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* Posts by Stevie

6065 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008

Intel chip flaw: Math unit may spill crypto secrets to apps – modern Linux, Windows, BSDs immune

Stevie
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Re: Bah!

Interesting that only one in five commentards can tell when another is taking the piss.

I admit that I am not at all sure that the house keys thing isn't an elaborate pun that I am missing.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Is anyone else getting the sneaking suspicion of late that these "research scientists" are just taking the piss now?

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Stevie
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Bah!

Oi!

You can't repurpose BSD in a sentence that includes "Windows" and Linux. Everyone knows that by long-established IT journalistic convention, when those two O/Ss are written side by side BSD means Blue Screen of Death.

I expect better from El Reg.

Harrumph!. Two wars, fought on the beaches, Churchill, rationing, blitz, etc, thrashing too good, more etc.

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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich quits biz after fling with coworker rumbled

Stevie
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Bah!

Insert crass plug/socket "joke" here.

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Trainee techie ran away and hid after screwing up a job, literally

Stevie
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Bah!

I had a Production Controller who was less than fluent in English beep me one night in February in the days when there were no cell phones, PCs were so rare that there was no provision for remote service and everything was achieved by spelling the stuff you wanted done down the telephone.

I climbed out of the giant co-ed Jacuzzi that was a large part of why I even played racquetball, wrapped a towel around me and called in, dripping wet, from the pay phone in the unheated foyer to the building. There was at the time about three inches of snow on the ground.

I ascertained what the problem was - eventually and largely despite the efforts of the person who had called me - who in addition to speaking very poor English was unfamiliar with the Unisys 2200 operating system or the processes running on it that he needed me to remediate, and began spelling the commands needed down the phone.

There were several false starts and restarts as he misheard or just couldn't understand what I was asking him to do. He was, for example, not familiar with what we called the masterspace symbol, or "at sign", which begins every 2200 command. All the while, ice was threatening to form on my skin every time someone entered or left the club.

After what seemed like several years but was probably closer to five minutes the Production Controller made a strange noise like a cross between "Oh" and "Aw" and he became unresponsive.

Luckily I had had this chap before and knew that this noise was his local dialect for "I'm unable to understand a word you are saying and have decided to deal with this issue by carefully putting the phone on the desk and walking away very quietly and hiding until I think you've gone away".

I was at the time renowned for being a bit of a pushover in these sorts of confrontations, and I was terribly dedicated to the 24x7 uptime myth, but on this occasion I hung up and went back to the pool for an hour or so.

Then I went home, where my very sturdy built-like-a-tank AT&T answering machine was attempting to melt, made some tea and answered the phone once I was snug and sipping.

Production Control operative was mad. Why had I left this vital process hanging around in a broken state for two hours? The log showed I had been called. Why had I hung up?

I told them that the real problem was that I did not speak the particular third world language in which their earlier employee felt most happy conversing, well, that and the fact that someone so monumentally unfit to be holding the fort had been left to watch the baby. Where, I idly wondered, was the Supervisor while all this was happening?

I also opined that as their own operative had walked away from the phone after calling me, I saw no reason to supposed that the problem, whatever it was, was urgent in any way, shape or form. At this point the caller must've sensed I was in an unusually militant frame of mind, and he moved he conversation from the Blame Allocation Phase to the Actual Fixing Of The Actual Problem Stage.

Mr Walkabout was quietly reassigned to somewhere he wouldn't be called upon to work outside his experience and no more was said.

How he was ever thought to be a good fit for that position I'll never know.

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Developer’s code worked, but not in the right century

Stevie
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Re: month names

"Esperanto Guys"?

Who should've told you that Esperanto is an auxiliary language, not a replacement for the one you speak already.

&&, ! ||

Ne grava.

Ĝis.

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No fandango for you: EU boots UK off Galileo satellite project

Stevie
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Re: Meh

I'm sorry. I tried hard but I cannot make sense of a single point you made in that post.

The Remainer point seems to have constructed some sort of straw man grouping everyone who is against Brexit into one convenient bag of "yes, but".

The Trump point fails to account for that man just saying shit. He will never acknowledge he has made a mistake, and his supporters will swallow everything he says even when it is directly affecting them adversely in a day-to-day way. You say that tariffs will harm America, he will say they Made America Great Again and there will be a landslide in the next election (assuming we have one) despite rampant economy woes.

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Stevie
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Re: It's far from smart.

This is what you get when you can't make the issues interesting enough for a proper debate. Years of paring everything down to The Soundbite have worked to reduce the already tiny voter attention span to almost nil.

I'm afraid this particular war is lost.

However, a smart government might plan for the future by re-introducing mandatory civics classes in schools. How can people -wherever they were born and whatever their ethnic descent - be expected to participate in a system of government if they do not know how it works?

A simple teaching of how the government gets to BE the government might be the first order of business.

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Stevie
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Re: How on earth did "The Allies" (clue in the name) co-operate

Well, it didn't hurt that quite a large number of them were under the Nazi jackboot at the time, reducing the number of voices at the table.

Brexit is madness from where I'm sitting (in the middle of another mess of rampant isolationism and smashing the clocks to see how they work). Something has turned the western world self-destructively insane.

I'm seriously concerned we are in the opening movement of a symphony called "World War".

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Keep your hands on the f*cking wheel! New Tesla update like being taught to drive by your dad

Stevie
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Bah!

There's only one way to settle this: Top Gear (old version) style!

Google and Uber will set their cars off around a track at some pre-determined speed. These will be doing the same job as the little black car did on that first slotless "scalextric-like" racing set back in the late 70s - getting in the way.

Then two of the idiots (Hammond and Clarkson for best comedy) set off in Teslas with autopilot engaged.

Meanwhile, James May will, from the cabin of a hyrdogen-filled blimp flying on real GPS/SatNav-enabled autopilot overhead, attempt to take out each Tesla with a high speed hex-copter drone. Can he do it before either of the idiots hits a block car (or the other idiot in a Tesla), or will his blimp - saddled with a crucial +/- 50 feet margin of positional error, hit the encircling power lines and immolate him first?

Now I'm sure some OCD-riddled commentard will point out that this test will prove nothing useful with regard to the Tesla autopilot feature, but to this I respond "What do you expect? It's a Top Gear test FFS!"

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Kepler finds three Earth-sized exoplanets, but they're too hot to handle

Stevie
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Bah!

I renew my objection, M'lud, that if Pluto is not a planet because it "has not cleared its own orbit", and if, as is indisputably the case, we cannot determine by the current state of the art in telescopy whether or not these so-called "exo-planets" have cleared their orbits, we must regrettably deny them the appellation "planets" by the rules established by the likes of Mr deGrasse Tyson, considered an expert on matters of orbiting body classification those who care about orbit-clearing.

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New York State is trying to ban 'deepfakes' and Hollywood isn't happy

Stevie
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Pint

Re: Bullshit

A Million Upvotes for veti, and an e-beer.

Nail struck squarely on head.

The *issue* is licensing and release permissions. You make a fake porn movie, you owe fees to the face actor and the body double.

This is usually covered by licensing when using other people's footage. (Or music - that's why some DVD collections have different soundtracks to the broadcast/theatre release versions).

I can trace this sort of negotiation back to the use of Smith to record The Weight on the Easy Rider soundtrack, but I bet there are earlier examples to be found outside of my personal experience.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Hmm, Disney weighing in?

I be we'll see their attitude change smartish when a whole new series of cartoons come out featuring such faves as Princess Jasmine and Mulan.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Can we at least ban the use of the term "Deepfakes"?

It is uninformative.

If you are proud of your work, whoever is making this stuff, call it what it is: Fakeporn.

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Microsoft reveals which Windows bugs it might decide not to fix

Stevie
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Bah!

Not to pile on, but I read those bullets as:

1) Did we unambiguously say in writing that the product would NOT do what it is now doing?*

2) Can we be arsed to fix it?

* - And we should fire whoever wrote that soonest.

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Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

Stevie
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Bah!

Not to worry.

The data was encrypted and un-aggregated so mo-one will have their ID spoofed, stolen or sold-on by non-Dixons un-business partners.

What?

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Tech rookie put decimal point in wrong place, cost insurer zillions

Stevie
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Re: Y2K Blither IBM?

I specifically called out the ICL 1900 range. While I worked on 2900s it was in the days when no-one trusted either of the two different flavours of VME and were running four DME "slots" - effectively making them 1900s. I never bothered getting into the internals because I was looking for a Sperry contract by then. ICL were in an obvious sunset situation even I could see a mile off.

I don't know how you weren't swept up in the mad rush to convert from ICL 1900s to Univac 1100/60s when a three-letter blitherer from ICL claimed they were dropping support for 1900/DME codebases*. The stampede was such that Sperry corp in the UK set up a special unit of so-called "1900 experts" to lead people through the conversion required.

Are my bone fides acceptable, or do we need to talk about PLAN, Applications Manager, XKYE, XPJC and DMAP? Can we declare this tackle-measuring a draw and give it a GO 29?

* - This wasn't new. ICL had a special corps of blithering director-level people who would announce things that would cause mass stampedes of customers to other people's mainframes. According to my sources Dataskil was formed as a place to park one such individual who made a remark about the future lack of support of tape in GEORGE** without actually firing him.

** - Best name for an operating system ever. Grown out of a previous thing called "Automatic Operator" and renamed for for obvious reasons*** that make the widely-known backronym laughable.

*** - If you are British, and have a working knowledge of pilot slang.

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Stevie
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Re: Y2K Blither

AC blithers on the subject of Y2K:

It wasn't to save memory. It was because of bad programming practice. A single byte can store 256 years. But it you store each number as a character, you use two bytes and get only 99. Or one and 99 if you use BCD.

SInce only IBM mainframes used that byte structure (ICL 1900s used a twenty four bit word on the ones I worked on, and the Univac 1100 series could chop their 36 bit word a number of ways, including a six, nine or 18 bit "byte"), this is a rather specific bit of misinformation.

In the general case it was because the Cobol library routines of the day returned a two year date when asked to ACCEPT DATE FROM TODAY. Poor programming? Arguably. But done at the compiler/systems programming level.

I have said before, thinking "Y2K" was a problem confined to only recording two digits of the year is to be woefully under-informed. My absolute fave was the bank round the corner where the accounting software had been properly hardened with four-year dates but the ATM vestibule door locks (which used epochal dates) hadn't. New Year's Day: NO ADMITTANCE, NO EXCEPTIONS. Apparently the door lock computer thought everyone's cards were backdated 1999 years or something.

Still, some of you will get your own chance in the trenches when whole scads of legacy "modern language" stuff everyone has forgotten prop up the corporate infrastructure goes nails-up in about 13 years or so. Good hunting.

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Stevie
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Re: As a work experience...

I challenge you, John Brown (no body), to cite a male keypunch operative.

They were called punch girls for a reason. Mostly young, single and not looking to stay there forever.

Some days they were the only reason for going into work.

Yes that is sexist. It was also the reality. See also: Typing Pool.

And before anyone screams and leaps, in that same place of work my boss was a woman.

As for winking in the bit about coding sheet blame, that's why people who came out of that era had distinctive ways of writing the characters 0 (or O), I, G (or is it a 9? or a 6?) and Z (or is it a 2?).

I still slash zeroes and bar Zs out of habit.

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Stevie
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Re: As a work experience...

softCORE.

Thanks Samsung auto-correct.

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Stevie
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Re: As a work experience...

Not checkers, "verifiers".

Ours made a second copy of the tape.

Funny story. I once wrote a softcover program (you can do that sort of thing in a language that emphasizes readability over terseness) and it got verified 9 times.

And I was menaced by the punch-room supervisor when she found out and she made me run it in front of her to prove it was a real program -it was - and it was the only job I submitted to come back with no typos.

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Every bloody gadget in the house is ringing. Thanks, EE

Stevie
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Re: in time any internet device with audio in and audio out will work

Bagshot?

That's Bilbo's dildo?

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Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

Stevie
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Re: Did you park your saucer at Roswell?

NYC.

Don't ask, don't tell.

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Stevie
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Re: Reminds me of JAFO

The term in the first world war was "Artillery Observer", and that was indeed what aircraft were first used for, replacing tethered blimps/barrage balloons for the purpose.

The apocryphal story is that while on a mission one officer took exception to the bally hun nearby, drew his sidearm and fired off a few shots, starting the process of retasking aircraft for a combat role. Original armament apparently included rocks, dropping on the enemy from above for the use of, and Mills Bombs, which were basically tin cans packed with explosives and set off with a fuse lit, I would like to think, with a cigar.

The term survives into modern warfare times as "Forward Observer", the poor sod who has to correct the fire of artillery batteries from a closer position to the enemy than is good for the health in an age of high-powered rifles and sniper scopes. They also do the "painting" with laser designators in weapon systems like Copperhead (though they might get a spiffy new job title when doing that).

The artillery observation role is also how those lucky sods in the UK have such beautiful Ordinance Survey maps. The government, having assembled a crack team of map-makers for wartime use needed a reason not to disband the group and lose the talent, so set them the task of mapping the UK at one inch to the mile, then 1:50,000 when the UK went metric.

Who knew such beauty could come from shooting the bejayzus out of each other?

What was the question?

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Stevie
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Re: FEED ME A STRAY CAT"

"BRING ME A BLUE PAGE!"

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Stevie
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Re: A sort of "MTM" => Manual Teller Machine

You mean the drive-up window.

Lots of banks have 'em, including my local Chase branch.

TSB tried this out recently in software, but it turned out to be more of a drive-by window.

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Stevie
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Re: Staff don’t care about access to the computers

I worked in one place that was having regular thefts of really stupid stuff - old greenscreen terminals for example - despite having 24 hour security guards and an ID checking turnstile.

Every day we would be required to open up any briefcases for a "security check" as we passed in or out. What a joke.

a) All the females of the opposite sex had complained about handbag searches, so handbags were exempt. Cue the carrying of enormous duffels as unsearchable "handbags".

2) I asked what they were looking for once and was told "computer tapes". When I asked what a computer tape looke like, they described an old nine track reel of tape. Sitting in plain view in my opened-for-security-check Delsey Slimline Briefcase (dead 70s, me) was a modern (as of then) nine track cartridge tape as used in our site.

*) I finally lost it when one of the guards made a snotty remark about the thefts.

"That's insulting!" I snapped.

"It's my job!" he riposted.

"No, it's insulting that you think that if I wanted to steal a terminal I would be so stupid as to try and carry it out past the security check in front of the CCTV camera" I counter-riposted.

"Well, how would you do it?" he snarked.

"We are on the sixth floor. I could simply tie a rope around the terminal and lower it to a confederate through a window while you are busy guarding the gate. But that would be doing it the hard way. I'd actually probably just do what the real theives are doing".

"What's that then?" said Mr Security.

"I'd wait until everyone but security and the PC night shift was gone, take whatever I wanted to steal and put it in one of those huge canvas dumpsters-on-wheels, the ones we use for waste paper. I'd cover up the stolen item with more paper, and wheel the dumpster out through the freight elevator. Where I would be waved through the security check."

Then I just stood and watched the penny drop. A magic moment.

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Hey, Mac fanbois: Got $600,000 burning a hole in your pocket? Splash out on this rare Apple I

Stevie
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Re: To be fair...

The consensus in the UK PC press (PC World etc) In The Day was that the Apple II had gorgeous color that no other machine could equal, but most other machines were better at sums.

Since I only ever got my hands on an Apple II in the early 1990s I couldn't comment.

The one I got was originally used to run the national convention business of a large US comic book business, so it can't have been too shabby.

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Stevie
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Re: Bah!

Are you saying that the Applewoch Mk 1 is not obsolete?

And fyi I did look 'em both up before posting. Not enough difference in this context to make a difference.

Unless you are upping your wc -c return value of course.

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Stevie
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Bah!

"Obsolescent"?

What is wrong with "Obsolete"?

Is Kieren McCarthy charging by the consonant?

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In defence of online ads: The 'net ain't free and you ain't paying

Stevie
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Bah!

"all tables, grey backgrounds, blue underlined links and no CSS"

So, downloaded in sparrow's fart time and was invulnerable to XSS attacks?

As for paying for content to rid myself of adverts, I tried that. The adverts started coming again six months later. In this case it was "Fool me once, never get a cent more of subscription money from me again and I'll adblock your free content".

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GNOMEs beat Microsoft: Git Virtual File System to get a new name

Stevie
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Re: Along those lines...

If you would entertain a small change to Gitty McGitFace System it would initialize to GMGFS, which, in the time-honoured way, would eventually be misremembered as GMG File System and prompt furious corrections when mentioned both here and on Wikipedia.

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Microsoft sinks another data centre with Natick 2

Stevie
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Re: The measurement standards are definitely slipping recently...

Given the mileu, one might agitate for The British Standard Sperm Whale.

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Ex-US pres Bill Clinton has written a cyber-attack pulp thriller. With James Patterson. Really

Stevie
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Bah!

This the same Stephen King as the one who re-issued The Stand with all the pages editors had removed put back in, thereby showing the world the absolute necessity of editors?

I think I agree that in many cases King's endings let down the book (Tommyknockers is an example) but sometimes he hits one out of the park (Firestarter worked very well for me, as did Christine).

But the real king of "Ruin a Good Idea with The Explanation" is Dean Koontz. I had to stop reading his books. I loved he set-ups but hated his trite reasons why things were happening like they were.

Never read any Twilight books, largely because in a post "Vampire LeStat" world I feel Vampires Are Stupid. There isn't anything anyone can say about them that is new and interesting no matter what you say they eat or when they can or cannot go abroad amongst people. I *did* read a short in which vampires kept herion-addicted humans for the high, but the rest of the story simply wasn't worth the idea.

And for me the sooner the current craze for Zombies is over the better. The Dead rise. Yawn. Even the White Walkers are tedious. We know this because GRRM stopped writing about them yonks ago, having baited and switched the reader at about halfway through book one of A Game Of Pagecounts.

I'll watch GoT on TV next year just for the spectacle, but to the idea that the dead are taking over Westeros I say "about time", and I'm done with the books since book 5: A Blithering with Behemoths.

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You blithering Ajit! Huawei burns Pai for FCC sh*tlist proposal

Stevie
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Re: But most of your iPhone is built in china

Most of our everything is built in China.

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Stevie
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Re: Cute little communists

Not new, not insightful, not clever.

No upvote for anything 10cc said better in the early 1970s.

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Stevie
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Re: I'd pay

Allowed to leave via the Australian desert, securely bound and wearing an oversized papier-machè carnival head while sitting backwards on a donkey.

There's precedent.

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Did you test that? No, I thought you tested it. Now customers have it and it doesn't work

Stevie
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Re: Had a close call

Technically the noun is "miss".

Shenanigans.

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Stevie
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Re: Ties

Clip-ons.

Gordon Bennet, does no-one think through how it works with security guards, prison staff and police?

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Stevie
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Re: ring

Whereas I had an old and very heavy steel garage roll-up door lose its springs and come down on my fingers.

The ring is still flat on one side and I'm still wearing it.

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Don't read this, Oracle... It's the rise of the open-source data strategies

Stevie
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Re: "...the only database in the planet..."

Yes, in.

Oracle was famously used to do the sums needed when digging the tunnels for the LHC.

According to a presentation I once attended back before some of you think you invented sex.

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Stevie
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Bah!

"It would be comforting to the Oracle faithful to believe that this open source onslaught isn’t having an impact on the database behemoth."

No, it will be comforting in the competition drives down the price.

People using Oracle typically are leveraging the Oracle technology, and switching en masse to an open source "alternative" is a non-starter.

Smaller shops that just want to hold data in tabular form and get at it with SQL are a different use case than the large enterprise, where replication technologies and resilience are paramount.

I know if the license calculus were to change favorably that my director-level people would be a lot happier.n But telling them to move to Mongo DB or MySQL would get me fired, free or not.

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Mirror mirror on sea wall, spot those airships, make Kaiser bawl

Stevie
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Bah!

A new military technique, one based on sound?

Then what we have here are the world's first Weirding Modules.

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Storm in a teapot: Anger brews over npm's jokey proxy error messages

Stevie
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Bah!

Get Rid Of Useless Javascript Now!

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A Reg-reading techie, a high street bank, some iffy production code – and a financial crash

Stevie
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Re: Or...

Minority of two, then.

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Stevie
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Re: Should have used COBOL.

And the unhealthy "not C-like, it scares me" mentality we've educated into our CYTs.

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Stevie
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Re: @Baldrickk QA's Fault?

Yep. A while back we read in these pages of a flight simulator that inverted the virtual aircraft when it flew into the southern hemisphere's sky. The thrust of the article was in the quick fix approach supplanting the figure out what's wrong and fix that approach, and was written after one of those "inches/metric" screwups on a Mars shot (as I remember it).

If the test suite is bebuggered then all hope is lost in the face of willfully blind management.

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Stevie
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Re: QA's fault @Phil

Better yet - don't write your financial applications in a language intended for writing operating systems.

Cobol. Saving DP from itself for over half a century.

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Sysadmin's PC-scrub script gave machines a virus, not a wash

Stevie
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Re: Alan Solomon (of blessed mamory)...

Remarkably similar to the EDS Headcrash Cascade story found reported as "happened here" in every mainframe shop in the 70s.

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Trio indicted after police SWAT prank call leads to cops killing bloke

Stevie
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Bah!

I *knew* this would turn out to be a videogame-based spat gone large.

Now tell me again how a kid who makes threats over the phone to someone's wife is not a potential lethal threat.

These f*cking people have no connect. They seem incapable of working out the direct consequences of their actions, of if they can, they don't care.

Either way: to the organbanks with them. There must be needing people out there who won't be such a waste of organic matter.

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