* Posts by Dwarf

1363 posts • joined 11 Dec 2014


Steam-powered computers: Retro cool or old and busted?

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Its a museum, shouldn't its computers by definition be old ones ?

Impromptu game of Robot Wars sparks fire in warehouse at UK e-tailer Ocado

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New product ranges

Rumour has it that Ocado now trialling a new range of products in the Smoky BBQ robot range. This is like standard BBQ relish, but with a hint of burned rubber, plastics and lithium.

Seriously though, it seems that improvements implemented since the first fire have worked well to contain the problem. Good to see it was quickly contained.

I guess its not just 1% that had the fire damage that needs replacement, I'd expect that there would be a lot of water and smoke in other places that would need to be removed / products replaced etc.

Will be interesting to see how long this takes to resolve and get the facility fully back on-line again.

Try placing a pot plant directly above your CRT monitor – it really ties the desk together

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Re: Your headline reminds me...

I had the exact same situation several decades ago. A previous manager was having problems with the SIM in their mobile phone and when looking at it, there was some clear dirt ingress on the pads and SIM socket, so I said go and find a rubber and we will clean it off. I got a very confused look an an "Excuse me ?" that said a heck of a lot more than the words themselves.

I did not know that a rubber in the USA is not something that was used with pencils to erase the mark. I now know the difference in American between a prophylactic and erasers.

Microsoft solicits Clippy comeback – later reveals it had already decided to bring back the peppy paperclip

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Well, if they are focusing on cruft that does nothing to help anyone then we all know why Win10 is such a bag of spanners.

Surely though they replaced clippy with Cortana, before removing both as nobody was interested.

How about they start other similar requests for things that might actually matter, Oh, I don't know, off the top of my head.

Removing the ribbon and going back to proper menus

Removing the start menu and going back to proper user structured menus -- ie how my brain is wired, not long alphanumeric lists of all the crap on my computer.

Having a border between windows so you can see where they start and stop, rather than having to play guess the pixel to stretch a window

Dumping the pointless store

Dumping SecureBoot, forced updates and telemetry - its my PC to run what I want on and you can keep your nose out.

Dumping all the force fed advertising / pointless crapware - I don't want edge trying to become my browser from the start menu, or some stupid game that I never asked for. If you have to make something hard to remove, then you already know that people don't want it.

Making the search box go to my preferred browser search page as configured in the OS, not hard wired to some forced Microsoft one.

Hint - if you make it good, then we will use it. If you try and force it down our throats then I can guaranteed that we can be more stubborn than you.

How many Brits have deleted life-saving track and trace app from their phones? No idea, junior minister tells MPs

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Technology to the rescue

It just ticked the box of "do something and look busy" and any time you add the word technology in place, it must be good - right ??

I've never had a sensible answer from anyone about how bluetooth distance measurements could be 3D aware. If I'm on the floor above or below you and therefore "in bluetooth range", but well outside of any path that could involve transferring the Virus, then how would it know.

How would it understand the miles of plexiglass that were put in to protect people from each other - for example at the supermarkets and every shop you went into or when you are in a shop and someone is outside sitting on the bench etc. The same thing about being outside - how does it know compared to inside, which is supposed to be worse etc.

As it doesn't understand the real world, it can't give accurate responses and will always over estimate risk.

However, from a Govt. perspective, I guess it made people feel better that "things were being done" and it didn't involve doing a bunch of other harder things.

Personally, I've never installed it and have no plans to do so.

SonicWall suggests people unplug their end-of-life gateways under 'active attack' by ransomware crims

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Re: Marketing opportunity


The free option is a trojan horse - with the hope of the longer sale.

Half a decade is also known as 5 years, its very common for people to keep kit for 4 years minimum. The throw away culture needs to stop. The standard EU expectation is that products last for 7 years.

Precisely for the reason you indicated - perimeter security is exactly why the vendors need to stand by their products and ensure that they work for a long period of time. Other vendors manage it quite easily, so can SonicWall.

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Marketing opportunity

They see it as a marketing opportunity for new stuff. Customers will simply look at the attitude of not protecting their business and go elsewhere.

Bad plan SonicWall.

The right thing to do is to go the extra mile and patch the problem so that customers think hey, they helped us, perhaps we should consider them for our next purchases.

You'll never Guess whose data has been nicked as US fashion firm confirms systems breach

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I'd guess that their first response was probably FCUK

Or am I thinking about someone else ?

I'm also wondering how someone can have password hashes from 8 years ago - don't they know about the basics such as rotating credentials and patching systems ?

.. Clearly not.. which is probably a contributing factor for why they are in this mess right now.

Lenovo says it’s crammed a workstation into a litre of space – less than three cans of beer

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When specifying a workstation, size is probably the last thing on a lot of people’s minds.

I can’t think of any cases where people have a powerful machine and the first thing they talk about when discussing it with colleagues is look at its tiny size’. Most would probably want space for cooling and expansion space to fit some fancy IO card

Larger boxes allows for larger fans and that in turn makes quieter machines.

Biden order calls for net neutrality, antitrust action, ISP competition – and right to repair your own damn phone

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Land of the free

Perhaps after this comes in, then there will be a significant increase in freedoms that should have been there from the start.

The world is chaos but my Zoom background is control-freak perfection

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There's a word for that - OCD, but I prefer to call it a CDO, which is like an OCD, but just with the letters in the right order.

Smuggler caught with 256 Intel Core processors wrapped around him in cling film

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Pins are so yesterday, its all pads now.

Far fewer problems when there are no pins to bend and snap off, plus motherboards are cheaper to replace than CPU's.if the socket gets damaged.

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I hope he used anti static cling film, otherwise he probably had a big pile of doorstops, up to the point where they got confiscated.

After 15 years and $500m, the US Navy decides it doesn't need shipboard railguns after all

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Everyone knows we need sharks with lasers, not rail guns

Boffins say they've improved on algorithm for dynamic load balancing of server workloads

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Whats old is new again

I'm reading a marketing press release.

What they are describing is a bit like the old probes that pulled server metrics such as CPU and RAM when doing weighted load balancing, exactly like we used to do about 20 years ago, yes it levels out load changes from sessions stopping and new ones being added, so nothing new there at all. Same thing with their description of sticky sessions, which seems a bit odd given the move to stateless techniques where possible.

It suggests that people will start using it immediately - well, its decades old so I'd guess some are already

I'm also struggling with the idea of a billion servers for one platform, that seems rather a lot for a world population of 7.9 billion.

But as they say 76.345% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

From my perspective, nothing new here, just a regurgitation of already known problems and already engineered solutions.

Ransomware-hit law firm gets court order asking crooks not to publish the data they stole

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Its good to see that they understand the adversary..

I wonder what they will do once they do publish the content that they stole ?

Pentagon scraps $10bn JEDI winner-takes-all cloud contract

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Clouded their judgement was.

Radioactive hybrid terror pigs break out of nuclear hellscape home and into people's hearts

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I wonder if they play Half-Life in their spare time ?

John McAfee dead: Antivirus tycoon killed himself in prison after court OK'd extradition, says lawyer

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What happens to his cryptocurrency ?

With "proper money", there is a process to move it after some one dies, but what happens to crypto currency given that it needs the real owner to do stuff to access their wallet.

Pub landlords on notice as 'Internet of Beer' firm not only pulls pints, but can also clean the lines

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Re: No surprise there...

Definition of AI - Alcohol Infusion - must be as simple as that ?

UK health secretary Matt Hancock follows delay to GP data grab with campaign called 'Data saves lives'

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Politicians talk bollocks

Think that is a far more accurate strapline for this programme.

Toyota reveals its work on an honest-to-goodness cloak of invisibility

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Insurance claim

I didn't see it until it was too late.

Do you come from a land Down Under? Where diesel's low and techies blunder

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Re: Checklists

If there was an EMP, then what would there to be power once the new generator came up ?

.. and secondly ... I though it made no difference if things were on or off in regard to an EMP.. being that the pulse is induced into the wiring of everything, so this will be both sides of the magic power switch.

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Re: Me too!

As they say, never start a demonstration with something so prone to failure as "Watch this !"

Seagate finds sets of two heads are cheaper than one in its new and very fast MACH.2 dual-actuator hard disks

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Marketing missed a trick

Surely they should have called it the Zaphod drive, since he had two heads as well

Microsoft to unveil 'what's next for Windows' ... Rounded corners and what else?

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The upside is that Microsoft successfully delivered the "as a service" update model

You missed the word "outage" in the "outage as a service" statement

What was that strap line the used to use "Where do you want to go today ?" - > Safely back to where I started this morning.

What do I get - random outages, printing suddenly stops, random things changing because "change is good" and all for no real benefit for the users.

The Microsoft Authenticator extension in the Chrome store wasn't actually made by Microsoft. Oops, Google

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Re: Certificates

... which isn't Microsoft, so a thing that claims to be Microsoft, but doesn't have a Microsoft cert clearly isn't genuine. It doesn't matter who else submits it.

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Re: Certificates


You're missing the point.

The certificate wouldn't say Microsoft

Like I said before, that's precisely the point the CN in the cert is not matching the submitter. something.microsoft.com != something.extension.whatever

Its exactly the same logic as when you hit a website, if the cert doesn't match, then you get a cert error. The same logic could be used as part of the validation of apps submitted to make sure that they do come from the same source. You can't submit as acme, since you can't get a cert issued from them.

Its irrelevant how it works today - since clearly that is broken - otherwise no story to report.

Are you sure its not you who's missing the point :-)

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Re: Certificates

@Tomato Krill

Precisely, so their CN in the cert will not be microsoft.com and its then crystal clear that its not a Microsoft extension. This should be a mandatory step during validation, so well before the app is published into the app store for joe public to consume. I'm not talking about client side validation on the end device.

Not sure why I'm standing up for Microsoft here, I'd better go for a lie down.

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Why not require that apps are signed by a certificate owned by the submitting party and make part of the checks before publishing a validation that the certificate is valid and lines up to the submitting party.

Back in the old days, we used to download applications direct from the vendors website, hence we could check if we trusted the vendor ourselves.

Looks like we have taken yet another step backwards in the race to dumb down technology with the inevitable outcome that security gets worse as users get less visibility on the source and trustworthiness of the code they use as other, better routes get gradually taken away for <reasons>.

UK data watchdog fines 'pandemic partner' biz £8k: It sent 84,000 marketing emails to people who'd given info for track and trace

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A hefty fine

At least such a hefty fine will act as a strong deterrent to others not to flout the rules

I wonder if they still have the marketing database and where they will use it next ?

Microsoft sheds some light on perplexing Outlook blank email incident: Word was to blame

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Another Microsoft capability.

OaaS - Outages as a Service

'A massive middle finger': Open-source audio fans up in arms after Audacity opts to add telemetry capture

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Re: Use a random generated ID!

Or even better.. Find the code, produce some new code that generates loads and loads of fake info and send it to the telemetry servers to make it worthless.

So that this can't be filtered, use any collection of random nodes or spoofed source addressed / your choice of cloud vendors pools. Bonus points when your ISP has CGNAT and many potential customers could be coming from the same logical addresses.

Looks like there is some fun to be had here if idle minds were looking for a weekend project :-)

Visual Basic 6 returns: You've been a good developer all year. You have social distanced, you have helped your mom. Here's your reward

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Re: OK...

Very good re the butterfingers bit !

That definitely needs to go in as a feature enhancement.

Perl changes dev's permaban for 'unacceptable' behaviour to a year-long lockout after community response

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use strict;

Microsoft has gone to great lengths to push its tech, but survey suggests many devs slipped through the .NET

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Whole market view

I wonder what the diagram looks like if you consider the whole market, not just Microsoft's view of the world

Most of the devs I work with don't use any of those tools and VS code is probably only popular as its free.

UK government gives Automated Lane Keeping Systems the green light for use on motorways

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Government confirms the existence of aliens

The Department for Transport claimed that the technology could improve road safety by reducing human error, which contributes to over 85 per cent of accidents.

So, that's 15% not attributed to human error, or inhuman error -- Must therefore be aliens

Given that humans are generally the thing driving the cars, then its easy to blame them for everything. What evidence do they have for those figures, or are they saying things like "potholes in the road account for 15% of accidents when your tyre blows out when you hit them" or similar such statistics ?

Personally, if I'm in a box that has the ability to kill me or someone around me and I'm going to be accountable, then I will be in control or if.

It also doesn't say how many accidents are AVOIDED by human actions

Penguin takeover: We tried running some GUI Linux apps on Windows the official way – and nothing exploded

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I suppose the good thing about this is that it goes another way to run a notepad and a paint app without having to resort to their store download - just run the Linux version of it instead.

iFixit wants you to be legally able to break software locks to repair gizmos. Unsurprisingly, manufacturers are less keen

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Re: 100% behind iFixit

Same here great service and good tools. It is best to listen to their advice when it says go shallow with the opener when cracking the case open though. I found that out the hard way on the first iPhone 8. Cost me a new screen as I put a small nick in a cable :-(

I'm about 9 devices in now. A back glass / chassis replacement on an iPhone X and an iPad 2 near full teardown just to do its battery are the hardest ones so far. Just take your time, watch the cables and get an extra replacement screen seal kit.

ReplaceBase are also worth a look if you are in the UK, sometimes quicker and a good alternative if iFixit are out of stock.

In 2020, VMware said its remote work kit was brilliant. Now it says you need its new stuff to do it right

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Bates 9000

Why does the Bates 9000 spring to mind here

US Army develops natural-language voice-command AI for robots, tanks, etc. For search'n'rescue. For now

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In the real world

People look at their chosen phone/automation gadget and realise that even simple commands can't be reliably executed by the device. "Phone mum" somehow translates to "Sending a text to Dave" or "Scheduling a reminder for <random thing>" or perhaps Siri | Alexa | Google deciding to join a conversation when nobody was talking to them. Anyone remember the "Cocaine Noodles" activation for Google ? None of these things are that smart, so the idea of something far more imposing with access to anything offensive is really not a great idea.

I wonder how they work with background noise like a war going on or when in the middle of theatre or perhaps when the operator is a little pre-occupied by some other event that really affects MeatSpace more than MachineSpace..

UK.gov wants mobile makers to declare death dates for their new devices from launch

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Re: Force open source instead

@Brian Miller,

I came here to say the same.

If the vendors won't support it, make it free so that we can support it ourselves, or refund the price we paid for it, or give us a free upgrade to the next product that you will support.

We have to get out of the 2 years then land fill approach with technology.

UK digital secretary Oliver Dowden starts national security probe into proposed Arm-Nvidia merger

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Strong ARM'ed into it ?

Protecting ARM = good.

But ... does this mean that there is a national security concern about Nvidia, because they are used in a fair number of systems too.

More Linux love for Windows Insiders with a kernel update

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Penguins for the Win


Things are moving towards serverless (so the OS doesn't matter) and in any case, you just run a VM if you want a full Linux experience but are encumbered by Windows on your physical device.

Linux is like wigwam: no Gates, no Windows and Apache inside.

Adobe co-founder and PostScript co-creator Charles Geschke dies, aged 81

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Re: "Xerox didn't share their excitement about the project"

The problem is that Xerox never come up with anything original.

Yes, Yes, I know the WIMP and things like that .. don't over think the joke.

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Re: Will his grave have a postscript??

I'd expect a stack trace to allow debugging of the unexpected event.

Might need a slightly larger stone to carve it all into though.

Unfortunate to see the passing of another founder of a critical cornerstone in the technologies we all take for granted now.

I'm thinking we need a Sir Terry clacks-overhead message within the postscript code

UK government opens vaccine floodgates to over-45s, NHS website predictably falls over

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If only there was some way of flexing up and down on platform capacity in a cost-effective manner, then this sort of problem could be avoided.

Beloved pixel pusher Paint prepares to join Notepad for updates from Microsoft Store

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Progressively Making Windows a bit more difficult to use all the time

Microsoft - Progressively making Windows a bit more difficult to use all the time - particularly for people that have to fix things..

Forced updates

Forced updates that break basic functionality - because who needs testing ???

Turning off safe mode (F8) by default in Win10 requiring that you try and break things with multiple hard power offs in an already broken OS.

The Ribbon, and now the minimising ribbon that hides stuff.

Removing basic features in attempts to push other things that nobody wants (i.e. the store)

Keep going Microsoft, you are just going to alienate your user base bit by bit.

You are supposed to make it easier to use and more powerful - for those that want to use the product, not keep on finding ways to make it more difficult and convoluted to do things.

'Anomalous surge in DNS queries' knocked Microsoft's cloud off the web last week

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One of the main benefits of cloud native implementations is elasticity. You would have hoped that Microsoft as one of the big 3 would have implemented this properly in critical services like DNS.

Or perhaps more of the cloud snake oil is starting to show - in that it doesn’t solve all of the worlds problems.

While truly self-driving cars are surely just around the corner, for now here's an AI early-warning system for your semi-autonomous ride

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So if they have the ability to detect when things are likely to go wrong, why not feed that back in as an additional input to the primary AI/ML system to tell it not to do what it thought it was initially going to do, hence resulting in hopefully a more positive outcome.

OK, so I guess we could get to double / triple / quadruple negative type situations, but hey, it would be more fun to watch s people try and copy real intelligence (and real stupidity)



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