* Posts by Whitter

733 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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Home taping revisited: A mic in each hand, pointing at speakers

Whitter
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Boffin

Re: Gapless Playback

According to pub chat, that the tracks are encoded in 2 second blocks or so, and the replay software just decompresses all the blocks, which likely includes empty space at the end of the last block, rather than stopping the track when the total track time (as stored in the header) has elapsed.

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Google slaps mute button on stupid ads that nag you to buy stuff you just looked at

Whitter
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Mushroom

Re: Can't remember the last time I...

It's rather odd that given all this personalised ad tracking, they have yet to flag people who just don't click on ads and so don't bother showing them any. A clear win for both the user and advertiser. Google is the only looser. Ah! I see the problem now...!

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Why did I buy a gadget I know I'll never use?

Whitter
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Coat

Boil?

Quarter then stir fry.

I'm Scottish.

I like to fry.

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IBM lobs sueball at travel site Expedia for using some old Prodigy patents

Whitter
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... and keep updating them

An updated patent, almost by definition, cannot be novel w.r.t. the previous patent application and thus should be rejected immediately. Updates are meant to be for clarity, not to change the content of a patent application. However, I imagine the true process for the big patent companies is not quite the same as for everybody else. I mean, X thousand truly "novel" (not just clever an new) every year? Not likely.

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UK lacks engineering and tech skills to make government's industrial strategy work – report

Whitter
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Headmaster

... a prime example of this lowest common denominator approach

Re. Maths Mastery: that would be "the lowest", not "the lowest common denominator".

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Tech giants at war: Google pulls plug on YouTube in Amazon kit

Whitter
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Boffin

How does it know?

That was the same thinking I had. But poking about to surreptitiously ID a device type and discriminate against it? Sounds like a GDPR case in waiting.

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Sucks to be a... chief data officer, when they're being told: Boost revenues

Whitter
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Unhappy

monetising data

Will new ideas for monetizing data changing the purpose for which that data was originally was collected? I guess the rest of the board haven't read the GDPR then.

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The End of Abandondroid? Treble might rescue Google from OTA Hell

Whitter
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Vendor layer

From my own POV, the vendor-layer has only ever been a problem, not a boon.

And certainly not something I want to pay for. I'll but the phone, but not your lock-in thanks.

Anything that simplifies the vendor-added layer into something that does not get in the way with patches (and ideally, something that can be removed or changed) the better.

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Jingle bells, IBM tells more staff it is D-day ♫

Whitter
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Unhappy

lure of a redundancy payment

What rather surprises me as an onlooker is that there is anyone still left outwith low-wage employment zones. Everyone knows they plan to shut-up-shop anywhere else, but they have been taking rather a long time to actually do so, which can only have a cumulative negative effect on the performance of staff who are waiting interminably for their inevitable pink-slip.

At least do the decent thing given the company strategy: get on with properly funded redundancies and put your current staff (whom you have a duty of care to) out of their misery.

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Mythical broadband speeds to plummet in crackdown on ISP ads

Whitter
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Re: Use median speeds instead

Or better yet, lower quartile or P10, as 49% is a lot of wiggle room.

And require that the lower value is always at least twice as visible as any other (be that mean, median, upper quartile, P90 or whatever)

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Car tax evasion has soared since paper discs scrapped

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

I was under the impression that the system automatically checked every UK licensed vehicle for a current valid tax payment, removed those with a current SORN declaration and then pestered the rest for payment.

Is that later pestering section failing? Not being done thanks to overculling staff? Are there a lot of false SORN declarations?

Drivers forgetting should have little to no impact if the system worked as adverstised, so what is wrong with the adverts?

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Anonymized location-tracking data proves anything but: Apps squeal on you like crazy

Whitter
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Mushroom

company downplays the value of ... "mobile location exhaust data"

Anyone else immediately think of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Trek_VI:_The_Undiscovered_Country#Plot

... Spock and McCoy modify a photon torpedo to home in on the exhaust emissions of Chang's vessel...

Icon for the end result (rather than a youtube url)

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Uber loses appeal against employment rights for workers

Whitter
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Independence of expert comments?

"IPSE drives on with Uber partnership

Posted on: Thursday 27th of April 2017 14:14

IPSE is committed to representing all self-employed people in the UK. We are therefore delighted to announce a new partnership with Uber that strengthens IPSE’s position as the most influential voice for the self-employed in the UK.

The new venture will see IPSE offer a bespoke membership package to drivers who use Uber, the popular app which connects riders with licensed private hire drivers."

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No venture capital please, we're British: Why a pair of storage startups went it alone

Whitter
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Underachieving

Is that VC talk for "likely to still exist 10 years from now"?

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'Lambda and serverless is one of the worst forms of proprietary lock-in we've ever seen in the history of humanity'

Whitter
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Boffin

I may not be in DevOps, but this looks a killer quote (if true...?)

"We've heard from our customers, if you cross $100,000 a month on AWS, they'll negotiate your bill down," said Polvi. "If you cross a million a month, they'll no longer negotiate with you because they know you're so locked that you're not going anywhere. That's the level where we're trying to provide some relief."

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Health quango: Booze 'evidence' not Puritan enough, do us another

Whitter
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Thumb Down

Impartial advice?

"... which had commissioned the researchers for impartial advice."

Quite clearly they commissioned (and got) the advice they wanted. Impartiality wasn't at the races.

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USB stick found in West London contained Heathrow security data

Whitter
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Re: How as this even possible?

Compare and contrast:

"We ... are confident that Heathrow remains secure".

We have ... launched an internal investigation to understand how this happened”

Leaking security files obtained outwith the controlled distribution list is itself a security risk. Thus until you know how it happened and can verify you've plugged that hole, you cannot declare Heathrow safe.

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Licensing rejig and standard price rises set for Windows Server 2016

Whitter
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Meh

Long term cost projections

What percentage is reasonable to put into the "once we're in they'll screw us" column of the cost projection spreadsheet?

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Tories spared fine after being told off by ICO for election telemarketing

Whitter
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Mushroom

ICO or police?

If the law was broken, then its the police / CPS that should be making the call.

Not a political appointee.

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Another day, another cryptocurrency miner lurking in a Google Chrome extension

Whitter
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Boffin

HOSTS file

Coin-Hive.com is an obvious must: any others?

And for an Android handset: implement via uBlock Origin or the like?

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HMRC's switch to AWS killed a small UK cloud business

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

...environments rated to OFFICIAL and OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE

Are these environments really capable of meeting the GDPR requirements, or is it just the same fig-leaf as was/is used for Privacy Shield (or whatever its being called these days)?

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Let's dig into how open source could KO the Silicon Valley chat silos

Whitter
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Meh

Re: Quick - call a sociologist

In forum software of yesteryear, posts are often editable for a short while so typos can be corrected. There is usually a flag that the post has been edited and sometimes a history. Other platforms allow editing at any time until the next post is made (at which point all previous posts in that thread become non-user-editable), or a combination of the two. Or edit whenever and so what - its just a forum board.

It seems odd that FB didn't take any notice of who people like to edit/maintain their posts on a public(ish) thread-based conversation model given all the prior history. Probably just because they didn't need to, so less work.

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You can't find tech staff – wah, wah, wah. Start with your ridiculous job spec

Whitter
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Meh

Not specific to IT

companies claiming there aren't enough "good people" and "failing schools/education" is commonplace, and for very common reasons:

a) They won't pay enough to recruit the skilled people that are already present (except at C level)

b) They won't pay enough to keep the skilled people they already have, so typically leak skills

c) They won't provide training to create new skill sets of use to them

d) HR interpret all requests for "would be nice to have" as "must have", resulting in impossible skill sets

e) They want to replace experienced staff with new-starts to reduce staff costs but retain all the benefits of expert staff to maintain company performance. Hint: you can't.

f) Poaching good staff can be more difficult than you think: its not just about money. Skilled technical people expect a combination of poor management and no loyalty from most management, certainly faceless new management, and thus need to factor-in the risk of being replaced at the drop-of-a-hat by notionally (and erroneously) cheaper new-starts by a potential new employer

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Microsoft Azure ████ secret ██ █████ ██ US govt's ███ ███ centers

Whitter
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Boffin

"Secret" isn't a very high classification level

It sounds very important of course, but isn't.

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Raspberry Pi burning up? Microsoft's recipe can save it and AI

Whitter
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Boffin

Re: Flirc case

Its likely no longer made, but the Hush case was simply beautiful.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/13/review_hush_atx/

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Apple's iOS password prompts prime punters for phishing: Too easy now for apps to swipe secrets, dev warns

Whitter
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Unhappy

Overengineering

Given that a huge swath of folks use the same password for everything, all you need to do is a write an app (or webpage) that requires a password and odds on you've now got it.

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Microsoft's foray into phones was a bumbling, half-hearted fiasco, and Nadella always knew it

Whitter
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Unhappy

What the market wants...

It's always tricky to reliably determine what "the market" wants, particularly if your own job relies on a getting specific answer.

In my spectacularly unrepresentative case, I'd like a phone that doesn't spy on me.

So Google? Hmmm...

Apple? Hmmm....

Windows to the rescue? What's that? "Remember Windows 10"? Hmm......

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Dumb bug of the week: Apple's macOS reveals your encrypted drive's password in the hint box

Whitter
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Joke

Its a feature

Hint:

What is the name of your first pet?

Password:

What is the name of your first pet?

It's even got a special character!

Might have to rethink the strategy if they refuse spaces or insist on including a number...

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The axeman strikes again: Microsoft has real commitment issues

Whitter
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Angel

OpenSource

If you are going to dump it, please first consider Open Sourcing the project so others may maintain it if they so choose. If that would bring undesired competition, then why are you dumping it in the first place? If not, then what's the harm? (possibly shared internal libraries, but I doubt there are many of such really).

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China cools on Apple's high-priced iBling

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

What do we want...

This smacks of having done no upstream marketing: i.e. find out what your customers want before trying to sell it (and ideally, before making it in the first place).

There are local/cultural issues all over the world: big and obvious digital stuff in China and Africa; big and obvious SUVs in large swathes of the USA (vs obviously small and electric in other USA markets); Chelsea tractors in metropolitan UK (a.k.a. Barbour and Landrover) and so on.

It's not like Apple don't have sufficient capital tied up offshore to target such markets - it just doesn't want to, or more likely (and worse) just can't believe anyone can refute whatever they declare to be ideal.

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

Whitter
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Meh

£50k doesn't cut it for being "commercially exploitable"

% of sales however...

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Trump's tax tease will be a massive payday for Valley tech giants and their shareholders

Whitter
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Flame

charitable trusts

"Currently they have to set up charitable trusts or other tax-efficient vehicles to pass on their hoards to the next generation."

Can we get rid of the word "charitable" when describing trusts who's only purpose is to reduce the tax bill?

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3D selfies? What could possibly go wrong?

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

Masks

I'm assuming the cost of 3D ink you make this a non-starter for the base-layer of a custom Halloween mask?

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In a surprise to no one, BT and TalkTalk top Ofcom's whinge-list

Whitter
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Unhappy

Compenation for failure to provide minimum target, not pretendy maxima

"The regulator has proposed requiring providers to pay automatic compensation to landline and broadband customers who suffer slow repairs, late installations or missed engineer appointments."

Until there are fines for breaking minimum bandwidth / latency thresholds (in a meaningful manner, most notably at times you are likely to be using them rather than 04:00am) then I don't see the industry getting much better.

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First big Privacy Shield review has ended – and yep, it's great! Just don't ask about mass spying

Whitter
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Max Schrems

Any news on whether Max Schrems feels up to bashing this one down too?

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Revealed: The naughty tricks used by web ads to bypass blockers

Whitter
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Re: convenience of paying

I quite agree that I have no interest in giving out personal info, particularly credit card info, to websites all over the place. Any model that needs this is going to fail.

And from the (legit) website owner's POV, I don't want your details either (unless I'm selling stuff): its just a data protection nightmare with no upside.

Using PayPal / Google wallet / Apple store or whatever as an intermediary payment system that can avoid you handing over such details is, a minimum, a must. They still provide some "leak" of contact details - perhaps they should start enacting web-only transactions as anonymously as possible (no postal address etc.). Hell, they might even do so these days - I haven't looked for ages.

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Programmer's < fumble jeopardizes thousands of medical reports

Whitter
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Thumb Up

Re: We had this problem

Well played sir!

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Whitter
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Boffin

Re: We had this problem

It is fairly standard practise to use tilde as "approximately equal to" as it resembles the standard mathematical sign quite well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilde#Approximation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approximation#Unicode

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Trump-backed RAISE Act decoded: Points-based immigration, green cards slashed

Whitter
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Boffin

Re: Up to 140,000 a year will be allowed in.

Note that Canada's Work Permit system requires that "the Canadian employer must first demonstrate that unsuccessful efforts were made to hire Canadian residents for the position being offered to the foreign worker".

I'm not sure if this is "requirement" is more than political window dressing, not being a Canadian employer or employee myself!

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Europe's 'one patent court to rule them all' vision may be destroyed by EPO shenanigans

Whitter
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Mushroom

"Battistelli may finally face serious consequences"

I very much doubt it. Got paid a whack while in office, will have a huge life-long pension when he leaves. A glorious example of the complete and utter failure of management to manage management.

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Funnily enough, charging ££££s for trashy bling-phones wasn't a great idea

Whitter
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Mushroom

Why?

"Uzan will keep control of the Vertu trademarks and patents with an eye on eventually relaunching the company through a separate corporation"

Why?

The folks they owe £168m should get first dabs at the assets, not the boss of a failed company.

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Wi-Fi firm Purple sneaks 'community service' clause into its T&Cs

Whitter
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Meh

T&Cs

All it shows is that T&Cs as currently implemented are a waste of time - the can't be enforced as they were never read.

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'Many' ways to create artificial intelligence. Just ask the UK's AI businesses

Whitter
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Paris Hilton

AI or expert system?

The engine degradation and flash-point examples sound like expert systems, probably based on regressions of previous data, rather than any real demonstration of "AI" as such. Is this just tech buzzword bingo or is there more than first meets the eye?

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Good news: Samsung's Tizen no longer worst code ever. Bad news: It's still pretty awful

Whitter
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Boffin

NaN

A bit of pedantry which has nothing to do with the error in the article: comparing a variable to itself isn't always madness, as it is a specific property of floating point NaN values:

x= NaN

y = x

x != y

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Tory-commissioned call centres 'might have bent data protection laws'

Whitter
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Boffin

Re: ICO involvement?

Only a bit wrong: it's illegal to pay anyone to campaign to election day.

And the call centre staff were indeed being paid.

Representation of the People Act, Section 111: prohibits ‘payment as a canvasser for the purpose of promoting or procuring a candidate’s election’.

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Whitter
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Re: ICO involvement?

They also did campaigning on election day, which is flat out illegal (and a matter for the Police).

Though as another comment points out, the "public interest" will be used to avoid actually doing anything about it.

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In the week Uber blew up, Netflix restates 'No brilliant jerks' policy

Whitter
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Re: Parsing error

Got you: thanks!

Puts a lot on negative inference on "are also" to essentially mean "could but don't" (with the appropriate grammatical corrections to fit the sentence).

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Whitter
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Thumb Up

Re: What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

Cheers! I have heard it said in my office that Netflix does a very good job of not intermittently pausing on a bad connection when iPlayer (for example) would pause almost every other minute. That's the only reason I've considered them at all (mainly, to watch iPlayer via Netflix - does that work?)

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Whitter
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Paris Hilton

What do Netflix staff do that requires all these not-brilliant stars?

Just wondering.

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Whitter
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WTF?

Parsing error

"Brilliant jerks are still not welcome, because Netflix believes “that brilliant people are also capable of decent human interactions, and we insist upon that.”"

Does anyone understand what this means? Typo? Misspeak? nothing?

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