* Posts by Marshalltown

572 posts • joined 30 Sep 2011

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US voter info stored on wide-open cloud box, thanks to bungling Republican contractor

Marshalltown
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Re: 50 cases in the last 25 years

"... it surely reflects poor detection rather than the actual level of fraud."

Not necessarily. Fraudulent voting would mean much more in local elections than in national elections. With the exception - possibly - of California, the states with the highest numbers of "illegals" all voted for Trump. By and large, they have better things to with their time than trying to alter an election outcome. Beside which, when you look at the demographics of the 2016 election, it appears that "liberal" - in the US sense - basically stayed home or refused to vote for Clinton. Not getting Bernie, they apparently said "**** it" and either didn't vote for president or didn't vote at all. Also, as the Democratic campaign demonstrated, it is far easier to rig voting rules in the primaries than in the actual election. The Dems did precisely that and lost. Apparently, the Republicans were nearly as bad. I know many and less than half will admit casting a vote for president. They walked into the polls, voted on the issues that were important to them, but could not choke down voting for Trump or crossing party lines and voting for Clinton.

Fraudulent votes are important in things like city council elections, venues where the out comes are of trivial significance except locally.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Police State

NO to mention the page is IN French.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Voter registration data is not confidential

You didn't read the article did you. If it were ONLY voter info, that would be marginally less sloppy. But the data on each consisted of a short dossier including speculations by the analysts. There are some serious privacy issues tied to that.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Hey, don't blame the repuglicans - they're new at acting responsible

According to the story, Deep Root Analytics is a "Republican" firm. Their webpage is most impressive in what it doesn't say and the manner in which it redefines "audience." So, yes, Republicans are to blame. And given the obvious behaviour of DT, quite plainly "responsibility" in far-right mores has a special place too.

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Marshalltown
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Re: 200 million people in the DB?

Excel is THE classical program to misuse as a DBMS. My most common task when it comes to computers is explaining users why their "database" choked and has started giving them nonsense results, or shall I say results they finally recognized as nonsense. Loads of people "who have better things to do" jump into "databases" using Excel. After all, it counts, it sums, it has statistical routines. . I usally spend loads of time "sane-ifying" their data into useful, analyzable computer chow. Quite often they are shocked to discover that "all this time" what ever they thought their data was telling them was wrong. I get their data converted over to a DBMS, usually Access, which is pretty decent for a MS product, and then get called back several times before the differences between a spreadsheet and a DBMS finally sink in.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Data mining?

SSNs are not a guaranteed fix. When my dad retired he had to through numerous hoops because someone else had been using his SSN in a different part of the state. You very rarely need to present your Social Security Card.

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Marshalltown
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Re: 200 million people in the DB?

"Each entry is a small .jpg of a printout."

Not likely. Jpegs would be analytically useless without conversion to actual data. It would mean the contractor was even more stupid than it already looks like. Though, perhaps the company was really owned by Trump.

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Marshalltown
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Re: 200 million people in the DB?

What's interesting is that it appears to indicate that the "reds" have dossiers not just on their voters but also on democrats and independents and probably the hens in the barn. So, presumably we're looking at politics in the US an information warfare situation. Presumably the democrats are similarly well equipped.

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Slapping crap bosses just got cheaper: Blighty's Supreme Court nixes tribunal fees

Marshalltown
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Re: Setting a good example

DT lacks the psychological profile necessary to internalize such things. He wants loyalty for example but doesn't offer it. The sole objection he could have to Session's recusal would have to be that he expected Sessions to run interference for him with the investigations. Why would he need that? The behaviour makes him look like a Nixon.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Judicial independence

Ideally, the courts *can't* do anything about abuses unless they are brought to the attention of the court by either law enforcement or the public (well some other agencies too, I suppose). The lack of action is not a failure, but a maintenance of separation. Laws are ham-handed and tend to be inherently unjust at times. Theoretically, some civil problems can be better handled on a person-to-person or small numbers of persons to small numbers of persons. Hopefully without mortal combat. Only if the offense is irremediable in fashion, and can't be dealt with common-sensically by those involved should the courts actually become involved. Once they are, they are bound by the letter rather than the spirit of the law, and that "letter" is only as good as the oaf who wrote it and the other oafs who edited it, before a majority of oafs passed it into law.

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Marshalltown
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Politicians and judges

The fiasco here in the US with Trump, Sessions and the other crony crowd should also be regarded as what happens when the separation is not maintained as carefully as it should be.

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Find your happy place: Fedora 26 has landed

Marshalltown
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KDE spin

I had a major catastrophe of some form with OpenSuSE LEAP 42.2. Initially I suspected a drive failure, that proved not be the problem. I was never able to track down the real problem - KDE, LEAP, ?, ? But the upshot was the system would not boot. It would hang consistently somewhere between the initial boot and the launch of KDE. No amount of tweasling would recover the system. So, I downloaded Fedora 25 KDE spin (on Windows alas), burned a bootable USB stick and installed Fedora 25. Plasma's idiosyncrasies are still irritating - no differentiating virtual desktops with different wall papers - but the system is snappy, runs everything I use, and wonder of wonders, I had actually recently backed up everything but three data files. Now running 26, by and large my impression is that it is solid, and less quirky than OpenSuSE.

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Hey, remember that monkey selfie copyright drama a few years ago? Get this – It's just hit the US appeals courts

Marshalltown
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Re: Devil's Advocate

It also reveals how ethically challenged PETA is.

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Marshalltown
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Corporations - meh

The court decision declaring corporations to have the same rights as people simply demonstrated that even judges can have off days or be on the take. It has since been the grounds for any number of additional stupid decisions.

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BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on

Marshalltown
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Re: "it doesn't work"

We had an office manager whose machine really would go on the fritz for her. She was extremely Christian and the more difficult the machine became, the harder she had to work not utter basic Anglo Saxon descriptions of the machine's ancestral line. She would call me in, say "it's doing it again," which meant it was "not doing it again," what "it" was. I would sit down at her desk, move the mouse, and then tap a key, any key, and it would be perfectly fine. That would lead to the sound of teeth grinding behind me and occasionally sniffles linked to tears of frustration. I told her she had to be less impatient. The electrons didn't like being around upset people. Naturally that would drive her into a rage - sentient electrons?? Anyway, she quit when the world didn't end, divorced her husband and headed for the Caribbean.

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Marshalltown
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Happily

My time on Hell Desk was limited. My employer concluded I was missing a diplomatic gene. Apparently a fellow caught my muttered remark over the phone when I finally dragged out of him the real problem, which was that he really, really could not put his hand on something called a "mouse." I choked I think. He was dealing with his very first Windows machine. Then I muttered something about a "rat."

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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Marshalltown
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Re: Humidity control

Heh. That reminds me of a job on an archaeological expedition in Israel in the late 1990s. The project laboratory and analytical facility was headquartered at a kibbutz. The older kibbutz architecture was big on windows and really weak on staying actually cool. We had a computer room with a window mounted air conditioner which we kept set to "Arctic." The locals asked why we kept the room so cold and we just said the computers couldn't take the heat.

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Marshalltown
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Re: @wolfetone

Reply Icon

Re: @wolfetone

"What kind of sysop is that???"

A sysop that gets laid.

Yeah, but WHAT KIND OF SYSOP get's laid?

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Everything you need to know about the Petya, er, NotPetya nasty trashing PCs worldwide

Marshalltown
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Re: The real blame goes to..

"... all it would have done is meant us having this discussion X years ago ..."

In fact the discussion WAS being held years ago. As early as the early '90s at least. Many pointed out the hazards of monocultures, systems where a single "organism" is the primary foundation for a complex overstory. Attack that foundation and and the entire system can be brought down. Mathematically the internet and an ecosystem are very similar. The opposition offered the lame argument that computers and operating systems are not biological. There were Engineers at the helm; Great Geniuses were protecting us all; immense multinational corporations "knew" what they were doing. Besides, open source or some means of auditing critical code bases would risk trade secrets and patents. Besides, all us peons were just consumers (cash cows).

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BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

Marshalltown
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Re: A Question of style

Ah - Stardock. I first became acquainted with them when - IIRC - Galactic Civilizations was their few products and the only decent game that ran in OS/2. They also came up with a few really nice utilities for OS/2 that took excellent advantage of things OS/2 did that no other OS did at the time. Sadly, they drifted toward Windows while I was settling into Linux.

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Donald Trumped: Comey says Prez is a liar – and admits he's a leaker

Marshalltown
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Re: Impeachment?

Pay attention to you own arguments. The president as chief executive is responsible for running the government - yes. However, ALL law enforcement agencies of the US government are part of either Justice Department, or some other of the departments that comprise the executive branch. While he "might" have a leg to stand on concerning most Departments, interfering with the DOJ is to all public appearances also interfering with the courts and with due process, which doesn't simply apply to an accused, but also to the nation as a whole where the nation's interests may have been affected by the accused's actions. Trump to all appearances was attempting to prevent Flynn and the citizenry of the US from having their day in court. Presidential interference in ANY law enforcement investigation coul lead to a constitutional crisis. Go back and read the SC decision in favor of the Cherokee and then consider Jackon's inaction regarding enforcement of the court decision. I know Cherokee who, to this day, will not accept a twenty-dollar bill because Jackson's failure to enforce a court descision lead to the deaths of thousands. The presidential right to interfere is a "check" in the "checks and balances," but unless it is applied "judiciously" the "balances" of the courts and congress can turn on the president - impeachment for instance. So, a sane reading of the constitution tells you no president should interfere with the DOJ without very serious reasons having to do with national interest. It was quite plain from the start that there were no national interests being protected by going easy on Flynn.

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Marshalltown
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Re: I'd fire Comey too

For what cause? If Trump had even an inkling of his responsilities and limits under the constitution he would have kept out of the affair. As it is, he has practically labeled himself a criminal, even if "all" he did was try to ease things for a friend - show loyalty in shotrt. Loyalty to a criminal is criminal and where is approaches attempting to influence a criminal investigation, becomes obstruction of justice, even if the word "hope" is substituted for "want" or "I am telling you". Comey would be criminal himself if he was "loyal" to a person rather than the office, and he knew full well the office had no business saying what the person said.

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Marshalltown
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Re: @ Sparty...

"...(You can google it.)..."

Ah, but if you do, will you find it? Clinton and Obama actively supported an independent Ukraine - which is not Russia. Some of Trump's campaign staff were actively supporting pro-Russian politicos inside the Ukraine during an election. Meddling with the internal affairs of another government, which was marginally acceptable as long as they don't receive favors from their clients in return, when they turn to US politics. World leaders preferred Trump to Clinton because Trump is just what we see, a political idiot who can't keep his fingers away from the twit pad or his mouth shut.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Impeachment?

Lying to a law enforcement officer or investigator during an investigation is a felony, obstruction of justice among other things.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Impeachment?

They have to put up a token resistence. Otherwise it would look far too deliberate. Trump is an obvious patsy when you get down to it. Chosen for self-centered egotism, arrogance, a total ignorance of Constitutional law, and a preference for secretive backroom deals (like these failed meetings where he tried twisting Comey's arm). This is guaranteed to get him into trouble not just with the blues but with a good many reds as well. I expect that as soon as the mid term election polls start showing up, the reds will start looking very seriously at where they stand, unless Trump shows a clear improvement in public opinion.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Impeachment?

Not at all. Trump's "power" to execute the laws of the US as enacted by congress. He is also responsible for protecting and defending the people and Constitution of the US. That's why he's the chief "Executive." He isn't a a law enforcement officer and hasn't any legal say in what laws are inforced. Obama's action with respect to marijuana was political - recognizing a swell of popular support for legalization. That means that federal enforcement becomes more difficult since the states involved are going to be less than cooperative. In effect we are fighting a "cold Civil War" at this very moment and Obama's action was to ease things up between factions. It was certainly no better founded than Trumps attempt to protect Flynn, and get the DOJ to ease off on Russia.

Flynn however was consulting - AS A FORMER DIA DIRECTOR - with foreign and not necessarily friendly powers. There's no state or popular tie there. The only question is whether he endangered US security. Trump's action in meeting privately with Comey were not only unprecedented - though not illegal - but by even expressing his "hopes" directly to Comey constitute outright misfeasance of office. Firing Comey after failing to gain his "hopes" was almost certainly malfeasance after having those conversations with him. He would have been better off to have never spoken with Comey and simply asked for his resignation. Obama in contrast acted OPENLY and publicly making an outright political call, and didn't fire anyone for disagreeing about the call. And you can bet that there are loads of DEA and ICE out there that were worried. Current US laws regarding property forfeiture in drug enforcement cases are a literal license to the agencies to commit piracy.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Criminal Foolishness?

It is a good question but rather murky historically. The FBI was organized in the first half of the 20th C. J Edgar Hoover was the first director taking up the post in 1935. Prior to that the US had the BI, of which Hoover was the sixth director. His approach to maintaining independence for the FBI and his own position was through thoroughly illegal means. He could blackmail almost anyone in power who didn't like him and could harass politicians that opposed him and weren't in his files by having them "investigated" intensively.

The only other director to be fired was William Sessions who was turfed out by Clinton. That act had two prongs to it. One, Sessions was a Republican and Clinton apparently wasn't happy about that, and 2) he really was an awful director. The FBI was forted up, and seriously firewalled communications with other agencies where it should have been cooperating and the evidence, scant thouh it be is that failure if cooperation between agencies has lead to some monumental intelligence failures.

Comey in contrast was a Republican into 2016. He switched to Independent sometime that year. His actions regarding Clinton and her emails very likely cost her the election, not that she would have been much more popular than Trump. Trump may have assumed that Comey was "loyal" until he failed to ease off on Flynn as "hoped."

The president appoints the director and that director serves at the pleasure of the president. Presidential interference with the FBI is clear evidence of Trump's ignorance or outright for how the US governmental system was designed to operate. He should have absolutely known going in that expressing his "wishes" and "hopes" regarding how the Justice Department operates were tantamount to misfeseance. It absolutely is irrelevant whether he expressed a "hope" or simply issued an order he has no right to issue. Likewise, stating that he expected "loyalty" is also misfeasance.

Comey's "leaking" of his memos, and Comey being both a lawyer and a procesecutor, indicates that his informed opinion was that Trump had no leg to stand on. He would absolutely know how to cover himself legally.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Impeachment?

For a paranoid view, Trump has been set up to take the fall, leaving Mike Pence to assume the Oval Office by a Domionist conspiracy to take over the US in a religious dictatorship. Trump is so obviously unprepared, so clearly ignorant, and so blatantly corrupt that he was likely a target since his coke snorting days in the '70s.

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Alleged ISIS member 'wore USB cufflink and trained terrorists in encryption'

Marshalltown
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Re: Another 'intent' crime

As much as I agree with the general tenor of this, the charge was not described as addressing an intention, but rather as a fact, i.e. he is alleged to have "supplied training", "was a member of [DAESH]," etc. Note the tense there. The case *allegedly* isn't about "intent" but actual acts. Theoretically, since the actual charges aren't about thoughts but rather about acts, the defendant has a vague chance of being acquitted. Or might have had before the vicious stupidity on London Bridge.

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Microsoft to spooks: WannaCrypt was inevitable, quit hoarding

Marshalltown
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Re: Pointless

One thumb down, hmm. Well you may not like it, but that is the bitter truth. Microsoft capitalized on human laziness at the expense of security pretty much from the founding of the company. Then, when the inevitable problems cropped up, they wanted you to pay for something they had "persuaded" computer makers to "bundle" with the hardware. Then the new user, rather than try different OS's and interfaces, simply learned what "came with the computer." MS effectively gave away Word, Excel and even Access in order to achieve dominance in the entire PC Windows environment. Excel was so horrible that there companies that banned its use due to flaws in results and bad algorithms in its statistics routines. You can still Google "Friends don't let friends use Excel" and get over a thousand hits. Developers simply went with the current (flow), developing for what the "users" had learned, and generally avoiding the costs of developing for alternate systems and smalle,r niche markets.

This pattern had already thoroughly distorted the PC environment by the very early '90s before WIndows. In addition, the Microsoft "tax" encouraged "piracy" - after all, if you already paid money to MS simply to buy that CPU, why should pay them twice to buy a "legitimate" copy of MSDOS on a disk? I went with PC-DOS, OS/2 and later Linux for my own systems. There were never-fixed bugs in MS-DOS. One in particular was replicated in alternative DOS's like IBM's PC-DOS, simply because developers were writing code that actually relied on that bug in order to work properly.

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Marshalltown
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Pointless

"MS have been doing everything they can to get people to move forward" - meh.

The problem is as much the fault of users as it is Microsoft, and the entire commercial approach to operating systems. Microsoft's "best effort" was to get people to PAY "to move forward." The users however received "that" OS "free" with their system and ("ooh! shiny, so pretty") expected it to "just work." Or were coerced into buying a new OS they really didn't want because some program critical to their work or simple little minds had been changed to "require" a new version of the OS. So they grudgingly spent as little as possible to get what was required, or they simply bought a new chunk of hardware with the "free" OS installed.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Numbers

Yep, and trying to tell some admin type that the problem is not necessarily "how many" systems are not patched due to cost savings measures, but WHERE those vulnerable systems are located that goes right past their pointy little ears without even a glimmer of dawning comprehension. It's that that can get you thinking about super-powered cattle prods, carpet rolls and quick lime.

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First-day-on-the-job dev: I accidentally nuked production database, was instantly fired

Marshalltown
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Re: @wolfetone

In the original story, the teller did not precisely follow the "document's" instructions. The script he was supposed to run would generate codes that he was supposed to use. In stead he used codes typed into the "document." I would bet the teller actually read the script and, rather than waste a chance to know more about the system, simply "tried to follow the logic" of the script. He would learn about the system doing by hand the tasks in the script. But, presumably, he did not think through the privileges that the script would need to set up his account. Or worse, he did (as an amateur, would-be BOFH), but had not properly counted on the laziness of upper levels, or anticipated the linkage to the production system, which should not have existed.

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Marshalltown
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Re: So....restore from backup

"Rule 3 - never lets Devs have access to stuff. Like small children, they *will* break stuff.."

That's kind of the job description isn't it?

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BOFH: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back

Marshalltown
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Re: Rutherford Advanced Computing Society.

To truly appreciate the RACS, you need to consider the reversed acronym.

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Marshalltown
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Send me your bank account details and I'll sign you up immediately.

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Marshalltown
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Off topic - more or less

Sometime, someone should start a BUFH. Not about the normal dead from the neck up type of user, but the ones that built the network computers, wired it up, and then had the "Boss" hire a would-be BOFH to administer the system - badly. Since our - the systems builders - job was really nothing to do with computing except writing reports, data entry and analysis, etc., hiring an administrator made sense. The Boss could not have administered his way out of a wet paper bag. But, the first candidate, big into Goth looks, but neither the right gender or correct attitude to deal with the system builders, was a disaster. He threw our "real" job schedules out of the window because he "needed" to "administer" the print server. That was just the start. It didn't take more than three days to decide we had to be rid of him. Initially we resorted to the tactic of crashing the print server, moving the CAT5 connection and then rebooting it, restored to its rightful domain. The WBBOFH complained to the Boss and threatened us - the system builders! He was gone in a month.

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Marshalltown
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Re: Mentoring

Look here:

http://bofh.bjash.com/

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Marshalltown
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Re: New terms

New? The term "cloud" was used by the fellow that taught me about the workings of the internet. As nearly as I can tell, the allusion was to the nebulous nature of the user's knowledge about where his files really were. The trainer used a diagram that showed a PC linked to a LAN, in turn linked to a WAN, which in turn was linked to a "cloud" representing the internet.

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Marshalltown
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Re: New terms

"... - you ignorant arseholes have just re-branded the hosting services..."

And that ignores the even earlier days of "time sharing" where you could walk into a Radio Shack and buy time at a terminal to run your BASIC code, then save it to wherever the terminal liked to. Right before PCs appeared with exotic names like Osborne and Kaypro.

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Marshalltown
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Pint

Re: "It needs a NSFW tag on it to avoid coffee splattered monitors and keyboards"

"If your coffee drinking is NSFW, you're using the wrong orifice."

Nah - just he just need the right class of key board and monitor. Mine tolerates the cat puking on it, spilled coffee, gin and the like.

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Euro Patent Office staff warns board of internal rule changes

Marshalltown
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Black Helicopters

Re: "seize private property" ?

In the UK your "leaching upper class" is mainly entertainment. Britain always had the social advantage that much of its population were yeomanry rather than peasants. The Normans and later did their best to end that but still failed. The EU seems to think there is some advantage to a "nanny state" even if the nanny aspect is really limited and the PTB are "above the law." So, maybe there's a bright side to Brexit after all. Now, here in the US, if only we can find a bright side to Trump .... >:(

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Marshalltown
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Re: Good to see a snout in the trough of public funds

"...Just because the shackles that continue to bind the oarsmen to their benches are no longer tangible iron and the rhythmic drum beat does not sound like a drum ..."

A mistaken cliche, at least up to the Renaissance. The Romans for instance had the good sense to use free oarsmen who had something to stay alive for, and if necessary would free slaves for the job. The Greeks actually had professional oarsmen, some of whom had their special portable seats they carried with them from ship to ship. It helped prevent blisters

But. technically, your modern wage slave is is still a "slave" even IF they are "paid." Or they are as long as the wage payer pays at rates so low that a worker can't save enough to be able too tell an abusive employer to p*** off and leave for another job. In the US, employers resent the idea of being responsible for things like healthcare for their employees (yes Walmart - you). After all why fight a civil war if the upshot is simply that you wind up being responsible for your workers anyway. Pay them "wages" and you should be able to send them off everyday without a single thought about things like food, shelter and medical, let alone education.

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Linux homes for Ubuntu Unity orphans: Minty Cinnamon, GNOME or Ubuntu, mate?

Marshalltown
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Re: OpenSUSE with KDE

These days I prefer OpenSUSE with KDE. I switched from Ubuntu when it began to be aggravating to install and use and somewhat dictatorial (yes, that is what I think). Opensuse has its own aggravations that need work-arounds, but those are limited to using the computer for entertainment. But ... the KDE interface - or rather the interface coders - has been becoming more difficult and pushy about what's "right" or "too hard" to code for. For years now I have split the desktop into virtual desktops. I open the browser and email on one, work on another, solitaire on a third, etc. I use different wall papers to identify which desktop I am on without having to peer at a miniscule icon. This capacity became aggravating unavailable for a awhile then reappeared, and is now once more unavailable. Apparently the Plasma pushers find it "too hard." KDE is beginning to be as bad as GNOME.

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So long Lotus 1-2-3: IBM ceases support after over 30 years of code

Marshalltown
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Worked really well

Wordstar and New Word were excellent tools. I've missed the Wordstar dot-file approach to mast documents for decades now. And New Word, which was WS with bells, produced by staff that departed WS, arguably had the only well written - actually enjoyable to read - software manual I have ever read. Even now I prefer Joe for editing small configuration files in Linux.

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Verizon's bogus bills tanked my credit score, claims sueball slinger

Marshalltown
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Obviously

The process is broken if its intent dis discordant with its effects.

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Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Marshalltown
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Really

As far as ads go, why doesn't someone write an "app" that lies to server sites? The app tells the ad server it has received the ad, but writes out to /dev/null. Then everyone's happy. The ad people think they're getting views, you're happy because there's no crap on your screen. It isn't like anyone would miss anything, and the advertisers might even gain some sales to folks to did not take an oath to never buy a thing from the jerks that paid for that monumentally irritating ad.

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BOFH: Defenestration, a solution to Solutions To Problems We Don't Have

Marshalltown
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Re: Sigh

While acquiring my BA at a State University way back in the late '70s, we were perpetually short of funds in the sciences because the president of the university proudly would turn back funds to the state each year. We would beg for funds for equipment but were consistently refused. At the same time good instructors were heading for life boats since there was no chance they would get a raise. The president in question was felicitously equipped with the same handle as a certain well known "double-ought" agent, no fooling. It was a school laugh.

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Marshalltown
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Pint

Re: Seven pints

If all it takes to commit memory erasure is just seven pints, they're a bunch of light weights.

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