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* Posts by spiny norman

245 posts • joined 4 Oct 2007

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A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally

spiny norman

Could be useful

My son's luggage got lost on a flight from JFK to Birmingham via Paris. Flybe, who operated the CDG-BHX flight, were less than helpful. After several days a Delta customer services rep from the US got involved and asked WTF they were playing at. A couple of hours later, the case magically reappeared. We suspect it was in the airport all the time, they just couldn't be bothered to look.

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Puff on a hybrid – next thing you know, you're hooked on a public cloud

spiny norman

Utility

I've never been convinced by the Utility analogy. With electricity, gas or water, a resource is piped into your premises, and then you run the process yourself. For example, using water and electricity in your own washing machine to wash your clothes.

With cloud, it's you sending the resource (data) to the cloud service provider, the processing is done on their premises and the results come back to you.

So (and I do realise this doesn't meet the needs of cloud vendors and analysts at all), a better analogy would be a laundry.

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EE...K: Why can't I uninstall carrier's sticky 'Free Games' app?

spiny norman

Re: @Destroy all monsters

>> And it's for that reason I try my best to boycott Nestlé products.

We've been trying too, for about 15 years. One benefit, dropping the disgusting Branston Pickle from the family shopping list and found no reason to reinstate it when Nestlé sold it to someone else.

If they could just offload KitKat and Yorkie to someone who makes real chocolate, I'd be happy.

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spiny norman

it is illegal to advertise or promote baby milk

Hence the switch to advertising "follow-on milk".

"A new statement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) released on 17th July (2013), states that follow-up formula is not necessary, is unsuitable as a replacement for breastmilk after 6 months and is covered by World Health Assembly marketing requirements."

"The baby feeding industry invented follow-up formulas for marketing purposes and falsely argues that these are not covered by the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions."

"A number of studies strongly suggest a direct correlation between marketing strategies for follow-up formulae, and perception and subsequent use of these products as breastmilk substitutes. In many instances, the packaging, branding and labelling of follow-up formula closely resembles that of infant formula. This leads to confusion as to the purpose of the product, i.e. a perception that follow-up formula is a breastmilk substitute."

“Even though follow-up formula is not necessary, and is unsuitable when used as a breastmilk replacement, it is marketed in a way that may cause confusion and have a negative impact on breastfeeding.... while follow-up formula may not be explicitly promoted as a breastmilk substitute....packaging, branding and labelling may induce mothers to use follow-up formula in the first six months of life and/or to stop breastfeeding after this period.

"If follow-up formula is marketed or otherwise represented to be suitable, with or without modification, for use as a partial or total replacement for breastmilk, it is covered by the Code. In addition, where follow-up formula is otherwise represented in a manner which results in such product being perceived or used as a partial or total replacement for breastmilk, such product also falls within the scope of the Code."

The whole industry is evil, not just Nestle.

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spiny norman

Hunting round the shop

So would the app be as confused as we are?

"That's the nappy aisle FFS, why's he looking at dog food?"

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David Cameron defends BT's taxpayer-funded broadband 'monopoly': It's a 'success story'

spiny norman

Accepting Orders

According to the Infinity superfast broadband checker, our local exchange has been "Accepting Orders" for about a year. I hope they're not waiting for orders before doing the work. I'd want to see at least a date before I'd even think about it.

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WTF is … the multiverse?

spiny norman

Re: Not "outside" our Universe

>> In some, Man never came to be because something kept that from happening. In other, closer variations, nuclear war happened after WWII.

That sounds ok when you confine the examples to major events, but that must also include universes in which I just put 25 pieces of pasta on my lunch plate instead of 24. This starts to make eternal recurrence look quite reasonable.

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spiny norman

You've done my brain in

I really don't understand any of this, but then I probably don't need to. What would interest me is whether philosophy is keeping up with the science in providing any kind of rationisation of why we're here and what the point of us is.

I haven't had any religious belief for 40 years, but the Earth at the centre of the universe as the plaything of a community of gods, or the disappointing creation of a single deity, at least makes some sense, whereas the Earth as a piece of hardened mucus flying out from some 13 billion year old sneeze, isn't a concept I find very motivating.

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

spiny norman

If it's a public competition for the reverse, it will be kittens.

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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger's DARKEST FEARS revealed

spiny norman

I thought the risk factors sections of SEC filings were just legal backside covering, so the shareholders can't say they weren't warned.

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NHS England DIDN'T tell households about GP medical data grab plan

spiny norman

Virgin on the offensive

Virgin Media periodically send my elderly mother broadband offers addressed to her by her christian name, in very familiar terms that, I expect, at 94, she found offensive, and probably puzzling, as she only vaguely grasped the idea of the Internet. As she died in November, I find them even more offensive and hope they'll stop soon.

So much for CRM, campaign management and targeted marketing.

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spiny norman

Missing the point?

The whole point of insurance is is to spread the risk across as wide a population as possible. That's how it worked when insurance was first set up as non-profit societies for mutual protection. Bad drivers are penalised by loss of their no-claims bonus. You seem to be assuming that people who suffer poor health all bring it on themselves.

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Some first-wave big data projects 'written down' says Deloitte

spiny norman

Standard consultant PR

Gartner has been putting out "x% of Business Intelligence projects fail" press releases since at least 2003 and I'm sure I could find a few before that. Periodically other analysts and consultants jump on the same band wagon, for obvious reasons. It was inevitable that the same apocalyptic claims would appear for Big Data.

What they don't reveal, for equally obvious reasons, is the percentage of those projects that fail, despite the assistance of consultants and system integrators.

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Satya Nadella is 'a sheep, a follower' says ex-Microsoft exec

spiny norman

Pre-judgements of Nadella aside, Microsoft's boardroom is starting to look almost as interesting as HP's.

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BT scratches its head over MYSTERY Home Hub disconnections

spiny norman

Re: Obvious problem, obvious solution

BT Infinity, despite the ads, doesn't strike me as particularly cheap. Which expensive provider with no free router would you recommend?

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Amazon mints a BILLION BUCKS from its cannibal cloud

spiny norman

But where is AWS?

In Amazon's SEC filings there's a note to the Other revenue category, which says all AWS revenue is reported in N. America, there's no AWS in the much smaller International component. Did you take that into account in your estimates?

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'I don't understand why they feel like they own the word CANDY'

spiny norman

A little sympathy

What this shows is the difficulty of protecting a product name if you base it on common words. Even with "Candy" trademarked, anyone wanting to ride on their success has plenty of options. They should have called it "Candymonium", or something.

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Amazon patents caches for physical goods

spiny norman

Next stage

Yodel delivery drivers turning up with stuff you haven't ordered and chucking it into next door's hedge if you're not in.

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You're fired: Lord Sugar offloads faded PC builder Viglen to XMA

spiny norman

Re: I wonder

The biggest thing that keeps the Monarchy going in the UK is the idea that we would end up with the sort of people that get elected head of state in the US and other republics. George Bush was a massive boost to the royalist cause here.

These days the title "Sir" or "Lord" confers no power or position in itself, it's merely a recognition by the political class of the wealth, power and eminence that you have already achieved. People may be intimidated by what, if we were feeling generous, we would call Lord Sugar's forceful personality, not by his title.

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RBS MELTDOWN LATEST: 'We'll be the bank we should be ... next YEAR maybe'

spiny norman

Rot

The rot started when they merged the National Provincial with the Westminster.

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Never been a better time NOT to be selling servers

spiny norman

Re: What about the big hosters?

Next quarter IDC will have ODM numbers for the first time, and most of those go to cloud hosters. It'll be interesting to see what difference that makes to the size of the market. If a hoster buys components and builds the servers themselves, that won't show up, and I've never seen anything that separates service providers from others. Most of the big hosters at some time brag about how many servers they have, so you might be able to get an idea from that.

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Gov mulls making it easier for ICO to squash marketing pests

spiny norman

So now lying is legitimate?

After I renewed my car insurance policy, somone from Endsleigh phoned me to "check you understand the policy". After a couple of perfunctory questions on that topic, he proceeded to the real reason for the call, to sell me home insurance. The only reason I'm still with them is other insurers are as bad or worse.

The direct marketing industry provides dead end, minimum wage jobs to people who are desperate for work. That's the only good thing I can say about it.

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MPAA, RIAA: Kids need to learn 3 Rs – reading, writing and NO RIPPING

spiny norman

And next ...

When are we going to see "The Best Youtube Album in the World Ever", priced at 17.99 and not paying those oh so creative children anything? Should be good for a series from 1 to 96.

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Ohh! The PRECIOUS! Give it to uss. We WANTS it: Shiny iThings coming in 2014

spiny norman

When the LED display on our Samsung fridge freezer stopped working, the only way they could fix it was to replace the entire door. They sent an engineer with a new door three times before they found one without some other damage. To their credit, it was the engineers that spotted the damage, and they did send £25 for the inconvenience.

This isn't related in any way to the intermittent bluetooth dropouts that afflict my Galaxy S3, for which there appears to be no cure.

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BT's mobe interference claim laughed off air by ad watchdog

spiny norman

Home Hub 2

I had an HH2 and had no problems with it for a couple of years, then suddenly the wireless signal disappeared, even with a laptop or phone right next to the hub. Cabled connection was still working and wireless would work for a time if I rebooted the hub. So I phoned BT's help line.

It was a tense conversation as the agent insisted the problem was signal strength, rather than the absence of a signal at all. He wanted me to change the channel to 11, from automatic, but couldn't explain how this would help. He refused to supply a new hub. In the end I agreed to do the channel change and, to my surprise it worked. However, after 2 weeks it was back to losing the signal again and no amount of channel changing would help.

Meanwhile I found out online that losing wireless is a common problem with HomeHubs and is often due to a failure in the power supply. I had the choice of going back to BT and arguing for a new Hub, buying a new power supply for about £8 in the hope that was the problem, or buying a TP-Link router for £35 from Amazon. I went for the latter, it was very easy to set up and has been working well ever since.

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CEO of Brit fashion bods Burberry lands Apple job for retail, online sales

spiny norman

Instinct over IQ

Snide comments about chavs are all very well, but Burberry under Ahrendts is a text book case in what a luxury brand can do with imaginative use of new technology. Apple kit is part of their infrastructure that links stores and online, so that's a connection.

If Apple feels its brand image is slipping, Ahrendts looks like a good choice to put it back in its place. The question is whether she can do it without the creative and technical team she has at Burberry.

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Ellison ditches own cloud keynote for billionaires' America's Cup boat race

spiny norman

Is Larry losing interest ... again? He missed the last quarter earnings analyst conference call as well. Last time he lost interest, Ray Lane took control. Maybe this time it's Hurd's turn. I'm sure there's irony there, but i can't see what it is.

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BlackBerry BLOODBATH! Company warns of nearly $1bn quarterly loss

spiny norman

Re: Ouch.

Kodak did realise the world was moving on, they invented a lot of the technology behind digital photography. The problem was they had a business that depended on manufacturing, distributing and processing film. They couldn't dismantle the manufacturing and the vast distribution, retail and processing network fast enough, and it wasn't obvious what business they could move into that would allow them to continue to operate at that scale. Whatever Blackberry is, they're not another Kodak.

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Michael Gove: C'mon kids, quit sexting – send love poems instead

spiny norman

Limerick Plus

"Stop sexting" said Tory man Gove

"And text poems that celebrate Love.

It may take more time

To make the lines rhyme

but my friend has an app

that takes care of all that.

All you oiks need to do

Is use it for a week or two

until she can sell it to Yahoo,

and then the earth in her wallet will Move."

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In MASSIVE surprise, world+dog discovers Nokia checked out Android

spiny norman

Here

Nokia also still owns the Here mapping technology. It'll be interesting to see what they can do with that.

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Fingers crossed! Half a trillion quid in public cash entrusted to ageing gov IT

spiny norman

The C word

In the last few years I've had customer service systems-related problems with HMRC, TV Licensing, Royal Mail and E.On. They've all been outsourced to companies beginning with "C". Maybe NAO should take a look at that.

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Pair of complete tits sorry for pervy app

spiny norman

Re: That's nature

And following that link, it was the 9 year-old girl's father who complained, having taken her to the conference to encourage her interest in technology. I think he had a point.

These tech conferences need to decide whether they want to be a professional showcase for the best of the industry, or the tech equivalent of a boy scout camp.

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Samsung stakes claim to smartwatch market with Galaxy Gear

spiny norman

Re: "phablet" - ie. very large smartphone

And we don't need to have fondleslab explained to us every time it's used, so that rather reinforces the original point.

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Bureaucrats foil Nestlé's bid to TRADEMARK KitKat's chocolatey digits

spiny norman
Holmes

Re: Oh, Ambassador!

Assume temporary compression of the turd and some elasticity of the passage, I think it's feasible.

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spiny norman

Even handed as ever

>> The agency's staff have expanded their historic role of registering patents into politicking and lobbying Europe-wide for weaker intellectual property protection.

If this decision is anything to go by, they're actually lobbying for IP protection to go back to its original function of protecting people who had actually invented something, rather than a scam for large companies to hobble competition.

But that's really about patents and this is a trademark. Seems to me there's plenty of reasons why this should fail: 1) When sold the bar is concealed in a wrapper and presumably that is already trademarked, or features a logo that is 2) Nestle sell Kit Kat bars that don't have the four finger format, so it's hardly a unique identifier of the brand.

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Guardian lets UK spooks trash 'Snowden files' PCs to make them feel better

spiny norman

DeMockRacy

Come the next election, will we have the option of voting for a government that wouldn't do this in future?

I'm very much afraid we won't.

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Android approaches 80% smartphone share as Apple's iPhone grows old

spiny norman

And now, back to the scheduled programme

It's interesting how the analysts present these figures in their press releases. For example, Comscore's European handset stats are described as a dramatic battle between Samsung, Apple and Nokia for the top three places, whereas if you look at the actual numbers, Apple held share, and all that's been happening is Samsung taking handfuls of share off Nokia, and a bit from HTC and Blackberry.

http://www.comscoredatamine.com/2013/02/samsung-leads-european-smartphone-market-ahead-of-apple/

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Yahoo! announces! plan! to! change! logo! 30! times! this! month!

spiny norman

Re: We're Number Three

It's a long time since I've seen a reference to Dogpile.

I tried the "search" search too. Just before the results in Yahoo it says "Also try: Google search ...."

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spiny norman

I wonder if Google is missing Marissa Mayer?

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So, who here LURVES Windows Phone? Put your hands up, Brits

spiny norman

That's not Cool

The aim for manufacturers of most consumer technology is to appear "cool" and appeal to the 18-30 demographic. It's odd, because that student/post-student/mortgage/starting-a-family period isn't one I associate with having much spare cash, but I'm sure they know what they're doing.

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spiny norman

Re: My hand's not up.

Bloatware that can't be uninstalled seems to be a mobile phone problem generally, not specific to Windows. On Android at least it's the hardware manufacturers and carriers that install it, it isn't part of the OS. As they all do it and there's no alternative, and their customer service systems are set up to ignore complaints like that, I don't suppose it will ever change.

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spiny norman

Yesterday my Galaxy S3 spent several hours downloading an update to AllShareCast Dongle, which I don't need and don't want but can't uninstall without rooting. Meanwhile, something I would like - a fix to the bugs in Bluetooth and the Google app process that keeps crashing - never arrives. A Windows phone is actually starting to look quite attractive.

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CSC enslaves Infochimps to create army of big data monkeymen

spiny norman

Gene splicing

The DNA splicing bit becomes much clearer when you take into account his pitch to Fortune 100 CEOs ...

“If you want to create a creature that can breathe underwater and fly, would it be more feasible to insert the genes for gills into a seagull, or splice the genes for wings into a herring?”

I don't know. How about grafting a jet engine onto the back of a penguin? Would that work?

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Geneticists resolve human dilemma of Adam's boy-toy status

spiny norman
Angel

Re: What is one day for God?

'God' said Man, 'God, is it true, a hundred thousand million years for you is like nothing in the way our time is reckoned?'

'True' said God.

'And God' said Man, 'God, is it true, a hundred thousand million dollars, too, is like something handy when the waiter's beckoned?'

'True' said God.

'Then, God, slip me a dollar through. One little dollar can't mean anything to you.'

'True', said God. 'Do you mind waiting for a second?'

'G', Christopher Logue's ABC. I can highly recommend the rest of it, if you can find a copy.

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HTC warns of likely loss next quarter

spiny norman

A plague on both their houses

I've had HTC and now Samsung, and haven't seen much difference between them. The handsets are ok, but there's a lot of bloat, gimics and unwanted premium services that can't be uninstalled without rooting. There also seems to be no mechanism for fixing bugs in the operating system, other than installing a totally new version, which the manufacturers and carriers between them have turned into a painfully slow process. The whole mobile phone business needs a big kick up the backside, but I can't see where that's going to come from.

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Hooker in Dudley man's car 'just helping to buy tomatoes'

spiny norman

Re: A happy ending (for real)

Why wasn't the cop in the dock for soliciting?

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PHWOAR! Huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, Prime Minister

spiny norman
Unhappy

Re: They work for you

As my local Tory party would adopt a bag of laundry if it was sent by Central Office with a blue rosette on it, and as a majority of the local population would then dutifully vote for it, there's not much risk of the current incumbent losing his job. In fact about the only way he could possibly lose his job would be if he opposed Dave on something as fundamentally Tory as ridding the world of porn (unless supplied by R. Murdoch or R. Desmond, in which case it's all right).

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Microsoft partners seriously underwhelmed by Windows 8.1

spiny norman

Re: Windows 7?

>>It doesn't sound like Ford, looking into it people seem to agree "We have no evidence that Ford ever said those words."

He should have said it, though. Unlike some of the things he did say, it doesn't make him sound like a jerk.

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Business is slow. Here's a good idea, let's compete with customers

spiny norman
Joke

Agreed, AWS isn't a good example. If anything it's the opposite, a customer potentially competing with its IT suppliers. What Amazon should have done, of course, is outsourced its IT to a real service provider and concentrated on the day job, selling books.

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UK telcos chuck another £1m at online child abuse watchdog

spiny norman
Thumb Down

One hand, other hand

CEOP's 2011-12 annual plan had a budget of £6.38m in Home Office "grant in aid" funding, and in the previous year they also had £2.6m in income from "partnerships" with businesses and charities, which they hoped would continue. They expected the government portion to reduce by 10% by 2014-15.

However, their grant in aid budget for 2013-14 is £6.45m and there's no mention in the plan of future cuts.

The actual amount of money involved should make it difficult for Cameron, May and Miller to claim this is a top priority, but it doesn't look like "slashed by 10%" to me.

Search "CEOP review" for the numbers.

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