* Posts by Dave 126

7031 posts • joined 21 Jul 2010

How Apple exploded Europe's crony capitalism

Dave 126
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Re: Absolutely agree

>RIM had an edge with secure communication technology but didn't seem to realise that there was value in improving the handset and the services. By the time they woke up Apple had got themselves established. Even now, Apple are not offering as good a corporate or government system, but continue to nibble away at that market.

RIM do software for iPhones these days, a mate of mine - a MOD contractor - has been issued a locked-down and RIM'ed iPhone. A couple of years back, it was announced that IBM were to start doing corporate iOS software (that I haven't heard much of since means nothing, because it is not my area). It appears that in between appealing to executives and being more secure than Android, Apple got a good chunk of the corporate market without trying too hard.

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Renault goes open source with next-gen electric buggy you might generously call 'a car'

Dave 126
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Re: Electric Kit Car

>but i would have thought that Elon Musk et al would have presented an electric kit car, based on a standard frame, where you can upgrade the software to enhance performance or add features as per this article.

Hey Shadmeister! It's a nice thought, but the are reasons why you've not seen many electric kit cars:

1, the software is limited in how much it can improve performance. If you tweak it too much, you'll damage your expensive batteries. Tesla's 'Insane Mode' does its best to limit this, but it is still a compromise.

2, Musk is after the mass market, and has gone some way to changing the public perception of electric cars. Kit cars have always been niche, and don't aid the change in public perception that Musk seeks.

3, Being light weight, small in number and only used on sunny days, kit cars with internal combustion engines aren't big polluters anyway.

4, Lithium Ion battery lifespan is a function of time (as well as recharge cycles, drain, temperature etc) so you'll be losing value on you batteries even when you're not driving your kit car.

Still, in the future you may well be able to get electric vehicle motors and kit from from the scrap heap and build your own kit car from reclaimed components - in true kit car fashion!

Regards

(Disclaimer: Mates of mine build space-frame 3-wheeled two-seat vehicles that take motorcycle engines)

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You have the right to be informed: Write to UK.gov, save El Reg

Dave 126
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Re: Am I misreading this?

>Special interest titles

>4A person who publishes a title that—

>(a)relates to a particular pastime, hobby, trade, business, industry or profession, and

>(b)only contains news-related material on an incidental basis that is relevant to the main content of the title.

The Reg publishes stories about every sector and business that uses IT (that's effectively everything, then), and more general stories, articles and opinion pieces about the wider effect of IT on society, economics and politics. Nice try, but I can't see the Reg qualifying as 'Special Interest'.

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Dave 126
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Re: Missing the point a bit

Indeed. This Autumn saw the child abusing bent cop Gordon Anglesea sentenced to twelve years for his crimes. In 1994, he successfully sued several news outlets, including Private Eye, for libel.

This is far from the only case. Private Eye doesn't harass the victims of crimes as the News of the World did, its targets are the rich, powerful and corrupt, with some gentle ribbing for the merely stupid.

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Dave 126
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>Sorry but the UK press deserve this. It's an utter cesspool of filth. Sorry that you'll need to be sure what you write is accurate, I guess that's terrible for you.

Part of the British press have behaved abysmally for decades, it is true. However, this law would affect long established news organs that expose the bullshit of our British press, politicians and others.

http://www.private-eye.co.uk/

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Dave 126
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Re: Question

Ian Hislop has been vocal about this issue for the last year. It also formed a large chunk of last week's Media Show on BBC Radio 4.

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The wait is over ... Nokia's BACK!

Dave 126
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Re: ditch the Apple

It seems to me that you could get close to the phone you want if Moto's Mod system was open to other phone vendors, thus attracting more 3rd party developers of hardware attachments.

It is better to have a physical keyboard as replaceable component - it can be swapped out if a key fails. The Moto MOD system phones have a small array of recessed plates, which can shunt power (both ways) and data between the phone an add-on such as a battery pack, loud speaker, zoom camera or projector. When attached, these add-ons look incorporated into the phone.

There is no engineering reason that a good physical keyboard - QWERTY or BlackBerry style - wouldn't work well with such a system.

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Man jailed for 3 days after Texas cops confuse cat litter for meth

Dave 126
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Re: I'm assuming

IIRC it was liquid hand soap of the type commonly used in public toilets that gave a false positive for Semtex in a high profile case.

I believe Semtex, being a trade name for C-4, has an almond smell artificially introduced to it - just as the UK's mains gas has an added smell. I might be wrong though, an almond smell might be inherent to it (cyanide?), and this subject I'm inclined not to Google it. I would like to play with shaped charge explosives though as a way of cutting metal in the workshop... the hacksaw makes my arm tired. And damn it, I like things that go Bang!

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Dave 126
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Re: I carry a whole bag in winter

>I think the smart thing to do here is, if you're going to keep kitty litter in your car, keep it in the bag it came in.

[Can't tell if serious!]

The bag that kitty litter is shipped in is designed to keep moisture out. The litter won't work unless it is exposed to the damp environment.

Some folk place trays of kitty litter around the interior of caravans that they won't be using for a while - again, to keep dampness at bay. The litter can be reused byheating it gently in an oven to remove the water it has previously absorbed.

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Dave 126
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You've used some long words there.

There is however a simple test for kitty litter:

Take suspect substance. Weigh it. Place sample on a piece of mesh or sieve. Drench in water for a few minutes. Weigh it again. If it now weighs roughly thirty times more than before, sample is likely to be silica kitty litter.

I'm assuming that the driver was using silica kitty litter to keep his windscreen demisted, as it is more effective than clay-based litter. Also, clay-based litter is even harder to mistake for crystal meth (of which I know little, but assume looks kinda crystally).

I say assume, but you never know [Link to Reg article about fire in US nuclear waste storage facility caused by someone using organic matter-based kitty litter instead of the good stuff]

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Soz fanbois, Apple DIDN'T invent the smartphone after all

Dave 126
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Re: Apple? Invent?

I'm hard pressed to think of any invention that isn't a combination or adaptation of prexisting inventions.

"Tharg didn't invent the wheel! He just combined the rollers we use for shifting stones, and combined it with the rotating stick idea we use for roasting meat over a fire! What a phoney Tharg is!"

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Dave 126
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The phones that were around in 2005 aren't the only devices that should be mentioned in this story. There was a distinct category of Palm powered devices we called PDAs, of which some like the Sony Clie were full of techno fun; colour touch screen, music and video playback, rotating camera.

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Dave 126
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Re: Apple didn't invent it no...

The first iPhone was a compromised device, but it didn't take much imagination on the part of consumers at the time to see what it would be like after a few evolutionary upgrades in battery, connectivity, CPU etc. Such a device would resemble the phones - Android, WinPhone, iOS - the majority of use use today.

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Dave 126
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Re: Thumbs up

It's not just the networks that slow Android updates... It is also chip vendors, handset vendors with their daft skins, and sometimes regulators too.

Please remember that to gain foothold, Android was ostensibly open source, so there was no monolithic entity to force a clean and quickly updated version of Android on device vendors. The AOSP is still open source (though hardware drivers often aren't) but Google has been pushing its extra proprietary bits.

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Dave 126
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Re: "The iPhone dominates."

Indeed. There are probably more of a single model of iPhone sold than any single model of Android phone, of which there are many.

And yes, most of the profit in mobile phones goes to Apple.

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Dave 126
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Re: I am puzzled by the premise of this article

People can argue over what makes a 'smartphone' - at the time, it was generally taken to mean one that could run 3rd party software, usually Symbian or Windows Mobile. However, the 1st iPhone resembles the Nexus 5 I'm currently typing this post on - capacitive touchscreen, gyros, proximity sensor, GPU. Most people now just say 'phone' for their Android or iPhone, or they say 'Nokia' if they use a £10 phone call and sms device.

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CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers

Dave 126
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Re: Another journo out of touch

You link results in a page "Video is no longer available".

Can you expand upon your point? I quite grasp the link you're making between voice-based 'digital assistants' and car manufacturers.

Nor were such things mentioned in the article, so I'm unclear on why you say the 'journo is out of touch'

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Dave 126
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Re: Nothing from Intel on this list?

It's interesting to consider the Intel Compute Card in conjunction with Sony, LG and Samsung's last attempts to sell anything other than a Nice Dumb Screen. They are making some very nice screens (dynamic range, loads of pixels, colour accuracy etc) that are so slim that they use a break-out box, which handles inputs, power supply and in some cases doubles as a sound bar. These break-out boxes connect to the screen via a proprietary connector.

The Intel Compute Card is intended as a way of upgrading the innards of 'Smart TVs', at a time when many of us just use the TV as an output for a Chromcast, HTPC, XBOX, Sky Box or whatever.

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Dave 126
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Re: Predator

But is it the most convenient way to house the hardware? The damned thing weighs nearly 20 lbs! Before buying, it'd be prudent to spec up a solution based around flight cases or Pelican boxes - being more rugged and modular, cheaper, and with greater thermal headroom. I mean, you're not going to be using this thing that far away from a power outlet for very long anyways!

There is also the issue of ECC RAM and Quadro (instead of GeForce) graphics. Most of the time you won't notice the difference, but some regulations mandate ECC RAM for critical calculations (just in case), and some software prefers (and has been tested on) professional GPU drivers.

Engineering (simulation, visualisation etc) applications will often harness GPU hardware to perform calculations, and not just throw pixels at a screen - so in some circumstances you might benefit from a bank of GPUs in a flight-case (a mini 'render farm'). This is of course if you need a lot of computation whilst away from a fast, reliable internet connection (oil rigs are the oft-given example) and are thus unable to use scalable cloud computing resources.

You could also just have a flight case rammed full of compute power and then just X-windows (or equivalent) in with a normal laptop (er, Mobile Workstation) - and save yourself some noise and heat in the process.

Of course, if you are moving desk several times a day and don't want a collection of boxes, then you can get close with a Dell Precision for $6,000 - but you'll have to slum it with a single GPU, only two internal drives and tiny 17" screen.

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Dave 126
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Re: Project Valerie

I don't think that the Predator was designed to be practical! It's more a concept machine that will be sold in small numbers. For that reason, I don't Acer is taking the piss - gamers have lots of options, and so don't have to buy it, especially when they can get most of the experience for a third of the price.

For those of you looking for a lot of mobile grunt but don't want a machine that looks like plastic Lamborghini made for 12 year boys, the Gigabyte Aero could fit your bill: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=6176#kf

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Dave 126
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Re: Well...

I once met up with a slightly-built female acquaintance in a bar in a city she wasn't familiar with. She told me she didn't like navigating from her hotel to the bar whilst holding an expensive phone. And to be honest, for the amount of information she was gleaning from ( Forwards, Left, Right etc) a super-duper IPS screen was overkill; a few LEDS or the movement of hands on an analogue watch face could have done just as well.

Haptic navigation isn't a bad idea, but putting it jeans seems strange idea to me. Putting it in a belt would be a better solution because:

-A single belt can be worn with many different trousers. Hell, make the belt reversible with black on one side for formal occasions, another colour on the reverse for casual wear.

-Belts are already routinely removed from trousers before the trousers are washed.

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Dave 126
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Re: AirBar

Whilst it might have some niche use cases, there are other ways to achieve much of the same functionality, often with additional advantages.

- The MacBook screen can be mirrored to a tablet with 3rd party software.

- Individual tool pallets on macOS can be controlled from an iOS app, depending upon the software.

- For extended use, the location of a Macbook's screen isn't ideal

- For for hand and finger gestures correlating to certain parts of the screen (for presentrations, for example) a Leap Motion controller could be suitable.

- Use a Windows PC instead. This gives less distance between the user's finger / stylus and the pixels, thus reducing parallax error. Also, stylus import will be more nuanced and accurate. The same advantages can also be had by:

- Use a Cintiq touchscreen monitor in conjunction with the MacBook, or a standalone Citiq tablet.

- Use an iPad Pro with stylus

I'm not saying that the AirBar doesn't have a place, but it isn't without competition from existing ways of doing much the same thing. That is why I was surprised to read that a lack of touchscreen was a 'consistent complaint' amongst Mac users. It's also worth noting that the company Modbook - who turned Macbooks into touch screen tablets - hasn't posted any 'News' on their website since November 2015... lack of demand, I assume.

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Slim pickings by the Biggest Loser: A year of fitness wearables

Dave 126
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My design for a fitness wearable.

My design would consist of two wrist-mounted devices, each weighing 1 Kg.

They wouldn't motivate the user to exercise more through arbitrary goals, oh no. They would make the user exercise more through physics.

If you really want, the mass can be made up of Ni Cad battery cells.

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Routes taken by UK prosecutors over supply of modified TV set-top boxes

Dave 126
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Re: Thanks for the heads up

This wasn't a native Reg article. In other reports, some in dead-tree newspapers, I have seen them referred to as Pre-loaded Kodi boxes. Whatever they might be.

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Dave 126
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Conspiracy...

... requires another party to conspire with. Like when, it is alleged, Murdoch bought the tech firm that developed the smart card encryption system used by Canal+ and other broadcasters - some time later, consumers were routinely downloading new card images and thus depriving Sky's competitors of revenue. That would fulfil the definition of conspiracy, if it did in fact happen that way. It was reported by Private Eye many years back.

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NASA plans seven-year trip to Jupiter – can we come with you, please?

Dave 126
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Artist's impression?

Wow, where did they find that artist, when most engineers have a better grasp of Photoshop and a CAD model or two? It looks like collage made by cutting out pictures from a Ladybird book, it is that naive.

I quite like it for its novelty!

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Put walls around home Things, win $25k from US government

Dave 126
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Re: The prize is mine.

You'd still plug them in after soaking them in petrol? Hmmm, negate the need for home automation by destroying your home with fire... that's a solution of a sort, I suppose ;)

Anyway, have you consulted your offspring about the tools that will aid in your care when you are old, infirm and possibly demented? No? Well, they might send you to a home before your time.

Let's not fuck about here: demographics and economics. Strains on our health and care services are showing right now. Sensors that communicate data to the outside world (temperature, pulse, blood sugar levels, medication doses etc etc) are going to happen whether we like it or not. We might as well play a role in steering them into something good. Methods exist to greatly mitigate the downsides, but you won't find them in 1st gen consumer IoT toys, I grant you.

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Dave 126
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Re: Will. Never. Happen.

>Companies don't give a crap about security, and they never will.

By being so general, you're missing an opportunity to exercise your power. A company will care about your privacy if it allows them to differentiate themselves on the market. That was the motivation behind Apple's spat with the FBI over unlocking an iPhone, and their adoption of Differential Privacy in their Health Kit and Home Kit. Apple make lots of money by giving you a reason to buy their pricey hardware, not from advertising.

DP is not Apple's invention - that'd be Cynthia Dwork* - but it is in their own business interests to promote it in their products. This is an option not available to Google, who make their money from advertising.

Apple isn't alone in using privacy to promote their products - you may have heard of Silent Circle, Jolla, Sailfish, Blackberry... or maybe you haven't, no would blame you!

*https://www.quantamagazine.org/20161123-privacy-and-fairness-an-interview-with-cynthia-dwork/

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Dave 126
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Re: One idea

>IOT shouldn't mean send data to the cloud.

To parse your sentence: "The internet of things shouldn't involve the internet", or rather "I want an *intranet* of things". Fair enough, it's a common point of view. For an Intranet of Things, you can roll your own, maybe starting with the links in my above comment.

However, it is possible to avoid throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but to understand how involves hard maths; that is, there is a way to offer your data for the betterment of mankind (think: medical data cross-referenced with empirical lifestyle data) without identifying yourself, or allowing your identity to be inferred. Differential Privacy:

Differential Privacy (DP) was originally proposed by Dwork in [6]. It refers to a privacy

goal requirement that must be satisfied by algorithms (or mechanisms) that describe

a given data set using disturbed statistical values like an average or the count of

elements in the data set. This goal is basically set by the epsilon (ε) value, that is the

difference between the probabilities of receiving the same result from a randomized

algorithm against two different data sets that differ in just one record, so it can be

guaranteed that a re-identification was not caused by the participation in a data set. A

smaller value of ε represents stronger privacy, and values are usually set between 0

and 1, like 0.1 or ln(2), for instance.

It soon gets into brain-hurt territory, but I do believe that it will be worth it.

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Dave 126
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Re: One idea

That's more like it.

The only hurdle is the use of propriety algorithms to crunch through the raw data collected by these sensors, and then act upon them. This won't be an issue if open source algorithms are used on user-owned kit.

For there to be open source algorithms, hobbyists need to get involved. Cheap sensors, a cheap hub (could be Raspberry-Pi based, more advanced machine-vision system could be based on that silicon nVidia is developing for the automotive industry), cheap actuators (thermostats, blinds, locks, power states etc). It's all available.

A quick search shows:

http://www.openhab.org/ Vendor and technology agnostic open source automation software for your home.

https://home-assistant.io/ Home Assistant is an open-source home automation platform running on Python 3.

http://freedomotic.com/ Freedomotic is an open source, flexible, secure Internet of Things (IoT) development framework, useful to build and manage modern smart spaces

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Dave 126
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Re: Leave them...

”Anything invented after you've reached the age of thirty is new fangled rubbish and you should have nothing to do with it” to roughly quote DNA.

However, we in the UK are living amongst an aging population. Devices that will reduce the labour of caring for older people will be required. Therefore, it would be sensible to engage with this topic in a more constructive manner whilst you still have your marbles - otherwise you'll just have to take what you're given.

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Ransomware scum: 'I believe I'm a good fit. See attachments'

Dave 126
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Re: Why Excel?

Indeed. When I applied for a job at Dyson, they wanted my CV to be in plain text, pasted into a web form. Seemed sensible enough. Also, it meant no applicant required a Word licence, or would have to cross their fingers that Libre Office formatting would be rendered correctly at the recipient's end.

If I had needed to send them photographs of my work, I could have just included a link to a reputable designer's portfolio hosting site.

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Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'

Dave 126
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Re: What is truly disrupting...

A mate of mine used a Honda Civic hire car on holiday... He reported that he was shocked not to be able to see the four corners of the car through the windows / mirrors. I guess reversing cameras and image stitching can mitigate this issue in more modern vehicles.

Personally, I quite like the look of Civics.

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My fortnight eating Blighty's own human fart-powder

Dave 126
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Re: Feck me, laziness abounds.

>Unless you have some form of illness or disability you CAN cook decent meals cheaply, easily and well.

You also need a pan, a heat sorce and a knife... in other words, a kitchen. So not always practical at work. And an illness is exactly what the article author has.

But yeah, I'm in agreement with the rest of your post, soups are easy, tasty and healthy, add some nuts or eggs.... lovely. What is good about your frozen mash plan is that you can make the portions quite small - because your body doesn't really need carbs in the evening. Okay, it depends upon how active you plan to be that night ;)

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Dave 126
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Re: Hipsters discover SlimFast...

>If someone has got to the stage of thinking that food is just fuel then a I pity them

Sometimes I drink a liquid because I really enjoy the taste. Sometimes I drink water purely to quench my thirst, which is a different sort of pleasure to savouring taste and flavour. Sometimes I drink water not because I feel thirsty, but because I know I'll feel better for doing so some the morning. Sometimes I drink because I want to be less sober.

Food is the same. Sometimes I eat because I want to enjoy the taste. Sometimes because i feel really hungry. Sometimes I eat because intellectually I know it will be good for me and that to eat later will get in the way of my planned drinking.

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Dave 126
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Re: Ginsters

>I take it then that you have never tried Pork Farms or Walls. Ginsters are not great but they are better than a lot of similar packeted foods.

Agreed, and that's kind of the point: walk into any convenience store or petrol station in the UK and your chances of finding anything actually edible are slim.

In any case, the best pasties come from Barnstaple in Devon. East West Bakery on Butcher's Row - next to the covered market. Strangely, my Cornish friends still speak to me!

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Dave 126
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Re pooping

This could be a good foodstuff for music festivals if it reduces visits to chemical toilets.

Last music festival, most if my calories came from cider, gin and sweet coffee (Aeropress) and I expended a lot of energy.

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Dave 126
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Re: Food is not only sustenance

Just to clarify, it is Brittany that I am most familiar with, and the Bretons don't consider themselves to be French, especially with regards to international rugby tournaments. They save their real contempt for Parisians, though.

The food is simple and delicious - especially if you like pork products, crepes and horse and chips.

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Dave 126
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Re: I really don't see the point

Well, don't see it as a replacement for 'real food'. See it as a replacement for cup noodles and energy bars.

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Dave 126
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Re: Food is not only sustenance

Hey Voland

We don't all live in France where everybody stops for a couple of hours for lunch with a carafe of red wine, the cafe abuzz with conversation. In the UK, so many of our lunch options could be considered 'food substitutes' - I'm talking about pale sandwiches, MacDonalds, Ginster's pasties, Nutrigrain bars and the like. Compared to that, spending £1.50 for something nutritious and not unpleasant seems a not unreasonable way to tide me over til i get to my own kitchen or pub. That a milkshake-like substance can be consumed whilst at the desk or driving seems like a bonus.

So yeah, I agree with you that food should be a sensual pleasure, and a social occasion. However, I feel the current problems lie with our work culture, so we should look for solutions there before we call for the shrinks.

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New Android-infecting malware brew hijacks devices. Why, you ask? Your router

Dave 126
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Re: Interesting choice of targets...

>Can 1.4 Billion people spread over 9.6 million square kilometers really be said to be a "single large culture"?

Fair point. I guess one wanting to support the argument would suggest that aspects of internet use (government regulation, equipment used, popular sites with users) are peculiar to China.

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Amazon files patent for 'Death Star' flying warehouse

Dave 126
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Re: Reloading

Hmm, just wondering about the mass of the drone with payload, and its mass after making its delivery. Its range will be greater after the delivery, but by how much I haven't the foggiest. It might be that for some items - an SD card, for example - the weight difference will be negligible.

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Support chap's Sonic Screwdriver fixes PC as user fumes in disbelief

Dave 126
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I've just looked at the Wikipedia page for Hot Millions (1968), it could well be of interest to fans of late sixties London culture... apparently one character shops at Apple Boutique (a clothing store owned by the Beatles), and another drives a Jensen Interceptor.

Hmm, I now have images in my noggin from the film Bedazzled (1967) starring Dudley Moore, and featuring Peter Cook as the Devil, Raquel Welch as Lust, and Barry Humphries as Envy. Naturally!

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Dave 126
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Re: Overheard conversation about a new server

I used to use my laptop as fan heater when working in a client's unheated office. Sadly, Dell placed the vent on the left hand side of the machine, and I used my right hand for the mouse.

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Dave 126
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Gadget influenced by waving something in front of it?

My dad complained that his phone, a Nexus 5, kept making bleeping noises. At first I assumed it was some notification that he didn't understand (such as Update Pending, or Google Wants to Know Where You Took A Photo, or some other useless crap), but the phone wasn't displaying anything. Hmm, weird.

Eventually the penny dropped: his phone case was the sort that doubled as a credit card holder. Every time he closed it, the phone would read the NFC chip on his credit card and make a beep, but not actually display a message to the effect of "I can read an NFC chip but I can't make sense of it". Turned off NFC, problem solved.

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Dave 126
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When dissembling a device, you can sketch it on a piece of cardboard. When you remove screws from the device, pierce them into the cardboard in the appropriate place.

Obviously this trick is only suitable for screws of a certain size.

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Did webcam 'performer' offer support chap payment in kind?

Dave 126
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>"He tried a goodbye hug during which he “accidentally had a hand a little low”"

>>"Accidentally" on purpose, He copped a feel.

That very well may have been what happened. However, we can't infer it beyond doubt from the account that we have been given. M'lud.

It does seem that he should be docked style points for hugging a client just because of her line of work (though it might have been that her character and body language caused a young man to misread a situation), but to deliberately read his 'accidentally' as 'accidentally on purpose' doesn't prove a thing.

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Dave 126
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>What are virii infections?

A piece of foreign matter stuck under the 'i' key on the keyboard, obviously!

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Dave 126
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>one of the main reasons they kept returning to me for more work was that I didn't "expect freebies" or try it on with them.

Exactly. If you are professional, warmly courteous and reasonably groomed (which some folk consider an extension of courtesy), ladies who are so inclined may take the initiative. If the ladies are not so inclined, then trying it won't get you anywhere anyway.

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Turns out there's a market for marijuana... plants' video surveillance

Dave 126
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Re: 10/10 for effort....

Aye, it didn't spend long describing the needs of the new breed of marijuana farm that has sprung up since its legalisation in several states.

Their stock control software could make an interesting article; the licences given to weed producers require that every gram has to be accounted for (for tax and other reasons). However, weed will lose mass (through evaporation) during the curing process, so the stock control software has to be able to account for this.

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