* Posts by Joe Harrison

658 posts • joined 1 Jun 2007

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IT peeps, be warned: You'll soon be a museum exhibit

Joe Harrison
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The best use for microfilm (or microfiche as we used to call it when it arrived in postcard-sized sheets instead of reels) was night-shift entertainment. For some reason it seemed really cool to fish failed-test microchips out of the reject bin, saw the top off with a Stanley knife, then if you put them under the fiche reader you could actually see all the registers and gubbins in the chip just like on the hacker movies.

Well we didn't have hacker movies in those days so perhaps we thought we were 007.

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That microchipped e-passport you've got? US border cops still can't verify the data in it

Joe Harrison
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I have the answer

Any Android phone with NFC can read everything you want to know from passports (or national ID cards, on which some people travel instead of passports.)

For example this app will read the .jpg copy of the photo plus the entire certificate chain from my UK passport:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nl.innovalor.nfciddocshowcase

Problem solved.

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Farewell, Android Pay. We hardly tapped you

Joe Harrison
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Re: Ahhh technology...

Too difficult to have your phone pre-unlocked ready for your unpredictable arrival at the front of the queue. Too early and it relocks itself, too late and as you point out everyone else has to wait until you've done the business. All the while in the queue you are nervously poking it to keep it awake, which is unhelpful to your battery life as well.

This is why I stopped having my airline boarding pass on my phone after the novelty wore off.

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If you don't like what IBM is pitching, blame Watson: It's generating sales 'solutions' now

Joe Harrison
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Too harsh

Can understand previous comments about atrocious cut-n-paste etc. but at least IBM Watson has form. It unexpectedly beat somebody at chess but more importantly dislodged an egghead who had ruled it for donkeys on a TV quiz show. Even if it currently doesn't get the right result, surely on the right track getting it to figure out how to solve a difficult problem like how to make people buy your stuff?

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

Joe Harrison
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"Julian Assange, as featured by the Russia Today propaganda station"

Unlike, naturally, the professional, unbiased, and even-handed journalism of The Register.

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South China waters are red, Brit warships are blue, HMS Sutherland's sailing there

Joe Harrison
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Cake and eat it

We get all cross when the Russians want to sail down the English Channel

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Apple's top-secret iBoot firmware source code spills onto GitHub for some insane reason

Joe Harrison
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why

Seriously, why do people pay (what I consider to be) a ridiculous amount of money for a computing device when the manufacturer openly admits how hard they work to lock you out of it. Security is supposed to keep hostiles out, not to keep you out after you just paid getting on for a thousand quid.

I can see some benefits of a trusted platform for some people using some applications, but it's just wrong that you can't turn it off.

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Why is Bitcoin fscked? Here are three reasons: South Korea, India... and now China clamps down on cryptocurrencies

Joe Harrison
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Why is it always Bitcoin

Why is nobody bothered about banning the other 1000+ cryptocurrencies, for example https://putincoin.org/

Ah maybe it's because totally unlike the holy Bitcoin (to which they are functionally identical) the others are merely quasi-worthless strings of hex.

Some inconsistency in here somewhere and I can't put my finger on it.

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Shopper f-bombed PC shop staff, so they mocked her with too-polite tech tutorial

Joe Harrison
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When dealing with others, always be a gentleman*

"A gentleman is never unintentionally rude"

*(Sorry ladies but you know what I mean)

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So you accidentally told a million people they are going to die: What next? Your essential guide...

Joe Harrison
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Re: DON'T PANIC

If the "Real Warning" option doesn't work, who cares? You're going to die soon anyway so it's not like you will get the blame.

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Openreach ups investment plans: Will shoot out full fibre to 3 million premises

Joe Harrison
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Europe does it differently

ISPs in some countries say we will bring fibre to your premises if we can. If not you can gave a short-range radio link to our nearest fibre cabinet. You end up with something that looks a bit like a satellite dish on the side of your house, except it points parallel with the ground rather than up in the sky. For those of us on crappy wires and not in cities I can't really see another way.

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F-35 flight tests are being delayed by onboard software snafus

Joe Harrison
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Re: Bombs away

Re-reading the story I see now that this is meant to be described as a bug but I first read it as a feature.

Surely there are times when Top Brass wants to bomb something but doesn't want anyone to know what they bombed, not even the pilot?

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Well done, UK.gov. You hit superfast broadband target (by handing almost the entire project to BT)

Joe Harrison
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Re: Maybe

Few days ago a friend in a small town in Spain asked my advice, should she go with the 500Mbs fttp installation recommended by the ISP or could she get away with their cheaper 300Mps offering.

Here's me in UK only just got upgrade from 2Mps and that was by a lot of nagging to Openreach and threatening to escalate it to the Ministry of Culture and Sport (who are the branch of government who are actually responsible for these targets.)

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GitHub shrugs off drone maker DJI's crypto key DMCA takedown effort

Joe Harrison
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Re: Any idea?

I haven't got a drone but my guess is that the geofences are arbitrary and don't make sense? Like you want to fly your drone in the park but the council's head of estate management works in a shed there and someone has geofenced it as a sensitive government building.

I really doubt hobbyists are going to go Aha now I can disable the Heathrow zone, not with the brownstorm that would mean they had to deal with.

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UK Army chief: Russia could totally pwn us with cable-cutting and hax0rs

Joe Harrison
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Step 3 - Profit!

Step 1 - Proclaim loudly about imaginary threat, or at least one that's a hundred years old and everyone knows about

Step 2 - Get bigger budget (or at least mitigate the cuts to your particular bit of the budget)

Step 3 - as per title

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Who's using 2FA? Sweet FA. Less than 10% of Gmail users enable two-factor authentication

Joe Harrison
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Not everyone's 2FA actually works

A surprising number of implementations are slightly borked, enough to mean you can't reliably use them. Examples are PayPal and Yandex.

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Make Apple, er, America Great Again: iGiant to bring home profits, pay $38bn in repatriation tax

Joe Harrison
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What will it do to the dollar

Apple is not the only company repatriating dollars there will be many others. Today's the day when China start the petro-yuan which will reduce the demand for dollars outside the USA. So this very large number of dollars which used to be outside the USA, but are soon to be inside, what will effect will that have?

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Drone perves defeated by tinfoil houses

Joe Harrison
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Re: They were not defeated

I pressure-washed my patio and took the top surface off the concrete tiles. Be careful with these things

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Tata for now: Marks & Spencer transfers 250 tech jobs to outsourcer

Joe Harrison
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It's not just them

Just look at the list of retailers declaring terrible results recently. Their input costs are rising due to weak pound but these costs cannot be passed on to shoppers who are unable to pay them because they have never had a wage rise since Moses was a lad. What this means is crushed margins and scrabbling about for costs to cut, which is a spiral of doom basically.

The suffering retailers also mostly have loads of debt and it will only take an interest rate rise and/or further loss of confidence in the pound to turn the high street into a giant smoking crater. Hope I've cheered you all up.

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Cisco can now sniff out malware inside encrypted traffic

Joe Harrison
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Re: It's not that hard

I don't care. I understand an attacker using whatever side-channel inference is available, but at the end of the day if I am inside a VPN or otherwise encrypted session and people outside can figure out what I'm doing then I want a fix to that as I don't think it should be happening.

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Brit transport pundit Christian Wolmar on why the driverless car is on a 'road to nowhere'

Joe Harrison
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Daft

Pedestralians spill onto the road en masse and the car stops? Of course it stops, is he serious?

And the Tesla fatality, the guy had been "driving" the car for over half an hour without touching the controls. And that proves a car can't drive itself?

Wolmar is apparently an "author and broadcaster" - I think he should stick to authoring and broadcasting and leave AI car design to those who actually know something about it.

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Hold on to your aaSes: Yup, Windows 10 'as a service' is incoming

Joe Harrison
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Re: It's an OS not an Ecosystem

It's traditional to moan about "Windoze" and keep saying how bad it is and it's only the hassle factor that stops you from ditching it and having desktop Linux instead. I personally have been moaning in said fashion for 20 years but always stuck with Windows.

I think finally we are getting very close to the time when people actually really do try to find an alternative. I certainly don't want to spend half my life creating devious obstacles to prevent Windows from uploading everything I do to somewhere or other. It's bad enough now having to find ways to stop weirdo unwanted applications from appearing on my PC.

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Sky customer dinged for livestreaming pay-per-view boxing to Facebook

Joe Harrison
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No the real crime here was Sky lawyer charging 5000 quid just to send nastygram to the bloke.

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Memo man Damore is back – with lawyers: Now Google sued for 'punishing' white men

Joe Harrison
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with discrimination

When you interview 6 candidates but there is only one job then the whole point is that you must discriminate against the other 5 on grounds of competence. Where things go bad is when you discriminate against protected characteristics such as race, gender, disability, and so on. It's not legal (in UK) to say we don't have enough female employees in this company so we will only consider employing a female candidate. Same goes for firing the white males you might consider you have too many of already.

Will be interesting to see how this court case turns out.

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US border cops told to stop copying people's files just for the hell of it

Joe Harrison
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Re: CBP is committed to preserving the civil rights and civil liberties of those

They mean it too about the foodstuffs. One of their sniffer dogs had obviously never encountered quorn salad sandwiches before and went quite crazy on my bag. No harm done in the end though, apart from getting the brown stains out.

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FCA 'gold-plates' EU rule, hits BYOD across entire UK finance sector

Joe Harrison
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More than that

This is just one item in the new regs. There is a lot more. One of the most significant is EU individuals (i.e. you) are now effectively banned from buying all sorts of non-EU financial instruments. You're not actually banned but you have to comply with conditions you can't comply with. For example US Treasuries, very popular as a low-risk not-sterling investment, last month I could buy them now I can't.

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Military alliance NATO adopts official hymn

Joe Harrison
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THE blood-freezingest Russian military song evah

https://youtu.be/H8slqbNdacM

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'Please store the internet on this floppy disk'

Joe Harrison
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True honest

I was working late and nobody else around in the office. On my way out I saw the CEO standing in front of the shredder looking puzzled. I asked if he needed help and he replied yes please as this is a very important document. I showed him how to use the machine and he was quite pleased as it whirred into operation and the document fed in. Not so good when he then said "That's great but actually I need two copies could we do it again?"

Not really but it's a brilliant story...

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UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

Joe Harrison
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Wimax

Plenty of wireless internet providers. I think the technology is called Wimax, not sure, but you have a sort of microwave dish on the side of your house.

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Former Intel EMEAR sales director takes Chipzilla to tribunal

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Google's home tat falls flat as a soufflé – but look out Android makers

Joe Harrison
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I'm pretty sure the 128GB variant of Pixel will be sufficient for most mobile users.

Nobody will ever need any more than 128GB

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Hello, Dixons Carphone? Yep, we're ringing from a 2015 handset. Profits down 60%, eh?

Joe Harrison
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Re: Are people still blaming Brexit for management stupidity

The CEO has previously said that the decline in the pound since Brexit also means mobile handsets have become more expensive.

So what is your point of disagreement here? That the pound has not declined since Brexit[ referendum] or that the decline has not affected mobile handset retail prices? Surely a bit difficult to argue against two facts which are each 100% demonstrably true.

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Archive of 1.4 billion credentials in clear text found in dark web archive

Joe Harrison
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Re: Oh not biometrics again

When I had my eyetest recently the optician took a photo of my retina, without asking me, and stored it on their who-knows-if-secure system. If they are doing this for everyone it surely has to undermine the biometric eyeball Area 52 security.

Area 52 probably claim that you can't get in with a fake eyeball photo, just like Apple claimed you couldn't unlock their phone with a 3D printed face.

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Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires

Joe Harrison
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Re: 50 MB in the '80s?

Same story - as a newbie I was keen to follow the rulebook and that said you didn't call an engineer until you had done your own first-line diagnostic work to identify the exact problem. I loaded an EDS200 pack, wouldn't come on line, so I tried the same pack on another drive unit to see whether the fault followed. In fact just to be sure I tried it on several other drive units.

Of course the defective disk pack had broken all of them and I made the mistake of writing up the engineer call with "description of defect: can hear tinkling noise from drive units." My resulting nickname "Tinkle" took a long time to live down.

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Games-mart Steam halts Bitcoin payments

Joe Harrison
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Steam sucks

Once upon a time I could buy a game, install it, and play it. Now I have to screw around with endless Steam faffiness, someone in China is trying to hack your account, etc.

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Mailsploit: It's 2017, and you can spoof the 'from' in email to fool filters

Joe Harrison
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Does this mean...

That 2018 is finally the year of X.400 mail ?

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Hot growth industry: checking social networks for nasties

Joe Harrison
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When I was a kid

We were told that the evil Soviet Union had armies of party members who read and censored everything

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Damian Green: Not only my workstation – mystery pr0n all over Parliamentary PCs

Joe Harrison
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Not so easy

Surprised at all the comments implying that it's somehow the norm that a private sector employee would automatically get sacked for pr0nz on a work computer. Far from the truth although if someone was found (after a proper investigation) to have been routinely contravening corporate IT policies then that might well contribute to a dismissal.

In fact I do know people working in the video-streaming industry who have been asked to sign disclaimers confirming that they are mentally and emotionally OK with encountering adult content during the course of their employment.

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BT lab domain grab – 17 years after cheeky chap swiped 'em

Joe Harrison
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Re: Runaround

And don't forget we'll be round on Tuesday between 8 and 1 to transfer the domain, then don't go.

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Waymo waves off original Google Firefly driverless car

Joe Harrison
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Re: Don't hold your breath..

You think if one kills somebody it will be game over? Airplanes kill people all the time and we carry on using them. If a driverless vehicle car kills somebody there will just be a massive investigation followed by how sorry we are but lessons learnt etc.

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Foil snack food bags make a decent Faraday cage, judge finds

Joe Harrison
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Phone in microwave oven

If you put your phone in a microwave then dial the phone's number it will ring. Makes you wonder how good the oven shielding is. Should be obvious but warning anyway: if you try this yourself at home do not power on the microwave oven during your test.

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User dialled his PC into a permanent state of 'Brown Alert'

Joe Harrison
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Re: It's all black

When mobile phones were new and interesting I was handed a Nokia 2110 to be on standby over xmas. I was fascinated by the dozens of menus including one where you could set it to any language you liked, so I tried Finnish (in honour of it being a Nokia.) Now of course the entire phone is in Finnish, including the menu to set it back to English, which I couldn't find because I don't speak Finnish. Finally managed to get it back halfway through boxing day.

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Unfit to plead before a US court? You may face 'indefinite detention'

Joe Harrison
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Simple answer

Citizens of some countries have a constitutional right not to be extradited. That's it. If UK did that we could permanently end these battles about where the crime was committed. We would need a constitution first obviously. This sort of thing is only going to get worse as more and more bits of real life get connected to the internet.

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Researcher: DJI RCE-holes offered me $500 after I found Heartbleed etc on its servers

Joe Harrison
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Tesco sent me a £5 voucher

In 2000 when I told them about a bug in their checkout which could send card details without SSL. Course in those days you could have a night out on a fiver...

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Surveillance Capitalism thinks it won, but there's still time to unplug it

Joe Harrison
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I love it

It's impossible to secure your stuff against determined adversaries, no matter how smart you are. But the article just said that the adversaries barely even have to try because 99% are happy to not put up any obstacle anyway.

So now I only have to secure against a half-slightly-bothered adversary, which means if I make it just medium-difficult then my own information will be lost in the noise.

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ML fails: Loyalty prediction? Not really. And bonus prediction? Oh dear

Joe Harrison
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sick of it

In theory it sounds like a good idea to feed back your degree of satisfaction with a product or service. In practice I have had enough of filling in endless surveys every damn time I buy a pair of socks, especially if (as the article says) the questions can't be taken at face value and the answers are used to downvote someone's bonus.

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Huawei's Honor 9: The only mobe of its spec asking 'why blow £500?'

Joe Harrison
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Re: Image quality

Meh a Hasslbald (or even a Hasselblad), that's still micky mouse using short cuts for amateurs, like roll film. For proper photography you need to feed your chickens on the right stuff to make your albumen plates...

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Don't shame idiots about their idiotically weak passwords

Joe Harrison
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I had to choose 8 characters for my password so I went with Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs

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Fujitsu imagines adjusting your rear view mirror for better hearing

Joe Harrison
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Only works if the driver is a dog

If the special mirror beams an ultrasonic wave at the driver I can well understand that it will be inaudible to the other passengers. Unfortunately it will be inaudible to the driver as well.

I suspect that something was lost in editing; there used to be some promising technologies offering audible sound from interference patterns generated at the intersection of two otherwise-inaudible ultrasonic beams.

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