* Posts by Loyal Commenter

4020 posts • joined 20 Jul 2010

Oracle and Salesforce targeted in €10bn GDPR lawsuit backed by profit-making litigation fund

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Re: #insert princess_bride_clip014.jpg

Whenever I see "unctious" I immediately feel the need to start reciting random priest names...

Fr Spodo Comodo?

Fr Johnny Hellsapoppin?

Fr Stig Bubblecard?

etc. etc.

You had one job... Just two lines of code, and now the customer's Inventory Master File has bitten the biscuit

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Ah yes, bosses who have never heard of source control history, so think littering the codebase with dead code that shows up in code searches is a grand idea.

I got 99 problems, and all of them are your fault

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Re: "I removed the metal plate of the disk," said Luuk, "and pushed that in the diskette station."

Sounds to me like Luuk bullied the user

Sounds to me to be very much the other way round.

First rule of Ransomware Club is do not pay the ransom, but it looks like Carlson Wagonlit Travel didn't get the memo

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Just to add: I'm no Bitcoin evangelist, but they are a thing that exists (and they do kind-of have a purpose, although it's not one that will replace money in any meaningful way).

That genie is out of the bottle, and they are a tool that criminals can use, because although their value fluctuates wildly, they can be passed on for cash, and they are a lot easier to use for ransom than a suitcase of unmarked non-sequential bills, or bearer bonds, or diamonds, or whatever.

Getting rid of the means of payment won't get rid of the crime they are used in. if you go down that line of thinking, you might as well end up with the Dark Judges from 2000AD. All crime is committed by the living, the crime is life, the sentence is death.

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Care to point out anyone who actually does claim that cryptocurrencies are actually "legitimate currencies"?

Even if they were considered as such, I think your suggestion would have about as much effect as trying to stop football violence by declaring that football isn't a sport.

edit - I'll also point out that Bitcoin transactions are technically less anonymous than cash, since every transaction is recorded for posterity in the blockchain along with the sender and recipient's IDs. If you bother to google it, you'll discover that these have, in the past, been linked to people's identities and used in police operations to trace the movement of cryptocurrency. It's just that until you work out who those wallet IDs correspond to, they are anonymous.

Cash, on the other hand... Well, there's a reason there’s such a thing as money laundering, and there are many, many forms it can come in. If you found £20 on the street, could you tell where it had come from? And before that? Back to the point in time it was minted? Because you can with bitcoin. It's all there in the blockchain.

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A well thought-through bit of victim blaming you've come up with there. What have you got for a follow-up? Rape victims shouldn't dress so slutty?

Once considered lost, ESA and NASA's SOHO came back from the brink of death to work even better than it did before

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Fleck has spent nearly 28 years with SOHO and became emotional when discussing the eventual deactivation and safe disposal of the spacecraft, which will consist of a final uploaded command sequence.

I wonder if there is enough fuel left in those tanks such that, when the day comes, it can be pushed away from L1 and into the sun. It seems that it would be a fitting burial.

If the Solar System's 'Planet Nine' is actually a small black hole, here's how we could detect it... wait, what?

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Re: The thing about a black hole...

Because they accrete stuff, and that process is anything but black.

This we all know, but it's also worth pointing out that there is nothing particularly special about a black hole, in terms of its potential to accrete things, beyond its mass. For something planet sized, it's not going to accrete things any faster, or energetically, than anything else of the same mass, so it won't have any more of an accretion disk than, say, Neptune. Neptune, of course, was discovered because its gravitational effects suggested there was something there, and it could be seen, unlike something that is black...

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Re: Five to ten EARTH masses

Infalling stuff also needs to shed angular momentum, and I'm not sure how this happens.

Isn't that why black holes are not actually supposed to be 0-dimensional point singularities, but actually are hypothesised to end up as essentially 2-dimensional (very rapidly) spinning discs?

Of course, they could be anything inside the Schwarzchild radius. They could be entirely made of bees, and we'd never know, because none of the bees, or the information about their existence, could escape. Not even the increasingly frantic buzzing...

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Re: Five to ten EARTH masses

IIRC, the time dilation happens from the perspective of the black hole, not of the observer, so from the perspective of someone at the Schwartzchild radius, ignoring the fact that they would be strung out like spaghetti by the tidal forces and spat out as X-rays, they would never quite see themselves "fall in".

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"Well, the thing about a black hole - its main distinguishing feature - is it's black. And the thing about space, the colour of space, your basic space colour, is black.

So how are you supposed to see 'em?"

Alien icon, because we don't have (and really need) a Holly one.

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Re: Great just what I need in 2020

Careful now, you'll wake CJ

The reluctant log trawler: The buck stops with the back-end

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They should have been summarily sacked after the "Not important, it works." line. In many professions, the equivalent attitude would be considered to be criminally negligent.

ANY competent programmer who works with something that talks to a database knows about SQL injection flaws, and anyone who has ever learned anything at all about security knows that injection flaws are consistently number one in the OWASP top ten.

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Re: Fault at both sides

If you write a back-end that trusts input from the front-end, then you might as well just let your users type directly into your database. Actively assuming that untrusted input is hostile should be the default. Untrusted input being anything coming from anywhere that you do not have complete control over yourself (and which is properly encrypted if any sort of comms layer is involved).

Cool IT support drones never look at explosions: Time to resolution for misbehaving mouse? Three seconds

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That's why so many of them were made with rounded tops or, as seems to be the preferred design now, to stand upright.

I'm sure this leads to the problem of them being put on bookshelves with books blocking the vents on either side.

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Re: Switching on the "monitor stand"

Back in the days of CRT monitors in offices I Was once warned against Christmas tinsel bedecking monitors.

Something about static charge being gathered by metallic tinsel

I reckon the reason for that is the tendency for small metallic ribbons making their way into the monitor casing through the ventilation slots, and despite being plastic-coated, not being sufficiently so to prevent a high voltage short...

Faxing hell: The cops say they would very much like us to stop calling them all the time

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Re: I called the cops

Four! I mean five! I mean fire!

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)

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The UK government last night confirmed it has aborted its ill-conceived coronavirus contact-tracing phone app – blaming protections and battery-saving restrictions in Apple’s iOS for its failure.

So basically, they're blaming Apple because Apple has built in safeguards into its OS to prevent apps hoovering up personal data about our movements and sending it to a bucket somewhere in AWS to be retained for 20 years by the data-harvesting companies behind the brexit fraud?

Now, I'm no fan of Apple, but to me it sounds like they are protecting us all from the very worst of unaccountable data fetishists.

Spending watchdog doubts UK is capable of managing Brexit and coronavirus info campaigns at the same time

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Re: Combined


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Abolition of slavery, trouncing the socialists in 2 world wars to the great benefit of the rest of the world and at heavy cost to ourselves.

For those who study history, those who successfully campaigned for an end to slavery in this country sat decidedly to the left of the political spectrum (The Whig party). You know, those socialists you (falsely) criticise in the very same sentence.

It's worth noting as well, that those we were fighting in the first world war were not socialists (and it was in large part a socialist rebellion within Germany that brought them defeat), and in the second world war, the National Socialist Party were not socialists, using the word in their party name in much the same way that the D in DPRK stands for Democratic. This is not in any way a disputed fact. We were also not the only combatants fighting the Nazis in WW2, and their defeat was arguably more down to the Soviet forces, people who originally actually did practise a form of socialism, but by that point had been mutated into Stalinism. Let us also not forget the millions of people from continental Europe who fought against fascism, and paid with their lives, after British forces were routed and sent packing at Dunkirk.

Basically, your historical revisionism displays not only your own ignorance, but a stunning lack of respect for those people who fought and died in those wars. You should be ashamed.

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You spelled Scotland wrong.

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Is that Tim Worstall the climate change denier, or is there another person who (unfortunately for them) has the same name?

I wonder if he's doing a nifty line in flat-earthism these days?

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Re: And they wonder why we take the piss.

"Advisory referendum" is an idiots chant.

Presumably then, the idiots here are the ones who explicitly voted for an advisory referendum in the Enabling Act? (It's there in black-and white in the pre-amble for the bill on Hansard if you don't believe me).

Or are the idiots the ones who believed Cameron when he said, "whatever you vote for this government will enact"? (I paraphrase, but that was the gist)

Or perhaps the idiots are the ones in parliament who then failed to stand up and point out this lie?

Or maybe, just maybe, it's not helpful to your argument to try to win it by calling those who disagree idiots. That's known as an ad hominem argument (as any fule kno) and is a classic logical fallacy.

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Re: It's obvious....

The issue with chlorine has been a moving target. First it was because it is chlorine, which is deemed safe and used on EU salad. Now the issue seems to be the hygiene of the process, which is surely determined by the output and the output is clean chicken ready for consumption to the standards of the developed world.

To anyone who has actually bothered to follow this line of concern, the issue has always been US food safety standards, one of which is the use of chlorination to make unsanitary chicken "safe". The underlying concern, of course, being that meat production in the US doesn't meet EU food safety standards (many of which have been put in place largely due to UK standards). Concerns don't start and end with chicken. Hormone-fed beef is another concern, as is the industrial use of antibiotics in animal husbandry, which whilst not a food safety issue, is a major concern in the fight against the evolution of antibiotic resistance in disease-causing organisms (such as multi drug-resistant TB). Some of these issues are not limited to food production in the US, and the antibiotic one is a worldwide problem. The EU is tackling this by banning the use of "human-reserve" antibiotics for veterinary use. You'd probably spin this as "unelected Eurocrats" telling us what to do, rather than being a sensible, and measured regulation designed to protect human health.

It is the press who have dumbed this down to "chlorinated chicken", as you no doubt well know. As an arch-brexiter, I'm sure you are well versed in the moving-target argument. I've seen you use that tactic yourself. If I could be bothered to read all your comments on this thread, I'd probably find at least one instance of it here. The fact is, I can't be bothered to read any more of them because experience tells me that they are tripe. If this means you think you have won an Argument On The Internet, well done treat yourself to a biscuit. But not one of those nasty foreign ones, like Bourbons or Nice Biscuits, or $deity forbid, Garibaldis, obviously.

Ironically, the far-right have long perfected the art of accusing their opponent of doing exactly what they do themselves in order to deflect attention and criticism from their own flaws. That, and repeating a lie until it becomes accepted fact, are basically rules 1 and 2 from the Goebbels play book.

Legal complaint lodged with UK data watchdog over claims coronavirus Test and Trace programme flouts GDPR

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Re: So what's the problem?

There's a reason any sane person disables as many ad-trackers and cookies as possible, and that reason is to provide as little personal data as possible to the likes of Google and Facebook. Compared to governments, ad-spewers are relatively benign as they are only interested in profit. Governments have the power to legislate against their own people, and the thought of being tracked by the sort of people linked to Johnson, Cummings, Cambridge Analytica et al sends a shiver up my spine. Their interests almost certainly do not align with mine, in the same way that those of a reef shark do not.

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Re: Conspiracy time?

You missed:

5. Contracting the work out to a private company with no open tender process. A company which just happens to be linked with Cummings and his mates*.

6. Retaining data on people's movements for ten years with no clear rationale.

*The link between DC and the owner of this company, who is the brother of DC's other non-scientist mate who sits with him on the SAGE committee is publicly available information - I'm going on memory for the details here, so I'd encourage readers to look it up themselves.

'I wrote Task Manager': Ex-Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer spills the beans

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Not just 9X, I'm sure I've done this under XP before, and possibly under 7 as well.

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Re: Why wasn't it in by design?

Why the downvote here?

Here is an example - imagine there is a public specification that says how some software should act. Imagine it has a part, marked optional, that if the function Wibble() is called, the software may produce the output "wobble".

Imagine then, that I am writing something that calls software produced to this specification. I don't know what specific implementation I will be calling. What will happen if my software calls on the the unknown implementation to wibble?

Will it wobble, or will it fall over?

In all seriousness though, optional parts to public specifications mean that the functionality specified by them cannot be trusted to exist, or be fully implemented, so cannot be reliably consumed, making them pointless. I know there are cases where this may be needed, in which case producers have to have a mechanism for publishing their capabilities. In general, though, when you're talking about an open standard, optional parts are bad, because people, who usually get paid for their time, aren't going to bother with them. Unless they are necessary. In which case, why are they optional, and are they properly specified?

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Re: Why wasn't it in by design?

(conversely, if your specification contains "optional" parts, then it’s not a good specification, because you'll never know, for a sample implementation, whether those parts have been implemented or not)

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Re: Why wasn't it in by design?

To be fair, "the bare minimum to pass the standard" is exactly what, as a developer, one should be producing. Failing to fully implement the "minimum", or going off-piste and adding your own "features" isn't exactly good practice if you want to build reliable standards-compliant software.

(this is not an endorsement or otherwise of how MS implemented POSIX in NT, just an observation)

Dude, where's my laser?

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Re: "Of course, in the '70s, active correction of the beam was not an option."

Well, circular polarisation could conceivably help with beam divergence, if atmospheric conditions meant that the beam diverges more in one specific direction.

It probably wouldn't help though, to be fair.

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Well, some of us got the reference...

NHS contact tracing app isn't really anonymous, is riddled with bugs, and is open to abuse. Good thing we're not in the middle of a pandemic, eh?

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Re: Why, oh why...

A useful analogy for why the face masks aren't so useless as you might think:

Imagine you are walking around without any trousers on. Random strangers could walk up to you and urinate on your legs.

Now imagine you are wearing trousers, these offer some protection, your legs won't get quite as pissy when that weirdo walks up to you and empties their bladder.

Now imagine they are also wearing trousers. They can only really piss down their own legs.

Face masks stop you spreading infectious droplets to others more than they protect you from them. This is why in countries in the far East where they are commonly in use, people wear them when they have a cold, rather than when there is a cold going around. It's called social responsibility, and it's coincidentally pretty much the opposite of English exceptionalism, which seems to be what is getting us in so much trouble recently.

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Re: Why, oh why...

Well, lets start with the fact that your "domain server on" is google's public "free" DNS resolution server, which is almost certainly logging all your DNS resolutions to build an advertising profile against your IP / MAC address.

Other DNS providers are available, for example OpenDNS, who are likely to be much less stalkery than the big G.

We're going underground, and this time it's not an inebriated banker crapping themselves, but Transport for London

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Looks like one of the web monkeys has accidentally directed the browser to the data API, rather than consuming it in their script.

Swedish data centre offers rack-scale dielectric immersion cooling

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Re: With 500MW

To generate electricity, you need pretty steep heat gradients (think superheated steam vs ambient).

The waste heat from data centres is likely to raise temperatures by no more than a few tens of degrees above ambient, far too little of a gradient to effectively extract work. In order to get hotter, the heat source would need to be at a higher temperature, which is the thing you're cooling your servers to avoid in the first place.

The waste heat could effectively be used (and may well be) for local heating, in much the way that waste heat from geothermal energy production in Iceland is used to keep the streets of Reykjavík ice-free in winter.

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer

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The correct term, I believe, is "Computer User (Non-Technical)". There's a handy acronym if you can't remember the full thing.

Tom Cruise to increase in stature thanks to ISS jaunt? Now that's a mission impossible

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I get the impression that Scientology is only dangerous to your bank account and sanity if you are a cult member

or a family member of a cult member, or someone who publicly criticises the cult. They use some pretty dubious tactics against people they have decided not to like, and the less said about a certain cult leader whose name sounds like miscarriage the better.

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Mission Impossible: 7?

Jeebus, haven't those returns diminished to nothing yet?

Proof-of-concept open-source app can cut'n'paste from reality straight into Photoshop using a neural network

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Re: OK, I'll bite.

It's open source. If you need it, write it!

I'm sure it's not too much of a stretch to have it just stick the image into the Windows (or $OS_OF_CHOICE) clipboard and allow you to paste it yourself, I'm assuming Ctrl-V isn't too onerous for most.

Prank warning: You do know your smart speaker's paired with Spotify over the internet, don't you?

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Once again I propose we rename IoT as IoV

Internet of Vulnerabilities

Florida man might just stick it to HP for injecting sneaky DRM update into his printers that rejected non-HP ink

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"Research" is done entirely in the marketing department methinks.

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Re: HP printers

The old laserjets were rock solid. IIRC, they were limited t around 300ppi, but to be honest, you're unlikely to notice resolutions higher than that in a printed document.

IIRC, they (or a similar model) were susceptible to paper mis-feeds due to wearing on the rubber rollers that fed the sheets. The solution, if that happens to you, is to open up the bit where the rollers are, and rotate the rubber bushes through 20 degrees or so. You'll get another 16 goes after that before you need to replace them!

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Re: HP printers

IoT really should be called IoV (the V stands for Vulnerabilities)

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Re: HP printers

This is why I moved to a colour laser. faster, better print quality than a cheap inkjet (no "striping"), comparably priced consumables, but they last a lot longer. Arguably cleaner (although loose toner can be messier than ink), no inks to run if they get damp, and less susceptibility to loss of colour-fastness as inks degrade over time / exposure to UV light.

Getting a pizza the action, AS/400 style

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Re: A real pizza

Or have you bought into the bullshit that Naples was the first place that someone put food on top of a slab of dough and cooked it in an oven? Native Americans were doing that very thing over 4,000 years ago. So were the Egyptian pyramid builders.

I'll just reiterate, that this isn't about who put a topping on bread first, but who invented the pizza, which isn't just defined as toppings on bread.

I'll also point out that Native Americans didn't have bread made from wheat (they cultivated maize instead); I don't think a tortilla quite qualifies as a pizza base, no mater how much a foodie youtube "influencer" might try to convince you it does, and also remind you that Naples has been around as a settlement since the neolithic (the name Naples comes from the name of the Greek settlement Neapolis in the second millennium BC), although they haven't had tomatoes to cook with for quite that long. Consumption of bread there would have been contemporary with that in ancient Egypt, but once again, bread isn't pizza.

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Re: A real pizza

Well, other people may well have stuck stuff on top of a slab of dough beforehand, but it wasn't a pizza, because the word pizza comes from Naples. If it's not a pizza, it's not a pizza. It might be a Pissaladière, or a foccacia, or whatever, but it's not a pizza, because that's not what it's called. For instance, something made from batter in a pan, with "barbecue sauce" and American "cheese" on it might call itself a pizza, in the same way I might call myself President of Earth. It doesn't make it a frickin' pizza.

I'm no purist myself (and I expect many Italians aren't either), so I'll quite happily eat a pizza that has "non standard" toppings on it (a Margherita pizza for example, should have only puréed tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil on it), but a proper pizza consists of a thin piece of bread dough (properly made from OO pasta flour if you are really a purist), tomato sauce, mozzarella, and a small number of toppings, baked quickly in a hot oven (preferably a wood-fired oven with a clay floor).

Other sauces, or cheese that isn't mozzarella (other than additional cheese, as in a Quattro Formaggio), non-bread bases (Pizza Hut apparently use a batter), etc. mean it is not a pizza, but something else. This is no judgement on whether it is going to be edible or not.

When it comes down to it, though, I'll defer to Neapolitans about what they deem to be the defining dish of their city. After all, their city has almost certainly been around for a couple of thousand years longer than yours.

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One liver and bacon pizza then please!

Australia to make Google and Facebook disclose ranking algorithms and pay for local content

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On the one hand, the likes of Google and Facebook clearly need regulating.

On the other hand, Rupert Murdoch can fall into a really, really deep hole full of scorpions as far as I'm concerned.


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