* Posts by David Roberts

1168 posts • joined 25 Jan 2007

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Someone tell Thorpe Lane in Suffolk their internet sucks – they're still loading the page

David Roberts
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Re: Swings and roundabouts

Three little words - East Coast Cable. Since borged into Virgin.

So there are places on the Felixstowe peninsula where you are 5 minutes walk from the countryside, 10 minutes walk from the sea, and can get 200 Mb/sec Internet over co-ax, Although apparently not in the less fashionable parts of the Trimleys.

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BT lab domain grab – 17 years after cheeky chap swiped 'em

David Roberts
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Re: Martlesham Heath Re the Tower - mountain biking

You might want to check where the mountain biking track was for the Olympics.

Not Martlesham, but surprisingly close (and not near a mountain).

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Russia threatens to set up its 'own internet' with China, India and pals – let's take a closer look

David Roberts
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Critical infrastructure

Communications have always been vital to the military.

At one one time it was more traditional communications netwroks. Telex style terminals in COMCENS with the fall back of sending morse over the bare wires if all the smart stuff had been wiped out by EMP. As far as I know everything is more sophisticated now but also more vulnerable.

The power network was a biggie; take down the National Grid and we would be starving in a week as all the chilled and frozen food went bad.

These days we seem to be almost totally reliant on the Internet for "just in time" logistics and all aspects of business and banking. This makes any (at least First World) country enormously vulnerable to network disruption. Imagine the chaos if you could not buy goods electronically and anyway nobody knew where they were.

The tactical and strategic advantages are obvious. Why take enormous civilian damage from a nuclear exchange, or massive long term drain on resources of a conventional war when you can just cripple your opponent by taking down their logistics? Victory without a shot fired? Very enticing. So every sovereign nation should be taking all possible steps to secure vital infrastructure. Having vital parts managed by a likely enemy is not a good position. Having a fall back plan is vital, as is testing it.

TL;DR - why wouldn't Russia do this? Crazy not to!

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'Urgent data corruption issue' destroys filesystems in Linux 4.14

David Roberts
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Trollface

Just when

Linus had apologised for fucking swearing.

Incoming in 3 2 1

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Tesla launches electric truck it guarantees won't break for a million miles

David Roberts
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Re: Sport truck! 0-60 in 5 seconds SA to WA

That is not such a big issue.

Think back to the early days of the railroads (especially in the USA). Railroad stops were built at regular intervals, usually in the middle of nowhere, so the steam engines could take on more fuel and water.

Retro, but regular truck stops surrounded by massive solar farms could solve that problem and also provide facilities for other travellers including tourists.

Just look back to when locomotive fuel was less energy dense.

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David Roberts
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Re: Impressive

"So you have the power sources sorted, the actual infrastructure can gradually be upgraded as required. It isn't that difficult to upgraded a substation or increase the UHV cable capacity. As long as it is gradual and not required in 5 years time. It's only a bit more difficult than getting FTTH for everyone."

Some unquantified caveats there. Having watched the progress of the build of an additonal feed from an offshore wind farm into the National Grid the progress is very slow. Infrastructure seems to be (quite sensibly) underground these days and a new link has to go through/past existing infrastructure which all takes time and planning. A lot of time seems to be taken up by archeology along the chosen route. You could of course just cover the whole country is a massive web of pylons and overhead cables.

I don't think it is fair to compare the issues of running very high power lines all over the country to running fibre down urban streets and out to country villages.

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Remember CompuServe forums? They're still around! Also they're about to die

David Roberts
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Re: First Quantum Link... then Usenet... now...

Usenet?

Still working last time i looked. (Hours not days.)

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Boffins on alert: Brace yourselves for huge gravitational wave coming within a decade

David Roberts
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Re: So which is it?

Unfortunately both.

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Thousand-dollar iPhone X's Face ID wrecked by '$150 3D-printed mask'

David Roberts
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Unhappy

Re: Meanwhile, on Qatar Airways flight QR-962 (Doha-Bali)...

They didn't miss it because I emailed a link to the news desk.

Seemed very relevant at least for Bootnotes.

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Now, now, Qualcomm... Don't play hard to get, grins Broadcom

David Roberts
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Pirate

Next, hostile

Words to the effect of "we would prefer a friendly agreement".

Hints that major shareholders are in favour of the deal.

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ARM emulator in a VM? Yup, done. Ready to roll, no config required

David Roberts
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Not as exciting as I first thought

ARM emulation seemed to be an opportunity to reverse the trend of trying to run full fat Linux on a phone or tablet.

Run Android on your PC for a full test environment for mobile phone Apps. Test run the software for the Galaxy S$n without having to buy the hardware.

Then I thought about the hardware abstraction layer. Loads of stuff on a phone and not a standard PC including compass, GPS, accelerometer, etc.

So perhaps not, or they would already be doing it with the Raspberry Pi.

Edit: perhaps people alread are and I just haven't noticed.

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Astronomers find bizarre 'zombie supernova' that just won't die

David Roberts
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Alien

We may not see it in our lifetime

But some time in the not too distant future observers will see the shadows cast by the first wave of light sails.

By then, of course, it will probably be too late to do anything.

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Brit moron tried buying a car bomb on dark web, posted it to his address. Now he's screwed

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Re: Time to start deporting the problem fast before it gets much worse!

Gonna leave Ireland kinda empty.

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David Roberts
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Trollface

No mention of any action against the sender

At a minimum there would be a false customs declaration and abuse of UPS shipping terms and conditions.

Mind still boggling at the thought of shipping (for a wild example) 2 Kg of Semtex and a detonator via white (or brown) van man with the obvious Fragile stickers plus the "really, no I mean REALLY do not throw this about in the van" instructions.

O.K. I realise that most modern explosives are very safe to handle, but still.....

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Card shark Intel bets with discrete graphics chips, shuffles AMD's GPU boss into the deck

David Roberts
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Re: Whow, those b̶u̶l̶l̶s̶h̶i̶t̶ management text generators get awfully good those days!

Does "portfolio of unmatched" mean that nobody else is this bad?

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Evil pixels: Researcher demos data-theft over screen-share protocols

David Roberts
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Alien

Outer Limits?

We have taken control of your sceen.....

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Chrome update kills unwanted ad redir... WIN A FREE iPad!!

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Re: What is this? 1997?

Well, quite.

Especially as SPAM is dying out because nobody clicks on it any more. Oh, wait.......

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P.S. You can't patch or filter stupid.

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David Roberts
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Big Brother

Kicker at the end

If your site doesn't play by Google's rules it will be disabled within Chrome.

Possibly a big step from a user blocking content with ad or script blockers to Big Daddy taking another step to be web censor. This is a difficult one because there needs to be some kind of filter (see discussion of YouTube and kids) but allowing a remote corporation to impose its world view on your world view could be the thin end of the wedge.

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Facebook's send-us-your-nudes service is coming to UK, America

David Roberts
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Coat

I assume all this technology

Works on partial photographs as well.

Including the ones where you Photoshopped in the excited donkey with the straw hat and earrings?

Or does that rely on the existing technology for tagging pictures already uploaded?

Cue a game of Photoshop whack-a-mole.

Going out for some popcorn. ->

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Londoners: Ready to swap your GP for an NHS vid doc app?

David Roberts
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FAIL

What exactly is this supposed to save?

A video consultation with a GP is unlikely to be faster than a face to face consultation.

So you don't "see" more patients.

Also, there are many things (the word palpate comes to mind) which as far as I know you can't easily do via a phone.

As others have noted there are a number of things your GP can do face to face (or whatever) as a diagnostician which can't be done over a phone. There are a raft of other services including minor surger offered by many GP practices. How does this online practice expect to provide such things?

Looks very much like an attempt to avoid all the infrastructure costs and get a book of generally fit patients who rarely if ever need a consultation. Plus hypochondriacs.

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Post-Brexit economy SAVED: Posh-nosh truffle thrives in Wales

David Roberts
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Coat

Holm Oak

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/common-non-native-trees/holm-oak/

Naturalised in the UK. Been here since the 1500s.

So presumably the trick is to get the truffles to grow on the large number of Holm Oaks already here. Loads of them in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Hmmm....might just take the dog for a walk....--->

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Europe's one-patent-court-to-rule-them-all rocked by 'Brexit, EPO reforms, German laws'

David Roberts
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Re: Brexit?

Hmmm....noted the downvote already, I was just about to respond that the patent office to be created is European, but how it is to be formed and the relationship to the EPO isn't really clear from this article.

If it is going to be an EU body to "rubber stamp" the output from the EPO then this could be an issue.

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Off-brand tablets look done, but big players are growing

David Roberts
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Windows or Android?

I assume that most (non-Apple) tablets are Android but this doesn't seem to be called out in the figures.

I use an original Sony Xperia Z 10" tablet for reading stuff and it is still working fine (apart from the USB port). Just as well I splashed out on the charging cradle as well.

Full HD screen gives good quality viewing so why would I upgrade? Then again I am mainly using 5+ year old PCs for Windows/Linux.

Tablets (apart from iPads) don't seem to have the relentless upgrade push in the UK that you see for phones. Then again most are Wifi only so aren't a major part of the mobile suppliers' revenue stream.

Buying my first tablet gave me a major upgrade in portable functionality (although not the full replacement of a Netbook I was hoping for due to lack of serious software). At the moment I can't see a newer tablet giving me a step change in functionality.

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Birds are pecking apart Australia's national broadband network

David Roberts
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Trollface

Wrong approach

Just soak the covering in cyanide.

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Hackers abusing digital certs smuggle malware past security scanners

David Roberts
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Antivirus doesn’t check signed code?

Does the OS check that the signature is valid (correct checksum or whatever)?

If the OS doesn't check that signed code is correctly signed then what is the point of signing code?

If the OS has robust checks then it might be just about acceptable for the antivirus to skip a detailed check because it knows code with a fake signature won't be allowed to run anyway. Not that this seems particularly desirable but it would be interesting to know how much of a real world problem this is.

Are we all at immediate risk or is this just a case of laziness/performance optimisation by the antivirus community with no real impact on the end user? Serious question. The article doesn’t say how worried we should be (if at all). No "get updating" message, for example.

The obvious problem is a known virus correctly signed with a compromised certificate, which apparently isn't checked. The problem cited where a signature is just copied from good code and the check is skipped may be a problem or just a red herring.

As others have said, name and shame please.

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America's 2020 Census systems are a $15bn cyber-security tire fire

David Roberts
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Paris Hilton

I am sure they have a fully tested and resourced plan

For a fall back to the previous manual system should the new electronic system fail to deliver.

Nobody would be rash enough to consider the system too important to fail, would they?

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Caption this: Capita staff picket a bunch o'er pickled pensions

David Roberts
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FAIL

Re: Call me humourless

Came here to post much the same.

Poor bastards being fucked over by senior management is not remotely humorous. Especially having been out on the occasional picket line myself.

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Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

David Roberts
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Re: Perl

I think the more accurate hating response is "other people's Perl".

I love Perl because for uncomplicated entry level tasks it has all the tools and is simple to write. I've used for all sorts of trivial things including monitoring an early ADSL modem over a serial link and tweaking the parameters when required.

I worked for a while with some very large applications written in Perl. As a Perl user not a full time programmer I found it slow and hard at times but generally understandable.

However geek level Perl programmers have to constantly resist the urge to write a complete programme as one long regular expression because "it's obvious what it does"

For the depths of sin, search for "obfuscated Perl". Beautiful to look at but really, that is not what the language was designed for (I hope).

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Vietnam bans Bitcoin as payment for anything

David Roberts
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Interesting that India

Who recently had a crackdown on paper currency which was running the hidden economy seem perfectly O.K. with bitcoin and the like.

Is this about the internal hidden economy or about exporting currency?

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Can you get from 'dog' to 'car' with one pixel? Japanese AI boffins can

David Roberts
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Pint

But can it tell the difference

Between a dog and a fox?

Hint 5 * ->

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Iceland's Pirate Party loses four MPs in new elections

David Roberts
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Burst of popularity then fail to deliver

Remind you of any UK parties?

Then again going into coalition might have been even worse.

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Mozilla devs discuss ditching Dutch CA, because cryptowars

David Roberts
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Re: I was going to...

Very cryptic.

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F-35s grounded by spares shortage

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Money to buy new but not repair?

Why does this remind me of wind farms?

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India to launch moon mission in March 2018

David Roberts
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Unhappy

Sewage system

I understand that they do have a dry sewage system of sorts in parts of the country.

Crap onto a bed of ashes and some "night soil" operative collects it later for fertiliser.

However in the overcrowded areas they just shit in the streets. So decent lower density housing may be a start, but massive cultural changes are also required.

A documentary by Sue Perkins is showing at the moment and even where they have sewers they seem to discharge raw sewage straight into the rivers.

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Hewlett-Packard history lost to Santa Rosa fires

David Roberts
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Unhappy

Last traces of the original HP

Slowly being erased.

The monster that had the name in later years bore no resemblance to the original ethical business.

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Healthcare insurance cheat-bot bros Zenefits cough up $1m to make SEC probe go away

David Roberts
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Trollface

Source code available?

I could probably use some Cisco, Microsoft et al certifications to plump up my CV.

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The UK's super duper 1,000mph car is being tested in Cornwall

David Roberts
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Trollface

Makes HS2 seem a bit of a slug.

Think of the money you could save the economy if you could travel from London to Edinburgh in around 24 minutes.

Have a struggle drinking your coffee though.

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Smart? Don't ThinQ so! Hacked robo-vacuum could spy on your home

David Roberts
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Coat

Hom bot?

Really?

My sordid mind is reminded of the homosexual smuggler who was caught with a false bottom in his suitcase.

Not of a modern intelligent self motivating vacuum cleaner.

Left pondian marketing team? Remember, kiddies, when left of the pond never ask to bum a fag.

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Go on IBMers, tell us what you really think

David Roberts
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Obligatory Dilbert

dilbert.com/strip/1992-07-05

Took me a while to find it. There are so many.

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Knock, knock? Oh, no one there? No problem, Amazon will let itself in via your IoT smart lock

David Roberts
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Coat

Re: Porches

I usta ave onna dem porches.

Traded it for a beemer, init.

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Humble civil servant: Name public electric car chargers after me

David Roberts
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One small problem

If they are going to line the pavements with charging points, this is going to stop people parking half on and half off the pavements.

A good thing some might say, however there are a lot of roads where this is the only way for the residents to park and still leave enough room for vehicles to drive down the road.

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UK's NHS to pilot 'Airbnb'-style care service in homeowners' spare rooms

David Roberts
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Needs more thought

B&B to unlock beds has possibilities. I assume that all food and drinks are supplied, and meals just need microwaving. You couldn't rely on the home owner to source suitable (or not, depending on the hospital) food. No caring required, just simple services.

For me, there are two big issues.

(1) Visitors. Do you want the family and friends dropping in at all times of the day and night?

(2) Mission creep. This could work for the mentally competent but frail who just need a week or two to get back on their feet. However desperate times encourage desperate measures and it won't be long before more difficult patients are palmed off by hospital administrators.

One thing not clear. Is each provider on a £1k retainer per month or is it pro rata? If you are running at 40% occupancy you get all the hassle for 40% of the money.

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Boffins trapped antiprotons for days, still can't say why they survived the Big Bang

David Roberts
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Holmes

My brain can handle too few dimensions, but...

...suppose that there was a point in the dimension loosely called time when everything was at rest. Then there was a big bang of sorts and half the Universe went left and the other half went right and one half was matter and the other half anti-matter. Not 100% pure split, just a bit of contamination in each direction.

Assume that our observations are limited to our half of the observable Universe. That is, we can see back to the centre but not beyond that into the other half. Not totally unreasonable as we are observing historical phenomena in our half of the Universe using various sorts of radiation which were created a very long time ago, from just after the bang to more recent.

Think of seeing one side of a light source. You will never see the other half because all the light from that is travelling away from you and getting further away each second. So two roughly balanced halves where what we see as time is moving in opposite directions.

TL;DR we will never see the anti-matter because it went that way.

All scifi garble, but how would you disprove it?

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You may not know it, but you've already arrived at DevOps Land

David Roberts
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Windows

DevOps washing.

Good article. Very true.

Once DevOps became trendy everyone wanted to be seen to be doing it.

Cue stand ups and scrums added to same old same old.

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Oh, and developers and operations staff working together? Who would have thought it would have taken so long to come up with the concept?

Those old guys who pretended to invent computing must have been pretty dumb, huh?

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Jeff Bezos fires off a blue dart, singes Elon Musk and SpaceX

David Roberts
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Flame

Cool! Calor gas rocket!

I wonder if they do a scaled down version?

I already have the Calor gas.....

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Sarahah anonymous feedback app told: 'You're riddled with web app flaws'

David Roberts
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Windows

While I'm here - Sarahah?

These names, why?

1st attempt I saw Sahara.

Now Sara_hah? Sarah_ah? Sa_rah_hah?

Too old to be down with the kidz.

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David Roberts
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Trollface

We contacted our developer

Jus the one, then?

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Google and Intel cook AI chips, neural network exchanges – and more

David Roberts
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Coat

Re: Remember folks

Have you tried wiping with those new shiny plastic notes? Reminds me of the bad old days of Izal hard toilet paper.

Always carry a copy of the Daily Mail in your pocket in case of emergencies.

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David Roberts
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Re: Remember folks: Hoots Mon!

All gentle joshing aside the EU response so far to Catalonia might prove instructive. They aren't bending over backwards to welcome a potential new member state.

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MC Digital Realty – not a DJ, not a burger, not at risk of soil liquefaction

David Roberts
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Unhappy

There's no I in Realty

But i can't stop reading it as Digital Reality.

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