* Posts by sisk

2394 posts • joined 17 Mar 2010

It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you hackers are targeting 'nuclear, defense, energy, financial' biz

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I wonder if this has anything to do with the massive uptick we've seen in infected Word docs and PDFs trying to come in over the last month. So massive, in fact, that we started quarantining all Word docs and PDFs coming in from outside our domain as dealing with the ones that needed to be released was taking less effort than dealing with the ones that somehow slipped past all our filters. I've been working under the assumption that we were being targeted (though I couldn't figure out why anyone would make that sort of effort to break into a school district's systems), but if there's been a major campaign going on maybe not.

Windows 10 can carry on slurping even when you're sure you yelled STOP!

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Re: Black Mirror

My wife and I watched the first episode of Black Mirror and found it pompous, overblown, self-indulgent, and generally annoying.

Some episodes are better than others, and each episode feels (to me anyway) more like a self-contained movie than an episode of a series. I'd personally recommend watching another episode or two before you write it off completely.

In any case, for most middle-class industrialized-democracy citizens the present cultural moment is much more akin to Brave New World than Nineteen Eighty-Four

Absolutely. What's truly terrifying is how few people realize that. Though I will point out that more and more political rallies - in all camps - seem to bear a resemblance to 2 minutes of hate from Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Orwell hated it when people wrote the title in numerals. He felt that emphasized what was a completely arbitrary date, rather than the themes he felt were important.

I vaguely remember seeing him quoted as saying his only regret about the book was the title and that he felt he'd gotten the rest of it basically right.

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with few exceptions, I would recommend "testing it under Wine, first" before purchasing a Win-10-nic machine/license JUST to run "that application".

If you're paying full price absolutely. But if you can get a Win10 license for < $10 (which you can if you watch allkeyshop and similar sites and are either patient or lucky, though I think they're only just barely legal) then it becomes worth it. Beside that there are certain games that don't work on Wine anywhere near as well as on Windows or at all. And I've been told that in the case of certain games your game license gets revoked if you try to run it on Wine (though I've not played any of those games).

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Re: In what is likely to be more cock-up than conspiracy,

why do Microsoft get the luxury of innocent until proven guilty

Because conspiracy requires competence and Microsoft has none. That said, cock-up or conspiracy you can bet your arse that they're going to be selling all the data they've collected whether they had permission and collected it on purpose or not.

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Or, y'know, using applications that simply don't appear on Linux.

That's why I tell hardcore gamers not to bother with Linux at all and college students to be cautious about it despite it being my OS of choice. What you're using a computer for should be a consideration in choosing an OS. Sometimes Linux just isn't the best choice. Most of the time for me though Windows is such a poor choice what with its privacy concerns and generally inferior overall performance - extremely inferior in my experience - that it's not even worth considering (the rare exception to that mostly being when I'm eyeing a particular game).

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I have found one sure-fire way to keep Windows 10 from collecting data. First, go into the device manager and find your network card. Second, disable it and uninstall the driver.

It works perfectly for preventing privacy breaches by Windows, though it also slightly hampers the performance of applications which require network access.

Small American town rejects Comcast – while ISP reps take issue with your El Reg vultures

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We've got Congressmen (mine is one of them, and this is a very rural state) who would make what Charlemont did illegal on the grounds that "local governments shouldn't be competing with businesses".

For my opinion on the matter, I'll just state that I have not only voted against him repeatedly for the last 20 years, but I'm firmly convinced that the fact that he keeps getting re-elected is proof that no one around here actually pays attention to what he's doing. It's not just this issue. The man consistently works against the best interests of his constituents in favor of aiding big businesses from other states.

Taylor's gonna spy, spy, spy, spy, spy... fans can't shake cam off, shake cam off

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IF it merely processes the data and then discards it, and IF it's actually able to pick out known stalkers I wouldn't see a problem with it. At that point it's not so much different from a security guard watching a camera feed. However I highly doubt that it discards the data - more likely it gets sold - and I'm even more doubtful that it could reliably identify a known stalker. So....yeah.

Also, I've got a terrible song stuck in my head now and I'm laying the blame on the Reg Vultures.

College PRIMOS prankster wreaks havoc with sysadmin manuals

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Re: The saga of a class, Pascal, network, and a Novell server...

When I was in college in the early 1990's....I was learning Pascal

Was Pascal around longer than I thought or was your college just a little behind the times? I know it was effectively dead by the time I was in college later that decade.

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Re: BBC Micros at college

My alternative was less hi-tech. At Uni (sorry guys) I wrote a simple program that looked exactly like the login system (custom screen, easy to mimic and logged out the current user, me, after recording login details) and ran around a computer room or two, logged in as myself, ran this application and merrily harvested the login details of countless students and staff.

There was a guy who did that on our EduQuest system (I don't know what OS they ran - I didn't go to school here and the things were on their way out when I started working here) at the high school here. He ended up working for the school district technology department. In fact, for a couple years we had everyone over the age of 20 who had been caught hacking our network when they were in high school working for us.

Sadly those days are past. We catch far too many kids attempting to hack the network these days to hire them all down the road.

sisk Silver badge

Ah yes. And for bonus credits and a guaranteed 'A' grade*, selected students get to manufacture Dioxygen Diflouride.

You're gonna have your troublemakers manufacture FOOF? Hey, let me know when that lab is scheduled so that I know to be out of town that day.

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When I was in high school the Windows 95 machines in the computer lab could be accessed by clicking Cancel on the login screen. Which I did, frequently, because I was lazy and it was quicker than typing my credentials. I never did any mischief like that but I did confirm that I had full access to the net command and could remote shutdown machines (when I tried it I targeted a machine that wasn't being used at the time).

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You do know that students tend to be complete dicks, right?

I dunno about college students, but high school and younger groups definitely have a high dick-to-decent-human-being ratio. Thankfully most of them outgrow it eventually.

BOFH: State of a job, eh? Roll the Endless Requests for Further Information protocol

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Re: Sssshhhhhhh!

Beer? It's December. Get into the Christmas spirit man!

Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum.

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Re: "Woah there Simon! don't give away all of the helldesk secrets!"

I could believe that helpdesks do all of these things, but the BOFH telling his boss about it? Immersion destroyed, sorry.

I would agree with you but for one thing: it's long been established that Simon cannot be terminated for any reason due to an ironclad contract. If I remember correctly Stephen does not have such an ironclad contract, but does have plenty of blackmail material to insure his continued employment. And, of course, his cache of blackmail material pales in comparison to Simon's, so Simon is doubly protected.

Really now, do you think either of them would still have jobs at this point otherwise?

Holy moley! The amp, kelvin and kilogram will never be the same again

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Given that Le Grande K has slowly deteriorated over time, it might be more accurate to say that the kilogram will always be the same from now on.

Microsoft sysadmin hired for fake NetWare skills keeps job despite twitchy trigger finger

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I once had an hiring agency cold-contact me and try to set up an interview as a school cook. For the same school district where I was working in as a programmer and AD admin. Through my work email account. My boss and I both had a bit of a laugh at that. I wasn't even looking to change jobs at the time, and even if I had been it was pretty obvious that the agency hadn't bothered looking at my CV anyway.

Sadly that sort of thing seems to be how it goes for hiring agencies in this area. The one time I've ever gotten anything from any of them even remotely related to my experience it was also another cold-contact and turned out the position had been filled before they even sent it to me. Too bad to: if they'd sent it too me a month earlier I might have sent them a resume. Maybe it has to do with being in a mostly rural area that I don't want to leave, but there don't seem to be any agencies with a clue around here.

Oracle's JEDI mind-meld doesn't work on Uncle Sam's auditors: These are not the govt droids you are looking for

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Chiefly, Oracle – let's make that clear, Oracle – thinks locking an agency into a single legacy vendor is a bad idea in terms of innovation and security.

Personally I think they're right, even if they do have ulterior motives for that point of view. On the other hand, having hundreds of small vendors is even worse in terms of security, so I suppose I can at least see where GAO is coming from.

Macs to Linux fans: Stop right there, Penguinista scum, that's not macOS. Go on, git outta here

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Re: Look before you leap!

obviously Apple is at least as evil as Microsoft or Google

In my opinion Apple is quite a bit more evil than Microsoft (these days anyway) or Google. I mean a business model that is built completely on vendor lock-in is bad enough, but I can't imagine Microsoft releasing a Windows update that causes your computer to quit working because you took it to an unauthorized repair shop or Google removing an app from the Play Store without telling the dev why. Apple has done both of these things (with iOS instead of Windows and the iTunes store instead of Play, obviously) and will probably continue to do so unless ordered not to by a court of law (and then they'll still continue to do so if they think they can get rid of it).

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Oh for the love of all that's holy, why? Seriously Apple, why? You've already got their money, let them install the OS they want FFS.

Cripes. This kind of crap is why I won't willing touch anything with an Apple logo.

Has science gone too far? Now boffins dream of shining gigantic laser pointer into space to get aliens' attention

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Re: Talk to the tentacle

...And here he is... Emissary of Humanity! Donald Trump!

On the one hand, it'd give him something to do other than create chaos on Earth with his idiotic ideas regarding foreign policy. On the other hand, do we REALLY want the face of humanity to the rest of the galaxy to be THAT?

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I can't help but feel that before doing something like this we should find a way to prove that the answer to the Fermi Paradox isn't berserker drones or some super advanced civilization that is actively hunting down and destroying all competition or something.

Not that I think that is the answer. Personally I ascribe to the "space is freaking big" solution to Fermi, but if it IS berserker drones then this is not how I'd want to be proven wrong.

Woman who hooked up with over 15 spectres has found her forever phantom after whirlwind romance and plane sex

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Re: (Serious bit)

"Drug laws, seat belt and helmet laws" are designed to stop you becoming a drain on our socialised health services, as much as protect yourself.

If that's the intent then drug laws, at least, fail miserably. The amount of money that gets funneled into fighting the drug war when it might actually accomplish some good going into treatment programs for addicts instead is absolutely staggering.

As for seat belt and helmet laws, I think it's mostly a wash, at least here in the US. We don't have socialized medicine (though, in my personal opinion, it would be a vast improvement on our incredibly broken health care system even if I were prepared to accept the "socialist=bad always" narrative that's common here, which I'm not). Even if we did paramedics usually respond to traffic accidents whether there's an actual need for them or not on the grounds that figuring out whether they're needed would take minutes that can be the difference between life and death in such situations.

"curfew laws" most def protect me from you, if you are a noisy vomiting delinquent.

Which is why I can understand them in places that have significant problems with juvenile delinquents. But the simple fact of the matter is that most juveniles aren't delinquents, and treating them as though they are is a good way to breed teenage rebellion. For the most part in most places the only valid justification for curfew laws on teens is to make sure they get enough sleep for school because some of them (I was one of these back in the 90s) would otherwise be out all night but not necessarily causing problems.

"the ban on alcohol sales on Sunday" doesn't protect anyone, but does leave those in favour of the ban with a warm feeling inside and a sense of power over others.

I think those in favor of such bans frame it in their own minds as protecting the souls of us poor sinners who want to drink on the Sabbath. Which is ridiculous both in terms of their own religion (Christ's first miracle was to create wine so that a party could continue after all, and wine is called for in Communion even if most denominations use grape juice instead these days, and even barring that....well, go ask a clergyman what day of the week is the Biblical Sabbath and I think you'll be surprised by the answer) and and on the grounds that not everyone shares it.

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Re: (Serious bit)

now I appreciate that's not how it is in the UK

I really don't think it's that way in most places. I can name at least a dozen laws here that only protect people from themselves. Drug laws, seat belt and helmet laws, curfew laws (usually anyway - I could see them in places that have had problems with juvenile delinquents), the inability of grocery stores to get liquor licenses and the ban on alcohol sales on Sunday (those two are local to this hyper-religious area and annoying)...The list goes on and on.

The best way to screw the competition? Do what they can't, in a fraction of the time

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Re: "Ethernet is so much better"

"Nobody has yet mentioned Token Ring. "

i will then....

Th big fat black cables were a nightmare.*

I dealt with Token Ring for about a year. Thankfully we were in the process of phasing it out when I started so I didn't have to deal with its quirks for long. However for about 3 years after we finally got completely moved over to Ethernet I had a few dozen defunct Type 1 cables hanging from the ceiling in my office. I wasn't allowed to pull them out myself (no, I don't know why) and getting rid of them was so far down on the list of priorities for the guys who were that it never happened. Eventually I asked for and got permission to just cut them off right above the ceiling tile so I at least didn't have to look at them.

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But coax *shudder* - so glad it died out as a networking solution. Ethernet is so much better.

Oh come on, who didn't love vampire taps? :-)

Seriously though, I've only read about EoC, a fact for which I am thankful. I'm a little under 40, so by the time I left college and started my IT career in the early noughts EoC was mostly just a memory outside of cable ISPs and a few places in desperate need of an infrastructure upgrade.

China tells Trump to use a Huawei phone to avoid eavesdroppers

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Re: Where he tweets from?

And then -- get this, it'll really surprise you -- he lies about it.

What? A politician who's holding a high office in the US lying? Say it isn't so!

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Use a Chinese phone to avoid eavesdroppers? Yeah, I'll file that one with juggling flaming torches to avoid getting burned.

SQLite creator crucified after code of conduct warns devs to love God, and not kill, commit adultery, steal, curse...

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Re: Sigh...

Do NOT do unto others that which you would NOT want done unto you.

Steer clear of the oversimplified translations, dudes.

Actually it is stated both as (paraphrasing because I don't want to look up verses for exact text right now) "Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself" - at least once and maybe twice in the Old Testament law - and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - in Matthew during the Sermon on the Mount. Both kinda amount to the same thing really. And, as I said, there is some variant on the same theme in most religions. Have a look at the Wikipedia page for "The Golden Rule" sometime to see it stated several other ways in the texts of several other religions.

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Re: Clothe the naked.

On the subject of Christianity (or not) I thought the New Testament was a replacement for the Old Testament and so the term "Old Testament Christian" was logically incorrect. Still, you look for the words which support your chosen views, I assume.

It depends on the specific flavor of Christianity you're referencing. For example, Seventh Day Adventists are very much "Old Testament Christian," to the point that some bits of the New Testament get either ignored entirely or interpreted in such a way as to reinforce the Old Testament doctrine that they would replace in the doctrine of other denominations. As an example, the theme throughout Paul's letters of Mosiac law not applying to Christians is completely ignored in SDA doctrine, while the bit in Acts that most Christians interpret as meaning there are no "unclean" meats anymore is interpreted somewhat differently (I forget the exact details on that one).

When speaking of Christianity it's important to remember that it's an incredibly fragmented community. Folks around here talk about Android being fragmented, but by comparison to Christianity it's pretty consistent. There's very little that you could say about Christian doctrine beyond the core concept of salvation through Christ that would apply to all Christian denominations.

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To be perfectly fair, the world would be a much better place if everyone followed the bits of the Christian tenants of behavior that don't actually require being Christian. Heck, even just the universal adoption of the golden rule (which actually exists in most religions in some form, probably because it's so freaking obvious) would make the world a far better place. And I really don't think that's such a big ask for an online community made up of adults. Though, perhaps he should have made it a bit more clear that he was copy-pasting a religious text and that the more spiritual or worshippy bits of it could be ignored.

And before anyone goes off on me about how awful Christians can be, it should be mentioned that of the several hundred "Christians" I know only a handful actually live up to that standard of behavior. Most Christians just....don't. The ones who do are extraordinarily pleasant people.

PC version of Linux 4.19 lands with PC version of Linus Torvalds: Kernel handed back to creator

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Four weeks???

Torvalds is not a nice man. We all know this. Were he not in a meritocracy his behavior would have gotten him fired from most places a dozen times over in the last decade. Fortunately for all of us kernel dev IS a meritocracy. I'm glad he's making the effort to shed his more abusive tendencies. For all that I respect them man for his abilities those tendencies have consistently seemed childish to me.

But....four weeks?

You're talking about trying to trigger a major behavioral and personality shift here. That's doable, but usually it requires either months or years of therapy or a major shakeup to the pillars of your life. Unless he's had a life-changing experience four weeks seems way too short a span for him to have truly changed his ways. But I guess we'll see.

Scanning an Exchange server for a virus that spreads via email? What could go wrong?

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Re: Deleted Emails

Still, creating 7000 new accounts seems a bit knee-jerk

You misunderstand. I was supposed to delete 7000 accounts 20-30 at a time. The mistake was on one OU. Since it was a teacher OU instead of a student OU it was a little bigger, but still no more than 40. I also wasn't deleting the OUs themselves, just the accounts they contained.

As for restoring, it was probably the first thing I tried (It's been several years, some details are lost to my memory), but at the time our backup system was both a major PITA and a bit unreliable. It only took around a couple hours worth of work to fix the whole mess once you discount the fruitless call to Microsoft tech support. Had it happened during the school year it would have been a much bigger problem, but as I mentioned all the teachers who were affected were out on summer break.

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Deleted Emails

Many years ago I was responsible for deleting student AD accounts at the end of the school year. I did this by going to the OU in the third-party AD front-end we used, hitting select all, and hitting delete. I had to do this for each grade in 18 schools ranging from primary schools to high schools, somewhere around 100 OUs and 7000ish accounts in total. All was going well until about halfway through the task. I watched it clear the OU I was on and then, as it finished, realized that I was in a teacher OU.

"Whoops" doesn't begin to cover it.

While hiding my mistakes really isn't in my nature, fixing them before I tell the boss I screwed up is. I created new accounts for all the users I'd just deleted, restored the contents of their network drives, and a did a bit of hacking to recover the deleted Exchange mailboxes from the old accounts and connect them to the new ones (after being told by a Microsoft support tech that such a feat wouldn't be possible, I might add). Once all that was done I fired an email off to the boss explaining what had happened. In the end the only inconvenience to the deleted users was that they had to set new passwords for themselves when they came back a month later and I was spared any consequences by the fact that I'd already fixed it before anyone noticed anything.

Powerful forces, bodily fluids – it's all in a day's work

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Whole board or panel swaps in most cases. It's rare for a repair shop to do component level repairs these days.

Depends on where you take it. There's a local electronics repair shop here that will do component level repairs for $50/hour (the cost of living around here is pretty low by US standards). For easily diagnosed stuff like popped caps it usually comes in under the cost of replacing the whole board, especially in cases where the whole board is hard to find. Cheapskate that I am I usually just fix my stuff myself if at all possible, but I've been known to send friends and coworkers his way.

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I kept a VCR around a lot longer than most people did. My last VCR was killed by a 2 year old with a peanut butter sandwich. She pushed it in the slot just like she'd seen us pushing in tapes. The result was peanut butter everywhere. I suppose I could have cleaned and saved it, but it just really didn't seem worth the effort. By that point all the VHS tapes I had that were worth watching had either been run through a TV capture card and stored digitally or re-bought on DVD.

The same kid tried the same thing a couple weeks later with a PS3. Fortunately, though, the peanut butter ended up all over the front of the case. No real damage done.

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Re: Monitor

You don't last long in this profession if you don't learn proper troubleshooting techniques and eliminating possible causes of a problem is a pretty vital technique. I know a some people who have never managed to get it down, but in my experience they don't last more than a few years.

Rookie almost wipes customer's entire inventory – unbeknownst to sysadmin

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A couple months ago on my home computer (which has several Linux distros installed and which all share a common /home because I apparently like to make life difficult for myself - and yes, that's as close to a logical reason I have for having multiple distros installed on one machine) I was going to get rid of one of the extraneous Linux installs and use the space to expand the root partition for one of the other distros. I realized I'd typed /dev/sdc2 instead of /dev/sdc3 at the same time that I verified that, yes, I wanted to delete the partition. And sdc2 is where the above mentioned shared /home lives. Doh.

Fortunately I have a good file server and a cron job running rsync every night, so I didn't actually lose any data, but I think my heart stopped for a few seconds before I realized that.

Raspberry Pi supremo Eben Upton talks to The Reg about Pi PoE woes

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As I said when it was first announced, a 3rd party PoE hat has been available for Pis for years. And, what's more, it's not a terribly difficult thing for a competent electronics hobbyist - granted, one with probably too much time on their hands - to cobble together for themselves if they really wanted it and had the networking equipment to support it. What advantage does the "official" PoE support - that still requires a hat - have over the one that's already out there? No one yet has been able to give me an answer to that simple question.

Drama as boffins claim to reach the Holy Grail of superconductivity

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Re: said it before I'll say it again

Nah. Email itself is fine. Its the idiots who insist on treating it like a secure channel for confidential communications that are the problem.

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While I agree that usually the correct response is to look closely at the evidence before coming to any conclusions and that immediately assuming a fantastic claim is BS is wrong, this case is is a matter of the former, not the latter.

There are lots of red flags raised here. The first of which is an identical noise profile. The whole reason it's called "noise" is because its random. For it to be identical like that would be so statistically unlikely that we wouldn't expect it to have ever happened once even if they'd been repeatedly running the experiment ever since the Big Bang. So that's red flag number one. Red flag number two is the faked emails. Even if they had good evidence that would - and SHOULD - raise some eyebrows.

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Re: It's dead, Jim, but not as we know it

Quantum computer works precisely because everytime you look at it - it turns itself to some combination of off and on again


US voting systems: Full of holes, loaded with pop music, and 'hacked' by an 11-year-old

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Re: Old joke!

Why aren't elections done that way in the US?

They are in at least some states.

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Re: Obligatory

To be fair to the issues raised in the XKCD comic, planes that have someone trying to make them crash don't typically fair very well. Nor, I think, would elevators that had a person knowledgeable about them trying to make them fall.

But, yes, security on electronic voting machines is a joke. From what little I've seen of them (which isn't much because my state thankfully still uses paper) I've got better security on the wifi enabled light switches I built and scattered around my house.

You won't believe this but... everyone hates their cable company: Bombshell study lands

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In fact, if you want to be less infuriated with your cable company, the answer appears to be to go with the small guys

I'd love to. Any tips on how to get one of those small guys to come into town and start competing with Cox?

Here's the real problem: unless you live in a big city - which around half of Americans still don't - they've got you. My options for internet here are AT&T, Cox, or a couple local companies that top out around 5mb speeds. And as for cable TV? The local companies don't even try. Granted I (and, in my opinion, anyone who budgets with any kind of sanity) don't have cable TV these days, but I'm still paying out the nose for internet simply because I have no options.

Space, the final Trump-tier: America to beam up $8bn for Space Force

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Re: Wrong

Jemma, you need to read a bit closer before you start going off on other people and calling them idiots. Both Trump's comments and Patrician's, which set you off on that little rant, specifically state they are talking about AMERICA'S first rocket. Wernher Von Braun may have launched the world's first successful rocket, but it was not by any stretch of the imagination America's first rocket, even if it did come before the Jupiter C. Context matters.

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Re: Americans need to alter the criteria for being allowed to be president.

Let's be fair: space aliens are almost certainly real.

Millions or billions of light years away, undiscovered as of yet by humans, and absolutely never stepping foot on planet Earth, but probably real none the less.

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Somehow I don't think Trump cares if he tramples over the Outer Space Treaty. He certainly hasn't shown much interest in honoring other treaties and commitments made by the US before he was elected. He's done everything from actively try to dismantle NAFTA to pull out of the Paris agreement. Space based weapons platforms in violation of a 1960s era treaty would be par for the course for him.

Indictment bombshell: 'Kremlin intel agents' hacked, leaked Hillary's emails same day Trump asked Russia for help

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Oldest swinger in town, Slackware, notches up a quarter of a century

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You know, my Arch install is acting up (due to local problems like lack of drive space, and some idiot who shall remain nameless doing a partial update rather than any problems with Arch itself, but the easiest fix is still a full install) and I've never given Slack a go. Maybe it's time....

(I might be a masochist.)

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