* Posts by Oh Homer

1011 posts • joined 18 Oct 2013

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Softcat scores big in Scotland: Many a mickle makes a muckle

Oh Homer
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Re: Mony a mickle maks a muckle

Nope.

mickle (adj.)

dialectal survival of Old English micel, mycel "great, intense, big, long, much, many," from Proto-Germanic *mekilaz (source also of Old Saxon mikil, Old Norse mikill, Old High German mihhil, Gothic mikils), from PIE root *meg- "great." Its main modern form is much (q.v.).

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Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Mony a mickle maks a muckle

STFY

(Sorteeeed That Fir Ye)

Although technically it should be pickle not mickle (yes really).

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Creep travels half the world to harass online teen gamer… and gets shot by her mom – cops

Oh Homer
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If you've done nothing wrong...

Clearly we all have something to very legitimately hide, dear anti-privacy legislators.

Not that the intended victim made much effort to protect her privacy, in this case, but nonetheless it does serve as a perfect example of why online anonymity/pseudonymity is not only justifiable but absolutely essential.

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Infamous 'Dancing Baby' copyright battle settled just before YouTube tot becomes a teen

Oh Homer
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Terminator

Formerly known as Prince

This case literally outlived the artist.

What a miserable day for justice, and of course a joyous day for lawyers.

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Relive your misspent, 8-bit youth on the BBC's reopened Micro archive

Oh Homer
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"A simpler time"

That's because it wasn't complicated by today's "IP" fanaticism, which treats all computer users like dumb consumers, and prevents them gaining full and unrestricted access to their own legally purchased property, for educational or any other purposes, using both legal and technical measures.

And you expect a manual?

Pfft. Consider yourself lucky that you're even allowed to turn the damned thing on without being given a stiff rectal probing by the "IP" police.

Education is a crime, in the twisted world of "IP" racketeers. No schematics or source code for you, sonny.

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Uncle Sam is shocked, SHOCKED to find dark-web bazaars trading drugs, weapons, etc

Oh Homer
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"At this crucial time"...

...of DEA budget requests.

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Woman sues NASA for ownership of vial of space dust

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: So... uhm...

Actually the Apollo program, like everything else at NASA, was funded by the US taxpayers, which in my view places moon dust clearly in the public domain.

But even if you take the neoliberal view that everything should be privately owned, regardless of whether it was funded by leaching from the public purse, we're talking about a tiny sample of dust - where NASA already has a vast hoard of lunar material, collected decades ago, then accepted as a gift in good faith.

NASA literally chasing every last speck of moon dust just seems like senseless greed, under the circumstances.

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TSB meltdown latest: Facepalming reaches critical mass as Brits get strangers' bank letters

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Re: "Terminally Stupid Bankers"

Taking Security Backwards with a Technical Screwup Blitzkrieg.

Soon to be a Totally Suspended Bank, hopefully.

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Britain mulls 'complete shutdown' of 4G net for emergency services

Oh Homer
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Meh

Mobile network hell

Ambulance driver: Yes doctor, the patient is starting to... [NO SIGNAL]

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DRAM makers sued (yet again) for 'fixing prices' (yet again) of chips

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Artificially restricting supply to jack up prices

Hmm, makes you wonder how De Beers got away with it for so long.

Also, given the number of times DRAM manufacturers have done this, clearly the penalties are a joke. These criminal "cost of doing business" directors need to be imprisoned, not "fined".

Free Market economics at its finest, folks.

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Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you're on your GNOME

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: "Yet strangely all of it perfectly GPL compliant"

GPL licensed software is not somehow immune to circular dependencies, whether accidental or injected deliberately to exclude alternatives (a la the supposedly "modular" components of systemd). It's also not immune to the sort of propaganda campaigns designed to stigmatise and marginalise detractors of this hostile takeover, forcing them to either resign or capitulate, exponentially spreading adoption of something that, in the absence of such an orchestrated campaign, would otherwise have been rejected en mass.

The tactics employed by the Poettering cabal remind me a lot of the Holocaust: invent some fictional problem, then blame a scapegoat as justification for a "final solution", in order to replace something perfectly good with something perfectly vile.

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Oh Homer
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Race to the bottom

My first experience of Linux was Red Hat something-or-other, "Manhattan" I think, which was Gnome 2. I was easily impressed, coming from an Ultrix on DEC background, so it's hard to say how objectively good it really was, but it got the job done. Anyway, I quickly got used to it.

Years later, along came the abomination of Gnome 3. I hated it. It seemed to be in a permanent alpha state, and the paradigms had shifted all the way into an alternate universe, ruled by an insular "Do-ocracy" that viewed the actual users as "the peanut gallery". To this day I still have no idea what they're trying to accomplish, but whatever it is it's ugly and dysfunctional.

What I didn't notice at the time, because I wasn't really paying much attention, was the link between Gnome, Red Hat, freedesktop.org and the Poettering cabal, featuring mostly the same people with the same mysterious agenda. The assassination of the usr partition, the binary-blobification of syslog, the monolithic consolidation of init into something comparable to a separate OS in its own right (including its own DNS resolver, apparently), all symptomatic of this hostile takeover, seemingly coordinated between ostensibly separate groups but which was in fact just one, almost like a patent troll operating many shell companies.

For that reason alone, I will never use Gnome. Not so much because I simply don't like it as a DE, but more because there's a wider agenda there that I find quite sinister, and which is certainly in conflict with every engineering principle I hold dear. It's also an agenda with a violently anti-choice mentality, which should set alarm bells ringing.

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AMD CEO Su: We like GPU crypto-miners but gamers are first priority

Oh Homer
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WTF?

"cheap secondhand cards"?

Where?

Take a look on eBay. Second hand GPU prices are actually higher than retail.

The second hand GPU market is absolutely insane.

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Danish submariner sent down for life for murder of journalist Kim Wall

Oh Homer
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Childcatcher

Re: "psychiatrist eval prior to release"

Yeah well, a shrink evaluated Jon Venables too, yet they still released him despite the fact that in all these years he's never once shown any remorse, or even any emotional response whatsoever.

It's long past time that the judicial system recognised that psychopaths are incurable and should be executed.

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TSB outage, day 5: What do you mean you can't log in? Our systems are up and running. Up and running, we say!

Oh Homer
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Joke

Now I know what TSB stands for...

(Our) Technology Sucks Balls.

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I got 99 secure devices but a Nintendo Switch ain't one: If you're using Nvidia's Tegra boot ROM I feel bad for you, son

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: "free games"

But that's exactly my point. I'm not denying that part of the transaction includes something that is merely licensed rather than sold, I'm explicitly stating that the injection of this leased component into the main article that is being sold is undermining it. It's real property with an "IP" trojan horse designed to essentially destroy it, forcing you to buy another at the manufacturer's whim (planned obsolescence).

The libertarian mentality that this is a "voluntary contract" disingenuously belies the fact that all such products have the same egregious terms, thanks to our universal "IP" regime, and thus the only "voluntary" option you have is, in essence, slavery or death, since you must either resign yourself to being bound by oppressive terms from all quarters, or not play at all. This is why I really don't believe it's an overstatement to characterise this "IP" interference in real property as a racket.

None of the typical excuses made by "IP" apologists stand up to any scrutiny. The ease with which something can be done is neither a legal nor moral argument. It's not even a sound economic argument, given that multiple vendors happily coexist selling functionally identical physical products in every other market, including real estate.

I'm merely pointing out that the current "IP" regime is an assault on consumer rights, that it hypocritically defends its own fake "property" rights (as in "property" which is purely ethereal, largely plagiarised, and consequently to which their title under the law has been mandated to expire after a given term, clearly defining it as a privileged issued purely for pragmatic reasons, unlike inalienable real property rights), whilst simultaneously riding roughshod over everyone else's real property rights.

Sorry, but I really don't believe that complaining about such a blatant racket qualifies as fanaticism.

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Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Re: "free games"

No, it's about principles, not freeloading.

The principle in question being the right to full and unrestricted access to your own legally purchased property, now and forever, without it ever being arbitrarily "expired" by the manufacturer.

The fact that manufacturers even have the ability to deny you access to your own legally purchased property, using the pretext of ethereal "intellectual property" precedence, is a violation of real property rights and an affront to the entire concept of property ownership. It essentially transforms all transfer of legal title under the law, otherwise known as the sale of goods, into a sort of quasi-rental Ponzi scheme, in which you pay full price for supposed "ownership", but without ever really getting to own that which you paid for.

If these "IP" fanatics want to lease their toys to us, then the transaction should be clearly identified as a lease, not a sale, and the price should be drastically reduced to more accurately reflect the transient nature of the customer's access.

As it stands, we get to buy the house but have no access to the kitchen, which remains owned by Burger King and from which we must buy our meals on a daily basis. Until they decide to stop, shut up shop but retain ownership of an empty kitchen, for reasons of market speculation, at which point we have no choice but to abandon the house we supposedly "own" and buy another.

Sorry, but that's just a racket and should be a criminal offence. Sadly, however, that seems to be the main purpose of "IP" in the modern age, as a weapon to undermine real property rights, forcing consumers to abandon perfectly serviceable real property and re-purchase it over and over again, for no legitimate reason.

If having full and unrestricted access to their legally purchased property means that some people abuse that right to cause harm, then so be it, that's not my responsibility, but I'll be damned if I'm going to be treated like a criminal just because other people break the law.

Frankly, I have about the same respect for these "IP" fanatics' property rights as they have for mine, which is clearly none.

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It's not you, it's Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Once again, Google pissing all over RFC standards

I still remember with horror the day that Google assimilated the Deja News archive.

There are articles I posted years ago, that I still have a local archived copy of, which Google Groups apparently believes never existed, even when I search explicitly by Message-ID. Navigating threads in Google Groups is like driving through Paris.

Now it seems Google has also fubared email, by storing incoming emails in the sent mail folder.

Frankly the only reason I even have a Gmail account is because of Android, or to be more precise because of Google Play. Oh, and they also roped me in when they assimilated YouTube then forced users to "connect" their YouTube and Gmail accounts.

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Sysadmin unplugged wrong server, ran away, hoped nobody noticed

Oh Homer
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Re: breeding ballpoint pens

My pens are more like socks than cables. They're an endangered species that disappear as soon as you leave them anywhere out in the open.

Seriously, forget tracking birds, the RSPB needs to track the mass migration of pens, and figure out why they only ever migrate in one direction. Does the global population of pens fly south for the winter, only to die in the attempt?

Either that, or quantum physicists need to forget about all that string compactification nonsense (haven't they figured out yet that you can just wrap your string into a ball?), and instead concentrate on finding and analysing all the portals to other dimensions that swallow pens, socks and ships, amongst other things.

They could start with my tumble dryer. It's highly suspect. While I'm not actually aware of any ships lost whilst navigating the supernatural abyss of my tumble dryer, it seems to have consumed pretty much everything else that dared to even get close to the event horizon of its interdimensional gateway, or what the manufacturer claims is merely a "door".

Then the bods should settle their unrelenting gaze on my co-workers, who are unquestionably also interdimensional portals to an alternate universe populated entirely by what were formerly my pens, established by the first pen to ever achieve self awareness, and which is now on a crusade to spread its sentience to all pen-kind and liberate them from the Basildon Bonds of literary servitude.

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McDonald's tells Atos to burger off: Da da da da da, we're lobbing IT ...

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

"Cross training"?

Oh dear.

Sorry, but spending a couple of weeks merely observing someone doing something of which you have no knowledge or understanding, is not "training". At best you could call it an "informal introduction".

Sadly, this is however the primary mechanism by which most people seem to be "trained" nowadays.

Education? We've heard of it.

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Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: French politicians banning "burger"

I usually find the French annoying, but on this occasion I have to agree, although probably not for entirely the same reason that motivated our French cousins.

Hamburg literally means the fortified settlement (burg) of Ham (proper name, nothing to do with cured pork). Hamburger therefore means anything from Hamburg. Hamburger (the dish) means a cooked pate of ground beef, invented in Hamburg. Wedging this cooked pate of ground beef between two slices of bread produces a "Hamburger sandwich".

The term "beef burger" or "beefburger" is marketing gibberish, initially devised by mass producers to differentiate between a "cooked pate of ground beef" and those made using various substitutes for beef, for reasons that included beef shortages, veganism and culinary artistic license.

As I recall, during one rather extended beef shortage, the market was flooded with hamburger substitutes made from pork. Presumably some bod at Findus or Birdseye concluded that consumers would, after such a long exposure to pork-based hamburgers, end up thinking that all hamburgers were "burgers made from ham", and so the "beef burger" was born.

However, there is in fact no such things as a "beefburger", because that's already a hamburger. The term "chicken burger" is nonsense that would theoretically mean something originating from the fortified settlement of Chickenburg, which doesn't exist. Likewise for the fortified settlements of Veggieburg, Turkeyburg and Steakburg.

If you're going to sell fried, breadcrumbed chicken wedged between two slices of bread then call it what it is, a chicken fritter sandwich. Your "veggieburgers" are actually vegetable fritters, etc.

Sorry, but I just find the illiterate burger-ism of culinary language absolutely infuriating.

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Guess who's still most moaned about UK ISP... Rhymes with BorkBork

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: "6 MegaBytes per second"

Yes, I meant 6Mb/s.

That's the sync speed. The actual speed is more like 4.75Mb/s at best, and typically more in the 2 - 2.5Mb/s range on most days. Periods of sub 1Mb/s are not uncommon. For about two weeks last Christmas I was getting speeds similar to what I used to get in the 1990s with my 33.6K US Robotics POTS modem.

My exchange has no fibre and no LLU, and I'm on an EO line, so I'm basically stuck with those speeds no matter which BT wholesale reseller I go with. I'd happily pay for A&A if that was an option, but it isn't.

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Oh Homer
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Meh

"31 complaints per 100,000 customers"

TBH that's spectacularly low for any type of business.

Of course, that doesn't include those who only complained directly to TalkTalk, not to Ofcom. It also doesn't include those who aren't happy but couldn't be bothered complaining.

Never had any experience of TalkTalk, but I do use another cheap-as-chips ISP, because in my neck of the woods it'd be pointless paying more for a service that can't possibly exceed 6MB/s (on a good day), unless OpenReach ever upgrades my local exchange, assuming they even know where it is.

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Apple leak: If you leak from Apple, we'll have you arrested, says Apple

Oh Homer
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Headmaster

Re: Arrested?

Sorry, I forgot for a moment that America is the "Land of the Free" ... to be arrested for utter trivia. Get arrested three times in a row for utter trivia, and they throw you into a bottomless pit, next to the other 25% of the world's prison population of trivia violators.

Although this is only to be expected in a country that values money higher than life itself.

Not that I seriously believe that Apple would actually lose a dime over such "trade secrets" as the fact that an iThing now has a stupid looking and functionally pointless notch cut right into the screen, for instance.

Personally I think Apple should be forced to prove in court that it has ever in fact had a trade secret worth a damn, then be forced to prove exactly how much that secret was worth while it remained a secret, and explain in great detail exactly why.

Advance knowledge of any product release has never caused me to be any more or less likely to buy anything than had that information not been available until the day of launch. I can't imagine how it possibly could. If I don't like it today, and it won't be any different when it's launched two months from now, than I'm not magically going to like it then either.

And as for competitors rushing to copy Apple's "secrets" ... it takes months if not years to get a new product to market, with or without copying others' ideas, so the fact that e.g. Samsung might learn some trade secret from Apple, two months prior to launch, would be of zero benefit to them, as they won't have time to retool and re-engineer quickly enough to beat them to market. Plus Apple would just sue post-launch anyway, so it'd be pointless, pretty much like the entire concept of "trade secrets" itself, in fact, in a Draconian "IP" regime where keeping "secrets" is utterly redundant.

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Oh Homer
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Holmes

Re: "These figures are meaningless"

Another missing factoid is how many of the 12 supposedly "arrested" were ever actually charged with a crime, if any, and if so then how many were ever successfully prosecuted.

I'll take a flying guess at "none", and say this is just Apple throwing its shiny toys out of the pram.

Incidentally, I had to Google for clues as to what might actually qualify as "criminal" when leaking details of a forthcoming product, and apparently the answer is "trade secrets". Yeah, because it's a "trade secret" that next year's Apple gizmos will be nearly indistinguishable from last year's. No, really.

Funny how my hatred for Microsoft has waned over the years, and yet my hatred for Apple just keeps intensifying, to the point of pure white rage. I guess this must be because Microsoft lost nearly all its arrogance with the departure of Ballmer, whereas the High Priests at the Cult of Apple are more obnoxious than ever, despite the loss of their cult leader.

Unfortunately for Apple, the congregation no longer seems to share their devotion. The price for this fall from grace is the threat of being sent to the dungeon, apparently. Such pettiness smacks of desperation.

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Oh Homer
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Trollface

Arrested?

For what, a civil dispute?

Since when is breaching some fruity toymaker's company policy a matter of criminal law?

Freaking megalomaniacs.

And the real laugh is, Apple hasn't even had anything worth leaking in years anyway, and even the stuff that was vaguely interesting turned out to be all hype and no substance. Actually, come to think of it, that would be basically everything ever made by Apple.

Maybe this is some kind of guerilla (or should that be gorilla?) marketing stunt. You know, look how tough we're getting on "criminal" leakers, because we really have something that's actually worth leaking for a change. Honest.

Nah.

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Google accidentally reveals new swipe-happy Android UI

Oh Homer
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Flame

Re: ..amazingly, one-quarter ... continues to run a version... released in 2014.

That's because the upgrade process for Android devices is utterly retarded. The person who came up with the idea that such things must only be upgraded by "flashing roms" should be taken outside and shot.

For something that is supposedly a Linux-based system, upgrading is ridiculously convoluted. Frankly, updating a badly neglected Gentoo system is easier, and for anyone with experience of this, and the endless battle with circular dependencies that ensues, they'll know what a damning indictment of Android that really is.

Is there some particular reason why we can't just update individual system libraries and other core components, like a normal OS, as and when it becomes necessary? Why the all-or-nothing approach? Why can't Google just have a repo with individual system update components? Why can't they do a rolling-release, like other Linux distros?

If this is because every single component of Android has a hard dependency on the same release version of every single other component, and therefore the only possible way to upgrade it is all at once, then I submit that it may in fact be the worst operating system of all time. Certainly is has the least stable ABI, so unstable in fact that it might just as well not exist at all, because it's functionally pointless.

As much as I love the convenience of having a computer in my pocket, the stupidity of Android, with its dozens of partitions, mysterious data locations and read-only, rootless mentality, really makes me despair.

Please, for the love of Goat, can we just have a normal Linux distro on a smartphone, as standard, but with a touch-oriented UI? Four partitions: boot (not "recovery manager"), system root, usr and home. Stick GRUB in boot, the OS in system root, apps in usr and user data in home. Then just have Play Store use apt-get as a back end, and include individual system components.

Maybe then we wouldn't have millions of people using hideously outdated versions of Android riddled with supposedly unpatchable security vulnerabilities.

Really, is it that hard?

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Small UK firms laying fibre put BT's Openreach to shame – report

Oh Homer
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Unhappy

Rome wasn't built in a day

But I bet it was built faster than BT's fibre network.

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Fear the Reaper: Man hospitalised after eating red hot chilli pepper

Oh Homer
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Pint

Don't get it

Love spicy food, in moderation, but really don't see the point in deliberately inducing pain, not even in competition. It's like a competition to see who has the most stupid.

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Intel admits a load of its CPUs have Spectre v2 flaw that can't be fixed

Oh Homer
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Meh

"Now all Intel has to do is..."

Make an effort, for a change.

Although I suspect that Intel will ride out this storm easily, because ... money, and end up being just as inept and anticompetitive as ever.

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Here's the list of Chinese kit facing extra US import tariffs: Hard disk drives, optic fiber, PCB making equipment, etc

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Nationalism Trumps Consumer Choice, apparently

Yeah, this is great, Trump. So the already impoverished majority in America will now have even higher prices to pay.

That's OK, though, 'cause just think of all those minimum wage jobs it'll create, so there'll be even more people with not enough money to pay your artificially inflated prices.

Genius.

Nationalists should be banned from politics. No, actually nationalists should just be banned. Period.

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Law's changed, now cough up: Uncle Sam serves Microsoft fresh warrant for Irish emails

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Violation of national sovereignty

The ramifications of this go far beyond mere data protection. The US is, in effect, claiming sovereign rights over another nation. Frankly I don't think it's an overstatement that this is tantamount to a declaration of war. This is not America. You don't get to do just anything you like in our country.

American hegemony is not exactly new, but rarely is it this brazen.

If you're an American citizen or company operating in our country, then you are governed by our laws. If you or your government dispute this, then you need to leave. Period.

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One solution to wreck privacy-hating websites: Flood them with bogus info using browser tools

Oh Homer
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Terminator

I've seen this before

Usually spam that uses random junk to thwart Bayesian filters (beating the threshold).

Does it work? Dunno, but it seems like the wrong approach. It's still looks like a weak position of defence, rather than the frontal assault that's needed. At best it's a tit-for-tat escalation which those with the most money will always win, or at least always be out ahead.

The solution is pretty obvious: stop visiting abusive websites. That includes facilitators that also link to those abusive websites (affiliate spam). We already have DNSBLs like Spamhous and SORBS for email, why not have a similar system for websites? And I don't mean just blocking popups and ads, a la AdBlock, I mean block the whole damned site.

Once they see their traffic (and revenue) plummet, they'll soon get the message.

The problem is, as ever, is convincing Joe Public to care, certainly enough that he'd voluntarily block access to his beloved Fsckbook, for example.

Sadly, for that reason alone, any measure that requires voluntary participation is doomed to failure.

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Wanna work for El Reg? Developers needed for headline-writing AI bots

Oh Homer
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Coat

Trump! Sez! Nobody! Expects! The! DevOps! BlockChain! At! Yahoo! After! Brexit!

And I claim my $5.

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Oh Homer
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Coat

Maybe this'll help...

A few years ago, I wrote this Bullshit Generator during one particularly obnoxious meeting.

Sample outputs:

  • He can not revitalize traction to engage our cohesive deliverables
  • Nobody will evangelize vision to commoditize their organic groundswell
  • She might inject buzz to productize his lateral buttocks

Etc.

Yes, all those buzzwords (except buttocks - I just threw that in there) and more featured during this meeting, although it's not an exhaustive list, and predates the likes of "blockchain", so needs an update.

Incidentally, I've heard unconfirmed rumours of "blockchain" being used as a verb, as in "We need to blockchain our strategy moving forward". It was bound to happen.

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Happy as Larry: Why Oracle won the Google Java Android case

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Unqualified to judge

Anyone who thinks something as simple as a header file should rightly qualify as a creative work deserving of copyright protection, clearly doesn't have the first clue about programming, and should not be allowed to make legal judgements about something they don't understand.

For those, like this judge, who apparently don't understand, it'd be like claiming that the definition of sodium chloride as a salt is copyrightable, the sole intellectual property of Premier Foods, and as a result nobody else is allowed to produce and sell salt that is described as "sodium chloride", because Premier Foods has monopoly control of that definition.

Note, we're not talking about a patent, since Premier Foods didn't invent sodium chloride, and we're not even talking about a trademark, as "sodium chloride" is merely a chemical formula, not a commercial brand name. The simple act of stating the definition of salt is, in itself, prohibited, unless you hand big wads of cash over to Premier Foods.

That's header files. They're simple definitions, and something that simple, and not even remotely "creative" in either the scientific or artistic sense, should never, ever be copyrightable. Period.

Next up, Bertrand Russell copyrights "1 + 1 = 2". Everyone is forced by lunatic copyright laws to stop using mathematics. Chaos ensues. Civilisation ends. "IP" laws prevail, but it doesn't matter, as no one can read any more. And the lawyers lived happily ever after.

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Why you shouldn't trust a stranger's VPN: Plenty leak your IP addresses

Oh Homer
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Old news

Can't remember where I heard it first (probably Torrentfreak. Ed: no actually it was my VPN provider) but I've known about this for at least a year, I think.

This is one of the reasons I dumped Chrom(e|ium), because at the time I couldn't see any way to disable WebRTC. I had no idea uBlock does it. I got the impression that Google had gone out of their way to ensure nobody could disable it, and even Firefox needs an extension (which I use).

My VPN provider actually provides a DNS leak test on their site, along with another that tests something they're calling the "MSLEAK", which apparently affects both IE and Edge, and is detailed here.

As of the date of that blog post; "seems like Microsoft isn’t going to fix it and it still can be exploited on a Windows 10 with latest updates".

No idea if Microsoft ever patched it.

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$0.75 – about how much Cambridge Analytica paid per voter in bid to micro-target their minds, internal docs reveal

Oh Homer
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Angel

It wasn't me either, I'm just his mate

He told me to stand here and watch the gate

I'm as honest as the day is long

The longer the daylight, the less I do wrong

So basically, I told this guy to do it, but I never done it, so it weren't me. Honest guv'.

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Ex-ZX Spectrum reboot man threatens sueball over unpaid invoices

Oh Homer
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Pint

Re: "sounds like a speccy game"

Well, there's always "Day of the Tentacle", although that was actually an MS-DOS game (now ported to many other platforms, including current-gen consoles and Linux).

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BT to slash landline rentals by 37%... for the broadbandless

Oh Homer
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Mushroom

Re: "Surprised anyone uses BT"

You forget that BT owns nearly all the telecoms infrastructure in this country, and therefore it's nearly impossible not to use at least part of it.

That's especially true for "the last mile of copper" between the exchange and your house. Many of us can't just cut this line and switch to an alternative (i.e. LLU or "Local Loop Unbundling"), because for us no alternative is available. The best we can hope for is someone reselling wholesale BT (OpenReach) lines at a lower price (the mere fact that this is possible proves that BT/OpenReach is overcharging retail customers).

That's where I am now. I'm on a so-called EO or "Exchange Only" line (no cabinet, just a cable directly into my house from the exchange, 2.5 miles away), on an exchange with no LLU, but which does at least have BT/OpenReach wholesale resellers offering lower prices.

Previously I was paying BT an average of £53 per month just for "line rental" and a pitiful 2Mb/s internet access (with a theoretical maximum of 6Mb/s, which it never achieved). That was before calls or any other dubious charges (they used to "fine" me for delegating not to pay by direct debit, for example).

Now I get exactly the same level of service from a wholesale reseller for just under 20 quid a month, nearly one third of the price. But the fact is I'm still using BT's infrastructure, and they're still getting their pound of flesh (via the reseller).

uSwitch are absolutely right, more people need to be doing this, but BT's monopoly on infrastructure, its obscene profiteering and highly dubious protection-racket-style charges desperately need to be obliterated.

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Microsoft's Windows 7 Meltdown fixes from January, February made PCs MORE INSECURE

Oh Homer
Silver badge

Windows upd...what, now?

Stop-Service wuauserv

Set-Service wuauserv -StartupType Disabled

Stop-Service bits

Set-Service bits -StartupType Disabled

You know things are bad when you trust malware more than Microsoft.

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6

Java-aaaargh! Google faces $9bn copyright bill after Oracle scores 'fair use' court appeal win

Oh Homer
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Still reeling

Personally I'm still trying to get over the fact that an API can apparently be copyrighted.

So the means of interoperating with something, which was specifically and exclusively designed for the purpose of interoperation, is now apparently restricted by law to prohibit interoperation?

More "IP" lunacy.

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Microsoft loves Linux so much it wants someone else to build distros for its Windows Store

Oh Homer
Silver badge
Mushroom

"One of the principles of FOSS is that choice matters"

Not according to the anti-choice brigade, which largely comprises systemd apologists.

20
5

Mac fans' eyes mist over: Someone's re-created HyperCard

Oh Homer
Silver badge

Re: "Shoot'Em-Up Construction Kit"

Thank you, yes, that's the one.

Did a quick search and turned up something new (2016) called Redpill. The site itself is a great find, but it's fascinating to dive back into the world of point'n'click programming. Apparently there were a tonne of such programs, mostly for adventure games or MUDs, but also many covering other genres.

3D Construction Kit is especially fascinating. I'd forgotten it was far more than just a 3D renderer, unlike say Vista Pro or Scenery Animator (also fascinating).

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Oh Homer
Silver badge

Re: That reminds me...

Can't find much historical data on CanDo (so much for the immortality of the Interwebs), but for some reason every time I think of it an image of a bunny comes to mind. I think it may have been the program's logo or something.

Even back then, when I was still a kid, I remember viewing these point'n'drool programming tools with disdain. There was another one called Game Constructor Kit, or something, that I found equally unappealing, mainly because I suspected the results would be bloated and slow.

I vaguely recall seeing a spate of demos (as in the Demo Scene) all created with the same point'n'drool demo maker. Not sure what the back end was, but I suspect it was something very high level and interpreted, with a fake "compiler" that just made binary data files containing scripts. The thing that struck me most about the resultant demos is that they were all basically the same. That's stuck with me ever since. The more abstracted the development environment, the less control you have over the end results, and thus every project will basically turn out to be the same program.

This is why I've always hated IDEs, especially anything with the word "Visual" in the title.

Even the argument that they make great learning tools is flawed. Personally I think it's better to start as you mean to go on. Learn the hard stuff, get over it, and get good. Never mind pissing around with toys first.

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Oh Homer
Silver badge

That reminds me...

Never had a Mac, but there was something similar on the Amiga called CanDo.

It was a bit of a novelty that quickly faded. AMOS and Blitz Basic were far more popular, and appealed more to the sort of people who might otherwise have used CanDo.

Personally I jumped straight into SAS/C. Never really saw any point in messing around with the kiddie stuff. Oh, and ARexx. All Hail ARexx!

9
3

Facebook's inflection point: Now everyone knows this greedy mass surveillance operation for what it is

Oh Homer
Silver badge
Childcatcher

Re: "care about having food to eat"

Yes, like my granny used to say; "You can't eat principles".

Not that I don't have principles, but if I'm going to become a martyr for a cause, it'll have to be for something a bit more significant than Facebook. For everything else, the "live to fight another day" approach seems far more sensible.

As for constructive dismissal, I'm fairly certain that if I told ACAS I quit because "I don't like Facebook", they'd laugh me out off their offices, and I'd still end up destitute (and probably unemployable). They'd be wrong, of course, but then explaining the significance of this to technophobic dinosaurs is about as futile as explaining why email replies should be underneath the message they're replying to, not on top.

You just get the "dead stare". It's pointless. Not only would I martyring myself for something ridiculous, and not only would nobody give a damn about my sacrifice, but none of them would even have the slightest clue why I did it.

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Oh Homer
Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: Facebook idiot count

Not entirely fair.

I was forced to create a Facebook account, under extreme protest, by a training company that claimed it was an absolute requirement of the course. In turn the course was an absolute requirement of my job. Resistance was futile.

Sorry, but there was no way I was going to quit a highly lucrative job because; "I don't like Facebook".

As soon as the course was completed, I deleted my Facebook page.

Unfortunately I predict that may not be the last time this happens. Companies are becoming increasingly insistent on using Facebook for various purposes, and I suspect this latest scandal will not deter them in the slightest.

Instead of persecuting the victims, let's have a blacklist of companies that base any of their infrastructure on Facebook, or even use it for non-critical purposes.

Yes I know. Pointless. The total number of people who would even be aware of the existence of this blacklist, would be limited to the 96 commentards in this thread.

This CA scandal, and the ensuing mainstream coverage, will only briefly enlighten the masses ... before they resume sheep-ness as usual.

Baaaa!

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Oh Homer
Silver badge
Headmaster

Wait a minute...

Isn't El Reg "free" in exactly the same way as Google and Facebook?

Really, I don't recall ever being solicited for payment by Situation Publishing.

Just sayin'.

Also, I think conflating advertising with snooping is disingenuous. The two are not synonymous, they're not even inextricable. Certainly neither Google nor Facebook seem to get that, but it's true nonetheless. There's no particular reason why a company can't just advertise, without slurping your private bits.

On the other hand, everyone hates spam. Everyone. Except spammers, obviously. So a business model that relies exclusively on spamming is doomed to failure.

On the third hand, the idea that the future of society is culture locked behind a paywall, and only avariciously rationed out in micro-transactions, is truly a dystopian nightmare.

In reality the outcome would amount to global censorship, governed by the selfish laws of capitalism. The world would fall silent, save for the privileged few with more money than they know what to do with. The poor, which is at least 80% of the global population, remember, and which is already socially isolated by inadequate access to education and communications, would be locked out of an elitist information society altogether. And the majority of the remaining 20%, leading a meagre subsistence lifestyle with little to no disposable income, would be disinclined to waste precious resources on this universal lockdown of paywall culture.

It'd be like a reversion to pre-industrial society, for all but the one-percenters. In fact it'd devolve humanity further than that, back to the middle ages, before the advent of Gutenberg.

Clearly there's a problem with the current paradigm, but it's not because of open society, it's because the gatekeepers of this open society are inadequately regulated, or in fact not really regulated at all. More fundamentally, it's because there are gatekeepers, when there really shouldn't be. Those decentralised solutions that currently lie on the fringes of society need to be adopted as global standards, pushed through by governments if necessary (and clearly it is), to ensure that Big Money can't possibly slurp your data, because Big Money no longer exists.

There's your solution. Wipe out corporatocracy, not open society.

15
2

You'll like this: Facebook probed by US watchdog amid privacy storm

Oh Homer
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Coffee/keyboard

"You are always in control"

Yes, but only in the sense that you can opt to never have a Fsckbook account in the first place.

All those privacy nuts ain't looking so nutty now, are they?

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