* Posts by Barry Rueger

654 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007

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WordPress 4.9: This one's for you, developers!

Barry Rueger
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The Heroin of Web Design

Recently had to whip up a quick emergency Web site. I chose WordPress because I figured it would be fast and easy. And it was.

After many years away from WP, I'm reminded why I avoided it for so long.

Installing and dumping in page contents is quick, but when you start trying to do anything more elaborate you find yourself diving down the rabbit hole of (mostly ugly) themes, (often half-baked) plug-ins, and (untested or out of date) CSS hacks.

Very soon you've wasted invested enough hours that turning back seems impossible.

The absurd thing is that if WordPress just offered a product that created a web site and not a blog they would wipe the floor with "big" guys like Joomla and Drupal. Sometimes you just need a half dozen mostly static pages. WordPress should do that, but it always seems to be a battle.

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BlackBerry Motion: The Phone That Won't Die

Barry Rueger
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Keyboards

The lack of a physical keyboard is not too much of an issue. Blackberry makes a truly wonderful soft keyboard which can actually handle writing fairly long messages and emails with ease.

Even the predictive text usually manages to suggest what you actually want to type.

If you hunt around you can find the BlackBerry keyboard APK and install it on any Android phone. You'll never go back to the crappy stock Android keyboards.

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Shiver me timbers! 67cm Playmobil pirate ship sets sail for Caribbean

Barry Rueger
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Prior Art

The National Film Board of Canada's "Paddle to the Sea."

1966. Thrill to the sight of a young child melting LEAD to use as ballast! And Niagara Falls beats a Swedish tree for excitement.

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'Sticky runway' closes Canadian airport

Barry Rueger
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Re: Duh?

Goose Bay is in Labrador - Gander is in Newfoundland

At the risk of being pedantic, both are located in the province called Newfoundland and Labrador.

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El Reg assesses crypto of UK banks: Who gets to wear the dunce cap?

Barry Rueger
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Re: Apps - Security ???

Came here to make the same point. If, as I do, you do a lot of banking on your phone, you have to accept the fact that manufacturer + carrier make it likely that your device is one great, gaping security hole.

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Google's phone woes: The Pixel and the damage done

Barry Rueger
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Updates

I'd wager that the big selling point of the Pixel is the likelihood of frequent software and security updates.

Given that many people now use a phone as a primary computing device, the usual lack of support by manufacturers and carriers is a serious problem.

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Hey, you know why it's called the iPhone X? When you see Apple's repair bill, your response will be X-rated

Barry Rueger
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Re: And now for something completely different:

Your article has nice black type. Then you put in a list of repair costs, and it is pale grey

I'm with you. When did it become de rigueur to use type so pale that it can't be read by anyone over forty, or with eye weaknesses.

There's reason why every book in the world published with black ink on white paper.

(OK, there was one publisher of paperbacks in the seventies that used pale green paper which was supposed to eliminate eye strain. Can't recall who.)

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Barry Rueger
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Apple Care +

Surprised the article didn't mention Apple's extended warranty. $200 for two years.

AppleCare+ ($199.00)

Get up to two years of technical support and accidental damage coverage.

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Is the FCC purposefully screwing up US school broadband projects?

Barry Rueger
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Re: Timeline? What timeline...?

As much as I hate agreeing with Big Bad John, I read,

"In 2016, for example, of 426 applications for special construction, 52 per cent of them were denied..."

the same way. My editor hat suggests:

"For example, of 426 applications made in 2016 for special construction, 52 per cent of them were denied in 2017"

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Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless

Barry Rueger
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'Ok' to a message on the infotainment unit confirming that you are responsible if something goes wrong.

Lord yes. Our new Fiat turbo, an otherwise delightful car, has the same thing.

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Feel the pension pot burn, Canadian DXCers

Barry Rueger
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How Low Can You Get?

Screwing retirees out of their paltry pension income. Much of the corporate sector is scum, but these types are the scum under the testicles of regular scum.

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Ubuntu 17.10: We're coming GNOME! Plenty that's Artful in Aardvark, with a few Wayland wails

Barry Rueger
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Re: Tension, apprehension, And dissension have begun.

I just want something that works.

HERETIC! Back to Windows with you!

Seriously, my measure of a distro is whether I can plug in a USB stick with the ISO, have it install with everything working with no extra steps, and make the few changes that I prefer (add Chrome; disable CapsLock) in under fifteen minutes.

I'm currently liking Pop!_OS. Super easy install, and super-minimal experience. I care less about Wayland and SystemD than I do about how it stays out of my way when I actually want to work.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Ch-Ch-Changes

There may be a worse file manager out there, but I thank my lucky stars that I haven't encountered it.

*cough* Finder */cough*

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Xperia XZ1: Sony spies with its MotionEye something beginning...

Barry Rueger
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Re: Great review...

My thought too. There was almost nothing that held any interest for me. All of the gee whiz gadgetry is novel, but I care about basic functionality first.

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BOFH: Oh dear. Did someone get lost on the Audit Trail?

Barry Rueger
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Re: Ah!!

As a USian, I've run across the term "red diesel" in British literature but never could figure out what it meant.

Canada used to have "purple gas" for farm use. Don't know if it's still around.

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How many times can Microsoft kill Mobile?

Barry Rueger
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Re: I disagree.

They completely dumbed the business world whom relied on M$ Office and Outlook (the program NOT the webmail) for this ZUNE-like phone OS targetted at consumers.

That would have been about the time when BlackBerry abandoned business customers to try and sell sparkly pink phones to teenagers.

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It's 4PM on Friday, almost time to log off and, oh look, Disqus says it's been hacked

Barry Rueger
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No loss

I abandoned Disqus (Disqis? Disquas? Never can remember how they spell it) ages ago when every attempt to comment seemed to involve multiple login and authentication hoops that needed to be jumped through.

Maybe it improved, but I just couldn't be bothered.

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Hipster disruptor? Never trust a well-groomed caveman with your clams

Barry Rueger
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Blah blah blah

You carry it with you at all times so that, if you want to speak to another troglodyte on the next hill, you raise the mobile bone to your ear and yell as loudly as you can in his direction.

Just yesterday, while hiking in the forest, following the Baden Powell trail above West Vancouver, followed by not one, but two insufferable idiot having shouted conversations into the speaker phones in their hands.

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Patch your Android, peeps, it has up to 14 nasty flaws to flog

Barry Rueger
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Oh Canada. My G4 is also on 6.0, but 2027-03-01.

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Alleged dark web drug baron cuffed – after he flew to US for World Beard Championships

Barry Rueger
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One more reason to avoid the US

OK, the guy was an idiot, and not just for the hipster beard, but,

The indictment claimed Vallerius and OxyMonster both made repeated use of the word the word "cheers," the use of double exclamation marks, frequent use of quotation marks, and "intermittent French posts."

That is genuinely terrifying, and would apply to probably 25% of all Internet users. At least the British ones.

Quotation marks now brand you as a criminal.

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Twitter's 280-char blog mode can be enabled client-side. Just sayin'

Barry Rueger
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Damned Trump basher! (Was: Re: Double trouble)

Trump is some sort of neo-cryptoAnarchist

Come on, just because Bannon and Trump seem intent on dismantling the entire structure of government does not make them "anarchist."

You really should stop insulting them.

(The anarchists, I mean.)

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Dyson to build electric car that doesn't suck

Barry Rueger
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Prediction

The Dyson EV will cost twice as much as other EVs, will have the same battery + electric motor as every other EV, and will have four tires and a steering wheel.

The Dyson marketing machine will flog it as an astounding advance on the "primitive" EVs currently available.

Dyson is no doubt brilliant, but in marketing chuzpah, not engineering.

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Twitter to upgrade from micro-blogging to milli-blogging with 280 chars

Barry Rueger
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Sad day

The thing that makes Twitter stand out (YMMV depending who you follow) is the 140 character limit. To use that effectively you need to be bright, literate, and be able craft a succinct message.

In the hands of intelligent people that encourages some brilliant writing, some sparkling wit, and frequent moments of insight.

There's a lovely moment of quiet pride when you craft a perfect 140 character tweet and see the retweets cascade.

280 characters? SAD!

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NBD: Adobe just dumped its private PGP key on the internet

Barry Rueger
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Re: Really nothing new

Nope, Macromedia wrote Flash. Adobe got it when they bought Macromedia.

Adobe's only real creations are what? Photoshop and Illustrator? PDF?

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Chap tames Slack by piping it into Emacs

Barry Rueger
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Re: I don't see the point

Slack can do all this natively, notifications can be configured...

Hmmm. Don't use Slack, but find this claim dubious. Of course I'm basing that on my unending battle to kill off pointless notifications in Android.

Did Mr. Emacs user run into the Slack equivalent of the LG Android "Your battery is fully charged." notification? The one that by all indications cannot be defeated?

Or did he fall prey to the users who clog tools like Slack or WhatsApp with endless and pointless "me too" comments at every turn?

Too many things can't be fixed in "settings."

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Programming in the Middle Ages: Docker makes a lovely pair of trousers

Barry Rueger
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Black is Black

Just because vintage techies hold their mobile phones at arm's length in order to be able to read the ridiculously titchy text

Dear God yes. When did it become de rigeur to use tiny, pale grey text on the Web, readable only by 21 year olds with 20/20 vision?

Then again, does the use of more or less unreadable typefaces explain the development of emojis?

"Why do you need a thesaurus when you have a smiley faced poop icon?"

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Noise-canceling headphones with a DO NOT DISTURB light can't silence your critics

Barry Rueger
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Re: Warning

Sometime back in the nineties there was actually a campaign in the US to try and get live music venues to turn down the volume.

As I recall, it was started by a sound guy who realised that everyone in the club - the musicians, the sound guy, the lighting guy, the fans, the bar people, the door people - were wearing earplugs at every show.

Made sense to me; went nowhere. Of course it's not just the overall sound pressure, it's the quality of the gear and the mix that also matter. Too often crap equipment + inadequate sound guy = SUPER LOUD.

Then again, a generation that has grown up with earbuds 24/7 is likely going to need that excessive volume by the time they're fifty.

Harumph! In my day we earned our deafness the old-fashioned way! Standing two feet away from a million watt speaker stack!

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Equifax's IT leaders 'retire' as company says it knew about the bug that brought it down

Barry Rueger
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Takeover target?

If you consider the depth and breadth of data held by Equifax, and the apparent complete lack of regulation, I can't help but think that one of either Facebook or Google is destined to buy them up.

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Barry Rueger
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Meanwhile in Canada

A class action suit is in the works, and the complete response for Canadian "customers" is:

Are you concerned you are affected by the Canadian impact of the breach against Equifax?

We are still investigating, but this is what we know now:

Only a limited number of Canadians may have been affected.

We are working on finding out how many.

The breach is contained.

At this point, it seems the personal information that may have been breached includes name and address and Social Insurance Number.

We will update this information as we learn more.

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User worked with wrong app for two weeks, then complained to IT that data had gone missing

Barry Rueger
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Re: Ped-ANT-ic typo in title

Typo isn't jewelry, but you could take her for a lovely vacation in Kentucky.

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Facebook let advertisers target 'Jew-haters'

Barry Rueger
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Re: I had problems with Google

This world needs a little more Kinky! No idea why anyone would down vote that.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: The looming power of Digital Dictators

While we're at it, can we please retire "slurp," a phrase that may have been cute the first time, but now is only slightly less grating than "Windoze."

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'All-screen display'? But surely every display is all-screen... or is a screen not a display?

Barry Rueger
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Re: Say what you mean and mean what you say

95% of the business of running a gym is getting someone in the door willing to buy

I'm always amazed by businesses that work so hard to turn away customers. On more than one occasion I have said, literally, "I want this, I have money in my pocket," but have walked out empty handed.

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Apple: Our stores are your 'town square' and a $1,000 iPhone is your 'future'

Barry Rueger
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Animoji

I'll stick with Olde Fashioned Texte Moji.

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Microsoft fixing Windows 10 'stuttering' bugs in Creators Update

Barry Rueger
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Re: Nope

Our Win 10 machine sometimes refuses to go fullscreen, leaving the Iplayer controls stuck at the bottom.

No apparent reason. We've ruled out phases of the moon, but the Sun was moving into Leo, so suspect something was influenced by my horoscope.

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Barry Rueger
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Sigh, Poor Ordinary Folks

I can speak on behalf of my girlfriend when I say "Lucky gamers - they actually got something fixed." Seeing her endless frustrations with Windows 10 reminds of the worst days of Windows 3.1 when you needed a witch doctor, a chicken to wave, and a CDROM full of possible driver candidates to make the thing work.

She's smart and experienced, and so am I, but we've largely given up trying to understand the downright strange and inexplicable things that Windows 10 does.

But hey, at least they're working hard to get VR perfected!

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Google to kill its Drive file locker in two confusing ways

Barry Rueger
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Re: What will people make of this?

Second vote for Geo Tracker. I have to wonder just how much it would have cost Google to keep My Tracks alive.

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Clouding the situation

Up vote. It's abundantly obvious that far too many developers have utterly no real world life experience, which is why so many products are only usable in specific ideal circumstances.

For instance, any service that assumes unlimited data on mobile is useless to much of Canada because of the incredibly stingy and expensive data allowances.

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Scotiabank internet whizzkids screw up their HTTPS security certs

Barry Rueger
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Surprise? I think not.

Scotiabank still does not allow customers to use upper case or special characters in passwords, arguing that it would confuse some customers.

Rather than putting resources into security, Scotiabank has been prioritising the disposal of long time employees and the centralisation of all decisions at head office in Toronto.

The days when you knew your branch manager, and they would bend the rules in an emergency, are long, long gone.

But hey! Scotiabank is still the industry leader in exorbitant service charges!

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Facebook's music plans mean you'll never leave Facebook

Barry Rueger
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Or, Perhaps Not

At the risk of being ridiculed by the Kewl Kidz, I'll openly admit to having and using a Facebook profile. At this point, aside from immediate family, I think there might be ten or twelve people attached to it as "Friends," and that number seems to decline every month as I pare back to whoever genuinely brings some joy or insight to my day. (Another dozen or so are still listed as "Friends" but have been quietly blocked so that I don't see the drivel they post.)

I remember Vampires, and Farmville, and even pokes.

Family members who were avid, rabid Facebook users a couple of years back have tapered off in their activity. I don't know what's replaced it, but they use it a lot less than in the past, and they're really part of the target Facebook demographic. I think that on some level they too have grown weary of the bad UI, the incessant ads and unsolicited crap, and are also finding that Facebook just doesn't deliver enough value to wade through the mess that it has become.

What Facebook had in their favour, and which I'm sure they still think they have, is lock-in based on ubiquity: pretty much everyone you know is likely on Facebook, and it become the default place to reach them. The problem for Facebook is that if a significant part of that audience moves away it can snowball. Surely Zuckerberg is quaking at the possibility that someone, somewhere will invent the "new Facebook" that will manage to draw away their users.

Not only can it happen, it's pretty likely, especially since Facebook has one significant weakness: there's literally nothing that they do well, and most things they do poorly.

For me, it'll remain Twitter, which somehow is a lot more useful, a lot more entertaining, and seems to let me really carefully manage what gets presented to me in a way that Facebook either can't do, or can't do without digging through a bizarre and annoying menu system.

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We experienced Windows Mixed Reality. Results: Well, mixed

Barry Rueger
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A Serious Question

I'm not a gamer. I'm not expecting to do woo-woo "data visualization" work. I'm don't expect to become a fighter pilot.

So what, exactly, is the use case for me, and for the 95% of the population that is like me?

And can it interface with my Smart Doorbell?

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Samsung keeps the smartwatch alive. Just

Barry Rueger
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Bright Ideas

Somehow whenever I read about "smart" watches I immediately also think about "smart" lightbulbs, "smart" doorbells, and other "smart" soon to arriving at yard sales, Craigslist, and the landfill devices.

I'm well and truly connected, but most of this stuff sounds nearly pointless except for some edge uses, appears to be half thought-out solutions to problems that don't exist, seems likely to break down in months if not weeks, and is probably entirely not repairable or recyclable.

Maybe in five years I'll be convinced, but most of this stuff looks like junk to me.

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Telcos waive bills during Houston hurricane recovery

Barry Rueger
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Re: "will have some or all of their costs waived"...

My thought exactly. The impressive move would have been a simple "will have all of their costs waived."

When they add "some or" I assume you'll be lucky to get $5 off your bill.

But hey, there will be lots of cash for post-storm self-congratulatory advertising!

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Google's Android 8.0 Oreo has been served

Barry Rueger
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Troll much. Reg?

A major part of Oreo's mission is to hasten operating system upgrades.

Seriously? This was said with a straight face?

Please Google, do tell how you'll force my carrier to actually let me install Oreo on my six month old name brand phone.

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FYI: Web ad fraud looks really bad. Like, really, really bad. Bigly bad

Barry Rueger
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Re: I've worked out why El Reg has no subscription option

Amateur. You forgot:

6) PROFIT!

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Barry Rueger
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Other side of the coin.

Advertisers are slowly beginning to understand that they have no way of knowing where their product ads might be served up.

A group calling itself "Sleeping Giant" has had considerable success in encouraging advertisers not to allow their ads to be placed on alt-right sites like Breitbart (in the US) and Rebel Media (in Canada.) The latter has been particularly hard hit, with more than 250 companies blocking them from their ad buys.

In most cases the advertisers had no idea that their ads were being served on sites that they, or their customers, found offensive.

On-line advertising looks like house of cards, and I suspect the whole thing will just collapse one day.

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Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Barry Rueger
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Re: Remember those days when you'd go on a course...

Still have my copy of Acerson's WordPerfect manual!

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Barry Rueger
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Re: Client support, we've heard about it

Up vote for Q3.

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World's largest private submarine in mystery sink accident

Barry Rueger
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Vs British Subs?

Lot of smart talk from the Brits who sold used subs to poor old Canada.

Yeah, we're sure that you didn't know that the things leaked.

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Hell desk to user: 'I know you're wrong. I wrote the software. And the protocol it runs on'

Barry Rueger
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Re: Possible or easy?

there is something wrong with a user who is belligerently ignorant and who insists they are correct and refuses to listen and to try what is being suggested by the support person.

To be fair, sometimes the support drone on the phone, or worse "live chat," genuinely doesn't know what they're talking about, or can do nothing but read through a script. Remember the bad old days when step one was always"Reinstall Windows?"

Many "support" people have no technical knowledge, just a seat in a random call centre. Last week they were selling steak knives.

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