* Posts by MacroRodent

1362 posts • joined 18 May 2007

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First Boeing 777 (aged 24) makes its last flight – to a museum

MacroRodent
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Re: Feeling old yet?

I'd occasionally still see DC-3s

Living in a northern sub-urb of Helsinki, a DC-3 still regularly appears in the summer skies. Of course it is now a museum plane, operated by a volunteer association (http://www.dc-ry.fi/).

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Holy macaroni! After months of number-crunching, behold the strongest material in the universe: Nuclear pasta

MacroRodent
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Alien

It's alive!

> "One famous example are biological membranes in living cells. We've actually studied how the nuclear pasta lasagna exhibits the same structure and structural defects as the endoplasmic reticulum.

Maybe the premise of Robert L. Forward's "Dragon's Egg" is not so fanciful after all. It involves life on a neutron star, based on nucleonic processes, which are way faster than chemical ones. So entire civilizations rise and fall during the few days humans observe the star from orbit.

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App-y, app-y, joy, joy: Pain-free software installer Flatpak (kinda) works on Windows Subsystem for Linux

MacroRodent
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Linux

Larsson explained that a lack of support for seccomp or network namespaces limits things somewhat. ... [and so and on for more missing bits]

If you want all Linux features, the only way still is to run the real thing. But of course this was a cool hack, just to see if it can be done. Don't show this to pointy-haired bosses, who might then imagine the developers have no more need of real Linux to get work done, and ban it.

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Microsoft: You don't want to use Edge? Are you sure? Really sure?

MacroRodent
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Time for the EU

comission to slap them again, and Google too, if it offers similar FUD to people installing alternate browsers.

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2-bit punks' weak 40-bit crypto didn't help Tesla keyless fobs one bit

MacroRodent
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Unhappy

Re: Problem-solution dichotomy

That's more useful than one might think as keyfobs tend to fail when the battery gets tired

The quality of the buttons in the keyfobs also seems to be low. I have had two failed ones, turning them into plain old physical keys. Not bothered to replace. At this point, a new keyfob apparenly would cost about the same as the resale value of the old car...

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Law firm seeking leak victims to launch £500m suit at British Airways

MacroRodent
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Re: Fees?

But without laws and lawyers, that would be an arbitrary State with no control over its power. A dictatorship, in fact.

Certainly true, and I am not advocating getting rid of laws and lawyers. However, setting industry regulations and sanctioning their violations is properly a function of the state (of course with inputs from citizens and the industry).

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MacroRodent
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Re: Fees?

but without lawyers who would have got the manufacturers to do anything?

The state, perhaps? Of course, that only applies to countries where the state is not a fully-owned subsidiary of industry.

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Dust off that old Pentium, Linux fans: It's Elive

MacroRodent
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Re: That's nice ...but why bother?

As you said, it is a hobby. There are just a handful of major Linux distributions that can be considered for real work, or even for home use for "ordinary" users (meaning those wishing to mainly use applications as opposed to those enjoying developing the platform itself). All the rest are really hobby distributions, or very specialized ones filling some small niche.

Making a Linux distribution that fits into a "small" machine is perhaps akin to building a ship in a bottle. I sometimes myself wonder if a modern kernel could ever run in the oldest machine in my house, a Pentium MMX with 128 MB RAM. Now it has an old Mandrake Linux in one partition (with KDE GUI) and Windows 95 on the other.

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Boffins bash Google Translate for sexism

MacroRodent
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Correct translation

This is something I often encounter as a native speaker of Finnish, another language with gender-neutral pronouns. The solution depends on the context, so it requires some understanding of what is being said, which is why current machine translators perform badly. The problem often has no ideal solution, because choosing "he" or "she" may require information that the source text simply does not contain. Usually one defaults to "he", as "he/she" is too clumsy.

Going the other way also sometimes requires rephrasing the text. "He said, she said" does not translate directly into Finnish.The closest one can get is the use the nouns for "man" and "woman", but it is not quite the same.

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AI biz borks US election spending data by using underpaid Amazon Mechanical Turks

MacroRodent
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Lives up to its name

The original Mechanical Turk was also a fake AI, with a hidden human chess player inside it.

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Do you really think crims would do that? Just go on the 'net and exploit a Windows zero-day?

MacroRodent
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Re: So classic way to find an exploit.

I think this method was already in Andrew Tanenbaum's operating systems text book (the one that introduced Minix) in the security chapter: Something like "Read the documentation looking for passages that say Don't do X. Try as many variations of X as possible".

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Ever wanted to strangle Microsoft? Now Outlook, Skype 'throttle' users amid storm cloud drama

MacroRodent
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FAIL

Centralisation

Eggs: meet the One Basket.

Originally the email system was very decentralised, with most organisations hosting their own servers. The trend towards everyne using "clouded" mail services by Microsoft and Google means we will be seeing a lot more of this in the future.

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Boffins are building an open-source secure enclave on RISC-V

MacroRodent
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Boffin

Re: What we would actually need...

A minimal RISC should be easy to verify

Done already in the 1980's for the VIPER architecture, a simple 32-bit CPU. Read about it back then. It was supposedly intended for avionics and such where failure is not an option. (Some info can still be found by googling "verified risc cpu viper").

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Mozilla changes Firefox policy from ‘do not track’ to ‘will not track’

MacroRodent
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Re: It's about time

> a UI with a MENU

It can be re-enabled from the configuration. And this is indeed the very first thing I do to any new Firefox installation I use.

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A decade on, Apple and Google's 30% app store cut looks pretty cheesy

MacroRodent
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Re: But we're taking about games here

Google could also argue it gives the basic development tools for free to anyone interested. (Not sure about Apple, do you have to buy the sdk?)

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Windows 95 roars once more in the Microsoft round-up

MacroRodent
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Windows

200Mhz

> P1 200MHz

I'm not sure such things even existed. My first Pentium was 75Mhz (and did run Windows 95 just fine). I think I have seen a 166Mhz Pentium MMX, but nothing higher than that from Intel, until Pentium II came along.

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MacroRodent
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Windows

Win95 license?

What I don't get is how he can include the entire Windows 95 with the app. Has MS made it freeware while I was not looking? (Browsing the Github site did not provide an answer).

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Linux 4.19 lets you declare your trust in AMD, IBM and Intel

MacroRodent
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This is actually useful

I have seen a problem where the start of a bunch of VMs got delayed too much because a program that was part of the VM startup wanted randomness, and it took too long to "collect" it.

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Do I hear two million dollars? Apple-1 fossil goes on the block, cassettes included

MacroRodent
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Re: Why are they worth the price?

> Don't worry about it. Not our money unless UK Gov decides we need one in a museum.

There is already one Apple I at the London Science museum. I even took a photo of it last time I visited the place.

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Android data slurping measured and monitored

MacroRodent
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Re: 'The nature of some data may also surprise. App developers receive your age and gender'

> an ancient Symbian Nokia

Indeed, this article gives me an itch to rummage my drawer and see if any of the ancient Symbian Nokia's contained therein there still work...

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Microsoft takes another whack at killing off Windows Phone 8.x

MacroRodent
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Killing the best version.

In many ways, wp 10 was a downgrade from wp8.

I'm actually still using a Lumia 625 as a work phone, for the occasional work-related call or text message (most communication is by email or chat). Probably will keep using it for that, until it dies.

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SUSE and Microsoft give enterprise Linux an Azure tune-up

MacroRodent
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Re: At what cost?

Yes, this kind of thing is nothing new. By using special drivers when running in the VM, the kernel just avoids some of the silly inefficiencies that communicating via simulated i/o devices causes. There is no downside. Similar techniques are used when you run Linux in a Linux KVM virtual machine, or VMWare.

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EU wants one phone plug to rule them all. But we've got a better idea.

MacroRodent
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Re: Be much more interested in...

2: Safety shutters.

Many modern Shukos have safety shutters as well (well did't check them all, but, at least seems to be very common here in Finland). These don't need an extra pin, but open only if both pins are inserted simultaneously.

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Dropbox plans to drop encrypted Linux filesystems in November

MacroRodent
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Re: "Too many options it not an issue here."

> You need to test each supported combination, to ensure nothing weird happens. And yes, it means also you need to test NTFS on each supported Windows platform, in 32 and 64 bit flavours.

So should one do this for *every* program that reads or writes files? Same thing. Normal open, close etc are also part of an API specification that abstracts away the underlying file system implementation.

Building large software systems is impossible without relying on such abstractions.

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MacroRodent
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Re: Lost the plot

Maybe they have fired the real geeks who made the original product, and now have outsourced further development to the lowest bidder?

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MacroRodent
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Re: "This sounds entirely like a company which wants to reduce"

If the feature Dropbox needs is xattrs, it is a fair requirement. It is just like requiring some other property of file systems, like a certain minimum file name length. But then it it should run just fine on any Linux file system that supports the xattrs API, not just ext4fs. Most non-ancient native Linux file systems do so.

Too many options it not an issue here. Only the API matters, in other respects a user level component like Dropbox must be ignorant of the particular underlying implementation.

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Windows is coming to Chromebooks… with Google’s blessing

MacroRodent
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Linux

Re: It's happening...

Linux already runs many Windows applications through Wine, and has been doing it for years.

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ZX Spectrum Vega+ blows a FUSE: It runs open-source emulator

MacroRodent
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Re: 98% ZX Spectrum look a like

You would have to modernise the video output also. If I recall correctly, the Spectrum, like most early home computers, produced only RF-modulated PAL which you connected to the antenna input of your TV (were there any NTSC versions?). I'm not sure all TVs even have a PAL tuner any more.

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MacroRodent
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GPL

Not mentioning GPL on the web site is not yet necessarily a violation, but the customer who bought this should have received a copy of the license, and a written offer to provide the source code for all the GPL'd software in the unit.

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Imagine Python fan fiction written in C, read with a Lisp: Code lingo Nim gets cash injection

MacroRodent
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Re: Interesting but ugly

the identifiers FOO_BAR and fooBar are equivalent...

Sounds like PL/M, which is also case-insensitive, and where you can insert extra $-characters anywhere in identifiers and numeric literals without affecting meaning (FOO$BAR == fooBar). I have never understood why. $ is not a terribly good noise character for making identifiers more readable, because it looks so much like a letter.

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Get drinking! Abstinence just as bad for you as getting bladdered

MacroRodent
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Re: One little pill?

Alcohol is a natural by-product of the digestion process. The human body has evolved methods of dealing with the toxicity of alcohol

This is certainly true, and the reason we can drink alcoholic drinks without dying outright, but the digestion produces much smaller amounts of it than drinking. You cannot get drunk by eating non-alcoholic foods!

Googling the matter, there seems to be a lot of different opinions about how carcinogenic (if at all) alcohol is. This also reminds me of the times the tobacco industry still tried to argue smoking is not so harmful, and promoted studies to confuse the issue.

I do drink occasionally, but less than I used to, which was not so much even then (less that the British official recommended maximum, which to my eyes looks like borderline alcoholism... cultural difference, I guess).

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MacroRodent
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Re: One little pill?

I wonder if there is any difference in resveratrol content between wine and the original grape juice? Would making wine concentrate it? If so, maybe think of other ways concentrate it in juice.

I am nowadays very suspicious of studies attributing health benefits to alcohol itself. It is a know carcinogen, and has ill effects on the liver. Even if it theoretically would have benefits to some part of the body, these would be offset by harm to other parts. (It also has a mighty industry behind it, rather like tobacco used to).

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IBM Watson dishes out 'dodgy cancer advice', Google Translate isn't better than humans yet, and other AI tidbits

MacroRodent
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Re: "Google Translate isn't better than humans yet"

> At the very least, 'Literal (word-by-word)' translation should be a selectable option.

Words in isolation usually have multiple meanings. To make sense, you have to have some idea what the text is talking about. The funniest example of ignoring context I have seen was a packet of Iranian dates I bought a few years ago, with a label in Finnish advertising "Tuoreet päivämäärät". Well, "päivämäärät" is "dates", but only in the sense of a date in a calendar. Someone had apparently trusted the Google translator: it produces this text from "fresh dates".

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MacroRodent
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FAIL

Re: Google Translate 'AI-Hype'

Google translate is still a great source of amusement! Insert something from classic Finnish literature, translate to English, and the result is invariably surreal: "Their father, who was a severely eager forearm, met at his best age when he was suddenly killed when he fought with the tiny bear. Both then, Kontio of the woods as a man, were found dead, one by the other, landing in a bloody tanter. The wound was wounded with wounds, but both the throat and the side of the beast were seen by the knife cut off and his chest pierced by a rifle perched on a rifle. So stopped a rotting man who had dropped more than fifty bears."

> But now, most other language sites are actually better imho!

The Bing translation of the same passage makes slightly more sense, but not much: "Their father, who was a fierce avid forest man, faced his best-hearted death when he was fighting with a sudden bear. Both at the time, both in the forest of the Sam and in the man, were found dead, one after another, with the blood on a bloody tanker. The man was badly wounded, but Pedonkin both throat and flank were spotted with a knife and his breasts pierced by the rifle's Tuiman. So ended the day with a stalwart man who had poured more than fifty bears."

Well, at least it does not translate a fierce bear into a tiny bear, like Google. "Forest man" is also a bit better translation for "metsämies" ("hunter") than "forearm" (How on Earth did Google come up with that?). Finally, here is a quick human translation, by me. Not likely to win any literary awards, but at least it means pretty much the same as the original: "Their father, who was an eager hunter, met with sudden death in his prime, when fighting a fierce bear. Both, the bear of the woods and the man, were found dead, lying side by side on the blood-stained ground. Badly was the man mauled, but also the throat and the side of the beast were seen sliced by a knife, and its chest was pierced by the powerful bullet of the rifle. So ended his days a strong man, who had felled more than fifty bears".

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Sorry, Neil Armstrong. Boffins say you may not have been first life-form to set foot on the Moon

MacroRodent
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Re: " Getting a sufficiently thick atmosphere would require"

By the time there is technology to give Mars a thick atmosphere, adding a global magnetic field is a piece of cake. Huge superconduction coil round the equator!

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Spectre rises from the dead to bite Intel in the return stack buffer

MacroRodent
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Re: RSB

> Switching to kernel mode (a system call) would be a bit more problematic, as system calls happen frequently.

I don't think invalidating at every syscall would be such a big deal. System calls are already very slow compared to normal calls, and subsequently the kernel will internally do a lot of other function calls before returning, so I would estimate the performance hit to be very small, or non-existent.

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If Brussels wants Android forks, phone makers aren't helping

MacroRodent
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Re: They're not the only ones...

I suspect, we're going to be heading towards using exploits to get them unlocked, rather than officially sanctioned and support

Rather like game consoles then - most of them can be cracked via some bug, either in the console or in some game...

I wonder if we could get an EU directive passed mandating that the customer must be able to install an alternate phone OS? Their famous Android ruling is rather irrelevant without it.

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EU plans for domestic exascale supercomputer chips: A RISC-y business

MacroRodent
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30MW

Sounds like it needs its own nuclear power plant to run. Has this been factored into the costs?

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Python creator Guido van Rossum sys.exit()s as language overlord

MacroRodent
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Re: Here's a PEP

> Proper FORTRAN didn't have BEGIN and END, though it did have significant leading whitespace,

In classic FORTRAN, you had to have the leading white space for statements (I think 6 spaces was the standard, but most compilers also accepted a single TAB), and everything after column 72 is ignored. Otherwise white space was optional and ignored. And I mean optional: IF(I.GT.0)GOTO100 is valid and jumps to the statement labeled 100 when I>0. You could also add extra white space inside keywords and identifiers, so you could write GO TO 100 if you preferred that.

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Imagine a patent on organizing computer files being used against online shopping sites. Oh, it's still happening

MacroRodent
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Re: Oh for the love of...

The abstract sounds just like a SQL view. If the defendants do in fact use a relational database, they should point out theirs is an obvious application of ideas presented in the 1970's.

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An $18m supercomputer to simulate brains of mice in the land of Swiss cheese. How apt, HPE

MacroRodent
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Re: Is it legitimate to ask

One way to think about it I have found helpful is that evolution *is* intelligence when it operates on timescales of millions of years. So the brain was designed by an intelligence, it just is of a totally alien kind.

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A fine vintage: Wine has run Microsoft Solitaire on Linux for 25 years

MacroRodent
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Nice way to use Windows CD-ROM titles

Remember those? Games, educational programs on CD-ROM. Most of them do not run any more on modern Windows version, but Wine can usually be made to run them, after tweaking application-specific settings suitably. Many years ago I used to do this to make some kids games run on my Linux box for my child (he has long since outgrown them). Sometimes it was not trivial. Wine did not support some palette color modes, unless run in a X11 server with palette color. Solution was to run the wine inside a Xephyr window (an X11 server running inside X11), which can be configured to have a different color depth from the host.

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US Declaration of Independence labeled hate speech by Facebook bots

MacroRodent
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Emperor Facebook the First

that Facebook’s decisions can change the fate of a business. And now those decisions are being made by tone-deaf robots.

Never mind the fate of businesses, Facebook and its tone-deaf robots now affects the fate of nations...

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Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

MacroRodent
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Re: Trolling for comments

Hey, its Friday! Silly polls are expected!

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No more slurping of kids' nationalities, Brit schools told

MacroRodent
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Re: Killing the patient

If the pupil has trouble with English, it is quite obvious to the teachers without asking about nationality. The nationality would be the wrong answer anyway: some pupil from, say, Japan could be quite proficient in English for reasons related to his/her personal history.

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White House calls its own China tech cash-inject ban 'fake news'

MacroRodent
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Re: The Chinese have a saying :

》targeting countries

Uh, such as Canada and the EU?

I didn't know I was working in sweatshop in a low-wage country...

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MacroRodent
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Re: MAGA it won't be

MAGE - Make America Great Entertainment! Now what will this tragic opera be named?

Watched Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah shows last night on Youtube. Both comedians were desperately trying to lampoon Trump's latest rally, which was nigh impossible, because Trump was doing it himself. Really cringeworthy to watch. Actually it wasn't fun any more, but scary.

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SUSE Linux Enterprise turns 15: Look, Ma! A common code base

MacroRodent
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Re: Cultural cloning and diminishing returns

only ever used the 22 Major Arcana

But they have the cool pictures in every deck! In most Tarot decks, the minor arcana are boring, like normal playing cards, but with a different set of four symbols.

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GDPR forgive us, it's been one month since you were enforced…

MacroRodent
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Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn

So far no site I care about has tried to lock me out for being in the EU.

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Linus Torvalds tells kernel devs to fix their regressive fixing

MacroRodent
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Re surprisingly tame

Usually he is reasonable, the colourful outbursts just get more press coverage.

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