* Posts by Spleen

826 posts • joined 5 Nov 2007

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My plan to heal this BROKEN, BREXITED BRITAIN

Spleen

Re: I hope this is tongue in cheek ...

Twice as much money was "wiped off pension funds" in September 2014 after Scotland voted to remain in the UK. (A month or two later it was wiped back on, as markets always do.)

Talk of money being "wiped off pension funds" is always nonsense anyway. If you are a private investor it only affects you if you were planning on cashing in your entire pension on June 24th, and if you hadn't de-risked your pension in the years leading up to your retirement date it's your own fault. If you are a big pension scheme then short-term fluctuations in the market will not affect the long-term viability of the fund, unless you're running it very badly.

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If The Register made reality music TV, this is what it would look like

Spleen

Muse Mews - property programme with the pioneering stadium rockers as they tour some of the most desirable residential streets in Britain.

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UK Snoopers' Charter crashes through critics into the next level

Spleen

"He said the bill's nickname of "Snoopers' Charter" was insulting to the people who work to make the country safer"

Perverts' Charter? Voyeurs' Charter? Would be banged up in the nonce wing by now if Daddy hadn't put them through Oxford and used his Government connections to get them a job that keeps them off the streets Charter?

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Michigan shooter says 'mind controlling' Uber app told him to kill

Spleen

The "Don't Miss" headline is rather poor taste on multiple levels.

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Microsoft stops accepting Bitcoin in Windows Store

Spleen

It would be more accurate to say "Microsoft shuts down automatic Bitcoin conversion service, users will have to convert their currency externally instead".

I very much doubt that anything in the Windows Store was being sold for "10 Bitcoins" or any other fixed number. They would be sold for 10 pounds or 10 dollars and you paid whatever that was worth in Bitcoins at the moment you bought (plus a fee for the conversion). Microsoft weren't taking payment in Bitcoins, they were taking payment in sterling or dollars but providing a means for you to convert Bitcoins to that currency first. Nothing has changed except you now have to convert your Bitcoins to currency yourself.

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AdBlock replaced blocked ads with ads for Amnesty International

Spleen

Amnesty International are a notorious employer of chuggers and those other bastards that manipulate pensioners and vulnerable people into setting up Direct Debits, then ring them up at all hours begging for more money. They may have had noble intentions once but they are now just another national charitycorp like Oxfam - solicit donations, use donations to produce publicity begging for more donations, repeat.

I haven't seen any of these ads but if I do I'll be looking for another adblocker.

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How Microsoft will cram Windows 10 even harder down your PC's throat early next year

Spleen

Re: absolute fucking stupidity

Foie gras is delicious. I think you mean that Windows 10 is the /gavage/ (tube-fed corn) of operating systems. Foie gras geese are not fed on foie gras, that's just wrong.

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Doctor Who storms back in fine form with Season 9 opener The Magician's Apprentice

Spleen

"Rules - You can't have time travel without rules, see every other show or film based on time travel, start messing about and it becomes stupid."

On the contrary, no set of time travel rules has ever made any sense. There is no getting round the grandfather paradox. If you're writing a time travel story and you get hung up on "rules" all you are doing is storing up trouble for yourself - the plot holes just get bigger and bigger.

Mostly time travel stories are just a variation on the "prophecy" plot device that has been around since ancient Greek theatre. We know what's going to happen and the drama is in finding out *how* it's going to happen.

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Spleen

Re: Did you watch the same episode I did?

The axe and the tank were a punchline. The setup was Missy's line about finding the Doctor by looking for "even the slightest anachronism..." which trails off as the first power chords split the air. Classic subversion of expectations. It was actually a double punchline - first The Doctor emerges with an absurd anachronism - the electric guitar - then an even dafter one emerges - the tank. Brilliant.

And the handmines were great as well. Straight out of a small boy's nightmares, which is entirely the point.

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Spaniard trousers €60,000 bank error, proceeds directly to jail

Spleen

Re: In Greece

What's special about that in Greece?

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Spleen

Re: Justice for all

Making a clerical error is not a crime.

Taking money that doesn't belong to you is.

Next week in "An Idiot's Guide To Basic Law", we'll be explaining why murder is bad.

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Manchester skeptics annexed in hostile digital power grab

Spleen

Re: I dunno...

I don't believe that you don't believe it.

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Feeling a physical present: Ten summer games and gadgets

Spleen

Re: Exploited Cretins

"Terrible" is a bit strong, it's just Old Maid with some nice artwork. Buy a pack of cards instead, it costs a quid and you can play grown up games with it as well.

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Apple pulls Civil War games in Confederate flag takedown

Spleen

Re: The display of ignorance and bigotry is astounding

Being smart just means that you are capable of being wrong in more creative ways than a stupid person.

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Layoff-happy Capita charges staff to use cutlery in canteens

Spleen

Re: And the problem is?

It's a trivial cost and the business should simply absorb it, to avoid looking like it's run by miserly cretins.

I think your question was meant to be rhetorical but I'm afraid it was just stupid.

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Indiana Jones whips Bond in greatest movie character poll

Spleen

Funny, but inaccurate and, more fundamentally, missing the point of storytelling. Inaccurate because without Jones' intervention, after the Nazis have opened the Ark, it would presumably be retrieved by other Nazis, instead of the Americans. Who would then be able to study it until they figured out how to use it without face-melting.

More fundamentally, Raiders is hardly the only story where the baddies are the cause of their own downfall, rather than the hero. A story is as much about the protagonist's "journey" as what he actually achieves. If Jones isn't in Raiders of the Lost Ark then Jones doesn't get to travel around the world and get his leg over. So of course it matters whether Jones is in it or not - it matters to him.

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Amazon enrages authors as it switches to 'pay-per-page' model

Spleen

Re: As a writer publishing on Amazon

I did read your stories, or at least what little was available on the "Look Inside", so presumably that means I can criticise them. You're a terrible writer. Sorry. If you were 8 years old the quality of your writing would be understandable, but I doubt that an 8-year-old would be on El Reg.

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Spleen

Re: wont someone think of the

If you thought of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" book authors, turn to page 28.

If you didn't think of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" book authors, turn to page 17.

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The NHS pays up to NINE TIMES over trade price for commodity kit

Spleen

Re: Not just NHS

Alternatively you can resign, which will achieve the same end, but without making you unemployable in your chosen industry.

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INTERNET of BOOBS: Scorching French lass reveals networked bikini

Spleen

Re: The bikini isn't French

According to a documentary I saw starring Raquel Welch, prehistoric women were wearing bikinis a million and-a-bit years ago. So neither country invented it, merely brought it back into fashion.

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Creationist: The Flintstones was an accurate portrayal of Dino-human coexistence

Spleen

We only learn by discourse if both participants are willing to learn. If A asserts that 2 + 2 = 4 and B asserts that it = 5, A has learnt nothing, except that B is an idiot. And B probably won't learn anything because if he's a grown adult and he thinks that 2 + 2 = 5 he is probably stupid by choice.

Two paleontologists debating the exact origins of the T-Rex may well learn something, a paleontologist debating with a death-worshipping loony will learn nothing.

I don't necessarily agree that they should be murdered but arguing with loonies is bad for your health, both physical and mental, and achieves nothing.

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Elon Musk: I'm neither a samurai nor a bastard

Spleen

Re: US management - confusing hours worked for productivity

"In Moby-Dick, Ishmael comments on the stupidity of the whalers. The harpooneer is expected to show an example as the hardest rower. But that means that when he stands up to throw his harpoon he is near exhaustion and many whales are missed because of this."

Ah, so it's like how Dimitar Berbatov is a much better striker than Jonathan Walters. In case anyone wanted a less classical analogy.

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Spleen

Re: Musk is overreacting

Streisand effect, surely. A Cassandra effect would mean nobody believing Musk's denials even though he's telling the truth.

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Apple to devs: Watch out, don't make the Watch into a, well, a watch

Spleen

Re: Blind? Fuck you then.

Apple doesn't think blind people are hip enough to wear Apple Watches. Apple are for people who wear £80 pre-ripped jeans and roll through Shoreditch on tiny scooters, not people who tap-tap down the street with a white stick and a labrador with a reflective jacket. It just doesn't work from an image point of view.

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Spleen

Re: Face it

"At the third beep, the wearer of this watch will be - a bellend. Beep. Beep. Beeeeeeeep."

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Spleen

Re: Well, well, well, well...

That's like arguing that Mars have a monopoly because they're the only company that sell Mars Bars. You can argue about it all day but you still would be missing the point of what a monopoly is.

The device owners have plenty of choice - their choice is not to buy an Apple Watch and buy one of its many competitors instead.

Restricting what consumers do with your product is not monopolistic. Some restaurants allow you to bring your own wine, others insist you buy a bottle from their cellar, the latter are more restrictive but they are not monopolistic. If you don't like the more restrictive environment, go to one of the others.

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London man arrested over $40 MILLION HFT flash crash allegations

Spleen

Re: Spleen

I know what the transaction costs are and I know what they're paying for. They're paying for the fact that I don't have to buy and keep certificates for hundreds of different shares to ensure my money is sensibly diversified. You should try actually reading the details of what it costs to invest your money in the markets, it's extremely tedious but much more relaxing than the miasma of fear you've surrounded yourself with.

"Pay National Insurance? Same thing?" - Er, no, I know exactly what happens to my National Insurance, it goes straight into my parents' bank account via their State Pensions, along with all the other pensioners, the unemployed, benefit claimants, etc. It never goes anywhere near the markets.

@Cynic: Not remotely true. A teacher in a sink school teaching 30 disruptive children puts in more work than a teacher teaching 10 attentive kids in a fee-paying school, they still get paid less. A serf working a strip of land with an ox puts in the same work as a farmer with a hundred acres and a fleet of machinery, they still get paid less. Remuneration is not about a central planning committee looking at how much work you've done and handing out wages accordingly.

Liability, insurance, capital adequacy and regulatory costs all go up in proportion the more money you look after. As, to a certain extent, do research and staff costs. (If your fund doubles in size from £10m to £20m you can not simply chuck that £10m into the companies you already hold without hitting issues with diversification, the cost of acquiring that many shares and owning too large a chunk of one company - even if you wanted to, there are regulatory limits.) Costs have to be paid for. If you don't think they're worth paying, well, it's a free market and there's always the mattress.

Incidentally *transaction* costs are often in pounds and pence depending on your trading platform, though management costs are usually a percentage.

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Spleen

I don't believe a word of it. When (not if) he cops a plea bargain and tearfully confesses all his sins, I still won't believe it. Two words: NatWest Three.

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Spleen

Re: Robert Peston

"Every penny they "make" is actually money they have skimmed off our pensions, savings and whatever our industry generates."

Yes, and every penny farmers make is skimmed off the bread and milk on your table, and every penny a teacher makes is money skimmed off the education of your children. Where did you think it was coming from? I don't invest in hedge funds or "star fund managers" so I couldn't care less how many lose money. I invest mainly in cheap tracker funds. And the money is to be left there for years or decades so whether some coked-up barrow boys cause the index to dive for a few minutes before immediately going back up again is also of no interest to me.

In the long run this will do me better than stuffing my money under the mattress. Investing would not be possible without financial markets; without financial markets I would have the choice of either stuffing it under a mattress, perhaps putting it all in a mate's business (which could go tits-up and ruin me), or going down the dogs.

The assertion that we lose 10%+ in transaction costs every year is nonsense. Whatever funds you are invested in must by law declare the total of all their costs, including all trading costs, in their disclosure documents under "Total Expense Ratio" or "Ongoing Charges". If it's more than 2%pa you have chosen a very expensive fund.

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Health apps and wearables make you nervous, not fit, say boffins

Spleen

Complete rubbish. Your staff are taking the mick. Unless every single one is into extreme motocross or MMA. Most sports injuries only rule you out of sport, not your day job.

I always smile when I hear the old excuse about exercise damaging your knees / joints. Waddling around carrying 6 more stone than your knees were designed to bear will do far more damage to your joints than exercise.

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Spleen

I'm surprised you didn't point out the obvious which is that a fitter person may be able to leap out of the way in time. Or if it's not a bus but a car a fitter person can tuck-jump (leap as high as possible while pulling knees into chest) and go over the bonnet instead of under the wheels. (I do not suggest this thing I read in a book called "How To Survive An Action Movie" is always going to work but it improves your chances.)

In short, basically fitness is a good thing.

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Spleen

"doctors need to be proactive about telling the public which metrics matter and which apps they should buy"

Nope. This is a common error. Your fitness is not your doctor's problem (in the sense of your GP). Most doctors will tell a fat person that they should do more exercise, and that is their limit. A doctor's job is healing the sick - resetting broken bones, stitching up holes and dispensing drugs - not helping the non-sick to become thinner and fitter.

Your fitness is your problem. Finding out which medical apps work and give valuable information, if any, is also your problem - caveat emptor. And as others have said, the last thing GPs need is more of the worried well clogging up their surgery wanting to talk about their tricorder readouts and preventing people who actually have a horrible pain in their chest from getting help.

I am inherently suspicious of health bling - which comes from being a member of a running club and having watched dozens of people dramatically improve their health simply by paying 50p a time to run with others. Someone above mentioned that wearables may encourage people to improve fitness by "gamifying" exercise. You know what's even better at "gamifying" exercise? Games! If you don't like running, then join a football club. If you don't like football, join a badminton club. If you don't like any physical pasttimes whatsoever, then that's no problem - just don't eat as if you do.

There would be no point in me trying to improve my fitness by buying one of those expensive watches for swimming which is submersion-proof and can track laps automatically - because I don't like swimming. Likewise if you don't like running/jogging then the answer is to find a sport you do enjoy, not buy a load of expensive crap so you can overanalyse your boredom.

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'Hackers racked up $$$$s via the Android Play Store, and Google won't pay me back'

Spleen

If she fell victim to a keylogger then it wouldn't have mattered if all her passwords were different and totally random strings including numbers and punctuation marks, as I'm sure yours are.

If you're going to be smug and techier-than-thou, at least be consistent.

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Tin-rattlers want to digitise lady engineers' historic exploits

Spleen

A Kickstarter organised by a reputable organisation with goals that are measurable and achievable and that isn't just trying to scam people into investing in someone's business for no equity? Is there a button somewhere to report this?

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Sony tells hacked gamer to pay for crooks' abuse of PlayStation account

Spleen

IANAL time, but my understanding is that in the event of identity fraud like this where the purchase was made via a credit card, under the Consumer Credit Act the customer must be paid back and the supplier and the credit card company are jointly liable for the money. Is Sony's attempt to push this liability back onto the purchaser not an illegal attempt to deprive them of their rights under UK law?

Technically under UK law Sony would only be liable for a purchase over £100 and under £30,000, and this purchase was under that amount. However from the article it sounds like this is a blanket policy. (In other words, if the fraudster had stolen £200, Sony would still be trying to illegally push their liability onto the customer.)

Small print in the terms and conditions does not override UK law.

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Nuclear waste spill: How a pro-organic push sparked $240m blunder

Spleen

Re: Why not organic kitty litter?

Re Wonko The Sane: Aren't energy drinks the waste product?

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El Reg reforms the Quid-A-Day Nosh Posse

Spleen

Most people on a quid a day live in countries with a much, much lower cost of living. Is this not taken into account? If you're not going shopping in one of these countries then you should be scaling up the £1 according to Purchasing Power Parity.

And while I'm being a heartless economist bastard, many people on less than a quid a day grow their own food or have a few chickens and goats. Don't forget to get some of those.

I'm not under any delusion that people in extreme poverty are actually living some simple bucolic lifestyle. Poverty is horrible. But arbitrary "challenges" like this don't raise awareness of anything but how Westerners prefer cheap posturing to actual awareness of the reasons people are poor.

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The voters hate Google. Heeeeyyyy... how about a 'Google Tax'?

Spleen

Re: The voters hate Osborne

A top tax rate which raised no money and was nothing but a sop to the student-union-polits.

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HAPPY 20th Birthday MICROSOFT BOB

Spleen

Interesting. To non-techies this would be known as "Doing a BT Sport". (In televised sports matches they put the scoreboard at the bottom, for no reason other than Sky Sports puts it at the top.)

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WATCH IT: It's watching you as you WATCH IT (Your Samsung telly is)

Spleen

Re: "Oi Donna...

Fridge freezer = geezer. I'd egg and cress.

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Spleen

"But you can turn it off."

Doesn't matter. As anyone working in the media or politics will tell you: If you're in front of a microphone, always assume it is on. Always assume a tape is recording. Always assume a camera is rolling.

It applies to Google Glasses and it applies to smart TVs. If you're not happy to live with the assumption that everything you say in your living room is being recorded, don't buy one.

I seem to recall the telescreen could be turned down (but not actually off) as well.

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Does Big Tech hire white boys ahead of more skilled black people and/or women?

Spleen

Re: Its true here,

This is probably why it is so difficult for dark-skinned people to break into certain industries. Everyone is terrified that if they hire a black person they'll use the wrong word to describe their ethnicity on the wrong day of the week and invite a tribunal case or just the shame of being like a character in a Ricky Gervais sketch. So they solve this problem by only hiring whiteys.

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Elite: Dangerous 'billionaire' gamers are being 'antisocial', moan players

Spleen

In that case, reintroduce the passenger cabins infinite money bug and just let everyone who wants to cheat cheat. Think of all the satisfaction it'll give the really good players in their legitimately-earned Eagles blowing up all the rubbish players' ill-gotten Pythons ;-)

While they're at it, bring back the wormhole bug and make the autopilot crash your ships on docking 9 times out of 10 unless you turn on fast forward. This whole thing is basically a nostaliga trip anyway so why not have all the old bugs?

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Spleen

It's actually kind of heartwarming to know they're being sufficiently true to Elite's history to include a new version of the Frontier bug where you try to sell your ship while you have passengers in the cabins, which would result in a message saying you couldn't - but credit you with the money for the ship anyway. All you had to do was keep clicking the sell button for infinite free money.

Heartwarming, but this is why there's no chance of me buying it if there isn't an offline mode. Even if they've fixed one, there will be others. In a single-player game this kind of bug isn't that important, you can choose to exploit it or not. In an online game, being blown up by players who are cheating is a pain in the arse, and the frustration and paranoia it causes is evident from the forums. I just can't be bothered with that sort of thing anymore.

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Apple knob refusenik Sir Jony Ive handed award - for talking BOLLOCKS

Spleen

Re: @Khaptain Talking of plain English

"Traditionally the fork, as far my parents led me to believe anyway, is held in the left hand, I prefer the right as I feel it is the most articulate/agile/precise hand. "

The most precise hand needs to be used for the knife, because cutting with a knife requires more precision than stabbing with a fork. If you never found it difficult to cut food with your left hand then you are probably ambidextrous - well done.

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Man asks internet for $1k for pebbles. INTERNET SAYS YES

Spleen

Re: Charity as a stupid lottery?

Better alternative: If you're rich, join an angel investment network. If you're not rich, stop wasting your time.

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Hawking: RISE of the MACHINES could DESTROY HUMANITY

Spleen

Re: Two words

E-xcellent.

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Wikipedia won't stop BEGGING for cash - despite sitting on $60m

Spleen

80% of those were probably written by the Tumblr authors themselves. [citation needed]

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Star Wars: Episode VII trailer lands. You call that a lightsaber? THIS is a lightsaber

Spleen

The crossguard things

People have asked whether the crossguards wouldn't just be severed by the light blades. Isn't there a metal in the Star Wars universe that can block lightsabres? In the "Knights of the Old Republic" games, some non-Jedi characters carry swords which I'm sure were able (or seemed to be able) to block lightsabres. Your own character has to use them before they find out they're a Jedi. They were called "vibroblades" or something like that. Perhaps the crossguards are made from the same material.

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Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU

Spleen

Re: TANSTAAFL

No, TANSTAAFL - "Ain't No Such Thing" is correct. "Isn't No Such Thing" is ridiculous. If you are going to be grammatically correct you have to do it all the way, and it should be TIASTAAFL.

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