* Posts by Ken Hagan

6273 posts • joined 14 Jun 2007

Look how modern we are! UK network Three to kill off 3G-only phones

Ken Hagan
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Re: Forward thinking?

I don't think they are retiring 3G (or 2G for that matter). All they are saying is that they can no longer buy a new phone that doesn't do 4G. I can't say I'm very surprised, although the implication that they have only just reached that point *is* surprising, since 4G phones have been around for ages.

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UPnP joins the 'just turn it off on consumer devices, already' club

Ken Hagan
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Re: Knocking on my firewall door

"Unless you're saying people should require a license to use the Internet, we're going to need a solution for the Stupid Users."

Well actually, society does deal with "stupid users" in other fields (*) by defaulting to "no" and sometimes even requiring a licence before you can say "yes" even if you know. Quite where to draw the line is always controversial, but the principle that stupid honest people shouldn't be allowed to suffer at the hands of crooked clever people is very widely accepted.

(* things like driving, open-heart surgery, sex, drugs, alcohol.)

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Scrabble, anyone?

I expect so, but as humanity starts firing on all cylinders, rather than just guys like me, the statistics make it far more likely that three pulled out of the bag won't be called Joe Bloggs.

Be thankful that their names could be adequately rendered using an accent-free Latin script.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Now, home boxes, that's a different matter.

"So what do you propose as the alternative for people who wouldn't know a port if it pwned them?"

That's easy. You give them nothing.

Your choice of words is appropriate. They *won't* know a port *when* it pwns them. If your game needs to allow anyone, anywhere, sight unseen, to access your network then you need a new game. People need to learn that the easy way (from us) rather than the hard way (from their bank).

It's really no different to posting naked selfies to a secure part of their Facebook profile. People need to learn not to do that and the choice of teacher is "boring nerd" or "experience". The latter is, famously, a harsh mistress. So ... ask yourself ... are you a fool?

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How many ways can a PDF mess up your PC? 47 in this Adobe update alone

Ken Hagan
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Re: Anything new here?

I think you are being somewhat rash in assuming that these are *new* bugs. I think it is more likely that the offending code was cut-and-pasted into place 10 or 20 years ago and today's patches are merely a measure of how long it took Adobe to realise that their codebase sucks.

Of course, for some of us it has been obvious for nearly 2 decades that there is something deeply, deeply wrong with the codebase, since it was ostensibly written in a portable language for a flat memory model and yet ports to other OSes or other bit sizes have apparently been impossible.

A port to a NIX would, for example, allow the use of free tools like valgrind that would find such problems statically. (And, with reference to the earlier post that worried about false positives, the solution there is simply to examine each on manually and either (i) re-write it, (ii) figure out why it is a false positive and then annotate it to suppress the message, or (iii) fix it. Put another way, you start at the beginning and work through to the end and if it takes 10 years then that serves you right for writing such shit in the first place.

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Zero arrests, 2 correct matches, no criminals: London cops' facial recog tech slammed

Ken Hagan
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Re: Surely though

"Imagine the police were searching for me."

True, but that doesn't seem to be how they are using it. They appear to be pointing it at large crowds and asking, who's there? The 98% failure implies that they are being told that roughly 50 times as many dodgy geezers are present than is actually the case.

Not obvious why anyone is still throwing money at this pile of shit. Does our new Home Secretary have an unlimited budget?

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Pentagon on military data-nomming JEDI cloud mind trick: There can be only one (vendor)

Ken Hagan
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Cui bono?

Despite my instinctive aversion to conspiracy theories, I'm beginning to believe that Putin *was* behind Trump's election win. He appears to be the main beneficiary from just about every decision made since.

This particular brain death is clearly going to result in vendor lock-in and the Pentagon's encouraging words about convergence actually point to the reason why: the successful vendor can exclude everyone else from the running next time around by being as bloody awkward and secretive as possible about interop standard. This secrecy, of course, would be "in the national interest".

The lack of awareness of how businesses operate would be understandable amongst politicians steeped in Marxist theology and weaned on central planning. Coming from what claims to be the world's greatest free-market economy, it is ... jaw-dropping.

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Africa's internet body in full-blown meltdown: 'None of the above' wins board protest vote

Ken Hagan
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Assets?

"Those assets include several IPv4 address blocks worth millions of dollars on the open market"

I think you might find that those assets are worthless unless the rest of the internet agrees to route stuff to and from whoever you choose to dish them out to. If a credible rival registry appears tomorrow then I think they will have de facto ownership of those blocks rather than leaving them in the hands of former board members of an organisation that its own stakeholders want to, er, stick a stake into.

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Make masses carry their mobes, suggests wig in not-at-all-creepy speech

Ken Hagan
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Re: Government-supplied phones, then?

"Will the government supply them,"

If the governement did supply them (ho ho!) then do you think they'd be any better than the actual vendors at issuing fucking patches?

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Ken Hagan
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Re: You First

"sends me detailed logs of his daily movements"

Uuurghh! Stinky!

But curiously appropriate for this particular idea.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: ID Cards and enforced bio-metrics

"What's your problem with bloody ID cards?"

They prove nothing. Posession of a card merely proves that you possess that card. It says nothing about whether you are the person the card is talking about or whether it is, in fact, a proper card rather than a fake.

But worst of all: it is backed by a government quality database, yet people like you will take it to be gospel.

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Your software hates you and your devices think you're stupid

Ken Hagan
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Re: Please don't kill me with downvotes...

Let me guess ... every single one of those ideas from the PHB would be just fine if the UI only had to do the one use-case that he (I'll stick my neck out here) was thinking about when he came up with it.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Hang the UX designer

"Are you designing an OS GUI?

- Don't do ... [snip]"

Actually the correct answer to this one is just "Don't.".

We already have perfectly adequate OS GUIs and you'll just upset people if you change everything again.

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Bombshell discovery: When it comes to passwords, the smarter students have it figured

Ken Hagan
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Re: <shrugs> Small survey.... large error probable.

A few percent is a pretty small effect, too. I wouldn't be surprised if it disappears completely on a larger sample.

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Microsoft programming chief to devs: Tell us where Windows hurt you

Ken Hagan
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Re: Pain points, you say?

Their official position is that they don't offer a C compiler, for any version of the language. If your C code happens to go through their C++ compiler, that's a bonus.

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You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

Ken Hagan
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Re: The Issues

You've missed "Is it funny?". The joke should stay in, but should be re-written so that it is actually funny. (That will annoy everyone and in some meta sense be the funniest thing about it.)

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UK.gov expects auto auto software updates won't involve users

Ken Hagan
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Security holes? If my car depends on an internet connection, it isn't going to be safe. If it doesn't, I can just switch off the connection. There ... secured.

In fact, that (hypothetical, but essential) switch is the most plausible mechanism for delaying an update.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Badly thought out and likely to go TITSUP big time.

This isn't a conspiracy. This is simply what happens when you ask legislators to design an upgrade mechanism. They know nothing about software, nothing about risk management and most of them know bog-all about how it might play out in court after someone had died.

It is entirely wrong to be writing legislation about this and to be doing it now.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Bricking is not the worst thing that can happen

"If we aren't able to trust the developers to test the software they release for auto-update to avoid this kind of nightmare, how can we be trusting that the original release they did is any better?"

We can't, but after a period of time without catastrophes we gain confidence in the original release. Each new release needs its own probation period. That's why you don't want to be actually driving the damn thing either during or immediately after an update.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: you mean just like windows 10

@David 132: Mounting a drive on C:\windows.old would work if the upgrade process copies the old installation over to windows.old. It would fail if the upgrade expects to be able just to move it over. I expect MS do the latter, since it is more efficient in the normal case.

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Pentagon in uproar: 'China's lasers' make US pilots shake in Djibouti

Ken Hagan
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Re: Not biting the hand that feeds it?

"It's 1500 miles from Djibouti to Baghdad."

But only a 20-mile boat trip across the water to Yemen. The Middle East is a big place.

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

Ken Hagan
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Re: I recall even my mum (a bit like Dilmom) telling me a fire story

"Not a fire but I once dropped a bottle of concentrated ammonia in the chemistry lab. Sadly, not inside the fume hood.."

My memory is now vague about the substance involved, but I recall my (trustworthy) elder brother returning from a Chemistry lesson one day and relating that someone had knocked over a jar of X. The good news was that it was in the fume cupboard. The bad news was that X was denser than air and so it just went up the chimney and then back down again over the entire school site.

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I've got way too much cash, thinks Jeff Bezos. Hmmm, pay more tax? Pay staff more? Nah, let's just go into space

Ken Hagan
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"Theft is morally abhorrent, as is socialism. You have no right to other peoples wealth, property or possessions."

Which is why Mr Bezos has no right to dip his hands into the US taxpayers pocket to subsidise his wages bill. However, I will argue that 50% of the fault there lies with the legislation that permits (and, in a free market, thereby encourages) such behaviour.

If you have any kind of social safety net, a minimum wage is simply a way to stop the unscrupulous from gaming the system. If you don't have any kind of safety net, you can't really complain if you end up dead at the hands of someone who had nothing left to lose.

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Typical cynical Brits: Broadband speeds up, satisfaction goes down

Ken Hagan
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"if they were the last, then a shit provider would be better than no provider."

If they *were* the last provider, no-one else would have a decent connection either, so who would you be talking to?

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Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata

Ken Hagan
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Re: Claim They Did Nothing Wrong...

Shits always did lie. In the past, they often got away with it. These days that is increasingly difficult and we get to hear about it.

In the short term, lying is a good strategy. Eventually people catch up, though. In a large society, it can take quite a while for that to happen, but modern communications are shortening that.

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Ken Hagan
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"You can't fine a company that no longer exists."

But the directors still exist.

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UK Parliament roars: Oi! Zuck! Get in here for a grilling – or you'll get a Tower of London tour

Ken Hagan
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Re: twopenny-halfpenny politicians

"your laws start and end at Dover "

And here was me thinking that they started at Lands End and ended at John o' Groats, and included any internet facing hardware in between. Now I find that the Westminster parliament is actually just Dover Town Council on vacation. Oh well, at least I found out before the elections tomorrow.

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Ken Hagan
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Well if you are going to be picky about words, you can't be summonsed to a hearing if you are outside the jurisdiction of the body doing the summonsing.

Personally, I don't see why the politicians (on either side of the pond) don't *prefer* to speak to a lackey who actually knows rather more about how the business is run. Insisting on speaking to the figurehead is a bit like advertising that the session is all form and no substance. A bit like shouting "Hey! Look at us! We're a bunch of vacuous airheads." and expecting respect in return.

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Publishers tell Google: We're not your consent lackeys

Ken Hagan
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Re: Who else is there?

If the whole of Europe stops advertising online for want of a GDPR-compliant ad broker, such a thing will come into existence within months, if not weeks.

If it isn't Google, that's Google's problem.

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Press F to pay respects to the Windows 10 April Update casualties

Ken Hagan
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Re: XPS

"No DocuWorks program? You can't see your monthly payslip!"

You should have submitted a freedom of information request to the tax authorities. (If *they* don't have copies of your payslips then they will probably be motivated to have a chat with your employer.)

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

Ken Hagan
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Re: Lavatory!

... or even when it isn't.

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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

Ken Hagan
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Re: There should be a few rules for SO

"2 - Don't ask the querent why do they want to do that, why would anyone want to do that, then refuse to answer anything at all because it's stupid to want to do that."

This one is in the wrong list. Asking the wrong question is a sufficiently common mistake that pretty much every *good* respondent should be prepared to ask "Why do you think you need to do that?" and every questioner should be prepared to elaborate on the bigger picture of what they are doing. Furthermore, in the interests of community hygiene it is occasionally the case that anyone daft enough to *want* to do X is exactly the worst possible person to tell *how* to do X. Sooner or later, someone *else* will have to maintain (or worse, *use*) this person's code.

Issues of style are, to a lesser extent, covered by this principle. It is *unkind* not to mention to a noob that their current style makes them look like a twat. Using those exact words is, of course, also unkind but we shouldn't shy away from the sentiment. We should just try harder to find kind words.

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Ken Hagan
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But you've just annoyed the few who aren't, just as I've just annoyed those who believe that group is an empty set.

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Eurocrats double down on .eu Brexit boot-out

Ken Hagan
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"The reality is that if someone wants a .eu domain name, it is because they want to demonstrate some kind of willingness to provide services or goods to Europe."

In a sane world, the way to show such willing would be to have a business address where a disgruntled customer could serve papers.

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Chinese boffins on 3D XPoint: If it works like phase-change memory, it's probably phase-change memory

Ken Hagan
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Re: Follow the yellow brick road...

That seems quite plausible to me. If they've found something that makes a big difference but which doesn't show up under electron microscopy or similar methods, then they might reason that saying nothing at all will give them a couple of years of protection whereas publishing will give the competition ideas that might bear fruit in less time than that and which aren't covered by the patent.

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Europe fires back at ICANN's delusional plan to overhaul Whois for GDPR by next, er, year

Ken Hagan
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"E.g. to check on the origins of a suspicious email? "

Given the large numbers of people posting here who report that they've pushed complete crap into the WHOIS database and got away with it because there is exactly zero budget for checking user-submitted data, just exactly how do you use the information to check on anything? Particularly when the only thing you know about what you are checking is that is seems suspicious. It's like asking someone "Are you a crook?" and expecting a useful answer.

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AMD CEO Su: We like GPU crypto-miners but gamers are first priority

Ken Hagan
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Re: Is a mining rig still worthwhile?

Given that all such mining is basically a pyramid scam, I feel bound to point out that if you have to ask such a question then you are probably coming too late to the party.

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Academics: Shutting down Facebook API damages research, oversight, competition

Ken Hagan
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"Another thing that's totally absent from this discussion of "APIs for legitimate researchers" is the idea of providing an API that will only supply anonymous data."

And on a related topic, an API that can only be used by legitimate researchers?

Blimey! Have Facebook finally implemented RFC 3514?

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Programmers! Close the StackOverflow tabs. This AI robot will write your source code for you

Ken Hagan
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What a load of a fucking bollocks

Alternatively, you could solve this problem the way we've solved it for the last 60 years and write a subroutine.

I mean, you have a vague requirement to do something with reading from a file, so you invoke an AI engine to hand-wave for you? Really? Then, if it turns out that it wasn't quite right, you waffle a bit more until you can't see the problems anymore. Anyone else who had the same vague requirement is presumably left to do their own additional hand-waving, which may or may not produce the same result as your second effort and which may or may not solve the new problem for them.

Whereas, using a subroutine firstly solves a definite problem (viz, what the routine was designed to do) and secondly if you ever discover a flaw in the solution you can "fix the subroutine" and everyone who has used that subroutine to solve that problem can benefit from this fix.

I would hope that in El Reg forums at least, we are familiar with the short-comings of AI and deep learning in particular. Principally, in the currrent context, those short-comings are that we don't know quite what problem has been solved and we don't know quite how it has been solved or indeed quiet whether it has been solved, but it looks pretty on the outside. Trouble is ... these are not properties that you want in software.

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ICANN takes Whois begging bowl to Europe, comes back empty

Ken Hagan
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Re: 'no solid plan for what to do'

"Being in California, if they've got no European offices then what can the EU do to them? They can fine the various registries that do operate here, so maybe ICANN still think they can get away with it?"

Half right. Being in California, they cannot be touched. However, without *any* legal presence in the EU, they can't touch European registries. ICANN are basically dead in the water. The internet will carry on running on empty for a bit and whilst ICANN sob to their friends (they must have some) in the US government, the rest of the world will develop an ICANN-replacement that they can live with.

It's like a Hard Brexit, but for Internet Governance. Enjoy...

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TSB outage, day 5: What do you mean you can't log in? Our systems are up and running. Up and running, we say!

Ken Hagan
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Re: Just emptied my account.

"They have to respond by a deadline if they want to bounce it, and they won't. So it will be paid into your account, and not reversible because it isn't a fraudulent transaction."

So any non-fraudulent (ie, you have the balance in your account) movement of funds out of TSB towards some other bank will clear in the usual time, but TSB might end up with an even bigger mess on their hands as a result.

Hmm ... That sounds like something that a lot of TSB customers ought to know.

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Oh dear... Netizens think 'private' browsing really means totally private

Ken Hagan
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I think "anti-girlfriend mode" accurately describes both the user demographic and the probable limits of its effectiveness.

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Scratch Earth-killer asteroid off your list of existential threats

Ken Hagan
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Re: A close shave a week and a bit ago, it could have started WW3.

It is also an established historical fact (because it happened to some Russian bloke) that the occurence of just one event that looks like a nuclear attack is sufficiently implausible that people go and check before hitting the launch button.

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Ken Hagan
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Numeracy - Boring, but useful

"An existential threat is a threat to the existence of humanity, not merely a threat to the existence of Dave."

On that basis, and bearing in mind that we are already far more advanced than any species of dinosaur or trilobite, there have been no existentially threatening events in the last billion years or so. You don't need NASA to tell you that this makes it pretty unlikely that we are about to be hit by one now. You also shouldn't need an economist to tell you that any cost that probably doesn't need to be paid in the next 100 years or so is better deferred until later.

So whilst all this is interesting and fun, it isn't important.

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Chinese web giant finds Windows zero-day, stays schtum on specifics

Ken Hagan
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Re: Windows 7 < > Edge

I *have* upgraded to Win10, but like many other people I know, I found that Edge stopped working (early in the New Year) with a number of sites I expect to use and so I reverted to IE because it still works. (Obviously on a machine that isn't supposed to be "as customers see it", I'd have installed a proper browser and wouldn't bother with either of Microsoft's pieces of polished turd.)

Once Edge is finished, I'll give it another whirl.

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Two's company, Three's unbowed: You Brits will pay more for MMS snaps

Ken Hagan
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"From a bank, and subject to interest."

You can't force them to sell, and if they know your intentions then they may just hold out for a higher share price. Alternatively, they may just kick you out at the next AGM.

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There is no perceived IT generation gap: Young people really are thick

Ken Hagan
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Re: Odd thing about millenials...

"....the ones I meet from other countries" ... have already been subjected to some kind of selection process, since they are meeting you. Maybe they are ones who are smart enough to be in jobs that involve foreign postings, or rich enough to enjoy foreign holidays.

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Ken Hagan
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"it seems to me that the mental retention of literary allusions, cultural references etc is something older people do."

Well that's almost obvious. We've been around for longer. I know *far* more than I did when I was a teenager, about a huge variety of stuff that I didn't even realise (back then) was a thing that you could know about. Given the time-spans involved, it would be a bit embarrassing if I didn't.

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Ken Hagan
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Re: Education is no longer designed to teach.

"To be a (eg) biology teacher, you need at least a degree in the subject, preferably a masters or PhD."

Ah yes, but that is "to be a biology teacher". It's not quite the same thing as "to teach biology". For the latter, you only need a degree in something, followed by particularly bad luck when the real biology teacher drops out of the profession in October and everyone in the staff room has to draw lots for the poison chalice that is "covering for the Year 11s until we can hire a replacement".

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