* Posts by Blofeld's Cat

911 posts • joined 27 Jan 2010

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HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

Blofeld's Cat
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Pirate

Re: Old Fashioned

"... does this ship look out-dated already? ..."

I suspect that the rearmost island may have been inspired by Professor Farnworth's "Planet Express" delivery ship.

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BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

Blofeld's Cat
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Headmaster

Definition ...

One of the collective nouns for a group of vultures is a "committee".

No, really.

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UK and Ecuador working on Assange escape mechanism

Blofeld's Cat
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Escape tunnel ...

Apparently there's a tunnel, with an entrance close to the embassy, that runs all the way to Heathrow Airport. Perhaps he could be smuggled down that.

It's called the Piccadilly Line, so the "smuggling" bit should be fairly straightforward ...

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US Air Force resumes F-35A flights despite not knowing why pilot oxygen systems failed

Blofeld's Cat
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Re: Hmm...

"do British planes all have tea-making facilities?"

I believe that's what the second hose on the in-flight refuelling tanker is for...

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Blofeld's Cat
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Hmm...

I suspect that if this was in the UK the proposed solution from the defence contractors would be:

"Look, if you feel a bit woozy old chap, just crank open the canopy a little more and breathe deeply."

It's the flying jacket with the goggles and flowing white scarf

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Queen's speech announces laws to protect personal data

Blofeld's Cat
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Re: to protect personal data...

"That'll be more like 3 years in prison and £4000 fine plus court costs."

I'm reminded of the man who was arrested outside the gates of Downing Street, in the small hours of the morning, while shouting "All the government are insane".

He was fined £100 for being drunk and disorderly ... and given 25 years for revealing a state secret.

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Costa Rica complains of US govt harassment over Pirate Bay domain

Blofeld's Cat
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Facepalm

Er ...

"The ministry did carry out an investigation – and found that the registry was indeed following its rules that require a local court order to take down a domain name."

Perhaps the US could find a corrupt sympathetic local lawyer or two, and try to get the appropriate court order, or is that creating a dangerous precedent.

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Tesla death smash probe: Neither driver nor autopilot saw the truck

Blofeld's Cat
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Still driver in charge...

In this case both vehicles were being driven by humans, and the accident was a consequence of their actions, or inaction. The level of automation used in one vehicle didn't really change that.

Had the Tesla driver been watching the road and seen the truck, he could have overridden the software by attempting to brake or swerve, and so possibly avoided or at least mitigated the impact.

I suspect that lawyers and insurers will have a field day when there are accidents involving self-driving taxis and the like where technically (or indeed physically) nobody is at the wheel.

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Golden handshakes of almost half a million at Wikimedia Foundation

Blofeld's Cat
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Flame

Re: Why I don't donate to big charities

A hospice in our area recently needed to repair and refurbish one of their buildings.

Before starting their fundraising they asked some construction firms to quote for the work, and most gave the going rate with a small percentage reduction as they were a charity.

The exception was a long-established local firm who offered to do it for the cost of the materials - which another local firm then supplied free of charge.

Total cost to the hospice - nil, goodwill earned by local firms - immeasurable.

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HPE ignored SAN failure warnings at Australian Taxation Office, had no recovery plan

Blofeld's Cat
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Facepalm

Hmm...

"... the SANs' recovery software was on the SANs themselves ..."

It's nice to know that in this age of clouds and outsourcing, the old basic data security principles have not been overlooked.

Er ...

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Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

Blofeld's Cat
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Childcatcher

Re: It would work if..

Perhaps we should do away with the drone and parachute and instead deliver the packages by harpoon...

FX: Whoosh, thud, distant cry of pain, phone rings

Ahab: "Call me back Ishmael, I've got more deliveries to make."

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Blofeld's Cat
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Re: Ooooh, It Makes Me Wonder...

"...what percentage of sky diving parachutes have suffered some form of malfunction in the past decade."

It's a very hard statistic to collect as, for some reason, very few of the failed-parachute owners ever return them for refund.

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Pai guy not too privacy shy, says your caller ID can't block IP, so anons go bye

Blofeld's Cat
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Devil

"I only answer my cell phone (a nearly ten year old feature phone) if I am expecting a specific prearranged call. I never read texts or get any voice mail on it. Everyone who I would actually want to talk to knows I am not a cell phone person, so they know to use my landline."

I have gone for a different approach to tackling the problem.

My main ring tone on my Android phone is "5s_silence.mp3". Anyone I wish to have call me has their own entry in the address book - with a different ring tone set.

I have simply turned off voicemail; and texts are not generally a problem as, like email, I check them when it is convenient.

I occasionally get people complaining that I'm hard to get hold of, but these are usually people I would rather NOT got hold of me in the first place.

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BA IT systems failure: Uninterruptible Power Supply was interrupted

Blofeld's Cat
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FAIL

Re: Electrical Interlocks

"There should be some serious interlocking going on to prevent two completely different power inputs being connected at the same time to the same load."

As an electrician, the simplest ways I can think of of getting 415 V where 240 V should be; is ether to swap over one phase and the neutral, or to accidentally disconnect the neutral on a 3 phase supply.

The former is almost always an installation error (I took out a bank of lighting when I was an apprentice), while the latter is generally poor design (inappropriately switched neutral) or an equipment failure.

I also seem to recall, (but cannot find*), a news story where a disgruntled employee damaged part of a DC by temporarily disconnecting the neutral.

* I think it was on El Reg [citation needed]

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At the feet of the Great Monad, or, How the functional programming craze plays out

Blofeld's Cat
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Devil

Re: Been there, done that

"... transformed into cards using a manual hand punch, and then the card decks sent ..."

You forgot to mention that the card decks would be dropped or otherwise shuffled by the recipients, both before and after being processed.

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Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

Blofeld's Cat
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FAIL

Er ...

Presumably the catering facilities serve "New Coke".

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Please don't call them Facebook chatbots, says Facebook's bot boss

Blofeld's Cat
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Coat

Hmm...

"Less AI, more dialog from an old point-and-click adventure game like The Secret of Monkey Island."

Sounds reasonable - let's try it:

  • "Every word you say to me is stupid."
  • "I wanted to make sure you'd feel comfortable with me."
  • "Now I know what filth and stupidity really are."
  • "I'm glad to hear you attended your family reunion."
Yes, that seems to work.

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Lochs, rifle stocks and two EPIC sea gates: Thomas Telford's Highland waterway

Blofeld's Cat
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"Why Telford never used the eminently more sensible brontosauri is a mystery lost to time."

I believe it was to avoid NASA-like confusion with the local plesiosaurus unit.

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Uber wasn't to blame for robo-ride crash – or was it? Witness said car tried to 'beat the lights'

Blofeld's Cat
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Stop

Re: Two sets of traffic lights are needed

I like the idea of providing non-visual information for the robot car, but I think you would be opening a new can of worms if you gave different signals to the car. In the example you give, neither the "safety driver" nor any non-automatic following vehicles, would expect the robot car to brake for a green signal.

It would perhaps be better, (and simpler from the traffic signal's point of view), to tell robot cars approaching the junction which signals were currently displaying green, and the timings of any upcoming changes. e.g. "now: E to W green, W to E green. in 29s : E to W green, E to N green ...".

That way the car would be able to decide how to handle the junction, without needing to detect the physical traffic lights.

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After London attack, UK gov lays into Facebook, Google for not killing extremist terror pages

Blofeld's Cat
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Childcatcher

Re: Letter to Google.

PS While you're doing that don't forget to take down anything relating to cars as they are clearly being used for terrorist purposes. Although, now I think about it, we do make a lot of money taxing vehicles and fuel, so you can leave up any that are not terrorist related - and don't mention Top Gear.

Just to be on the safe side you'd better take down anything related to driving schools as well, as they could be used to train potential terrorists ... Oh and any maps that have roads on them, as they could be useful in planning an attack.

Better scrub anything that relates to religion and politics as well. Terrorists use them to justify their actions, although I suppose some religious and political stuff is OK ... but no bad stuff or any pages that mention 45 minute claims.

Actually this is getting very complicated isn't it - look we'll just send you a list of stuff we like and you can list that instead.

This is just between ourselves, by the way, so don't tell anyone else. If you've any questions just give us a call at the Department of Pandemonium, and we'll send someone round to explain it to you.

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Squirrel sinks teeth into SAN cabling, drives Netadmin nuts

Blofeld's Cat
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Unhappy

Re: Rats!

"... steel butcher's chill room ..."

I presume that is where a "skilled engineer" like the one who made our custom battery racks, goes to relax after a hard day's bodging.

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Confirmed: TSA bans gear bigger than phones from airplane cabins

Blofeld's Cat
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Unhappy

"Checked in baggage? What the hell ..."

"As a child I grew up in a big house filled with exotic gifts from all round the world. - My father was a baggage handler at the airport."

Milton Jones, Another case of Milton Jones

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BOFH: Don't back up in anger

Blofeld's Cat
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Alien

Re: New technical terms.

"It had um, interesting rhythmic devices, too, which seemed to counterpoint the the surrealism of the underlying metaphor of the poet’s compassionate soul which contrived through the medium of the verse structure to sublimate this, transcend that and come to terms with the fundamental dichotomies of the other. And one is left with a profound and vivid insight into whatever it was that the poem presentation was about!"

With apologies to the late Dentarthurdent Douglas Adams.

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NASA finds India's missing lunar orbiter with Earth-bound radar

Blofeld's Cat
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Alien

Re: MMM. Space 1999 or UFO?

"What made me think about this was that on UFO they had to monitor space around the earth for alien ships..."

Ah yes, A computerised satellite called SID was responsible IIRC.

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FBI boss: 'Memories are not absolutely private in America'

Blofeld's Cat
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Er ...

"... Comey said that America's founding fathers had set down that there is a right to privacy but that the government has a right to intrude in the name of security. It was part of a 200-year old "bargain of ordered liberty," he opined ..."

"Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins." - Benjamin Franklin, 1737

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin, 1755

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US military drone goes AWOL, ends up crashing into tree 623 miles away

Blofeld's Cat
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Hmm...

Probably used the same destination planning software as the budget airlines.

"We will shortly be landing at London (Luton) Phoenix (Denver) ..."

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New prison law will let UK mobile networks deploy IMSI catchers

Blofeld's Cat
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Er ...

"... cock womble ..."

I often wondered if Madame Cholet would be a hen womble with Orinoco and Tomsk being chick wombles.

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More brilliant Internet of Things gadgetry: A £1,300 mousetrap

Blofeld's Cat
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Er ...

I believe that the ACME corporation offer a cheaper solution involving a small stick, a piece of string and a large anvil.

It is advisable to wear a hard hat while pulling the string.

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BS Detection 101 becomes actual University subject

Blofeld's Cat
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Hmm...

I suspect that somewhere on the same campus, someone is teaching the exact opposite of this course.

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Paper factory fired its sysadmin. He returned via VPN and caused $1m in damage. Now jailed

Blofeld's Cat
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Many years ago...

A colleague of mine had to unexpectedly take over from a sysadmin who was dismissed without notice.

The person concerned had been caught stealing from the company, and my colleague basically got the time it took the police to arrest him and do the paperwork, to lock him out of everything.

It turned out that their former sysadmin had left behind numerous booby-traps (e.g. sending mail to a particular email address would drop database tables) and back-doors on the company's systems. Everything had to be treated as suspect and locked down.

Fortunately the company had realised in advance that dismissing somebody with unrestricted access to their systems was a tricky business, and had made plans accordingly. They also had a long-standing procedure in place for making sure that both their regular backups, and all the key passwords held in the CEO's safe, actually worked.

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The Register's guide to protecting your data when visiting the US

Blofeld's Cat
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Re: Silver lining

"My company stopped us taking laptops etc. years ago ..."

A friend of mine recently spent a few extra hours at a US airport.

An official apparently decided that it was "deeply suspicious" that she was arriving for a five day business visit, with no electronic gadgets, and only one carry-on bag...

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Run this in April: UPDATE Azure SET SQLthreat_detection = 'generally available'

Blofeld's Cat
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Thumb Up

Re: Hmm...

"He setup a business"

So he did - "; DROP TABLE "COMPANIES";-- LTD"

That's brilliant, just brilliant!

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Blofeld's Cat
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Thumb Up

Hmm...

"Subheading'); DROP TABLE articles;--"

I always wondered what Bobby Tables did when he left school...

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All of Blighty's attack submarines are out of action – report

Blofeld's Cat
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Facepalm

Hmm...

"... undergoing repairs after ramming a civilian tanker ..."

"... I don't know how many of you men know this, but the Codfish holds the record for the most Japanese tonnage sunk. Being comprised of five freighters and fifteen aircraft carriers. A truly enviable record. Unfortunately, they were sunk in 1954. However, it stands as the largest peacetime tonnage ever sunk ..."

Cruise of the USS Codfish - Bob Newhart

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Ex-NSA contractor Harold Martin indicted: He spent 'up to 20 years stealing top-secret files'

Blofeld's Cat
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Facepalm

Er ...

"... allegedly stole secret and top-secret software and documents from American intelligence agencies for up to 20 years ..."

Twenty years, you say? Just a suggestion folks, but you might wish to review your security procedures a little.

I wonder how many contractors have taken classified documents during that period, and not been caught.

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Sports Direct hacked last year, and still hasn't told its staff of data breach

Blofeld's Cat
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Devil

Hmm...

"Do you believe this man could be UK's 22nd richest man if he was nice, fair and respectful of others?"

It depends on your definition of "rich"...

"There is no wealth but life. Life, including all its powers of love, of joy, and of admiration. That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest numbers of noble and happy human beings; that man is richest, who, having perfected the functions of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest helpful influence, both personal, and by means of his possessions, over the lives of others."

John Ruskin, Unto This Last (1860)

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A non-Standards Soviet approved measure of weight? Sod off, BBC!

Blofeld's Cat
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Er ...

Isaac Asimov proposed the "Helen" as a measure of beauty.

One millihelen being sufficient beauty to launch a single ship.

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Who do you want to be Who? VOTE for the BBC's next Time Lord

Blofeld's Cat
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Hmm...

I feel that Eddie Izzard would make a good Doctor.

He's played some wonderful parts (such as "Torrence" in Day of the Triffids), over the years, many with that dark, ambiguous edge needed by the Doctor.

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2017 is already fail: Let’s try a Chinese reboot

Blofeld's Cat
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Pint

Through a glass darkly ...

Many years ago some magazine [citation needed] ran a competition for messages to put in fortune cookies.

"Help! I'm a prisoner in a cookie factory" and "That wasn't chicken" rated highly, but the outright winner was ...

"Do not place your faith in fortune cookies."

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Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users

Blofeld's Cat
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Happy

Re: You want an evil genius IT man.

"Evil genius engineer didn't fuck with us by removing screws - oh no. The bastard used to add a few... now thats evil."

Wow that's evil, twisted and ... er ... adopted.

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Blofeld's Cat
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Trollface

Have you tried routing your VPN through seven proxies?

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Blofeld's Cat
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Boffin

Magic ...

I have a couple of standard responses to technical questions asked by people who would need a lot of background explanation to understand the answer.

  • User: "When I tried to look at the [mumble] website this morning it didn't work, but it's working again now. Why was that?"
  • Me: "You must have woken up the dragon, but it's all right, he's gone back to sleep now."
  • User: "When I do a Google search, how does the Internet know to send the answer back to my computer?"
  • Me: "It's rather complicated, can we just treat it as magic?"

These answers are usually accepted, but failing that they get the full, detailed explanation. Whereupon their "brain saver" usually cuts in after a few seconds.

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We've found a ‘vaccine’ for fake news. Wait! No, we really are Cambridge researchers

Blofeld's Cat
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Facepalm

Good grief ...

"Social psychologists believe that, following the logic of medical vaccines, the public can be “inoculated” against misinformation."

So, using the same "logic", it follows that being shot with a small calibre pistol, makes you immune to shellfire.

If they will believe that, then I have a bridge they might be interested in ...

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Learn to code site Code.org loses student work due to index bug

Blofeld's Cat
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Coat

Hmm...

"Learn-to-code site Code.org is apologising to its students ..."

At least they didn't say that "lessons had been learned" in their blog post ...

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Boffins ready to demo 1.44 petabit-per-second fibre cables

Blofeld's Cat
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Happy

Impressive but ...

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.", Andrew Tanenbaum, 1981

In the spirit of the above, may I suggest using the "shipping container full of micro SD cards", as the El Reg standard unit of bandwidth.

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My hole is a private thing – see for yourself

Blofeld's Cat
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Bandwagon ...

The most important thing about being on a bandwagon is to remember to get off before it becomes a tumbrel.

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IT team sent dirt file to Police as they all bailed from abusive workplace

Blofeld's Cat
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Pint

Re: Uhhhmmmmm

"lately a bar steward on the Royal Yacht Britannia"

"Guess what tune is now in my head..."

Rule Britannia?

Sorry m0rt, I couldn't resist it - Have one on me.

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Blofeld's Cat
Silver badge
Devil

Ah yes ...

Many years ago I had the misfortune to work for an individual similar to Mr TOWF.

This wonderful example of humanity used to specialise in reducing people to tears over minor issues that were invariably his own fault, such as double-booking meeting rooms, or arranging to be in two locations simultaneously.

Eventually the atmosphere became so toxic that a number of people resigned, including myself. His response was to dismiss everyone who had resigned for "gross misconduct" and then to sue them for "damage to the business".

When this matter came up in court, (against the advice of Mr TOWF's original lawyers), the judge dismissed it "with prejudice" and awarded us costs, pointing out that no individual's contribution could be simultaneously "essential" and "of no worth" to the business.

Mr TOWF then responded by sacking his HR manager for "gross misconduct", on the grounds he had not prevented Mr TOWF from starting the legal action...

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