* Posts by Arthur the cat

486 posts • joined 18 Aug 2009

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Ministry of Justice scraps 'conviction by computer' law

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

Justice dispensed by Government IT project

What could possibly go wrong?

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Have we got a new, hip compound IT phrase for you! Enter... UserDev

Arthur the cat
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Reminds me of Pete

At one job, I had an amazing resource called Pete. If there were such a thing as a British Standard Fool, Pete would have rated as about 1 Megafool - he'd do the most mindbogglingly stupid things, and when you got over spluttering and asked him why he'd just say something like "Dunno. Seemed like it might help". I got into the habit of getting him to test my code first, and he'd invariably break it, but by the time I'd got it Pete-proof I had no worries whatsoever about letting the rest of my users loose on it.

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Can you make a warzone delivery drone? UK.gov wants to give you cash

Arthur the cat
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Re: Existing system?

Can't they just use Amazon like everyone else?

Every grunt goes into the field with a Bullets-R-Us Dash button.

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Opportunity rover gets bored of spot it's explored since 2014

Arthur the cat
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Re: Football field

I thought Americans knew even less about football than I do

American football. What a friend of mine calls "almost rugby played while wearing ladies tights and moped helmets".

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Arthur the cat
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Last I heard, NASA is American, funded by Americans, so if they want to measure in corn dogs, that's their prerogative.

Using mixed units of football fields and corn dogs was what lost them a Mars probe.

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Oh snap! UK Prime Minister Theresa May calls June election

Arthur the cat
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Re: Poor alternatives

Shame Bill Boaks is long dead, he might actually have stood a chance this time, on the grounds that he'd have the most sane and rational policies.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: This goes to show one thing

But will May get the two-thirds majority in parliament that is needed to pull off this move?

Corbyn has already said Labour will vote for an election. I think that gives May the 2/3rds majority she needs. Of course, whether all Labour MPs will vote that way is another question entirely.

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So, you're 'ISO 27001 accredited', huh? Just saying so doesn't cut it

Arthur the cat
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Standards are biased towards large companies

Whereas I'm in favour of standards as a principle, they act as a barrier against the entry of small companies to the market.

I wholeheartedly recommend simply sending a couple of people on an ISO 27001 Implementer or Auditor course. It's a few days and a couple of thousand pounds well spent

Fine for large corporations, but if you're a startup of two people, working from home seven days a week to get off the ground and living on ramen, then a few days out and a few k just isn't feasible. The problem is that standards tend to get formed from the practices of large companies, and even if they are not consciously trying to shut out disruptive startups, the resultant standards have that effect. What we need are gradual versions of pretty much all standards that increasingly apply as a company grows. Startups get a half page check list of absolute no-nos to work on, with dirt cheap (maybe even pro bono) auditing, working up to the full standard when/if the company hits a certain size or turnover (with clauses to prevent gaming it by splitting into subsidiaries).

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'Tech troll' sues EFF to silence 'Stupid Patent of the Month' blog. Now the EFF sues back

Arthur the cat
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Should someone point out to the EFF that the US constitution for free speech covers individuals and not organisations?

I have no idea how the 1st amendment is interpreted in US law, being a Brit, but I'm pretty certain the article was written by a human being, not the incorporated entity that is the EFF.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: EFF Lawyers are EFF'n Stupid

Wow! A window with a counter, counting down! In 1999! Probably 15 years after such a thing first appeared in civilian systems and 30 years after the military had it.

Actually a countdown is much older than that. The Wikipedia article mentions its use to start a Cambridge rowing race in the 19th C, and Fritz Lang used one in his movie Frau im Mond, released in 1929. Putting a countdown in a computer window should count as a trivial and obvious extension, so not patentable.

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Three indicted over sex trafficking operation run on Backpage.com

Arthur the cat
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I thought it was going to be about Three, the mobile phone company.

Ditto. It would have given "Feel at Home" a very different meaning.

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BT's spam blocker IDs accident claims as top nuisance call

Arthur the cat
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Any chance of getting the top ten offender companies directors names and addresses onto a kickstarter fund for a hitman?

Tempting though it is, I think the Constabulary might have something to say about that. Let's just get their email addresses and telephone numbers on as many spammers' lists as possible.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: it could divert 1.6 billion nuisance calls a year.

Lets assume BT make a profit of 1 pence per call.....

Not sure about profit per call but BT's 2016 financial report says turnover was 19 G£, profit after costs and tax was 2.6 G£. (To two figures in each case.) That's 13.7% profit margin.

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Nerd Klaxon: Barbican to host Science Fiction exhibition this summer

Arthur the cat
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Re: The first?

How about Bishop Godwin's The Man in the Moone published in the 1620s. A swan powered flying machine to the moon.

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

Arthur the cat
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Abid is acting as his own attorney

"The man who represents himself in court has a fool for a client" -- old legal saying

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Dieting cannibals: At last, a scientist has calculated calories for human body parts

Arthur the cat
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Devil

Re: After 20 days on a desert island ...

...using your colleague as bait

I asked him if he'd be my chum, and he said yes.

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Governments could introduce 'made by humans' tags - legal report

Arthur the cat
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Ban JCBs

They take the jobs of 10 men digging with shovels, or 100 men digging with teaspoons.

That's the logic of this report.

Actually, the real reason for it was reported in the Grauniad:

Even some lawyers risk becoming unemployed. “An intelligent algorithm went through the European Court of Human Rights’ decisions and found patterns in the text,” the report records. “Having learned from these cases, the algorithm was able to predict the outcome of other cases with 79% accuracy ... According to a study conducted by [the auditing firm] Deloitte, 100,000 jobs in the English legal sector will be automated in the next 20 years.”

I.e. the lawyers who rip off the public with exorbitant fees are sweating and want the lawyers who sit in Parliament to ensure they're featherbedded for life.

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D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

Arthur the cat
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Re: Can't Stop the Encryption

You don't need a computer to do encryption; using computers is merely faster and easier.

A deck of cards is sufficient. See the Solitaire cipher.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: Pity the poor civil servant

Anything that requires a second's thought will be ignored, palmed off with a letter written by an office junior about how wonderful some idea of their own is that sounds almost like it might be pertinent to your question as long as you don't actually read any of the words...

Definitely true. My wife tried engaging with Rudd several times when she was minister for energy & climate change. Ignored or meaningless form letter every time. My wife was employed as a consultant by DECC at the time.

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Arthur the cat
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Pity the poor civil servant

who has to take Amber Rudd's witless meanderings and try to find some semi-plausible misreading that might just have made sense if you're being generous. That's not a job I'd do even if you offered me a premier league footballer's salary.

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UK digital minister Matt Hancock praises 'crucial role' of encryption

Arthur the cat
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Re: I think they genuinely don't see the problem.

There is no incompatibility as they see it. Only encrypted messages involving terrorists, paedophiles and other designated bad guys will be revealed for what they are

Which will be signalled by "the necessary hashtags" according to Amber Rudd. No doubt she's about to propose a law which will make it illegal to communicate about terrorist attacks without adding #terroristattack to it, and similarly for other possible offences. In which case, she'll need to have #talkingbollocks tattooed on her forehead.

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Cambridge wheels out latest smart city platform, ready for devs

Arthur the cat
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Unhappy

Re: Litterally

I've got one: Stagecoach.

Stagecoach isn't just a problem, it's a problem looking for more problems to breed with and flood the world with problem offspring. Classicists believe Stagecoach was one of the things Pandora found in the box.

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

Arthur the cat
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Facepalm

To download the document

you need to pass a CAPTCHA. A security measure better defeated by AI than humans.

Sigh.

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

Arthur the cat
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force them to watch the drivel the airlines want you to watch

That has to count as a cruel and unusual punishment.

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

Arthur the cat
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Re: Now we know..

Just use your own local DNS server.

I do. The staticly assigned IP addresses are a bit of a give away though.

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Beijing deploys facial scanners to counter public toilet abuse

Arthur the cat
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Re: IZAL

Description says no longer manufactured.

The end of an era.

Thank $DEITY. It should have been banned under the Geneva Convention.

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Bloke cuffed after 'You deserve a seizure' GIF tweet gave epileptic a fit

Arthur the cat
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Take your meds. NOW!

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GCHQ dismisses Trump wiretap rumours as tosh

Arthur the cat
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Re: partial denial

It's alarming that the president of the USA is one.

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

A quote from HL Mencken

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Arthur the cat
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User jams up PC. Literally. No, we don't know which flavour

Arthur the cat
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Re: I pulled a ...

Small children, spread enhanced bread products and VCRs were a combination made in hell. I helped out a few friends with rug rats over the years. Cleaning peanut butter, jam, or worse Marmite, off video heads is a tedious pastime.

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Google Maps' Street View can now lead you into a bubbling lava lake

Arthur the cat
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A bit like the old Adventure game

Did anyone find a way out of the cave system ^W^W caldera by clicking on the arrows, or do I have to say "xyzzy"?

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Today's WWW is built on pillars of sand: Buggy, exploitable JavaScript libs are everywhere

Arthur the cat
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Trollface

Javascript can't run arbitrary code though. It can only call APIs.

Despite the hype, webassembly is even more limited. Arithmetic only.

Paging Herr Gödel and Mr Turing. Herr Gödel and Mr Turing are wanted in the mathematics of computation lecture theatre where Signore Peano is waiting.

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Do you use .home and .mail on your network? ICANN mulls .corp, .mail, .home dot-word domains

Arthur the cat
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Re: Silly to use generic tlds on a home network

I picked one that's not generic and not in ISO3166

That's an approach I've found useful over the years. Potentially any TLD with 3 or more characters could become a gTLD in the future, but among the 2 letter ccTLDs AA, QM-QZ and XA-XZ are reserved for end users. And if you really want to save keystrokes, the 26 single letters are not used as TLDs and probably never will be.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: They won't work on my networks

Anyone want do a patch for bind to allow delegating ??. so I can easily take care of the CC-TLDs?

I think you're mad wanting to do that, but each to their own. Try taking a look at Unbound, particularly the local-zone and local-data directives. It's a lot easier to run than bind as well in my experience.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: Alternate DNS roots

Anybody can set up DNS servers, and they do. ICANN's arrogance is going to work against them as time goes by and the already growing alts are just going to gain momentum.

True, but

a) alternate roots risk partitioning the net. Ideal if you're a control freak dictator who wants to isolate his country, or alt-reality fans (working on a smaller scale), not ideal if you believe widespread communication is good.

b) ICANN is still the 800 lb gorilla in the room. You get a .narnia domain from an alt, but only a small number of people can see you. ICANN then announces a .narnia domain, you're stomped and hosed. Maybe a handful of diehards stay with the alt and can see you, but even less of the world can see you than before. At which point you've just put yourself squarely into category a, even if you weren't there in the first place

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This is where UK's Navy will park its 75,000-ton aircraft carriers

Arthur the cat
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nuclear powered propulsion

I suspect it's because a) we don't have the technology and the Yanks wouldn't sell it to us, and b) a major use for our large warships these days appears to be friendly visits and flag waving, and many countries won't let nuclear powered ships into their territorial waters.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: "...a local transformer which takes it up from the standard 50Hz to the carriers’ 60Hz..."

And why is the carrier using US style 60 Hz when it should be a properly British 50 Hz? Anyone would think we didn't have an independent deterrence force.

[Pause for thought.]

Ah.

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Arthur the cat
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Re: Brows raised...

the brows would be capable of handling one 20-foot ISO container every six minutes

So two men per container. Whereas we don't want overcrowding in the Navy, I think they could pack a few more in.

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User lubed PC with butter, because pressing a button didn't work

Arthur the cat
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For some reason I'm reminded of a French film critic's review of Last Tango in Paris:

C'est magnifique mais ce n'est pas le beurre

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President Trump-themed escort services may soon open in China

Arthur the cat
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Trollface

Donald Trump-themed escort services

So long as that's not Donald Trump look alike escort services.

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Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings

Arthur the cat
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Re: We accept the most basic lies!

By the minute information on usage will just change people from concurrent usage to sequential... "the meter doesn't flash red when i do the laundry first and cook afterwards".

Which is good as far as the grid is concerned. A major problem is not how much electricity people use in total, but the fact that it's bunched up into a couple of peaks. If usage were spread out so the peaks reduce it would put less stress on the grid carrying capacity, and would mean we didn't have to use the more expensive generators to keep up with instantaneous demand. Add time of use pricing to penalise peak consumption and reward off peak consumption, and yes, your bills would go down if you spread out your usage.

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Arthur the cat
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Thumb Up

Re: Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for delivery

@ Brenda McViking

Thanks for a much appreciated rational and informative comment.

What on earth are you doing in El Reg's comment section? :-)

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Arthur the cat
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Re: pah....

You can bet that as soon as they can, they'll start to really sting those who chose not to switch to encourage them to change their minds.

That happened with my water meter. When I moved into my current house the unmetered water bill was based on the old rateable value, and was stupidly high. We got a water meter and promptly cut the bill by ~75%. I fully expect dumb metered electricity tariffs to start ratcheting up in cost against smart meter ones in the next few years.

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User rats out IT team for playing games at work, gets them all fired

Arthur the cat
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Re: Yes, you can

to avoid paying notice etc. you might have to get a little creative... like taking a look through expense claims...

It doesn't necessarily have to be creative. One company I worked for summarily dismissed a salesman without notice. His mistake was not realising the (legal, in another country) brothel had no problem stating clearly what its business was on his company credit card bill.

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Smart meter firm EDMI asked UK for £7m to change a single component

Arthur the cat
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Re: The pi-zero w is less than £10 and I bet it would do all they need and more.

What happens to the measuring accuracy with the "power factor" effect of capacitive or inductive loads?

If you look at the SMETS 2 standard, all meters record both active and reactive power on however many phases they have. Domestic households don't pay for reactive power, but industrial consumers do AFAIK.

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One IP address, multiple SSL sites? Beating the great IPv4 squeeze

Arthur the cat
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Re: There are quite a few IP addresses if the corporates share

There are a whole swath of /8 blocks that each contain 16,777,216 IPs.

Get Apple, Ford, GE, Prudential, UPS to return a few as good corporate citizens.

I don't know if it's still the case, but 10-15 years ago a friend of mine worked in IT for a GE subsidiary and GE had the stupidest net policy I've ever come across. All internal GE machines had addresses in their assigned 3/8 network but none of them could be externally visible. World facing machines were usually on class C network addresses. They could have switched their internal machines from 3/8 to 10/8 and handed back the entire class A network for reuse.

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Tuesday's AWS S3-izure exposes Amazon-sized internet bottleneck

Arthur the cat
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Amazon should shut down datacenters on a rotational basis every day of the week until the duplication message has been well massaged in.

The problem with that is that the lazy would simply move to another cloud provider that didn't do that, and then whinge when that one had a failure that bit their arse.

If you're a big enough player you really should be using tools like Netflix' Chaos Monkey/Gorilla/Kong trio to prove you're truly resilient. If you're not a big player, the truth is that AWS is probably not for you. From day one, AWS documentation has always warned that you should be prepared to handle outages.

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Gov wants to make the UK the 'safest place in the world to go online'

Arthur the cat
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Re: "Gov wants to make the UK the 'safest place in the world to go online"

The politicians like to think they know something about the internet when, in fact, they haven't the faintest idea about how it works.

The internet, the economy, business, science, technology, arts, sport, culture, etc, etc, ...

To rephrase an old saying, those who can do, those who can't try to get elected.

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Symbolic IO reveals tech bound to give server old guard the willies

Arthur the cat
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Re: Sqeaky Serpent

Henceforth I shall attempt to make "squeaky serpent lubricant" part of my vocabulary. Well played sir.

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Arthur the cat
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WTF?

For example, the sequence "01100010111101110011100" could be replaced by "0110", meaning four bits, a symbolic bit marker, are used to represent 23 original bits; this is just my example of how the algorithm could work.

When I wer't lad, this was called compression. In fact it sounds remarkably like Huffman encoding with the table kept by the OS.

When the newly encoded, and now much smaller, image and its data files are read into IRIS memory, the SymCE operating system computes the original values from the bit markers and executes the application with no or minimal IO, thus accelerating it.

And that's called decompression.

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