* Posts by Joe Harrison

768 posts • joined 1 Jun 2007

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Man cuffed for testing fruit with bum cheek pre-purchase

Joe Harrison
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Bread

I was in a well-known supermarket the other day and saw people picking up bits of bread and squeezing it to test for being stale then putting it back. Never buy bread or anything else unwashable that is on open display.

Don't get me started on checkout ladies (it is only ever ladies, men don't do it, no idea why) who lick their fingers before giving you a carrier bag.

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Why waste away in a cubicle when you could be a goddamn infosec neuromancer on £50k*?

Joe Harrison
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What are they looking for

When you get past all the quota-filling filler it looks like they are short of people who actually know what they are doing with computer / network security. Why not just expose a few medium-difficulty honeypots then people who get in find a path like /HR/confidential/executives/salaries/README_if_you_want_a _job.txt

Only serious crackers (whether for fun or for profit) put in the time and effort needed to get good at sensing weaknesses and exploiting them in previously-unknown ways. You can't expect the same level of dedication from industry people with real-world objectives like large estates to protect and relying on vendors to find and patch any holes.

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Linux kernel's Torvalds: 'I am truly sorry' for my 'unprofessional' rants, I need a break to get help

Joe Harrison
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It's not about the job

In my experience people who yell at other people all the time do it because they like yelling at people. "Bad coding", "poor customer service", "failing to hand in homework", whatever, the ostensible reason for yelling at people is just fluff and cover to "justify" the real business at hand which its... yelling at people. They are a breed apart for sure.

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UK.gov finally adds Galileo and Copernicus to the Brexit divorce bill

Joe Harrison
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Re: Remind me...

Blue passports are the benefit. Keeps saying "blue passports, blue passports." Forget trivia like job losses, worthless Pound, etc.

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Joe Harrison
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Re: TL;DR

The so-called "Neverendum"

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The eyes don't have it! AI's 'deep-fake' vids surge ahead in realism

Joe Harrison
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Re: Saw this coming

Been done, "Nikon Image Authentication System". Was cracked in short order in 2011, not sure what state it's in now.

https://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/software/img_auth/index.htm.

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Generally Disclosing Pretty Rapidly: GDPR strapped a jet engine on hacked British Airways

Joe Harrison
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Re: Companies about to take security seriously?

Unlikely that fines approaching anywhere near 4% of global; turnover will ever happen in our lifetime. Even before GDPR the ICO has always been able to fine up to half a million pounds. Their record of actually collecting it (not necessarily their fault) is very poor.

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Tesla's chief accounting officer drives off after just a month on the job

Joe Harrison
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Who knew they make roof tiles

https://www.tesla.com/en_GB/solarroof

Looks good to me

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Canny Brits are nuking the phone bundle

Joe Harrison
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Ultra-short 18 month contracts

I once had an analog carphone and signed up with Nokia Mobira for airtime. The small print on the back of the contract said the term was ten years.

I crossed it out and initialled the change and the shop accepted it anyway, probably because in those days airtime providers paid a sizeable commission for getting new customers.

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Joe Harrison
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Re: Punished if you buy phone from elsewhere

Three's website says

"4G Super-Voice doesn't work on other non-Three devices yet however, even if the manufacturer has stated that it's VoLTE compatible. We're working on this, so be sure to check back for updates"

This is definitely not true; my Xiaomi which I imported from China works fine on Band 20 and shows on the display when it is VoLTE connected.

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

Joe Harrison
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Re: "Why can't it be dependent on how much physical shelf space"

Why not, it tastes better...

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If you have to simulate a phishing attack on your org, at least try to get something useful from it

Joe Harrison
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Embarrassing when you make false positive though. "Hahaha look at this complete moron pretending to be my boss, can't even write" etc. But it actually was from your boss.

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Chap asks Facebook for data on his web activity, Facebook says no, now watchdog's on the case

Joe Harrison
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Facebook a minor problem

Don't let them misdirect your attention, the real problem is The Register's data slurping! They totally are the eye at the top of the triangle they know everything about you. How do I know this.... I read stuff on this site all the time and guess what I SEE LOADS OF ADVERTS FOR COMPUTERS! Do the math.

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Surprise! VAT, customs likely to get a bit trickier in a Brexit no-deal world

Joe Harrison
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Better get an order in for some nice daffodils eh Matron oo-er

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Microsoft: We busted Russian Fancy Bear disinfo websites

Joe Harrison
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Why

Did the FBI voluntarily dissolve itself and leave Microsoft in charge? Why am I paying the Windows Tax for MS to play Internet Police.

MS when you've finished hunting fake websites is there anything you can do about all the stuff needs fixing in Windows 10? If it's no trouble obviously.

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Brit Railcard buyers face lengthy, unexplained delays. Sound familiar?

Joe Harrison
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Railcards are handy if they work

I have one but the bad thing is you must remember to take it physically with you when you travel otherwise get fined or told off or whatever. Luckily there is also an Android app which will do instead. Unluckily if you already have a plastic card you can't also use the app so I was screwed. To do it via the app you have to do complicated stuff involving taking your passport somewhere.

If you can cope with the mental stress though it does cut your train costs considerably.

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Et tu, Brute? Then fail, Caesars: When it's hotel staff, not the hackers, invading folks' privacy

Joe Harrison
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Just back from DEFCON, didn't like it

Inconvenient having to find 280 dollars in paper cash to get in. Every single last one of the decent-sounding talks were already full (or huge hour-long queues I didn't want to stand in) and the ones I actually could get into were mostly either disappointingly broad and uninformative or the opposite micro-detailed and hard to understand if outside your speciality.

Having said that. I did get into the NSA guy's presentation but no surprise they don't let him blab any actual secrets so just listening to him moan about the Russians basically. Badge was good I have to admit, and the car hacking area.

Not Defcon's fault but the pathetically weak British pound meant paying for things in dollars in an already expensive town was hard work - once I realised beer was ten quid a pint I abandoned any thought of attending their parties. Finally, Las Vegas is a horrid cluster of over-decorated concrete boxes which you daren't go outside of because the brutal climate will kill you.

The event's moved to the Bally's hotel for next year, likely because of all the anti-customer shenanigins.

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Think tank calls for post-Brexit national ID cards: The kids have phones so what's the difference?

Joe Harrison
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Britain has twice tried to force national ID cards and failed

Worth a read about how the "temporary" wartime ID (compulsory carry) was defeated despite opposition from police and government.

http://home.bt.com/news/on-this-day/february-21-1952-brits-bin-their-identity-cards-11363962863687

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Joe Harrison
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Re: ...citing the Windrush scandal as justification.

Operational choices of whether to keep stores of old papers certainly do have to be made. The potential impact on the people documented in those papers was surely very obvious. It was the wrong choice and it was clear to anyone that it was the wrong choice but they did it anyway.

The deeds to my house are 80 years old but I'm not throwing them away anytime soon.

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Now that's a dodgy Giza: Eggheads claim Great Pyramid can focus electromagnetic waves

Joe Harrison
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I have no idea if it works, because I've got a beard

But I know a link who does.

To all you faux-scientists cheerfully labelling people as nutters etc. Here's your chance to use actual scientific method.

https://pyramidrazorsharpener.wordpress.com/

Give it a go for a couple weeks and let us know how you got on. If you tried it and it's crap then you can start the badmouthing. Yes I know actually doing research is loads more trouble than just spouting off sorry for the inconvenience.

In my dim distant memory I think I remember some bloke who allegedly got this working in the old Soviet Union when new razor blades were rare to nonexistent.

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From toothbrushes to coffee makers to computers: Europe fines Asus, Pioneer, Philips for rigging prices of kit

Joe Harrison
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Yes not unknown for overcharged purchasers to get compo after this kind of legal case. Usually something useless though like three quid voucher off your next purchase.

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2FA? We've heard of it: White hats weirded out by lack of account security in enterprise

Joe Harrison
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Don't understand why people think it costs

We don't have many external-facing systems that matter, but when we implemented one recently we used TOTP (Time-based One-Time Password that is, not Top Of The Pops.) No licenses to buy it is all either free or Free software.

Many of us resist using our own phones for corporate stuff but for people who use Google Authenticator for everything anyway it was not really a hardship to add one more entry to its list. People who couldn't or didn't want to got shown how to install the Authenticator browser extension instead which is at least 1.75FA and better than nothing.

I take the point from @Caff above "what about the auditing costs" but we had to have it audited anyway no matter how many FA we put in.

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Doctor, doctor, I feel like my IoT-enabled vacuum cleaner is spying on me

Joe Harrison
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Re: IoT foolishness

It needs the SD card in case it crashes into another robot vacuum cleaner and the video will show who was at fault.

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Brit tech forges alliance to improve cyber security as MPs moan over 'acute scarcity' of experts

Joe Harrison
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What shortage?

Shortage of cyber-security skills really? Who's filling up my firewall logs then?

They mean shortage of White Hat cyber-security skills. Or more precisely a shortage of multi-certified box-tickers report-writers and pen test script runners without tattoos or piercings who wear suits to work.

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‘Elders of the Internet’ apologise for social media, recommend Trump filters to fix it

Joe Harrison
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Re: "USENET was a pretty clear warning."

When a private entity controls public discussion you know that just ain't right. If I decide it's my mission to reveal to the world that Trumputin is building a weaponised nanobot factory in earth orbit then it's legit for people to block my posts if they want.

But I sure don't want Facetwitter deciding (as they would be perfectly entitled to) that I am persona non grata and routing my stuff into the bit bucket before people even see it.

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Privacy Shield under pressure as lawyers back MEPs' call for suspension

Joe Harrison
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Unreasonable

It's unreasonable to suggest that this or that country is or is not the friend of another one.

"We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow" - Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston

Also Privacy Shield looks just as useless as its predecessor Safe Harbor, both relying as they do on self-certification by the US company concerned.

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It walks, it talks, it falls over a bit. Windows 10 is three years old

Joe Harrison
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Traditional stuff

1999 - Bah Windows 2000 heap of junk give me NT4 any day

2001 - Bah Windows XPensive heap of tellytubby junk give me Windows 2000 any day

2009 - Bah Windows 7 heap of junk, give me XP any day that was a decent OS

2018 - Bah Windows 10 heap of junk I'm sticking with good old Windows 7

(we'll skip over Vista, 8, 8.1, as the less said the better)

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What can $10 stretch to these days? Lunch... or access to international airport security systems

Joe Harrison
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Re: I was "hacked" via RDP

Having a 30+ character password is not ideal though in terms of convenience.

If you feel you are that juicy enough a target then surely login with a client certificate (maybe stored on a USB security key) is the way to go.

RDP (well mstsc.exe at least) also supports optionally having the server present it's own client certificate to you at login time so you can be sure you are not connecting to a spoofed server configured to look like yours. Time-consuming to setup but no particular expense involved if you can use self-signed certs.

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Infrastructure wonks: Tear up Britain's copper phone networks by 2025

Joe Harrison
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Just turn off the cctv

The lads round our way would be more than happy to rip all the copper out for you

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A curious tale of the priest, the broker, the hacked newswires, and $100m of insider trades

Joe Harrison
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There's this thing called parallel construction where law enforcement find out stuff using methods which are themselves illegal. Then they have to explain their investigation by inventing a daft story about how their AI spotted patterns etc.

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Every step you take: We track you for your own safety, you know?

Joe Harrison
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Dominos

Family member worked as pizza delivery and one day they got issued a smartphone with tracker and I was asked to help. Manglement were sort of half competent at complying with DPA (a year before the GDPR) and despite initial misgivings it worked out alright.

Not unreasonable for people to want to know where their pizza is, also protection for pizza person should they have the misfortune to deliver a pepperami to someone whose reason for ordering was not because they were hungry.

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They grow up so fast: Spam magnet Hotmail turned 22 today

Joe Harrison
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Rocketmail

Fairly sure rocketmail was first. At least I remember everyone in my office signing up for an account on same morning to this amazing new mail in yer browser thing. There were some other good ones later such as mailandnews which also gave you browser-based usenet, and Novell's myrealbox - both dead now.

I recall mobile phone customers could at one point get a vodafone.net or orange.co.uk free personal account, which always seemed dodgy to me if you decided to call yourself billing-admin@ or something like that.

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Joe Harrison
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Re: GMail

Reminds me of the joke about the boy born without a body who's complaining that the only gifts he receive are hats.

Think his name was Ed.

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IBM fired me because I'm not a millennial, says axed cloud sales star in age discrim court row

Joe Harrison
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Re: He was the top salesman in the group

When I'm on a plane I will take a safe and boring pilot over a dynamic agile guy with edgy haircut any day of the week.

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Google Chrome update to label HTTP-only sites insecure within WEEKS

Joe Harrison
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What about public wifi

When I go to Aldi my phone tells me it has connected to Aldi Free Wifi. Everything then stops working until I actively start a browser and go to an http site and the Aldi router/proxy/gubbins can intercept it, show me an advert for Aldi, then redirect me to where I pretended I wanted to go.

All my bookmarks are by now https and I have to think hard for an http. Currently I am using BBC news site. What will public wifi operators do if http disappears?

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Oracle, for one, says we'll welcome our new robot overlords: '90%' of you will obey an AI bot

Joe Harrison
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The first time I used a sat-nav it went something like

In 200 yards cross the roundabout take the first exit

(then 200 yards later)

cross the roundabout take the first exit

Even though this roundabout had a light which was red and normally I would of course have waited until went green. I was shocked that I so easily just obeyed what the voice told me.

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So... where's the rest? Xiaomi walks away from IPO with less than hoped

Joe Harrison
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Business model needs looking at

Xiaomi has begun an expansion into Europe by promising razor-thin margins on hardware – making up the rest on services

I have a Xiaomi phone and laptop and the hardware is very good for the money. They certainly are bundled with loads of "MIUI" services but I never use any at all, partly because only some are in English. They will need to look again at services if that's where they consider the money is.

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No more slurping of kids' nationalities, Brit schools told

Joe Harrison
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Yes but going to the gym is optional. Education in UK is compulsory.

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Joe Harrison
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Re: Fair enough, but as a matter of balance

I have heard of this as well, child going to primary school with zero English and nothing special happening in terms of extra teaching provision. The head teacher at the time correctly predicted that the child would pick up English super-quick and so it was. Lady now grown up and totally fluent in both languages without even an accent.

Agree that useless data should not be collected and that if it has been it should be deleted. There is the famous example of Denmark who for years collected people's religions on official forms all the time as they saw no harm in it. Which there wasn't much - until the Nazis invaded and occupied the country.

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IBM memo to staff: Our CEO Ginni is visiting so please 'act normally!'

Joe Harrison
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If you can leave your workstation to go to the toilet just when you feel like it then count yourselves lucky. The average helpdesk droidperson these days usually has to put their hand up and say please sir to the teamleader, kind of like primary school.

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Galileo, here we go again. My my, the Brits are gonna miss EU

Joe Harrison
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Getting a bit ridiculous

There are six satellite navigation systems already and now the UK wants to add a seventh. Space is big but really all that stuff flying around, traffic could start getting difficult.

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In non-startling news, EFF says STARTTLS email crypto is mostly done wrong

Joe Harrison
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Could have been worse

I spent years supporting various X.500 email services which were supposed to be far superior to your noddy smtp delivered over uucp. It never went anywhere much though.

I had got used to using email at work and when I saw redundancy coming up I shopped around for some kind of personal email account, which were rare in the 1990s. BT had one, which was X.500, but in addition to a standing charge it cost 40p per message! Luckily Demon tenner-a-month came along just at the right time.

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'No questions asked' Windows code cert slingers 'fuel trade' in digitally signed malware

Joe Harrison
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Re: "The first time you log onto a server you get a signature"

Certificates can either be self-signed or signed by someone else. The whole point of the story is that you can't trust the someone elses. So why do you have a problem with self-signed? At least ssh is encrypted which is a lot better than telnet was.

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UK taxman has amassed voice profiles of 5.1 million taxpayers

Joe Harrison
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Not just HMRC

My bank is doing this voice is my passport thing now. They do explicitly ask you though. Also heard that for years insurance claims have been using "Voice Stress Analysis" VSA, supposedly the AI can tell when you are lying about your lost expensive camera on holiday.

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NASA eggheads draw up blueprints for spotting, surviving asteroid hits

Joe Harrison
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That comma, I do not like

NASA eggheads draw up blueprints for spotting, surviving asteroid hits

I can't put my finger on why this ungrammatical kind of American English (apparently reserved only for use in news headlines!) annoys me so much. May I kindly suggest the British English replacement

NASA eggheads draw up blueprints for spotting and surviving asteroid hits

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Dixons Carphone profits drop 24% amid hack 'n' high street struggles

Joe Harrison
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That's just business

Years ago they cleverly found a way to separate people from their money in exchange for Ooh Shiny. Now people have got fed up with that, not to mention various macroeconomic stresses adding up to people being skinter than they used to be and needing their money for more important things than a donation to Dixons profits.

If phones aren't profitable anymore then find something else to flog to people. Maybe there's mileage left in those daft tamaguchi electronic pets? OK I'll get my coat

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How a tax form kludge gifted the world 25 joyous years of PDF

Joe Harrison
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PDF has its uses I suppose

As the story says, if you just want to print it out like it's supposed to look then PDF is fantastic. Must be great for people who still own printers.

For everything else just no. When Amazon first started selling the Kindle I had this wonderful idea to load our existing technical documents onto it. Nope, they are all PDFs designed to look like A4 and resisted my every effort at resizing to fit the smaller screen. Even trying to edit a PDF is a series of unpleasant workarounds unless, I suppose, you bought a full copy of Acrobat.

It's got so much more difficult recently because of Adobe trying to "cloudify" everything, plus extend PDF far past simple document representation into interactive forms and their own version of electronic signing.

Funny that PDF originated from a way to print tax forms because as it happens the "Agencia Tributaria" (Spanish tax equivalent of HMRC) have done a thorough job of offering their users a PKI-based online tax system. Works well but its weakness is its dependence on PDFs and problems are guaranteed in those bits every time.

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Shared, not stirred: GCHQ chief says Europe needs British spies

Joe Harrison
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Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

It's a paradox - the average pro-Brexit person will give you the standard line about how we should take back control of our borders and kick foreigners out etc. Any suggestion that England leave the UK for the same reasons is met with a sudden attack of union patriotism, stronger together, etc.

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Visa fingers 'very rare' data centre switch glitch for payment meltdown

Joe Harrison
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Re: Still not understanding

Why not just turn the damn thing off? The guy who knew how it worked and would have turned it off and on again has been made redundant unfortunately. His function has been right-shored to another time zone and the change control procedure for such a drastic action takes many hours to escalate through 25 levels of management in four countries..

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(Cryptographically) sign me up! Android to take bad app checks offline

Joe Harrison
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I don't understand why we need App Stores

DOS/Linux/Windows managed for decades without one

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