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* Posts by Mike Richards

3578 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

Asus' Eee keyboard out next month - official

Mike Richards
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Blast from the past

Forget the Amiga, a quick glance and I thought the Sinclair QL had finally been released and Asus were about to give a whole new generation the unmatched thrill of using Sinclair MicroDrives.

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Most expensive RAF aircraft ever takes to the skies

Mike Richards
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Not really a Comet

It's true the Nimrod was based on the Comet, but it was designed around the Comet 4 airframe which has precious little in common with the original 1949 Comet prototype. The Comet 4 first flew in 1958 which makes it younger than the American alternative.

Oh and its a much better looking plane.

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Ricoh GR Digital III compact camera

Mike Richards
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Bit like the Sigma DP-1

Which has to be the World's most frustrating camera. That has a magnificent fixed-length lens and the (relatively) big Foveon sensor; but it's hooked up to what has to be the slowest hardware in creation - taking an age to read an image off the sensor before you can do anything again. I've really enjoyed some of my time with a DP-1, but more often than not I've hated its slow start up and read/write time.

These cameras are very much for the serious studied and dare I say it - slow - photographer. The Sigma produces wonderful images, but it is not a camera for snapping away with. I dare say this Ricoh is going to feel much the same.

Certainly they're not impulse purchases.

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Ryanair faces ban on luggage charge auto-opt-in

Mike Richards
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@ Number6

'I've got six years to return dodgy goods? I must have missed that one, I'd always worked on the principle that it was their problem for the first year and mine from then on, with very few exceptions.'

You've missed that one.

It's always been the case that the Sale of Goods Act has given protection over extended periods of time. The exact definition of durability depends on the item and its expected reasonable lifetime - so a prawn sandwich shouldn't last as long as a hammer.

Generally you are entitled to a replacement or a repair, but if a repair or replacement is too expensive, or not possible then you are entitled to a refund. In which case your rights to redress are dependent on a number of issues such as the amount of time the object worked perfectly before the fault occurred - if you got 5 years 364 days good service out of the hammer before it broke then you might be expected to settle for smaller amounts of compensation.

If the goods were faulty at the time of sale you can ask for your money back within a reasonable amount of time (the law does not specify 'reasonable' - but six months would be unusually long unless you can show you were working with the retailer or the manufacturer to resolve the issue until then).

For the first six months the retailer has to demonstrate that the goods were fit for purpose when sold - the presumption is that there was a defect and the customer is entitled to a refund. After six months, the burden of proof falls on the consumer who must show there is a problem.

And don't confuse your statutory rights (those given in law under SoGA and the Goods and Services Act etc.) with the manufacturer's warranty which is given in ADDITION to those protections.

As with all these things, if you're in any doubt about a contract and your rights under it - call your local trading standards office.

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Tory MP to sue over sex smear email

Mike Richards
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If there's going to be any justice

Both of the equally odious parties in this case will lose.

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US Navy boffins invent aircraft-to-sub laser phone

Mike Richards
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To be more environmentally friendly

Couldn't they just strap high explosives to dolphins and detonate them in sequence to sound out Morse messages?

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Swedish bloke attempts lactation

Mike Richards
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Soon to be on Channel 4 no doubt

Lactating Vikings - sounds like an indie band to me.

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Nokia's £500 netbook: What were they thinking?

Mike Richards
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If only...

Nokia owned a lightweight operating system designed for portable devices...

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NASA works on robo-podcab scheme

Mike Richards
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Points?

As in what's the...

A huge problem for any monorail is switching traffic from one line to another. Any indication how they plan to do this without having huge chunks of metal swinging too and fro over people's heads?

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Bletchley Park to restore 112-byte* '50s Brit nuke computer

Mike Richards
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Any chance...

Bletchley Park can get to work restoring XBox 360s to working condition?

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Xbox 360 'least reliable' console

Mike Richards
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@ Ian Bonham

'My Amiga 2000 still works, with the original hard drive and GVP card. It also boots in under 10 seconds from cold start to working desktop.'

Sob! My stupidly expensive A4000 died a couple of years ago after the battery leaked all over the motherboard disgorging something about as corrosive as the blood in 'Alien'. Great computer.

Of the people I know with a 360, two of us are on our third machines (and mine sounds seriously unwell these days) and one is on his second. Only one has their original console and they seem to keep that in a hermetically sealed room.

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Forget solar panels, it's time for rooftop slime-tanks

Mike Richards
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@Richard 81

'Perhaps, rather than pumping the carbon into the ground they could let it out near the sea bed in fine bubbles, so it dissolves in the sea. That way you're just increasing the rate at which the sea would naturally soak up carbon dioxide.'

Actually that's a really bad idea, the ocean is acidifying at an accelerating rate because of the CO2 its absorbing from the atmosphere. That makes life much harder for all the organisms who develop calcite skeletons from dissolved calcium - and who eventually take CO2 out of the environment and into deep marine sediments.

One solution might be to compress CO2 and dump it into the deep ocean where it would form a stable liquid - but that has a serious downside in that it would suffocated anything living on the ocean bottom.

Dissolving CO2 or pumping liquid CO2 into brine reservoirs - helpfully located under most major oil fields - is probably the best solution we have at the moment. It wouldn't even need new technology.

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Huge 'vampyrus' bats being hunted to extinction

Mike Richards
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Paris Hilton

Vampyrus

Is an excellent name for a horror movie featuring a giant man-eating predator - preferably starring the talented thespasian next to this post.

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New NASA rocket fuel 'could be made on Moon, Mars'

Mike Richards
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Water vapour

Rocket exhaust also contains significant quantities of nitrogen oxides formed in the high temperature hydrogen-oxygen flame. These are environmental and health nasties and are also a drawback to burning hydrogen in conventional engines.

And has anyone checked the health implications of nano-scale aluminium particles yet?

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Bubbly-belly-bugging boffins battle bovine belch peril

Mike Richards
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'automatic on-cow flare stack'

Now that I want to see...

Awesome sub as always Lewis.

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Sony reveals slim PS3, drops price

Mike Richards
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@ asdf

Not to mention that the 360 versions of most games are STILL coming with better texturing and frame rates. To add insult to injury, publishers are regularly stiffing PS3 users an extra £10 for the privilege.

Got both consoles and after three of them I can definitively say the 360 is a heap 'o shite build-wise; but Microsoft have done their homework and delivered the better console (oooh I'm gonna hate myself for this) experience.

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US military cyber force activated

Mike Richards
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@ twelvebore

'Never understood how the US military allocates these numbers, I'm sure it's intended to make it sound like the army/air force/whatever is bigger than it really is, and scare the Russians.'

Actually that's a pretty good question - possibly Lewis (the Reg's defence/defense/alien jellyfish) correspondent can explain how the US Army allocates numbers to regiments. Like how come they've got a 101st before a 67th?

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Soviet military-surplus manned spacecraft to fly again

Mike Richards
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Interesting...

How much more the RRV looks like the conical Mercury/Gemini/Apollo than the sort of headlamp-shaped Soyuz capsules. I wonder how their heatshield is attached and if it is ablative (like Soyuz) or refractory (like the Shuttle)?

Of course this also means the Soviets clocked up another first - the first reusable manned craft, ahead of the Shuttle.

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BlackBerry Curve 8520

Mike Richards
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@ troldman

'That's been the biggest problems with BlackBerries. Trackballs are for playing Missile Command and nothing else.'

Absolute nonsense.

It's also for playing Centipede.

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Campaign for official Turing apology gathers steam

Mike Richards
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@ Anonymous Coward

'Good luck with that, Gordon Brown can't even apologise for his own mistakes!'

Actually New Labour are extremely good at apologising for things where there's no possibility of them being blamed - Blair apologised for the slave trade and the Irish potato famine amongst others.

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Communist car given electric overhaul

Mike Richards
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Oh my god

That really does spank me with its ugliness.

It could be the most horrible thing ever - at least until the battery-powered Austin Ellegro (see what I did there?) comes along (very slowly).

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Labour party unveils Tweeter-in-chief

Mike Richards
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Quick question

Is this going to be another salaried position?

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Mitsubishi iMiEV five-door e-car

Mike Richards
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Charging gauge

'We asked Mitsubishi why the charge gauge can't be set to show the remaining battery capacity in terms of miles available to drive rather than just as a simple 'fuel gauge' and was told that getting such a system to show the remaining range with any degree of accuracy was extremely difficult due to the impact that driving style and terrain can have on effective range.'

They have a point that this could be complex and confusing. Unless you continue using more or less the same power for the rest of your journey, the results could be about as useful as the Windows file copy dialog. 'Distance remaining 7 miles... ...245 yards... ...1 astronomical unit...'

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Labour MP exposes password credentials

Mike Richards
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Voting record

This level of incompetence probably explains why she's on record as:

'Voted strongly for introducing ID cards.'

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Collar the lot of us! The biometric delusion

Mike Richards
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Why do politicians like biometrics?

Easy - they don't understand it in the slightest and are easily reeled in by lobbyists. When you throw in a Home Office that's been gagging to introduce ID cards since the early 1970s, you have an unequalled opportunity for companies to sell snake oil.

Biometrics is one of those technologies politicians can't help but embrace no matter what - along with 'fast breeder reactor', 'supersonic', and worst of all 'computerised'.

Now if you excuse me, I'm coming up to the ramp for the Concept Boulevard.

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Stargazers spy retrograde planetary bloater

Mike Richards
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@ Anonymous John

Most of Jupiter's *atmosphere* is hydrogen and helium, there's presumed to be a much denser core comprising anything between 5 and 15% if Jupiter's total mass (that's 15 to 45 Earth masses) made of elements such as silicon and iron.

If this new planet either doesn't have a rocky core, or has a very small core (like Uranus) it would have a lower density. Saturn, for instance, has a bulk density lower than water; again because it has a relatively small core.

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Half-ton space watermelon hints at habitable Martian past

Mike Richards
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@ Steve Swann

'Where's the crater?'

Doesn't need to be one; meteorites don't always arrive near vertically; sometimes they skip across the atmosphere like a stone over a pond, gradually descending at a very low angle and coming to rest at relatively low speed.

Actually, when I first saw the images this meteorite reminded me of the Hoba West meteorite in Namibia, which at 60 tonnes + is the largest single meteorite found on Earth and which is also sans crater.

http://giantcrystals.strahlen.org/africa/hoba.htm

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How to hack a Sony Reader

Mike Richards
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Mac compatibility

Sony is promising Mac compatible software by the end of this month to coincide with the launch of their new readers. But as the article says, if you can persuade a tame Windows user to let you register your machine on their PC just the once, you can use the Reader quite happily on a Mac.

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Official: Toshiba to get in on Blu-ray Disc

Mike Richards
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@Tony Paulazzo

'Most of my friends with HDTVs are still plugging in via scart rather than the C M Yk(?) cables '

Don't forget, if you want 1080p you need to go to DVI or HDMI rather than component cables. And they really want you to use HDMI because it has lots and lots of DRM to make your life inconvenient.

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El Reg space paper plane christened Vulture 1

Mike Richards
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@ Andrew Moore

'A simple latex balloon would do the trick'

And it seems somehow appropriate to use latex around PARIS.

This project makes me proud(ish) to be British once more - what with Top Gear firing a Robin Reliant into the stratosphere and the Reg building a high altitude paper plane it's like the heady days of the Blue Streak and Bryllcreem.

Lester now needs to answer one more crucial question.

Do you have a shed?

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Martha Lane-Fox: No broadband, no citizenship

Mike Richards
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The telephone is how old now?

The telephone has been with us for over a century and there is still a significant number of people who don't have one. The same for TV and radio. How can MLF expect the Internet to have a greater penetration than these established technologies in a fraction of the time when it is both more expensive and less immediately useful than telephones, radio and TV?

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Tokyo battles monstrous murder of crows

Mike Richards
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Tough birds

These are the ones who think they can make a comfy nest out of wire coathangers. They're pretty much the corvine Chuck Norris.

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Hubble snaps fall-out from Jupiter impact

Mike Richards
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"the size of several football fields"

Oh VERY useful. That's bound to be an *American* football field (you know the 'game' where they don't play rugby dressed in full body armour between beer commercials), not a proper British Passchendaele pitch with scrunched up jumpers for goalposts.

Why do Americans insist on using such arbitrary units when there is a rigorously logical unit of measurement that the whole world can agree on?

How many Wales???

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Electropulse weapon fear spreads to UK politicos

Mike Richards
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Sounds probable..

'...Harris told how a terrorist group or rogue state detonating a small nuclear bomb in the upper atmosphere could destroy power infrastructure...'

So terrorists not only have to get hold of a nuclear weapon, they also have to get their hands on a miniaturised warhead that can be put in the nosecone of a missile (which they'll also need to acquire), work out how to target the missile, fuel it and prepare it for launch without being seen.

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Beeb and co offload failed Kangaroo platform

Mike Richards
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@ Anonymous Coward

'Whereas Murdochvision owns the rights to the content, the distribution mechanism, the conditional access mechanism, the receivers, the installers, etc.'

Would it surprise you that Sky was the complainant when Kangaroo was referred to Ofcom?

No, thought not.

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Canadian uni catches the rebranding sniffles

Mike Richards
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That W looks secondhand

I think that's the no-longer needed Woolworth's 'W' with a spray job.

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Swine flu site struggles to stay up

Mike Richards
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Symptoms

From what I learned (off Wikipedia obviously), the early symptoms of swine 'flu appear to be identical to those for every pathogen from the common cold to Ebola fever. So if the symptoms go in three days it was a cold, if you're dead in three days it was Ebola; somewhere in between? probably 'flu, or mumps, or gout...

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ISP redesign unites the web in nausea

Mike Richards
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Fcuk me that's nasty

Has anyone seen how it actually gets *worse* when you use the [Personalise] drop-down?

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PC repair shop caught trying bank fraud

Mike Richards
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I'm shocked...

...shocked I tell you!

Sky made a genuinely useful programme.

Just tell me it was fronted by Ross Kemp.

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Windfarm Britain means (very) expensive electricity

Mike Richards
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@ Duncan Jeffery

'EDF reckon they can complete them by 2012. And the only rreason for the urgency was greenie bleating about how unsafe nuclear is - rather contradicted by the French experience and the fact that many other 'sensible' scandinavian countries are going down this route (Finland for instance).'

Setting aside Finland not being in Scandinavia...

...and Finland being the only one of the Nordic countries actually *considering* new nuclear power...

...That's turning out to be something of a fiasco. The Olkiluoto 3 plant should have opened this summer.

You may have noticed from the conspicuous lack of news - it hasn't.

It's now 50% over the stated budget, the French state company Areva is in dispute with the Finns for $1 billion and is not even willing to give a date when the plant will be commissioned. The utility company is even threatening to default on the project. And that's before the Finnish Nuclear Regulatory Authority criticised the number of defects. Everything from the concrete slab its built on upwards has been found to be substandard. The concrete was too porous, cracks were found in the concrete and some of the welders were not properly qualified to be working on the project.

The second reactor of the European Pressurised Reactor design at Flamanville is also well behind schedule and massively over budget - and that's the revised budget which was 25% higher than that quoted for Olkiluoto. The EPR design has still not been certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the US and a couple of American utilities have just dumped the design because it could cost upwards of $8 billion a reactor.

It'd cost less than £2 billion to build a HVDC cable to bring an equivalent amount of reliable, clean hydropower from Iceland to the UK. That'd also solve the bugbear of providing power in the event of calm weather of Western Europe and help keep their economy ticking over nicely.

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Mike Richards
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Denmark seems to manage it

And last time I checked, our pragmatic Scandinavian friends were getting 20% of their power from the wind and weren't sitting round in the dark or living in abject poverty. They've invested in a diverse energy supply and interconnectors to even out the troughs and peaks.

Their bacon still sucks however.

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O2 coughs to data failure

Mike Richards
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@Anonymous Coward

'Ok so my non-tech neighbor is having the exact same problem on BT. All of a sudden last week BTs DHCP started issuing him a 169. IP address, where the normal from them is a 168., thus he cannot get a connection to the web.'

169.x.y.z numbers are allocated to machines when they don't get an IP number from the DHCP server. It's a network issue. Have you tried another machine through the same connection in case there's a network adaptor fault in the machine? If you've tried more than one machine and more than one router it sounds like BT is at fault.

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US Senate halts F-22 Raptor production

Mike Richards
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Incredible

The USAF and the plane's builders had managed to put subcontractors for the F22 in 46 of the 50 states - and made sure the relevant politicians knew about it.

And they still killed the programme? Is it too much to hope that the Senate is starting to see through the defence contractors? And let's hope some of that money goes to buy kit for the guys fighting the wars going on right now, not the ones in a Tom Clancy novel.

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Tech can make Britain Great again

Mike Richards
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'BrITain'??????

What strategy boutique bright young thing came up with that?

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Watchdog bites Mattesons saucy sausage ad

Mike Richards
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Suggestion

I don't think the printed transcripts come across as particularly smutty.

Any chance that Lester and the lovely Moderatrix would be able to re-enact them for us in glorious MP3-ovision?

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Adobe spanked for insecure Reader app

Mike Richards
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Adobe Updater

Quick question.

'Is Adobe Updater the worst program ever written?'

None of my (legit) Adobe apps, installed with the default settings can be updated using this PoS.

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Nissan ponders Pré-like cordless charging for e-cars

Mike Richards
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Efficiency???

Isn't inductive charging ridiculously inefficient?

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Barnes & Noble chases Amazon with ebook second coming

Mike Richards
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@Ebbe Kristensen

'Saw this on NYT and took a look. Seems that (most of?) the interesting titles are not available outside the US.'

This isn't Barnes and Noble's fault - it's the publishers who insist on country by country licensing of their titles.

I've got the Sony Reader here in the UK and I can't get many titles available on their US store, so I contacted some authors asking if they knew their books weren't legally available in the UK. All of them said (wearily) they knew it, they were furious people couldn't get their books legally and a couple asked me to tell the publishers. eBooks should be good for authors, but it looks like they're getting even more screwed than usual.

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German bomber crashes on Moon Google Earth

Mike Richards
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Someone has to say it

Playmobil please.

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It shouldn't happen to a vetting database

Mike Richards
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Is this a replacement for the ID card database?

The government suddenly goes cool over ID cards, but is extending this database like crazy.

Soon they'll want to put all adults on it - which, when you think about it, makes sense.

Just think EVEN NOW children are in the unsupervised presence of adults when they go to shops, cinemas or riding on a bus. Some of these strangers will try to talk to the children using phrases such as 'Good morning,' 'Can I see your ticket?' or even 'Hello' - chillingly, all these words are known to have been used by paedophiles.

The evidence is clear.

Honestly it'll be for our own good if we're all databased, tagged, chipped and followed around by a power-mad government.

Just think of the children. No not that way - that's creepy.

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