionality badly, and gives you a terminal window for all the shit the developers of said UI didn't understand or couldn't be bothered to implement.)

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Proposed Brit law to ban b**tards brandishing bots to bulk-buy tickets

Def
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Re: Handling charges

Last time I printed my own ticket there was a $2 handling fee and a $5 ticket printing fee.

I'd get your lawyer to send them a nice invoice for the printing fee (and other associated costs, of course). See what they have to say about that.

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Google asks browser rival Vivaldi to post uninstall instructions

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Re: Uninstall Instructions

2004 called, it wants its burn back.

Do you irony much?

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Def
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Joke

Re: Uninstall Instructions

What's a 'windows'?

It's what you use to do real work when you get bored of compiling kernels.

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Def
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Re: another 'Google is Evil' example

I used to like that way of searching where you search by asking a question

You can do that on pretty much any search engine though. I don't recall Ask Jeeves being particularly good at either recognising or answering said question accurately. Certainly no more so than Google is today that warrants me missing it.

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UK reaches peak Bitcoin as bin firm accepts cryptocurrency

Def
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Coat

Repeating sucks.

Repeating sucks.

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Microsoft's 'Surface Phone' is the ghost of Courier laughing mockingly at fanbois

Def
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Thumb Down

Scraping the bottom of the barrel today aren't we, Andrew?

The patent is for a hinge. No mention was given about actual uses.

It does allow, however, a device with two screens, for example, to be closed flat with either the screens on the inside, or the outside. Or positioned fairly sturdily at any angle in between. So while, yes, it could be used for a folding phone, it could equally be used on any device up to and including tablets, laptops with touch keyboards, etc.

Presumably Microsoft *do* have some products in mind for this, but let's wait until they're announced, eh?

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Engineer named Jason told to re-write the calendar

Def
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Re: JSON?

I once came across a Norbert on a course.

I've heard about those sorts of courses. ;)

On a side note, a good Hungarian friend of mine is called Norbert. I don't think he goes to many courses any more.

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Def
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Pint

Re: July and August must Go!

@Naselus

It is far too early in the year for this level of accurate and interesting information on a Friday morning.

Keep it up, please!

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Language bugs infest downstream software, fuzzer finds

Def
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Joke

Re: but... will anyone learn from this?

Once upon a time I was able to properly test my code before it got anywhere near the users.

Now with all these automated testing tools and test cases and all the rest, have we actually improved the quality of what gets shoved out the door?

There are days (like today when I look out at the snow covered landscape) when I really have my doubts.

Did you really just accept responsibility for snowy weather?

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Japanese quadcopter makes overworked employees clock out

Def
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Re: I can save them $4,500 per month

I think investing in office chairs with a huge retractable spike in the seat that *slowly* rises up when it's time to leave should also be considered.

And any employees still seated with large smiles on their faces should be politely escorted to the nearest singles bar.

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

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FAIL

Re: So?

Yeah, really. The subheading for this article might as well have read: Jealous, middle aged reporter fails to understand popular culture.

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Nokia 8: As pure as the driven Android - it's a classy return

Def
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Re: Nokia 925 is still my favourite phone

The 950 sat next to me now, however - I would tell it to go die in a hole somewhere, but it's already done that. Hardware is fine, the software is broken now;

*Currently restarting randomly and repeatedly

*turns off for no reason at all

*sometimes requires restart for Bluetooth to work

Actually, all those points suggest there's probably something wrong with the hardware. My 950 does none of those things.

You might want to check the Sim holder though, which is something Lumia phones unfortunately inherited from Nokia. I have never had a Nokia or Lumia phone that didn't work a whole lot better with a piece of folded up paper shoved into the Sim socket with the Sim card to push it harder onto the contacts in the phone.

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Get ready for laptop-tab-smartphone threesomes from Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, Asus, Qualcomm

Def
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Re: More crap for the e-waste facilities?

Don't forget that EU+EEA based operators have to offer free roaming across all member states these days, so not having to rely on shitty hotel wifi (hello, Spain and Sweden) is only a good thing.

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Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Siemens tease electric flight engine project

Def
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Re: Milton "powered by batteries and an onboard generator using jet fuel"

A more sceptical mind might note the presence of Airbus and jump to the conclusion this is more EU protectionism/funding being passed off as "scientific investment".

Because Boeing never received any handouts from the US government in the past. And they most certainly didn't have Concorde banned from flying over the continental United States because their supersonic projects crashed and burned long before they even got off the ground. (They probably didn't directly, but I wonder whether that ban would have been pushed so aggressively if it had been a Boeing supersonic aircraft flying from coast to coast.)

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Military test centre for frikkin' laser cannon opens in Hampshire

Def
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Re: Perfect climate

What it actually means is an effective counter measure will be a 80s-pop-video fog-machine, and possibly a glitter-ball to reflect any energy that manages to make it through the fog.

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Devs working to stop Go math error bugging crypto software

Def
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Re: So who uses Go for their crypto?

The primary Ethereum platform is written in Go.

Presumably because buzzwords beget more buzz. Or something.

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'Urgent data corruption issue' destroys filesystems in Linux 4.14

Def
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Re: Slackware-current ...

But without the dancing, high-fives and vacuous expressions...

He said Windows, not MacOS.

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Microsoft's memory randomization security defense is a little busted in Windows 8, 10

Def
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Re: yet ANOTHER reason

I'm keeping my boss on Windows ME "for security reasons"

Presumably you mean your job security.

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Def
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Would it really have been too much trouble to use clear and obvious variable names and values?

Well that's not really anything to do with Microsoft as an organisation. That's just programmers being programmers. I don't think you would honestly argue that key/value pairs in configuration files are named any better.

Generally speaking though the broad branches are named reasonably consistently:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/<company_name>/<application_name>/<version>/...

...is fairly common for most applications. Once you get below that, of course, you're at the mercy of programmers who are too busy dealing with cache invalidation and off by one errors to worry about naming things correctly.

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Def
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It's made worse by the fact that regedit is so limited... it still doesn't even support copy+paste, searches limited to a key...

I get the feeling the last time you looked at RegEdit was in 1995.

Searches can be restricted to Keys, Values, or Data. There's even an option to only match whole strings.

There's an address bar these days too that makes it easier to copy/paste paths from another source to quickly find the item(s) being referred to.

Not sure why you would want to copy and paste keys, values, or data around. They're rarely commutable from one location to another.

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Level 5 driverless cars by 2021 can be done, say Brit industry folk

Def
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If you can do trains which are on tracks then some of what you learn from that can be transferred to cars.

We can.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system has had fully automated trains since day one (first passengers were carried in 1972). Each train does still have an operator on board whose job is to control the doors and keep an eye out for obstructions on the track. Everything else is completely automated, and let's be honest, auto-closing doors aren't exactly rocket science either.

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Back to the Fuchsia: The next 10 years of Android

Def
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Re: Fix the Android IDE !

Only Visual Studio could survive being backed by the whole Microsoft.

Beyond the community editions (which themselves are a fairly recent development) Visual Studio isn't free though. Back in the day, Visual Studio won simply by being much better than the competition.

As it happens, Visual Studio *is* the competition for Android Studio (and xcode) - at least if you're using Xamarin or Unity. But Google have the market share (gained by giving stuff away almost for free) and developers have been forced to put up with their shit up until now, so why should they care about improving things? Sad.

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Def
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Re: Fix the Android IDE !

I disagree. Visual Studio from 20 years ago was still better than Android Studio is today. (In some respects Visual Studio from 20 years ago is better than Visual Studio today, but I digress...)

Part of this problem is the fact that it's Linux sitting underneath the Java layer. Linux development tools are still woefully inadequate compared to Visual Studio today. I'm not saying Visual Studio is perfect - it's far from it. But it is still light years ahead of anything else out there. Especially where debugging is concerned. (And cue Linux fan boy downvoters... Truth hurts sometimes, huh? ;)

I've heard it rumoured that Android Studio 3 is better than 2, but to be honest, I try to avoid working on Android if at all possible these days. Our engine is cross platform (iOS, tvOS, MacOS, Android, Windows) so most of the time I can happily work in Visual Studio. (XCode isn't much better than Android Studio most of the time.)

The one thing that concerns me is Fuschia is supposedly written in C, C++, Dart, Go, Python, and Rust. Which immediately suggests to me that the supplied IDE is going be another mish mash of bullshit cobbled together into something that nearly but not quite completely fails to work adequately most of the time.

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Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

Def
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Re: Meanwhile in sunny (it rained last night) California..

They used to use a similar system in Norway until about six years ago. Now it's all done electronically.

Unlike the UK though the government here doesn't send out a reminder every year, they simply send out a bill instead (electronically appearing straight in your online banking system with an email notification, of course). Don't pay, and it's processed the same as any other bill: reminders with interest, and then (I presume) a court summons.

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Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

Def
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Re: fast forward.

More people are in employment now that any time in history.

Technically you might be correct, but I would argue a lot of those jobs are jobs for the sake of jobs. But I think the chances of that continuing is becoming less and less likely as a consequence of the things that are now being automated today and in the near future. The number of manufacturing jobs in the US peaked in 1979, for example. How many taxi or bus or goods drivers will be on the roads in 30 years time?

Re: Shitty jobs

Why wouldn't these be automated?

The one people can't see happening any time soon is caring for others. But to be honest, I'd rather have a robot look after me than some snotty nosed cunt who doesn't give a shit about me or my needs.

Imagine a lot of fault bridges collapsing and killing a lot of people.

Which is why I said "structurally viable". All architects and designers today have software that will tell them where stresses are and whether a building is structurally sound or not - and what its breaking points are. Why do you think that would suddenly not exist? Or in an automated society, why would you assume such things would be allowed to be built in the first place.

You are perfectly free right now to set up your own game company and be your own boss. Maybe the reason you don't is because, like me, as much as you bitch about your employers ripping you off, you really don't want the hassle, extra work and risk that comes with it.

Actually, I don't want to be worrying about money. I know a lot of friends who've set up their own companies who have struggled (and continue to struggle) financially, or ultimately failed because they were unable to get financial support in the first place, or their products failed because an investor or publisher forced them to release too early simply to make up the numbers on their books. I have my own company already for personal software projects, but it's only a part time affair for me right now. It may never amount to anything more than that, which is fine. My point was that if I were financially unburdened I would still do what I enjoy doing which is solving problems, experimenting and trying new things out, and developing software that other people find useful or enjoy.

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Def
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Re: fast forward.

But consider 100 years in the future. Where will the UBI come from then? What will the citizens of 2117 be getting. And more importantly, what about the families that have known nothing except getting all their money from the state for as long as any of them can remember - what will they be like?

You're not thinking this through logically in my opinion.

As we move to an ever more automated manufacturing base, real jobs will become scarcer. This has been going on for some time and is simply accelerating all the time. At some point in the (probably not too distant) future almost all products will be produced by robots or by automated factories of some description. All raw materials will similarly be extracted/sourced by robots and transported automatically. All infrastructure will be built and maintained in a similar fashion.

And when that happens, money as we know it will become obsolete. I see UBI merely as a stop-gap measure along this path.

As for people, I think you also underestimate humanity's drive and curiosity. The vast majority of people would want to (and would be able to) do things that they enjoy as opposed to being forced into what is essentially modern day slavery for most employees.

For some people, their contribution to society will be artistic in nature. Imagine a future where anyone can submit a structurally viable design for a new bridge (for example) and have the local residents vote on the one they like the most before it is built. For others, who knows what possibilities the future could bring?

I used to make games for a living. I would like to do that some more - but with the knowledge that I'm not being ripped off and exploited by an industry that treats employees like shit. I would like to get better at carpentry. I would like to have the time to fix things on my house - maybe turn the land into something that resembles a garden. I would like to have the time to travel more. I want to have the time to socialise with my friends more. If I were born several hundred years from now, I might want to explore new worlds. Don't get me wrong, I also want to be able to enjoy my free time and party like crazy, but not all the time.

Of course some people will want to waste away their lives getting high and inspecting their navels. But if that's what they want to do, who are we to discourage that? ;)

Addendum:

Education shouldn't change too much I wouldn't have thought. Although if we had a fewer art-history majors that wouldn't be a bad thing.

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Pastry in a manger: We're soz, Greggs man said

Def
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Joke

Re: While we're on the subject of outrage...

I always thought Greggs was the breed of cloned animals they put in their pies.

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Def
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Re: Spineless of them to give in

...if Coke can get away with dressing St. Nicholas in corporate red & white...

"Images of Santa Claus were further popularized through Haddon Sundblom's depiction of him for The Coca-Cola Company's Christmas advertising in the 1930s. The popularity of the image spawned urban legends that Santa Claus was invented by The Coca-Cola Company or that Santa wears red and white because they are the colours used to promote the Coca-Cola brand. Historically, Coca-Cola was not the first soft drink company to utilize the modern image of Santa Claus in its advertising—White Rock Beverages had already used a red and white Santa to sell mineral water in 1915 and then in advertisements for its ginger ale in 1923. Earlier still, Santa Claus had appeared dressed in red and white and essentially in his current form on several covers of Puck magazine in the first few years of the 20th century."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Claus#20th_century

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Windows on ARM: It's nearly here (again)

Def
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...current x86/x64 chips decode the instructions into smaller chunks, and that the native silicon actually runs a simplified instruction set...

Yes, they essentially do. You wouldn't believe the things modern Intel processors go through to support the x86 instruction set.

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Def
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Windows and Universal Apps will be running natively.

It's only legacy applications that'll be sandboxed into thinking they're running on x86.

In a way, I imagine this is not much different to shoehorning 32-bit apps into 64-bit Windows.

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80-year-old cyclist killed in prang with Tesla Model S

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Lardarse+bicycle weight rarely exceeds 130kg

FTFY.

I weigh around six times as much as my bike, which gives us a combined weight of around 83kg on a slow* day.

* You know what I mean. ;)

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Parity calamity! Wallet code bug destroys $280m in Ethereum

Def
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Re: Any grownups?

I've been playing around with Ethereum recently, and am totally unsurprised about this.

Their core software is ropey as fuck, with more bugs than features. You look at their github issue list and how they're being dealt with (or not in most cases) and you really have to wonder who the fuck is in charge.

The fact their main platform is written in Go says a lot too. You get the impression they're more interested in buzzword languages than they are in creating a serious platform.

Which is a shame because despite all this, Ethereum is an interesting idea that could do very well. With a little adult supervision.

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ATM fees shake-up may push Britain towards cashless society

Def
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Re: £50's

My butler always hands me my wallet of freshly ironed £50s as he opens the door for me on my way out in the morning.

Ironing and taking care of your wallet? If your butler doesn't have enough to do in the dining room, maybe you should consider getting that wine cellar expanded. While I admit it's not something you should really be worrying about, I would have assumed that one of the house staff would be giving the freshly starched and ironed £50 notes to your valet to take care of. A gentleman certainly shouldn't be tasked with carrying money around on his person. What a dreadful thought.

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Over a million Android users fooled by fake WhatsApp app in official Google Play Store

Def
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Coat

Re: Unsafe by design

...allow the programmer to enter your apartment at night and put their balls in your mouth...

If this is a common occurrence for you, I can see why you might feel the need for a flash-light app now.

Either that or you should stop dating programmers. :D

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Subsidy-guzzling Tesla's Model 3 volumes a huge problem – Wall St man

Def
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Headmaster

Re: Electricity always flow toward ground

...those unproductive hours spent charging...

Unlike filling a traditional car, you don't have to stand around like a chump waiting for an EV to charge. You can just go and do other things instead.

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Osama Bin Laden had copy of Resident Evil, smut, in compound

Def
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Facepalm

Re: Enough!

...confirmed he died... in late 2001...

So all those verifiable videos featuring him referencing recent events of the time released after that date are fake news, huh?

Seriously, discard your tin foil hat and go and get some fresh air.

This is past ridiculous.

I couldn't agree more.

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Simon's Cat app rapped for random 'racy' advert

Def
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Re: Wish.com

I've never heard of it, so I figured I'd go and check it out...

...only to find out I can only browse products after I've logged in.

Fuck that bullshit.

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Hey, you know why it's called the iPhone X? When you see Apple's repair bill, your response will be X-rated

Def
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Re: And now for something completely different:

Presumably because, as with most bugs, no-one's noticed it before.

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Def
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Re: And now for something completely different:

That was my point about the web server washing out the colours. The original image actually looks okay, but when you get the web server to provide a smaller version it washes out the colours.

Certainly a lot more than a regular bilinear or bicubic resampling process does.

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Def
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Re: And now for something completely different:

Your article has nice black type. Then you put in a list of repair costs, and it is pale grey.

You do know what an image is, right?

That said, the El Reg web server seems to be at fault here. Its resampling algorithm (invoked when passing ?x=...&y=... in the URL is washing out the colours for some reason.

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The UK's super duper 1,000mph car is being tested in Cornwall

Def
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Re: Love them

...however on your definition they fail on two counts...

Not my definition. That's what the dictionary says.

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