* Posts by Robert Carnegie

2569 posts • joined 30 Sep 2009

Congress battles Silicon Valley over upcoming US sex trafficking law

Robert Carnegie
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Re: "Two wrongs don't make a right." tl;dr.

I look forward to a law that forces Donald Trump to stop tweeting and maybe also deports his wife, not particularly because justice would be served but only because it would be funny to hear about.

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AI slurps, learns millions of passwords to work out which ones you may use next

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Password Creation Rules

Random non-repeated consonants, a couple of digits, a symbol if some idiot system insists. Then convert your consonants to a phrase to remember. For instance Gchqnsa04 - "God can hear quiet nuns saying Angelus." (No, A isn't a consonant.)

A class of password that maybe does need to be reset is the shared one. You may have ceased to employ somebody who knows a lot of your important system passwords, whether they were supposed to know them or not. Just routinely changing these passwords protects against this.

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Google India launches payment service that sends money as SOUND

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Is sound really the best way?

I think "audio QR" is an incorrect or novel term. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code doesn't mention a version in sound, and Google of "audio QR" initially produces web pages about "how tu put an audio file on the Internet and then make a QR code that finds that file and plays it".

As I understand it, QR is specifically a format for a two-dimensional image which contains an encoded data file. You scan the image, decode it, and you have the file. Very commonly, the file contains a URL which is the address of further data. My weekly bus ticket now is a QR code on paper; it may or may not be a signed data file which represents a valid ticket for the current week - also presumably there's some tracking to prevent me selling photocopies of it to friends: if more than one person seeming to be using the same ticket then you get stopped. Having said that, I probably shouldn't flash it around at other times in case someone photographs it. Of course a criminal could just steal my actual ticket...

"audio QR" evidently is an ultrasonic data standard which similarly transmits a file, and it may not even have a proper name in English (one that isn't embarrassing). It needs electronic audio equipment to send and receive it but it doesn't need a visual display or printer or camera, so maybe that works better in India. It's probably pretty fast, and, being ultrasonic, it won't easily be recorded by a third party or send over actual phone lines, which filter down to spoken-word frequencies. And tapping it may do you no good anyway if it's like my bus ticket but only actually valid during the split-second that it's transmitted.

My basic impression of India from many many miles away, but watching it on television, is that it's d--- noisy - from (not) watching films like "Gandhi" and even before you consider the background music as well. On the other hand, slightly more reflection tells me, accurately or not, that lots of India is miles and miles from anywhere. No doubt the developers of the "Tez" dispenser have both of these situations in mind.

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BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Robert Carnegie
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@HmmmYes

A slush fund / insurance for farmers, the EU may be. Let me inquire: do you eat food?

Even producing a product that everyone needs, farming isn't a great way to make money when your production is at the mercy of weather, pestilence, and the Berkeley Hunts literally riding roughshod over your goods in production in pursuit of what is now theoretically an imaginary fox. Pokemon Go with added horse crap.

Subsidy uses tax to keep farms running to put food in our supermarkets whether each individual farm has a good or a bad year this year, which sounds smart to me.

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Robert Carnegie
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Technically right?

Maybe I misread: I thought this wasn't Register saying that Boris is "technically right", it is Boris saying that Boris is "technically right". And he isn't.

The sticker price of British membership of the EU is/was, let's say, £350 million a week. At the same time, the EU spends money on benefits to British activities such as agriculture, so the money comes back to Britain.

That isn't the "rebate". The rebate is that we got a perpetual discount on the membership price, theoretically "thanks" to Mrs Thatcher but let's face it she probably spent the money on wars and abolishing British industry.

So there isn't a £350 million cheque being written to the EU in the first place. It's £275 million, which is still handy money but a lot less.

You can see why a careless or stupid person would think that the EU costs Britain £350 million that's the price tag. But it's not what we pay. Why a more intelligent and better informed person would keep saying that it's £350 million, is, clearly, that they expect to benefit by lying. For instance, by keeping up the lie, some people may believe, or may choose to pretend to believe, that it's the truth after all. Although it isn't. And then there's the "appearing to be careless and stupid" thing, that you acknowledge if you admit the mistake

I say Boris Johnson isn't as stupid as he seems, and that's rather frightening.

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VMworld schwag heist CCTV didn't work and casino wouldn't share it

Robert Carnegie
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Pictures or it didn't... ah.

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Noise-canceling headphones with a DO NOT DISTURB light can't silence your critics

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Whilst I've toyed with the idea...

I cycle with Radio 4 on, but I put it off during manoeuvres that require undivided attention in case Boris Johnson or someone gets me wound up at the wrong moment. Doesn't help if Boris Johnson is cycling in my line of sight, but what can you do? Actually I have a few ideas and that's all I'm saying. (Only joking. Mostly joking.)

As for the "red alert" indicator (I've been watching "Star Trek Voyager" lately, they probably use 24th century red LEDs because theirs are on most of the time), you'd do better with either magneticable "SOD OFF" printed discs to slap onto both earpieces, or, wear your bicycle helmet at your desk, and people won't want to talk to you.

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Sure, HoloLens is cute, but Ford was making VR work before it was cool

Robert Carnegie
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Unclear?

I feel unsure whether the designers started out or went on sitting in a wooden model of a car, or viewing a virtual car through headsets, or, both.

Red Dwarf's "Back to Reality" episode comes to mind; so does the episode "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", but that is not polite to mention and I do so only so that you don't.

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Cops' use of biometric images 'gone far beyond custody purposes'

Robert Carnegie
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I don't know if it actually happens and how often, but in Ben Aaronovitch's novels about London policeman PC Grant - special skill, he's a wizard - they routinely look up someone's driving licence photograph, on home visits they phone-photograph any personal pictures you leave on display... PC Grant describes this as "cheating" but only because he can do it and I can't. It may also help that he is effectively boss of the Magical Crimes Unit afar as computer access goes because the actual boss is Merlin's great-grandson and doesn't know how to work the things, either HOLMES or Watson.

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Get out your specs: Java EE's headed to the Eclipse Foundation

Robert Carnegie
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So -

What then - "Java: Deep Space Nine"?

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How alien civilizations deal with climate is a measure of how smart they are. Just sayin'...

Robert Carnegie
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So

If we detect a Class IV civilisation, we don't try to communicate - because it won't be there for long enough.

If we detect a Class V, we ask how to be Class V.

And we hope they don't follow the first rule, because we are Class IV.

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Top tip, hacker newbs: Don't use the same Skype ID for IoT bot herding and job ads

Robert Carnegie
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Can't say

He hasn't said anything that excludes being 13. ICBW, I think he may be mistaken about the age of criminal responsibility. 13 is the age for personal data to be held by web sites without a lot of user protections, for which reason many services only let 13 and overs join, to avoid the obligations.

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Crypto-busters reverse nearly 320 MEELLION hashed passwords

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Black vs white vs grey

I don't see a reason to prevent me from using password "tliuwsusuoeucp" because someone used it in 1997 on a web chat site that was subsequently hacked.

Currently I use Randomuniqueconsonantsthendig145 which works in most places except where some genius thinks I need to use a non-European punctuation symbol as well. Which isn't on my keyboard or doesn't work through the web interface. And which happens on my work account. 1diot0!

And whoever bans re-used letters in passwords needs a keeck in the butt, and fiqbly. (Fiqbly is blocked as password because it is a noun followed by a surname, says some champion Scrabble player with no reason to exist.)

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Connect at mine free Wi-Fi! I would knew what I is do! I is cafe boss!

Robert Carnegie
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Smart doorbell has potential

If only they hadn't advertised it on TV (this is "Ring") and shown everybody how it works.

You can pretend to be in, that's the main idea. You also can photograph people, and this works BEFORE they ring the bell because it can be motion sensitive. (Yes, this means if a cat does a whoopsie on the doorstep. Yes, there are repeats on of "Some Mothers Do Have 'Em".)

Delay in answering is normal for door phones as well as bells.

Rubbish sound quality is also normal for door phone. If it's bad enough then your visitor won't know where you are or what you're saying. For that matter, the app could be written to play pre recorded messages such as "Can you tell the man next door, I'm just getting into the bath" etc. Or a big barking dog would be a great sound effect to use.

Also if it is a burglar by the look of it then you can call the police straight away. It seems unlikely that the naughty boy or girl will win that battle of wits.

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Terry Pratchett's unfinished works flattened by steamroller

Robert Carnegie
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Similar joke

I think it was "Son of Cliché" on radio - written by the Red Dwarf authors and including prototypes of Dwarf, and currently repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra (as is Sir Terry, indefinitely) - that presented a spoof feature on the truth about Marilyn Monroe, including someone who provided a (fake, using her music tracks) revelatory recording of Marilyn; he said, well, no one had asked him about it, and anyway it was on 8 Track tape cartridge and who has those any more...

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: > If anyone wants to do an academic study of his work

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Immortal_Bard is indeed a story of Asimov's.

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Couple fires sueball at Amazon over faulty solar eclipse-viewing goggles

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Sungazing should never be taken lightly!!

1. Buy ultra cheap sun-glasses from Amazon.

2. When the eclipse happens, hide in the cellar to be absolutely safe.

3. Sue Amazon anyway, PROFIT!

Of course I don't know really if they even have a cellar.

But "someone in America sues someone else" generally isn't news even you are the one suing or being sued.

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Is it possible to control Amazon Alexa, Google Now using inaudible commands? Absolutely

Robert Carnegie
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Joke

You just ordered oodles of cocaine. We will fulfil once we've hired a truck for your delivery. Is it OK to drop it in your driveway? When someone orders oodles of sand for a building project, we do that.

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Bombastic boss gave insane instructions to sensible sysadmin, with client on speakerphone

Robert Carnegie
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Re: My rules of engagement with speakerphones

When the phone call is made from the client site, you could reasonably expect that the enemy - excuse me, the customer - is listening. Also, you can tell.

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Airbus issues patch to prevent A350 airliner fuel tanks exploding

Robert Carnegie
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Mushroom

"discourage airliners from exploding"

Anyway, reading carefully, it is only the fuel tank that explodes. :-)

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Google slaps a suit on beefed up Chrome OS, offers Enterprise version for business

Robert Carnegie
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"slaps a suit on"

The headline made me think that someone copied Chrome OS and got sued. Apparently that wasn't the meaning?

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US prosecutors demand data to unmask every visitor to anti-Trump protest website

Robert Carnegie
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Re: * Free speech *

How about the government demanding details of everyone who has seen the Neonazi web site? For? Against?

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Robert Carnegie
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I think "The Register" is already counted as an anti-Trump protest web site by the TLA (although possibly this hasn't been announced), and is watched.

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Foxit PDF Reader is well and truly foxed up, but vendor won't patch

Robert Carnegie
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"We apologize for our initial miscommunication when contacted about these vulnerabilities"

...four months ago.

Having said that - making JavaScript be safe is hard, probably.

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British Airways waves Bing dong: At least it's not a tech cockup

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Crack penis image analysis team

Also does the censor program have to be called "KnobGobbler"?

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Och. Scottish Parliament under siege from brute-force cyber attack

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Standing over a thistle in just a kilt

Did someone say that they don't have 2FA etc? Just - as reminder - don't have stupidpassword to go with it.

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Apple bag-search class action sueball moves to Cali supreme court

Robert Carnegie
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Joke

That number comes up as "Coffee Maker With Integrated Webcam". :-)

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Robert Carnegie
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But

This is probably covered - but: if your bag contains necessary medicine or your emotional support animal, then is that "voluntary"?

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Months after breach at the 'UnBank' Ffrees, customers complain: No one told us

Robert Carnegie
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Counterargument?

Everybody has something to hide for personal safety and security. You could be "victimised" - since people will do that - because of who you work for, who you vote for, whether you are in a trade union (employer blacklists are a thing), if you or a friend or family member is homosexual or black or Muslim or Jewish or Irish or financially gullible or reads the "Private Eye" investigative journal, what you say in public about things.

As for picking you out specifically: one, yes "they" can obtain a list of all known homosexual sympathisers in their database and mail anthrax baggies to every one of them; two, every one-to-one interaction that you have is specific. The cashier at Waitrose - or the self-service machine - can identify you as "one of those' and, again, sprinkle anthrax spores on your receipt. Yes, all right, the anthrax thing is radical and impractical. Instead they can alert the person who pushes a train of 20 shopping carts around the parking lot to "accidentally" run over you.

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If Anonymous 'pwnd' the Daily Stormer, they did a spectacularly awful job

Robert Carnegie
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Anonymous

"Anonymous" isn't an organisation, it's just a word, and a few graphical memes to go with it. Anyone can say they're "Anonymous" and they may be not particularly hacker-skilled. They also may be not social-justice aligned. You can be "Anonymous" and determined to "Take Back America".

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Smart streetlight bods Telensa nearly double full-year revenues

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Bad designs still pollute the sky

My neighbour has fairy lights outside, year round.

The illustrated installed light may be indeed sending some light up into the sky, but either they had to mount it in a particular way to get most of the light to where it needs to be, or bending the metal arm wasn't an option. I wouldn't want to be doing that up a ladder, but then, I don't want to do anything up a ladder. No, not even that.

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: Why?

Smart LED lights may be able to turn on when they see someone coming, then off again... yes this is paradoxical, but if it works then it'll save electricity.

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Blighty’s beloved Big Ben bell ends, may break Brexit bargain

Robert Carnegie
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I think the Prime Minister, or his or her spokesperson, only meant to say that Big Ben is as dependable as the Bank of Scotland.

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Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'

Robert Carnegie
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Re: HR Fail

Well, an early Terry Pratchett character is described as "the sort of man who could use the word ‘personnel’ and mean it." He had a liking for organisation charts. So 'personnel' was already impersonal. I'm not sure what the difference with Human Resources is, maybe they deal with "people we don't actually own" (contractors)?

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: Lotus cc:Mail

"something more appropriate for us Europeans"

FRENCH LETTER perhaps? (I promise this was funny when radio comedian Kenneth Horne did it in "Beyond Our Ken" in 1958 probably)

No doubt there is a joke possible in "hard coded", but not necessarily a good one. Better to say "The producer noticed the next line in the script, so he whipped it out at once."

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Your top five dreadful people the Google manifesto has pulled out of the woodwork

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Dunning–Kruger much?

If Google discriminates against white and male employees, they shouldn't do it proudly, because they are disgracefully bad at it.

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Robert Carnegie
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Gimp

Re: FFS

If you aren't here to read then I assume you find the pictures amusing. Enjoy.

Or it's something to do with advertising or SEO. I'm more comfortable thinking of you as a lover of found art.

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: This Article

Five horrible people is the title of the article. Why start reading if you don't want to see that? Also, do you think any of them are losing sleep over this coverage?

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: It's true most people are not programmers, but:

I'm thrown that being a "chess champion" is considered as "extremely privileged" - except I guess for being able to take the time to learn to play chess very well. You could start out as naturally mentally gifted, but to beat other players reliably, you - and they - have to spend a lot of your time playing and practising. Instead of doing home chores or regular homework. So, maybe.

As for the issues, I think that as long as men and women are different things, our society won't achieve "equality" between them, but this doesn't excuse us from exerting ourselves to remove or reduce the various barriers to entry and progress in various fields of endeavour against this or that sex, race, etc., even to the point of making over-privileged people entering these situations feel less wanted.

I also don't doubt that amongst reasons for continuing to find fewer women practising or excelling in some activities, it may be that some women don't want to pursue those activities - and also it may be that some women are not very good at those activities. But that doesn't excuse us from offering fair opportunities to people who are willing and capable. If being fair is still a thing to do - capitalism doesn't always think so.

But I'm not rushing to publish a memo about all this at work. However I may get a surprise tomorrow.

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A sarcasm detector bot? That sounds absolutely brilliant. Definitely

Robert Carnegie
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Paradoxical

"This is bollocks" sounds like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_paradox "I am lying".

Is it time to worry that I don't understand "emoji"?

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Sensor-rich traffic info shows how far Silly Valley has to drive

Robert Carnegie
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It's why they have several satellites, each transmitting their location and current time... a cheap "atomic clock" would be cool to own, I guess, but it isn't necessary. And they aren't transportable (if you don't count shooting them round and round the world on satellites).

I do have a primary household clock that receives radio time signals, so I never have to set it - even for daylight saving. I'm in Scotland: first I bought one from German-owned supermarket Lidl. It turned out to be tuned to radio signals from Frankfurt (the other Frankfurt). It actually sometimes worked - promised range was 1000 km and we're about that far from Frankfurt (that one). But back to the shop it went, and probably back to Germany.

Now I only have to think about Scotland's independence, if it comes.

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WannaCrypt victims paid out over $140k in Bitcoin to get files unscrambled

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Eh?

It's been covered extensively.

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Fox News fabricated faux news with Donald Trump, lawsuit claims

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Interesting story

Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. have admitted their election collusion with the Russian regime. How isn't THAT "interesting"?

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Don't make Aug 21 a blind date: Beware crap solar eclipse specs

Robert Carnegie
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How to explain to computer "engineers" ... In an eclipse (without clouds), every pixel of the sun that is exposed is just as bright as the sun normally is. Therefore it delivers the same burning power onto the corresponding coordinates of your retina. The other factor is that when overall light is dimmer, your eye iris opens wider and lets more light in, so, even worse. A triple threat is that your eye opens wider to look at something interesting.

So as soon as one tiny piece of sun peeks through a break in the wall of a moon crater ("Bailey's Beads"), sniff for that distinctive odor of roasting eye meat.

But don't you look at the sun normally every day anyway? Um, no. You don't look AT the sun. You look towards it, but not at it. Or else you have crispy black patches burned into the back walls of your eyeballs.

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Robert Carnegie
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Re: When I was a kid...

Your eyesight isn't perfect. You have a substantial blind spot in each eye, that you don't notice. In fact, everyone has.

You get used to the eyesight you've got. There are cases of people virtually blind who believe that because they practise "eye exercises" they don't need eye tests or spectacles.

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Sysadmin jeered in staff cafeteria as he climbed ladder to fix PC

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Consumers didn' t really leave DOS until XP

AIUI, Windows 2000 finally made it onto business desktops, but for consumer / home / games use it would not do. Then came Windows XP.

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So who exactly was to blame for Marketo losing its dotcom?

Robert Carnegie
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It could happen to you.

So, you want to know what they did wrong, so that you can make sure you don't do that same thing.

It may be a complicated and new mistake, such as with the London "Millennium Bridge" (I think it's disputed whether that was a "new" mistake), or it may be ordinary negligence plus stonewalling denial, which is less interesting, but still entertaining in its own way.

Another possibility is that it's something that you could do to enemies, in which case it may be better that we aren't told what it is.

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Facebook may print money but thirsty Wall Street wants more

Robert Carnegie
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Innovators get bought up.

If you have a new and successful IT business idea, you will be bought by Facebook - or by Google - or by Microsoft - or whoever. The next Facebook gets swallowed by one of the current players.

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Ten new tech terms I learnt this summer: Do you know them all?

Robert Carnegie
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Long after the 1970s were chronologically over, the back pages of dear old "Personal Computer World" magazine still included hardware adverts particularly from Asia - I think these were a Dabbs subject before - of modems and motherboards and keyboards that apparently were particularly popular with young women customers in swimming costume or less. Or nothing. I don't mean to be sexist or hypocritical - I can't say that I felt a strong objection - but it did seem incongruous.

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UK government's war on e-cigs is over

Robert Carnegie
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Re: Medical Community - "Not Invented Here"

"The Medical Community", from what this uninvolved layman sees, considers "Patient is addicted to nicotine" as the problem, from the harm-prevention point of view. Transition to vaping sometimes comes with giving up smoke, sometimes doesn't, but, leaves the patient addicted to nicotine. "The Medical Community" considers a "cure" as the preferred solution in most cases - you get to close the record instead of the doctor eventually retiring and handing on the patient's problems to their new doctor. Anti-smoking schemes and nicotine replacements are offered as short-term aids to permanently quitting - or not quitting. This may be right or wrong.

Addiction to clean bottled nicotine (used in some Agatha Christie murder stories, which may or may not be realistic, it makes for variety from cyanide or please-stop-using-our-brand-name-to-kill-people sleeping tablets) may be healthier than inhaling burning leaves, but, wouldn't you rather not?

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