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Comment Re:Are TECHNICAL certifications worth earning? (Score 1) 118

The people I've known who had the best technical skills had no certifications so on that basis I'd certainly say yes.
Another point is that I think any certification that is easy for me to get is a waste of time (a bit like clubs that would have Groucho Marx as a member). CISSP was trivial to pass but is a big deal at my place of work and that's the only reason I've got it.

Comment Re:WSUS Offline (Score 1) 78

Yep. WSUS Offline for the windows boxes (although most of my offline windows installations are XP VMs so they are already as fully patched as they are ever going to be). Then we have an Umbongo server that serves all the Umbongo patches to the various offline workstations that host the VMs. A download script and a bit of rsyncing and the update server stays fresh.
The only issues are the rare times someone needs a MS patch that isn't covered by WSUS Offline, in which case they deal with it manually using MBSA.
Actually the hardest bit is getting the old-as-hills patches for various tools that we need to run. But running them offline doesn't make getting them in the first place any worse.

Comment Re:I probably would've gotten the death penalty... (Score 5, Informative) 629

The Windows logo in the Flying Windows screensaver was from the Wingdings font. Using Wordpad you could edit the screensaver binary and change the character that gets displayed to another one from that font. So at various times in the Win3.1 era people around me were found to have flying smiley faces, flying skull and crossbones etc.

Comment Have they fixed the invisible file mgr borders? (Score 2) 196

I posted the text below almost as-is for the 3.14 release, only later finding out that no, this bug is still present. So here goes again....
It's mainly on the file manager (that I've found) but you can click OUTSIDE the window and still interact with the window. For example if you have two file-managers close to each other with another window below them both and visible in the gap then you can't click the lower window directly even though you can see it and put your mouse over the visible part of it. All you do is focus one or the other of the file manager windows.
You can also hold down the windows key and click outside the file manager window and drag it around the screen just as if you had clicked inside the window (I can't remember if I changed the default key from alt to windows in my settings but the point applies).

Generally I'm OK with Gnome3 (providing you get the right extensions) but these invisible borders are such a fundamental breakage of the basic concept of a graphical windowed user interface.

Comment Try before you buy (Score 1) 284

What about the people who download music then either buy it if its good or delete it if its rubbish?

Only last night I went to a gig for a band touring for a new album. I didn't buy the ticket or the cd until the album was released. You can work out the rest for yourself. That's ~£75 I spent (CD, ticket, travel, parking etc) only because I heard the album without paying for it first. If I hadn't heard it because it was impossible to get or the death penalty scared me too much then that's money that wouldn't have been spent on the music industry. It really is that simple.

If I get the chance to meet and speak with the musicians I see I often tell them that I'm only a fan and only here to see them because at some point I downloaded their music - and you know what, every single one of them has been cool with that and glad that I became a fan.

Over half the miles I do in my car are going to gigs - I need BP as a character witness.

What about stuff that you literally cannot buy? I know of several CDs (and TV series for that matter) that I would happily pay a sensible price for but it seems that nobody wants my money.

Comment Reminds me of.... (Score 3, Informative) 418

A letter in a hi-fi magazine (Hi-Fi News and Record Review, but I'm not 100% sure) years ago from someone who was upgrading his system.
He started by describing the upgrades to the cables and connectors. Then moved onto rewiring the amp with better quality conductors. Rewiring his house for a better electrical feed into the kit. He then described chasing his dream of perfect audio further by liaising with his local power company to get the substation upgraded. Finally (the punchline) was that he had written to the power generation company to change the isotope of uranium they used to get better bass.

Made me giggle.

Comment Knightmare Chess (Score 1) 155

I loved this game; it totally ate my brain when it came out. Basically an event deck for chess so you get cards like "Move your Bishop as if it were a Knight" style cards. You can play it better if you know a tiny bit of chess openings but good chess knowledge can also hinder you if, for example, a card is played which swaps the directions of move and capture for pawns - all your pawn structure knowledge goes out of the window.
I also played it with a stacked deck rather than a shuffled one to lessen the randomisation - put good early game cards at the top of the deck and escape cards for your king near the bottom.

Comment Re:It was a lot more social (Score 1) 59

How often does the thief in the party actually steal from team-mates in the electronic versions? Yet our team had a thief character who would do exactly that -- swipe anything that wasn't nailed down -- and sometimes use a crowbar if it was. :)

It's those little amusing things that make RPGs so much fun. One of my groups has an ongoing joke that usually crops up in Sci-Fi games where we make strong booze on the side and get a little business going selling that despite the fall of governments or alien invasions going on.
I remember a fantasy game where I was the only character to have a magic sword (or any magic weapon, for that matter) - yet I never once drew it. It wasn't cursed or anything like that, I just rarely got into those kinds of scrapes and it got to the stage where I was making a point of it.

Comment Re:Easier by several other methods (Score 1) 71

Yep. Win98 for the Agilent ones too.

I remember, around 2001, buying a vibration motor for an old Nokia 3210 mobile phone that wasn't originally supplied with one, though the space inside was there. Fitting the motor was easy but I needed to flash the firmware to drive it. For this I needed DOS on a PC with a serial port. My home PC ran linux (obviously), my desktop at work was NT4 but the 'scope in the lab ran Win98 and had the serial port and floppy drive. 2 minutes later I had a vibrating phone.

Someone else at work put full excel on one of these Win98 'scopes.

Comment Re:Well ... duh! (Score 1) 79

I disagree. You don't have to harden your internet connected refrigerator against malicious attacks.

Why? Because when you ask "what could possibly go wrong?" the answer is your food will spoil, and you will have to throw it out. It's not like spoiled food is not instantly recognizable.

Unless your fridge has the capability of re-ordering food that you've run out of. Or ordering all the ingredients from a menu you scan with your smartphone. Or whatever.
Then it can be hacked to order really expensive stuff. If it normally needs human approval then that is just another bump to cross before it can be hacked to be done without your approval.

Why would anyone do this other than as a prank? Well what if I order something from a company with a policy of "if it's listed as in stock but we can't deliver it within x days for some reason then you get it free when we eventually restock" then I get you to buy out all their stock half a second before I confirm my order. I wait a few extra days but get that crate of champagne for free. The supermarket can't detect anything because they aren't the ones being hacked.

As ever, it will be an arms race of attack and mitigation until it all settles down.

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.