* Posts by Lotaresco

1363 posts • joined 24 Sep 2007


Future airliners will run on hydrogen, vows Airbus as it teases world-plus-dog with concept designs

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Re: Looks good to me

"The Hindenberg fire was intense but extremely vertical"

I know people like to get worked up over the Hindenburg disaster each time hydrogen is mentioned, but the fact is that the disaster had a remarkable survival rate. Of the 97 passengers and crew 62 survived, a 64% survival rate. All the more remarkable because the fire started when the Hindenburg was 295 feet above the ground. It was a tragedy for the 35 who died and their relatives, but if we compare it with heavier than air crashes the odds were pretty good.

Part of the reason for the high survival rate was as stated that the fire tended to lift vertically away from the airframe. Also unlike a kerosene fire hydrogen burns with a blue flame and emits relatively little radiant energy. People in the gondola were not subjected to high temperatures. Finally although the hydrogen was burning it continued to provide enough lift to lower the airframe to ground at a survivable velocity.

Yes it was a disaster but given the engineering of the era (no seat belts, no crash protection structures) it was the use of hydrogen as the lifting gas that actually saved lives.

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Re: Looks good to me

"This being a British website, how come there aren't any references to the R101?"

The R101 was a flawed design, hence the crash. I'd prefer to see references to the R100 designed by Barnes Wallace and Neville Shute which was a success, it managed to visit Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Niagara Falls in a single tour. The R101 only just made it across the Channel. 69 miles from Dieppe before crashing, roughly outside a McDonalds, had one been there at the time.

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Re: Looks good to me

"Hydrogen is extremely difficult to store, because it leaks through any container, including solid metal. The molecules are small enough to get through tiny imperfections. I am not sure how this is fixed in practice."

Given the rate of fuel consumption by an airliner it's not really a problem. The aeroplane will need to be fuelled before take off and will use most of the fuel to get to its destination. Aircraft don't hold full tanks for long periods. Although hydrogen does diffuse through metals the rate of diffusion is relatively slow.

It may be a problem for cars, where the car sits around losing fuel in a parking place, but not so much for air transport.

'I don’t want to see another computer for the rest of my life'... Brit Dark Overlord cyber-extortionist thrown in an American clink for five years

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You dropped the soap.

This is how demon.co.uk ends, not with a bang but a blunder: Randomer swipes decommissioning domain

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Re: A sad day

I was a very early customer. But I left at the time of the Godfrey debacle. I didn't object to the way they handled things, I objected to their "crap legal team" which tried to get me to sign a document that indemnified them *without limit* for the consequences of their own decisions.

All a shame because some of the Demon higher ups were friends but the wheels started to come loose with the sale to Thus plc. At least Cliff got a pink Rolls Royce out of it. Never found out who eVaPoR8 was.

I still own one of Demon's domains that they let slip in a previous cock-up, but it's not demon.co.uk.

Let's go space truckin': 1970s probe Voyager 1 is now 14 billion miles from home

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" I still think it was a mistake to include a picture of a naked man and woman"



Adobe Illustrator's open source rival Inkscape delivers v1.0.1 - with experimental Scribus PDF export

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"Hailing from a WordPerfect/SuperCalc5/AllyCad/Lotus1-2-3 (for DOS) world, I can say that the software was well thought out, so once you got good muscle memory for the / commands (in SC5 and Lotus) then you can get really up to serious speed, especially when doing fancy things."

I started with those tools in the 80s because they were all that the IT department in the biotech business that I worked in would support. They were useless for my purposes (statistical analysis, clinical trials, regulatory submissions) Lotus 123 had severe limitations and was actually slow to use. Even a slew of add-ins to supposedly improve functionality didn't help.

I went out and bought my own Macs so that I could use Excel and a number of statistics applications as well as Mathematica. None of these were available on Windows at the time. I can recall MS fans at the time telling me that my SE/30 8/80 was "ridiculously over powered" at the time and that they couldn't see the point of Trinitron monitors, dual screens, and the 24bit RasterOps Colourboard 264 that I had fitted to the SE/30 so that I could code on the 9" B&W monitor and see output on the colour display.

Now everyone seems to have a multi-monitor setup and more RAM than I had hard disk storage until around 1992.

I remember when all round here were fields, you know?

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Re: Shooting themselves in the foot to save their hand

"There is the 800kg gorilla in the mists - Illustrator"

Well yes there is Illustrator but Adobe's interfaces, Illustrator being one of the worst, can suck army boots down 15mm tube. The previously mentioned Aldus Freehand had a superior interface and much better control of points, handles, and curves. It also handled objects within objects and intersections between objects better than Illustrator does today. Sadly defunct because Adobe bought it and killed it.

People tend to want whatever they use next to look like whatever they use now. Having just bought a Japanese car and spending a week frantically wiping my windscreen when I intend to signal a turn, I appreciate standard interfaces. But could we at least ensure that the interfaces are fit for purpose rather than "something I'm used to"?

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Re: I need some pointers

Yes Persuasion was my preferred presentation package. Back then Powerpoint didn't understand transparency which made doing any graphic on a background irritating.

I've tried Inkscape over the past few days. It's far too much like Corel Draw for my liking. It has that awful ribbon swatch of colours at the bottom of the window and feels primitive, more so than Libre Office Draw.

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Re: I need some pointers

I used Corel Draw and had used both Freehand (much missed) and Illustrator before. I found Corel Draw to be awful, terrible interface, really poor drawing options, completely illogical and didn't interface at all well with printers. I can see how if your experience started with Corel Draw how you could find alternative interfaces confusing. That said, I found the Gimp difficult to use at first - not as good as Photoshop - and I suspect that I'll find Inkscape offers new challenges.

Up from the depths, 864 servers inside, covered in slime, it's Natick!

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ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

Cyclopean slime covered capsules from the sea pulsing with eldritch energies. He is risen!

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!

How about a lovely processor thermal trip? Hot day in Italy brings out the banking bork

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I bank here

I don't expect anything less from them. They are spectacularly useless at everything and having non-functional or no aircon in a branch is just the lesser of their various bizarre ideas. MPdS tends to assume that money paid into an account is a gift to them. They also regularly "do over" customers by randomly not paying direct debits or standing orders or as in my case just forgetting that I had a direct debit for electricity and losing all details of the payments.

NASA is sending two small hand-luggage suitcase-sized spacecraft into the void to study binary asteroids

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Re: Nice pics in the article

I think these are models built from the Arecibo/Goldstone imaging of 1996 FG3 using Doppler radar. There are some details and image resolutions given in this paper. There is more detail here.

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Re: Small hand luggage = 180 Kg?

Doesn't everyone fill their hand luggage with depleted uranium?

Paragon 'optimistic' that its NTFS driver will be accepted into the Linux Kernel

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Re: An addition to the list

"I think you will find that those who operate ponzi schemes have 'commercial interests'...."

I think you will find that the biggest operators of Ponzi schemes are governments. They refer to them as "pension schemes" but unlike real pension funds which have to invest the customer's payments then arrange to pay the customer their pension based on the investment governments just spend the money and pay current claimants money from current contributors. A genuine Ponzi scheme.

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Re: @DS999 - Whatever for?

"Here's a clue, it's the Common *Unix* Printing System."

Here's one for you, Linux isn't UNIX and MacOS is BSD based. You may not like Apple being involved, that's your right. But it's nonsense to say they give nothing back when they clearly do. Purist ideologies are corrosive and ultimately self-defeating.

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Re: @DS999 - Whatever for?

Awww bless look at the two little fanboys with their pouty trembling bottom lips. Diddums.

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Re: Are they really this unclear on the concept?

"OEMs (military, government, businesses etc) will never use GPL... Such a seemingly clueless statement clearly designed to misinform and/or misdirect makes me wonder what the real intent behind this "gift" are."

It's not clueless. I've seen government and military system development halted and then ripped down to start again because some clueless contractor has used GPL'd source code in an attempt to cut development costs. It should be a bit obvious that the military in particular do not want to publish the code they developed, much less give it away free to the competition.

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Re: @DS999 - Whatever for?

"I don’t think you understand who is contributing code to Linux."

Indeed, I sometimes smirk at the Linux fanboys who start ranting about Apple and how much they hate them and that Apple don't contribute to the Open Source community. The same people using LLVM, Clang, Webkit, CUPS, and Apache Traffic Server.

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Re: Whatever for?

"In my opinion (as a Linux user, not coder, programmer or maintainer) I really don't think the Linux kernel needs to add another 27,000 lines of code to get ... nothing?"

And there are other users who would find a kernel driver with R/W useful. I think you've fallen into that trap of thinking that what you use is all that anyone else would ever need.

I can 'proceed without you', judge tells Julian Assange after courtroom outburst

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Re: Blackmailed

"Mate, I'll drink to that.

Btw I like the koan, where is it from?"

You will find that mate is the national beverage of Argentina and several other South American states. Also quite popular in Lebanon.

Ghost of Windows past spotted haunting Yorkshire railway station

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Re: Yes, retired, uhuh

"If you want to blame someone for "borking everything up", then blame Microsoft for making 10 too different to 7 to make the transition smooth."

Wait. Windows 10 is different to 7? When did that happen?

Digital pregnancy testing sticks turn out to have very analogue internals when it comes to getting results

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Re: All sensors are analog.

"All sensors are analog"

<screws up face> Weeellllll, no, not all sensors. Single photon counters for example detect a single photon event and output a pulse (binary) signal.

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Re: Too soon?

"We'll peak about 10 million"

You need these "000"

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Way back in the mists of time <wavy lines> ...

I used to work for a medical diagnostic company making, among other things, professional quantitative pregnancy testing systems. These were very expensive, around £30,000 each. They were recognised as industry-leading systems and used as a reference source by international standards organisations. Yet, at the centre of all the expensive electronics was a small plastic cell that developed a colour change from clear to pink. That is the basis of an enzyme immune assay (EIA). Does this mean that the $30K was wasted money? Not if you were running a lab in a busy hospital. The automated system is reproducible, reliable and has greater throughput than a human being. Most testing systems are analogue in nature. The digitisation happens when a sensor reads a value and presents it as a number for analysis. Which is what is happening in this case.

I'm not sure why the surprise and why the handwaving. Was the author expecting a Maxwell's Demon based system where an imp counts the actual molecules of hCG then types them into a very small keyboard?

I'm putting on my labcoat.

Microsoft: We're getting rid of Flash by the end of the year - except you can still use it

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To go, boldly, lately

Good to see Microsoft realising 13 years too late that Flash is a junkpit.

Sounds like the black helicopters have come for us. Oh, just another swarm of FAA-approved Amazon delivery drones

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Re: Don't let this become the future

At least Mulder never gave up.

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Incessant whining

"residents were driven to the point of tears by the incessant whining."

Given that I have kids and a dog and users/customers I really don't want to add another source of incessant whining to the ones I already have.

Relying on plain-text email is a 'barrier to entry' for kernel development, says Linux Foundation board member

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Not least because Microsoft chose to implement top-posting as the default in Outlook, breaking the model used by previous email clients.

"Plain text. Microsoft was always wrong. Always."

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This sounds like MS at work

MS have always had a policy of adopt, adapt, improve, enclose, control. Every OpenSource initiative that I have been involved with that has MS members on the team gets nudged bit-by-bit into a situation where MS dominate the direction of development. If they can't achieve that they then have a history of taking their ball back.

Apple said to be removing charger, headphones from upcoming iPhone 12 series

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Re: Charger: Don't need it. Headphones: Damned well Include them, cheapskates!

"What's your issue with ARM Macs?"

Possibly one of those who is doesn't know that Apple have used Motorola, IBM and Intel processors in previous models and at each change of processor architecture the users were mostly unaware of the change. I keep seeing the unknowing predicting dire things if Apple changes to ARM, usually based on a flawed understanding of how Apple has implemented emulation in the past. Given the design of MacOS it's possible to execute most of the system code natively and emulate only the small fraction of code that is created by the developer. Microsoft has always struggled with replatforming code, Apple were fortunate to inherit the excellent design work done by (mostly) Xerox PARC engineers.

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Re: charging standard

" If they get rid of Lightning I wouldn't be too sure they go USB-C, "

Keep up, Apple have already gone to USB-C.

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Great News!

Because presumably Apple will now remove the code that makes an iThing whine or refuse to charge when a non-Apple USB charger is used. Oh wait, you mean they won't be doing that? How naïve of me.

RasPad 3.0 converts Raspberry Pi 4 to a tablet – be prepared for some quirks

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" I seem to remember that there was a case a bit like this - but made of metal rather than plastic, and looking a bit too industrial for my aesthetic sensibilities!"

I think that may have been the Fuze keyboard, case and GPIO breakout board.

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I keep looking at the Raspberry Pi but...

Although I have many tiny PCs in my workshop they are all anonymous Chinese NUC-type hockey pucks with J1900 or N3450 processors. With 4-8GB of RAM, USB3 and multiple 1Gb Ethernet ports they just seem more useful than a Pi. Even the Pi Hole which I thought may be useful was actually less useful than a pfsense box with pfBlocker-NG and 4 x Ethernet. I guess it's all horses for courses. Pi users seem very protective of the little beasts and they do seem to inhabit the ZX Spectrum / BBC Micro ecological niche, so probably perfectly designed for the people who find them useful/interesting.

As to a Pi laptop, an anonymous Chinese N3450 laptop seems to fit the bill better. I use one because it's as light and slim as a MacBook air and cost £200. A good toy to use for computing projects.

Uncle Sam to blow millions on getting fusion power finally working – with the help of AI

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Re: But how long will it take to get there?

"Let me guess - with these advances, experts predict we'll have fusion power for the masses in 20 years?"

Thirty years is the "traditional" value. It has held good for all of my life, which started a long time ago.

"Nuclear fusion energy is 30 years away...and always will be."

UK.gov shakes hands on cloud agreement with 'non-cloud service provider' HPE

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View from both sides of the fence

Having seen and worked on Government IT from both inside and outside the wire, I'm still bemused why government continues to pursue using other people's IT systems (cloud). The scale of government IT is such that *if* it could get itself organised then it would be far cheaper for central government to provide appropriate IT services for all of government. But it's that "if" where things tend to die.

One government scheme that I worked on that was declared "too important" to leave to industry to manage started to founder when the civil service could not get the hang of the idea of 24/7 operations. Several key staff were single-manning their roles and were working so hard that TOIL suddenly applied and their desks were vacant for days/weeks at time. Requests to understand that each post needed at least 3 bodies to cover three 8 hour shifts were ignored. Senior civil servants argued that it was ludicrous that a small department would have three senior civil servants of the same grade (eg three data centre managers, three security managers...) and also couldn't work out that we were competing in the market for talent with big payers.

Sort out the whacky career structure and realise that renting MIPs and storage is a bad idea and they may be able to sort it out. At the moment there's insistence that they can rent *any* service followed by sick realisation that they really don't want to platform share with industry, hackers and others.

Sun welcomes vampire dating website company: Arrgh! No! It burns! It buuurrrrnsss!

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Re: Monkey on my back

"Worse than a wayward D4 or LEGO brick..."

But not as bad a BS1363 plug.

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Not me, but someone else

I once worked at a tech. company with its headquarters on the same site as McLaren. Our owner was very old and his son was taking over running the business. The son loved race cars and racing yachts. We shared an office because I was one of the people training him to understand the products that we created. One lunchtime he was out and reception called to say that they had a visitor held in reception and they needed the bosses son to vouch for the visitor because he was repeating his name and saying he had an, appointment that they couldn't trace. I was the only one in the office at the time so I said I'd come down to deal with it. The receptionist was quite upset because the person in question was "wearing casual clothes" and she couldn't believe that he'd have a genuine reason to have an appointment with someone who was, after all, a billionaire who tended to keep other people at a distance.

I did a double-take. The person in reception was Ron Dennis, wearing clothing that was indeed "casual" but had probably cost more than my monthly salary. He had an appointment but the bosses son had forgotten to tell anyone. I was gobsmacked that the receptionist could think he was scruffy just because he didn't have a jacket.

Ink tanks park themselves all over the lawns of Western Europe as orders flood in

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Re: Give me a wax printer anyday...

I used to have 4xPhaser colour printers. When fresh the colour quality was unbeatable. Sadly over quite a short time the printed image begins to blur and the image colour isn't stable. Also since they run heaters 24/7 the temperature in the office could be amusing and the electricity bill was staggering. You're effectively running a 250W heater night and day. Or in our case 1kW of heating.

The ink tank printer uses almost no electricity even when running - no heaters. The colour quality is good when used on the right sort of paper and the ink itself is very cheap.

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Re: Refillable cartridges too..

"IMO you're better off with a Laser printer - no jets to clog"

In my experience the laser toner ends up "caking" in the cartridge so the cheaper cost per page is illusory. Even more so if you compare costs vs a tank printer.

Each technology has its place. Ink cartridges with built-in print heads for occasional users, lasers for people who don't care about decent colour output and who have print volumes great enough to use up the toner before it gets too old, ink tank for people who want decent colour output and who have more than an occasional use for printed copy. The ink tank duplex printers we are currently using as workgroup printers give lasers a run for their money. Ink jet clogging never seems to be a thing and if it does happen it's usually relatively simple maintenance to get them working again.

Whoops, our bad, we may have 'accidentally' let Google Home devices record your every word, sound – oops

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Re: All Of This Has Happened Before And Will Happen Again

Amazon Autofac 1.0

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Re: Or more likely ...

Frequently bought together

  • Blue Circle Mastercrete Cement 25kg Bag
  • Evolution Power Tools Twister Variable Speed Mixer (230 V)
  • Clear Polythene Plastic Sheeting - 5Mx2M - 60Mu Thick
  • 3M 1900S50 ValueDuct Tape, 50 mm x 50 m, Black
  • Charnwood W730 14'' Woodworking Bandsaw
  • HCE203R Freestanding Chest Freezer, 203L Total Capacity
  • Forest Master 6.5HP PETROL WOOD CHIPPER
  • Get Started In Pig Keeping, paperback

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Re: oblig

Plus: Microsoft to dump support for Cortana on iOS, Android phones

All Hail The Spirit of Zune!

It's rubbish, no one wants it, but we can't admit it so we'll remove support then let it die.

Doctor, doctor, got some sad news, there's been a bad case of hacking you: UK govt investigates email fail

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Re: Delusional Officialdom

"the Government has very robust systems in place to protect the IT systems of officials and staff."

It's possible this is not actually a lie, it's a Humphreyesque avoidance of telling the truth. So economical with la vérité that there's no vérité visible to the naked eye.

Yes, government has very robust systems to protect the IT systems of officials and staff. However politicians don't like the handcuffs that imposes, so they set up and use their own email systems. They rely either on email systems provided by their constituency or just wave their credit card around until someone takes pity and supplies them with a shonky webmail service. Then they transfer all the documents that should remain on government systems to their private email, so they can work on it using their iPad on the train.

The "robust" systems get a good ignoring. Worse than that, it's reasonably common for ministers to give their passwords to other people so that they can answer mail on their behalf. I suspect that the spearphishing attack on Liam Fox was of that nature.

Data-stealing, password-harvesting, backdoor-opening QNAP NAS malware cruises along at 62,000 infections

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Re: Just reset it.

I have two QNAPs and one Synology the Synology was cheap, doesn't have hot swappable bays and feels cheap - plastic case. It was a pain to install drives on the Synology because it needs to be dismantled to get access to the drive bays. That said it was less than half the price of the QNAPs and works, mostly, just as well. The Synology web interface is prettier but not as capable as the QNAP offering. QNAP has features such as NUT for managing/reporting UPS status that doesn't seem to exist on the Synology. The Synology doesn't report the SATA interface speed for some reason, the QNAP does. It's still possible to load a package manager on the Synology and add your own command-line tools, this feature was removed from QNAPs a couple of years ago.

Really not much to choose between them. I got the Synology because after upgrading the drives in one of the QNAP to 4x8TB it seemed a shame to just throw away the 4x3TB drives that I had removed. So now I can use the Synology for multimedia storage.

I recall that setting up rsync to work between QNAP and Synology was a pain, but can't remember why.

Manchester, UK seeks IT-slinger: £235m for number-plate-and-fines system to clean up vehicle emissions

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Good luck

It will be quite impressive to see anyone making money from cars via a Kengestion charge on that footbridge linking the Lowry to the War Museum.

Germany is helping the UK develop its COVID-19 contact-tracing app, says ambassador

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"Not sure what more help would be required?"

For government IT an explanation of what GitHub is, £900,000 in consultancy fees to write a report that says that GitHub is used by Chinese hackers therefore unsafe. Another £150,000 to re-write the report at a level that could be understood by an MP, followed by a Cabinet Office edict to state that GIThub is to be blocked on all government networks.

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Re: details of the contracts

"so yes, about 30 full time (well 4 days in office) developers and wranglers fecking around making "kerching" noises and then binning all of the "work" at the end."

See also: eBorders

Macs, iPhones, iPads to get encrypted DNS – how'd you like them Apples?

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Re: Better late than bleeding edge?

" I use a pfsense firewall with DNS which then points to a pihole."

I'm wondering why you do that. PfblockerNG does everything that a pihole does and it integrates with DNS resolver. It also logs natively on your pfsense firewall so that you can see what's going on and get alerts via the web interface. It even uses the same blocklists as pihole.



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