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* Posts by Notas Badoff

825 posts • joined 27 Oct 2009

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Emma's Diary fined £140k for flogging data on over a million new mums to Labour Party

Notas Badoff
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Re: UK's 11 main political parties

"Pity there are no other real alternatives to vote for. The right is crap, the left is crap and the centre is full of ' Don't Kows' ."

And there are no alternatives to the "Don't know hows"

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Imagine Python fan fiction written in C, read with a Lisp: Code lingo Nim gets cash injection

Notas Badoff
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Shattering news

"... to develop a Nim-based sharding client for Ethereum, said to be the second most valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin."

So will this then be compatible with the rest of Ethereum, or is this a fork? Destined to be called Ethereim?

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Uptight robots that suddenly beg to stay alive are less likely to be switched off by humans

Notas Badoff
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H2G2

Perhaps more than a few of the subjects had read/heard The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?

Giddly Putrid Personalities

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Pentagon 'do not buy' list says нет to Russia, 不要 to Chinese code

Notas Badoff
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Re: Nothing New

"Oranges grown in the south are sweet, in the north sour" is an old Chinese reference to nations and supposed differences between them. The most interesting version of the story is all about counting diplomatic coup. So posturing has precedent, yes.

But... the pessimist can imagine four coming developments following from reasonable security worries.

One is that any business or industry that is credibly critical national infrastructure will be required to show not only disaster recovery style duplication of internal infrastructure, but also that one leg of that duplication employs only 'trustworthy' components. Think banks, local governments, energy companies, and the like.

Second is that it might become hard to find everything needed from unassailable sources. And so each state may find it necessary to sponsor and support domestic component development. Quite like China has been doing for the last few decades. Or, hey, like the fallout we've seen lately regarding GPS?

And this might be hard for hardware/software development, since the personnel devoted must also be unassailable (not on visa for instance). And so not only will governments keep winding the STEM, but make it more urgent through national service. "The Marine Corps builds coders!"

And then we'd come full circle. Would a company $here hire someone who has been in national service $there? Y'kno, weaponized?

A pessimist's thoughts are nightmares. I'm not suggesting the above, but am at a loss against the natural progression of ideas. What do you do to guarantee a nation's (or union's) security in the face of a hostile untrustworthy world?

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How hack on 10,000 WordPress sites was used to launch an epic malvertising campaign

Notas Badoff
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Trench warfare

Here I was thinking that "ad brokers" were basically "ad aggregators", but that's not really true. They are "hole aggregators", aiming to fill the holes on all those web pages. When they run out of jewels and gems, they fill the holes with turds, though wrapped in toilet paper sometimes. They turn your browser into a latrine. You knew this...

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Google Translate spews doomsday messages, Facebook snatches boffins, and more in AI

Notas Badoff
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They can out thunk us

You mean gTranslate has gotten better then?

I've mentioned before that you can get from 'fragrant' (as in Hong Kong) to "sweet-smelting". I hadn't yet found that gTranslate can't figure out the difference between 'flying' and 'flat'.

Type in 'airplane' to get '飞机' in Chinese, then reverse that to get "open country". Oops.

That's what happens when your neural net gets lost in the outback.

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Microsoft Visual Studio Code replumbed for better Python taming

Notas Badoff
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Re: To enable it?

These aren't the truth values you're looking for. ... Move along.

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Microsoft's 'room-scale' Ginormonitor probably not as big as a room

Notas Badoff
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Re: "Tokyo Appartment Sized"

Hmm, did they mention if the aspect ratio was 2:1 ?

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Crooks swipe plutonium, cesium from US govt nuke wranglers' car. And yes, it's still missing

Notas Badoff
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That dirty yard in the neighbourhood

Sigh. It's not going to be a "dirty bomb". The problem will be much quieter and therefore sinister. Somewhere someone is stupidly 'accidentally' spreading this crap all over some neighbourhood. And no one will know until the damage to people has been done.

This one - Goiânia accident - will give you the idea. Perusing List of civilian radiation accidents will raise the hair on your neck until it starts falling out.

Gotta love "In the summer of 1992, a utility worker for the Taiwanese state-run electric utility Taipower brought a Geiger counter to his apartment to learn more about the device, and discovered that his apartment was contaminated." Or "The incident was discovered months later when a truck delivering contaminated building materials to the Los Alamos National Laboratory drove through a radiation monitoring station."

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Python creator Guido van Rossum sys.exit()s as language overlord

Notas Badoff
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Live! from your keyboard - your reputation

Um, wow. When the BDFL (retired) is minded to point to the code of conduct and also remind everyone that maillists are public information...? It has obviously been rough riding herd on a federation of (some) foul tempers?

Two things to note here.

No misogyny, misandry, racism, classism, or other -isms were employed in the making of this debacle. Just people being much much less than ideal. Thus this is a good (?) example to point to, that there are way too many people out there who simply don't know how to play well together. Quit trying to out-Godwin each other, everybody loses.

From the nature of the interactions, you have the chance to be a much *nicer*, more *intelligent* person in print than in real life. When you forget one person's name in real life you've lost one future friend. When you forget your humanity on the web, you've lost your career.

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Boffin botheration as IET lifts axe on 20-year-old email alias service

Notas Badoff
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Re: Another "use someone else's server" service bites the dust

"we give you a prestigious email address for nothing ..."

They were members of the organization. To me that implies membership dues. For a membership perk from my dues, I think I'd much rather have a prestige email address than a one-time t-shirt with some idiot logo variant printed on it.

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AI bots suck at marking written essays, not too shabby at old Atari games, and more...

Notas Badoff
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Re: sorry, but I have to do this . . . .

All too often now it is spelling by phonetic imitation. The latest jaw-dropper I've seen was a response to a question about shock waves in water, where the respondent mentioned a safe cracking method, which began with: "Get a settlin torch"

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EU court: No, expat Frenchman can't trademark France.com

Notas Badoff
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Re: Don't...

Nor a tourism agency "with an army and navy."

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Ubuntu reports 67% of users opt in to on-by-default PC specs slurp

Notas Badoff
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Really small systems

But are they 'real'? When I'm running Ubuntu it's in a VM and for development. So by default it has one CPU, one monitor (in a window), only a portion of the whole memory, and a newly created virtual disk. In production I might go 'dark' and not report in to mother. Though hopefully the Ubuntu reporting can notice it is really running on a VM and so not influence the final numbers?

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Unbreakable smart lock devastated to discover screwdrivers exist

Notas Badoff
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Trending now: "Stupid"

IQ Scores Are Falling in "Worrying" Reversal of 20th Century Intelligence Boom

Flynn effect and its reversal are both environmentally caused (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

You hoped you were joking when you said this before, didn't you?

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Microsoft says Windows 10 April update is fit for business rollout

Notas Badoff
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Never safe from Microsoft

"Do try to get them done at a convenient time, people, because the download is at least four gigabytes and Windows installs usually take at least 30 minutes and require multiple reboots! "

A convenient time? People get to pick a convenient time? fvck that! I walk away for a bite to eat and the sneaky bastards say now's a good time... and after it's finished I get to reconstruct my working environment over much longer than 30 minutes... Oh the hatred!

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Chinese tech giant ZTE is back in business – plus or minus $1.4bn and its entire board

Notas Badoff
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Trumpium War

Good grief. Do you know how this will be played to/by the Chinese internally? Read those second/third paragraphs again.

Every PRC kid has drilled into them how the country was raped by the UK/et.al. _only_ 180 years ago. That war (along with the Second Opium War, the Sino-Japanese War (first and second), the Western crushing response to the Boxer Rebellion (8 nations!) and all the other atrocities) is the primary justification for all the bad behaviour they are trying today. *Anything* can be rationalized as payback when you have been so humiliated. (they say, anyway)

It would have been so much better to have simply closed down ZTE and taken the domestic damage, rather than in any way appear to replay the Rape of China by the West. This could not have been done in a worse way!

Russia will always have its Tsars, China its Emperors, and America its yokels.

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Uber 'does not exist any more' says Turkish president

Notas Badoff
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Re: Alternative

Think "speculation". The classic case of New York 'medallions' had the 'value' of a taxi medallion range from $25,000 (1962) to $375,000 (2005) to $1,000,000 (2013) to supposedly $200,000 today.

The price of a thing in limited supply (medallions/licenses) depends on the market. The government had nothing (and everything) to do with that speculation, at least in this system.

Unlike some other government systems, which figure the public purse ought to take advantage of speculation. "Hong Kong began license-plate auctioning in 1973"

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Kill the blockchain! It'll make you fitter in the long run, honest

Notas Badoff
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One word: 'Miming'. I hear a bit'o'miming is very profitable these days.

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Uber robo-ride's deadly crash: Self-driving car had emergency braking switched off by design

Notas Badoff
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Re: Self-driving, not self-stopping

They developed a self-driving car, and it was. They disabled the self-stopping feature. *That* was plain bonkers.

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

Notas Badoff
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You get what you pay for, and tolerate.

There is controversy about it, but there is a continuing practice in our industry of rating people and ousting the lowest ranked n% each year. The same should happen for police depts.

In every crowd there is a small percentage that are responsible for the majority of misbehaviour. Getting rid of them, and being seen to do so, would go a long way to repairing the reputation of police depts.

We'd have to pay police better to get non-scum - I'm all for that. Insurance against riots...

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You have GNU sense of humor! Glibc abortion 'joke' diff tiff leaves Richard Stallman miffed

Notas Badoff
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Hidden wisdom

Long time ago I captured a comment from Usenet I thought useful:

"There's no winners here, just the sad trolling the bad trolling the mad. I call Cripple Fight on this."

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NASA lunar rover trundles to a meeting with Doctor Hacksaw and Mister Axe

Notas Badoff
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Firefox to feature sponsored content as of next week

Notas Badoff
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Re: Which reminds me...

On new browser windows, when Options / General / Home page is set to default of "Mozilla Firefox Start Page" then the content below the search text control is things like "Top Sites" (your recent most visited links) and "Recommended by Pocket" , links to charming articles like "Why the scientific finding that trees 'sleep' at night is beautiful" and "The Perks of a Play-in-the-Mud Educational Philosophy".

(The above described as on FF59.0.2)

If the mooted "horrors!" are as unobtrusive and ignorable as these suggested links on an otherwise blank startup page, then this is much ado about nothing.

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Leave it to Beaver: Unity is long gone and you're on your GNOME

Notas Badoff
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Upgrade, but not right now?

Did I miss a reference in article or comments to this strange note:

Upgrading from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or 17.10

Upgrades from 17.10 will not be enabled until a few days after 18.04's release. Upgrades from 16.04 LTS will not be enabled until a few days after the 18.04.1 release expected in late July.

There are no offline upgrade options for Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server.

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It's not you, it's Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files

Notas Badoff
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To be or not to be - let Google decide?

"If you happen to notice a suspicious email, we encourage you to report it as spam." ? ! ?

I'm supposed to report myself as a spammer? But you'll not _really_ mark me as a spammer? Bayes won't _really_ drop my future emails into the gutter? That's a *lot* of trust they're asking for in their hour of need.

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Chinese web giant finds Windows zero-day, stays schtum on specifics

Notas Badoff
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Qui est hic "qui"?

Qihoo. Strange bird, meet strange tiger.

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Soyuz later! Russia may exit satellite launch biz

Notas Badoff
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At those prices...

For those prices there has got to be a market for "eternal repose" for billionaires. What a hook!

"Look down on everyone, for eternity, for only $62 million."

And for only $90 million, "You *can* take it with you."

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You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

Notas Badoff
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Govt publishes unpublic public documents! Details at <random> o'clock.

Someone said "Give me a script I can run to upload the latest PDF to the site." Script says here you go, the next consecutive number was '1242'. What, you demand complicated interactions with public servants and 32 hex digit UUIDs? Hahaha.

The core point here is, when is a document *published* ? If I stick a magazine on the shelf at the corner drug store, is it not published and available to all comers?

Crap, now I'm nervous I downloaded all those IETF RFCs in sequence.

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What most people think it looks like when you change router's admin password, apparently

Notas Badoff
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Re: FUD

"...or have compromised a machine already on the network."

Only every PC that connects to the web and allows Javascript execution! You obviously have no idea how capable of network activity browser Javascript is.

You are uninformed. Oh, strange, that's the topic, isn't it?

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B-Ark passengers to control most IT spend from 2019 onwards

Notas Badoff
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Re: Not quite correct.

Ha ha, you kill me. Here, have some leaves.

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They're back! 'Feds only' encryption backdoors prepped in US by Dems

Notas Badoff
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Re: As I've said before...

I ask only this. If you wish to continue insisting there is a workable backdoor, then we get to insist on writing "There is no workable backdoor" on your tombstone. If at that point you want to continue debating the matter, we'll be waiting for you...

(Required disclaimer for this age: no, I'm not suggesting killing them. I'm suggesting every legislator should be forcibly memorialized on their eventual tombstone by reference to their stupidest act of public legislation. No grand statue is going to hide the message "We the people regret electing this idiot".)

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Do(ug)h! Half-baked security at Panera Bread spills customer data

Notas Badoff
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99% off all orders for the next month!

Enter coupon code TANSTAAFL when ordering.

After a month of all that bread and lettuce leaving for free, the next shareholders meeting would be hot and steaming.

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Need a needle in an artery? Move over, doc, there's an app for that

Notas Badoff
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Re: Not in a month...

I believe you and you have my sympathy.

Doctors, GPs, are not all as prepared as we'd like for life as actually lived by patients. You'd like to split the difference between a new one that knows everything but hasn't seen much, and an older one that has seen everything but unfortunately no longer knows everything current.

When one hand and arm were going completely numb one afternoon, I took a shower and went to hospital. ER doctor takes a look, and says "well, we know you weren't bitten by a rattlesnake - no holes", but with no other helpful diagnosis. (Was actually an extreme reaction to stinging nettle I figured later, after repetition)

Separately, it took 7.5 years for a simple metabolic problem to be diagnosed because it presented so similar to something else, and those tests were negative. Finally I showed up with a letter comparing in two columns two different disorders, showing how much they could resemble one another. "Oh, we have a test for that one!" Four days after receiving the ensuing Rx I'm the person I was eight years before.

Investigate. Research. Be interested in your own health. You may be the only one who is.

BTW: My appt with the dermatologist is on Thursday. Life's "go away!" stuff doesn't go away by itself.

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Uber self-driving car death riddle: Was LIDAR blind spot to blame?

Notas Badoff
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Illuminating or not?

"Uber fiercely denied it had any of Wamyo's LIDAR technology in its self-driving cars ..."

Oh I think we can see that.

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Tantalising Tabby's Star teases watchers with big dimming event

Notas Badoff
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I love Science best when there's one person saying ...

"Hey, have you guys seen anything like this before?", and more and more people get roped in saying ???!?!?!!! The simple question "how do you explain this?" is actually the nicest gift you can give to your colleagues.

Like Hanny's Voorwerp. "Hey, guys, what's that green cloud thingy just hanging out in space, 700 million light years away?" (tee hee)

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NASA fungus problem puts theory of 'Martian mushrooms' on toast

Notas Badoff
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Um, nope

"And not just any funguses, but some species capable of producing amino acids that are usually considered to be extra-terrestrial when found in meteorites."

Not stated.

"The presence of fungi in NASA curation facilities is particularly interesting since some fungal species are able to produce amino acids like Aib (α-aminoisobutryic acid) and Iva (Isovaline) that are often considered to be extra-terrestrial when identified in meteorites."

That is, there are fungal species on earth that can produce weird amino acids normally thought only produced extra-terrestrially. A very general statement.

"Most of the identified fungal isolates belonged to the genus Penecillium. At least one member of this genus has been able to produce Aib in the lab."

I've seen people dressed in purple do really weird things, and you're wearing purple, so...

"The fungi cultivated from the laminar flow bench in this study are currently being analyzed for the presence and enantiomeric ratios of a broad suite of amino acids commonly found in meteorites, including Aib and Iva, to determine whether they could be possible sources of these compounds."

In other words, we have not yet seen extra-terrestrial-like amino acids from the fungi found. They may find such, and that is correctly disturbing and worth consideration if never imagined possible by previous researchers.

This was a "hey, look at this!" first note paper. Consider this indication of hurriedness:

<quote>

"Half of the sample was set aside to determine free amino acids content, whereas the other have was acid vapor hydrolyzed (6N HCl) for 3 hours at 150 °C to measure total amino acids (free and protein-bound)."

</quote>

To have and half not, right?

Oh well, count down to "Extra-terrestrial fungi from meteorites hidden in NASA labs for 20 years!" 5, 4, 3, ...

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Seagate's HAMR to drop in 2020: Multi-actuator disk drives on the way

Notas Badoff
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Collocated data

I like your previous article's quotes from Seagate:

"Half the drive's recording heads will operate together as a unit, while the other half will operate independently as a separate unit,",

and

"The host computer can treat a single Dual Actuator drive as if it were two separate drives,"

And so what you've got is one disk enclosure, and one interface, but effectively two independently operated drives. Not two independent read/write arms accessing the same entire disk. To access a particular set of data, you are still waiting on the queue of commands for a single arm. Ho hum.

We've got to look for something like the additional word 'parallel' to get the nirvana of "times N" access to one set of data. Though duplication of data using RAID may help? Oh, that's reads only.

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Programming languages can be hard to grasp for non-English speakers. Step forward, Bato: A Ruby port for Filipinos

Notas Badoff
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But it's symbols all the way down! (in code)

At what point do the 'words' - the keywords - just become symbols? Quite early. If you want to use 'kung_hindi' instead of 'else', okay with me. But then, leaving as-is, and as is most commercially valuable, is better.

Now variable naming and commentary is very language-specific, and depends greatly on your target audience. Decoding variable names in German Fortran was 'fun', but speed developed. The comments were very hard, as compressed <any>language becomes elliptical and telegraphic. (What are the 3 most important words out of a full sentence description?)

And that's where the problem will be hardest. You can already find code/projects on Github where the comments are largely in <local>language, even if the variable names are 'conventional' Latin script. Nicht wahr? Shi zhen de!

Dreadful balkanisation if local language ports become popular, with some success in small markets. But converging on the best/worst case 'globish' is a fairly high bar for many. What language do you want to use to sell yourself in comments is key here.

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Salesforce saddles itself with MuleSoft for $6.5bn

Notas Badoff
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I took affright

'scarifying' : "I do not think it means what you think it means."

I _have_ been scarified by saddles, and am scared of ideas, but I think you simply want to be terrifically >>terrifying<<.

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The Great China Tech Panic is just posh xenophobia

Notas Badoff
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They smiled at you and and won your heart...

and, similarly to Bush meeting with Putin, you looked into their souls but you saw mere veniality. Which is what you expected. Shallow techies, everywhere!

Remember the genesis of the US tech industry? The military needed better, smaller, faster, and sooner, and was willing to pay for it. (ex. article) The Cold War then add-on Space Race superheated science, technology and precision manufacturing in the US. There was a tremendous push for working products at high specifications. (and alas, not benign ones)

You are pointing to the lack of *Walkmans* as certain evidence that the Chinese tech industry is not really doing anything advanced, nor is capable of doing so. But how long did it take for the advances fostered by the Western military to diffuse out to the public arena? You are benchmarking by widgets visible now. That is certainly short-sighted.

The fear does not come from worry about 7-day battery life or 7G invented and owned by Chinese companies. The fear comes from the longevity and determination of the CPC, and their Putin-like concentration only on what benefits China, powered by a soon-to-be better than US-level economy.

Oh, and those millions of STEM graduates. Given a big enough number, even a very small percentage of real movers comes to more than the US and EU combined, yearly, and increasing.

The Chinese government does not care about consumer products. Those just naturally fall out of the process as by-products of centrally commanded technological advances. And those will keep the masses happy and content.

It is the other products of the military industrial complex "with Chinese characteristics" that you should be looking for, fearfully. (and alas, not benign ones)

It's 80 years later and Beijing is the new center of gravity for the future 大东亚共荣圈

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Doctor finds physical changes to astronaut's eyes after ISS stint

Notas Badoff
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Some can, most can't

I thought about it the other day and started counting how many different reasons disqualify me going up into the black. I get above seven different physical/medical reasons.

Even if free and easy transport were suddenly available, I'd have to stay and volunteer to neaten up and turn out the lights. Or... maybe like Pierson's Puppeteers we could just move the planet? All hail Larry Niven!

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Russia stares admiringly at itself, flexes internet muscles

Notas Badoff
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Are you in or are you out?

I wonder if the senior management of Kaspersky have strongly caught the fitness craze and are now taking frequent random walks through city parks and trails, just chatting together, y'kno?

Surely that bug hunting security firm has a bug out plan for their own security!

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Stock trader gets two years in prison for pumping up with Fitbit

Notas Badoff
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The power to cloud men's minds

Some people are just more susceptible.

There was a SF short story about a nebula that just happens to drift into the Solar System, and the composition of the cloud just happens to dramatically lower human intelligence. As the lights begin to go out, the last few bright sparks try to determine just how big is the cloud, thus how long the dark ages will be. They fail...

Not "The Black Cloud". And not "The Shadow". I just don't know why I can't bring the title to mind... er...

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HPE to cut technician jobs as field work outsourced to Unisys

Notas Badoff
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Three-legged stool, and then more chopping?

Can we start a meme of theorising how many legs these companies are sitting on? It seems several start out with five or six legs under their stools, then get into a habit of whittling away and then chopping legs out from under themselves. Then they are surprised when dropping that unneeded third leg and they fall over.

How many legs for IBM? How many for HPE?

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I'll bee back: Boffin's bionic bug Band-Aid after real ones all die

Notas Badoff
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So we're talking...

humba's to neaten up the fields?

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Oh honey! Oxfordshire abuzz with reports of a MEEELLION bees stolen

Notas Badoff
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Pint

Bees with ...

Everybody was so intrigued with "sharks with lasers!" I think bees with tasers give one Napoleonic visions. Want to suppress unruly protestors? "Eek, it's a be-ZzzZz!" Who needs armies, with dispatchable Bee-nadoes? Just think how nice the Kremlin would be turned into an apiary. Want to keep everything monitored? Send out the drones. Keep the population happy with Miellent yellow. Humm-ha-ha-ha!

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IBM gives Services staff until 2019 to get agile

Notas Badoff
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Re: agility

"Certified Scram Masters"

This! . . . . ^ ^ ^ ^

What a wonderful way to characterize your previous employers. It says you know what it should have been, what it wasn't, and how happy you'll be to work with clued people.

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Cisco NFV controller is a bit too elastic: It has an empty password bug

Notas Badoff
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Re: Big Cisco Fan here (generally, but don't shoot me)

A long time ago a friend showed us their clever way to message between terminals using mainframe OS memory (it was also a demo of a clever hack found by accident). The friend let us test it out. I sat down, hit the space key and just sat on it.

First the program seized up. Cue irritation. Then their face showed absolute horror and they bolted for the computer room door. After all, it was OS memory I was overwriting with spaces, given the unchecked buffer limits.

"You need idiots to defeat idiots"™ The next govt IT employment push?

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