* Posts by W.S.Gosset

211 posts • joined 18 Nov 2016


Top GP: Medical app Your.MD's data security wasn't my remit

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A/ Puzzling . B/ Missing the BIG point?


I have only contempt for the "senior" medical profession in the UK -- saw nothing but bullshit and VirtueDisplay posturing in the 20yrs I was there, from them. (My favourite was the decision to kill a lot of people nastily because to do otherwise would, and I quote, "send the wrong message".)

But this woman, despite having an equivalent title/status and although coming quite close to the usual redflag wording, is always a little bit off, and in significant ways. Positive, real-person ways.

I'm taking a "wait & see" approach on this. I suspect SHE is in the right, but that this is her first proper experience of serious organisational parasite-bullshit, that this is all a bit startling for her when she had only been told things were being done as agreed (vs done as who-gives-a-fuck). Or she could just be better at imitating a real person than most parasites are. I'll wait & see.


In other, far more important news, has no one else picked up on the STRONG implication in her testimony that the app was essentially useless, did NOT do what it said it would do, could NOT provide diagnoses at all?

Such that any kerfuffle re data-inputs is all quite academic, since they were near meaningless in any IT sense (as most people here are going to assume) .

To be clear: the data was not actually being USED for diagnosis. Despite the money poured down the project drain to do so.

I would have thought that THIS would have been the big story.

Are you sure your disc drive has stopped rotating, or are you just ignoring the messages?

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Re: Don't blame the user

> Most times something like this happens, it's design failure. You, being tech-savvy, assumed that your users would understand, and behave in a certain way; they, not being tech-savvy, didn't. Your failure, not theirs.

Hear hear. Very much hearhear.

For a boot-on-other-foot example, compare and contrast the whinge above re a science package's error message re "monotonically increasing" utterly flooring the IT staff.

"How the hell is ANY non-pointyhead supposed to know what THAT means?!" etc.

Well it was blindingly obvious to me from my own quant.research days...

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Re: UnDelete

Never mind Apricot... remember when you could undelete files!

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Re: It's all gone horribly wrong

> It's all gone horribly wrong.

This is actually my standard function-name for error-handling.

Gave me a bit of a start to see it here.


a shell example:


# Carnage. Barf.

echo "No action taken. Unable to preserve previous config."


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Re: Y and N?

This is actually standard on the standard Reuters FX Trading keyboards.

The BUY and SELL buttons are right next to each other.

It's not uncommon on the FX markets to see a trade scroll up the markethistory window, followed IMMEDIATELY by the same trade twice in the opposite direction.

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yeah massively OT.

but like wossname said: while you're here

> Whether we would have or not, we should have. The EU has brought countless benefits to the UK.

This intrigues me.

See, I'm Australian so don't have a dog in the fight. But I DID spend 20yrs in the UK & EU so got to see it all up close in practice.

In all that time, I could not for the life of me see anything other than negative for the UK from EU membership. Massive cash extraction, hijacking of even larger amounts of tax money to be redirected from UK pref to EU bureau-prefs, massive additional fiscal drag, serious political and legal drag and/or hijacking, etc.

In return for: slight smoothing&speeding of cross-border traffic&trade. Which is NOT an EU benefit, rather an EEC benefit.

I was baffled.


Tell me: WHAT are these "countless benefits"?

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Re: I can believe it!

Is it just me or is this sort of thing a LOT more prevalent than it used to be?

30yrs ago: nope.

20yrs ago: nope.

10yrs ago: some idiots.

now: wtf!?!!?

I have seen several Millenials now, dump their own rubbish on their own floors in their own homes, and walk off. "Someone should sort that out."

Watch an AI robot program itself to, er, pick things up and push them around

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Re: AI is one thing

Isaac? Is that you?

Lawyers' secure email network goes down, firm says it'll take 2 weeks to restore

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Re: RE: Remind me why we got rid of those nasty fax machines, clerk?


Because they're not MODERN!

Remember, NEWER is BETTER, even if you've gone backwards functionally.

Lords of the DNS remind admins about Flag Day, Juniper likes Watson and more

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Re: Risk: Smart Meters

Might be worth mentioning the UK has a further unusual vulnerability there: the switch of all its emergency services (police, fire brigade, ambulance, etc.) to an IP network. Needs serious electricity supply at the back-end + infrastructure to work, unlike POTS. So all those fires, traffic pileups, etc that are just being handled normally, would then not be. Massive additional economy-wide friction (and human cost...) quite quickly.

Likewise Oz, less directly, due to the NBN-driven switchover from POTS to VOIP.

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Risk: Smart Meters

Me, I'd be one HELL of a lot more concerned about who precisely is supplying kit to the Smart Meters brigades. (Now compulsory rollouts in both UK & Oz that I know of, not sure where else.)

Because, you see, these are EXPLICITLY DESIGNED to be remote-controls for your house/office/factory.

Talk to the electricity traders on the ST desks, and they go into raptures at the possibilities smart meters offer them. Instead of all that nightmarish demand-modelling and safety margins and blah de blah, with smart meters, they can just dial down the electricity to your house until demand once more reaches the supply they have organised / want to pay for. Profit!

Plus voltage-sensitive kit unable to start up, refrigerators and other current-sensitive things unable to start up, that sort of thing. But hey, it's MODERN!

Point is, if that whole-economy (commercial + retail) supply will soonish be completely subject to remote-control, a Bad Actor can use that selfsame remote-control to shut down the whole-economy.

And China's done precisely that before, and recently -- cf Japan & semiconductors. Japan had got uppity, you see.

Who's supplying the components to the Smart Meters suppliers?

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Huawei solar inverters

Nothing "paranoid" whatsoever about the concern. Networked controllers of a nontrivial chunk of electricity supply. Which could just as easily Read as Write that network.

For a Type of energy supply which has huge one-eyed lobbying by people who can't do engineering, science, or even sums. Such that the energysupply-proportion, and hence risk, is likely to increase over time.

BTW, I think you meant THIS url. It actually works:


Do you feel 'lucky', well, do you, punk? Google faces down magic button patent claim

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Re: Or, as I like to call it...

Nah, it's just yet another instance of the Demo-Only Feature.

These are now more important to the creating-companies than the actual user interface/UX.

The DOF is something which is:

* ONLY useful for the duration of a presentation of its newness to non-technical people (eg salesmen, journos)

* typically a negative for prolonged use/users.


Example: the macosx Dock.

Example: the win10 Dynamic Game Panel! on the startmenu.

Example: transparency on the desktop.

Example: the "flattened" affordance-deleted Modern Interface! meme of maciwindroidux.


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Re: Legal Certainty

Quite so. Legal language is an attempt to write code without a compiler. cf IFTTT.

Well, at best. There ARE a lot of parasitic idiots wallowing around behind the shield of obfuscation, copypasting boilerplate and if you point out a problem and ask for a change, panicking *cough* insisting it is correct and can't be changed safely.

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Re: Yiddish?

Ye eejit. Go-ats go oan yer heed.

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Re: Yiddish?

Having said that, "the Israeli" vs "the Israeli company" is very peculiar english, quite contrary to any normal usage. At best akin to declaring that Kennedy's "I am a jam doughnut" constituted a good, clean, normal german declaration that he lived in Berlin.

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Re: Yiddish?

> I presume corporations are considered people and citizens only in the U.S.

No, that's an English thing. Entities have legal status as --well-- entities, and humans and companies can constitute entities. (Not always: eg, insane people.) Trusts, on the other hand and IIRC, can not -- they are notional and not real: plans and contracts and commitments rather than "people"; only the trustee is an entity.

From England, that concept spread with both the legal expansion of the kingdoms right through Britain and unto the UK, plus also various diaspora of refugees who nicked all the basic ideas but had quite reasonably got tired of being told they were nutcases for wearing silly hats and hairshirts and refusing to have fun. Hence: USA.

There was also a rabble of convicts who got given the flick, and who also nicked all the ideas on the way out but were too bloody lazy to be bothered changing anything useful without a good reason. I'm from there (Australia).

Or to put it another way:

that concept started in England and is now pretty standard across the Western world.

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Re: Yiddish?

> Associated with a tiny subset of Middle-European fundamentalist Jews of the kind who wear long black coats in places like Stamford Hill

Actually, no. And I used to live near there. All the orthodox I met spoke hebrew.

Yiddish is associated with essentially ALL Ashkenazi jews, of whom a huge proportion emigrated to the states in the 19C and there later achieved an over-represented awareness in the wider culture due to their high concentrations in geographical areas which were over-represented in mass-media, starting with theatre, then movies, then tv. As such, many if not most americanised people associate jewry with yiddish, although this is fading as mass-media has moved away from its previously (eg, 20s-50s) intensely geographically centralised sources.

Oi vey.

Get it right, already.

Lowjax city: Researchers crack open notorious Fancy Bear rootkit

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or a now-ex girlfriend

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As an Australian, with our peculiarly Australian slang term "root", this made me:

A/ chuckle

B/ glad I was sitting down

$24m in fun bux stolen from crypto-mogul. Now he fires off huge fraud charge. Like, RICO, say?

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Can wannabes PLEASE stop crying "oh you're a fool for using SMS-based 2FA; you should have a dongle."








If they require SMS 2FA, you're stuck with it. So far in my life, I've not come across any actual CHOICE, not even in ability to magically swap in another magic platform that lets me magically do what *I* want. By magic. Because I'm special. I'm all techy and stuff. I build stripped unices for Xen instances and create 4way DRBD replications on raw metal -- I'm spessssshhhhhal.

If the droids in-house decide SMS is the way to go, you're stuck with it.

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"Interestingly", the Australian government's mandatory all-your-life-online MyGov system, constantly nags you to create a mobilephone/cellphone 2-Factor-Authentication setup every time you log in.

AKA: we know NOTHING about security, we're just playing along with meme-du-jour. Because we're so PROFESSIONAL! And COOL!

IP freely? What a wind-up! If only Trevor Baylis had patent protections inventors enjoy today

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Re: How exactly

Wait till you find it / buy it in Tesco's discount bin.

Or to put it another way:

you've got buckley's of actually ENFORCING this law in China, even Asia generally.

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Re: Sorry, Trevor

Hell yeah. That single sole Fundamental Patent I mentioned above, was rejected for years because of a single first-examiner (special rights, procedurally) who conflated a holographic 3D screen with an LED brake light. Prior art, according to him.

Not joking.

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Re: Concerning Trademarks

> newer soda lime glass

Technically, soda lime glass is much older.

But I guess in context of narrating the timeline of Invention-to-Imitations, "newer" works in the sense of having soda lime glass being used under the Pyrex label only after the parasites moved in.

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Re: Analogous to nature, really ?

> At what point does the idea became a plan become a thing become a thing that can be sold ????

At the point it can be patented.

Or to put it another way:

You can NOT patent AN IDEA. You can ONLY patent an IMPLEMENTATION of an idea.

Or to put it another way:

Your understanding of IP Protection via Patent is not based on understanding what Patents are, how they work, nor, critically, how they are awarded.

Basically, your final note "a thing that can be sold": that's the only thing that can be patented.

Or to put it another way:

what you're protesting about needing to be done, was actually the fundamental starting point of the entirety of patent law and remains so today. Ideas can not be patented, plans can not be patented, you MUST have an actual buildable saleable THING. That thing then serves as the basis of you protecting your idea.

ONE exception: a "fundamental" patent. The creation of a whole new entire branch of human scientific endeavour and development. These are so rare as to be unicorns. I have come across one in my life. I've eaten more gold dust.

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Re: Property is theft

Why did Karl Marx never drink Twinings?

Because PROPER tea is theft.

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> using a wind-up spring to hold energy


Hand-wound clocks were not invented till the late 90s!! And even THEN they stole St Trev's idea!!

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go learn what you're talking about

> The value of knowledge to society is maximised by it being shared.

That is the POINT of Patents.

The EXPLICIT point and purpose of patents is to get IP out in public.

The incentive to inventors to disclose their invention is: unique/sole commercial (only!) rights for a period of time.

This means that larger-society R&D can immediately take that invention and start improving it. At the same time as the inventor makes money from it. AND that invention is not lost to society should that inventor go under a bus, or similar. Which has happened. Objective: everybody wins.


Do NOT confuse and conflate gamesmanship of the system, with the system.

AKA Patent law & protocols are not the same as IP publication & protection.

On that same basis, you would argue you should ban shops because a chap gave you 5p less change last week than you should have got.

There are problems with the gamesmanship -- yes -- so attack and address them, rather than construct fictional strawmen and attacking them.

Slack to fend off the collaboration competition with... a new logo

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"pound sign"

Ehhh... in traditional unix-land it's called a Crunch.

Still have a sharp and amusing memory of the admin snapping at me at my first ever shell script on my first day of ever seeing unix, "NOT bang twiddle crunch : crunch bang twiddle! [for GOD's sake!...]"


(#!~ , which unix hands will recognise as (ugly but useful sh hackery) beginning of first line (last char only under unusual circs))

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so much has changed

South Korea reckons mystery hackers cracked open advanced weapons servers

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Re: Good heavens

Good heavens, someone blithely missing the irony.

Well, on that same basis:

Bit late for that: North Korea's already derailed it, AND copped the blame.


(except for various one-eyed ranters who switched from:

* screaming at trump for talking to nk at all, to

* screaming at trump for not immediately doing what nk demanded, instead playing nk's (and china's) own brinksmanship game back at them ("render unto caesar" -- works well), to

* screaming at trump for talking to nk at all when, instead of gameover, they came back to the table (as any realpolitik person foresaw), to

* screaming at trump for not doing what nk demanded II, to

* screaming at trump when nk did the dirty as expected

* screaming at trump when he walked away and left them hanging

leaving nk... universally diminished globally, to the point where even china's having second thoughts


Computing boffins strip the fun out of satirical headlines

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Re: What is funny in one culture or language may not even be transferable into another...

Entschuldigung. That doesn't really work if not heard.


Dee [sing-song, mocking, OTT:] SchhhvvvvVEItzuhDOOTS-JEN! [flat:] zint kein Doitsh.

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> Alternatively the Jack Whitehall school of "Oops, I accidentally fell over." 'comedy' might be something possible for a machine to implement.


Windows falls over all the time.


Granted, it's not very funny...

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Re: What is funny in one culture or language may not even be transferable into another...

Die Schweizerdeutschen sind kein Deutsch.

The D in SystemD stands for Dammmit... Security holes found in much-adored Linux toolkit

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Re: Cloud fad

oi vey

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Re: Cloud fad

I agree with your general point but, this, no:

> No way RedHat would have paid this loser and team to do this much major work if there wasn't that pot of gold perceived at the end of the rainbow.

Reason: you are assuming RedHat is rational.

I discovered RedHat had been completely hijacked by the corporate parasites over 5 years ago. This means they follow memes and internal coolnesses/emotion, rather than anything actually rational. Source: temp.flatmate worked there. Stories of utter madness, same as the big US corporates I'd worked in.

They were even then chucking out topspec machines (personal: laptops etc) just so people could have the newest shinyshiny.

I'm typing on one right now. Free. I keep the redhat sticker on it to remind me they've been hijacked.

IBM HR made me lie to US govt, says axed VP in age-discrim legal row: I was ordered to cover up layoffs of older workers

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Re: Corporate Parasitism

Get a haircut, you layabout! :D

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Corporate Parasitism

Ah-hhhh, HR. The corporate parasite's Corporate Parasite.

>"I listed all of the employees in my group who had been laid off, all of whom were over the age of fifty. I reviewed this form with IBM HR, and I was directed to delete all but one name before I submitted the form to the Department of Labor."


Seen that sort of thing before by HR.

Here's one:


I'd scoured the UK market for months to find a genuinely hardcore developer. FINALLY found someone I could wrap the new devel team round. Got the offer letter out. Or so I thought. Coupla days later, got chased down in the corridor by HR:

"Thank god I've finally found you! It's all right! We've PULLED that job offer letter for you!!"

"Errrr.... what?"

"We got his Reference. It's AWFUL!"

He was working up near Liverpool in some fleabite place doing fleabite work. Total waste of his ability. The letter read like it was written by Charles Pooter: "P [is a lovely chap and we all like him and he does an excellent job and we have no complaints about his work], but he needs to understand the importance of dressing correctly." The unbracketed bit there stands out in my memory, word for word. Unbelievable. Monty Python territory. Yet there it was, right there in black & white, and signed.

I couldn't believe it, laughed and said, "Get the offer letter out."

He turned out to be precisely the star I thought he was (possibly the most stunning moment was him quietly mentioning as we walked back from the fortnightly work-organising meeting that that nightmare business-blocking port to the current version of Solaris, well he'd just quietly sorted that out in the background of all the other stuff and it's all working now -- 1.5m lines of preC++ C++ (old hands will know what that means) he'd never seen before -- done, as a personal side project because it irritated him and was important for the team).

But I *would* get told every month or so that I needed to sack him. Once he realised and trusted that I knew how devel works, he'd routinely turn up between 10 & 11, scruffily dressed with rings in his eyebrows etc, shamble off home between 4 & 6. I didn't give a fuck. The corporate parasite types (some of them developers -- it's NOT a Senior thing) were horrified. But as I would point out each time: "He gets at least twice as much done as my second-best coder, with crystal-perfect code. And my _worst_ coder is about 3 times better than your _best_. So: no. He stays. I'm interested in results, not how long it takes him."

A year or so later, I mentioned this HR/Reference episode while we were all down the pub for the routine Friday night fest.

~A month later down the pub again, he took me to task. He'd been a bit startled, realised he had legal rights to his personal info, gone to HR to view his file. They'd shown him his Reference Letter.

It was completely different. Didn't just say nothing, it now followed the corporate standard say-nothing script: "P worked here." etc.

It was only much later that I really twigged the full toxic import.

HR, on getting knocked back on their attempt to block him, had gone back to his Referee and demanded a more neutral letter.

Then replaced the original on file.

To cover their arse.

Never mind the degree of toxic parasitism, consider carefully that they were fully aware of possible repercussions from their parasitism then engaged proactively and energetically (compared to normal: getting them get the offer letter out was a bear) with external third parties in order to then edit/delete employees' files in order to make sure they were OK. On something utterly trivial.

HR are ultra-toxic corporate parasites on top of corporate parasites.


Friday fun fact: If Stegosauruses had space telescopes, they wouldn't have seen any rings around Saturn

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↑ spin, ↑ gravity

No, old well-known feature of reality. Used to modify various spaceprobes' slingshot orbits/trajectories. You can find on t'interweb piccies of the sharp differences in outcome from probe approaching a planet pro-spin vs contra-spin. I can remember a 80s/90s article in New Scientist (back before it got hijacked by the PC SJW AGW brigade and still reported science rather than preached VirtueDisplay memes), wherein a decade or more's worth of extrapolation on the concept had pointed out that you can precisely create everything we see as a black hole, by simply spinning something quickly.

Quick example just on the light front: get a bose-einstein condensate within which the speed of light is about 4mph, swirl it at walking speed : ta da! No light getting into the vortex can escape. Black hole for light.

Turns out, according to the maths the gravity field's about the same. Pop up some serious mass (eg star), spin it ridonkulously farrrrrst, hey presto: black hole for physical lumps.

To put it another way, in case you're thinking "who cares":

dark matter "exists" theoretically as a fudgefactor to explain why galaxies aren't flying apart. (same as the Big Bang exists theoretically as the reverse extrapolation of insisting light doesn't lose energy with propagation/distance unlike every other waveform ever studied)

How about if that extra "missing" gravity, arose from the various epicentral stars spinning?

Boff!, as our French germans would say (obscure english pun, there): no dark matter, let alone dark energy.

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Re: Prior art(hur)

("In its making, a moon had been shattered")

(But I prefer your wording)

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Re: Oops


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Re: Well obviously

Cthulhu lives!

Fhtagn. Them Elder Things & Mi-Go ain't gettin' any younger, you know.

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Re: Distant Origin

Neither is this a spoon

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at the risk of reading too much into what you posted (in the INTERNET?? WHAT ARE THE ODDS??), LeeE this is a slight exaggeration of what it sounded like:


"OMIGOD OMIGOD OMIGAAAAHHHHD My house burnt down! Where WERE you, Fire Brigade? Why are you just turning up NAAOW??"

"Err... well, we just heard about it now 'cos some chap in the pub mentioned it.

You didn't think to ring 000? At any point?

'Cos, you know, letting us know a specific problem is kinda the POINT of the whole, you know, 000 thing."

"OMIGAAAHHHHD you are so CRAYYYYY-YUP. GAHHHHD. Were you not listening to MEEEEE??? I was TAWWWKing!!




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Re: Ring mass

>"Please don't forget to email corrections@theregister.com if you spot a problem..."

>Sounds rather like the Microsoft concept of quality control.

Don't be silly.

The Large Hadron Collider is small beer. Give us billions more for bigger kit, say boffins

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Re: If all you have is a hammer

Actually, it's the closest thing to Higgs' ideas that i've seen in a very long while

And as he points out, they didn't find a Higgs particle. They got something "near enough" to make loud media noises immediately to take the pressure off re the insane funding. Latterly discovered to actually be definitely not the Higgs particle but that's ok, that happened late enough afterwards for any political heat to have moved onto something else.

Happy Thursday! 770 MEEELLLION email addresses and passwords found in yuge data breach

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Re: I don't get it

it's just reporting that your email address has been found on a list for a site which has been pwned.

it's NOT able to say if you HAVE been pwned, merely that you are at risk.


and yes to the replier above: most of these emails are taken from leaked lists, which have often been trawled rather than cleverly pieced-together-with-sites. it's not an either/or thing, it's both.

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also: then they've got your email address

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Re: What sites?

scroll right to the bottom of the page. the individual pwned sites are listed there, along with when they got cracked.


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