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* Posts by Philip the Duck

14 posts • joined 7 Mar 2007

UK.gov may cut BBC licence fee in 2012

Philip the Duck
Boffin

@Nick Carter - are we the only ones...

... who are wondering exactly how *reducing* the license fee will help the deficit? Surely *increasing* the fee would bring in more funds to the gov't, some of which they would be able to siphon off with a little creative accounting... Now, *that* would help the deficit!

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Don't trust Tories on surveillance, say LibDems

Philip the Duck
Boffin

If everyone who said "I'd vote LibDem if they had a chance of winning"...

... actually did vot LibDem, they *would* win!

http://IFeveryoneWHOSaid.IwouldVoteLibDem.IfTheyHadAChanceOfWinning.actuallydidVoteLibDem.TheyWouldWin.co.uk

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BT cuts 0870 charges

Philip the Duck
Boffin

O2 Freefone?

When I was last on an O2 contract, calls to 0800 numbers were free as long as you dropped the leading '0', and dialed starting 800... - is this not still the case?

And why are the other mobile companies allowed to charge for "freefone" 0800 numbers anyway?

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Online crime maps go live

Philip the Duck

Hampshire & Wight?

Well I'm buggered if I can find the Hamshire & Isle of Wight map - anyone got a link?

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Stem cell researchers claim victory in battle with Church

Philip the Duck
Boffin

What's all this "hybrid" malarkey?

Um, I'm no geneticist, but isn't all this "hoo-ha" just about putting some human DNA into a non-human egg cell which has had the nucleus (i.e. its own DNA) removed? How can this *ever* create a "hybrid"? Surely it's just human DNA, isn't it??

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Should Europeans pay to receive phone calls?

Philip the Duck
Boffin

Air Time Rules!

When I left the US 5 years ago my Sprint PCS mobile account came with 5,000 minutes "air time" included in my monthly fee, meaning I could make *or receive* up to 5,000 minutes of calls before being charged any more. All other call charges were the same as for my land line, i.e. local calls *free* and long distance calls pennies per minute (with all the same long distance carrier deals and packages available to me as on my land line).

Not only were calls I made to my local area code *free*, but more importantly calls *from* people in my local are to my mobile number were *free* to them. This worked land-line to mobile, mobile to land-line, and MOBILE TO MOBILE, even CROSS-NETWORK! In addition, minutes that I didn't use each month would roll over to the following month for up to 3 months. I think when I closed my Sprint PCS account I had something over 8,000 minutes of air time left on it.

Here in the EU, 5 years later, I still have to pay ludicrous per-minute fees to mobile companies to call another mobile (after eating through my minuscule monthly allowance), especially if it's on a different network than mine.

The US model results in people being able to use *only* a mobile phone (especially when combined with wires-only DSL which allows them to have Internet access without the overhead of paying for a phone line), and use it *much* more than their EU counterparts, for *much* less per-month cost.

Also, business people who are very mobile, such as salespeople or real estate agents, etc., can publish a local area phone number for customers to contact them on, and customers can call them without having to pay exorbitant land-line to mobile call charges as in the EU, making them a lot easier to reach and therefore improving their business opportunities.

Having lived in both US and EU, I can say from personal experience that I *much* prefer the local-area-number-and-air-time model used in the US.

I'm told US mobile charges have gone up somewhat over the last 5 years since I was there - can any US readers chime in with today's average monthly fees & air-time allowances?

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NASA to beam Beatles song into deep space

Philip the Duck
Boffin

Re: Standards Please

For all those unfamiliar with US time notation, "EST" means Eastern Standard Time, and it's GMT-5, so that'll be 14:00 for us then.

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Why Borland trashed its spreadsheet

Philip the Duck
Boffin

Fuck Shit Piss!

A long time ago, I worked for a company that developed the hotel reservation software for the THF hotel chain, and I remember there was a furore one day when the customer called in and said all 8 consoles were flashing the message "Fuck Shit Piss!" on the screen...

Turns out a programmer put the message in the "default:" block of a "switch" statement, which should never have been reached (it was switching on the record type field in the database, or something). For completeness, he put in this message so he'd be sure to know what it was if it came up during testing.

Sure enough, a year or so down the line, there was a disk crash which corrupted the database (after a lightning strike disrupted power, IIRC), and some record type fields happened to be affected, resulting in the above message appearing on all 8 consoles!!

(This was back in the early 80s, and it was a microcomputer system, pre-IBM PC compatible, running on an 8088 processor with 8 display consoles - so cool! Anyone remember its name?)

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Humane Society gets firmer with Amazon's cocks

Philip the Duck

Mark - *You've* been swindled

Since its airing, it has been widely reported that the "The great global warming swindle" was itself a swindle and a fraud. Here's what Carl Wunsch, one of the "top scientists" shown in the film has to say about the way they tricked him into being involved:

http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/responseto_channel4.htm

Mark, to save face in future, please check your facts before repeating hear-say.

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Strange spoofing technique evades anti-phishing filters

Philip the Duck

wininet.dll being compromised?

I'm not a low-level browser geek, but I seem to remember that IE uses wininet.dll to access the web whereas FireFox uses sockets directly (probably due to its multi-platform codebase not wanting to rely on a Windows-only DLL).

So I'd start to look at who/what is hooking/replacing wininet.dll on machines that exhibit this problem with IE but not FireFox. A good starting point ace might be Fiddler ( http://www.fiddlertool.com/fiddler/ ), an MS tool for monitoring web access, which itself hooks wininet.dll (which is why it only works as a proxy when used with FireFox).

Just my 2p worth...

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DoH's latest d'oh!

Philip the Duck

Who Did This?

Why do these IT disaster stories never mention the developer of the atrocious software in question? How about a bit of Naming And Shaming??

Any IT disaster-related story on an IT news site should include the follwing:

- Was the software developed in-house out-sourced?

- Who were the main developers?

- What other projects (government or otherwise) have they worked on?

- Links to developer's web site

Would anyone else out there like to see this information?

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Pentagon 'hacker' questions US cost claims

Philip the Duck

Cost == Extradition Amount

It's no surprise that the stated cost per system bears no relevance to the true cost of scanning/repairing/reinstalling it, as I'm sure I read a while ago that the cost they came up with just *happens* to coincide nicely with the minimum damage that must be claimed in order to justify extradition.

How can our government / law-lords not smell something rotten in this cost claim when viewed in this light?

Can someone confirm/refute my dodgy memory on this?

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Philip the Duck

Cost == Extradition (2)

Ah, now I've re-read the third paragraph, isn't this exactly what the author of this article is trying to say? I think maybe the other commenters didn't pick up on this subtle implication...

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Could the EU provide a forum for rational gaming legislation?

Philip the Duck

It's GamBLing

I'm surprised to see El Reg of all people using the gamBLing industry's euphamistic marketing term "gaming" for what you, I and everyone in that industry knows is really "gambling".

Let's keep it real: "Gaming" is the playing of games, from PacMan to Doom to Halo to TrackMania; "GamBLing" is the throwing away of one's hard-earned dosh on the turn of a card or spin of a wheel.

What next? Will we see El Reg calling suicide bombers "martyrs", or referring to Sadville as "Second Life"?

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