* Posts by 45RPM

666 posts • joined 26 Oct 2010

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Finally: Historic Eudora email code goes open source

45RPM
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I miss the days of plain text, unformatted, email. I object to emails which contain emoji and other fripperies. If it doesn’t work in Pine (or Eudora, for that matter), and it takes up a ton of bandwidth, it’s not for me. I remember getting my email at 2400bps - I can’t imagine that would be possible now.

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Hitler 'is dead' declares French prof who gazed at dictator's nashers

45RPM
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Re: Um… Why?

@Teiwas, @Jason et al.

I know. I was being flippant. Perhaps I should have added the joke icon? But it amused me to think that someone might get themselves a set of false teeth in addition to their own real teeth.

As an aside, and in the UK (Germany may have been different), it was quite common in the 1920s and 1930s for aristocrats to have their real gnashers removed for very little reason in order that they could have false teeth instead and for preference. The false teeth were whiter, shinier, and straighter than the real deal. So if, for example, you needed to have a few teeth removed (your freak cycling accident for example), you might actually choose to have the others whipped out as well in order to gain the perfect smile.

It’s a strange world - but, I suppose, not so very much stranger than getting injected with botulinum toxin, or having bags of silicone surgically inserted into your body.

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45RPM
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Um… Why?

Why, if he had real teeth, did he need to have false teeth as well? Is it a dictator thing - or just as artifact of him being as mad as a box of frogs?

And do people who voted for Trump, or for Farage, ever wonder how someone like Hitler could ever have gotten into power? Off-topic, I know, but I think we should be told.

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Xiaomi the way: Hyped Chinese giant begins its battle for Britain

45RPM
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The problem, as far as I can see, is that Xiaomi has no USP. In fact, almost the entire industry is commoditised and USPless. If you want a laptop or desktop, the important part - the ‘differentiator’ - is nearly always the same (Windows). If you want a mobile phone the situation is the same - except substitute Android for Windows.

Apple has played a canny game, albeit one that nearly killed it, in retaining its USP. You can complain, and many do, that Apple’s products are overpriced - but what you can’t deny is that, where it counts, they’re different. And if you want the benefits that that difference confers, there’s only one choice (it’s up to you to decide whether those benefits are worth the money or not).

So, given that one Android phone is much the same as another (differing only in performance, from sluggish to not-the-quickest, and in build quality, from plasticky bin-fodder to best-in-the-business) and given that the market is saturated, with every niche from the cheapest to the most expensive filled, why should I choose a Xiaomi over a Samsung or a Xperia, a Huawei or a Pixel, an LG or an HTC?

I’m sure that the Xiaomi will be very acceptable - but acceptable enough to muscle in to the established encumbents? The Xiaomi boss might fancy himself the reincarnation of Steve Jobs (complete with unacknowledged children?), but it takes more than a silly outfit to claim that mantel. Xiaomi will need to own their stack from CPUs, through to OS, if they want a real USP - and they’ll have to innovate with it (innovate - not invent, necessarily!) - but I don’t think that they have the chops or imagination to do that.

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Blood spilled from another US high school shooting has yet to dry – and video games are already being blamed

45RPM
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Re: Early information

@Florida1920

The mechanism of voting is temporarily broken in America, as it is in much of the rest of the world.

The problem is that the other half of the voting equation is marketing - most people can’t be bothered to investigate the issues for themselves so they will either default to tribal partisanship or go along with whichever campaign is glossiest and triggers a rush of endorphins.

The NRA is very good at marketing - so of course people buy guns and sign up. It doesn’t, however, follow that the less sexy option of not owning a gun can’t become sexy (the marketing just has to be done right). For example, seat belts and airbags aren’t sexy - but would you buy a car without them (before they were well marketed you probably wouldn’t have wasted your money on a car with them…). Similarly, in the 1970s and even the 1980s most people didn’t have (or want) a computer - but now the damn things are everywhere, and are even seen as being fashion statements by some people…

…which is a problem because all these computers have enabled social media which allows, for the first time in a century, unscrutinised marketing. In the traditional media, if you lie then you get your wrists slapped and you have to publish a retraction. In this brave new world if you lie then you get Trump and Brexit. Marketing, done right, can help rid us of the scourge of guns and knives. But we do need effective scrutiny.

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45RPM
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Re: Early information

You’re kidding yourself, I’m afraid - there has been no serious attempt to regulate gun ownership in the US. The NRA simply won’t stand for it.

Truth it, there are sound reasons for permitting licensed ownership of rifles and shotguns (essential tools for farmers and hunters), provided that those weapons are demonstrably securely stored when not it use.

There is no excuse for permitting private use of pistols and semi or fully automatic weapons. They’re dangerous, they kill (as has tragically been seen again today) and they have no practical purpose outside the military.

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NASA fix for Curiosity rovers's damaged drill: hitting it, repeatedly

45RPM
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Re: What an odd way of putting it!

Craftsperoffspringship, surely?

Although I don’t think of the ‘man’ in ‘craftsman’ as being a gender signifier - a woman, as the female gender of the species man, is just as likely to be a craftsman as any male is.

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You've been Zucked: Facebook boss refuses to face-off with Brit MPs

45RPM
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@Aging Hippy

I'd agree with your daughter - except that the riff-raff on FaceBook have a nasty tendency to believe everything they read (apparently - certainly, my mother in law shows a lamentable degree of credulity). Then, having slurped up whatever the social media crap du jour is, they have the audacity to go out and vote, their opinions influenced by the shite they read online - rather than the news readily available on the television and in newspaper (which might also be shite, but for which there is a degree of oversight and for which retractions and corrections are required when bullshit is published)

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45RPM
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Re: "You can call me a dreamer..."

@Adam 52

If a company acts in a way which is detrimental to national sovereignty, as FaceBook (amongst others) has done in the US and the UK (and I'm sure elsewhere too), why is blocking that company a nightmare? Surely it's the very least that we should be doing?

And we're not talking about acting without oversight - this is something that should be thought out very carefully, and with due process, but there's enough evidence to suggest that this is something that needs to be considered very seriously. FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube et al, however much you might like them, are culpable and must be held responsible for their actions.

The web, as with so many utopian ideals, started out with the best intentions - but it's being hijacked by bad-actors and is turning into something of a dystopia. This is a problem that won't go away by ignoring it.

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45RPM
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Re: "You can call me a dreamer..."

Imagine if the UK government grew a backbone and threatened Zuck with blocking FaceBook on this septic (sic) isle, all UK ISPs would be required to block access to FaceBook and its subsidiaries, unless Zuck turned up to face Parliament. Then, if he called our bluff, they went through with their threat. For more than 48hrs - permanently.

Sigh. Well, it’s a nice dream anyway.

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New Monty Python movie to turn old jokes into new royalties

45RPM
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Re: Sounds like....

And then you must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest—with a herring

Seems a bit fishy to me. Are you sure this is legit?

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My PC is on fire! Can you back it up really, really fast?

45RPM
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@The Real Tony Smith

Well, we had the Internet. Just not the web. A world of gopher, ftp, usenet, janet and email. A world, off the Internet, of bulletin boards. A world without social media. A world, mostly, without GUIs. A world where the technologically unsavvy didn’t use computers.

So yes. <sigh> Happy Times.

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45RPM
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@CrazyOldCatMan

Speaking as the driver of a car which is now comfortably in excess of 50 years old (but which has, never the less, very modern performance, a heater, electric variable speed wipers and so forth) I think I’d rather have your wife’s car. It has character, and I sincerely doubt that your modern car has the durability to outlast the moggie - whatever other benefits it might bring to the table.

I have a modern car too. With only 2 seats, and dubious fuel economy, the classic isn’t sensible family transport. But the modern car is so boring to drive, entirely lacking in glamour, a soulless experience which fails to turn heads - not even that of its driver. And plenty of toys and gadgets and driver safety aids do not equal a ’drivers car’

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45RPM
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I once worked for a company which did computer support and repairs. This was many years ago - more than two decades ago, in fact. One day, a chap entered our office with a broken laptop and a good story.

He’d been working in South America, I can’t remember exactly which country, with an organisation which looked after street children. He’d also been documenting his findings and taking pictures with a very primitive digital camera, the pictures being transferred to his laptop (where he also kept his diary).

One day, he’d been trying to protect a group of children from the police, who thought that the correct way to deal with homeless kids was to shoot them. Actually, I imagine that they used that tactic on anyone without a home. The children and the aid workers were chased into a storm drain - and, in the panic and confusion, a bag containing the laptop with its precious pictures and diary got dropped.

When the coast cleared, the man retrieved the laptop - now drenched, battered, and no longer functional - and, presently, returned to the UK.

He brought the laptop to us, and the work was assigned to me. All he really wanted was his stories and pictures so that he could write up the report. I pulled the corroded mess of laptop apart and, unsurprisingly, discovered a hard disk that really wasn’t going to work anymore. At least, when I plugged it into the SCSI port of a different computer, it refused to be recognised.

More in hope, rather than expectation, I tried changing the controller board with one from an identical hard drive - and, to my astonishment, the drive now spun up and I was able to recover (most of) the data.

I’ve done charity work myself in the past, and I felt that I’d like to do more - so I pulled his laptop completely to pieces, cleaned all the plastics, and built a new one from spares. It all went wrong from there though because, um, I accidentally lost the receipts and invoices somehow. Still, at least he got charged for the data recovery (albeit less than £100 if I recall correctly), and he was very pleased to get his laptop back again, and working.

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Take-off crash 'n' burn didn't kill the Concorde, it was just too bloody expensive to maintain

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if dev == woman then dont_be(asshole): Stack Overflow tries again to be more friendly to non-male non-pasty coders

45RPM
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@Steve Knox

If I may say so, that shows a degree* of binary bias - ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’ are no longer the only choices.

That said, I think that omitting ones sex / sexuality / religion / skin colour / political preferences is entirely laudable in this age of gathering as much dirt as possible for the purposes of marketing. And, I’d have though, goes some way toward absolving StackOverflow of bias - unless, of course, the poster prefixed their question ‘Hi, I’m a woman, how do I…’

* not total bias though - ‘a fair degree’ does leave some wiggle room for those who identify as non-binary.

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Good news: AI could solve the pension crisis – by triggering a nuclear apocalypse by 2040

45RPM
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A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

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Apple's magical quality engineering strikes again: You may want to hold off that macOS High Sierra update...

45RPM
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I’ve upgraded a 2011 Mac Mini, a pimped 2009 Mac Pro (with hacked firmware), a 2011 MacBook Air and a late 2013 Retina MacBook. Guess what? I’ve have no problems with any of them.

It’s not that I don’t believe that this problem exists - but, given my experience with such a wide array of machines, I think that there’s something else at play here. Low available space perhaps (although I’d be surprised if Apple doesn’t check for this before proceeding)? Weird kexts? Even flaky power? It would be interesting to have this further information, but I don’t suppose that we’ll ever get it.

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UK 'wife'-carrying champion named

45RPM
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I’m always up for a challenge. Unfortunately my wife doesn’t want to be carried. Perhaps I should see if anyone else wants to partner me*?

*Additional T&Cs apply. Applicants must weigh less than 12st (I know my limits), and not object to being manhandled / accidentally dropped by a middle aged bloke. Since I’m already married and not on the pull, the sex / sexuality of the applicant is irrelevant. An indifference to inevitable and ignominious defeat would be advantageous (I know my limits!)

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Modern life is rubbish – so why not take a trip down memory lane with Windows File Manager?

45RPM
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Re: Still superior to Finder

I don’t have the problem with Finder that many seem to - it works. It’s okay. But I can’t get excited about it. For my needs, a two panel interface works very nicely - and especially if it has a handy pane for entering command lines. Bonus points if it can be installed on multiple OSs so that I can switch from one machine to another without too much mental effort.

But I thoroughly approve of all the choice that we have with regard to file managers. There’s something to suit everyone’s taste.

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45RPM
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Re: OMG can I say SQUEE?

Pinball is way too modern. Othello FTW - Windows 1.0 through to 3.0, and sadly omitted from 3.1 onward.

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45RPM
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Xtree or Norton Commander (actually, sod it, Midnight Commander on Linux). Windows FileManager was a necessary evil back in the day (at least, until one had installed a more capable alternative), but nowadays is of historical interest only - especially since its more capable competitors are often either free or abandonware now.

I quite like muCommander.

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Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, off you go: Snout of UK space forcibly removed from EU satellite trough

45RPM
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I still think that the promoters of Brexit should be tried for treason.

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Brexit in spaaaace! At T-1 year and counting: UK politicos ponder impact

45RPM
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Re: "Project Fear"

Can the promoters of Brexit, the likes of Johnson, Mogg, Farage et al be tried for treason? Because that’s what they deserve.

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Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

45RPM
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Re: 50% off components

I’ll pop over there at the weekend, if they’re still open. I feel the need for some transistors, patch wire, caps, resistors and other bits and bobs to restock my projects box. If they’re cheap enough, anyway.

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Container orchestration top trumps: Let's just pretend you don't use Kubernetes already

45RPM
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I’m new to Docker - and it seems like a very useful tool. I’m using docker-compose which is suitably lightweight, and allows me to easily move from one host to another. Given all that, and that I’m running less than 10 containers, what benefit does Kubernetes (or one of the other solutions given here) offer?

That’s a serious question by the way - I’d really like to know whether this is something that I need to pay attention to!

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Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer

45RPM
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Re: This scenario was a dilbert comic strip

My favourite is this one, from September 26th 2003.

http://dilbert.com/strip/2003-09-26

Generally speaking I don’t ‘get’ Dilbert. I prefer Calvin & Hobbes and Alex. But when Dilbert hits the spot, it really hits the spot. But the top strips, for me, are still The Real Ale Twats, Mickey and his Monkey Spunk Moped - and many others from Viz.

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Jupiter has the craziest storms seen yet, say boffins

45RPM
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The Whitehouse has the craziest storms seen yet.

FTFW.

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10 PRINT "ZX81 at 37" 20 GOTO 10

45RPM
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Re: Predators

@T Bo

In fairness, it wasn’t too expensive (a couple of hundred quid, IIRC, and three or four hours of work) to upgrade a 128k Mac to a 512k.

I can’t remember the exact procedure, but I seem to remember that it was necessary to build a new multiplexer board to handle the memory addressing - and of course to you needed some (fairly basic - remember, the chips were all pin-through-hole) soldering skill to remove the chips and replace them with the new parts. Of course, prudent souls socketed the replacement parts so that fallback was easier.

I didn’t attempt upgrading to 1MB in the same way - Apple changed the ROMs for the Mac Plus so the sensible course of action was a new logic board. In my case I got an Amateurstrad PC (and hated it), so replaced that with an Opus 386, a Dell 486 - and then a healthy mix of Macs and PCs ever since.

My ZX81, on the other hand, had the wobbly RAM pack - and a third party keyboard which contrived, if anything, to be worse than the membrane original.

Happy days. I often think that we’d be better off returning to those halcyon days of the C64, PC, Apple II, Mac, Speccy, ST, Amiga, Archie et al - and ditching the internet along with all the horrors it contains. We could spend hours waiting at local landmarks, in the rain, waiting to see if our mates would show up. Hours idly waiting for a taxi at the end of a night. Dangerous walks up the hard shoulder to an emergency phone because the Marina had broken down again. Sigh.

Happy days.

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Half the world warned 'Chinese space station will fall on you'

45RPM
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Re: Does Tiangong-1 contain Chinese steel or aluminum?

In this case, it's not so much that the British inflicted an extra vowel on the world, but that the Americans have blithely decided to ignore IUPAC standards (which, of course, specify Aluminium)

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45RPM
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Re: Finders Keepers

@Phuzz

I reckon that, just as ElReg has The Register Standards Bureau, it might be time for The Register School of Law to rewrite abstruse technicalities of law into plain language that any duffer (me, as a test subject, can understand).

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45RPM
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Re: Finders Keepers

So space stations aren’t like pheasants then? More like footballs.

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45RPM
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I was going to say, flippantly, that since the history books tell us that Vitalstatistix lived between 100BCE and 0CE, the eminent Gaul wins this battle. Then, unwisely and uncharacteristically, I did a very minor bit of research and discovered that variants of the Chicken Licken story go back 25 centuries.

So perhaps Vitalstatistix hasn’t roasted and stuffed the bird after all.

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Chilly willies: Swedish nudie nightclub opens in -11°C to disgust of locals

45RPM
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At that temperature, I wouldn’t have thought that there’d be much to be offended by - but at least there’d have been plenty of places to hang your hat.

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Here's how we made a no-fuss RSS vulture app using trendy Electron

45RPM
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I am disappoint

I read the headline and immediately thought that this article might be about the reduced specification Acorn BBC computer. Surely it must be ripe for a hipster revival about now.

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Military techie mangled minicomputer under nose of scary sergeant

45RPM
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Shome mishtake surely?

You mean 1980s rather than 1990s don’t you?

500MB Pr1me would have been state of the ark in the nineties. Nice mini though - for its decade.

/pedantmode

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MY GOD, IT'S FULL OF CARS: SpaceX parks a Tesla in orbit (just don't mention the barge)

45RPM
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Given the latest reports that Tesla build quality is on a par with 1990s Kia (https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.carthrottle.com/post/amp/tesla-model-3-built-like-a-1990s-kia-says-engineering-firm/), I suspect that this is the only way that Elon Musk could think of to best Volvo in the longevity (age and mileage) stakes.

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Dori-no! PepsiCo boss says biz is planning to sell lady crisps

45RPM
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Re: The Era Of Stupid

@Roj Blake

That doesn’t work though, does it? It wouldn’t even work if you said “Imagine you've got an IQ of 100 and everyone else is a 66” because the scale upon which the normal distribution is plotted isn’t linear.

This explains why there are so very many more muppets in the world than geniuses (if the scale were linear then there’d be very many more geniuses than there actually are).

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45RPM
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Re: Why is that a "lady thing"?

@JohnFen

You’re (probably) safe. I don’t think that Donald Trump is that into you.

For what it’s worth, I think Melania feels the same way.

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Ghost in the DCL shell: OpenVMS, touted as ultra reliable, had a local root hole for 30 years

45RPM
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I suppose one could argue that VMS is sufficiently esoteric that not many people will have the skills necessary to exploit this hole. I used to use VMS every day - I’m not certain that I remember much of it now though.

On the other hand, if you do get attacked it’s likely that the attackers have specific intent rather than just having a bit of a mooch around to inconvenience you for the props (whatever that means)

So the good news is that not many people will exploit this flaw. The bad news is that anyone who does exploit this flaw definitely means you harm and is up to no good.

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Long haul flights on a one-aisle plane? Airbus thinks you’re up for it

45RPM
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Joke

Of course, Concorde only had a single aisle - and people plonked down money hand over fist to travel in its cramped and uncomfortable cabin. You could argue that it was an Airbus too. So, perhaps, if they can make the food a little nicer and the plane a smidge faster then it will be similarly popular and glamorous.

How hard can it be?

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Microsoft whips out tool so you can measure Windows 10's data-slurping creepiness

45RPM
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Apple does request permission to phone home with ‘telemetry’. Every sodding time you upgrade the OS. I gave my answer once - I’m not certain I fully understand the rationale behind having to provide it again. And again. And again.

My answer, for what it’s worth, is yes - phone home. I’m even happy for the anonymised crash reports to be sent out from Apple to the developers of the software. As a developer I understand that it’s nigh on impossible to fix a crash and improve your software without lots of evidence. This ‘telemetry’ is the best way of gathering it.

Once again, at least for Microsoft and Apple, this feels like a storm in a tea cup. A smoke and mirrors distraction from the monumental data slurp and security error that is Facebook and other social networks. Gathering crash dumps is not what we should be focusing on. But well done Microsoft for releasing this tool - even if most users won’t have a scoobies what it means.

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It's 2018 and your Macs, iPhones can be pwned by playing evil music

45RPM
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Re: Everything...

Same with cars. Same with computers. Same with food. When I were a lad we was appy t pile into the Allegro an' breakdown repeatedly ont way t Bejam for frozen prawn cocktails for us birthdee treat supper, and to get replacement valves for ma 'n' pa's Ferranti Mk 1. We was so happy that we used to sing 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep' all t way cos radio were broken.

Aye. Music were better in them days.

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45RPM
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@The Alphabet

Except that they do say clearly which devices will get an update (and therefore, by a remarkably simple process of deduction (if it ain't listed, it ain't gettin' in), which devices won't). Taking iOS, for example, you can see what qualifies for an update here: https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-11/

Now you could argue that Apple has it easy, and you'd be right. Apple makes all iOS devices and, in theory, all Macs too. They have a much simpler job of qualifying devices than Google or Microsoft. Apple can, and does, categorically say which devices are compatible. Microsoft can only offer generalities (although, in fairness, those generalities are usually pretty good). And, owing to the way that Android phones are build to the very loosest possible specification, Google would have a hell of a job to list all compatible devices - an impossible task.

You might also argue that Apple should, on obsolete devices, put up a message saying 'your device isn't up to date, but it's the best it can be. If you want it to be up to date then you'll need to shell out another £600'. But that smacks of 'ner-ner-ner-ner-ner' and would be bound to land them in all sorts of trouble with the seedier side of link-bait journalism. If I were in Apple's position I'd probably do exactly what they are doing. Put all relevant information in an easily accessible website, and signal that a device is up to date if its running the latest possible software for that device.

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45RPM
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Re: "....HomePod, a $349 smart speaker...."

@Tim99

You say ‘Free’. In fact they had to hand over a minimal amount of dough, and then allow Google access to all private conversations in any room where a google device is installed, including those held by people who may not have a google account.

Your best bet is to put on an ElWisty voice and plan crimes and world domination whenever you see on of these devices (as long as it’s not yours, of course)

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45RPM
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So is this a case of n bugs squashed and replaced by n+1 new bugs? /cynicism

I like macOS (and iOS), but some of the bugs that have caught Apple out recently have been a bit obvious. When the console fills up with errors reporting what seems to be an indexing error in Apple OS date handling (13 months a year!?), one does have to wonder how it slipped through unnoticed.

On the other hand, Apples response to Spectre and Meltdown has been excellent (ahem - if the fixes work!)

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Have three WINEs this weekend, because WINE 3.0 has landed

45RPM
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Re: Cautionary tale

In many businesses, and even homes, a computer will have more than one user account on it. So, whilst such malware may be able to wreak horrible damage on your account and your files, files owned by your colleagues / family / friends should be safe.

And yes, user data is worth a fortune (at least to its owner). So it must be backed up - and those back ups backed up as well.

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Don't panic... but our fragile world is drifting away from the Sun

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Re: Clarity required

@Rich 11

"Or will it involve the wealthier countries providing more international aid to further support the existing, proven path of increasing the provision of healthcare and of women's empowerment?"

I like this idea. Anything which improves equality and furthers education and health has to be a good thing in my book. Besides, the cost of providing aid seems to be small compared with the cost of waging war, for a given improvement in global safety and reduction of terrorism. Not to mention that it's just the right thing to do.

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Re: Clarity required

@wolfetone

A fake one will suffice. I'm sure that you can knock one up in moments. How do you think that Uber manage?

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Re: Clarity required

@The Nazz

"Strange isn't it, the experts would have you believe it's all "man made" warming yet very little if anything is said, never mind being done, to address the explosion of the "man" part."

I don't think that there's any doubt about the majority of global warming being anthropogenic. It's a problem - and we need to fix it. But, if I've understood you correctly, you're suggesting that the real problem is that there are just too many of us. If there were fewer of us then we could enjoy eating meat, driving gas guzzling cars, jetting around and generally having a fine old time without causing any problem at all? Is that it? Have I understood correctly? Because, if so, have an upvote.

It seems to me that there are two solutions to this problem. We can keep shagging and increasing the population, but we'll have to put up with an ascetic, vegan, lifestyle. Or, and this is my preferred solution, we can stop having kids (ideally an average family size of <1 child on average per couple - but <2 on average at most), quarter the population of the planet, and then party like theres no tomorrow. Rewards and bonuses for the winners who manage to get to the end of the ride without having spawned.

…Which counts me out. I am, I'm afraid to say, a massive hypocrite. But it is the sensible solution.

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