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* Posts by Graham Dawson

1444 posts • joined 5 Mar 2007

Keep the utopians out of my fridge

Graham Dawson
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Capitalism presents you with the option to use a "more efficient" method, assuming you can afford it. Stalinism presents you with a similar choice, for free, but with the alternative being "or death".

And they're all out of cake at the moment...

So this twine thing is capitalist. It would become Stalinist if the company somehow engineered a way to prevent you from living without their service.

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Graham Dawson
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Headmaster

which was the new word? Twine is attested from the 13th century so it can't be that...

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Demon Currys iPad showered kids with HARD-CORE smut

Graham Dawson
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These days? Facebook.

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NASA's nuclear laser tank will hunt down any life on Mars

Graham Dawson
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Have no fear, the landing will be perfectly executed. The subsequent dismantling by a Sorn and use of the bits as spears by the Hrossa may be a little embarrassing though...

What's that? Weston, you animal, bring back my trousers!

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Man sues boss for 'condemning him to eternal damnation'

Graham Dawson
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Aye, so much of the bible makes a lot more sense with even a little understanding of the cultural milieu it was written in.

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Graham Dawson
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The scripture in question prohibited mixing wool and linen, not any arbitrary fabrics, but *only* wool and linen. It's likely this is due to a ritual requirement that the priests of the day shouldn't wear clothes that make them sweat when they're doing their priestly things which, in a warm environment, would rule out wool in any form for ritual clothing.

It's also possibly because wool tends to shrink in hot, humid environments, whilst linen doesn't, which would result in clothing that goes all squiffy.

Modern translations aside, again, the scripture only refers to wool and linen. And at one point it refers to garments rather than threads.

Cultural context is always necessary when studying these things.

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Graham Dawson
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In the original text it's not actually written as "666" but as something like νρων κσρ in greek or, in modern hebrew letters, נרון קשר.

This is because, in those days, there was no separate numerical system and both cultures used letters of the alphabet as numbers, adding up various letters until the required total is reached (which is part of the logic behind numerology-based mystery cults like Kabbalah and so forth). A modern equivalent might use A as 1, B as 2 all the way up to J as 9, then K as 10, L as 100, M as 1000 and so forth.

The smart amongst you may have already noticed that the letters above spell "nron ksr" and "nrwn qsr" respectively. When the book of Revelation was written, it was done so in greek, as any literate writer in Israel of the day would have known Greek as well as Aramaic and old Hebrew. The writer may have written in Greek, however he was still thinking in Aramaic and wrote the name "nero ceasar" (or neron kaiser as it would have been in literate circles there, as they all spoke Greek rather than Latin), transliterated from aramaic to greek, as the "number of the beast". Aramaic, like Hebrew and most other semitic languages has no vowels, so the result would be the equivalent of NRWN QSR. With the transition to hindu-arabic numerals the transliteration lost its meaning and the total number was rendered simply as "666".

In some translations from greek to latin a mistake was made by the translator, who assumed that the text should say NRW QSR, resulting in some later texts having the number add up to 616.

So, to end it all, the whole "number of the beast" thing is actually a bit of historical curiosity now rather than a fundamental element of identification of some future "antichrist" figure. It's worth remembering that there is no mention of a single man named "antichrist" in the entire book of revelation. The entire book refers to events that took place around 69 AD, when the romans laid seige to Jerusalem. The beast of the sea was Nero, the beast of the land was the Jewish religious hierarchy, the "harlot" was that same hierarchy, the weeping merchants were the Jewish people and foreigners who traded in Jerusalem as it stood on the crossroads between east and west and so on and so forth. Those "end times" referred to throughout the new testament were a reference to the eventual sack of Jerusalem and the annexation of Israel as part of the Roman Empire, something anyone with a bit of foresight and brain could have predicted if they paid attention to the political motions of the day.

Basically the entire book refers to events in the past. It's over. Finito. Finished. We're living after the end of the book.

Marvellous. :)

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Apple iPhone owners are the most loyal smartphone buyers

Graham Dawson
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Sony ericsson xperia mini pro. Just works. :)

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Richard Branson plans submarine tours of dead whale corpse

Graham Dawson
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Struck *with* a ship?

Forget the whale, I'm more worried about the creature lurking in the ocean that uses a ship as a club.

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iPhone 4S is for failures who work in coffee shops - Samsung

Graham Dawson
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Come out? You're anonymous! How is that coming out about anything?

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Superhero oil-burping algae will save the world

Graham Dawson
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Scientific consensus once had it that the moon couldn't affect the tides because there was no visible mechanism.

Galileo came up with that one...

Two things to learn from this: Consensus is meaningless in science, and even the greatest of great men can completely fuck up when they invoke it.

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Coders are creatives too: Where's our love?...

Graham Dawson
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"given the fundamentally autistic nature of the majority in this field."

You lost me there mate, which is a shame, as you were making some sense.

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Graham Dawson
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And?

What did they decide in the end?

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Graham Dawson
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It doesn't help that many software devs have spent the last 30 years insisting that they're actually "software engineers", against all evidence to the contrary.

the thing is, it's really not an either/or outcome. Software devs have to have many of the more obsessive characteristics of the engineer and the flighty genious of the art diva combined. The urge to classify people as one or other is the real problem.

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Rumoured iPhone 5 'will have 4in screen' against Jobs' wish

Graham Dawson
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Apple does listen! It even nods from time to time and takes notes, before presenting you with a Professional Listening invoice, plus 30% tip.

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Hypersonic missile successfully hits Ronald Reagan

Graham Dawson
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Actually there goes GPS, hubble, most of our low-level communications arrays, weather and environmental satellites, the freaking ISS even.

Great plan!

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Clegg orders fresh review of UK extradition treaty

Graham Dawson
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There are very good reasons for the reluctance to send McKinnon to the US for trail, not least the extremely prejudicial nature of this particular aspect of US justice and the likelihood of an over-long and unjust sentence for what was a fairly low-level offence.

I'm saying this as someone who generally thinks the United States are a good place: McKinnon would not be treated justly there. He'd face a political show-trial, and his aspergers would probably be used against him in the process.

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BOFH: The day the office budget bombed – literally

Graham Dawson
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Pint

The operative phrase was "doesn't burn well", which is true. Diesel is almost inert unless it's either atomised, or heated until it starts to evaporate, or heated and put under pressure.

Notice that diesel engines don't have sparkplugs? They don't work. You can get a petrol engine running with diesel by priming it with regular petrol and then relying on the pressure of the cylinders to ignite the diesel once it's running, but it'll get pretty annoyed at you in short order and probably won't work after you've stopped it, mostly because it's not mixing enough air and not operating at a high enough pressure to fully ignite the diesel fuel - which is also, incidentally, why putting diesel in a petrol engine produces lots and lots and lots of lovely smoke so everyone can see what a numpty you've been.

The reason is, the fractions we generally call Diesel aren't particularly volatile. You can toss a match in the stuff and it'll go out. You can do the same with a puddle of regular unleaded tool but it's a lot more risky because of all the vapours hovering above it. To get it to become volatile enough to burn you have to warm it up until it starts to evaporate. A diesel engine relies on compression effect to heat the diesel until it vapourises and explodes. That's were the bang comes from.

Which isn't surprising when you remember that the diesel engine was originally invented to burn brewery waste...

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Think your CV is crap? Your interview skills are worse

Graham Dawson
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Works for me.

And the answer is "Flashman on the March". Unrepentent lech rogering his way up and down Abyssinia in the name of the Queen's peace.

Oh dear, did I not get the job?

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Graham Dawson
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Trollface

problem?

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Graham Dawson
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I don't generally remember the last book I read vecause I'm already on to the next one. Surely thats a more desireable trait in a go-getting trend-setting hip and desireable candidate for the meat mill?

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Samsung v iPhone 4S French entrenchment: 'TOTAL WAR'

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Apple have patented your ass?

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Jim Westwood, home micro revolutionary

Graham Dawson
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No, what shoved us down the crapper was the never-ending stream of golden yellow emanating from westminster palace and spraying far and wide.

Capitalism is simply the private ownership and use of capital - that is, money, resources and time, expended at the whim of the private owner of those things. Nothing more and nothing less.

What you're objecting to, without apparently realising it, isn't capitalism but essentially a form of fascism, where the state has merged its with monopoly corporate entities that it helped to create through regulation and control of the economy - said regulation being designed to prevent effective competition to the large corporate entities that have made themselves so willingly available to the piss-passers dangling themselves above hoi poloi.

That isn't capitalism. It's statism, which is the opposite of capitalism, and the end result isn't very pretty.

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My home is bugged ... with temp sensors to save me cash

Graham Dawson
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Pint

Then the only solution:

1. blazing row

2. make-up sex

3...

4. You don't care any more (aka PROFIT!!!)

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New claim: iPhone 5 was a goer until Jobs bottled it

Graham Dawson
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That's never stopped apple patenting everything under the sun up to now.

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Fusion boffins crack shreddy eddy plasma puzzle

Graham Dawson
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Brudine, whilst the correlation is not absolute, the majority of countries with a high average of children born per woman are third world, generally african and central asian.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2127rank.html

Next time, look before mouthing off.

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Graham Dawson
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Perhaps you could forgo forcing the entire wrld to pay for the inentive to vissit your neighbours now and then and just go outside, you lazy bum!

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Mars, Moon, solar system could be littered with alien artifacts

Graham Dawson
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Alien

We aren't. Stop asking.

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Ten... high-end Android tablets

Graham Dawson
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What are you talking about? It works great in portrait!

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'Puzzling structures on surface' of YU55 spaceball

Graham Dawson
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Happy

Not so simple. It's stupendously rare for objects in space to meet at anything other than relatively enormous speeds, which is why the problem exists - at such speeds the objects in question would shatter regardless of their composition.

And, whatever idea is picked, it has to explain why there are so many of them here in our solar system. If it were just one or two it could be put down to fortuitous meetings and unusual circumstances, but the number of objects that display these characteristics has moved well beyond the realms of random chance into "good god that's scary". That's why there's a somewhat unacknowledged problem with the current models. They can't account for the number of these objects with craters so large that they should have been destroyed by the impact.

For asteroids there are proposals that many are actually loose conglomerations of material held together by microgravity, which works to a certain extend but can't explain Phobos and other solid objects with similar features.

So research is ongoing. :)

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Graham Dawson
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A fully-occupied stadium surrounding a football would have a particular, known mass that could be short-handed to "football field" in a pinch.

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Graham Dawson
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Boffin

Putting on a serious face for a moment, I have to assume that the "puzzling structures" refers to the apparent, enormous crater that seems to be just about visible on the right, almost facing us as it rotates in to view. A lot of very small objects in the solar system appear to have these very large craters and they're quite a problem for current models, as the force required to make such a large crater would generally be enough to pulverise the object being impacted.

The most well known is Phobos, which has a crater on one end that almost can't be explained. Theories have been mooted as to how such a crater could be formed but none are really quite adequate. Research, as they say, is ongoing.

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Is the electromagnetic constant a constant?

Graham Dawson
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It's the subsequent bug-fixing that took millions of years. Certainly felt like it.

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Graham Dawson
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So the universe is written in perl? That... sort of makes a lot of sense.

+++ RECURSION DETECTED +++ REDO FROM START +++

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Graham Dawson
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Or it boosts it, by providing evidence that the entity in question crafted a cosmos with a high degree of variability within certain bounds that would provide both safe areas for life to thrive and other, interesting areas from which they could gain insight and knowledge and ultimately understanding of their role.

Or you could put the "lets poke fun at people who believe different things to me" snottiness aside and just enjoy an interesting and potentially very important scientific discovery.

Assuming it isn't instrumental problems, which it may be...

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Apple faces Germany ban after court no-show

Graham Dawson
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Pint

Friday? I'd suggest they were at the pub.

Cheers!

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Greens threaten to sue over solar 'leccy cash slash

Graham Dawson
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It's an odd definition of "middle class" that includes a place in the country and an acre of roof-space. Maybe it's just because I'm a dirty sooty northerner but, I've always assumed myself to be (just about) middle class and yet I live in a flat. My parents definitely are, and it's true that their house is quite large, but it also has eight people split across two families living in it.

The definition of middle class I see bandied about in the media seems very southern-centric. Up here, if you're so rich you can afford a country pile, you're a toff and possibly a banker, whereas it seems the home counties would consider you working class if your yacht is shorter than 110 feet and you only have one land rover.

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Compact Disc death foretold for 2012

Graham Dawson
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End of CDs? Hardly the end of the world, is it? Then again, perhaps it's what the Mayans were predicting...

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German website offers custom cow killing

Graham Dawson
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Coat

It doesn't? My entire world view has fallen apart!

<-- Hung beef?

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Ginormous sunspot spews solar guts towards Earth

Graham Dawson
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This spot is still a tiddler compared to some of the spots the sun had in the late 80s and early 90s. They were sort that were visible to the naked eye when the sun was setting and looked like rags of cloud or malformed birds floating in front of the sun.

And I had to walk uphill to see em. In the snow! At night!

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Are we in the middle of a PATENT BUBBLE?

Graham Dawson
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There are these things called contracts, perhaps you've heard of them? Apple and XYZ manufacturing develop a contract for the production of iGadgets, with punitive measures if either party breaks the contract. Manufacturing clones and selling them to all and sundry would break the contract so hard it makes an audible snapping noise and XYZ would face all sorts of legal wrangles from Apple.

Patents aren't particularly relevant to the manufacture of goods in east asia by American companies as they're often manufacturing goods that aren't protected by the local patenting regime; the distribution of those goods is protected by contract. Where the issue rises up is when a company in, say, China begs, buys or borrows a patented widget from Widgets R Us and begins manufacturing their own without permission, in order to undercut the patent-protected market, either foreign or domestic.

All that said, I agree that patents, as they were originally conceived, are a good thing. They were designed to encourage the sharing of new ideas whilst still providing the originator with income. Now, they're used to kill off competition by application to such generic ideas as buttons, business methods and wiggling fingers against glass. The problem started the moment the patent office dropped the requirement for a working model.

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Bill Gates strangled Microsoft's 'tablet for creatives'

Graham Dawson
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I would have bought one of these. I can't quite think of what I'd use it for, but I would have definitely bought one because it is *exactly* the sort of device I have been craving ever since I realised what a computer was. But no, Gates had to take it away before I could spend my money on it...

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ASUS: 'We run out of hard disks at the end of the month'

Graham Dawson
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I had one SSD drop dead on me in a week - catastrophic total failure. One minute it was working, next it wasn't and I couldn't get a single bit off it. The replacement - exactly the same make and model - performed flawlessly. Is this typical? Maybe. I can't completely rule out murphy's static finger but it seems that the consumer drives are still a bit of a crapshoot.

Which reminds me, I really should run a backup.

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Graham Dawson
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The transformer is very netbookish but, as a hybrid device, it's a little hard to really categorise it as "just" a netbook. From the perspective of netbooks it looks like an ultrabook, but from the perspective of ultrabooks it looks like a netbook. And it's a tablet.

Neither fish nor fowl.

Must be why I love mine. :)

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CERN boffins re-running neutrino speed test

Graham Dawson
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Neutrinos only interact very weakly with matter and wouldn't follow an optical fibre.

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Dell bundles Ubuntu Linux on PCs in China

Graham Dawson
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@AC They don't, they just sit in the middle of it and complain.

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Stallman: Did I say Jobs was evil? I meant really evil

Graham Dawson
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Actually they do have a monopoly. You can't run non-apple-approved software on an iOS device. They often simply ban software from iTunes if it competes with their own offerings. How is that not abusing a monopoly?

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As iPhone 4S battery suckage spreads, fixes appear

Graham Dawson
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Coffee/keyboard

All I can say to that is...

... I want sushi. At least that part of this fantasy is achievable.

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Sony and Ericsson divorce

Graham Dawson
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Coat

Why is it that these things always go kaput just as I buy into them? I seem to have a habit of getting started with something just as it's about to drop dead. It's really quite annoying.

Ooh, I know, I'll buy an iPhone. Apple will be out of the phone business a week later. Rejoice world, I have come to save you from their tyranny!

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Corning launches can-stand-the-heat Lotus glass for phones

Graham Dawson
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Nanolinguini?

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