* Posts by Unicornpiss

1094 posts • joined 7 Oct 2011

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Meet TLBleed: A crypto-key-leaking CPU attack that Intel reckons we shouldn't worry about

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Re: Intel. All hope is lost.

"AMD Ryzen is better in every regard and ARM based CPUs are a strong contender."

I have been building computers for almost 2 decades with AMD CPUs, and will always choose them over Intel a a matter of personal preference. And I agree that Ryzen is a great processor.

But if you read the article, it looks like AMD's offerings may be vulnerable as well. And that's the thing. Whether you like AMD, Intel, or ARM, Coke or Pepsi, etc., there will always be yet another vulnerability discovered, yesterday's foolproof encryption will be trivially broken in the next decade, and idiot-proofing something just means that more complete idiots will emerge to prove you wrong. With the way security evolves in our high-tech world, it's almost like we're seeing an abstraction of the natural selection that occurs in nature.

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Now Microsoft ports Windows 10, Linux to homegrown CPU design

Unicornpiss
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Meh

I guess we'll see..

Microsoft is such a mixed bag these days of surprising innovation and stupefying failures. I often don't think all of their divisions are on speaking terms with each other. It would be nice to see a new architecture out there, but I'm not holding my breath just yet.

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US regains supercomputer crown from Chinese, for now

Unicornpiss
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Happy

Re: Only because someone has to say it..

"I’d rather it be programmed to design an even faster rig, all by itself ... or maybe that’s asking for trouble"

Oh, you mean like Deep Thought?

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Unicornpiss
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Coat

Only because someone has to say it..

Will it run Crysis?

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VPNFilter router malware is a lot worse than everyone thought

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Just checked..

..and my Asus router is one on the list and there is no firmware update available yet. (no, you can't have my IP address)

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Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work

Unicornpiss
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Re: Worse still ...

Yes, we won't even reboot a server if avoidable if it's Friday and late in the day. You're just asking for your weekend to be spoiled, as the universe has a cruel sense of humor and does not treat kindly those that say "Well, what could possibly happen?"

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Unicornpiss
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Re: Soldering irons

Painful too is soldering with bare feet and dropping a big ball of molten solder right onto the webbing between your toes. I'm sure you can guess how I know this.

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Mirror mirror on sea wall, spot those airships, make Kaiser bawl

Unicornpiss
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Tucker..

It sounds (no pun intended) like Tucker actually invented the first MAF or "mass air flow" sensor, used commonly in automotive applications to determine the amount of air being consumed by an engine, and adjust the fuel/air ratio accordingly, although his application of it was obviously different.

I wonder if you could replicate his efforts in filtering low-frequency sound by using a spare MAF from a vehicle, if so inclined..

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Help, I'm being held prisoner in a security camera testing factory. So please read this...

Unicornpiss
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Re: Yeah, all very well but...

With most kits you either have to provide your own cat, or the one provided is shoddy and you have no choice of color or barfiness..

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BOFH: Their bright orange plumage warns other species, 'Back off! I'm dangerous!'

Unicornpiss
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Re: Hazard creation - ironies abound

I poked myself in the eye with the tail piece of my safety glasses once..

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As Tesla hits speed bump after speed bump, Elon Musk loses his mind in anti-media rant

Unicornpiss
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@Michael Wojcik

" It is simply no longer feasible for any but a few niche organizations to provide quality journalism, with proper research, investigation, writing, and editing."

You make an intriguing point. Assuming that journalistic quality has decreased, say, since 30-40 years ago, and it is no longer feasible for any but some niche organizations to provide accurate, well-researched stories, I'm curious as to why you think this is? Surely the mass-market media has enough money and resources to do their homework. Why would they choose not to do so? What sets the niche organizations apart? If not money, could it be that elusive integrity? Is integrity less feasible these days? Or simply not as important? Surely the niches are not making even a fraction of the revenue as the giants, for the most part.

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Unicornpiss
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Meh

Further proof that..

..the very rich are not like you or I. (unless of course you're reading this and you've very rich. In which case you'e probably a troll, or this is an anthropology experiment for you)

I don't know if journalists have more, less, or about the same integrity as they used to. I'd like to say somewhat less these days, but of course it depends on the individual person, and I strongly suspect that everything and everyone has sucked since the beginning of time, and everything these days just gets more exposure.

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Das blinkenlights are back thanks to RPi revival of the PDP-11

Unicornpiss
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Adventure

"But about this PDP-11 emulator, unless it comes with Adventure then I'm not interested."

The local university had an 11/40, an 11/70, and a VAX as I recall. I remember playing Zork I on it when I was perhaps 9 or 10 years old, using both a VT-100 terminal and a Decwriter. (Was Zork I part of the Adventure series at the time?) Long story as to why I even got to be in the lab. Somewhere I may even have one of the printouts on 140-column green bar paper from one of those sessions. As I recall, it was written in FORTRAN to run on the 11/70. (or it may have been the 11/40, I don't remember)

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Unicornpiss
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Happy

Re: Basic skill of slide rule

"Hanging on the wall"? Sure. It was six feet long, for teaching slide rule technique."

A local restaurant (one of those that specializes in having kitschy decor with antiques, etc. everywhere) has one of these on the wall. It spans 2 or 3 booths. I doubt many of the younger crowd even knows what it is when dining there. They also have a WWII-era Army Jeep on the wall sideways. I'm always a bit afraid to sit under it..

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Unicornpiss
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Before my time, but..

..when I went to school for electronics training, we had a donated 11/70. (this was 1990-ish) I did a bit of assembly programming, but also learned to troubleshoot the beast using an oscilloscope and the miles of schematics for the thing, with dates on them only shortly after I was born. I used to think that if I could be transported back to the early 70s, that I would have had a decent paying job as a technician working on these things. I got relatively fluent at it. Anyway, it was a good way to learn how a microprocessor worked, when the processor was spanned across a dozen or so cards. I remember interfacing a Radio Shack speech chip with it for a project. I got it to actually talk, though not particularly well.

Ah well, that was about 5 lifetimes ago now, it seems.

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America's forgotten space station and a mission tinged with urine, we salute you

Unicornpiss
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I hope..

..that current generations end up with heroes like this and the inspiration of routinely exploring new frontiers. Very different times. While many may argue that the money and resources spent on Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, etc. could have been used to feed hungry people, etc. (it would not have been anyway), it makes me sad that we haven't been back to the moon yet, and Mars is still a distant dream. All we have in manned (crewed) space flight is an aging space station and a few private companies that have tried to somewhat pick up the torch.

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Fixing a printer ended with a dozen fire engines in the car park

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Re: Had the fire brigade called to a five star hotel, in Malta....

"Most domestic microwaves are up to 4kW anyway on full power, even the cheapo £30 ones from ASDA

I believe you're incorrect, sir. Wattage is an absolute power measurement. So if you're cooking with 4KW, you must also be drawing 4000W from the mains. Which would be a little over 18A at 220V, exceeding a standard UK circuit, and nearly double that in the USA at 120V. If plugged into a USA 220V circuit, such as commonly used for a clothes dryer, range, or large A/C unit, it could be feasible, but no one except restaurants and other commercial applications have a microwave running on 220V in the USA. Most are 1500-1800W. The cheapo ones are typically under 1000W.

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Unicornpiss
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Don't drive hi-vis either.

I live in the US and have had a couple of cars that were ex-police vehicles when I was younger. These did not have the strobes on the top, but had the side spotlights and still had the siren mounted under the hood, though I never bothered to hook them up. Now it's fairly common to see the public driving around in these and ignore them, but 20 years ago, not so much. They were fun cars, as they usually had heavy-duty everything, and one of them had the same engine that was in Corvettes at the time, making it a lot more spirited.

I have been speeding and had police wave at me while going the other way, and when I was pulled over one time, once I explained the provenance of the car I was driving after being asked, the police were very friendly and let me go with a warning. It's also somewhat common in the US for cops to get free coffee and food at some restaurants. I did nothing to encourage this, but a couple of times, going through a fast-food drive through, was puzzled when they just stared at me when normally I would be asked to pay. When inquiring as to "how much?", was told "It's free." "Why??" "Because you're a cop." "Um, no, I'm not!" "Well I've already rung it up, so just take it!"

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Unicornpiss
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Re: Re:Victorian railways had a few exploding boiler incidents

..early steamboats in the USA also had the bad habit of exploding:

Lucy Walker Disaster

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Unicornpiss
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Conveyor toaster

I worked on POS systems for a restaurant chain that used these counter top conveyor toasters. They were incredibly robust, all stainless steel everywhere, and pretty much indestructible. They were a bit larger than the ones you might see used for toasting slices of bread at a diner, for example, as they were used for numerous items, but a bit smaller than ones you might see used for pizzas.

They would sometimes put bread sticks and other oil-brushed items in these, and when in a hurry, overload them, so they would get jumbled up and jam on the conveyor. Many times I have seen a crew member frantically trying to extricate stuck items while thick smoke poured from the oven as customers looked on in bemusement, no doubt hoping that wasn't their dinner. A few times I've seen flames; once I saw flames alarmingly a couple of feet high spewing from both sides of the oven from a severely neglected situation. The oven was never worse for wear from these incidents.

Oh, and one afternoon I arrived at a restaurant and noticed smoke coming from both inside the oven and BEHIND the oven--there was apparently a poor connection and the plug had heated up enough to cause a minor electrical fire behind the oven, while the item being toasted was also starting to burn.

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

Unicornpiss
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What goes around comes around..

"Damn, some idiot added some “rare bootlegs” in the middle so I have to keep pressing and now I’ve gone past the end and find myself back at track 1 again."

Or, if you have a multi-disc changer and you go past the end, you can then enjoy pushing the disc select button, waiting for the carousel or magazine to get around to going back to your original disc, then end up back on track 1 of your disc.

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Windows Notepad fixed after 33 years: Now it finally handles Unix, Mac OS line endings

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Re: Windows... love/hate

"lol! does anyone still use that old thing?"

Well, I know you probably meant that tongue-in-cheek, but a lot of us are stuck with it at work and for gaming and whatnot. I personally have a love/hate relationship with it, as it does keep me employed.

That said, Microsoft can't seem to release an update these days without shooting itself in the foot. And using Win10, I can say that Microsoft seems to have lost its grip on what is important: the user experience. Look at all the mindless garbage included with each release, and the way you're forced to use whatever menu system MS wants you to use when it would have been trivial to include the functionality offered in 3rd-party apps like "Classic Shell" as options and you'll see what I mean.

I personally feel that MS's developers and management are so bound up in bureaucracy and appeasing upper management on the warpath, that no one communicates and things are rushed to market (even more than usual) before they've been fully vetted.

The sad thing is, MS's marketing is so efficient that they've got most companies to sign their contracts in blood, and companies are so deep in bed with them that there is no escape. Linux is a great alternative, but not many are willing to take a leap of faith like that and restructure their company's IT systems.

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Unicornpiss
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Now if..

..they would just fix it so it can handle moderately large files without hanging. (or at least warn you that the file is too large for humble Notepad to deal with)

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BOFH: But I did log in to the portal, Dave

Unicornpiss
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Re: I've been there

"Through a sickeningly appropriate coincidence, at the moment I pulled up this comments page, your post had 22 upvotes. There must be a ... catch ... somewhere.

I just upvoted your post, and my upvote was also the 22nd one. Synchronicity is alive and well in the universe's cold, cold heart.

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

Unicornpiss
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Now if they could..

..just use Google to search the Help documentation instead of Bing or whatever dartboard they're apparently using now.

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‘I broke The Pentagon’s secure messaging system – and won an award for it!’

Unicornpiss
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I broke The Pentagon’s secure messaging system..

..and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!

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Boss sent overpaid IT know-nothings home – until an ON switch proved elusive

Unicornpiss
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Re: try working in schools

Having worked on POS systems in restaurants (in both senses of the acronym), I used to have fun situations such as a line cook knocking an order printer off a shelf into a bucket of tomato sauce. (it actually worked after I thoroughly rinsed it out and let it dry for a week or so)

Other memorable situations from that other lifetime:

-Visiting a restaurant unit where nothing worked, to discover someone had plugged a UPS into itself.

-A situation where a pipe had burst in a ceiling, and it was raining on all the POS equipment, while there were 2 inches of water on all the floors. This while the opening person calmly sat in the dining room watching the chaos.

-Another flooded restaurant where the opening young man and woman sat on a bench making out while a river of water flowed from the restroom out the front door.

-A server that had failed due to a mouse building a nest in it and defecating on the motherboard for ages until something failed. (the drives came out and the rest went in the dumpster)

-Someone neatening up by stapling up all the network cabling that was hanging--by stapling through the cables, into the wires inside.

-A lightning strike at a strip mall. I replaced the main computer, 2 dead terminals, and their PBX. (I couldn't do anything about their fried electronic safe--a locksmith had their own headache with this one) There was a line of contractor vans all down the mall--every business had electrical woes.

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Unicornpiss
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Overpaid and underskilled..

Isn't that a description of many managers? People do seem to fail upwards. I wouldn't apply "overpaid" to most of the grunts in the IT world. But I have seen some vastly underskilled... and again, these are the ones that seem to find their way into management. Truly, those who can't do, lead.

One personal story of PEBKAC would be with a Legal consultant, working a 4-6 month contract for a nice 6-figure salary. Her monitor wouldn't work, so I asked the obvious: "Is the power on; have you checked the cables to make sure they're all plugged in?" "Of course I've tried that!!" I hiked across our vast facility to visit her office, looked at the monitor, pushed the power button, and made my egress. No words were exchanged, no eye contact was made.

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Unicornpiss
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Re: Loopy.

"Sadly, the trailing plug meant to go in the wall socket was also plugged into the extension block."

I too have experienced that with a UPS that I found plugged into itself. A perpetual motion machine it was not.

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Amazon, LG Electronics turned my vape into an exploding bomb, says burned bloke in lawsuit

Unicornpiss
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Modded?

" It was in an e-cig. Big, fat, hairy deal. Not relevant."

Hard to say... if the batteries were installed in an unmodified eCig device, I think he may have a case, or at least a chance at a settlement.

If the batteries were loose in his pocket with keys, etc., then he's a dumbass.

If he had modified his vaping device to be "sub ohm" for faster response and more vapor, you're basically placing a direct short for all intents and purposes on the batteries, and even a lousy 9V alkaline can get hot enough to possibly burn you in that case.

I suspect that if the batteries were installed in his device, that it got turned on or the button depressed for some time, which would definitely overheat the batteries pretty quickly.

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Motorola Z2 Force: This one's for the butterfingered Android lovers

Unicornpiss
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Glad to see..

..that it has an SD card slot. Motorola's 'new' phones at the time not having one was what drove me to Samsung. I also applaud Motorola for mostly sticking with the (already good) stock Android interface instead of the gimmicky overlays and bundled crap that other manufacturers think you want.

For me, the deal breakers are the high price and lack of water resistance. I simply can't understand why a phone marketed as being rugged doesn't include this. That, and with a drawer full of accessories, my OCD self would probably stand there too long trying to decide which one to take with me.

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It's US Tax Day, so of course the IRS's servers have taken a swan dive

Unicornpiss
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Trollface

Re: I'm sure they got encryption

"I'm filing my taxes via USPS priority mail, same way I pretty much always do"

What if it gets lost in the mail...

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Data exfiltrators send info over PCs' power supply cables

Unicornpiss
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FAIL

Re: Meh

In a previous job, we twice received (from a security vendor no less) a PC meant to control and DVR a camera system, that was infected with several pieces of malware.

So, yeah, you're already "pre-screwed" sometimes before you even open the box.

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Unicornpiss
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Re: Seeing the light

"I remember reading an article about this a few years ago, and some pc/mobo manufacturers alleviated this by randomising the flashing when the HDD was being used."

Dell took it a step further in all their Ultrabooks---they removed all of the useful indicators from the machine. You have a generic white LED that is on when the laptop is powered up. No charge indicator, HDD activity, wireless, or any other lights except for Caps Lock. It's actually really annoying having no idea what's going on, especially when Windows updates appear to be stuck.

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Unicornpiss
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Re: Not really

I would think just a decent power supply with some big capacitors would tend to blur any usable data or reduce the bitrate so much that no one would bother. Or leave some HD video playing on your other monitor. "Really, it's for security!"

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Airbus plans beds in passenger plane cargo holds

Unicornpiss
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Alert

Done before..

Didn't propeller passenger planes of the 40s and 50s have sleeping berths for overseas flights? A journey on a prop plane might take 30-50% longer than on a next-generation jet.

I don't have anything against it, but I doubt it will catch on in these times due to the less revenue for airlines with precious space taken up with beds. Maybe just more spacious, comfortable seats would be a solution? That and hotels already disgust me--what kind of hygienic conditions can you expect when you're practically hot bunking with the previous passenger on your flight?

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

Unicornpiss
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Re: Show hidden / system files

"Now I'm going to have to email my first love and drink a bottle of whisky."

That's the spirit... but you have the order of events wrong :)

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Unicornpiss
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Re: life extension - file extension

One of my peeves with Windows is in the search--and other places, you can select "details" for your view as many times as you want, but it will never save your prefs. Apparently Microsoft knows what's best for you when it comes to how you want to view your files. And apparently we all must suffer big, blocky icons as the default view for so many things.

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Unicornpiss
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Thumb Up

Cool beans..

The best part has to be it not nagging you to use the cloud for storing everything.

For those that want a nice file manager for Windows with some extra features, Explorer++ is pretty decent, and also portable. It can be a bit crashy when you ask it for things like displaying the size of huge network folders though.

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2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi

Unicornpiss
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Star Trek well written... some of it

Well, City on the Edge of Forever did win a Hugo award. Star Trek is also credited with the first TV interracial kiss. (Uhura and KIrk in Plato's Stepchildren)

There was a lot of cheese, for sure, but some other good episodes that come to mind:

The Naked Time

The Paradise Syndrome

Miri

Shore Leave

A Taste of Armageddon

For the World is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky

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Unicornpiss
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Re: meanwhile, back at the film

It still pisses me off that the girl he should have been with (not the bitchy one) died in that..

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Unicornpiss
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Re: Siri/Google != HAL

I can't speak for Siri (no pun intended) having not used Siri very much, but Google certainly uses some heuristics, even though there is no consciousness there. When I do a voice search, say, for a beer I've not had and am not sure I'm even pronouncing correctly, you can see Google parse what was said when I've butchered the name, then refine it, then match it. It's actually pretty uncanny to watch, and seems to get it right much more often than not.

Say what you will about Google being evil or not, but IMHO, no one has better voice recognition, search algorithms, and heuristics. Since HAL was short for "Heuristic Algorithmic", it seems relevant. (and perhaps Google has the same <lack of> moral character as well)

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Unicornpiss
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Taking sci-fi seriously..

'Star Wars creator Lucas described 2001 as "the first time people really took science-fiction seriously".'

With a nod to efforts like Forbidden Planet that was mentioned, and The Day the Earth Stood Still, I'd have to say that for the mainstream, Star Trek was probably the first accessible and generally well written Science Fiction that most people grew up on, even if the effects were very cheesy compared to 2001.

That said, 2001 was an incredible effort to capture the reality and isolation of a space journey (no one does isolation as well as Kubrick did) in an era before we'd even traveled to to the moon.

And Arthur C. Clarke predicted geostationary satellites, the PDA, virtual reality, free or nearly-free global communications and a lot of other things we take for granted, as far back as the 1950s in his novels. And there are a few more gems there that will probably eventually come to pass.

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What's silent but violent and costs $250m? Yes, it's Lockheed Martin's super-quiet, supersonic X-plane for NASA

Unicornpiss
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Even if it comes to pass..

..the Concorde was faster. (and just plain cooler)

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Linux 4.16 arrives, keeps melting Meltdown, preps to axe eight CPUs

Unicornpiss
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Trollface

In other IT news..

..Microsoft added 8 more apps that you'll never use and that can't easily be removed to its 'Start' menu, the total update weighing in at only 500MB and taking a mere 1-2 hours to install, and added a "Use middle finger and swipe to reboot" option for tablet users..

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What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs

Unicornpiss
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Allow me to be the 1,000,000th person..

..to say from the heart: "Fuck you, Microsoft."

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Sysadmin wiped two servers, left the country to escape the shame

Unicornpiss
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Meh

Break a mirror? 7 y bad luck?

I remember one of my first IT jobs where I supported POS systems. (in both senses of the acronym) Discovering early into the job that there were tape drives but only a few, filthy, incomplete backup tape sets, and no meaningful backups being done, I pushed the CIO to let me buy backup tape sets for all locations. Over $6K worth of tapes were bought. Subsequently I had some system failures and discovered that even with new tapes and perfectly working drives, I could only recover data about 1 in 5 times. (and this was when the closing store manager remembered to type "backup" at the login prompt before leaving)

Add to that the daily backup process also mirrored the primary drive to the inert secondary (that was only used when the primary failed) in the wee hours of the morning. It would cheerfully mirror a failing, corrupted drive, and wipe out the last night's perfectly good backup on the secondary. To change the drive involved swapping drives and setting jumpers, then relicensing the software, which was tied to the drive's serial number. I drove 100 miles through a blizzard at least once to perform this asinine, 15-minute process.

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Hip hop-eration: Hopless Franken-beer will bring you hoppiness

Unicornpiss
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Pint

Bitterness (without hops) -mostly bitter people

I live in the USA, and have been a beer aficionado for many years. Long before you could get decent beer in most places in the US, and choices at bars were mostly limited to "Bud", "Swiller", or some Canadian brew that while slightly better, would leave you with a pounding headache the next day if you had more than a couple. Currently I'm drinking a beer from one of my favorite local brewpubs that is made with heather instead of hops for a bit of bitterness, and it is delicious. Another favorite actually grows their own hops in the summer, weather permitting.

"Craft" beer has come a long way in a short time (thankfully), but like any fool that can hang a shingle out that says "Mechanic" without being certified in anything, anyone can brew with various degrees of success. That said, some of the best diagnostic mechanics I've known were not certified, some of the most clueless IT folks I've known have had an MCSE, and some of the best beer I've had has been from tiny little places without much exposure.

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Unicornpiss
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Re: Whatever next?

Yeast-free sex might be okay...

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We sent a vulture to find the relaunched Atari box – and all he got was this lousy baseball cap

Unicornpiss
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Re: Space oddity?

"I wouldn't say that it's odd or uncommon - I know a lot of middle and occasionally senior managers in charge of projects that they know absolutely nothing about beyond the fancy PowerPoint buzzwords and maybe the title."

I'd have to agree. Often the person drafted for these gigs aren't the people that have a clue about the project or any prior history, but someone that a self-serving manager "trusts" to not crap themselves in public or in any way demean their 'superiors' regardless of their actual skill set or how lackluster the presentation will be.

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