* Posts by sisk

2252 posts • joined 17 Mar 2010

Kentucky gov: Violent video games, not guns, to blame for Florida school massacre

sisk
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Re: They're not morons.

@Hardrada You make a good point, but at the same time we've got mentally ill people going on rampages and killing people by the dozen every month or so in this country. And that, in my opinion, is all down to the rather insane way we approach mental health in this country. Yes, we need a way to assure that only the legitimately mentally ill end up in psychiatric hospitals, but we also can't keep ignoring mental health problems.

I don't pretend to know what the answer is, but in my opinion it's painfully obvious that mental health is the direction we need to be looking.

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Re: "Yes. BECAUSE of the police, which can be turned against the population"

I would like to see what would happen if someone should start to buy second hand tanks and cannons.

Fun fact, you can if you've got enough money. A lot of organizations will buy them as decorations. About 45 miles from where I'm at someone set up one of the Davy Crockett nuclear cannons that they'd bought second hand as part of a military memorial. Mind you they're disabled, but I'd imagine a semi-competent gunsmith could probably fix them (maybe not THAT one....there's a bit more to it than most guns).

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Re: The 2nd Ammendment was probably right for its time

The 2nd Amendment isn't about defending yourself against crime. It's about defending yourself against the government. The police are EXACTLY the people we'd be up against in the kind of situation the 2nd Amendment was meant for.

Basically, the founding fathers didn't trust themselves or their successors to stay honest. And, based on some of the crap the US government has pulled in the last hundred years or so, that was probably wise on their part.

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Re: The Guns are Not the Cause You're Looking For ... Move Along

Eh, it wasn't such a great success in either of those countries. Look at the murder rates instead of the gun murder rates. Sure, the gun murder rates dropped off, but....

In Australia the murder rate stayed mostly steady for a decade, even spiking way higher one year (I've no idea what happened with that statistical blip) after they banned guns. After a decade the murder rate finally started to drop off, but I have trouble believing that had anything to do with a law that went into affect 10 years earlier.

In the UK after the gun ban went in the murder rate rose for 10 years straight before leveling off. After that it start dropping and is, now, about the same as it was before the gun ban went in.

So, basically, those gun bans were only successful if you think being stabbed to death is somehow better than being shot.

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To be fair we DO have a cultural problem in America. There are nations out there with proportionally just as many gun owners and nowhere near our crime levels. There are also nations with many fewer guns with much, much higher murder rates. We do indeed have a cultural problem in America that gun control can never solve. We will continue to see violence until we deal with the real issues, and to my mind that violence is no less palatable if it's done with a knife than with a gun.

That said, the problem is NOT video games, and in my opinion the shooter in Florida shouldn't have been able to legally buy a gun. First, if he's not old enough to handle alcohol (drinking age is 21 in the US) then he's not old enough to handle a gun unsupervised. Second, he was known to be mentally ill. I don't know what kind of morons have been arguing against the restrictions that would keep legitimately mentally ill people from buying guns, but they should be on the receiving end of a clue-by-four. And I say that as someone who grew up with guns - even though I don't own any right now - and firmly believe that the US government is far too untrustworthy for the US population to be unarmed.

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Vatican sets up dedicated exorcism training course

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Re: Does this course incur a fee?

I need to find a sanctuary from these puns.

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Headmaster

If my memory on the matter is correct, they wouldn't be dealing with ghosts. I think that any spirits of the deceased in Catholic belief are all in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory, leaving only demonic and angelic entities roaming around in the world. Though given that I am not and have never been a Catholic I could be mistaken. Not that angels and demons would be any more possible to prove scientifically than ghosts mind you.

Also I think that the belief is that mistakes would either result in a failed exorcism or the exorcist would risk becoming possessed themselves.

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Batteries are so heavy, said user. If I take it out, will this thing work?

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Re: Hmmm :(

She can use a PC and her smart phone - but it is interesting that she will always avoid anything technical with "I don't understand technology". In a house where meal times are often discussions of technology and science.

My sister does something similar. I've never quite figured out why, but I've got a theory. She is a phenomenally intelligent woman who learns almost by osmosis with zero effort, but she plays dumb constantly.

My theory on the matter is that it's a reaction to the bullying and isolation she experienced fairly early on as her intelligence started to become obvious to those around her. It also probably doesn't help that her best (and, for a significant portion of her late childhood and most of her teen years, only) friend is a bit of an airhead who can't keep up in intellectual conversations.

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Re: Hmmm :(

I think the type of woman who would remove the battery from her phone and then wonder why its not working has a much higher chance than normal of also being the type of woman who would use a phrase like "cute little door", so I find that entirely plausible. I also see no reason why it should be excluded as a part of the story if it did happen.

And I most especially don't agree a story about one woman - especially one in which the tone suggests this incident is outside the norm - is sexist. To my mind sexism here would require the implication that this sort of thing is the norm for women, which is not the case.

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I forget the exact issue, but I once received an email asking for help with a computer. Specifically the problem was with, and I quote: "The actual computer, not the thing next to it that I put CDs in and plug flash drives and my keyboard and stuff into."

It took me a few minutes of alternating between face palming and laughing before I could answer that one.

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Perusing pr0nz at work? Here's a protip: Save it in a file marked 'private'

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It doesn't surprise me at all. You're talking about a psychological phenomenon that's about as close to a droud as you can (currently) get in the real world. Is it really any surprise that some guys who overindulge show some serious lapses in judgement?

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New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination

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Perhaps this guy is one of those SJWs who don't know the difference between advocating for equality and spewing hate speech and advocating discrimination against whatever group they perceive as the oppressive majority. If so then Google would absolutely have had strong grounds for terminating him. I mean it's pretty hard to imagine an entire corporate culture went from "you're advocating equality, here's a bonus" to "You're advocating equality, GTFO" with one management change.

It is, however, entirely possible that what happened is exactly what he says happened. Without seeing the actual memos and posts we can't be sure.

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Who wanted a future in which AI can copy your voice and say things you never uttered? Who?!

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Re: This can't end well

How long until this mysteriously starts happening to enemies of the US?

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it started happening years ago. Just like I'm fairly certain that at least a few intelligence organizations knew about Meltdown and were using it long before it came to public light.

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IBM Java CTO: Devs shouldn't have to learn Docker, K8s, 30 other things to deploy an app

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Re: Why!!!

Node.js has yet to be my first choice of languages for any project, but it's not that bad. Then again, I still usually use PHP when I'm just messing around with quick little stuff for my own personal use, so maybe I'm just getting to be an old fart.

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Farewell, Android Pay. We hardly tapped you

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Re: What could possibly...?

But credit card numbers? I long ago stopped freaking out about those. If my number gets stolen I flag the transaction, the bank refunds it, and they send me a new card with a different number. It's a minor hassle.

It's a much bigger problem for folks who live paycheck to paycheck. I know a guy who's absolutely horrible at managing his money and is generally broke a few days after his payday despite having a decent paying job. Someone got his debit card details and cleaned out his account. As you said, not a big deal because the bank refunded it, but in the meantime he went 2 weeks without money to buy fuel and food. He lost more than a few pounds those couple weeks.

Also, the last time my credit card details were stolen it was through the Target hack. I always check for skimmers on the gas pumps - in case you haven't figured it out already, I'm a bit on the paranoid side - and I've turned a couple of them over to the police. To my knowledge I've never fallen victim to one, though they've gotten good enough lately that they're net easy to spot even if you know what to look for.

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Re: What could possibly...?

don't you think your going a little to far with the precautions especially when millions of others are happily doing online transactions without your precautions and aren'y getting done over?

Given the number of people who are victims of identity theft or have their payment details stolen I'd say Pen-y-gors has a pretty reasonable level of paranoia there. I'm pretty close to the same level myself. I've got one debit card which only has money on it for a few hours after I get paid (and that only because my paycheck gets direct deposited onto it) and just before I buy anything online. And I'm seriously considering getting a different one for online transactions. I use cash for everything I can use cash for and any extra money is sitting in a savings account where I have to walk into a bank and show ID to access it.

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Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I still don't trust Google Pay. Or any other pay by tap system for that matter. I realize the transactions are encrypted, but I don't think you could make encryption strong enough for me to be comfortable with the idea of my payment details being transmitted via NFC.

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If at first you don't succeed, you're likely Intel: Second Spectre microcode fix emitted

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I would imagine that the damages are going to be pretty hefty even by Intel's standards given the fact that pretty much every organization in the world and everyone except for Luddites and a few older AMD fanboys fit into at least some of the classes in the class action lawsuits levied at Intel. This is not going to be a week's worth of profit. If the courts do their job properly then Intel is in for a rough few years.

I don't think the damages will be enough to drag them under. Nor would I want that. If nothing else the sudden dissolution of Intel would leave the type of power vacuum that can destabilize entire industries. But you can bet that the damages will be enough to actually hurt.

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Farts away! Plane makes unscheduled stop after man won't stop guffing

sisk
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Re: Remedies For Excess Gas

8. Plug it

They make plugs specifically for that orifice.

What? Those aren't for keeping stuff in? Oh, never mind then.

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Re: Ah that might explain it

I once had to spend 9 hours on a flight to Jamaica sitting behind a family that were all dumping the most foul smelling toxic waste into the atmosphere, it was like being trapped in beelzebub’s buttocks.

They could’ve all had the same meal and all shared the same intolerance to one of the ingredients ...

Don't be ridiculous. Of course they could. They're a family, which means they most likely share meals and definitely share genetics. If they had some meal that was not usually part of their diet I would not find the idea of a whole family developing a case of digestive distress at the same time at all unusual.

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So....he was asked to stop a bodily function. Utterly ridiculous. If he was farting that much then most likely he was having digestive issues and it was very likely beyond his control. What exactly what this guy supposed to do about it? I get that it's unpleasant, but I will never understand how doing something that you HAVE to do and have little choice about can possibly be rude.

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BOFH: Turn your server rack hotspot to a server rack notspot

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Were the original uni based stories really that far back? Damn, I feel old now....

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BOFH junior in the PFY

I'm pretty sure Stephan's pushing 30 by now. Maybe 35. I'm pretty sure he's neither a youth nor a junior at this point. Honestly he should really be contemplating his own unbreakable contract as a senior systems engineer at this point. And he probably would be if he weren't still paying penance for trying and failing to off Simon a while back.

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Bloke sues Microsoft: Give me $600m – or my copy of Windows 7 back

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Honestly neither WoW nor Overwatch - MMO and arena FPS both being genres I dislike - hold much interest for me so I've not paid attention. That strikes me as odd though. Why in the world would they ban WINE users?

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I don't want to know what kind of powers a superhero with a name like Dickman would get. I can tell you what kind of studio would make the movie though....

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What about the gamers, especially the high-enders? The Mac and especially Linux gaming library pales compared to Windows, and they shun consoles like the plague.

There's a reason I tell every gamer who asks me to stick with Windows. Often to their great surprise. But, to be fair, an awful lot of those games will run just fine under Wine, and if Vulcan ever gets off the ground (I know, you can stop laughing) then we'll see a lot more of them running natively on Linux.

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I think a halfway decent lawyer could actually make the case that Microsoft violated the law in the way they rolled out Windows 10 updates by not allowing users to reject the upgrade. That said I'm not sure how this could possibly be a civil rights case or how exactly he figures that he's owed $600 million for it.

And, honestly, if Microsoft is smart they'll give him the downgrade rather than pay their lawyers for this one. After all, that'd cost them less than a single hour of a lawyer's time.

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Look out, Wiki-geeks. Now Google trains AI to write Wikipedia articles

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So basically Google has made a bad Wikipedian. Don't we have enough of those in the world already?

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Iran: We have defeated evil nuclear-sensing Western lizards!

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Re: help please

Can they send their experts over? My Apache server logs are infested with geckos.

Could be worse. At least it's not tridents.

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Roses are red, are you single, we wonder? 'Cos this moth-brain AI can read your phone number

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Thanks Reg!

Yay! It's Sucks To Be Single Day! I'd almost forgotten till I saw all the "X is red, Y is blue" headlines.

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The Register Lecture: AI turning on us? Let's talk existential risk

sisk
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AI may not be able to directly cause any harm, but indirectly they can cause a LOT of harm. Imagine for a second an intelligent virus (yes, I know, such a thing is well beyond our current capabilities, but this is a thought experiment) that manages to infect air traffic control workstations with the intent of causing as many deaths as possible. Or traffic light control systems. Or the emergency alert system.

And that doesn't even get into the nightmare scenarios of hospital systems and infrastructure control systems. How many people do you think would die if medical equipment started putting out inaccurate data and all the lights went out? Heck, just shutting off gas pumps would result in millions of deaths in the US inside of a month.

True, we don't have to worry about AI triggering a nuclear apocalypse directly, but what about sending falsified communications to all the world's nuclear powers making it seem like they were under attack?

Unfortunately there are LOTS of ways strong AI could harm humanity if it chose to. But, on the plus side, the kind of strong AI that could choose to do that would probably have little reason to make an enemy of humanity. I personally think we have a lot more to fear from the paperclip maximizer than from terminators.

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Re: Science?

I don't know. Futurology is considered a science - granted, a "soft" science - and it has the exact same problems in that regard.

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Re: Looks at watch

and I believe that real AI, of the type that could pose a threat to humanity, is very far off in deed

I would argue that weak AI of the sort we could make in the very near future potentially poses a much greater risk than strong AI. The paperclip maximizer could only be a weak AI. A strong AI would be able to intelligently interpret the instructions and realize that we did not actually want it to turn the entire universe into paperclips. In fact we could likely write an AI capable of that sort of nonsensical interpretation of its instructions right now. It need not even be good enough to really even be called weak AI.

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National Museum of Computing rattles the bucket: Help shift war-winning proto-puter

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Coffee/keyboard

Bandersnatchington Cumperdinklehough

Someone owes me a new keyboard....

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Yes, Assange, we'll still nick you for skipping bail, rules court

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So, basically, "I put myself under house arrest so you can't arrest me" doesn't fly. So, anyone surprised? No?

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Facial recognition software easily IDs white men, but error rates soar for black women

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I'm actually not at all surprised. It's always been more difficult for cameras to pick up details from darker surfaces, so of course a machine will have more difficulty picking out facial features on darker skin. You could solve the problem by turning up the light sensitivity, but then lighter skinned faces would get washed out. The real problem is that the way cameras and lenses work just isn't as efficient as the way the human eye works.

Also, as someone who sometimes struggles with face blindness (on good days I barely notice it, on bad days I can't even pick my own sister out of a crowd) I gotta say that the fact that a computer can recognize faces at all amazes me.

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Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle

sisk
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Personally I fall into the open source camp. While I largely agree with the FSF in principal I find the specific assertion that proprietary software is somehow inherently evil to be ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the idea - prevalent in the free software side of things - that there's something wrong with the idea of selling software.

I mean, really, if I make something and I want to sell it then what's immoral about that? It doesn't matter if the "something" in question is a book, an alarm clock, or a program. I made it, I own it, I can do what I want with it, and if I want to allow other people to use it in exchange for money, well that's the way human society has worked for thousands of years. The FSF's idea that wanting something in exchange for allowing other people to benefit from your work is somehow immoral is completely unfathomable to me. As is the idea that trade secrets protected behind precompiled binaries are inherently evil.

Open source, on the other hand, is just another programming method without all the philosophical mumbo jumbo that comes from free software. It focuses on getting stuff done in the most efficient way possible. It doesn't worry about binary distribution because 99% of all users WANT binary distribution and wouldn't know what to do with the source code if you gave it to them.

To be fair, most everything I write on my own time is out there in source code format for whoever wants it (and, of course, stuff NOT written on my own time is the property of whoever's paying me to write it, so I've no control over it, but some of that source code has been released as well). I believe in releasing source code whenever it's practical. And there's the main difference between the two camps (to my mind at least): Open source advocates recognize the fact that it's not always practical to release the source code. Free software folks fail to recognize that fact.

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Due to Oracle being Oracle, Eclipse holds poll to rename Java EE (No, it won't be Java McJava Face)

sisk
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I do wonder what coffee addict was desperate enough to be the first one to try making and drinking coffee out of beans that had passed through a cat.

I'm convinced it was a dare.

Completely off topic, Legendee Gold allegedly duplicates the taste of Kopi Luwak without involving the civets by treating the beans with enzymes and then roasting them. Good way to try it for anyone who's hesitant to drink literal crap coffee or pay $100 a pound. It's still pretty pricey (around the same price to make at home as what you'd pay for normal coffee at Starbucks), but nowhere near as bad.

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Re: It's obvious.

I've often thought about trying Kopi Luwak, but I've not actually found a compelling enough reason to pay $50-$100 for a cup of coffee. So not so very much different from Java.

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Great. Now every time someone mentions Java for the next week I'm gonna think of Java McJavaface. Thanks Reg!

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Data scientist wanted: Must have Python, spontaneity not required

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Python? I'm surprised that the language I usually recommend to people as a first language is the one most sought after by people looking to hire data scientists.

Then again I guess programming isn't really the main skill for that particular job. It'd just be another tool for someone whose stock and trade is data analysis.

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Until last week, you could pwn KDE Linux desktop with a USB stick

sisk
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Windows is therefore more thoroughly tested and stuff like this gets found faster.

And that's why you can't infect Windows machines with malicious flash drives, right? I mean never mind that the malicious flash drive left lying around for a curious user to plug into their machines has been and remains one of the most easily exploited attack vectors for close to 20 years, it must not work because these sorts of vulnerabilities get found faster in Windows, right?

Hating MSFT and evangelising FOSS can't change the maths.

No, it can't. And the maths clearly show that hating on ANY modern OS on the grounds of security is silly. They can ALL be locked down tighter than the NSA's sphincter (and, also, any place that's serious about security would absolutely disable the ability for normal users to mount flash drives at all for the very reason I mentioned above).

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So this is yet another case of lazy or inexperienced programmers using system() or exec() or some similar function without dealing with special characters in the input first. These vulnerabilities aren't entirely unlike SQL injection vulnerabilities. It's an easy fix (just remove or escape the special characters before passing the string off to system(), as basic a concept as cleansing inputs), but the fact that the fix is needed at all makes me wonder what other massive security holes lie awaiting discovery in that particular code base.

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Re: It's a problem with "Open Source" vs "Free Software"

"Free Software" only is truely free when the software is simple enough to be understood by a single person or a very small group of them.

Any software simple enough to be competently maintained by a single person is probably insufficiently complex to handle all the tasks handled by a modern desktop environment. Even Stallman himself would not apply such an incredibly limited definition to "free software" as that.

Besides, understanding any open source project is simply a matter of time spent studying the code. There is no such thing as a project so complex that a competent programmer can't understand the code if (s)he spends enough time studying it.

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Boffins upload worm's brain into a computer, teach it tricks

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Terminator

So when the machine apocalypse finally happens it will be caused by simulated worms that went insane from balancing poles on their tails.

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If you haven't already killed Lotus Notes, IBM just gave you the perfect reason to do it now, fast

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Lotus Notes is still around and getting updates? Huh....I thought it fell by the wayside years ago.

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BOFH: We want you to know you have our full support

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It's actually not so very long ago that the PFY tried - and failed, though he didn't know that immediately - to kill Simon. Having him committed seems like it's likely to be more successful.

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Secret weekend office bonk came within inch of killing sysadmin

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Could be worse

There are far worse things that can be found on the floor than water after that kind of "inspection". Granted such things tend not to be an inch deep, but still.

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PSA: If your security starts and ends with bug bounties, you're gonna have a bad time

sisk
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if these so called experts stopped bloating there programs with unused library code...

To be fair, there's a REASON we use libraries that contain features we don't necessarily use. Using JQuery as an example, I can do literally anything possible in JQuery using plain old Javascript, but doing so would take a whole hell of a lot longer, as much as 10 or 20 times as long for some things. As we all know, code that takes longer to write means apps (or websites, since we're using JQuery as our example) that cost more to make, and apps and websites that cost more to make mean smaller bottom lines for companies (because realistically consumers are already paying as much as they're willing to for apps).

It all comes down to costs.

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Tech giants' payouts go to everyone but affected citizens. US Supremes now urged to sort it out

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Personally I think the real problem here is that the settlement is way too small. Google should have been on the hook for a hundred million minimum, preferably 200 or 300 million. In a case like this the settlement needs to be big enough to both make a sizable dent in the offending company's coffer - so that they're inclined to not do it again - and provide some sort of compensation to the victims. $8.5 million for a company as big as Google in a case with 129 million plaintiffs is ludicrously small. I guarantee they made more than that from the wrong-doings that led to this case, so this neither provides incentive for Google to not do it again (indeed, they most likely profited from it even after losing the lawsuit) nor provides any form of compensation to the victims.

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