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* Posts by Red Bren

1180 posts • joined 17 Oct 2007

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Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech

Red Bren
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Stop

Re: Mission Shift

"The mission shift presumably happened because of the threat shift”

But when the mission shifts to spying on your own population, that suggests a government that regards its own people as the threat.

“[the terrorists] killed less than the weekly toll from smoking, but so what? The victims didn't choose to risk their lives, as smokers essentially do.”

The victims of reckless drivers didn’t choose to risk their lives either, and they also outnumber the victims of terrorism. If you want to save innocent lives, there are better ways of doing it than blanket surveillance.

“I can't imagine they could even attempt to listen to or read that many phone calls, emails and banal facebook postings.”

That only proves you have a limited imagination! Sorry, that was a cheap shot, but how much resource is required to hold a picture of who communicated with whom, or to apply Bayesian analysis to flag communications as “interesting” (in a similar way to spam filters) and then focus on the communications between groups of “interesting” people, where “interesting” could mean paedophiles, terrorists, or peaceful protesters being a thorn in the side of a corrupt and authoritarian regime.

“I don't give a stuff if they hold metadata on me, after all the [assorted corporations] do”

How private companies collect, store and use data about you is subject to various legal protections, you generally have to opt in (sometimes just by using their services) and are free to opt out. I never opted in for state surveillance and I’d like to know how do I opt out?

“The cops have ANPR to read my number plate as I drive around. So what? I'm glad they do - those systems bin the info as long as it's no longer needed”

As I recall, the cops also have a DNA database with a sample from everyone ever arrested for a recordable offence, even if they were never charged, let alone convicted and they are VERY reluctant to “bin the info”. I would wager they have the same attitude about any data they collect.

"I guess it's hard to find a needle in a haystack unless you're actually allowed to look in the haystack.”

Adding more hay doesn’t make finding the needle any easier, and asking for permission to look for the needle would be fine. The problem is the security services don’t want the oversight of asking for permission, justified by probable cause. They want the ability to go on warrant-less fishing trips, where they can redefine the needle based on whatever they find.

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Red Bren
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Mushroom

Re: "British values"

For most of its history, British values consisted of going round sticking a flag in the ground, stealing all the resources and oppressing and enslaving the local population, all under the guise of spreading civilization and culture. Only through blinkered, Daily Mail tinted spectacles was it ever about freedom, fair play and community spirit, which sound rather similar to those pesky French values.

But that's all in the past - now we can bomb freedom and democracy into our enemies. After all, an enemy is just a friend who stopped doing what you want.

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Vanmoof Electrified Bike: Crouching cyclist, hidden power

Red Bren
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Trollface

Re: Sadly lacking two fairly essential features

- cup holder

- iDevice mount/charger

- fat chance of obeying red lights or behaving considerately

You're describing a car

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SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION

Red Bren
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Trollface

Shale gas in the ground

Isn't doing anything to meet the over-optimistic ROI figures I gave the shareholders! Screw this long term planning of energy requirements, I'm trying to make a fast buck!

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Protesters stop ground breaking on world's largest telescope

Red Bren
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Mushroom

Religion or Extortion

Mauna Kea is already host to 13 big telescopes and they are listed as a tourist attraction!

An article written around the time that the Sub-millimeter Array was built in 2002 calls into question how sincere the spiritual grounds for these protests are, when some of the protesters demands are financial. There may be a legitimate argument for renegotiating a monetary settlement, but playing the religious card undermines it. After all, why do gods need money? If they didn't like telescopes being built on an active volcano, wouldn't they have done something (see icon) about it?

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Britain’s snooping powers are 'too weak', says NCA chief

Red Bren
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Re: Humint

Wasn't there a little too much penetration when Plod went undercover with the hippies?

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/oct/23/police-spy-tricked-lover-activist

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'Cops and public bodies BUNGLE snooping powers by spying on 3,000 law-abiding Brits'

Red Bren
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Re: @ Red Bren

I think I'm saying almost the exact opposite of you. While we agree that extraordinary powers should be available and that there should be severe punishment for their abuse, we disagree fundamentally disagree on how they should be granted.

You don't object to the police deciding for themselves when it is appropriate to use their extraordinary powers to investigate what they consider to be terrorist activities. What if you/I/the general public disagree with their definition? One person's civil rights march is another person's rioting in the streets. I find the idea of the police making these decisions without any judicial oversight to be undemocratic and open to abuse. Unless they volunteer the details of all their investigations, how are we supposed to know when they have abused their powers?

You are content for the police to justify their actions after the fact where as I want them to provide just cause for their actions before hand. Otherwise what is to stop them going on a fishing expedition for one purpose (no matter how noble) and when finding no admissible evidence, claiming that something (possibly trivial) they did discover was what they were looking for all along, just so they can "Get the bastard for something" and justify their actions.

As for making illegally obtained evidence inadmissible in court, that doesn't address the possibility that the data collected could be used in other ways, to coerce an informer or to silence a critic. It's not illegal to have a mistress, or a prediliction for S&M, or to be a closet homosexual, but you may not want your wife, or parents, or parisioners to know it.

Extraordinary powers require extraordinary circumstances and extraordinary oversight. This manufactured climate of fear is not enough to justify turning the country into a police state.

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Red Bren
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Big Brother

@ Rolf Howarth

"I don't have a problem with giving the police extraordinary powers to infringe people's privacy to tackle what they see as genuine terrorist threats."

I have a massive problem with giving the police extraordinary powers to infringe people's privacy to tackle what they see as genuine terrorist threats.

For a start, where is the judicial oversight? Without having to at least notify some other external agency, you're giving the police carte blanche to go after anyone they take a dislike to. Down that road lies corruption and blackmail to silence critics.

If lives are genuinely and immediately at stake, it's probably too late to start snooping on emails, and if the risk isn't immediate, then there's time to apply for a court order.

"any abuse of those powers beyond the limited scope of what parliament granted them for should be severely punished"

Very often, the powers granted by parliament are not of limited scope, or are so loosely worded that they can be subverted to a completely different purpose, e.g. siezing the assets of a bank from Iceland - that infamous hotbed of terrorist extremism. As for being severely punished, when did you last hear of a senior police officer get severely punished? In the aftermath of the shooting of an innocent Brazillian electrician, the officer in charge was promoted

"By all means let the police intercept and read any email or other communication they feel they need to, as long as they're absolutely confident they can legitimately justify having done so after the fact, otherwise all hell will let be loose."

You can be damn sure the police will crow loudly about any successful fishing trip they go on, and how it justifies giving them increased blanket surveillance powers, but do you honestly expect that when finding nothing, they will hold up their hands and say "Sorry, we had a hunch but it turned out to be nothing." If they're that confident of finding something, they can apply for a warrant, otherwise, the number of intercepts that result in prosecutions will be dwarfed by the number of wasted ones, all paid for by us.

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Red Bren
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Re: No words

"The process is supposed to be awkward, expensive, time-consuming to cut out trivial use and ensure it's only used when necessary."

There is no matter too trivial for an agency of the state to abuse anti-terrorism or child protection legislation to investigate. Thankfully, the Tories will address all the problems this causes by repealing the Human Rights Act so you can't complain about it.

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Red Bren
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The security services can't be trusted not to abuse the powers they already have, but the government is always ready to give them more.

They must have blackmail dossiers on all MPs

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Man brings knife to a gun fight and WINS

Red Bren
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Racist police robots

Of course they're racist. They despise the human race!

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Apple, Google mobe encryption good news... for TERRORISTS – EU top cop

Red Bren
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Knowing the difference

"People don’t know the difference between privacy and anonymity, says EU top cop"

Perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation if law enforcement agencies had learned the difference between

legal and ethical behaviour

proportionate and disproportionate reactions

targetted and blanket surveillance

scrutiny and accountability

innocence and guilt

right and wrong

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WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?

Red Bren
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Re: Mirror, Mirror

Who's the sleaziest? F them all!

FTFY

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Sun of a beach! Java biz founder loses battle to keep his shore private

Red Bren
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Re: how many...

How many appeals are allowed? As many as it takes until one of the sides runs out of money to pay the lawyers.

It must be great to work in an environment where you can charge a fortune for your services and if you fail to deliver, just explain to your clients that their opponents must have paid more. But they can still win on appeal by spending even more...

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Moon landing was real and WE CAN PROVE IT, says Nvidia

Red Bren
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Buzz shows the way

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/2272321.stm

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Scotland wins WORLD RECORD as voters head to referendum polls

Red Bren
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"carrot cake is not a real dessert"

For this assertion alone, I will now be treating everything written by this author as undeniable FACT!

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Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please

Red Bren
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Is this the same virulently anti-EU Murdoch that's now begging for protection from potential competition?

Perhaps while their at it, the EU could investigate the moribund pay tv market?

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Red Bren
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Mushroom

Re: Sometimes I'm convinced

"do you want to be billed every second? if not, every minute? every hour? lets settle on a reasonable time frame...every month. which they already do. so what difference does it make?"

How about half-hourly billing. The technology exists because big energy users have it. When you're using MW/year, timing your heaviest usage to coincide with the cheapest energy prices is worth serious money. So roll out a similar system for domestic customers and that way, they have an incentive to schedule the dishwasher or washing machine for when demand and price is lower and the energy suppliers smooth out the peaks in demand. Even a simple peak/off-peak unit price split would help. You could call it "Economical Eight" or something…

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Red Bren
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3 Questions

When British Gas tried to persuade me to get one of these things with the argument it would save me money, I asked three questions:

Q1. Will I be put on a cheaper tariff to reflect the cost saving of sacking their meter readers?

Q2. Will the meter tell me what the unit prices are throughout the day so I can time my energy use to avoid peaks?

Q3. Will the meter monitor unit prices from all suppliers and automatically switch me to the cheapest?

Obviously the answers were:

A1. No, you will still be on the same tariff (Thanks OFGEM for "simplifying" things!)

A2. No, the unit price is the same all day (After I explained the concept of Half-Hourly)

A3. No. (with laughter!)

So when I asked her to clarify exactly how a smart meter would save me money, she said it would show me how much energy I was using so I could switch off the biggest consumers.

"Like the oven or washing machine?" I suggested.

"Yes!" she enthused, delighted I had finally seen the light.

"So I can eat raw food and wear smelly clothes?" I enquired.

"No!!!" she laughed, realising the futility of her task.

"Then I think I'll wait until the meters get a little smarter."

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Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds

Red Bren
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Re: Disappointment.

The problem with the unaided eye is its inability to see through the thick cloud that always accompanies these events.

If this object is difficult to see, the skies will be clear!

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Data entry REAR-END SNAFU: Weighty ballsup leads to plane take-off flap

Red Bren
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Spot the difference

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Airlines_fleet#/image/File:Malaysia.airlines.b747-400.9m-mph.arp.jpg

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_presidential_aircraft#/image/File:Il96-300pu-96016.jpg

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Red Bren
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Re: Does it really matter who shot it down?

"Putin was on a plane through this airspace 200 miles (ie 24 minutes) behind MH17"

Would anyone care to remind the class the colours of the Russian flag and the colour scheme of a Malaysian Airlines aircraft?

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Red Bren
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Re: the “adult weight” of 87kg

You read El Reg, you're definitely not normal!

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Video: Dyson unveils ROBOTIC TANK that hoovers while you're out

Red Bren
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Paris Hilton

Re: Still missing critical feature

"A software fix should enable it to identify the cat flap, reverse up to the flap and engage reverse thrust? Admittedly it'll make a mess outside until the wind blows, but I can tolerate that."

I bet your cat won't!

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Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?

Red Bren
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Re: The Missing Piece

"we had Gordon Brown charging the BoE to regulate interest rates based on a measure of inflation which excluded the cost of housing"

Excluding the cost of housing from inflation calculations has been a con trick played by governments of all hues for as long as I can remember, to keep wages in check. Now there will be those that argue that wage restraint would keep the property market from overheating. In reality, it becomes a bidding war between those with assets to borrow against vs those trying to borrow against future earnings, so those trying to get on to the property ladder get priced out. But these people still need somewhere to live so they end up renting from the very people who priced them out the market. Demand in the unfettered rental market causes rents to rise so people have less to save towards a deposit of their own, or they have to claim benefits to meet the shortfall from their stagnant pay packets. This (taxpayer subsidised) rental income is then used by the landlord class to buy up even more property, the cycle repeats and the chance of owning your own home fades as house price rises outstrip pay increases by an order of magnitude.

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Red Bren
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Re: negative equity

"When housing markets collapse people who made unwise investments MUST be burned."

As I recall, the people who made the unwise investments, i.e. the lenders, got bailed out by the taxpayer. The people who got burned were the borrowers just trying to get on the property ladder before house price inflation outstripped their salaries.

Don't confuse property speculation with the need to put a roof over your head during a housing bubble.

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Ofcom will not probe lesbian lizard snog in new Dr Who series

Red Bren
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A loving moment between a married couple causes 6 people to complain? What the feck will they think if they watch an episode of Eastenders?

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Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case

Red Bren
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Holmes

Absence of evidence = evidence of deletion?

"His lawyer claimed investigators didn't find any of the vile images on computers at his home, but the prosecution said that he had used specialized software to erase them from his systems."

How are you supposed to defend yourself from the accusation "We couldn't find any images, which PROVES you had them and deleted them as thoroughly as if they had never existed!"?

What next? "The watertight alibi, the lack of bodies or missing person reports PROVES you're a serial killer who is very good at covering your tracks!"

In this case, there was plenty of other evidence to secure a conviction, but I still find it worrying that the prosecution can make unsubstantiated claims.

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Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media

Red Bren
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Pirate

Re: "ultimately it is against the law"

"These copyright terrorists need to be taken outside and shot."

And the footage uploaded to vine?

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Red Bren
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Joke

Re: Premier League Football?

"5 minutes of terrible tasting American beer commercials."

You can taste beer commercials? I want a telly like yours...

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YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator

Red Bren
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Thumb Down

Stupid buttons on the side of the mouse

@ psychonaut

My mouse has stupid buttons on the left side, but because I drive my computer left handed (not because I'm sinister) they are out of the way of my thumb and forgotten about. But your post has prompted me to discover their purpose and they are indeed just for going forwards/backwards through browsing history. I guess that's why the southpaws aren't up in arms [sorry] at this dexterous favouritism

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Hollywood star Robin Williams dies of 'suspected suicide' at 63

Red Bren
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Demons, Drugs and Genius

@Bullseyed

Are you assuming that mental illness is a result of drug use? How much drug use is an attempt to self-medicate? How much artistic genius is driven by mental illness or drugs and what would be lost without those drivers?

I'm going to make an assumption you don't take drugs, or suffer mental illness. I'm also assuming you're not a world renowned comedian, musician, author or artist. That's not to denigrate whatever it is you do, or suggest you're not good at it. Like me, I suspect you do a job that's necessary, but probably won't cause the world to mourn our eventual passing. But I celebrate the fact there have been geniuses like Williams or Cobain because they add colour and meaning to the human condition, regardless of what gave them their inspiration.

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Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM

Red Bren
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Trollface

Re: Can you turn it off?

>> Grown-ups use email

>Grown-ups use TELEX.

Grown-ups can write!

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Edward Snowden's not a one-off: US.gov hunts new secret doc leaker

Red Bren
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Insider threats can cause the most damage to any organisation?

Surely it's the idiots in charge that do the most damage, through incompetence, greed and illegal or immoral actions.

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Evidence during FOI disputes can be provided in SECRET

Red Bren
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Re: Sir

I thought it was more along the lines of receiving a brown envelope stuffed with thousands of small denomination, non-sequential used reasons...

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Remember Palm's WebOS? LG does – check out its smart TVs

Red Bren
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Pirate

Re: privacy agreement

It's not the first time an entertainment system manufacturer has given its customers a Hobson's choice of "Install the new firmware or we'll turn (y)our product into a brick!"

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/29/sony_ps3_to_nix_linux_support/

Sadly, because this post-purchase bait-and-switch wasn't killed at the earliest opportunity, we've all lost effective ownership of our electronic goods.

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Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?

Red Bren
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In, Out, Shake it all about...

If Scotland votes for independence, it won't happen overnight, so how long will the transition take? If the 2015 general election results in a Conservative led coalition or minority government that relies on UKIP support, an EU referendum could take place before Scottish independence is completed. If the Scots vote to remain in the EU while the rUK votes to leave, then the Scots could inherit the UK's membership. But if Wales and Northern Ireland also vote to remain within the EU and effectively join with the Scots in a new federal UK, the end result could be England no longer being in the UK or the EU.

As an aside, I'd like to know how many "better together" supporters of maintaining the United Kingdom are also "better off on our own" supporters of withdrawing from the EU...

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Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

Red Bren
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Coat

@James Hughes 1: Engine Rebuilder

"I can also strip an engine and reassemble it WITHOUT ANY BITS LEFT OVER."

I'd be more impressed if you could rebuild the engine WITH bits left over, and it still worked!

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WTF is ... Virtual Customer Premises Equipment?

Red Bren
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Flashing my firmware

In my experience, it isn't normally possible to do anything other than tweak minor settings from the customer end of ISP supplied kit. Even changing DNS settings is prevented on some kit so I doubt that carriers give a damn about firmware upgrades by customers.

Rather than switching my VM Superhub into modem mode, I'd rather they gave me the option of a basic cable modem and let me sort the rest.

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May: UK data slurp law is fine, but I still need EMERGENCY powers

Red Bren
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They're all going on a summer holiday

If this legislation is so important, perhaps MPs could take time out from their long summer recess to scrutinise it properly?

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UK gov rushes through emergency law on data retention

Red Bren
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Re: What's the emergency?

I'd rather we just got attacked.

Giving succour to the enemy, eh? That's treason! Time for a visit this the reeducation gulag for you...

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New NSA boss plays down impact of Snowden leaks

Red Bren
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Black Helicopters

If Snowden were to set foot on his native soil

How quickly would the tune change back to "OMG HE HELPS ISLAMOCOMMIES INVADE THE WHITE HOUSE!!!"

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Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

Red Bren
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Unhappy

Re: Brooks is FOUND innocent

Brooks has not been found innocent. She IS innocent. It sticks in my craw to say it, especially after the witch hunts against innocent people that occured under her watch. But the principle must stand that it is the job of the prosecution to prove guilt, rather than the defence to prove innocence. Hence innocent unless proven guilty.

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MIGHTY SOLAR FLARES fail to DESTROY CIVILISATION. Yes!

Red Bren
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Re: Stone Age?

I watched a documentary (sorry no sources) that claimed that the UK power grid was actually pretty resilient to CMEs because at any given time, a significant proportion of the network is not in use. In the event of a CME, the procedure is to connect all the dormant bits of the network rather than taking things offline, as it spreads the impact of the induced currents.

This article also suggests the UK Grid would not be badly affected.

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Redmond is patching Windows 8 but NOT Windows 7, say security bods

Red Bren
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@big_D

My old Escort didn't have airbags, when the newer version was introduced with airbags, Ford didn't retrofit them in my Escort either.

Your car analogy is flawed. Ford do carry out recalls to fix issues, rather than telling their customers to just buy the latest model.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/safety/ford-recalls-695-000-vehicles-for-airbag-transmission-software-updates

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I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

Red Bren
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Re: Can I just check

I think I answered my own question. Or I've forgotten that I presciently asked this question last time...

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Red Bren
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Can I just check

Is El Reg rerunning the same comments from the original article?

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Ballmer SLAM-DUNKS $2 BEEELLLION bid for LA Clippers

Red Bren
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Facepalm

There's going to be some changes

Each basket will take up 50% of the screen court and the familiar "ball" interface will be replaced by the players touching each other. No one understands how that will work in a non-contact sport.

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Robins' inbuilt navigators pecked to bits by AM radio

Red Bren
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Joke

Damn that pesky Mr Marconi and his modern wireless telegraphy device. Has anyone warned UKIP about this Irish-Italian plot to destroy that symbol of Britishness, the migratory European robin?

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Virgin Media sales are a bit flat under the Cable Cowboy's reign

Red Bren
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Re: @ James 51

Surely OFCOM should mandate that every newbuild housing estate should have a minimum of two comms suppliers? If VM won't take the opportunity to expand their network, then other suppliers should be allowed into their franchise areas.

As a satisfied VM customer of many years, continued access to their service is a major factor when moving house.

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