* Posts by Barry Rueger

813 posts • joined 20 Feb 2007


DNAaaahahaha: Twins' 23andMe, Ancestry, etc genetic tests vary wildly, surprising no one

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The real problem here is the inevitability that insurance companies, especially American health insurers, will start buying DNA info from these companies, or will start demanding that customers provide it ("10% discount for your DNA profile").

3) Profit!

Facebooker swatted, Kaspersky snares an NSA thief, NASA server exposed, and more

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Take down the power grid? Old News.

Don't panic, but Russia might be able to kill the US power grid

From David Sanger's "Perfect Weapon."

As the lights went out in western Ukraine the day before Christmas Eve 2015, Andy Ozment had a queasy feeling.

The giant screens in the war room just down the hall from his office—in an unmarked Department of Homeland Security building a quick drive over the Potomac River from the White House—indicated that something more nefarious than a winter storm or a blown-up substation had triggered the sudden darkness across a remote corner of the embattled former Soviet republic. The event had all the markings of a sophisticated cyberattack, remote-controlled from someplace far from Ukraine. ...

The more data that flowed in about what was happening that winter day in Ukraine, the deeper Ozment’s stomach sank. “This was the kind of nightmare we’ve talked about and tried to head off for years,” he recalled later. It was a holiday week, a rare break from the daily string of crises, and Ozment had a few minutes to dwell on a chilling cell-phone video that his colleagues were passing around. Taken in the midst of the Ukraine attack by one of the operators at the beleaguered electricity provider, Kyivoblenergo, it captured the bewilderment and chaos among electric-grid operators as they frantically tried to regain control of their computer systems.

As the video showed, they were helpless. Nothing they clicked had any effect. It was as if their own keyboards and mice were disconnected, and paranormal powers had taken over their controls. Cursors began jumping across the screens at the master control center in Ukraine, driven by a hidden hand. By remote control, the attackers systematically disconnected circuits, deleted backup systems, and shut down substations. Neighborhood by neighborhood, the lights clicked off. “It was jaw-dropping for us,” said Ozment. “The exact scenario we were worried about wasn’t paranoia. It was playing out before our eyes.”

And the hackers had more in store. They had planted a cheap program—malware named “KillDisk”—to wipe out the systems that would otherwise allow the operators to regain control. Then the hackers delivered their finishing touch: they disconnected the backup electrical system in the control room, so that not only were the operators now helpless but they were sitting in darkness. All the Kyivoblenergo workers could do was sit there and curse.

For two decades—since before Ozment began his career in cyber defense—experts had warned that hackers might switch off a nation’s power grid, the first step in taking down an entire country. And for most of that time, everyone seemed certain that when the big strike came, it would take out the power from Boston to Washington, or San Francisco to Los Angeles. “For twenty years we were paranoid about it, but it had never happened,” Ozment recalled.

“Now,” he said, “it was happening.

Huawei and Intel hype up AI hardware, TensorFlow tidbits, and more

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Seperated at Birth?

Suddenly it struck me: Donald Trump : Max Headroom.

Reddit locks out users with poor password hygiene after spotting 'unusual activity'

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Paris Hilton

Death to passwords

I cannot say how many passwords and IDs are floating around for me, but it's at least in the dozens. The likelihood that I'll use a different password for every single one of them is zero. Even with Chrome of Firefox saving passwords, or one of the password manager things, it just isn't going to happen.

People have lives, and aren't going to do backflips to try and create multiple passwords to multiple sites, each of which wants some specific format and combination of letters, numbers, and emojis. It's just way to much hassle. Besides which invariably it's the junk sites that I likely will never visit again, or where I would never think of posting anything remotely valuable that want superduper, two factor authenticated passwords, while my friggin BANK only accepted uppercase letters starting late last year.

Yes, the truly important things in my life have big, complex passwords, but stuff like user forums don't because honestly it's just not that important to me. And besides, I'm a hardcore user of the "Forgot password" link.

The time has long since passed when we should have come up with something to replace passwords. They made sense thirty years ago when you might have one or two log-ins, but it's insane to try and use them today. Lecturing users about "hygiene" does nothing of value - it just irritates people who already know at least vaguely that passwords matter.

Google Play Store spews malware onto 9 million 'Droids

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Re: Google ratings

I'll second that. I truly dread trying to find an (non-corporate branded) app for any use. The ratings are utterly useless, so I'm left to play download, install, try, remove, repeat.

I would pay for an app store that had all products tested and certified useful.

Thought Macbooks were expensive? Dell UK unveils the 7 meeeellion pound laptop

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Eyeballs trump algorithms

By now every company should understand that as you increase your use of automation you also increase the need for living, breathing proofreaders.

Google CEO tells US Congress Chocolate Factory will unleash Dragonfly in China

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Conspiracy Theory #8639

Has no one else considered that Google et al are grooming and infiltrating moles into congressional staff specifically to feed these old farts questions designed to make them look like idiots?

Tumblr resorts to AI in attempt to scrub itself clean from filth

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But I'm Canadian!

Many years ago a woman named Gwen Jacobs fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to walk topless on Canadian streets during warm summer days.

She won, enshrining the principle that male and female nipples should be treated equally.

Will the Tumbler nip-blocker be disabled us?

Microsoft polishes up Chromium as EdgeHTML peers into the abyss

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Edge on Android

Really? This exists!? Who knew?

I'm tempted try it just to say that I did.

Comparison sites cry foul over Google Shopping service

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Good riddance

These stupid sites are always the first page of search results, and never have any information of value. I will cheer the day that they disappear.

This week I finally gave up on Google search. It had been years since they returned useful results even half of the time. Right now I'm giving Bing a spin, and don't find it too bad.

It's really sad how almost all Google products started out as lovely useful tools, but have now deteriorated into cluttered, clumsy mish-mashes of useless "features" and vendor lock-in.

Between you, me and that dodgy-looking USB: A little bit of paranoia never hurt anyone

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Waste of time.

I remember my first virus, off of a floppy disc, setting off klaxons and flashing red warnings from Central Point Anti-virus.

For many years I reported such things to wherever they came from, and went to considerable lengths to point out security problems. I was the poster-boy for proactive user behaviour.

Ultimately I stopped bothering when it became clear that the majority of companies and institutions just don't care, and especially don't want customers wasting their time on such things.

I guess there was just one too many times when the offending party replied with "Don't bother your little head with it dear."

There a few companies that treat these things seriously, and I'll bend over backwards to help them, but in most cases I've simply given up.

One UI to end gropes: Samsung facelift crowns your thumb the king

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Re: How about we acknowledge that big phones aren't as usable

The problem is as people get older, they'll find bigger screens easier - if not essential - to use.

It's less about screen size and more about the size of the type and the contrast. And of course some kind of half-ways intelligent layout that doesn't bury content under pointless pop-ups and subscription nags.

Too much tech is so in love with the newest, coolest thing that they lose sight of basic functionality. Less is more. With respect to every phone maker deciding that they need to customize Android, there's also a lot to be said for maintaining a consistent interface across devices. I dread hardware upgrades because I know that functions that I need will disappear or be hidden, and I'll have to waste time learning a whole new workflow.

I challenge phone makers to offer a choice on first boot: the manufacturer's customized interface or straight Android.

My hoard of obsolete hardware might be useful… one day

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Oh God! The Click Of Death!

Kids today have no idea of the trials and tribulations we suffered!

Xiaomi anarchy in the UK: Chinese tat-flinger wants to slip its cheapo flagships in Brit pockets

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Redmi 6A at £99

My reasonably top of the line at the time LG phone has turned out to be one irritation after another. It does most things OK, and nothing really well.

If a low end Xiaomi will handle email, texting, some GPS stuff, and play podcasts, and can make phone calls and take adequate pictures, I'll be first in line. I just don't believe that any phone is worth $1000.

Web domain owners paid EasyDNS to cloak their contact info from sight. It was blabbed via public Whois anyway

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Not highlighted specifically in the story: EasyDNS shut down access, then almost immediately contacted the affected domain owners, including information about any IPs that accessed the data.

How often does that happen? Usually the company that's been hacked tries to hide it, or releases a vague statement days or weeks later. I can't recall a recent case where a company was this proactive.

Good guys at EasyDNS.

Pirate radio = drug dealing and municipal broadband is anti-competitive censorship

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Murica, land of freedom!

Americans really do believe that their Constitution gives them the greatest freedom of speech ever known.

While allowing broadcasters to be regulated by an FCC that, among other things, still maintains a list of seven words you can't say on TV or radio.

At one point the FCC even cracked down on broadcasters playing "radio edits" of hop-hop tracks because listeners might be able to identify the bleeped out words based on context.

Sorry friends, I'm afraid I just can't quite afford the Bitcoin to stop that vid from leaking everywhere

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Thank you Google

While nearly every service that they offer seems to have become useless, I will applaud Gmail"s spam filtering as still superb.

It is exceedingly rare to see spam in my in-box, and the filtered spam folder almost never includes a false positive.

I would dearly like to remove myself from Google's clutches, but the thought of hundreds of spam every day is a big disincentive.

Congrats from 123-Reg! You can now pay us an extra £6 or £12 a year for basically nothing

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Second vote for

easyDNS. They are independent, and have a REALLY good attitude re privacy and such. Decent support.

Chrome 70 flips switch on Progressive Web Apps in Windows 10 – with janky results

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Please, give me an OFF switch

I can see no way this will be a good thing, if for no other reason than the likelihood that Google will break or turn off whatever PWA you've built your work flow around.

More and more I really do prefer to keep data and significant applications as local as possible.

Your RSS is grass: Mozilla euthanizes feed reader, Atom code in Firefox browser, claims it's old and unloved

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Tiny Tiny RSS

Is all you need. Nice Android app too. https://tt-rss.org/

Don't rely on some outside company, stick it on your server and rest easy. Some Web hosts even have autoinstallers.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 owners: So, about that other broken update…

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Ah, Microsoft

Having spent much of a weekend figuring out why my wife's Win10 laptop refused to connect to one specific, yet critical, hotspot, I'll ask:

Does the MS Surface run Linux?

Google now minus Google Plus: Social mini-network faces axe in data leak bug drama

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Another One Bites The Dust

Yet again we learn that you simply cannot rely on any service provided by Google. How many times do we get to play "Here today, gone tomorrow" before we all learn to stay away?

Regardless of what the Google+ actual user numbers were, there are people who've built an environment around its functionality who will now be scrambling to replace it. How many times has this happened before? A dozen? Two, three dozen?

The death of social media won't be because of data leaks or general pissy attitudes, it will be because Google, Facebook, and Microsoft continue to break or destroy the very tools that bring users to their door.

Wi-Fi Alliance ditches 802.11 spec codes for consumer-friendly naming scheme

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Actually , no.

For nearly two decades, Wi-Fi users have had to sort through technical naming conventions...

No, for two decades people bought whatever router met their budget needs, ignoring specs, and assuming it would just work. And usually it did.

Holy smokes! US watchdog sues Elon Musk after he makes hash of $420 Tesla tweet

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Lord Save Us From Lucky Geeks

All of this proves yet again that hitting the jackpot with an Internet idea does not in any way prove that you have either business chops or even basic managerial skills. And that a couple of billion dollars can carry just about any idea long enough for it to seem credible.

I actually like Musk's products, but it really is time for someone to move him gently and quietly into a less prominent role. I'd rather lose Musk and save Tesla and SpaceX.

Of course, on the other hand, this at least keeps him busy enough that he won't run for elected office.

I want to buy a coffee with an app – how hard can it be?

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F*ck Apps

Nine times out of ten the Android app is signicantly poorer than a company's Web site.

And demands ridiculous permissions to boot.

30-up: You know what? Those really weren't the days

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Ye Goode Olde Days

Sigh. WordPerfect 5.1.

Apple in XS new sensation: Latest iPhone carries XS-sive price tag

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Surely I'm not the only person underwhelmed by this? The only one that looks at this and sees nothing more than incremental change?

The whole smartphone market really has reached the point where it's flat, dull, and stable - which has to pose a problem when you're trying to shift phones at $1000+ a pop.

A real shot in the Arm: 3% of global workforce surplus to requirements

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"Common" sense?

Lord save me from peons who think they're managers. Or even middle-managers. Staffing a large organization is complex, and the folks at the bottom seldom understand what those above them do.

Has it not occurred to all the clever folks here that it is "middle-managers with PowerPoint" that collect data that is subsequently used by the CEO to make decisions? That it is the manager class that makes sure that the electric bills are paid and salaries appear in bank accounts?

There's deadwood at every level of an organization, but I'd much rather have someone that understands the Big Picture making important decisions than a coder with no other knowledge or experience.

Dear America: Want secure elections? Stick to pen and paper for ballots, experts urge

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In Canada at least ballot counting is done a local level, by lowly paid election employees, with party scrutineers looking over their shoulders. It's reasonably fast, fairly foolproof, and includes a paper trail just in case. It would be very hard to significantly swing a vote.

I just don't see the rationale for trusting technology in this case. There are just too many ways that it can be hacked or gamed to be trustworthy.

make all relocate... Linux kernel dev summit shifts to Scotland – to fit Torvald's holiday plans

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What happens when he retires or dies?

My thought as well. I'm enjoying the likelihood that we're now at peak Linux, when everything just works, and works well. I can't begin to list the number of wonderful software packages - or hardware for that matter - that were wonderful and useful, but which wound up becoming great, lumbering blobs of useless code, or worse were bought, ruined, and then abandoned by the likes of Microsoft or Google.

Regardless of Linus' reputation in terms of people skills, it seems that he's managed to keep the product moving forward, improving, and stable. Microsoft should be so lucky.

Google's 'other' phone platform turns up in post-apocalyptic mobe

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I'm in. I've been phone shopping, but refuse to drop $1000 on something that might only last a year. Semi-landfill Androids are tempting, but this may be better - especially at that price.

Hello 'WOS': Windows on Arm now has a price

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One problem nobody seems to be look at though is for 'always on' 4G

Trust me, the vast majority of Canadians thought of that immediately. The greed of our wireless oligopoly will ensure that only the very well-heeled will consider this.

The rest of us will rely on ubiquitous WIFI coverage, which is usually free.

No need to code your webpage yourself, says Microsoft – draw it and our AI will do the rest

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Re: Quality output

Then there's the black text, with a font size that is too small and a font weight that's too thin to be easily read without magnification, by anyone over the age of 35.

Up vote for this. Also, so-called "dark themes."

What happens to your online accounts when you die?

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Not Twitter....

...they will give advice should you contact them, whether social network, email service, or web host.

Says someone who has never tried to communicate with Google, Facebook, or Twitter. It is nearly impossible to raise a living breathing human at these companies.

Your Twitter app stopped working? Here's why

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Counting the Days

Twitter is the one social media that I use constantly. Facebook became irrelevant years ago for anything beyond family news, and Google+.... Well, you get the point.

Still, I can see the writing on the wall. The beauty of Twitter is the sheer simplicity of the platform, and a user base that can get the most out of it.

Sadly I expect that Twitter will jump headlong into a Facebookization, adding piles of crappy features in an effort to make money. Quality will decline and loyal users will walk away as soon as something better appears.

The crazy thing is that I would happily pay for Twitter as it is, and suspect that a large group of users would do the same. Surely all of us understand that "Free" is just an illusion, and that the user is often the product.

It's time for that to change.

Faxploit: Retro hacking of fax machines can spread malware

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Re: Why still a phone line on it??

Fax machines are ubiquitous because even the most technically illiterate punter knows how to use one.

Every year our accountant emails us a fancy Adobe e-signature thingy. Every year it fails to actually work, or seems to involve way, way too many steps to bother.

So every year we print, sign, and fax back the signature page.

In an average year we likely send 20 pages by fax, and maybe receive a quarter of that amount, but when we do need it it is still perfect for the job.

Even though I now default to gscan2PDF for almost everything, there are still a handful of times when fax is what's needed.

Hello darkness my old friend, what happened last week in Redmond?

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Skype? Ha ha ha!

Just this week...

Android phone: installed and working great.

Mint Linux box: installed and working great.

Windows 10 HP laptop, pre-installed: believes that another application is using the web cam, and simply cannot find the microphone.

Seriously Microsoft?

Cache of the Titans: Let's take a closer look at Google's own two-factor security keys

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Bluetooth? OK.....

Although I actually like the idea of a hardware key, Bluetooth can't even reliably manage to play a podcast in the car.

The chance that I'll rely on it for anything important is zero.

Span hits F#, LinkedIn gets mumbly, and UWP (yes, it's still clinging on) furnished with new toys

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Yes. dear God.

It is impossible to kill off all the LinkedIn emails - God knows I've tried - but this really pushes things over the edge.

I have to think that the point is to allow Microsoft to build a reliable and valuable voice recognition database.

Ecuador's Prez talking to UK about Assange's six-year London Embassy stay – reports

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Comrade Assange?

What I've been wondering about is why Trump hasn't embraced Assange and promised a pardon for crimes real or imagined. Or for that matter why Putin hasn't offered him a Snowden style deal.

Could it be that even those two find him too slimy to touch?

You can take off the shades, squinting Outlook.com users. It has gone dark. Very dark

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Re: Not a good idea for me.

@nematoad "Not if you are my age."

God yes. Sixties, incipient cataracts, and every other twenty year old web page designer has decided that grey text on a grey background would look Reel Kewl!

Said it before, and I'll say it again, there's a reason why every book, and almost every newspaper publisher in the universe uses black text on white paper.

Psst, says Qualcomm... Kid, you wanna see what a 5G antenna looks like?

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I'll wait...

So, in short, it would be smart to wait out the first couple generations of 5G phones until they make it actually work right.

Oh well, wireless prices in Canada are so expensive that no-one can afford to use that much data.

As Corning unveils its latest Gorilla Glass, we ask: What happened to sapphire mobe screens?

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Otterbox Defender

I was averaging 8 months between phones due to my jobs, and an inherited hand tremor. My last two devices were wrapped in an Otterbox Defender and remained intact after two years.

Excellent product.

Either my name, my password or my soul is invalid – but which?

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Gmail addresses with dots

For many years my primary email has been :


The period in the middle does seem to make everything clearer.

Still, nearly ten years later, and despite Gmail owning 75% of the webmail market, there are sites that reject that dot.

Skype Classic headed for the chopping block on September 1

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Re: Contacts list?

Still better than the new Google Mail GUI then, which moved away from a contacts list for some magic, ethereal AI driven ...

Thank you. I knew, just knew, that I should refuse Google's invitation to change to the new Gmail. I think I'm still on some version from a few years ago, when they started shoving emails into tabs.

You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

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Cool? All ads, all the time!

Old Reg on LG G4: Reg header + three stories.

New Reg on LG G4 : Reg header + big honking Microsoft ad, with two words below, at the very bottom of the screen: Top Stories.

Do I need to explain the problem?

(Admittedly it seems to be all the rage these days to design mobile sites to showcase advertising at the expense of content.)

LG G7 ThinkQ: Ropey AI, but a feast for sore eyes and ears

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G4+3 = better?

The G7 includes a dedicated key for the Google Assistant

I've yet to find a way to kill off this idiotic feature on my G4. I have no interest in yelling commands at my phone, and resent Google Assistant taking over my screen over and over again nagging me to use it.

I'm pleased to see that LG has continued the tradition of placing essential things like the power button (or fingerprint sensor?) directly below the camera lens so that every photo can be artistically smeared.

My G4 has any number of endlessly irritating "features" that will discourage me from ever buying another.

Does the G7 still have the idiotic "Your battery is charged. Please unplug your charger" notification? The one that can't be disabled, no matter how annoying or pointless it is? Ten times a day, and more as the battery slows down after two years?

(Just to be fair, some of these might be stupid Android tricks and not LG's ideas.)

Farewell then, Slack: The grown-ups have arrived

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No, consistency is a FEATURE.

The worrying thing for Slack is how little it has changed since 2015, when it first took off.

Count me among those who don't like software changing features and functions every other month. (Yes, I'm talking to you Gmail.)

Constant change disrupts work-flow and impairs productivity.

Cancelled in Crawley? At least your train has free Wi-Fi now, right?

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Re: If only...

Whats so great about Point "A", that so many Prople from Point "B" are so keen to get there,

Point A has a great WIFI connection?

Git365. Git for Teams. Quatermass and the Git Pit. GitHub simply won't do now Microsoft has it

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Re: Missing a few...

I am so fed up with people asking me what OneNote

OK, you convinced me to finally find out what it does. I was immediately reminded of all of the strange products that are endlessly promoted by Google, but never actually used by anyone but fan boys.


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