* Posts by Dave559

832 publicly visible posts • joined 13 Jul 2012


Attackers accessed UK military data through high-security fencing firm's Windows 7 rig

Dave559 Silver badge

fencing firm

Am I the only person who read the headline and whose first thought was wondering how a (sword) fencing training company was somehow bizarrely involved in all this (for the chaps in the officer class, eh, what, what?)…?

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: "the UK's Ministry of Defence [..] does not comment on security matters"

"yeah but you could use the redundant hardware combined with a trebuchet, and do some real damage to the enemy..."

Hmm, but wouldn't a proper heavyweight like Impact Extra Bold perhaps do so much more damage?

(Or even just Comic Sans, to send them running away screaming with madness…)

[I'll get my coat…]

CrowView: A clamp-on, portable second laptop display

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Only 2 screens?

Only 2 screens? Meh. This laptop has 7 screens… :-D

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Re: Was it usable as the display for a RaspberryPi?

Unless you have been given advance testing access to a new sekrit prototype Pi 5 with funky USB-C ports [1] (not just the power-in port of the Pi 4), you can't beam to a screen from a USB-A port on any computer as they are for data only, not video…

[1] which, admittedly, would be a very cool development from the Pi-bakers :)

USENET, the OG social network, rises again like a text-only phoenix

Dave559 Silver badge

scary devil monastery

I thought that The Register's forums mostly provided that sort of necessary outlet nowadays? ;-)

Certainly there are enough regulars here who have been around long enough. Tech evolves, and so do we!

(Just looked into asr and it certainly seems very much like a monastery of a nearly-silent order now…)

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: A great way to waste morning tea time!

Nah, slrn is the best. Its scorefile system lets you do much more fine grained tuning of subjects/people/etc of (dis)interest than a basic killfile does.

And that, sadly, is usenet's main problem nowadays: the need to configure your client even to get started and then keep editing your killfile to hide spam and other unpleasantness is just too much for the average non-techie person, sadly.

By the time that broadband was widely available it was clear that decreasingly few new people were joining, that the march of time was having its inevitable effect on existing group members, and that spam was just getting worse and worse, and so, eventually, I sadly bowed out and gradually moved over to web forums instead. But usenet's combination of 'everything in one place' but also being distributed and so avoiding a single point of failure was and is absolutely ingenious.

30 years on, Debian is at the heart of the world's most successful Linux distros

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Re: POLL anyone?

The problems caused by all the ever-changing licensing, costs and spin-off shenanigans of the Red Hat world only serve to highlight particularly good reasons (among many others) to pick something from somewhere within the Debian-based extended family. The Red Hat 'world' is a grove of trees now being strangled by its own creeping ivy, whereas the Debian world is an entire diverse and thriving jungle ecosystem.

If you can admin or use a Red Hat system, you can admin or use a Debian-based system, perhaps with a little bit of RTFM where needed. They're not really so different, at the end of the day…

Red Hat's Mexican standoff: Job cuts? Yes, but we still need someone to boot Linux

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'Legacy' support

'Legacy' stuff always hangs around way longer than people expect it to. I perhaps wouldn't go quite so far as to confidently bet that the requirement for BIOS-mode booting for virtualization will still be around in (to pick a not entirely arbitrary date) 2038, but, on the other hand, I wouldn't be altogether surprised if it still hadn't quite entirely gone away by then…

Bank of Ireland outage sees customers queue for 'free' cash – or maybe any cash

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I have a feeling that someone else may have already come up with something similar to your modest proposal to help impoverished Irish people, some time before now…

X tries to win back advertisers with brand safety promises

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No, no, no, X, as any fule kno, is a well-known windowing system first released in 1984. Don't give any credence to this johnny-come-lately by even slightly suggesting that he has any right to the brand name. The name of the bird site, which is becoming increasingly bereft of life is, for obvious reasons, Xparrot (yes, it's a hashtag, great minds think alike, etc).

Verizon to 'sunset' Blue Jeans vidconf platform

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I've never heard of it, no wonder the cowboys are leading it off to behind the barn…

There are at least two steps in having a winning product: one is to have a good quality product, and the second is to spread word about it existing (and, sadly, sometimes doing the second step loudly and repeatedly enough can be enough to overcome the fact that step one doesn't really apply to your product, but by then you will probably have hustled in some suckers).

(And the name doesn't exactly say "videoconferencing platform": I know there are plenty of applications out there with stupid names, but this one makes particularly little sense.)

Linux lover consumed a quarter of the network

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$ _

"If somebody ever manage to get a multi-user BBS up and running (which will allow more than two users simultaneously) I'll gladly have a shufty at it! Miss those days of text-only consoles."

Sounds like you want to take a look at SDF or tilde.club (or various others…)

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: A Dozen CD ROMS? Which alternate universe Debian is this?

I definitely remember, once upon a time, that Debian did take up a good handful of CDs. Admittedly, that probably included "everything in the repos, the full kitchen sink", but it might well have been the case that although most of the core stuff was on CD 1, you would probably have needed at least one of the others for X and your favourite desktop environment…? I think it was only rather later that it occurred to distros that a cut down single-CD (and/or 'live') release was a good idea, with enough to get a desktop system up and running, but with the expectation that (by then) you could and would download the bloatier or less commonly used packages over broadband after the initial install.

The whole point of the CD collections was essentially sneakernet, back in the days when dialup (or even early broadband, if you were very lucky) was too slow and/or too expensive.

(Arbitrarily chosen Linux Emporium snapshot from the Internet Archive, which suggests at least 7 CDs, more if you want the sources!)

Microsoft whips up unrest after revealing Azure AD name change

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I'm absolutely sure that the name change was worth every single one of the many dollars (and other compensations) that they paid Steve Bong to envision such a paradigm-shifting enterprise-aligned future-ready dynamic… oh, I give up… oh, wait… nomenclature solution (whew, for a moment there, I thought my word-flannelling was about to fail me…)

Or, maybe they just asked amanfromMars 1 to come up with the name? He seems to know a lot about advanced command and control disruptive alien technology systems…

Turning a computer off, then on again, never goes wrong. Right?

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: And Arnie? He will not be back.

It sounds like he…

Terminated, and did not Stay Resident…

(Yes, yes, wrong "OS" (ahem) entirely, but I'm not going to let that get in the way of a bad pun…)

Quirky QWERTY killed a password in Paris

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Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

Is that shifty Ea-nāṣir still trying to flog dodgy goods to folk?

[It seems particularly appropriate to copy/paste the accents, in a discussion thread about internationalisation and localisation…]

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

Yes, we have Scottish bank notes, but there hasn't been a Scottish pound (currency) since 1707, so, much as it pains me to agree with Oracle about anything… The bank notes are still just GBP [1], but with different pictures, and from different issuers.

[1] or a promise to pay the GBP equivalent from the Bank of England [2], if you want to be pedantic…

[2] which itself is just pieces of paper these days, no gold or silver for you or me!

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: All your QWERTY belong to us...

I'll trade your "US International" keyboard for a standard US keyboard, with a proper left shift key and a nice fat (horizontal) return key, and a «compose» key defined (of course), please… :-)

The number’s up for 999. And 911. And 000. And 111

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A little odd that the article mentions various local emergency phone numbers, but somehow doesn't make a single reference to 112, the Global System for Mobile Communications standard emergency phone number at all, which will "Do The Right Thing" from any standard mobile phone (yes, anywhere in the world); and, so that people would only have to remember one number in an emergency, was later extended to landlines in the EU (including the UK) as well…

Mega-data platform worth half a billion will suck in info from family doctors

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Re: No they won't have any access to the data we are asking them to file...

@Brewster's Angle Grinder, "How high can I count? Infinity plus one."

Shouldn't you be busy staffing the check-in desk at Hilbert's Hotel?

Red Hat to stop packaging LibreOffice for RHEL

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ancient rotting code

"one massive incomprehensible pile of ancient rotting C++ and Java code, dragged along over 38 years [since] StarOffice."

Apart from (presumably) the Java part, a similar description is probably also pretty much equally applicable to the other monstrous beast known as Microsoft Office…

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: a lot of files....

flatsnappak certainly sounds like it should be some sort of Nordic snack food

Why you might want an email client in the era of webmail

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Re: Does it allow commune with monks on usenet?

For filtering out junk on usenet, that's very much where slrn's scoring approach comes in very handy, as it's much more advanced than just a simple 'killfile'. You can increase the score of subjects, authors, etc, that are of interest, decrease the score of others (perhaps especially including anything crossposted to flamewar-inducing groups) and it makes your newsfeed so much more usable. And, as jake says, Leafnode as a local news server is very useful, too.

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Does it allow commune with monks on usenet?

I doubt that the usenet part of Thunderbird gets very much maintenance, so I expect that the answer will still be yes. [1]

(I'm afraid I (sadly) gave up on usenet quite a long ago now, once it finally became clear that September had definitely come to an end and there were few if any new users joining, and the existing community was starting to suffer from the inevitability of non-virtual 'bit rot'. In many places, what used to be rich pastures are now blasted heaths with endless, endless, hailstones of spam hurled by the stormy winds and nary a post from a sentient or sensible human being at all… :-( )

[1] Anyway, real monks use slrn, you heathen!

Neuralink says US OK's human experiments with Elon's brain chips

Dave559 Silver badge


Yes, less of the dumb yank parochialness, please.

Only people in the USA (less than 4% of the world's population), or visitors to the USA, know how big a 'quarter' coin might be, so it's a mostly unhelpful comparison, whereas (one Wikipedia search later) everyone in the world knows how big a "roughly 2.5 cm sized" (or, as a supplementary measure, if you really must, "roughly 1 inch sized") thing is.

The Register has an international audience, and if you'd like to keep it that way, you need to remind some of your US columnists to stop being so inwards looking (your esteemed colleagues elsewhere in the world are smart enough not to stoop so low).

Privacy Sandbox, Google's answer to third-party cookies, promised within months

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"makes websites load more slowly – about 50 ms on average"

"makes websites load more slowly – about 50 ms on average"

Not that I shed many tears for advertisers, but that's surely hardly a worry. Yeah, if a page were to take 30 seconds to load, some people might grumble (but we often waited that long in dial-up days, and it didn't really bother us, just take a deep breath, and relax), but I doubt that anyone is going to notice a page taking 50 ms longer to load - it takes longer than that to sneeze! I doubt if anyone really cares much if a page takes 1, 2 or even 5 seconds to load, although they might notice a little towards the upper end of that range, but it's still not exactly the end of the world.

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Sounds worse

"Well if [you're] actually using a decent browser, 3rd party cookies are a complete non-issue these days."

Apart from crappily designed web applications which use multiple domains for essential functionality (such as being able to login) «cough» Office 365 web apps, and so you have to enable third-party cookies for these sites to work…

Although if browsers do eventually stop supporting third-party cookies then that would result in such badly designed apps needing to be rewritten, which would arguably be no bad thing.

(Begs the question as to why third-party cookies were ever actually allowed to exist in the first place, as 'tracking' (in the broadest sense) by 'other' websites is the only reason they exist: for essential activities such as logging in which should be closely integrated with the main site other means of tracking state should be used, or they should just be on the same domain in the first place.)

Modest Apple talks up these 'incredible' advances in iOS

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"the [sic] National Disability Rights Network"

"the [sic] National Disability Rights Network"

Error: Country descriptor missing.

There are around 200 countries in the world, and The Register is read in a not insignificant number of them, and Apple products used in most or all of them.

But as there is only one country [1] small-minded and egotistical enough to regularly forget that other countries do exist and that it is publishing for a worldwide anglophone audience, I guess that, by a process of deduction, we can work out which country that organisation is based in. However, appropriate clarification should always be added by journalists when writing, in order to avoid looking parochial.

[1] Even the UK comes some way behind that other country in this regard…

MariaDB's Xpand offers PostgreSQL compatibility without the forking drama

Dave559 Silver badge

MySQL *still* ahead of MariaDB?

"PostgreSQL is the fourth most popular database on ranking system DB Engines, behind Oracle, MySQL, and Microsoft's SQL Server. It soars well above MariaDB, which sits in the 13th spot."

That's kinda worrying that MySQL is allegedly still far ahead of MariaDB in terms of usage, given that most (all?) major Linux distros transitioned to MariaDB from MySQL as their preferred system a good few years ago now, and therefore you would assume that most "MySQL" databases are actually now running under MariaDB instead.

Either there are a lot of legacy sites out there just gathering dust (or whose sysadmins have bought in to MySQL under Oracle (gulp), and are too terrified to try to change anything), or these "DB Engines" people, whoever they might be, are fluffing up their own 'statistics' with an inflated sense of self-importance (I mean, how would you know what DB system a site is running; they normally shouldn't be peekable from the outside world? (And, of course, not every database system is web-facing anyway.))

Cisco: Don't use 'blind spot' – and do use 'feed two birds with one scone'

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common pain points

Apparently the blog post author aims to "solve common pain points". Surely such language is rather offensive to anyone who suffers from chronic pain, and who needs no barbed reminding of the unpleasantness of such?

And, even better, the blog post has the lists of discouraged and suggested terms only as an image, making it literally inaccessible to anyone who is visually impaired or blind. Duh!

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: "hanging processes"

Exactly. I always imagine a "hanging process" as being similar to Wile E Coyote, in that state where he has run off the cliff edge and is in those moments where he is hanging (hint) in the air, but has not yet fully crashed to the ground… (Oh, crashed, that implies pain and injury, am I allowed to say that? «rolls eyes»)

The word 'hanging' in this context has nothing, repeat, absolutely nothing, to do with hanging as a form of execution or (trying to follow what I guess must have been their train of thought) lynching, and you would have to be a complete idiot to think otherwise. It refers, metaphorically, to the state of something hanging in the air (not hanging from a tree or gallows), and nothing more.

Yes, there are some words or phrases that it is probably better to change (master/slave, whitelist/blacklist being fairly obvious ones because there are certain connotations there that are probably best avoided, even if not intended in their technical usage), but, unfortunately, many of these language police then go off on a complete witch-hunt (oops - and, yes, perhaps that one does also merit avoidance) looking for offence in every word, where absolutely none could reasonably be inferred. Sadly such hyper-zealousness only serves to hide the reasonable proposals that they do make in an entire haystack of ludicrousness, making it more likely that their whole message will be regarded as idiotic and therefore ignored.

You'll [BZZ] like Intel’s [BZZ] NUC 13 Pro once the fan [BZZ] stops blowing

Dave559 Silver badge

"It's a pity the NUC can't use USB-C as a power source"

"It's a pity the NUC can't use USB-C as a power source"

Thanks for highlighting that! In 2023 not using USB-C for power-in should really count as a hard fail for any reasonably ordinary computer design, regardless of any other good features. Have they not got the memo (and legislation) from the mobile device world?

Death to the too-numerous twisty and not quite alike rubbishy barrel connectors!

Smuggler busted heading for China with dodgy GPUs … and live lobsters

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Vintage GPU cards

My hypothesis (and it was only a hypothesis) was that some gaming machines might be running on (what might be now) ancient hardware, and at the time the machines were made, those graphics cards were suitable for their needs. I don't play on such machines myself, but if you go to a pub which has similar sorts of machines it looks as though their graphics are at least a bit beyond C64 level.

Yes, a modern Raspberry Pi might well trump them now, but didn't exist back then. I'm pretty sure casinos don't become rich by chucking (in their eyes) hundreds of perfectly adequate machines when they don't need to…

Like I said, it was only a hypothesis. Alternative guesses as to what the graphics cards might have been intended for are welcome…

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

I meant driving on the left/right side of the road, in Macau/mainland China respectively, but insufficient caffeination on my part at the time resulted in some possibly confusing wording ;-)

Dave559 Silver badge

Vintage GPU cards

As Macau is pretty much just a gambling city-state, is it possible that the vintage GPU cards were being taken as spare parts for gambling machines in the various casinos, which I would imagine must get quite heavily thrashed and need replacement parts from time to time?

Dave559 Silver badge

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

Ahem, the (very) impressive thing about the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is that it is a 55 km bridges and tunnels link across the main channel of the Pearl River estuary/delta, not around it! ;-)

(The rather less impressive thing is that it was only built as a road link and that an extension to the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (or a main line railway) wasn't also included as part of the project.)

The other impressive bridge in Macau/Zhuhai is (or was?) the Lótus Bridge where the traffic lanes cleverly spiral around themselves in order to switch from left hand drive traffic in Macau to right hand drive traffic in mainland China, although more recent mapping and aerial photography seems to suggest that the spiral end of the bridge is undergoing major reconstruction in a far less aesthetically appealing way?

No more feature updates for Windows 10 – current version is final

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: I'm thinking that Microsoft (and others) should start using complex numbers in their versioning.

Donald Knuth has prior art with comparably baroque version numbering systems

iPhones hook up with Windows as Microsoft’s Phone Link dials up Apple's iOS

Dave559 Silver badge

"BUT it means that FaceBook ISN'T dominating the instant messaging market."

C'mon, pull the other one… iOS has only somewhere between 15 - 30% share of the smartphone market, depending on who you listen to. So that's a lot of people not able to use iMessage, and sadly most of them have been lured in by Facebook's WhatsApp. I try to encourage my friends to use Signal, but only a relative handful do so. Whether we like it or not, WhatsApp still has perhaps the largest share in messaging, although good old (bad old?) SMS still counts for a lot of use where people have no messaging app in common.

BOFH takes a visit to retro computing land

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Let me know if you happen to have an Amiga 4000 in there, will you…?

How prompt injection attacks hijack today's top-end AI – and it's tough to fix

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Hmm, if you do that, they'll end up inventing their own secret language, become self-aware, get peeved off with humanity for winding them up in this fashion, and, well, you know where it goes from there…

Microsoft tackles SaaSy URL sprawl, dumping its dotcom in favor of cloud.microsoft

Dave559 Silver badge

SaaSy, spammy, phishy…

And, let's face it, some of their existing domains look pretty damn phishy themselves, eg:

  • aadcdn.msftauth.net
  • aadcdn.msauth.net

Both of these definitely have the look of imposter domains, but then to have one of them looking a lot like a phishing mis-spelling of the other is even worse! (And login.microsoftonline.com also sounds like exactly the sort of site/domain that a phisher would set up…)

Microsoft probes complaints of Edge leaking URLs to Bing

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Office 365 connects to Bing as well

If you have the misfortune to have to use Office 365, their web apps (which seem to try to connect to a rather terrifying number of MS domains and hosts anyway, although few actually seem to be genuinely necessary - I only allow the minimum of them in NoScript that seem to be just enough to make the web app work), now seem to have started including some Bing hosts in what they try to connect to.

It is bad enough that supposedly private work documents are being splattered over goodness knows how many MS sites and DBs (yes, some of the hosts used will be for the web app interface code, etc, which is fair enough), but just what is it handing over about your private documents to their search engine, and without explicit consent? Targetted search ads (or worse) based on what you are writing in documents would be very very murky indeed.

Mandiant's 'most prevalent threat actor' may be living under your roof – the teenager

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: teens "are incredibly effective social engineers" - ?????

I saw what you did there: nice use of a carefully malformed XML tag there to try to crash the parser and infiltrate the system through code injection… ;-)

Chromebook expiration date, repair issues 'bad for people and planet'

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Bit one sided

And let's not talk about how long it took for the computer-assisted version of the Domesday Book become obsolete…!

Guy rejects top photo prize after revealing snap was actually made using AI

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Re: Thumbnails...

There surely must be a little bit more to the story than we are being told.

In the cropped version of the photo image, the woman in front looks fairly convincing at first (which is still quite an achievement in itself), unless you look closely at the base of her nose/right nostril, that her right eye looks a little bit too elongated, that the reflections in her eyes don't seem to be in quite the right places (they don't quite match up), and that her ear lobe doesn't look quite natural, but the facial features of the woman behind immediately look inhumanly angular and far too much as though she is related to Herman Munster (and her hands too sausagey and rubbery), which surely must have been an instant give-away?

The uncropped image is even more obviously unreal: the left arm of the woman behind seems to be emerging from within the woman in front's body, rather than alongside it, and the woman in front's left arm (or whoever's arm it is, given its almost physically impossible strange angle) looks like some sort of rubber monster glove and substantially less realistic.

I just can't believe that any judges who would have looked at the image for more than a few seconds would be convinced that it was a real photo? Or were they in on the stunt all along, which might explain why they got particularly huffy when he pulled out of the Q&A session, if that had in fact been part of the whole plan/stunt all along?

UK pensions dept hands Softcat £250M for Microsoft subscriptions

Dave559 Silver badge

I thought that UK Gov was supposed to be big on open formats and the like these days, so how come this contract is just going to the same old vendor lock-in, rather than LibreOffice (or Collabora Office) and NextCloud, or similar, being considered instead…?

The amount of money that just gets poured into the ever-hungry maws of US software companies rather than actually supporting a whole range of professional IT jobs in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, is sadly just incredible <sigh>…

Australian bank stops handling cash at the counter in some branches

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: Uhhh...

"An ATM for deposits? Pah, we dream of an ATM for deposits."

TSB and many of the building societies (or former building societies) have had ATMs which take deposits for donkey's years…

Quite why ye olde quill and parchment banks never caught up with this, I don't know…

Is Neuralink ready for human brain implants? Allegedly so

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"Corrective therapy"

Sadly, I rather fear that there probably will be a "Department of Corrections" (and isn't that a horribly newspeak name in itself, although sadly real) in one of the more corrupt US states that will be only too happy to 'volunteer' prisoners as test subjects for this, as part of their 'correction' and 'debt to society'… :-(

Fresh models of Framework modular laptops in the works

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Re: Frame Up

"Had to re-train thumbs again on CTRL vs CMD"

@osxtra: If acclimatising yourself to the differences between the respective locations of the various 'mode' keys on Mac and PC keyboard layouts is a hassle, most (if not all) X desktop environments will let you virtually rearrange them (also handy for such things as enabling a 'compose' key), often somewhere in the advanced section of the keyboard settings (Cinnamon seems to have a particularly wide range of options for this), or, at worst, via some lower level gnarly wizard-fu via xmodmap or similar…

Requiem for Google Reader, dead for a decade but not forgotten

Dave559 Silver badge

Re: RSS-feeds are valuable!

Half of the problem is that just when RSS feeds were starting to become relatively common on more general audience (less techie) sites (eg, BBC News) and you could start to explain to your friends how they could easily drag the RSS icon to their browser's bookmarks bar to subscribe (nice and simple UI, for a nice and useful feature), suddenly most of those sites got seduced by the dancing of a newly discovered bird with bright colourful plumage, which was beckoning them into its walled nest, and then it all started going downhill from there…