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* Posts by David Roberts

1184 posts • joined 25 Jan 2007

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Drone perves defeated by tinfoil houses

David Roberts
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Black Helicopters

Water based interception

A few hosepipe and pressure washer fans here.

Probably OK for a very near approach over a large tract of land you own, but anywhere suburban and the main result will be shooting water onto your neighbour's property. Possibly onto your neighbour.

You could always fly your own defence drone over your property (leading to aerial robot wars) but again anywhere suburban this is likely to be illegal (at least in the UK).

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China's first space station to – ahem – de-orbit in late March

David Roberts
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Alert

Interesting track

Seems to pass over some major flight paths for carriers such as Emirates and Malasia.

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Canada charges chap alleged to run stolen data-mart Leakedsource

David Roberts
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Re: ha ha - Hotmail?

Is that still a thing?

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Airbus warns it could quit A380 production

David Roberts
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Pint

Another happy traveller

A few years back we flew to the Antipodes and booked at medium short notice. It was looking quite expensive, especially Premium Economy (which, as far as I can tell is old style (1980s) Business Class).

Fortunately we saw an offer for Malaysian business class which wasn't much more. A380 to KL then A320 to Sydney. The A380 was a dream, with fully reclining seats and masses of space. The A320 was OK but the seats only partially reclined so it was much harder to get to sleep. The overall experience, including the business class lounges at Heathrow and KL, was so civilised that I dread flying long haul economy.

Malaysian was a bit run down, though. KL should be their flagship but the facilities were poorly maintained and showing signs of age. Still beats the hell out of coach class.

So the A380 is the way air travel should be. Shame that the sardine packers are likely to win long term.

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OK, Google: Why does Chromecast clobber Wi-Fi connections?

David Roberts
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Re: Sounds like it is caching all the requests while it is sleeping

I did wonder if it just had a loop which ran until the internal date/time counter matched system date/time.

There will be a limit to cached messages but no limit to brainless loops.

Whatever, I hope someone reveals the code fix.

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Hawaiian fake nukes alert caused by fat-fingered fumble of garbage GUI

David Roberts
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Trollface

Users and menus

I wouldn't be surprised if there were additional checks which were clicked through.

It is not unknown for users opening a "boobs.jpg.exe" attachment to angrily click through the "are you sure you really want to do this?" prompts because:

(1) Do you think I'm some kind of idiot?

(2) Boobs!

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US shoppers abandon PC makers in hour of need

David Roberts
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Still a huge market

Nobody should expect sales of anything (apart from baked beans and bog roll) to just keep on climbing year on year.

Each year products seem to be a little better made and longer lived. Examples include clothes and motor cars as well as computers.

This doesn't mean that in the near future there will be no market for new clothes, motor cars and computers. Just that corporates may not be able to deliver year on year growth.

You will know when things are starting to get tough when they introduce major scrappage schemes for PC hardware (not counting OS upgrades and bloating which have driven some of the replacement cycle in the last few years).

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UK.gov puts Suffolk 7-year-old's submarine design into production

David Roberts
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Re: Verity Jackson with the new boat

Honey, I shrunk the crew?

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Cryptocurrencies to end in tears, says investor wizard Warren Buffet

David Roberts
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Unhappy

Just another hare brained Ponzi scheme

There is no underlying value, and at some point you are going to run out of suckers.

And yet.....this was the tune when the nominal price was $100 and $1,000 and....the standard warning is always past performance is no guarantee of future performance. What if it defies current theory and just stays up there?

I will be avoiding anyway, but as I can't explain the current valuation I can't be sure that it is wrong.

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Japanese giant NEC gobbles Brit IT firm Northgate for £475m

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Foreign owned companies

The reason that the FTSE100 is so high at the moment is that most of the revenue is coming from abroad in dollars.

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UK exam chiefs: About the compsci coursework you've been working on. It means diddly-squat

David Roberts
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Windows

Re: CompSci without coursework - half the size and faster

IMHO the tutor was unusually sensible and aware of the real world.

Back in the day (a long way back) we didn't like employing Comp Sci graduates because most of their training seemed to be fancy tricks and self modifying code designed to minimise memory usage.

All very clever, but if at least 50% of the programming team can't understand what you are doing and why then you are writing unmaintainable code and any gains in performance are negated by the extra time taken by the poor sod who will probably end up rewriting the whole thing when you move on to pastures new.

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If Australian animals don't poison you or eat you, they'll BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE

David Roberts
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Holmes

I did wonder about cause and effect

Why would the first fire bird pick up a burning twig?

One possibility; thought it was a cooked snake then dropped it when it wasn't.

Another possibility; picked up a smouldering animal then dropped it because it was too hot, or just to settle down and eat it.

There must be a common use case for moving burning things before the admittedly smart birds can see the effect of dropping something that is smouldering and seeing fire start, and making the intuitive leap that results in the consolidation of observed behaviour into learned behaviour.

Could make future fire insurance claims interesting as well. Bloody bird done it, mate!

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WD My Cloud NAS devices have hard-wired backdoor

David Roberts
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Paris Hilton

I assume that....

....you have to configure it and the router to allow incoming connections from the Internet otherwise it is a NAS and not a cloud.

Unless (like my HP printer) it connects out to a central server so no incoming connection is required.

I had a quick look round but couldn't find a description of the mechanics. I assume it does clever things to the router as most punters wouldn't know where to start.

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Here come the lawyers! Intel slapped with three Meltdown bug lawsuits

David Roberts
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Trollface

Hard drive and CPU intensive?

That is Window Update screwed, then.

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Samsung topples Intel as semiconductor top dog, but lead 'literally built on sand'

David Roberts
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Unhappy

Damn

Got to wait until 2019 for the RAM upgrade.

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Meltdown, Spectre: The password theft bugs at the heart of Intel CPUs

David Roberts
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Trollface

Compensation!

I wonder how my two Core 2 Duos and my Core 2 Quad are going to net me?

Should I be ordering champagne and a yacht?

I could start filling the bath now............

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Someone tell Thorpe Lane in Suffolk their internet sucks – they're still loading the page

David Roberts
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Re: Swings and roundabouts

Three little words - East Coast Cable. Since borged into Virgin.

So there are places on the Felixstowe peninsula where you are 5 minutes walk from the countryside, 10 minutes walk from the sea, and can get 200 Mb/sec Internet over co-ax, Although apparently not in the less fashionable parts of the Trimleys.

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BT lab domain grab – 17 years after cheeky chap swiped 'em

David Roberts
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Re: Martlesham Heath Re the Tower - mountain biking

You might want to check where the mountain biking track was for the Olympics.

Not Martlesham, but surprisingly close (and not near a mountain).

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Russia threatens to set up its 'own internet' with China, India and pals – let's take a closer look

David Roberts
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Critical infrastructure

Communications have always been vital to the military.

At one one time it was more traditional communications netwroks. Telex style terminals in COMCENS with the fall back of sending morse over the bare wires if all the smart stuff had been wiped out by EMP. As far as I know everything is more sophisticated now but also more vulnerable.

The power network was a biggie; take down the National Grid and we would be starving in a week as all the chilled and frozen food went bad.

These days we seem to be almost totally reliant on the Internet for "just in time" logistics and all aspects of business and banking. This makes any (at least First World) country enormously vulnerable to network disruption. Imagine the chaos if you could not buy goods electronically and anyway nobody knew where they were.

The tactical and strategic advantages are obvious. Why take enormous civilian damage from a nuclear exchange, or massive long term drain on resources of a conventional war when you can just cripple your opponent by taking down their logistics? Victory without a shot fired? Very enticing. So every sovereign nation should be taking all possible steps to secure vital infrastructure. Having vital parts managed by a likely enemy is not a good position. Having a fall back plan is vital, as is testing it.

TL;DR - why wouldn't Russia do this? Crazy not to!

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'Urgent data corruption issue' destroys filesystems in Linux 4.14

David Roberts
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Trollface

Just when

Linus had apologised for fucking swearing.

Incoming in 3 2 1

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Tesla launches electric truck it guarantees won't break for a million miles

David Roberts
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Re: Sport truck! 0-60 in 5 seconds SA to WA

That is not such a big issue.

Think back to the early days of the railroads (especially in the USA). Railroad stops were built at regular intervals, usually in the middle of nowhere, so the steam engines could take on more fuel and water.

Retro, but regular truck stops surrounded by massive solar farms could solve that problem and also provide facilities for other travellers including tourists.

Just look back to when locomotive fuel was less energy dense.

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David Roberts
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Re: Impressive

"So you have the power sources sorted, the actual infrastructure can gradually be upgraded as required. It isn't that difficult to upgraded a substation or increase the UHV cable capacity. As long as it is gradual and not required in 5 years time. It's only a bit more difficult than getting FTTH for everyone."

Some unquantified caveats there. Having watched the progress of the build of an additonal feed from an offshore wind farm into the National Grid the progress is very slow. Infrastructure seems to be (quite sensibly) underground these days and a new link has to go through/past existing infrastructure which all takes time and planning. A lot of time seems to be taken up by archeology along the chosen route. You could of course just cover the whole country is a massive web of pylons and overhead cables.

I don't think it is fair to compare the issues of running very high power lines all over the country to running fibre down urban streets and out to country villages.

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Remember CompuServe forums? They're still around! Also they're about to die

David Roberts
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Re: First Quantum Link... then Usenet... now...

Usenet?

Still working last time i looked. (Hours not days.)

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Boffins on alert: Brace yourselves for huge gravitational wave coming within a decade

David Roberts
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Re: So which is it?

Unfortunately both.

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Thousand-dollar iPhone X's Face ID wrecked by '$150 3D-printed mask'

David Roberts
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Unhappy

Re: Meanwhile, on Qatar Airways flight QR-962 (Doha-Bali)...

They didn't miss it because I emailed a link to the news desk.

Seemed very relevant at least for Bootnotes.

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Now, now, Qualcomm... Don't play hard to get, grins Broadcom

David Roberts
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Pirate

Next, hostile

Words to the effect of "we would prefer a friendly agreement".

Hints that major shareholders are in favour of the deal.

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ARM emulator in a VM? Yup, done. Ready to roll, no config required

David Roberts
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Not as exciting as I first thought

ARM emulation seemed to be an opportunity to reverse the trend of trying to run full fat Linux on a phone or tablet.

Run Android on your PC for a full test environment for mobile phone Apps. Test run the software for the Galaxy S$n without having to buy the hardware.

Then I thought about the hardware abstraction layer. Loads of stuff on a phone and not a standard PC including compass, GPS, accelerometer, etc.

So perhaps not, or they would already be doing it with the Raspberry Pi.

Edit: perhaps people alread are and I just haven't noticed.

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Astronomers find bizarre 'zombie supernova' that just won't die

David Roberts
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Alien

We may not see it in our lifetime

But some time in the not too distant future observers will see the shadows cast by the first wave of light sails.

By then, of course, it will probably be too late to do anything.

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Brit moron tried buying a car bomb on dark web, posted it to his address. Now he's screwed

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Re: Time to start deporting the problem fast before it gets much worse!

Gonna leave Ireland kinda empty.

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David Roberts
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Trollface

No mention of any action against the sender

At a minimum there would be a false customs declaration and abuse of UPS shipping terms and conditions.

Mind still boggling at the thought of shipping (for a wild example) 2 Kg of Semtex and a detonator via white (or brown) van man with the obvious Fragile stickers plus the "really, no I mean REALLY do not throw this about in the van" instructions.

O.K. I realise that most modern explosives are very safe to handle, but still.....

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Card shark Intel bets with discrete graphics chips, shuffles AMD's GPU boss into the deck

David Roberts
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Re: Whow, those b̶u̶l̶l̶s̶h̶i̶t̶ management text generators get awfully good those days!

Does "portfolio of unmatched" mean that nobody else is this bad?

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Evil pixels: Researcher demos data-theft over screen-share protocols

David Roberts
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Alien

Outer Limits?

We have taken control of your sceen.....

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Chrome update kills unwanted ad redir... WIN A FREE iPad!!

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Re: What is this? 1997?

Well, quite.

Especially as SPAM is dying out because nobody clicks on it any more. Oh, wait.......

.

.

.

.

P.S. You can't patch or filter stupid.

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David Roberts
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Big Brother

Kicker at the end

If your site doesn't play by Google's rules it will be disabled within Chrome.

Possibly a big step from a user blocking content with ad or script blockers to Big Daddy taking another step to be web censor. This is a difficult one because there needs to be some kind of filter (see discussion of YouTube and kids) but allowing a remote corporation to impose its world view on your world view could be the thin end of the wedge.

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Facebook's send-us-your-nudes service is coming to UK, America

David Roberts
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Coat

I assume all this technology

Works on partial photographs as well.

Including the ones where you Photoshopped in the excited donkey with the straw hat and earrings?

Or does that rely on the existing technology for tagging pictures already uploaded?

Cue a game of Photoshop whack-a-mole.

Going out for some popcorn. ->

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Londoners: Ready to swap your GP for an NHS vid doc app?

David Roberts
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FAIL

What exactly is this supposed to save?

A video consultation with a GP is unlikely to be faster than a face to face consultation.

So you don't "see" more patients.

Also, there are many things (the word palpate comes to mind) which as far as I know you can't easily do via a phone.

As others have noted there are a number of things your GP can do face to face (or whatever) as a diagnostician which can't be done over a phone. There are a raft of other services including minor surger offered by many GP practices. How does this online practice expect to provide such things?

Looks very much like an attempt to avoid all the infrastructure costs and get a book of generally fit patients who rarely if ever need a consultation. Plus hypochondriacs.

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Post-Brexit economy SAVED: Posh-nosh truffle thrives in Wales

David Roberts
Silver badge
Coat

Holm Oak

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/common-non-native-trees/holm-oak/

Naturalised in the UK. Been here since the 1500s.

So presumably the trick is to get the truffles to grow on the large number of Holm Oaks already here. Loads of them in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Hmmm....might just take the dog for a walk....--->

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Europe's one-patent-court-to-rule-them-all rocked by 'Brexit, EPO reforms, German laws'

David Roberts
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Re: Brexit?

Hmmm....noted the downvote already, I was just about to respond that the patent office to be created is European, but how it is to be formed and the relationship to the EPO isn't really clear from this article.

If it is going to be an EU body to "rubber stamp" the output from the EPO then this could be an issue.

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Off-brand tablets look done, but big players are growing

David Roberts
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Windows or Android?

I assume that most (non-Apple) tablets are Android but this doesn't seem to be called out in the figures.

I use an original Sony Xperia Z 10" tablet for reading stuff and it is still working fine (apart from the USB port). Just as well I splashed out on the charging cradle as well.

Full HD screen gives good quality viewing so why would I upgrade? Then again I am mainly using 5+ year old PCs for Windows/Linux.

Tablets (apart from iPads) don't seem to have the relentless upgrade push in the UK that you see for phones. Then again most are Wifi only so aren't a major part of the mobile suppliers' revenue stream.

Buying my first tablet gave me a major upgrade in portable functionality (although not the full replacement of a Netbook I was hoping for due to lack of serious software). At the moment I can't see a newer tablet giving me a step change in functionality.

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Birds are pecking apart Australia's national broadband network

David Roberts
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Trollface

Wrong approach

Just soak the covering in cyanide.

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Hackers abusing digital certs smuggle malware past security scanners

David Roberts
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Antivirus doesn’t check signed code?

Does the OS check that the signature is valid (correct checksum or whatever)?

If the OS doesn't check that signed code is correctly signed then what is the point of signing code?

If the OS has robust checks then it might be just about acceptable for the antivirus to skip a detailed check because it knows code with a fake signature won't be allowed to run anyway. Not that this seems particularly desirable but it would be interesting to know how much of a real world problem this is.

Are we all at immediate risk or is this just a case of laziness/performance optimisation by the antivirus community with no real impact on the end user? Serious question. The article doesn’t say how worried we should be (if at all). No "get updating" message, for example.

The obvious problem is a known virus correctly signed with a compromised certificate, which apparently isn't checked. The problem cited where a signature is just copied from good code and the check is skipped may be a problem or just a red herring.

As others have said, name and shame please.

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America's 2020 Census systems are a $15bn cyber-security tire fire

David Roberts
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Paris Hilton

I am sure they have a fully tested and resourced plan

For a fall back to the previous manual system should the new electronic system fail to deliver.

Nobody would be rash enough to consider the system too important to fail, would they?

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Caption this: Capita staff picket a bunch o'er pickled pensions

David Roberts
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FAIL

Re: Call me humourless

Came here to post much the same.

Poor bastards being fucked over by senior management is not remotely humorous. Especially having been out on the occasional picket line myself.

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Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

David Roberts
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Re: Perl

I think the more accurate hating response is "other people's Perl".

I love Perl because for uncomplicated entry level tasks it has all the tools and is simple to write. I've used for all sorts of trivial things including monitoring an early ADSL modem over a serial link and tweaking the parameters when required.

I worked for a while with some very large applications written in Perl. As a Perl user not a full time programmer I found it slow and hard at times but generally understandable.

However geek level Perl programmers have to constantly resist the urge to write a complete programme as one long regular expression because "it's obvious what it does"

For the depths of sin, search for "obfuscated Perl". Beautiful to look at but really, that is not what the language was designed for (I hope).

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Vietnam bans Bitcoin as payment for anything

David Roberts
Silver badge

Interesting that India

Who recently had a crackdown on paper currency which was running the hidden economy seem perfectly O.K. with bitcoin and the like.

Is this about the internal hidden economy or about exporting currency?

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Can you get from 'dog' to 'car' with one pixel? Japanese AI boffins can

David Roberts
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Pint

But can it tell the difference

Between a dog and a fox?

Hint 5 * ->

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Iceland's Pirate Party loses four MPs in new elections

David Roberts
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Burst of popularity then fail to deliver

Remind you of any UK parties?

Then again going into coalition might have been even worse.

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Mozilla devs discuss ditching Dutch CA, because cryptowars

David Roberts
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Re: I was going to...

Very cryptic.

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F-35s grounded by spares shortage

David Roberts
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Facepalm

Money to buy new but not repair?

Why does this remind me of wind farms?

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India to launch moon mission in March 2018

David Roberts
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Unhappy

Sewage system

I understand that they do have a dry sewage system of sorts in parts of the country.

Crap onto a bed of ashes and some "night soil" operative collects it later for fertiliser.

However in the overcrowded areas they just shit in the streets. So decent lower density housing may be a start, but massive cultural changes are also required.

A documentary by Sue Perkins is showing at the moment and even where they have sewers they seem to discharge raw sewage straight into the rivers.

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