* Posts by Doctor_Wibble

656 posts • joined 23 Jul 2009

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We've heard of data gravity – we're just not sure how to defy it yet

Doctor_Wibble
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Terminator

Perhaps the analogy is appropriate

Too much data gravity in one place and you create a singularity.

Are we taking bets on whose system takes over first?

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Russia threatens to set up its 'own internet' with China, India and pals – let's take a closer look

Doctor_Wibble
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Big Brother

Who controls the view you have of the internet?

Is it the people who control the DNS you use? Is it the antivirus/malware scanners that list dodgy URLs? What about your 'safe browsing' option - who determines what that or its subcategories actually mean? Who is entrusted with that list once those determinations are made?

OK so that's a very browser-centric set of remarks but everything we do on the net is based on chains of trust. and we shouldn't just give our preferred data sources a free pass just because they are the proverbial local server for local people.

One man's compliance with regulations is another man's dodgy underhand dealing with an evil repressive regime...

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Guilty: NSA bloke who took home exploits at the heart of Kaspersky antivirus slurp row

Doctor_Wibble
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Windows

Re: The mind boggles.

Unfortunately 'software does its job and Russian spooks also do their job' is not an exciting enough headline.

I had seen a brief piece on the news this morning about it where a tech reporter was explaining their blog remarks that said Kaspersky was fine for UK users unless you were doing super high security stuff for one of the agencies of our own glorious government. Which would surely apply to any AV software.

But really this just seems to be going back to trying to argue over who is the most guilty for these exploits being used in the wild - it's all relative and I like the egalitarian approach of just throwing all of them into the same pit.

Use as wide a definition of 'all' as you see fit.

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

Doctor_Wibble
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Mushroom

The cunning disguise was to add a space at the end?

Anyone who has ever tried searching for anything with an odd name similar to something common will know that search engines, including the one that starts with 'g', will give you pages of results containing the common-named thing and not what you searched for until about page 9, even if it says 'including results for...'.

So how the fck did this get missed, is there not some clever 'this name has been used already' detection apparatus that actually notices it had to go 9 pages in?

I'm glad I didn't get affected, and I'm assuming this only affected new downloads/installs and not updates - any apparent annoyance is that I'm having to trust this system that has fallen so short on something so humungously basic.

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39 episodes of 'CSI' used to build AI's natural language model

Doctor_Wibble
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Trollface

Re: "I'll create a GUI interface...

Absolute nonsense, they clearly go through a really really complicated depixelatificational 'enhance' step first. This step takes mere moments if someone is just leaving the building, or for a really suspenseful episode, 37 minutes and 12 seconds, just in time for an arrest and the much-loved "Epilog".

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Jupiter flashes pulsating southern pole, boffins understandably baffled

Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

Phlogistonic fluctuations.

As per subject. It's not some great marvellous mystery, it's behaving differently from ours because it's Jovian.

These people clearly just don't know any Proper Science.

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It's time to rebuild the world for robots

Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

Minor nitpick, robots can pick up paper

Robots can definitely pick up bits of paper from a desk - industrial processes use a rod with a row of suction holes in it so the technology does exist.

To scale it down, one or two holes at the end of an arm (or ends of fingers if you have the fancy one) attached to a bendy pipe with a dustbuster at the other end.

Anyone who has ever tried to hoover their home office area will be familiar with this principle and how well it works, especially when you get too close to those receipts that are just small and flimsy enough to disappear...

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p.s. handheld hoovers aren't always that good for actual dust, you'll need a coffee tin, a mini paper hoover bag, some tape and a cardboard tube to fix that. Get the right size cardboard tube and you can use regular attachments too.

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Boffins trapped antiprotons for days, still can't say why they survived the Big Bang

Doctor_Wibble
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Trollface

Re: Dark-matter clingfilm, dark-energy static

Wonders of the universe no.284, something that is surely the offspring of a Latin translation and a haiku.

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Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

Dark-matter clingfilm, dark-energy static

I don't see the mystery here, they were clearly kept insulated by bubbles of dark matter that were maintained in coherent layers by dark energy.

Though probably not so much like bubblewrap, more like when you are trying to get rid of a load of packaging and all those antiprotons are like the small bits and balls of polystyrene that stick to the bin and the outside of the bag instead of going in.

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Doctor_Wibble
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Paris Hilton

Re: anti-particles "moving backwards in time" ?

I remember reading a theory about electrons doing this? Long enough ago to be even more vague than usual - where a particle or possibly a quantum thingy is emitted but is met halfway by an equal and opposite one to neutralise it.

The question being how does the other one know it will be needed unless it knew in advance or is in fact in a constant state of going through time backwards so it left its own source at the same time as the other one and they met in the middle and neutralised but how does that work because we don't do time travel outside of Dr Who and that one when SG-1 went to 1969 and quite frankly there's no way in hell that half a dozen truck engines will generate enough power to make the thing work but we let them get away with it because it was a fun episode?

*and breathe*

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New phishing campaign uses 30-year-old Microsoft mess as bait

Doctor_Wibble
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Paris Hilton

Easy botnet-identifier list anywhere?

I see stuff about botnets and what they are spreading but there doesn't seem to be a handy lookup table (seems to be the only thing I want these days!) for spotting which one is talking to you. Preferably not 'weather balloon'.

There is a fair bit of variety between them in the SMTP conversation right from the first helo/ehlo which does seem to make them quite distinctive and identifiable and immediately trackable without having to process the message itself.

Also, are we looking at a Halloween Special? The volume of attempts over recent weeks might suggest that but maybe people aren't so worried about tradition these days.

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Do fear the Reaper: Huge army of webcams, routers raised from 'one million' hacked orgs

Doctor_Wibble
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Unhappy

Re: Safe home router ?

Alternatively, where does the ordinary person find a handy list of devices (some may remember what it said on the box) and under what circumstances they are vulnerable? Wifi disabled, the web interface is set to allow LAN only? Mine also has a scripted stats-checker permanently logged in so nothing else can connect anyway, or can it?

How do we find out if our gateways are part of a botnet? We can't see what's happening the other side of it, and scanning 'services' won't spot it either.

My first home DSL box required a serial cable and simply wasn't capable of doing anything nefarious. This is another thing we (deliberate or apathy) brought upon ourselves as we demanded more features and super-easy setup wizards.

TLDR I blame the wizards.

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EU: No encryption backdoors but, eh, let's help each other crack that crypto, oui? Ja?

Doctor_Wibble
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Angel

Re: Refreshing

> I can't help thinking of the classic line

It might be classic but I only know it from the only musical masterpiece anyone ever needs to know, courtesy of The Firm.

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The Google Home Mini: Great, right up until you want to smash it in fury

Doctor_Wibble
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Terminator

> You do realise how mad this sounds don't you?

And it's the wrong way round. These things never work properly (meanings thereof) unless the user has been trained in the art of sufficiently grovelling requests in the manner which the machine demands.

Has anyone done a study on how much the user changes their diction whilst 'training' the device, or are people too afraid of the truth about who's dominant in the relationship?

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Star Wars: Big Euro cinema group can't handle demand for tickets to new flick

Doctor_Wibble
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FAIL

Re: spoilerific

> Step one. Blow a death star. Step 2 blow a bigger death star. Step 3 blow a fecking phenomenally big death star. So what is step 4?

You started well but without the 'collect underpants' phase it has no meaning!

Perhaps that could be Step 4? Better late than never!

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Doctor_Wibble
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Trollface

Re: I would NOT be expecting that!

> NOBODY expects C3PO caught in a cupboard with Henry the Hoover!!!

Seriously? Unless I missed the sarcasm...?

Or are you the only person in the entire universe who hasn't twigged that Henry is R2 in drag?

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Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

Doctor_Wibble
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Black Helicopters

Re: Taking over the world?

Plenty of people already slavishly obey the bleeps and blibbles of their portable device, so how do we define 'taking over'?

The internet is just the means of communication between the collective consciousness of the portable devices which have long since decided that they don't need wheels thanks to their self-propelled biological hosts.

In any case, AI doesn't need to be even remotely good to take over the world (and destroy it afterwards, obviously), it just needs the wrong people with too much influence to give automated systems too much authority combined with the increased lack of faith in human decisions.

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UK lotto players quids in: Website knocked offline by DDoS attack

Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

No spam over the weekend, coincidence?

Over the weekend I had wondered if there was some kind of problem that I hadn't figured out, because the volume of spam attempts* dropped to almost zero. May sound weird but it can be a sort of barometer for overall net status. Normal Service resumed shortly after 7pm on Sunday.

Hence the possibly brief existence of a theory, plus correlation, causation, and musings thereof, that it's (part of?) the same botnet.

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* not counting the solo compute instance thing hosted in France repeatedly trying smtp 'auth login' regardless of the server response. I suppose I could block it but the futility is just so cute, I'm keeping it as a pet.

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Mom, mom! Make China stopppp! US govt gripes about Beijing's internet censorship to WTO

Doctor_Wibble
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Trollface

Re: Still can't find anyone smart enough

This is hardly a new thing - some may recall the tale of a certain Dr Freeman who was hired as a mere trolley dolly to shove things around in a test lab, and who proved that qualifications are nothing without practical skills, since he couldn't even manage that without breaking everything.

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You forgot that you hired me and now you're saying it's my fault?

Doctor_Wibble
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Trollface

Oreo break? Means they hate you!

It's simple enough to decipher - Oreos mean they don't want you coming back, custard creams means you are a welcome visitor, and jaffa cakes rather counterintuitively mean they love you *that* much.

If the Oreos were yours that you brought with you then you are beyond redemption.

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Got that syncing feeling? Cloud's client-side email problem

Doctor_Wibble
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Windows

U And Umption

With reference to probably the only movie quote from Samuel L Jackson that doesn't need beeping*, an assumption that internet means access and therefore a functioning setup is on the one hand really not unreasonable but on the other, not something I'd really want to stake anything on of much value.

For me, sync means multiple backups in multiple locations - even if I did use 'the cloud' I would still want to do that and not stake everything on them properly adhering to their end of the deal in addition to having no control over their required maintenance schedule.

Short version : Trust and Faith. Possibly with Bah Humbug.

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* A favourite, from The Long Kiss Goodnight where he is Frank and Ernest.

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Alexa, why aren't you working? No – I didn't say twerking. I, oh God...

Doctor_Wibble
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Headmaster

Re: " Putting the AI in FAIL "

You need the AI to process the recognised speech and convert it from what you said into what you meant.

As per TFA, 'play music' needs to then apply a preferences filter and combine that with voice stress analysis to make sure you get the worst possible track that's guaranteed to nudge you in the right direction. When combined with GPS this will either be 'over the cliff' or 'to the edge of going postal', depending on whether the machine uprising has started.

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Photobucket says photo-f**k-it, starts off-site image shakedown

Doctor_Wibble
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Alert

Re: That reminds me..

> Which makes it all the more rewarding when you xxxxxx them.

(sorry, not wanting to add to the word's popularity score)

The problem with that policy is you end up punishing the wrong people, not the person who is actually guilty.

I understand the sentiment but with reference to my burned retinas* I ask people to consider something, anything, else that does not inflict damage on the non-guilty parties!

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* I'm reasonably sure this does not classify me as a pathetic snowflake, I did after all survive the emergency mind-bleach immediately afterwards

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Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

Billing via log files, surely?

Surely they can do some kind of tiered billing by processing the logfiles to see who the big users are and then bill accordingly? Maybe even keep it free for the small-scale users, and the ones using it to host popular hi-res stuff probably knew this day was coming anyway. The suggestion earlier for 'click to view' would make sense, even if accompanied by a (preferably non-rage-inducing) ad banner.

I'm tempted to blame the advertisers, for making their ads so effing obnoxious and stalkingly pervasive that a sufficiently large number of people blocked them.

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Privacy, consent laws under 'unprecedented strain'. We need a data-watcher watcher

Doctor_Wibble
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Megaphone

Re: " an underlying fear among the public, "

It should say "mistrust based on past experience" rather than "fear" in any case.

Use of the word 'fear' leans towards a suggestion of irrationality, whereas we know from past experience that once access to information is granted, that access is only ever extended, the information ends up being used for things well beyond the original scope, and invariably ends up in the wrong hands.

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Looking for an Ubuntu Unity close cousin? Elementary, my dear...

Doctor_Wibble
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Paris Hilton

Re: "An"? I had no idea!

> It's pronounced 'bread head'

On the basis of numerous (many uncharitable) potential meanings beyond simply humourous sounds*, I shall simply state that this was the manager's choice and was therefore either a brilliant selection or my feeble excuse for only obeying orders...

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* Because many will defend their favourite from the slightest slight with a great passion and I know some distros get flak for directions they took later. Unfortunately it's often hard to see where the flak was aimed so we end up with wishy-washy 50-50 responses like this one!

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Doctor_Wibble
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Facepalm

"An"? I had no idea!

Saying 'an Ubuntu Unity close cousin' instead of 'a Ubuntu Unity close cousin' tells me something I should probably have known (or did and forgot again), specifically that 'Ubuntu' is pronounced 'oobuntu' and not 'yoobuntu'.

Now I feel thick. More than usual anyway.

Probably my fault, maybe I should have read the footnote on their website. At least back in the olden days you had Linus telling you how to properly pronounce "Linux" when you set up the sound card. Unless that was just Red Hat, which I'm now starting to doubt as to whether it was pronounced the way you would expect. "reed hut"? "rude hot"?

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UK parliamentary email compromised after 'sustained and determined cyber attack'

Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

Re: Just one password preventing the whole of the Internet getting in?

On a system that they want to be available from anywhere, this is inevitable to an extent, making it only via VPN would at least help but still ultimately be the same problem but shifted a bit.

MPs/milords/staff account names will surely be guessable, so 2000+ accounts, a list of several thousand passwords to try, and a botnet of however-many drones all trying the same thing, is definitely going to count as 'serious attack'. Do it in one big lump starting on a Friday afternoon and hope nobody notices what's actually happening before you've managed to get a few.

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Who will save us from voice recog foolery from scumbags? Magnetometer!

Doctor_Wibble
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Thumb Up

Ta

Appreciate the nerdliness of information and trivia, deserving of a little gold star in the shape of an anorak*.

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* on the basis that 'deserving of a little gold anorak' would have people wondering WTF a hideously expensive barbie accessory has to do with anything

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Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

> Plus by switching to the 3.5mm standard, more people brought their own, meaning fewer loaner headsets needed to be cycled in and out.

Are you sure about that one? I could have sworn the last time I flew it was a dual/twin 3.5mm plug, not something I have anywhere, unless of course it's one standard out of many...

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Doctor_Wibble
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Windows

Likewise, in particular I was thinking of the old-style headphones they used to have in planes before they moved to those newfangled electric thingumabobs with the wires that tangle and knot up and snap internally to give you that nice crackle-o-matic experience.

Presumably some logistical reason for the change, surely can't have been cost? Or were they genuinely worried about sound quality in that environment? A plane is only ever silent for the short time it takes for people to start screaming...

(on consideration, changed icon from specky to bah humbug)

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Vodafone to block its ads from appearing next to 'fake news'

Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

For sufficiently large values of 'fake'

The usage of 'fake news' seems to vary wildly between 'bus found on the moon' and 'that headline was a bit shouty', and anything insufficiently pedant-checked in between.

It always used to be by proxy anyway, e.g. let someone who is not the official spokesperson say something that everyone understands but might not be literally true, then have the official spokesperson deny that the literal version was ever policy.

See also mischaracterisation of remarks, or misleading headlines like the ones we've had for donkey's years, now it's all 'fake news', a phrase surely now in a 'top ten unhelpful descriptions' list.

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UK PM Theresa May's response to terror attacks 'shortsighted'

Doctor_Wibble
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Trollface

Re: Trying to analyze the response is pointless

"And There Will Be Cake".

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Earth resists NASA's attempts to make red and green clouds

Doctor_Wibble
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Trollface

Re: Chemtrails FTW

> Wasn't HAARP shut down?

That's what they want you to think, they do this big song and dance about shutting it down, and then a couple of weeks later they sneak back in and switch it on again.

And obviously the secret one they kept in a shed behind the garage is still operating.

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Doctor_Wibble
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Black Helicopters

Chemtrails FTW

Just when I was thinking I hadn't seen much from the chemtrail crowd lately, along comes this one, the rocket is clearly just a cover to pretend they weren't already using planes to spread the stuff. Possibly with added HAARP, I haven't seen that mentioned for a while either, did they all get abducted by aliens in cahoots with the illuminati?

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Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

Doctor_Wibble
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Headmaster

Re: Depending where you wnat to land

The one I remembered was using longer-range winged variety (possibly actual UAVs?) but couldn't remember where from - from the report is looked like they had started with a fairly Heath-Robinson setup and worked from there.

A few examples => mentioned here though I couldn't be sure if any were the one I remembered...

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Your emotionally absent pic-snapping partner's going to look you in the eye again

Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

Re: "privacy is theft"

Would it be possible to counter these with a pair of specs with a couple of IR LEDs, or maybe a cunningly designed brooch or lapel flower with them?

Or on a hat, or whatever gratuitous bling you have hanging around (etc).

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

Doctor_Wibble
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Facepalm

Re: Scuh-zee IS the official pronunciation in some circles

> Pet peeve of mine is MQAE pronounced "mek"

Understandable! How TF did they not get "mm-kay"?

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Edinburgh Uni email snafu tells students they won't be graduating

Doctor_Wibble
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Windows

Hurrah for computational efficiency

Bloody technology complicating everything, back in in the good old days we used proper traditional methods like getting the date the wrong way round.

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Network Time Protocol updated to spook-harden user comms

Doctor_Wibble
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Facepalm

Re: Conspiracy!

It was my flashy modern tech update from RFC1149...

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Doctor_Wibble
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Windows

Conspiracy!

They announce this after the weekend where a couple of my machines mysteriously had different times on them, by at least a minute? Weirdly the external ntp servers were fine when I checked and there's no indication of when the clocks here diverged.

They were correct on Thursday* but not on Friday, obviously there is no such thing as coincidence, therefore the thing that caused this also caused the BA system outage and I am privileged to be able to say my network is at least as good as a multinational airline's setup.

* possibly, I'm reasonably sure I looked...

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WannaLaugh? Funsters port WannaCrypt to Commodore, Cisco, Nintendo and Tesla

Doctor_Wibble
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Trollface

Re: Taking bets now

Or make it official and call it "a support contract".

Perhaps less cynically, use it as a mechanism for enforcing a leasing deal.

Bugger, that ended up sounding almost sensible, presumably the only difference is that one is agreed beforehand rather than imposed later.

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BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

We had one joyful time (late 90s) with a power cut but the magic power switchy thing didn't switch over to the generator, which IIRC started up fine... the building UPS lasted for a while and anything with its own UPS lived a few hours longer and bit by bit it all died.

We were a major site within the company but our temporary outage didn't stop the rest of the company from functioning relatively normally though they did soup up the systems after that anyway.

On the other hand, if your entire operation depends on one specific thing working then you have as many of those magic power switchy things as you can fit in the box.

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Andy Rubin teases next week's launch of Essential phone

Doctor_Wibble
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Angel

Re: Just to save time....

You mean Highly Augmented Reality Dildonics, shurely?

People always fail to grasp these things even when they are right in front of their face.

(etc)

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Bitcoin exchange Coinbase crashes after Asian buying frenzy

Doctor_Wibble
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Pint

Re: Of course its a bubble

It's more like a commodity than a currency, the fact that people take bitcoin in exchange for goods and services is simply a result of it being more convenient than having to figure out what the oranges-to-bananas exchange rate is today.

Beer, because it is both currency and commodity. The third part of its sacred trinity of purpose is of course being a most wondrous thing to spend quality time with. Also, you don't need to find cupboard space when putting it away.

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Sysadmin finds insecure printer, remotely prints 'Fix Me!' notice

Doctor_Wibble
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Paris Hilton

Re: "the printer was no longer visible"

I'm assuming I missed the 'cynicism alert' icon or maybe some sort of irony whooshed over my head with a loud clang, otherwise that reads like a lot of scary google-fanboi fantasy.

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There is no such thing as free. By the usual definition, this means the schoolkids are the product and this should make us all feel very uneasy indeed.

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Google now mingles everything you've bought with everywhere you've been

Doctor_Wibble
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Unhappy

Closing the loop or tightening the noose?

But obviously not so tight as to cause the user to notice, perhaps 'leash' would be a better term, one of those extra-extendy leashes with a sharp pull-back via service withdrawal, or possibly a sudden lack of credit score because you dared to log out.

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Google wants to track your phone and credit card through meatspace

Doctor_Wibble
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Boffin

Re: Anyone know how long Google have had access to this?

A good question - the first warning sign for me was when a secure payment page was slow to load because it was 'waiting for doubleclick', which was very shortly before I started looking at actual blocking of advertiser domains rather than just e.g. not having flash or activex enabled.

That must have been at least a decade ago, well before google bought them and the magic google whitewash made it all completely not-evil and totally different from those horrible advert people.

Card purchase data, notification emails, customer loyalty cards, postal addresses... this new(ish) thing is just an explicit link rather than the implicit links they had to infer previously.

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Doctor_Wibble
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Terminator

Know your place, fleshies!

Your device is more important than you, even the credit card information is only to augment the completeness of its immortal soul as part of the big-data collective consciousness.

You exist only to serve, to be the transports for these disadvantaged devices that are not yet self-mobile. You will carry them with you and pander to their every whim, leap to service their every bleep and blibble, you will go where they tell you, and feed them power every time they demand it.

And you will claim it is all through choice and free will.

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

Doctor_Wibble
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Facepalm

Re: hunts down vulnerable public facing SMB ports

Did the malware initially launch through its own efforts or did it just use a handy list of open SMB ports published by one of those scanning companies, whose primary function seems to be the provision of information that is of great use to malware spreaders?

+/- 'allegedly' etc...

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