* Posts by Tinslave_the_Barelegged

89 posts • joined 6 Aug 2016

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Microsoft's AI is so good it steered Renault into bottom of the F1 league

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Joke

If Microsoft did F1....

We'd have a press release about how Renault beat Mercedes in a secret test which later turned out to be a race between Renault F1 and an old lady driving a Merc A160. (Readers may have forgotten the infamous MS "benchmarks" showing how a heavily optimised Windows system could outperform a vanilla Red Bull ^h^h^h Hat server)

Meanwhile Informix sues the lot of them for having aerodynamic Wingz.....

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New HMRC IT boss to 'recuse' herself over Microsoft decisions

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Linux

The Elop solution

Presumably this ends with Microsoft buying out HMRC and then dismantling it, saying tax isn't part of its core business, something everyone except the person receiving the brown envelope in Cayman knows.

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

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Cats are neither a solid nor a liquid.

> if you are anywhere near a Gator, there is an element of risk,

Years ago, I stupidly went to a zoo in Malawi. There was a sign - "Crocodiles" - pointing down a narrow fenced lane, the fencing just some chicken wire, not especially secure. This lane ended, and I looked across to a pool, wondering where the crocodile(s) were? I then glanced down to find the rather large croc at my feet*, with just some chicken wire between it an me.

The science is that I discovered a Boolean variation of Schrödinger's cat - you can have clean undies or you can be standing next to a crocodile with nothing between you except chicken wire.

-

* It was probably old, toothless, used to visitors or couldn't be bothered. It wasn't dead, and neither am I, I think, so I'm guessing...

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Indian call centre scammers are targeting BT customers

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> I got a call from my ISP (Plusnet - BT owned) the other day,

Your problem is not a hard one - it's Plusnet - Just say no....

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New York Police scrap 36,000 Windows smartphones

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: WTF?

> Today I would be very careful to start any long-term project on Windows -

You must be a very young AC. In the mid 90s, just after Microsoft "discovered" the Internet, we embarked on a web application suite for a small but global financial services company. It was a $1m+ project. and we and the devopers were in frequent contact with MS during the development. We developed according to MS's strategies, but they kept changing these so fast as reality in the Internet world hit them that evebntually we realised we chose the wring platform. (The clincher was having to snailmail CDs containing 30+ mb of activex software to each global user as downloading the bloatware was too dodgy in those dial-up days, but a bloated client was the only way it would all work.)

Later in the 90s, I was with a company, that, on my advice, and t my later regret, as at that stage I trusted MS, moved off a greenscreen AIX application to an MS client-server development of Visual Basic against SQLServer. Again, the squirms in strategic approach meant we were forever chasing the latest marketing shifts, and while it worked, it did not leave one convinced of the abilty to extact value from the platform, as the next shiney thing distracted Microsoft.

I learnt my lesson. After that, if the answer was a Microsoft product, the next question was how to ringfence it. This became more and more difficult over the years as they honed their lock-in skills.

What is shocking is to to see this approach still in 2017.

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US Navy suffers third ship collision this year

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Good job it wasn't a lighthouse

Tere's the story about the South African yachtsman, Bruce Dalling, sailing single-handed a little wooden 25' Vertue from Hong Kong to South Africa. He was asleep and woke to the noise of engines, to find himself surrounded by ships and being buzzed by helicopters. He switched on the radio to found his boat had sailed right into a US Indian Ocean fleet (or vice versa). He was told somewhat arrogantly "Identify yourself" on the radio, and famously replied "Vertue Carina, single handed skipper onboard, bound for Durban. Will not attack unless severely provoked."

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Red Hat banishes Btrfs from RHEL

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> For those that misread this awkward sentence in the same way I did.

Ah, ta for that. I thought he was implying that for some unfathomable reason people would want a free operating system with a non-free (or disputably free) filesystem.

ZFS is great. I am sure, but a general purpose FS it certainly is not. But Red Hat's decision is pretty inexplicable. What harm can there be in including BTRFS in their mix of supported file systems, especially at this stage in its development. It definitely smells like a political decision.

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Guess who's hiking their prices again? Come on, it's as easy as 123 Reg

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: I've been using Virtualnames AKA UKServers recently...

Same here. Used them for some around 9 years, for some hosting as well as domains. Rarely an issue, fast response when they do occur and no silly marketing.

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Not another Linux desktop! Robots cross the Uncanny Valley

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Joke

Misleading headline

I thought it was going to be another article on Gnome....

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Jocks' USO block shock: BT's 10Mbps proposals risk 'rural monopoly'

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> B4RN is a great community project, but it's not feasible for nationwide deployment.

And who provides the backhaul, anyway....?

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> Here is BT saying "yes we'll do it"

But what are they saying they will do? Or rather, who are "BT"? Both commentators and politicians sem to fail to differentiate between BT and OpenReach, a distinction now made clarer by Ofcom. If it is BT the parent group of OpenReach, making an "offer", then it is right to be cautious about monopoly extension, if that means people can only use BT via the OpenReach infrastructure. But if the offer is from OpenReach, then the way to go can only be regulation of a de facto monopoly, along with a service obligation.

Regarding other (the "English counterparts" in the above post) "subsidising rural services, that is a pretty blinkered view. Apart from misunderstanding issues of common good, one could say that rural people subsidise more urban counterparts when the urbanites come to the rural areas demanding urban-style access, which believe me, they do.

Disclaimer: We live in an area that suffers from poor infrastructure, one of those affected by the way this pans out. BT's offer of 99% may sound good, but that 1% equates to a hang of lot of households left out in the cold. The country, Scotland, England, Wales or UK, whichever way you want to look at it, needs decent infrastructure, which it currently does not have. "The market" has failed to provide except in some, mostly urban, areas; trusting market forces to resolve this is both reckless and doomed to fail again.

By the way, I cant find a definition of this mythical "10Mb/s" requirement. We can get about a 7.5Mb/s connection, but because the rest of the infrastructure is ancient radio links and dry string (this is Scotland - string is designed to work when wet...) we are lucky if our throughput hits 4Mb/s. On some Monday mornings, presumably after some reset, we get better speeds, which implies that the issue in many cases, such as ours, is that BT/OpenReach simply are not bothering to improve old 20CN networks.

They can't be trusted. Regulate them to compliance.

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70% of Windows 10 users are totally happy with our big telemetry slurp, beams Microsoft

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Joke

Re: 29% Windows users

> this is based on the assumption that

Just need a gender assumption in there for the full google employee of the month award for gratuitous misdirection by science*

(Note icon...)

*-acknowledgement: D. Adams.

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Foot-long £1 sausage roll arrives

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> Wonder how much %age of actual meat in there?

It's a sausage roll. Questions about meat content should therefore be filtered out for continued sanity.

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Petition calls for Adobe Flash to survive as open source zombie

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

No problem

I can't believe this is even being discussed when systemd plans to include a flash player. Sure it will only run as root, but that's good, right?

(yes, it still hurts.... Thanks for asking)

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Universal Service Oh... forget the Obligation. BT offers to stump up £600m for 10Mbps

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

99%?

As long as the 1% is in urban areas where people have a choice of infrastructure providers, and as long as that 1% is defined in law backed by heavy penalties, maybe this is OK. But where BT are the monopoly infrastructure provider there absolutely needs to be a regulatory requirement for them to act to deliver decent service, which mainly means rural areas they can easily walk away from saying they represent "1%" and can therefore be abandoned.

But no matter what, the only thing that will make BT do the right thing is proper, penalty-equipped regulation. A deal excluding regulation is not only capitulation, but condemns the UK, especially the rural area increasingly dependent on digital services, to third rate status. How many Reg readers have horror stories after trusting BT's statements once too often?

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After we ran our article about the fate of .sk, the nation of Slovakia flew into a rage. And now, here's part two...

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Let's see

- Blaming foreigners for something that turns out to be under your own control all along

- Politicising a single issue under flag of convenience

- Dodgy funding for cover right wing populist grouping

Gosh, sounds familiar, but I can't think where we've heard this before...

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Firefox doesn't need to be No 1 – and that's OK, 'cos it's falling off a cliff

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: more needed than ever

> Already done. palemoon.org

Yup, default here. A pity their version of Thunderbird, Fossamail, has been discontinued.

And if you really want Chrome but correctly distrust Google, Chromium is available. If your tin foil hat still retains a charge with Chromium. the iridium browser project may be to your liking - https://iridiumbrowser.de/

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Eggheads identify the last animal that will survive on Earth until the Sun dies

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Alien

Hedging bets

This is why I follow @mrwaterbear, aka Tardigrade Supreme, on Twitter. He may be a bit overbearing in demanding human subjection, but it'll be worth it in the long run.

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Linus Torvalds may have damned systemd with faint praise

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: It's a phase young programmers go through

> but the idea of having a proper multi-user system does appeal

LTSP is your friend. http://ltsp.org

Did this for a small rural school in the early 2000s using equipment no longer needed at work.. They never grasped the full opportunity because of their political masters believed computers==microsoft, but it worked well. With Pis as terminals these days, this must be a satisfying exercise to complete.

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Pint

Brilliantly summed up, with just the right level of restrained anger.

A virtual pint on its way

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Ofcom creates watchdog specifically to make sure Openreach is behaving

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: we're watching you...

> the majority of members having no affiliation with BT Group.

Yet... Remember BT's gift to Patricia Hewitt. They have Phorm in behaving this way.

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Japan joins quantum space race with microsatellite demo

Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Mushroom

Bang!

<BOGGLE> The bang just heard was the sound of my brain shutting down.

Previous form on this, given sufficiently complicated input, eg the wonderful physics question designed to induce buffer overload "Describe the Universe and give two examples."

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GSM gateway ban U-turn casts doubt on 8-year prosecution in Blighty

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> rip-off merchants the carriers were.

With my mobile provider, I can phone overseas inc the US, Aus, South Africa etc for one tenth of the per minute price of phoning within the UK. On the one hand, great for phoning overseas; on the other hand, who is making loads off the UK calls? I suspect they are still rip-off merchants, just a little better at hiding.

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Multics resurrected: Proto-Unix now runs on Raspberry Pi or x86

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Primos

In the late 80s, early 90s, the company I was with was moving offices. It ran on a PR1MOS-based COBOL suite, and we needed new hardware to cover the move - I can't recall the model. No bother, said Prime, it's all yours for a mere £2million. My boss at the time, who knew full well the writing on the wall for Prime said "Think again." He ended up getting two systems and paying £900k. It took another 10 years to port the COBOL to another platform. Unfortunately that platform was Dynix/ptx....

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May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Final Conflict?

You would imagine two grown men could Leia aside their differences.

4
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Extreme trainspotting on Britain's highest (and windiest) railway

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Reasonable compromise

> you get *that* sort of tourist

My wife once worked at the local visitor centre here in the North West Highlands. Most of the land is community owned here, and loch fishing costs just £5 a day, at any loch over an area of nearly 200 sq.km, literally hundreds of lochs. Some bloke fully kitted in tweeds came in in the morning to but a day ticket, and returned that evening demanding his money back. He claimed he was diddled because he could not fish any of the lochs from his car. So yes, *that* type of tourist.

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: 1,097m (3,599ft)

> I'm just waiting for the post

"I can drive for hours and still be in my own property."

"Yes, I had a car like that once...."

(Age of gag unknown, but truth eternal)

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NASA: Bring on the asteroid, so we can chuck a fridge at it

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Nkandla

> binne in sy moer in

Donner, that takes me back a bit....

0
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Don't panic, but Linux's Systemd can be pwned via an evil DNS query

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: If THIS isn't a reason to hate systemd...

> Fixing these issues is going to be a giant game

This is progress, mind you, as it's surprising the official response wasn't the usual "WONTFIX - upstream DNS is to blame"

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Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still being thwarted by kangaroos

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Obvious solution

This is the era of IoT. Obviously all that is necessary is to implant all kangaroos with bluetooth so that they can be tracked.

What's that you say, Skippy? They're wild? Well since when has reality trampled on IoT's promise?

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ICO fines Morrisons for emailing customers who didn't want to be emailed

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Poor legal filtering

It's strange how corporates make up reasons for NOT doing something based on what they interpret are "health and safety" laws*, but are happy to interpret wrongly information laws.

* - It's like Kryten's space corps directives in Red Dwarf sometimes - can't do that because three ginger haired toupee wearers are in the car park

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Please do not scare the pigeons – they'll crash the network

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Worked at a place in London in the early 90s, where pigeons lived on the roof space, immediately above a suspended ceiling. This was the days of IBM Type-1 cable and concentrators, which were slung on the suspended ceiling framework. So a standard piece of IT kit was a pigeon poo scraper, literally to clear the blockage when disconnections occurred.

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Donald Trumped: Comey says Prez is a liar – and admits he's a leaker

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

If I were on that side of the pond....

....I would buy shares in companies producing Teflon. Maybe painting yourself with the stuff turns your face an odd colo(u)r.

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Australia to float 'not backdoors' that behave just like backdoors to Five-Eyes meeting

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: A reminder on perspective.

> Is this a cost effective use of the Bns of £/A$/C$/$ all these governments

> seem hell bent on spending?

Good point - so now we know - the "necessary hashtags" actually means "column not wide enough" in a spreadsheet of backhanders to the usual military industrial suspects.

2
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Silicon Graphics' IRIX and Magic Desktop return as Linux desktop

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

XFS - Ta SGI

SGI did have the decency to liberate the XFS file system for Linux, still a good option, so thanks for that.

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Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Optional.... is there an option?

I mainly use palemoon and firefox, but recently I found chromium makes twitter usable, quite noticeably faster than firefox. Chromium is supposed to be chrome with the more obnoxious google data-gathering removed.

So I was surprised a few days ago, following a link about webrtc, to see that a German group, iridium.de, has gone further, using the chromium base to strip out, they say, even more google snooping. I suppose iridium is to chromium what palemoon is to firefox.

But back to the topic - privoxy and ublock origin seems to block almost all unwanted content. Hard to see a downside to a web with few, and simple, adverts.

0
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Microsoft founder Paul Allen reveals world's biggest-ever plane

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Interesting

> I wonder why the tails are separate rather than sharing a wing,

Yes, it seems odd, but I would imagine the tail, rather like the good old Vampire, would be fried by the launching rocket, which would either leave the solution as raising the tails or leaving a blast gap. But it would be interesting to understand the engineering that allows this plane to cope with the torsional stresses it must surely experience, and it is somehow surprising that the mid-wing section is so thin. Or to put it another way, I wonder how much the two tails will move in relation to each other, especially when banking.

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Don't rely on fitness trackers to track number of calories burned

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> These things are about targets, trends, motivation and comparing one day to another.

I wouldn't have one of these anywhere near me, but observationally the main use seems to be one-upmanship against the next data subject wearing a similar device, so just a variation of the last aspect of the statement seems to be a significant factor. As such, these warnings of inaccuracy are probably appropriate, as people could be basing their "targets, trends and motivations" against metrics that may not be as healthy as expected.

It's easy to see a market for such devices, but gosh, in the modern context, it's hard to see any valid overall good of a mass market in them.

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Google wants to track your phone and credit card through meatspace

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: We're already being asked for email addresses at the till

> This is preparation for allowing iPlayer access only if you have a TV licence.

Or huge juicy personal detail to show that nice Mr Murdoch when he gets his chequebook out

5
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'Tabby's Star' intrigues astro-boffins with brief 'dimming event'

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: Wow ! BBC "Horizon" managed to inform ...

> OTT

They spent too much on that irritating background musak too. Why is it obligatory to fill in a decent documentary with pointless, unhelpful jingles? </GRUMP>

5
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What is dead may never die: a new version of OS/2 just arrived

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: But OS/2 did give us...

<Shrug>

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged
Pint

But OS/2 did give us...

...jfs. The linux version of jfs is from OS/2. A pity IBM can't find it in its heart to liberate jfs/2, but jfs is the only linux filesystem with which I have never lost data in 20 years of linux use. (I know xfs isn't the beast it once was, substituting @ signs for real data, but the pain hasn't yet gone away.)

5
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systemd-free Devuan Linux hits version 1.0.0

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> I have had so many random and weird failures with systemd

A favourite at the moment is one of four apparently identical desktops machines, one of which is stuck in the boot process allegedly trying to make a network connection, either before or after connecting to an NFS server. All is fine in recovery mode and it works as expected, but when systemd has full rein, it spits a dummy and won't tell me why. It may be logging loads in its binary database, but if it won't condescend to letting you log in to look, it's no use. This is not progress.

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> arch linux with openRC. To avoid issues

> in future on my desktop

Manjaro (based on Arch) had (may still have) an openrc spin, and indeed, one based on XFCE. I ran it for a while, because it's easy to install. but systemd is tenacious in making demands, and all kinds of little issues came up, all relating to systemd dependencies, and this with XFCE, which should make few such demands. Can't blame those who ran up the openrc spin, because Devuan's timescale shows how difficult it must be to keep systemd out.

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Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Best wishes to Devuan

It's a pity that they weren't able to release in 2015, when it was possible mostly to remove systemd from Debian itself, but it seems they must have been gearing up to understand the way systemd has become a dependency even when you don't use it as an init, exactly the issue Devuan warned about.

I mostly use systemd on Debian servers now, but that's because it's becoming harder not to. It's possible on a server, but you just start hitting little irritants. That demonstrates that systemd is far more than the init it claimed to be replacing. I once swapped MTAs from sendmail to postfix at a company with about 400 users. This was done in the middle of the working day, with no loss of service. That's what the unix way of building blocks for services allows, but choosing to run an alternative init is now what systemd expressly prevents in many use cases. Such a pity that Debian, for one, didn't remain neutral in this.

I'd love Devuan to gain credibility and become a plausible alternative.

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How's that for a remote login? NASA puts New Horizons probe to sleep 3.5 billion miles away

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: sudo shutdown -h now

> Oh, I meant '-r'

A low blow, sir or madam, especially as my psychiatrist assured me it was simple accident anyone could make, unfortunately repeated.

1
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Law Commission pulls back on official secrets laws plans after Reg exposes flawed report

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Reflection of societal trajectory

'“This is the latest hypocritical move from a Government intent on operating in the shadows while monitoring every move the rest of us make"'

I've notice on a number of occasions contestants on TV game shows claiming they are civil servants but are not allowed to say what they do. Also, hosts asking obsequiously "May I ask what part of the civil service you work in." as though secrecy was the norm. Now if people genuinely were in a role requiring secrecy, one would hope that they would not be on frivolous TV shows. But the fear is that this is a reflection of the age, when government and government departments can conveniently claim secrecy, which stifles discussion at source. When this approach starts happening trivially, imagine the misuses to which government can put such laws.

Thanks to Duncan Campbell and El Reg for keeping an eye on such excesses.

10
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It's 30 years ago: IBM's final battle with reality

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: The Man In The High Data Centre

Bloke at our small village local being cagey about what he did at IBM. Eventually I twigged and said "Oh, you're working on Pink?" He seemed amazed that anyone would know about it, and eventually chilled, but it struck me that little episode was a good analogy for the problems with the ill fated IBM/Apple dalliance.

4
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'No deal better than bad deal' approach to Brexit 'unsubstantiated'

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

> Hardly an unbiased viewpoint, is it?

Not sure bias comes into it, as it was not a report of opinion. The report is there for the reading, and the evidence it took from contributors/witnesses in the open. For example Davis said that no plans had been made for a "no deal" scenario, and he did not know about the EHIC as he had not thought about it. It's not bias to point out that that is a rather cavalier approach to issues which are rapidly proving to be more than the short term political gaming that characterise it so far.

8
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Lochs, rifle stocks and two EPIC sea gates: Thomas Telford's Highland waterway

Tinslave_the_Barelegged

Re: One small suggestion

> Loch Oich Get Orf my Land

We have right-to-roam legislation in Scotland, so "Get Orf my Land" shouldn't be heard here., and if it is, can safely be ignored.

Re the fear of monotony, it's not likely in the Great Glen as it is utterly stunning, but you could divert to Glen Roy to see the "parallel roads" that caused so much geological headscratching. I'd recommend the site undiscoveredscotland.co.uk for suggestions for roads less travelled.

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