* Posts by Kernel

256 posts • joined 13 Nov 2011

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BT installs phone 'spam filter', says it'll strain out mass cold-callers

Kernel
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RE:

"The vast majority of my cold calls are landline "international", "withheld", or an apparently random set of digits."

Don't confuse the calling number information you get to see and the calling number information that the terminating exchange has - your local exchange can (and probably will) request the entire calling number, even from overseas - calling line identification is blocked by the terminating exchange if it is told to for a specific call, not the one the call is originated from, which is why emergency services (and maybe your local pizza place) still get your phone number. Even though you think you have it blocked, and may even be paying for that feature, any terminating line can have a bit set to ignore the calling line number blocking request.

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Kernel
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Re: And BT wonder why WhatsApp became so popular.

"Odd, how its taken them so long, something to do with call revenue from UK based spammers?"

Actually, this feature of dialing a four digit code to block a specific number from calling your landline was available in NEC's NEAX61 series digital exchanges when I started working on them over 30 years ago - we even tested it to make sure it worked as described - but for some reason it was never sold where I live. I really doubt that NEC were the only vendor to include this feature.

There's little that's new or innovative about this type of service.

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Nadella calls for AI sector to move beyond 'worshipping' a handful of companies

Kernel
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Ok .........................

".................. creates more trust in technology from a security and privacy point of view,"

That'll be a mass uninstall of Windows 10, then.

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Mr Angry pays taxman with five wheelbarrows worth of loose change

Kernel
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Re: He'd be shit out of luck in the UK

"Cheques are problematic for banks, since they could be cashed at any time in future. It's an unexpected debt."

Cheques are a debt for the issuer, not the banks - the bank just won't pay out on a cheque if you don't have the funds available, plus they will charge you generously in the process - it doesn't affect the banks either way.

The other point is that there's no difference in randomness of money flow between a cheque or a bank card - either is likely to be used at random times to suit the convenience of the depositor - or at least that's how I use mine.

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Robo-supercar hype biz Faraday Future has invented something – a new word for 'disrupt'

Kernel
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Re: Will it.....

"If all electric cars are produced with a 'standard' battery of equal size/shape, and internally mounted in a quick release mechanism then it will be possible to refit petrol (gas) stations with underground charging racks packed with pre-charged batteries that will take a matter of seconds to swap out."

A great idea in concept and one that I suspect has occurred to many of us before - but, if you've ever owned a cordless electric drill the two problems with this become immediately obvious:

i) Every manufacturer needs to use identical battery packs - yes, this can be forced by legislation, once some large and cumbersome committee has held enough international conferences in luxurious locations, but it does still depend on too many companies/countries being in total agreement.

"What did you do during the Battery Wars, Grandad?"

ii) The real biggy - next year's model has to accept the same battery as last year's model and the year before that, etc, etc., - as soon as a new, improved, battery pack comes along the charging/swapout infrastructure has to be replicated for the new design and the older infrastructure retained for the life of the vehicles that use it. Planned obsolesence is annoying enough in a cordless drill, do we really want it in a car?

"Yes dear, I know I promised that this new car with swap out battery pack would solve the problem, but the man says they've run out of the JA3527/K packs at the moment - all they've got left are JA3527/Ls - it fits in the hole but the terminals are slightly wider and 60mm to the left, so we can't use it. They're going to put our old battery on charge as soon as they get a chance, and a couple of hours after that ......"

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Kernel
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Re: Will it.....

"Technically planes are a form of vehicle, last year an electric plane circumnavigated the world, try that in your yank tank."

Not really a valid comparison is it?

Since we're talking about ground vehicles, let's consider which of an electric car or standard SUV might be best for that same trip - personally I'd be choosing the SUV (or even better, a proper 4WD) - ideally one with a turbo-charged engine for those higher parts of the trip and diesel for better availability of fuel.

Current electric vehicles seem to be a fairly practical solution for commuter trips, but once you get beyond the range of a single battery charge the time to recharge becomes an important part of the viability equation - will your customers be happy to be billed for having your staff sitting around, even for an hour, waiting for a battery to recharge, or will they prefer you to use quick-fill dead dinosaur type fuels?

A practical non-commuter EV needs to have the battery capacity to see it through a full working (or family travel) day so that recharging can take place during non-billable or resting hours.

'Yes dear, I know the kids are tired and sun-burnt and want to be in bed, and yes, I know that you're tired too and that everything's full of sand from our day at the beach, but it's ok, we should get our turn at the charging station in about 6 hours and a couple of hours after that we should just about have enough juice in the battery be able to make it home, so long as I don't exceed 40km/h.'

Sorry, but much as I like the idea of an electric vehicle that's not a conversation I want to have anytime soon - and owning two vehicles to do the work of one is not a concept that's going to fly with me either.

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Florida Man sues Verizon for $72m – for letting him commit identity theft

Kernel
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The time has come .......

Citizens of the US, I'm sorry but the time has come where it just has to be said - if you want the rest of us to start taking you seriously again you're going to have to do something to stop this sort of idiocy, or at least prevent us from finding out about it and having a good laugh at your expense.

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Routine jobs vanishing and it's all technology's fault? Hold it there, sport

Kernel
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"Hope those robots can buy some of the stuff they make."

If we follow the trend towards more and more advanced robotics, then maybe the answer is yes, the robots will be able to afford to buy some of the stuff they make.

There are already discussions taking place about the possible rights of sex robots (in terms of being able have a say in what they do and who they do it with), so maybe in the future increasingly sentient robots will have the right to be paid for their labours - in which case, given that their housing and food requirements are likely to be much less expensive than ours, they may well have plenty of money left over for partying at the end of the week (and still under bid us for many types of work).

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Internet of Sh*t has an early 2017 winner – a 'smart' Wi-Fi hairbrush

Kernel
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Re: Security disaster

Oh well, at least I'm not going to have a security issue with one of these at home - the bulk of my hair has long since departed for pastures greener, what's left will barely support a small comb.

There does seem to be a trend emerging here - firstly, when you're young, your parents show you up by doing cringe-worthy things in public, then your children do the same and then, just when you think it's safe to relax, your employer decides to get in on the act as well!

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China gives America its underwater drone back – with a warning

Kernel
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"Their biggest foe, The Philippines? "

Not necessarily their biggest fans either - the Moro Crater Massacre is still causing diplomatic grief in 2106, 110 years after it happened.

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Kernel
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Re: Already happens

"What does not already happen regularly is stealing each other's bits of kit from international waters."

It's not as if the US doesn't have form in this particular field - the recovery of part of the Soviet submarine K-129 in 1974 springs to mind.

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Kernel
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Re: New for Christmas next year

" Only at finer department stores and online via Amazon.com."

More like two for $80 on Alibaba.

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Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

Kernel
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Re: If I was a PC seller

"You might think that I'm just making this problem up, but in Southern Louisiana during Mardi Gras this is a significant issue attraction,"

FTFY.

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Uber's self-driving cars can't handle bike lanes, forcing drivers to kill autonomous mode

Kernel
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"In Oregon the Uber car is turning correctly from the 'car' lane; the car should only merge right before the turn"

Very similar to NZ , where you are only allowed to occupy the cycle lane for a maximum of 50 metres (which is pretty much 'right before', even at urban speeds) before you make a left-hand turn - there's going to be a plethora software localization packages required for any self-driving, or even semi-self driving, vehicles.

All of which leads to the question of how long will manufacturers be required to provide software support eg., if there is a change in the law regarding something like motor vehicle occupancy of cycle lanes, is my 5 year old self-driving car going to become illegal to use because the manufacturer can't be bothered providing an appropriate patch?

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Sysadmin 'fixed' PC by hiding it on a bookshelf for a few weeks

Kernel
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I tend to listen to the customer first

I've had some odd and, at first glance, seemingly improbable faults come my way over the years - from the individual connected to a cross-bar exchange who complained that the first call they made each day would fail to connect*, to an optical add/drop multiplexer that would undergo an autonomous reboot of its controller card every six weeks, +/- a couple of days.**

It's always worth giving the customer a hearing - they know more about what they think is wrong than you do at the start.

* Grease on the flat select bar restore springs was causing the select bar to stick slightly, preventing their line from being selected and connected to a register within the timing limits, so they got disconnect tone rather than dial tone. Once the spring had been unstuck by the first call attempt it worked fine all day.

** A reference clock extraction and selection circuit in a card unrelated to the equipment controller was, in some way which I still don't fully understand, interfering with the controller card operation and causing the well timed reboots.

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BT's hiring! 500 more customer service folk to answer your angry calls

Kernel
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Re: "Fixing" the wrong thing

"It must be cheaper to employ 500 shaved chimps to say the problem's not their fault rather than hire actual engineers to fix the root cause...."

I sincerely hope so - as of yesterday I've devoted 43 years of my life to learning how to fix faults in telephone exchanges and related equipment, plus significant time each year keeping my knowledge and skills up to date as the deployed technology changes.

If I'm not being paid considerably more than a call centre wonk then you can colour me pissed-off!

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Playtime's over: Internet-connected kids toys 'fail miserably' at privacy

Kernel
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Re: What's wrong with just pulling a string and a dozen phrases?

My three and a half year old grandson prefers electronic toys - not that he has the skills to get it all back together yet, but give him an old fax machine or phone from the local 'tip shop' and a set of screwdrivers and he's happy for hours.

He can also, upon request, correctly name many of the components as well.

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Burning desire helped us collar arson suspect, claim Danish cops

Kernel
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Re: Hardly conclusive

No, it's not persuasive at all - they found evidence of his presence 'in the locale' of two fires - not at the actual site of two fires.

Circumstantial evidence is useful as corroboration, but it's very rare that it can convict on its own.

It's not up to the prosecutor to determine if my doubt is reasonable or not either - that is for me to determine. The last time I was called for jury service was about a week after a detective had admitted to a judge that he had given false evidence in a number of cases to obtain a conviction - my statement that I felt all evidence put forward by the police would be subject of 'reasonable doubt' after reading about this in the national newspapers was sufficient for me to be excused.

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Kernel
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Hardly conclusive

"........ his colleagues were confident they’d found their man because the arson incidents stopped after he was cuffed."

Sorry guys, but you'll need a little more than that if I'm on the jury.

Maybe the suspect does get a boner from watching fires, but unless they actually found his DNA at multiple fire scenes it's not beyond reasonable doubt that the actual arsonist got run over by a bus after this man was arrested, hence the coincidental cessation of arson attacks.

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Apple Watch sales go over a cliff: Down 2.8 meellion per quarter in a year

Kernel
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Hmmm - I state two facts, make a reasonable speculation about what might happen based on those facts and get a thumbs down.

There are some very sad people out there.

So, thumbs down enthusiast, what is it that you actually dislike? - that Nokia has bought Withings, that HMD Global Oy are going to continue to sell Nokia branded phones, or that the two companies might see the possibility of some future synergies between the two product lines?

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Kernel
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And now that Withings are, according to their website, part of Nokia it will be interesting to see if their wearables end up with any ability to work with the Nokia branded phones that HMD Global Oy is working on.

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Vocus to build Singapore-Australia submarine cable

Kernel
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"If the company builds the cable right, upgrades should be possible to increase bandwidth"

Given that Nokia's Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks business has extensive experience in the field - they've been doing this work since mid-19th century - I suspect they probably will build it right.

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Reimagine with us, the FT's printed virtual reality guide to Dublin

Kernel
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Trollface

Very poor effort there , El Reg.

One never drinks one's Guinness straight from the can!

Hell, if a bunch of journos can't get basic beer consumption facts right, what hope can have we for the rest of the article, or indeed, the entire website?

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Jersey sore: Anchor rips into island's undersea cables, sinks net access

Kernel
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Re: Redundancy

Deciding where to lay a submarine cable involves a bit more than 'just here looks ok."

As well as having the right beach conditions, the sea bottom between the landing sites needs to be suitable, existing cables need to be avoided if at all possible and you also need to avoid having some US TLA tell you "You can't put that there - no I'm not going to tell you why!"

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Vegans furious as Bank of England admits ‘trace’ of animal fat in £5 notes

Kernel
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Re: Blasphemy?

"Just to clarify, doesn't this mean that using the placcy fivers is blasphemy for Hindus?"

I think the simple solution to this (and other issues around using beef tallow in the new notes) would be to substitute vegan tallow into the process - a win win solution.

A vegan that I know is very particular about what she eats, but wearing leather is fine (assuming they still make Doc Martins with leather) and she drinks Guinness quite happily, despite the fact that until fairly recently they used fish by-products to clarify it after brewing - as is done with most beers.

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Melbourne man arrested for broadcasting fake messages to pilots

Kernel
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Re: … no hacking is required … ?

"I may have missed something here, but there is no mention whatsoever of any measures to prevent this sort of thing happening. "

The major issue is that there are many 10s of thousands, if not 100s of thousands, of standard aviation transceivers in use around the world. The time, cost, effort and risk involved in changing to a different radio platform means it's unlikely to ever happen - having tubes full of people whizzing around in the air using incompatible radios and not being able to communicate with each other or listen to instructions being given to other aircraft in the vicinity is not a safe idea.

The only way to make a change safely would be to ground all aircraft in a country (or region, such as all of Europe) and not let any aircraft of any size back into the air until it has a certified installation of the new secure radio.

I doubt the risk is all that great - the fact that the accused is an ex-employee of Virgin Australia suggests this is more likely to be an isolated disgruntled ex-employee situation, rather than an exciting new hobby for bored teenagers. There's also the fact that there would be a lot more to getting the aircrew to accept a bogus instruction than just grabbing a radio and going for it - a newcomer on any radio service used by regulars (eg., commercial marine channels, aircraft, amateur radio) normally stands out like the proverbial dog's parts. It's been many years since I did any flying, and that was only as a ppl at a small airport, but I do remember there were a lot of standard expressions and behaviours on air that would make an intruder stand out.

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Missile tech helps boffins land drone on car moving at 50 km/h

Kernel
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The next big thing!

If this concept takes off* I can see pigeon racing becoming a thing of the past, the traditional truckload of cages to be replaced by trucks carrying racks of drones to distant release points.

All of the fun but without having to field complaints from the neighbors about vast quantities of flying-rat shit on their car/washing/kids.

* Yes, I know.

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Deliver-oops! Takeaway pusher's customers burger-ed by hijackers

Kernel
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Re: this is easier

A serious issue, actually.

Pizza drivers have been killed for the pizza and few dollars they carry before today - back in 2001 a New Zealand pizza delivery driver was killed when he made the delivery - those charged with the killing ranged from 12 to 17 years old (the 12yo got 7 years for manslaughter).

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Stay out of my server room!

Kernel
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The best I've found

was back in the days when electro-mechanical PABXs were the standard - in this specific case, what was known as a BPO* 100-type.

My off-sider and I went into the PABX room at a small business and found the manager's outboard motor leaning against a wall, complete with a partially full tank and a general aroma of petrol. Cue very prompt removal of motor and petrol followed by ventilation of the room.**

We prevented this from happening again by removing the all external and internal covers from the PABX (especially and particularly the 'pulse set') , taking the manager into the room and letting him watch calls being made - with the lights out, so he could see the sparks more easily.

* British Post Office, for all you young'uns.

** This was many years ago - nowdays we'd have to have evacuated half the block and called the Fire Service, Police and $deity knows who else to deal with it, as well as filing sundry H&S reports.

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Comcast is the honey badger of ISPs – injects pop-ups into browsers, doesn't give a fsck

Kernel
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"Not defending Comcast, but it's not easy to get in touch with customers."

Both ISPs (and three separate accounts) I've used here in NZ give you the option of sending alerts to either/both of an email address of your choice or by SMS to a cellphone of your choice - it's not that difficult to make it happen.

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Google declares victory for its Wifi router before it's even shipped

Kernel
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Re: Take with a grain of salt.

'They all have the same sound - and it's not "iffy"'

This is English we're talking about here - consistency between pronunciation and spelling has never been that big a deal, so it's always a bit tricky arguing the correctness of one based on the other.

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Donald Trump confirms TPP to be dumped, visa program probed

Kernel
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" Not going to shed tears for the employer that's forced by the market to pay a good wage, really."

And presumably you will be just as happy when the market forces you, the consumer, to pay more for the product - because I can assure you that in the long run any extra labour costs will not be coming out of the employer's pocket.

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Kernel
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Re: oh yea..

"@DavCrav - I'm tempted to vote you down, but decided not to as your point is potentially valid even though the way you delivered it was not."

My reading of the content of the original comment lead me to believe that the OP was one of the 'displaced' US workers that would be able to get a job if only the evil H-1B visas didn't exist, in which case I'd have expected a much higher standard of English out of the box.

However, despite DavCrav's enthusiasm for correct English, he totally failed to detect that labo[u]r was spelt wrong in the original comment. :)

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Hackers electrocute selves in quest to turn secure doors inside out

Kernel
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Re: Push The Button To Exit

"I'd like to know how a high-security compound meshes with the fire code."

In the most obvious way possible - all the buildings I've worked in that require swipe to exit, or even just pushing a button to exit, automatically release the door magnets when the fire alarms are activated.

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Hacker's Mac pwning expedition: 'Help, I've got too many shells!'

Kernel
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Re: We can stop security hacking! It's very EASY to do!

You might get taken more seriously if you drop the shouty bits and fix the spelling/grammar mistakes.

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Dirty code? If it works, leave it says Thoughtworks CTO

Kernel
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"Where I work there are probably over a hundred hand-tailered slightly different versions of the same 20 year old software for each customer installation. It's a mess and it's becoming unmaintainable.

There's a new platform which is supposed to save everything, however it's Java and it's not high transaction so customers are rejecting it."

I have a feeling you and I may work for the same company.

Your name's not Sam, is it?

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Kernel
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Re: She's not heard of technical debt

Part of my job involves fault finding on systems involving a number of integrated servers and applications to produce a single product - this is probably close to 20 years old now, with continuous updating and development during that time and I suspect very little code from earlier versions has been cleaned up.

We're now at the point where there are so many errors, especially Java errors, in the logs that quite often the only way to tell if an error is relevant or not is to look at a functioning instance and try and work out which errors can be expected and which are not just a result of normal operations.

Add to that the vast number of code blocks, still present, that apply to obsolete hardware and deprecated processes (or even integrated applications) which result in duplicated config files and dead ends - well, you end up with a nightmare to maintain, but it's all ok, because development cost has been minimized.

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Nokia's great lost smartwatch? #SavedYouALandfill

Kernel
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". Carrying a slab of frangible glass round in the pocket is not great, and if you work in a vaguely hostile environment and only a bigger and stronger slab will survive then its even worse. "

Which is why they invented "hunter" style pocket watches - personally, I'd take a hunter, in a case designed for the expected conditions, over a wristwatch any day of the week when it comes to surviving extremes. There's no rule that says the case has to be made of a soft material like gold, and if made properly moving a pocket watch mechanism between an industrial strength hunter style case for daily use and a more traditional case for evening wear would be a trivial task occupying little more time than changing wrist watches would.

Combine the above with the fact that under normal circumstances my torso is less exposed to random violence than my wrist then the pocket watch (IMO, as always) comes out a clear winner in the survivability stakes.

Wrist watches got their big push during WW I, where ease of access to the watch was determined to be more important than its life span.

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Hewlett Packard Enterprise to outsource global IT team to CSC borg

Kernel
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Re: will there be anyone who is any good left

At least this is their internal IT services they are outsourcing - we can derive a small amount of joy from the fact that what's left of HPE will soon be feeling the same pain as the rest of us do.

Following on from his successful search for the man who rules the universe, Zaphod's next mission is to find the person who actually does the IT work - I suspect it will turn out to be some poor sod in India with an ancient PC and and a truck load of access tokens.

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CERN boffins see strange ... oh, wait, that's just New Zealand moving 2m north

Kernel
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Re: More a storm than a quake

"Are there fierce "gun control" (aka population disarmement / victim training) laws in NZ?"

More to do with the fact that the insurer has paid out on the loss, therefore what's left belongs to the insurer, not the original owner - this is fairly normal with insurance. The salvage companies may have either purchased the insured items off the insurer or be acting on the insurer's behalf to recover what they could. Either way, once your insurance claim has been accepted and paid out it's not your stuff anymore.

Not that long ago someone from Christchurch was doing a moan on TV because they'd accepted the insurance money on some piece of artwork that had been destroyed, but they thought the insurer should also give it back to them as well once it have been recovered from under a pile of rocks.

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UK NHS 850k Reply-all email fail: State health service blames Accenture

Kernel
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The usual suspects

"Irritated folk then began clicking "Reply all,"

Whether or not there was an incorrect setting in the email system, the actual problem appears to be the usual shower of idiots who can't tell the difference between 'Reply' and 'Reply All'.

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Britain must send its F-35s to Italy for heavy overhauls, decrees US

Kernel
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Re: WHAT F*** Economies of F*** Scale

"Just that setting up major repair shops everywhere for such limited volumes may also not make sense."

In a commercial situation that would be quite correct - but in a defense situation where profit and loss are not a consideration then surely it is up to the customer to decide if they want to spend the money or not.

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Mark Zuckerberg is dead – Facebook confirmed

Kernel
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Like they say

If it sound too good to be true it probably isn't.

Alas, I am another one who's hopes were briefly raised and then dashed on to the sharp rocks of reality - again.

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Silicon Valley VCs: We're gonna make California great again – on its own

Kernel
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Re: hypocrites

" Zed on welfare and oxycontin in Appalachia"

I presume that as we speak Zed and his buddy Cooter are screwing the lids firmly back on their jars, packing away the still* and heading for Silicon Valley to take up all those soon to be vacant technical jobs - or maybe they (and a few others) need just a tad more education before the golden dream of a great 'murica with jobs for all comes true..

In the meantime, while Zed and Cooter are finishing their education and completing their engineering degrees, perhaps some of those nice, qualified, people from overseas can keep the industry going until our two friends are ready to take over?

If a company only needs 40 employees it only needs 40 employees, regardless of the size of its balance sheet or how wealthy the owner is - it is not the role of a commercial company to create unnecessary jobs just because they can. In most countries that's a government function realized via publicly funded infrastructure projects, but for some reason the average US citizen appears to consider this to be a blasphemy and dang it, nobody better be thinkin' of taxing me to pay for it!

If you're really concerned about providing long term, viable and local jobs for Zed and Cooter, start pushing for taxpayer funded research on things that will drive industry in their locale that they actually have a hope of being able to work at - clean ways to use coal for energy, so that mining can restart, would be a good beginning for a lot of people in that part of the states.

* Yes, I'm sure that not all of Apalachia is populated by Zed and Cooter, but after watching a few episodes of 'Moonshiners' .........................

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No spin zone: Samsung recalls 3M EXPLODING washing machines

Kernel
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Re: At least they're recalling them, unlike Whirlpool.

"Don't buy a Whirlpool, get a Maytag."

No, the new Maytags appear to be of poor quality and have a bad reputation - what you want is a machine from the Whirlpool Jenn-air range.

The Jenn-air range is pretty much a traditional, laundromat grade, Maytag in disguise.

The design of these machines has not changed in at least the last 20 years (I recently fitted my 20 year old Maytag with a set of brand new recently manufactured Jenn-air tub seals) - they will not, under any circumstances, report the contents of your laundry basket anyone.

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LeEco – the Chinese biz that said it'll topple US tech giants – has already hit the rocks

Kernel
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And this time 007, bring it back in one piece!

"The electric bike, powered by Android, looked needlessly complicated and oddly specced (rearward-facing twin lasers....)"

Gone are the glory days when field agents didn't have to worry about business plans, budgets and which cost centre it should all be charged to.

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Ghost of DEC Alpha is why Windows is rubbish at file compression

Kernel
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Re: Obvious bull

"Right. Because you couldn't have possibly included (de)compression code for both algorithms in all versions of the OS"

No, wrong - because nowhere has it been stated there would only be two versions of the algorithm required needed - it should be quite obvious to most people that X and Y are examples to keep things simple and that in reality each cpu architecture would require its own algorithm - and at the time there was more than two architectures in play.

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Web devs want to make the Internet of S**t worse. Much worse

Kernel
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Re: Wrong

You forgot the Joke Alert icon - I hope.

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Blood donors' privacy anaemic after Red Cross data breach

Kernel
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What ???

"Confusingly, the Red Cross says it is confident that all copies of the data are now in safe hands,"

Perhaps someone needs to take their spokesperson aside and gently explain the difference between carbon copies and physical file folders, and the similarly named but totally different on-line variety.

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