* Posts by Tom 38

3138 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

You're all too skeptical of super-duper self-driving cars, apparently

Tom 38
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Re: 35,000 per year! Sounds like a full on war...

In my experience, drink driving is ridiculously tolerated in the US, whilst it has been almost eradicated in the UK. In Georgia, for instance, your first DUI has a 90 day license suspension - compare to the UK, minimum 1 year ban.

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Tom 38
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Re: Lesser of two evils?

Why not a 40 year old with over 20 years of driving experience? Presumably because the latter is a much better driver

Supposition much? How old do you think those wankers tailgating in BMWs are?

The biggest benefit to fully automated road transportation would be the higher throughput that would be achievable on the roads. This will be particularly noticeable in traffic jams or road works, where a lot of the slow down is due to driver uncertainty of what to do.

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Europe-wide BitTorrent indexer blockade looms after Pirate Bay blow

Tom 38
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Angel

Re: Don't shoot the messenger

TPB themselves deliberately and methodically categorize, index and filter records

Oh really, they do? How many staff do TPB have doing this do you think? Oh, they don't have staff? The categorisation and flagging is done by users of the platform? Oh my!

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Don't touch that mail! London uni fears '0-day' used to cram network with ransomware

Tom 38
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Meh

Wouldn't have happened in my day

My first uni (Warwick 98), in order to get access to your email, first you rebooted the Windows PC in the lab to a DOS terminal emulator, which then allowed you to log in to one of the servers and run pine.

This wasn't just CompSci students - everyone had to get email like this. Very weird seeing all these 'regular' people tapping away in consoles, and suddenly being slightly in demand as the guy who can get your email back working again by typing "pine" in the shell after they quit accidentally.

If only people today would reward me for fixing IT issues with alcohol and vague promises of sexual encounters. Actually, considering the people I work with now, I'd be OK with just the alcohol.

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Labour says it will vote against DUP's proposed TV Licence reforms

Tom 38
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Re: Speaking from NZ

It's not that hard, a 1 metre dish works fine in the south of France.

When its not raining, or the wind blows, then yes, you can pick up the UK beam in the closest neighbouring country to us. Shocker. Try in the south of Spain, or Croatia, or Greece. It's as geofenced as is possible with the technology available.

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Tom 38
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Re: Speaking from NZ

If they were really worried about viewing outside of the licensed regions they would shut down the broadcast of their transmissions via satellite.

As would Sky.

Sky and BBC already do, they transmit from Astra 28.2 2{E,F,G} using a narrow UK targeted beam precisely to achieve this. Every channel broadcast on Freeview is broadcast using the UK beam, which makes it much harder to pick up in Europe now - you need a big dish, and no bad weather.

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Atlassian wants you to put all your eggs in one Bitbucket and beyond

Tom 38
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Re: Atlassian a mixed bag

Every morning I go to check the status of my reviews in Fisheye, and forget that before reloading the page I need to view, I have to open the Fisheye homepage so that it logs me in.

Unsurprisingly, they have an SSO system for logging in to their different sites, but for some reason Fisheye doesn't track what resource you were trying to access and just dumps you on the frontpage.

I have to fix bugs like that on my system, but apparently they don't...

JIRA is good, but some of the other stuff is very meh. I guess it is a rush to ensure that they can tick all the checkboxes as a suite, and that the shittier offerings will improve over time.

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Australian border cops say they've cracked 'dark net' drug sales

Tom 38
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Re: What's all this then?

Install Tor Browser

Follow links

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Teen texted boyfriend to kill himself. It worked. Will the law change to deal with digital reality?

Tom 38
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Re: it's a crime to let somebody die if you could have prevented their demise.

Even without a specific suicide law prohibiting it, this would fall squarely under Reckless Endangerment/Culpable Negligence: "conduct that is wrong and reckless or wanton, likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm to another person"

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Cloud VMs without sane firewalls is nutty, right? Digital Ocean agrees

Tom 38
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Like what? If we're running an remotely accessible service on a VM, its because something remote needs to access it. Remote as in "another device on this network", not as in "any internet accessible device".

Eg, on our web worker VMs there is just one remotely accessible service, sshd. On our DB servers, sshd and mysqld/postgres. Externally, the only ways to interact with our web cluster is via HTTP, first via Akamai and ELB, then to a trivial interface server, which turns requests in to messages that are then received by the web workers, processed in to responses and returned to the interface server, which returns them to the web client.

A malicious user could (theoretically) attack ELB or our interface server, but if they can cause a programming error in *our* code, it is extremely difficult to turn that in to an exploitable error, as there is no return channel connected to the malicious user.

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Tom 38
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With our EC2 routing rules, (almost) all our cloud servers aren't addressable from the internet, they get an internal private address and we have a VPN connecting in to them. Anything that the public need to get out is provided by ELB (Elastic Load Balancer) talking to our internal cloud servers.

I don't really get why anyone would do it differently than this.

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'My PC needs to lose weight' says user with FAT filesystem

Tom 38
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Re: IHTFP

Permanent marker on whiteboards: write over it with non permanent marker, rub both off with wiper.

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Tom 38
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Re: Windows 98

AAh, econet :)

Was fun the year we found that

a) you logged your device in to the network

b) your network ID was how that was identified

c) you could POKE a new network ID on to your machine

d) nothing checked or verified the new address as long as no conflicts

So, the game went like this. Person A goes to sysadmin to "check their quota". He logs in to his operator account. Person B distracts sysadmin. Person C checks network addresses, switches his network address to the operator, and grants larger quotas to A,B and C.

Was all fun and games until we realized we allocated 400MB space on a 80MB disk.Then we got BUSTED :/

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Goodness gracious, great Chinese 'Fireball' malware infects 250m systems worldwide

Tom 38
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Devil's advocate

How is this different to, say, AVG|Google|Yahoo|... Toolbar?

* Hijacks your browser? ✓

* Redirects search traffic to own servers to increase ad revenue? ✓

* Side-installed alongside a desired program? ✓

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Tech industry thumps Trump's rump over decision to leave Paris climate agreement

Tom 38
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Re: Not as bad as it appears

Irrelevant. The US never ratified the treaty. Trump is simply saying he never will.

So why did he pick, to the day, the first day that he could cancel it under the agreement?

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Tom 38
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Re: Not as bad as it appears

It looks like Trump pulled out in a half-hearted way to placate his base, but the timeline for pulling out that extends until the day after the next election seems to indicate his daughter was more successful in talking him out of it than Rush and his other cronies would have liked. If he was really pulling out of Paris, it would have been effective immediately, not 3 1/2 years from now.

Nice thing about agreements, people have to go along with what was agreed with, or people won't bother going along with the other things they've agreed on.

The Paris agreement, amongst other things, put in place a policy for people who want to leave the agreement. They cannot do it at all within the first three years of the agreement, and it takes a year from giving notice to leave before you have actually left. He has actually left at the earliest possible moment.

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Crapness of WannaCrypt coding offers hope for ransomware victims

Tom 38
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He's too new, you need 100+ posts* to use HTML, and he's got 4.

* Numbers pulled from nowhere

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BT considers scrapping 'gold-plated' pensions in bid to plug £14bn deficit

Tom 38
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Re: Much like my pension, which I'll likely never get.

The country as a whole needs to take pension funding more seriously, for starters they should NEVER be allowed to run in deficit.

It's not that simple though. The deficit of a pension fund is the difference between their assets and their potential exposure, but the potential exposure doesn't only depend on the number of subscribers, but also on the current annuity rates. During times of low growth, like now, interest rates are very low and consequently annuities cost significantly more than they would at other points in time. Put another way, the only thing keeping BT's fund in deficit is that interest rates are historically low.

So, do we need to fund our pension funds to be larger than their maximal potential exposure (like now)? Will everyone enrolled in that scheme retire during this low interest rate period, or will their annuities be bought when much cheaper?

Requiring all pension funds to never be in deficit would require that pension funds would have to be much much larger, in order to account for these low interest periods, whilst still providing the same benefits.

This inevitably means that pensions will cost more, but who should pay this? If it is the employee who is still working that is paying in extra to reduce the benefit, this is massively unfair. They are paying because the previous pool of employees, despite intentions, failed to put aside enough money to fund their desired pension benefits.

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I'll take the sandtrooper in white: Meet the rebel scum making Star Wars armour sets for a living

Tom 38
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Re: Skinnytroopers

Skinny by 1990's standards would to be fair probably have been considered practically morbidly obese in ...

Blahblah. 110lbs is less than 50kg, or 7st 12lb, BMI* of 15 or "very severely underweight". I know you only ate coal and lived in a shoebox in the 70s, and kids today don't know how good they got it, but no storm trooper was 110lb.

* Oh god, I mentioned BMI. Any chance of avoiding the 70 replies saying how BMI is meaningless and just wrong for you and agree that a BMI of 15 is inconceivably low for a storm trooper. I'm sure your BMI of 30 is all muscle and that you are very tall, you don't need to explain.

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Wannacry: Everything you still need to know because there were so many unanswered Qs

Tom 38
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Re: Great analysis - thanks

Because you are running custom software that's incredibly picky about OS versions[1] and patches? Because you don't have anyone that knows about WSUS or SCCM? Becuase your CxO doesn't give you any budget for anything other than getting their team the latest and greatest and certainly not for wasting time fiddling about with servers?

All of those are valid explanations why an individual techie working at an afflicted organization might not have applied the fix that would have prevented this.

None of them are valid explanations as to why an organization allows their technology to be so poorly maintained. None of them explain why CTOs across the country are not getting canned for failing to ensure business continuity.

I've no problem with people getting paid big money for CxO roles, but together with the money comes the responsibility; if you are the CTO of a hospital trust, and your policies on patching desktops led to surgeries getting cancelled, you should be cancelled.

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After stiffing us with Trump, Weiner 'fesses to underage cock shot rot

Tom 38
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Re: Guys - we've covered this before

Bet you also think the ladies don't fart or look at porn..

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Wow, someone managed to make money on Fitbit stock – oh, 'fraudulently'

Tom 38
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Meh

Re: Glad we're catching the top crooks

So if someone steal your four years old Honda, instead of a new Ferrari, it's worthless to jail and prosecute it?

Aha, so you've experienced London's finest too..

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Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking?

Tom 38
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Don't get a OnePlus 3T!

Well, you can if you want, its just that they are currently discounting and selling off 3T stock in preparation for OnePlus 5 arriving soon, damn soon.

Having said that, you can almost buy two OnePlus 3Ts for the price of this Samsung, it's just pissing money away.

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US judges say you can Google Google, but you can't google Google

Tom 38
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Re: Really?

Hover hoovers suck though

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Google DeepMind's use of 1.6m Brits' medical records to test app was 'legally inappropriate'

Tom 38
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Re: Streams is showing real patient benefits.

"the company has no obligation whatsoever" - apart from the law, the contract they signed, etc etc..

So, this article is about them not following their contract. They were supposed to use the data to train and discard it. They are now running a service using that data.

Ignore whether it is a good or a bad thing; evidently they are not following their contract now so what happens in the future?

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Tom 38
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Trollface

Re: Streams is showing real patient benefits.

But what if it saves a CHILD'S LIFE?!

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Comey was loathed by the left, reviled by the right – must have been doing something right

Tom 38
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Re: infuriated those people who know a thing or six about encryption

If he had said "I accidentally found a kill switch but I will wait few weeks to provide details" we could accept this as part of responsible disclosure, and it would have given the rest of the world a week to plug the holes

So now we are expected to maintain responsible disclosure for malware now? What, in your mind, is the acceptable amount of time to wait before deciding that ivan@shadowbrokers just isn't going to respond and push out a fixed version of the malware before we disclose it?

Any semantic algorithmic flaw like this in malware should be discussed widely and openly, because either the code may be reused in other malware, or might be written from scratch with the same semantic flaw.

The only flaw that needs to be plugged is the one in Windows; MS released the patch in March, the vulnerability was disclosed in April, and now in May people who don't patch their systems are crying.

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Japanese researchers spin up toilet paper gyroscopes for science

Tom 38
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Re: This is hilarious

Boss: Why aren't you working yet? It's after 11!

Me: Well, I had a bacon and egg roll when I got in, but I'm still stuck trying to log in

It's like I stopped maturing at age 9

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For now, GNU GPL is an enforceable contract, says US federal judge

Tom 38
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Re: Double edge

The $150,000 per violation is actually _per work_. So it would have to be paid _once_.

Once for gs. Lets hope they didn't also build all those separate works of dvipdf, eps2eps, font2c, ghostscript, gsbj, gsdj, gsdj500, gslj, gslp, gsnd, lprsetup.sh, pdf2dsc, pdf2ps, pf2afm, pfbtopfa, pphs, printafm, ps2ascii, ps2epsi, ps2pdf, ps2pdf12, ps2pdf13, ps2pdf14, ps2pdfwr, ps2ps, ps2ps2 and wftopfa.

Isn't a software package with 20 programs in it the same as an album with 20 songs on it?

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All that free music on YouTube is good for you, Google tells music biz

Tom 38
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Joke

I think taxes on "the means of reproduction" are universally unpopular. Badda-boom-tish.

In the UK there used to be a tax on blank tapes for the same reason (thankfully gone), and the US has it for any CD-R that is explicitly marketed as being for audio (3% levy), but not for "data" ones, which is why there are no audio branded CD-Rs in the US.

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Tom 38
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I also don't think the UGC argument would work if you were making money off it.

The only people who don't make money off Youtube are those who originally produce the content. Everyone else makes out like bandits*.

*Just how do bandits make out though? Do they shave their stubble first?

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

Tom 38
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@Mad Mike (the PS)

Well... Jeremy Corbyn promised to "democratise the internet" in his Digital Manifesto.

Technically the internet is already democratic - its where the demos (people) are.

It's worse if you take the original Greek meaning, as it means "people of a city state". Ho ho ho.

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Tom 38
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Re: Completely scrapping ADSL then

I'd also be surprised given how much money we currently bung at the railways to fund stagecoaches' sharholders - we couldn't provide the same service re-nationalising it at the same cost to the taxpayer.

Essentially, this is the main difference between voting Tory and voting Labour:

Tories believe that government is bad at running businesses because of inefficiency and bureaucracy, and that private enterprise, even if it has to be partly subsidised, will produce a higher quality of service at a cheaper price.

Labour believe that private enterprise is bad at running businesses because they are profit focused and exploit both their workers and their customers. They believe that any profits from these activities should go towards the exchequer and not private individuals, and that government funded investment will keep those businesses up to date.

If you look at Labour's (draft) manifesto, this is what they are proposing for almost everything. You can't mandate mobile coverage or broadband provision without directly controlling the enterprises that make that provision.

I don't think either are particularly right, but I remember how the trains, telecoms and power were when run by the government, not sure I'd like to go back to that.

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Facebook is abusive. It's time to divorce it

Tom 38
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Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

I refuse to use any service which tries to treats me as a product, this is especially bad when by widely used business networking sites, like linkin, and many lazy retail sites!

But interestingly, you still read The Register. We're the products here, nice literate well educated professionals with disposable income ready to be advertised to.

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Republicans go all Braveheart again with anti-net neutrality bill

Tom 38
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Facepalm

Re: And I saw you put your tongue --

The new meaning of "bi-partisan" in use today means "Republican Party and Freedom Caucus"

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'I feel violated': Engineer who pointed out traffic signals flaw fined for 'unlicensed engineering'

Tom 38
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As pointed out previously in comments, in the UK engineering is not a licensed profession. Engineers here bang on about the fact that doctors and lawyers are licensed while engineering is not.

Not licensed? If you want to build many things in the UK, the design must be approved by someone who is a Certified Engineer in order to not fall foul of Building Standards

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Tom 38
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@fruitoftheloon

Professional standards bodies help ensure professional standards. I'm glad the roads that I use are designed by a MICE, that my GP is regulated by the GMC, my hospital consultant an MRCP, my surgeon is a FRCS...

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Linux Mint-using terror nerd awaits sentence for training Islamic State

Tom 38
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Re: USB cufflinks.

The cufflinks are cool, I have a set from Amazon from Chinese sellers, £4 each. Weirdly, they were sold by drive unit rather than as a pair of cufflinks. They didn't mention that in the description, so it meant that after waiting a month for the first to show up, I had to wait another month for the matching one to be delivered!

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It's a question worth asking: Why is the FCC boss being such a jerk?

Tom 38
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Re: Net not-so-neutral-ality?

The newer argument is that Netflix and Google will have to pay for the enormous bandwidth they use

This is what happens if you drink the KoolAid; Netflix already pay for their own bandwidth, the ISPs would also like them to pay for the ISPs bandwidth that is used by the ISPs users using Netflix.

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Tom 38
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FAIL

I would suggest the BBC if you require to vent about the left wing liberal media.

Ah, good old "biased BBC". The best thing you can say about the bias at the BBC is that the Left think Aunty is biased to the Right, the Right think she is biased to the Left, and the Liberals think they are ignored.

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systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

Tom 38
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Re: They missed a trick

djb and Poettering are very different. djb is an exceptionally smart cryptographer that no distro trusts, and Poettering is an exceptionally naive developer that every distro trusts.

The only similarity between the two is that they both have the firmly held belief that they are right; when it comes to security, I'm inclined to trust djb on that regard.

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That apple.com link you clicked on? Yeah, it's actually Russian

Tom 38
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Re: an easy fix for firefox

Obviously another solution will need to be found for them, but English speakers are likely to be the target of the vast majority of hijacking attempts that use punycode domains masquerading as real ones.

No, you are only thinking of the problems that an anglophone will encounter from homographic IDN attacks, it is still a form of colonialism.

You haven't considered that due to our earlier anglophone-only internet, most of those non english speakers will actually be using a lot of domains that have english domain names, for instance paypal, google, mpay and so on. A work around that "works" for anglophones, but still allows the remaining 84% of the world to be pwned is not a valid solution.

For instance, a user in India almost certainly would want punycode on for local websites, but they still won't want to go to xn--mesa-g6d.in thinking it is mpesa.in.

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Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: an easy fix for firefox

The 5+ billion people who don't speak it as a first or second language can just go get fucked then?

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Tom 38
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Re: an easy fix for firefox

This isn't a fix, it is a work around. You fix the problem that you are not mislead by malicious IDNs, but you have a new problem that you cannot see any IDNs.

It's like someone complaining that their editor doesn't work in Arabic, and being told that the fix is to write in English.

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TCP/IP headers leak info about what you're watching on Netflix

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Not quite, maths

This test isn't entirely accurate because of the small sample size. 100 titles generated 184 million data points, and under 4 minutes of watching one of those titles can determine which of the 100 titles was watched.

Netflix have quite a bit more than 100 titles, which means a massive increase in the number of data points to consider. Let's be generous, and say their algorithm has reasonable time complexity and can be completely parallelised. What cannot be done is reduce the number of potential matches. With trillions of data points and millions of potential movies, the time that is required to give a definitive match will increase rapidly.

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DevOps, Containers, and three days in May

Tom 38
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Unhappy

£900?! How the hell do I sneak that past the PHB?

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Eric S. Raymond says you probably fit one of eight tech archetypes

Tom 38
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Re: "There are two more archetypes"

The problem is that each person thinks those two sets are disjunct.

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Ex-IBMer sues Google for $10bn – after his web ad for 'divine honey cancer cure' was pulled

Tom 38
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Your book is wrong.

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Tom 38
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Re: An interesting paper...

Two things:

1) Why would homeopathic medicine be at all expensive? In terms of ingredients, its a sugar pill imbued with the essence of something that has been diluted to the point it cannot be detected. They should cost about £1/kg.

2) If you are taking diclofenac on a regular basis, your stomach will not be long for this world.

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Tom 38
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Headmaster

Given the substance, I'd be amazed to find ONE verified death directly attributed to it, regardless of intake method.

Where did he say anything about dieing, he said you can OD on it. Not at all the same thing.

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