* Posts by Marcus Fil

122 posts • joined 4 Jul 2007

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Brit prosecutors fling almost a million quid at anti-drone'n'phone ideas

Marcus Fil

Re: Solution - subterranean prisons.

I am with you on this. No signal. No drones. You could pipe in natural daylight using fibre optic bundles - with suitable wide area collectors and mixed feeds making the ability to flash messages in and out rather tricky. Of course, how long before some criminal syndicate funds the development of a remotely operated tunnelling machine?

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Shock! Hackers for medieval caliphate are terrible coders

Marcus Fil
Coat

Re: (Unimportant) Things that Daesh have ruined

Don't forget the poor dog on "Downtown Abbey".

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Marcus Fil

Sources and Methods

If your enemy is dumb enough, e.g., to leave useful meta data on their uploads don't FFS tell him you have noticed. Or that you recognised the location that propaganda video was made by the unique rock formation in the back ground. STFU and get on with using such information to your advantage. Johnny clever is Johnny schtum - unless you a making a play to get your enemy to change to even more revealing procedures.

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Boffin wins (Ig) Nobel prize asking if cats can be liquid

Marcus Fil
Coat

Further Study Required

If the 'BabyPod' is to be properly endorsed the effects playing of clearer sounds to the soon-to-be must be further investigated. I am therefore looking for a Research Council UK grant and some volunteer nubile, fertile, female twins.

I propose that I get both women pregnant and then have one foetus subject to thrash metal, gangsta rap and the recorded rants of the current POTUS whilst the other is given a playlist of soft classics and the musings of Alan Bennett. The resultant off-spring are then to be subject to further, on-going study into their intelligence and social disposition until adulthood. In fact, given the need for statistical validity, and an unbiased control, best make that multiple nubile triplets.

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Kiwi prankster 'oinks' down cops' radio and sings Old MacDonald

Marcus Fil
Black Helicopters

my thought exacty..

..choose the ones with the clothes rack on the front ->

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Boffin rediscovers 1960s attempt to write fiction with computers

Marcus Fil

Re: What happened to the Lion?

Anyone who can take an outstanding novel like "The Lovely Bones", miss the point entirely and make a film that contains some of the plot points and some of the characters could, and should, be replaced by a computer.

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Vodafone won't pay employee expenses for cups of coffee

Marcus Fil

Hint

Vodaphone does not value your skills and expertise - go work for one of its competitors. Introduction of policies such as this one are generally a sign the company is "cutting costs to expand margin" i.e. screwing over suppliers and employees to try to look good to its shareholders; probably it has tried everything else to remain competitive and is still struggling. There is the hint. [Just my humble opinion.]

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Microsoft president exits US govt's digital advisory board as tech leaders quit over Trump

Marcus Fil

Re: That virtue signaling!

When snowflakes get together they form glaciers; glaciers carve their way through mountains. Don't mess with snowflakes!

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China's censorship cyber-missiles shoot down pics flying through WhatsApp, chat apps

Marcus Fil

Re: No filtering needed if/when:

I think I worked there. I just can't quite seem to remember.

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'Real' people want govts to spy on them, argues UK Home Secretary

Marcus Fil

So if I am not real..

then presumably 'they' won't mind if I stop paying tax.

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Q. What's today's top language? A. Python... no, wait, Java... no, C

Marcus Fil
Alien

Fermi's last theorem

I have discovered their truly marvelous location, which this margin is too narrow to describe.

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Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill

Marcus Fil

Re: Satellites would do just as good a job against surface ships

Popular fallacies no.1 "Satellites don't work with clouds".

Not all surveillance satellites (non air breathing collection assets) are electro-optical in nature. With the right software used by clever people even those that are can still acquire useful intelligence in cloudy conditions. No further clues.

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Boffins' five eyes surprise: Bees correct colour for ambient light

Marcus Fil

@LDS

What you say is correct, but generally if a bee is harvesting pollen it is up close and personal with the flower -so differences in lighting twix bee and flower are unlikely. The whole idea of a separate ambient light sensor on cameras, and camera light meters, has been done - even to the extent of colour sensing. As you point out it only works if you assume the subject and the camera sensor are seeing more or less the same sources - so studio work only?

'Simple' AWB (which assumes the brightest tri-channel reading is white and adjusts accordingly) works well for most images. Colour constancy (based on Land's, and others', work is achieveable with more sophisticated algorithms and probably takes care of 99.9% of situations. Since everyone perceives colour slightly differently, irrespective of any colour 'blindness', the subtleties are probably only important to people working in product photography and textiles.

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Look who's joined the anti-encryption posse: Germany, come on down

Marcus Fil

Re: "is precisely to avoid using the techniques of coercion, torture, secret detention "

I do so, so wish politicians were forced to read "The Lost Honour of Keterina Blum" before being allowed anywhere near the terrorist issue. Outlaw everything and we all become outlaws - and once we are all outlaws we might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. Government by tabloid is not the way to go.

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Marcus Fil

Re: BS

So council funding was cut so they that had close the libraries. I never realised it was an anti-terror measure.

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Cabinet Office minister Gummer loses seat as Tory gamble backfires

Marcus Fil

Re: @ Doctor Syntax

"I think you're right on yet another election, but absent a revolution amongst the political parties to focus on robust, clear manifestos backed by policies that will deliver what electors (credibly) want, this could go on for some time."

This. Exactly this.

A 1922 Committee organiser was asked on television what caused the rout; he totally failed to see, or at least admit, that it was not just a few manifesto issues (mainly social care), but the whole, arrogant, gab bag of insane irrelevance (e.g. backdooring encryption, fox hunting, Grammar schools) coupled with the poor track record addressing the real issues (Trump, NHS, domestic terror, post BREXIT).

Now May is cosying up the UK's own religious fundamentalists to cling to the illusion of power. Maybe if the Tories had had to pay for the whole sorry debacle out of their own pockets, instead of ours, they would have applied more than 5 minutes of thought to the exercise.

Labour's manifesto may have been heavy on rainbows and unicorns, but it also resonated with the electorate for trying to address some real world issues (like why are Southern Rail executives still receiving an oxygen ration?). Maybe a few more rounds of fight are required for a victor to emerge with a real plan.

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Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law gets six months for hacking sweary super-chef's computer

Marcus Fil

North American, Scottish, or dialect past participle of PLEAD. I believe El Reg now favors (sic) US usage.

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Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

Marcus Fil

Re: Says it all

In the period immediately after World War II the British Special Forces and SOE were wound down - the thought of semi-autonomous units who played cricket by different rules did not sit well with "upper management". It was quickly realised that actually some of their skills may yet come in useful in a colder war and the Special Forces were re-establlshed. Likewise people in MI5 probably knew the enemy may change clothes and motives, but there will always be an enemy and they had the necessary skills to counter. What Stella articulated, perhaps badly, is that the incumbent government, constantly juggling an insufficient budget, will quite often make short-sighted savings to the long term detriment of our nation.

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Going to Mars may give you cancer, warns doc

Marcus Fil
Alien

or..

..astronauts are a sub-species bioengineered to withstand radiation, acceleraton and solitude, with reduced calorific intake and appropriate lifespan. The few, smarter, commanding and science officers occupy the better protected quarters leaving the more numerous drone operatives to take their chances.

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Australia considers joining laptops-on-planes ban

Marcus Fil

Airliners are for vacations

..for everything else there is Skype*.

Airline shares? Sell,Sell,SELL

*Other video conferencing facilites are available - choose whose encryption you trust.

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FBI boss James Comey was probing Trump's team for Russia links. You're fired, says Donald

Marcus Fil

Re: Watch the leaks multiply

Trump does not strike me as someone who plays chess; he also strikes me as someone who distrusts those that do and hence does not favour them in his entourage. We await "shāh māt". Bulk popcorn on order.

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How would you pronounce 'Cyxtera'?

Marcus Fil
Coat

Eamon

on the assumption it is an Irish name and therefore its pronunciation bears no discernable relationship with the letters contained therein and how they could possibly be pronounced in English (see Aoife, Cian, Niamh, Oisin, Siobhan, Seamus, Sean, Sinead etc.)

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D'oh! Amber Rudd meant 'understand hashing', not 'hashtags'

Marcus Fil

Re: Pity the poor civil servant

"Maybe if more people were willing to engage directly rather than moaning about it to others who already agree with them, then just maybe we'd get politicians to say something slightly more sensible."

Not worked with many politicians have you? They are not all bad, but the good ones are few and far between. I suggest a test, let us all write to our local MPs on a subject we understand and see how many of the replies make sense and do not just reflect the pat party line. Don't get your hopes up.

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Home Office accused of blocking UK public's scrutiny of Snoopers' Charter

Marcus Fil

Re: Stand aside Plebes. I am on Imperial business...

Too much of the nation's infrastructure is vulnerable and in practice undefendable. You don't worry about the odd riot on a sink estate though God knows that puts the willys up the powers that aren't. You worry when the National Grid goes sideways at 2 am mid February and GPS and GSM are subject to hundreds of 10W jammers. Hell hath no fury like a middle class spurned - cause they knows how stuff works - or not.

You can demand that encryption is weak and record every damn phone call you like, but people who are smart enough to know they are likely surveilled are smart enough to route round it. How long did it take to find Osama? He may have been smarter than the average bear bullet, but how would he compare next to some of the nations' (sic) best gamekeepers turned poachers?

People who sneer at Snowden and label him a traitor are missing the point. The real traitors are those walling themselves in against being called on their own self-interest and public failures - and removing everyone's right to freedom and privacy in the process.

The stupid (you know who you are lady) taking bad advice from the power seekers and turning it into populist sound bites would do well better to STFU; instead listen to the much scourned real experts whilst they are still, actually, on the same side. God help all of us when there comes a time when they are not - it cannot end well so best not start it.

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Uber: Please don't give our London drivers English tests. You can work out the reason why

Marcus Fil

Re: The Knowledge

GPS is 'bad'. Could be terrorist action or space weather - difficult to tell at this time. Since a lot of the mobile network is using GPS to sync its clocks the network is progressively falling over and coverage is patchy with remaining cells becoming overloaded. You need to get to non-descript government office that you have never even heard off to help sort this mess - now, Black Cab or Uber? - your call.

For a cab driver reversionary skills must include the ability to speak the local language and read a paper A-Z. Trust technology to fail - have a backup plan.

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Brit cops can keep millions of mugshots of innocent folks on file

Marcus Fil

Re: How hard can it be!!!

On remand awaiting trial etc., innocent until proven guilty and convictions = 0. It just maybe harder than it looks because of how the data are structured, how disjoint and 'mandrolic' so much of the process still is, and the massive lack of IT skills in a body of people who signed up to catch wrong-doers and wear a natty black costume (call them 'costumes', because it so annoys people who wear uniforms, kit, livery, vestments etc.)

Of course we could demand that the system is improved so that the innocent do not get collectively lumped with the guilty, but that would cost money. Just wait for the 'Daily Fail' headlines about how money is being diverted from frontline policing to appease the demands of civil rights activists and anarchists.

Meanwhile, money is magically available for the latest 'Wunderkind' Home Office project to use AI to identify the farts of potential offernders or some such. If you don't like the status quo then write to your MP, local police and crime commisioner (*giggles*), BBC Watchdog or El Reg comments pages. Remember, for the moment at least (until your conviction for conspiracy to tell the truth), that you have a vote - FFS exercise it with some consideration; checking your prospective MP has at least half a brain and some semblance of moral compass might be a start.

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Australia wants to jail infosec researchers for pointing out dodgy data

Marcus Fil

Yippee

Those of us living in the UK, USA and Canada can be thankfull that our politicians are not nearly as ignorant, blinkered and self-serving as our antipodean cousins.

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Juno how to adjust a broken Jupiter probe's orbit?

Marcus Fil

Bit of a drag

Juptier next at perihelion in Jan 2023 - bit of a wait for some higher flying atmosphere. Can the current spacecraft change aspect/shape a bit and increase what little drag* it is currently experiencing? Every little helps as Tesco says.

*Okay, so say it is 10 times higher than we normally worry about drag - I am still willing to bet there is more than none. Anyone got a licensed copy of STK?

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Brexploitation? Adobe gets creative with price hikes

Marcus Fil

Hate to say I told you so...

but really people if you cannot read the writing on the wall get ye to SpecSavers. Creative Suite 5.0 aleady on VM, CS 6.0 soon to join it on my next machine update. I stopped filling Adobe's coffers the moment it moved to rentware. Very few people listened to us naysayers at the time. Tell me, do you rent your car or do you own it? If you live in Europe chances are you own it. Why is that?

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Apple eats itself as iPhone fatigue spreads

Marcus Fil

Okay then ..

"Please tell me what sort of innovation you are thinking Apple should be doing, or are expecting from anyone else."

How about a battery/stored energy that lasts a week (like my Ericsson, before Sony, mobe used to)?

How about surviving a drop of 1.5 m onto gravel - without needing a new screen?

How about a waterproof SD-slot?

How about £200 off the cost of a handset?

There is room for innovation - just not in the direction that Apple favours.

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Drone biz Lily Robotics takes $34m in pre-orders, ships nothing, shuts down, gets sued by San Francisco DA

Marcus Fil

Concept sound

but tricky, not impossible to excecute. With large amounts of cash ring-fenced it even looks like Lily was trying to do it legally. However, lying on promotional videos is inexcusable (unless, apparently, you are a presidential candidate in which case "caveat auditor"). For everyone talking about vapo(u)rware - if something has reached flying prototype it is not vapourware - it is just not finished; a few choice words of text overlaid on the video would have cleared them of deceipt.

I have backed several Kickstarters - only one delivered something slightly less than promised, but quite a few took far, far longer than they first expected. A good company keeps you up-to-date, delivers bad news early, does not lie. If you are the sort of person who experts TRL.9 for your money, don't back innovation and live comfortably behind the curve. However, if you want technology to progress understand it does not do it itself (yet?), it needs R&D, someone to do that, someone (else) to fund it and "R&D has no guarantee".

Hindsight is twenty-twenty - the words of Antoine Balaresque to the video company are worrying, because they indicate an amoral marketeer not a pragmatic expert; leading edge tech needs pragmatic experts - 'BS'ers are not a reliable substitute.

Perhaps most worrying is that as of this morning the Lily website appears to show a going concern rather than have a big red "Sorry we f***ed up and lied" notice.

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

Marcus Fil

Re: I have a solution

woosh!!

-1

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Marcus Fil

I have a solution

I am unsure what fair trade agreements exist across the (dis)Unitied States, but I think is pretty unfair that the manufacturer or supplier should be bear the cost of this device just to sell in one minor state. I think would be far more reasonable for SC to fund the creation and installation of the necessary technical solution since it is the state that seeks the local benefit.

It just so happens that I have a solution ("The Magic Fairy Porn Blocker Cookie") that can achieve the desired filtering task. It is available on all platforms with a web browser that have cookies enabled. The license costs $21 per platform with a limited guarantee* to refund the $20 state disabling charge on any platform where a user complains it failed to block porn even though they had not paid the fee.

*Other terms and conditions apply. The local laws of Ellsworth Land will apply in all matters except where restricted by extraterrestrial treaty.

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Why I just bought a MacBook Air instead of the new Pro

Marcus Fil

Re: Let me..

UNIX - that runs Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Mathematica, Maxwell, Modo, Rhino etc. and still has a bash terminal. FYI Linux is not UNIX - looks like it, but it isn't - ask a grown-up to explain the fundamental differences. This is the MacOS advantage that Apple seem to ignore in moving their platforms towards the exclusive use of coffee shop poseurs (I am using a nice term here, but I don't know why).

Apple was never cheap, but a lot of people commenting are talking about Apple laptops 6 or 7 years old and still going strong. Apple, it seems, don't like that - you need to get into a 3 year refresh mentality - except serious users are not going to accept that cycle at Apple prices (or anything close). They are also not going to accept a reduction in utility in exchange for a price hike and a need to to buy a load more bits.

Maybe USB-C is the future, but it is stuff all use if you want to use your laptop in the present (you know connecting to real world things like 3D printers, iPhones, datasticks etc.). Carrying up to 17 adapters about makes you look like the fanboi twat you obviously are; adding an adapter hub is also a) not an answer if you are out and about and not chained to a desk b) adding back all the weight saving, and then some, that Apple kindly introduced when you did not ask for it. The Macbook 'lite' platform was the bloody Air for those poor souls who could not lift more than a laptop and a skinny latte; the Pro is supposed to be the workhouse platform - the clue was in the name. The 2016 MBP is a cluster fuck and Apple has been called on it - does it listen or does it drive itself to the mortuary?

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Marcus Fil

Let me..

FTFY:

"they;are looking to cross sell laptops and the essential alternative cables to iphone owners and not vice versa."

I am a long time high end Apple laptop user - best portable UNIX (+VM LInux and Windoze) platform there is. I am also an iPhone user (always a generation behind). Apple will not be selling the new MBP to me unless the next refresh sees a return to sanity. Some, or all, of the following required in order of sheer bloody utility: at least one USB 3.0/A socket, SD socket, magsafe power. A bigger battery and more RAM would also be nice.

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China gets mad at Donald Trump, threatens to ruin Apple

Marcus Fil
Coat

Oh the forces of Chaos

However bad things seem to get there is always an upside. Now I suspect Donald 'J' has only a tenuous grasp on the intricacies of international trade, but so what? If Apple get wedged between a populist president and an understandably miffed China it could be good news. Those Chinese factories that churn out Apple goods will need to be redeployed to keep China in noodles. With the gloves off why should China respect US IPR? Which means the Chinese could make a MacBook Pro clone, and fix all the problems with the 2016 Design Fail Pro about which Apple seems deaf to criticism. See win, win! Never thought I could grow to love the strangely quiffed, orange blusterer.

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Apple drops dongle prices to make USB-C upgrade affordable

Marcus Fil

Re: 2017

or the year that Apple ceases its onanistic nombrilisme and releases a revised laptop worthy of the 'Pro' monicker? You know, one that loses one USB-C port in favour of a 'legacy' USB-3.0, restores the SD socket and (maybe) even supports HDMI-4K without need of bloody dongle. While Apple is there, how about it also supporting up to 32GB RAM and more battery life; perish the thought it might actually be 15% thicker, but 100% more useful out in the real world.

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BBC to demand logins for iPlayer in early 2017

Marcus Fil

Re: Smart TV no more

Roku, or similar, for about £30. Even if you have to replace it in a couple of years still cheaper than a smart TV. Learned the hard way when my top of the line 3D LG 55" started getting dumber and dumber. Note to TV manufacturers - not buying another smart TV - EVER, EVER. Probably build my own rig with 3D 4K projector next.

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Marcus Fil

Profile this, Auntie!

Three cats in the household - all have email accounts. Need to count the surviving guinea pigs and give them accounts too. Then register them all with Auntie. Members of the household so covered by the existing licence. I am willing to bet the guinea pigs will watch some absolute dross.

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The law is an ass: Mooning banned at arse end of the world

Marcus Fil
Coat

I was thinking of visiting Melbourne..

but I can't be arsed.

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Malware figures out it's running on VMs and refuses to execute

Marcus Fil

So..

not too difficult to script a 'lived-in' profile installer on your honey trap VM, or a cleaning script on your work PC. Interesting escalation in the war on malware.

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Is Tesla telling us the truth over autopilot spat?

Marcus Fil

Re: Mobileye

Yes, but... we possilbly could have an "autopilot" complete with computer vision, LIDAR etc. that could safely negotiate the centre of Manchester at rush-hour at a top speed of 7 mph. However, at some point it is going out onto faster roads and if it is still going 7 mph it is going to get stopped by the cops (has it even been programmed for that?). Speeding up the processing, LIDAR sweep rate, adding more pixels to the camera etc. still does not solve the fundament problem of dealing with the unexpected at sensible, usable road speeds. Why? Because it is hard to program for the unexpected. Mobileye sensibly say "driver assist " because their technology is an aid, not an abdication of resposiblity. Are they being pragmatic in recognising that technology cannot replace a little light thinking? Those who advocate "autopilots" as the answer to safe driving for all need to spend time awy from their simulators and keyboards and much more time behind the wheel - all around the clock, all around the world and in every climate and season. Once you appreciate the scale of the problem see if you remain so confident "autopilots" can fix it.

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NASA starts countdown for Cassini probe's Saturn death dive

Marcus Fil
Alien

Have you had an accident that wasn't your fault?

Perhaps been hit by a structured craft of unknown origin? Then call 'Galatic Lawsuits R Us' on Saturn 555 25436 529.

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Dark web drug sellers shutter location-tracking EXIF data from photos

Marcus Fil
Joke

And what am I offered...

for a file containing EXIF compatible locations of all Police stations, spy agencies, MP's surgeries, news companies etc.?

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False Northern Lights alert issued to entire UK because of a lawnmower

Marcus Fil

Obi-Wan:

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly ....oh, wait a minute"

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Snowden's anti-snoop tool

Marcus Fil

Or...

you use a Faraday pouch?

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McCain: Come to my encryption hearing. Tim Cook: No, I'm good. McCain: I hate you, I hate you, I hate you

Marcus Fil

What's the point of Cook showing up to a committee that's clearly already made its mind up? Utter waste of time and someone else's money.

FTFY

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Not smiling for the camera? Adobe's Creative Cloud suite can fix that

Marcus Fil
Happy

We're here to see Koothrappali, not kill Batman

Personally I use PS to have everyone be in the group photo they thought they were in, not one of the three I actually took in which at least one person was either blinking, yawning, looking down or impersonating a frightened rabbit. The thought of 'JOKERizing' them after the fact is probably a retouching step too far. This comment may have been tampered with.

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Asteroid-sampling spacecraft prepped for September launch

Marcus Fil
Alien

Just a thought..

"Once the sampler head makes contact with the surface of Bennu, a burst of pure nitrogen gas will push surface regolith into the sampler’s chamber freeze the sucker to the surface until the Sun burns helium."

Aliens, because they might help.

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US congresscritter's iPhone hacked (with, er, the cell networks' help)

Marcus Fil

Seriously...2

YTF do you think those of nominal import have SMEPEDs ("Barrackberries")? This is news how? I am saying nothing ...literally.

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