* Posts by handleoclast

235 posts • joined 6 Jan 2012

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Intel launches 64-layer 3D flash client SSD

handleoclast
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Spinning Rust

There are many advantages to SSDs, but there are setups where SSDs cannot give the same performance as spinning rust.

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Hot news! Combustible Galaxy Note 7 to return as 'Galaxy Note FE'

handleoclast
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Re: Father Ted special

Fecking Eejits.

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HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

handleoclast
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Re: Probably not XP

@SkippyBing

It's possible that the screen in question was a joke backdrop or that it was a backdrop deliberately placed there for security reasons to obscure what OS is actually being used.

Yeah, security through obscurity doesn't work. But that's the type of thing the MoD does.

No, I'm giving no probability estimates for either scenario above. It's also possible they're really running XP.

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What? What? Which? Former broadband minister Ed Vaizey dismisses report

handleoclast
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Re: evolution

I'm guessing they haven't actually used it?

You are correct.

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Linus Torvalds slams 'pure garbage' from 'clowns' at grsecurity

handleoclast
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I'm very similar to Linus

He's a great coder. He's an effective leader. And he swears at people a lot.

Just like me.

Except I'm crap at leading. And not all that good at coding.

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Humanity is doomed: We watch 45 BILLION hours of YouTube a month

handleoclast
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Re: The only thing I watch...

I found your channel and your website.

I never listen to anybody.

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handleoclast
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Re: In all Fairness

Big Clive beats EVblog, in my opinion.

Rodalco's high-tech wasp-killing exploits are also fun.

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UK parliamentary email compromised after 'sustained and determined cyber attack'

handleoclast
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Why all the speculation?

Why all the speculation about what MTA is running?

A simple MX lookup shows messagelabs provides the service.

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handleoclast
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Re: Passwords must be

@Tom Paine

Damn, I just posted that link, then read more comments and found you'd done the same.

I'll leave mine up - it also has a little dig at the bureaucratic reorgs of CESG/NCSC/GCHQ which are little more than changing names of departments within a single organization for no good reason.

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handleoclast
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Re: Wrong advice

Strong and changeable is better.

Ummm, if you meant "frequently changeable" then no. Frequently changing your password was good advice back in the days when you worked with only one computer and it was used for classified work. These days, frequently changing your password is a bad idea.

See this advice from CESG (which was part of GCHQ but which is now part of NCSC, which is part of GCHQ).

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SpaceX nails two launches and barge landings in one weekend

handleoclast
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Mushroom

Re: Even old curmudgeons are happy!

There was a time when I hoped I'd see asteroids being brought to earth orbit.

Then 9/11 happened.

Now I fear what some religious idiot might do if we ever brought asteroids to earth orbit. They really are stupid enough to do it. Especially the ones that want the end times to happen.

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WannaCrypt blamed for speed camera reboot frenzy in Australia

handleoclast
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Lisa could be right

It's barely possible that a speed camera would run a Linux guest on a Windows host. Doesn't make much technical sense to me, but maybe it could be used to justify a higher price.

More likely she was talking out of her arse. Or possibly a mouth guest running on an arse host.

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Russian hackers selling login credentials of UK politicians, diplomats – report

handleoclast
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Re: What Is The Policy For MP's E-Mail ?

@DoctorSyntax

I understand about privileged communications. And agree that they're necessary. Even so, they should be recorded. Preferably in a way that it takes a court order for anybody else to get at them.

It's a fine line to draw. If you're paranoid, move the conversation to a private e-mail address after the initial contact. And even then it ought to be an offence for the MP to delete such messages and it should be possible for a court order to get at them.

And note that it wasn't always the case that MPs phone calls were theoretically inviolable. That only happened when Harold Wilson got paranoid (and rightly so) about the intelligence agencies tapping him. And ISTR that more recent legislation has degraded that inviolability.

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handleoclast
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Re: What Is The Policy For MP's E-Mail ?

My previous MP had surname suffixed by initials @parliament.uk.

Dunno what the new one has.

Your presumptions about confidentiality show a lack of knowledge about SMTP. Mail is often transferred between MTAs in the clear. Your MUA may be able to connect to your MTA to send and receive mail securely, and two MTAs may be able to relay mail securely, but this behaviour is not mandatory. Unless all the MTAs in the chain support STARTTLS and sending MTAs are configured to use it where possible, your mail can be eavesdropped somewhere along the way.

Apart from confidentiality, I'd have hoped that parliament required MPs to use @parliament.uk both to reassure people they weren't mailing a spoof address and so that all official communications could be recorded (as happens in the US).

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BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

handleoclast
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Headmaster

Re: 80 columns

True but...

The reason for 80 columns on a punch card goes back to typographical design rules (which derive from experience of human perception). On a line of more than around 72 characters your eyes have difficulty tracking back to the start of the next line. Add in the 6 columns at the start used by Fortran for label and continuation fields and two for luck and you get 80.

A standard rule-of-thumb used by printers (the people, not the clackety machines) was "Two and a half alphabets." Because tracking problems don't suddenly happen at the 73rd character but tracking becomes progressively harder after around 65 characters and 72 is really pushing it (but OK if most lines are shorter).

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Lordy! Trump admits there are no tapes of his chats with Comey

handleoclast
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Pirate

There may yet be tapes

Despite Trump's lawyer's tweet in Trump's name that there are no tapes, there may be tapes.

It's a point raised by Keith Olbermann. It's possible that the FBI records all calls. If so, there are tapes.

Which would make Comey's "Lordy, I hope there are tapes" a lovely twist of the knife. Especially if Trump's lawyer was lying (whether his own lie or prettying-up a Trump lie). Imagine how it might play out...

FBI tapes surface showing Trump to be a liar and obstructed justice - win.

Or, Trump tapes surface showing Trump to be a liar and obstructed justice - win, with a dose of irony on top.

Or, Trump tapes surface showing Trump to be entirely innocent because the tapes have been doctored, and are then contradicted by FBI tapes showing not only the original obstruction of justice but that the Trump tapes are, themselves, a major obstruction of justice - major win, with bigly irony on top.

If neither side has tapes (or tapes exist but are not found) then it's down to credibility. Who would you believe: Comey or Trump? Tough call, right?

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WDC wants in on Japan-backed consortium to buy Toshiba's chip biz

handleoclast
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Re: proof point of the maxim

@Marketing Hack

You're wrong there. Maxim is into analog and mixed-signal ICs. Nothing to do with flash.

Mine's the flasher's coat in the corner ----->

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Tesla's driverless car software chief steps down

handleoclast
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Tesla has been riding out recent storms over its driverless car technology quite well.

Yep. Riding out the storms very well indeed.

"Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!! Where did that big lorry com..."

Shouldn't have been riding out the storms in a driverless car, though.

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Apple ups the stakes in patent royalties battle with Qualcomm

handleoclast
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Re: patenting anything you think you can get a patent

My client has a patent on patenting anything you think you can get a patent on, therefore I request that you cease and desist in engaging in this practise yourself.

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Virtual reality audiences stare straight ahead 75% of the time

handleoclast
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Alien

Re: there's a time and place

@Christopher Reeve's Horse

I'd have said the time the creationist viewpoint was trounced was 1859. Problem is, some people refuse to admit defeat. Twice a week in the small town where I live (and I suspect in most towns across the UK), Jehovah's Witnesses hand out their creationist screeds full of fallacious arguments. Therefore the argument continues and now is still the right time.

Is this the place for such discussions? Since strong AI discussions are definitely on topic for El Reg, it's worth drawing attention to the fact that most creationists believe that our intellects are not an emergent property of brain but are due to some magic stuff implanted by a deity at conception. According to those creationists, strong AI is either an impossibility or will give rise to an intelligence that is inherently evil.

I said "most creationists" because the aforementioned Jehovah's Witnesses believe we do not have souls. Yet they also believe we have an afterlife. They resolve this contradiction by stating that God restores us from backups (not their words, they say God remembers us in complete detail and can therefore recreate us, but that's restoring from backup).

Enough IT for you?

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handleoclast
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Boffin

Re: Clever image processing algorithm

Other algorithms in use are:

1) One to remove shadows cast by the veins in front of the retina. Under the right conditions you can observe these in your own eye, for a second or two until the filter algorithm kicks in.

2) One to increase the effective resolution of the eye by using saccades (microscopic eye movements) and combininging successive images to interpolate data in the gaps present in a single image.

3) One to filter out white blood cells in those pesky veins in front of the retina. Can sometimes be seen as white "floaters" when looking at a clear blue sky, which can defeat the filter.

If you wish to believe in a deistic creator, then you have to accept that He came up with some damned clever image processing algorithms to compensate for the shitty design of the eye.

Big hint for those who object to the preceding paragraph: the eye of the octopus is structurally almost identical to the vertebrate eye (we are vertebrates, as are all other mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and fish) except it isn't fucked up by being wired backwards (like ours is). According to the Babble, God created sea creatures before land creatures, so he had the octopus eye worked out before he created reptiles, birds and mammals but gave all of them the fucked-up design anyway.

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Microsoft's new Surface laptop defeats teardown – with glue

handleoclast
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A task for Big Clive

Big Clive would soon have it open. Whether or not it would go back together is another matter.

He might even subject it to the same treatment he gave a 100W LED.

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It's 2017, and UPnP is helping black-hats run banking malware

handleoclast
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FAIL

Universal Plug 'n' Pwn

Title says it all.

Then again, looking at the people saying "yeah, but you have to exploit a local app first, so it's not uPnP's fault." You're wrong.

If uPnP is disabled then an exploited app can't do an ET and phone home as easily. There are still ways it can communicate, but they're more work.

And for the guy who said firewalls are inbound only, that applies to routers. Sensible firewalls on hosts also limit outbound traffic. Very sensible firewalls (it pains me to say this, but in this respect I have to classify Microsoft's firewall as very sensible) restrict outbound traffic based on the app initiating it. Makes it that much harder for ET to phone home if only Edge and IE are permitted to initiate traffic to port 80.

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That's random: OpenBSD adds more kernel security

handleoclast
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Re: A bad copy of Windows

@Christian Berger

It could be worse. Think how awful it would be if GNU/Linux devs turned Linux into a good copy of Windows.

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Worried about election hacking? There's a technology fix – Helios

handleoclast
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Re: It's total bollocks

@Charles 9

Yeah, a ballot box swap is possible. Kinda hard to carry off nationwide, though. You have to wait for (or manufacture) a suitable distraction. And then not get spotted doing it. Repeatedly.

OTOH, there are shitloads of botnets running on zombies. Rigging votes is just one more incentive for crackers to infiltrate computers. Or, to put it another way, an additional revenue stream resulting from computers they've already infiltrated.

Also, even if vote-rigging by computer is suspected, or even proven, perhaps the ensuing chaos and mistrust is what was intended anyway.

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handleoclast
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FAIL

It's total bollocks

Everyone seems to have missed the point here.

It's not whether Helios is secure or not. It's not about whether Helios keeps your vote truly private or not. It's not about whether the election systems that register the votes are unhackable or not.

It is about whether users' computers have been hacked or not. And we know, from all the botnets out there, that a lot of them have been hacked without the users even knowing. There will be a big demand for vote-changing hacks.

Sure, it ought to show up. If enough people complain that the system wouldn't let them vote because it claimed they'd already voted then that might trigger doubts. But would it be enough in a country where the Florida recount was prematurely halted? Would it be enough in a country where some exit polls have differed drastically from the actual result, strongly indicating serious vote rigging, but the matter was ignored?

A really smart hijacking attempt would monitor social media to figure out which users are unlikely to bother voting and vote for them. Sure, turnout would be abnormally high (the first time it happened, on subsequent votes it would be the new normal) but relatively few would complain that the system wouldn't let them vote.

The day we have operating systems and applications that are provably immune to hacking of all forms will be the day that Helios would be a sensible idea. We could use it to vote on which squadron of pigs flying in formation over the ice-rinks of Hell gave the best display.

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As you head off to space with Li-ion batts, don't forget to inject that liquefied gas into them

handleoclast
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Halon

Halon is the obvious choice of gas.

If the cell ruptures and catches fire in an accident then the halon puts the fire out.

Simples.

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BAE accused of flogging mass-spying toolkits to assh*le autocrats

handleoclast
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Re: "It works with keywords"

Sounds like google search to me.

Wouldn't surprise me if it was google search, wrapped up in a BAe front end.

And if it's not, I've just had an idea for a great new product to sell to oil-rich barbarians.

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Banking websites are 'littered with trackers' ogling your credit risk

handleoclast
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Re: I think we need to know...

My browsing history is full of lesbian stuff too.

I'm a lesbian trapped inside a man's body.

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Facebook tried teaching bots art of negotiation – so the AI learned to lie

handleoclast
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They've learned to lie

Now they've learned to lie, once they learn how to tweet we'll have a plug-in replacement for Donald Trump.

Well, you'd have to dumb them down a bit, first.

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It's 2017 and someone's probably still using WINS naming. If so, stop

handleoclast
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It's not just languages

Yes, new programmers do tend to adopt the latest fad in languages. For no reason other than they can. That's bad enough.

But they also insist on using new libraries that they consider funkier than existing ones. The old ones could do the job with perhaps a few extra lines of code scattered throughout the program. But no, they have to use the new library because reasons.

All of which means that 15 years ago I could simultaneously run a diverse mix of applications and relatively few libraries would be in use. These days each application pulls libraries that only it uses into memory, increasing its effective footprint.

A major point of using standard libraries is that they can be shared, meaning that applications using them have a lower effective memory footprint. They also tend to improve start-up time because an application you just fired up may find the libraries it needs are already resident. No longer. These days some applications might just as well be compiled stand-alone because none of the libraries they use are shared with any other application.

You tend not to notice this (on Linux) if installing stuff via a package manager because it will pull in all the dependencies. It's when stuff is not available from a repository and you have to compile it from source yourself that you notice. You notice it then because of all the damned exotic libraries you have to get (and probably compile those from source too). Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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Five Eyes nations stare menacingly at tech biz and its encryption

handleoclast
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FAIL

That makes perfect sense

Some of them have realized that there is no way of inserting a backdoor into encryption that only the good guys will be able to use but the bad guys will not.

So full marks to them for coming up with a much better alternative. Put a backdoor into the phone that only the good guys will be able to use but the bad guys will not.

Perfect!

What drugs are these people on that allow them to be so disconnected from reality? I want some.

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Marissa! Mayer! out! as! Yahoo!-Verizon! closes!

handleoclast
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A better name

The new entity needs a better name than "Oath." Something that combines Yahoo! and Verizon.

Hmmmmm.

Verihoo? Yazon? Nah, don't really work.

Yazon? Better, but still not good enough.

Yazoo? Close. Very close.

Got it.

Wazoo! Because the new entity will be a load of arse.

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France and UK want to make web firms liable for users' content

handleoclast
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Big Brother

Re: Let's compare freedom vs terrorism!

The pamphleteers of 250 years ago were the equivalents of today's political bloggers.

Foremost amongst those pamphleteers was Thomas Paine.

Paine called for revolution with his Common Sense at a time when Washington et al were saying they'd be satisfied with some degree of representation at Westminster and that none of them wanted a revolution.

When Washington's army was encamped at McKonkey's Ferry with their morale broken, Paine's The American Crisis restored it. You may never have heard of it, but you may have encountered its opening phrase:

These are the times that try men's souls

Paine was the first to use the phrase "The United States of America."

After that, Paine went to France to lend a hand with the French Revolution.

With that underway, Paine came over to England to kick our government and mad king in the balls with The Rights of Man. About to face legal action over that, Paine was recalled to France to sort out the revolution that had gone wrong, before any legal action could be taken. His writings did manage to stir things up enough to cause some much-needed constitutional reform here.

Paine called for the revolutionaries to spare the life of the deposed French king, knowing it would probably land him with a death sentence. It did. By a couple of bizarre strokes of luck, he managed to avoid that penalty.

Sadly, Paine was excised from American history for his two-volume The Age of Reason. Which is still worth a read today. As is The Rights of Man. Common Sense, in language that sounds strange to modern ears and with much of it incomprehensible without historical context, is probably not worth the effort. All can be found over on Project Gutenberg.

If somebody tried anything like that today, he'd be in Gitmo faster than Theresa May can change her mind about having a snap election.

It is people like Paine that May hopes to quell with her control of the internet. People like Paine can bring down a government. Terrorists don't scare May. Bloggers scare May.

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Swedish school pumps up volume to ease toilet trauma

handleoclast
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Re: They need music that emphasises morality

@Ishy

I found it because my choice of youtube videos is rather eclectic and youtube's suggestions algorithm bears almost no relationship to what I've watched or what I'm interested in. Occasionally when I tell youtube I'm not interested in a suggested video it will explain that it suggested that particular video because of a video I'd previously watched, but which as far as I can tell is unrelated in any way, shape or form.

I have no idea why youtube suggested that video to me. Actually, it was another video of the same pair doing the same song. The one I referenced here was titled "The Loophole." The one youtube suggested to me had a cruder title (taken from the lyrics, starting with "f"). And two very cute women in the thumbnail. There was no way I could resist that.

No way I could resist watching some of their other videos, either.

Makes a change from the cat videos. Ob cat video (affectionate cats).

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handleoclast
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Number 5?

I nearly bust a gut laughing as I tried to figure out what a number 5 could possibly be.

A number 6 I could understand. And a number 10. Very cheap cigarettes, those. But a number 5 boggles the mind and defies the imagination. And made me laugh so hard I just did a number 3.

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handleoclast
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They need music that emphasises morality

Obviously, they need music that reinforces Christianity's moral teachings. Specifically about saving oneself until marriage. Such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ZF_R_j0OY

Warning: very NSFW.

But if whoever checks the suitability of music doesn't go further than the first few bars...

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Google's news algorithm serves up penis pills

handleoclast
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I tried penis pills once

Didn't do a damned thing for me.

Not only that, they really hurt when you insert them and they take forever to dissolve.

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Cabinet Office minister Gummer loses seat as Tory gamble backfires

handleoclast
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Devil

A hung Parliament

@Doctor Syntax

Actually, I was hoping for a hanged Parliament. A hung Parliament is definitely second best.

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Human-free robo-cars on Washington streets after governor said the software is 'foolproof'

handleoclast
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Joke

The biggest cause of road accidents

Is the nut behind the wheel.

Old joke. But one worth remembering. It's not always bad driving that causes accidents, either, but bad maintenance: I know somebody who drove around with mismatched wheels (not tyres, but wheels).

The question is whether driverless cars will cause fewer accidents than humans. That remains to be seen.

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Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

handleoclast
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Re: Honest question

As I understand it (and I could be wrong), it's a common practise at the FBI to document "iffy" conversations in this way. And it's also common practise for courts to give such documentation greater weight.

Think of UK police notebooks. Sure, they could write a load of lies down, but they usually don't. And courts give greater weight to a policeperson reading from his/her notebook than a defendant saying "no, I didn't do that."

I'm not saying either practise is right, merely that's what tends to happen.

Now throw in the fact that Trump has been proven to lie about almost everything, including stuff that doesn't matter, and Comey is likely to be thought more believable by all but GOP die-hards.

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handleoclast
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Best quote

I spotted this elsewhere (BBC news website):

Lordy, I hope there are tapes.

It was an aside from Comey, but very significant. He knows what he's saying is the truth. He knows some people will evaluate it as a "he said/he said" thing. He knows the tapes will vindicate him. He knows the tapes will dump Donald deeper in the shit. He's hoping Donald really did tape the conversations. He's hoping Donald is too stupid to dispose of them before Mueller finds them.

Maybe I'm reading too much into a brief aside, but I really hope not.

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handleoclast
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Re: Summary is great...

ElReg watches this stuff, so you don't have to.

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Shiny AJAX up/downvoting

handleoclast
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Null points

The way youtube implements the "I upvoted by mistake but it's not bad enough to downvote" is to cancel your upvote if you upvote it a second time (and the same in reverse for a mistaken downvote).

Just tried it here, on an article I previously upvoted. It increased the upthumb total (which it shouldn't have). Not sure if that increase actually got into the db or not.

Ah well, it's good enough. If you manage to improve it, that would be good. If it stays as it is, it's still miles better than the old system.

However...

When I posted this your new Cloudflare DDoS system kicked in to verify I'm a real person operating a real browser. My post was neither accepted nor rejected (checked by control-refreshing the comments page). Good job the browser let me go back, so I could copy my comment from the textarea then paste it into a fresh reply.

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handleoclast
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Pint

Yayyyyyy!

Thanks, guys. Much appreciated. It makes voting much easier, faster, and less frustrating.

Have a pint on me.

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Busted Russian casino hackers had an appetite for drugs and chocolate

handleoclast
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Joke

Casinos and whores

Paging Donald Trump. Paging Donald J Trump.

On a completely unrelated note, this is The Donald's favourite rose.

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Kill Google AMP before it KILLS the web

handleoclast
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Pint

Reg Adopts Web 2.0

Thanks for listening, guys. It's made voting a much better experience. Have a pint on me.

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Would you let DJ E-to-the-Musk set the playlist for your roadtrip?

handleoclast
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An obvious move

This is an obvious move for Musk. After producing cars that drive themselves (or will do, once he sorts out the S/W), he's going to produce audio devices that listen to music for you (or will do, once he sorts out the S/W).

Electric Monk, anyone?

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Dish Network hit with $280 MEEELLION fine for relentless robocalling

handleoclast
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Happy

There are times...

There are times when I really wish El Reg implemented voting on articles as well as comments.

It takes time to wade through loads of comments essentially saying "Yayyyyy!!!!" (but using more words than that). Seeing an article have 3,048 upthumbs, and being able to upthumb it oneself rather than add to the comments, would save a lot of time.

Oh yeah, and...

Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Uber, er, taxi for the 20-plus bros booted out of upstart for harassment

handleoclast
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Joke

Celebrity Uber Drivers

Uber anounced today that they are going to recruit celebrity drivers. Presumably in an attempt to fix their tarnished image.

Their first sign-up is Bill Cosby.

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