* Posts by Spleen

800 posts • joined 5 Nov 2007

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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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FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study

Spleen

Re: Muscle, not fat

"Technically true, but the #1 premature killer in West is heart disease."

That's primarily because fewer people are dying from infant mortality, war, malnutrition and contaminated water, so they grow old enough to die of heart disease.

People who quote this stat in this particular way seem to be unaware of the fact that /something/ will always be the "#1 premature killer". If we eliminated heart disease it would be cancer (I'm guessing). That wouldn't be evidence of a cancer epidemic.

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Blackpool hotel 'fines' couple £100 for crap TripAdvisor review

Spleen

Re: As Morrissey once said...

Ah, what a lyrical genius that Morrissey is. To rip off Betjeman. Badly.

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'Cleantech' a dirty word for VCs? RUBBISH!

Spleen

Re: How to set the tax?

Or you could set it in the same way as the petrol tax, the alcohol tax, and in fact every other "externality" tax are set (more accurately known as sin taxes).

Set it as high as you can get away with. Then award yourself a 20% pay rise and pension increase, before buying another investment property and putting the mortgage on exes.

Trebles all round!

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Far Cry 4 REVIEW: It's a far cry from Far Cry 3

Spleen

Re: Not quite sure...

Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3 are both great games. Far Cry 3 is a much more accessible game, in many ways more fun than FC2. But having finished it I doubt I'll ever play it again. Tried once, put it straight back down. Replaying it just isn't that appealing.

Far Cry 2 I have replayed all the way through several times. I think the difficulty balance makes it much more replayable. FC3 goes so far out of its way to be accessible that it is great fun the first time around, but after you've got used to it, it becomes too easy. You are pretty much invulnerable if you choose to fill your backpack with health syringes, for example (I didn't). The enemy-spotting system is great fun on your first playthrough, scanning camps then trying to stab-combo your way through the whole thing without being noticed. But the second time you're going through that camp, scanning it and murdering your way through it is just too easy, too mechanical, too predictable.

FC2 is much more of a fair contest between the game and the player on the higher difficulty levels. You have a very limited number of syringes. Combat is difficult but if someone kills you it is usually from carelessness and running into an exposed area. I like to play it on a self-imposed semi-hardcore mode without quicksaves, so that if I die I have to start from the last safehouse. Travel can be bloody annoying and tedious with the constantly respawning enemies, but I actually prefer that to FC3 where the island is nearly devoid of threat until you approach a mission area (and totally devoid when you take over the camps).

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Eye laser surgery campaigner burned by Facebook takedown

Spleen

Re: Sooooo........

I don't think the OP is saying that Facebook is acting out of political motivations, simply that the Heil Hitler brigade get lots of clicks and therefore make money for Facebook, whereas Optical Express Ruined My Life doesn't get many clicks so they are disposable.

If it was the Optical Express campaign getting all the clicks and the brownshirts getting hardly any - and if the brownshirts were making embarrassing claims against Facebook advertisers - I've no doubt the jackboot would be on the other foot.

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Spleen

Re: Eye laser surgery is not for everyone.

I had laser eye surgery. It was a disaster. I can't fire even a single laser beam from my eyes. Total crock.

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Weekend reads: Russell Brand's Revolution and Joy Division's Ian Curtis gets lyrical

Spleen

If Ian Curtis was such a great poet he'd've known that "move" doesn't rhyme with "love".

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Back to the ... drawing board: 'Hoverboard' will disappoint Marty McFly wannabes

Spleen

Oh look, another Kickstarter "project". I can't wait to ride my hoverboard while playing Mythic: Of Gods And Men and eating Kobe beef jerky.

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The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event

Spleen

Re: Can't wait!!!

You're doing it wrong.

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Martha Lane Fox: YEUCH! The Internet is MADE by MEN?!?

Spleen

Re: Why else would we speak of...

Not to mention fat pipes, bandwidth, etc etc.

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Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!

Spleen

I assume freezing your eggs has an ongoing cost. (The first website I glanced at says $500 a year.) So imagine you're 35-40, you want to leave Facebook, you don't have enough saved up to meet the cost yourself until you find a new job - or when you get a new job, you won't have the disposable income to pay the egg company --- it's basically "work for Facebook and do whatever we say or we'll kill your babies".

Now obviously I am being hyperbolic. Quite frankly it shouldn't be that hard to make sure you can meet $500 a year out of your own pocket, a lot of people could find that simply by not going to Starbucks every day. But these days people spend everything that comes in and if they need something they put it on the credit card. Which means they are not able to meet the cost of a lost company perk, and I can see company-funded egg freezing creating a real personal crisis if that person leaves or is sacked.

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Philip Morris seeks pay-per-puff patent to help you STOP smoking

Spleen

Re: Asthma Inhaler

My inhaler has a dial which tells you roughly how many are left. It clicks down each time you twist the bottom to release a dose. Much cheaper...

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

Spleen

Nice try. The most-read paper in France is Le Parisien. While I don't speak French, a glance at its website suggests that while it's not quite The Sun, it isn't The Guardian either. The top three most popular articles are all about last night's football match. And according to Wikipedia its writing policy is that "items must be short but well written with simple words so that the reader understands everything and never tires. The illustrations, especially the photographs accompanying the text, will take on average one third of each page editorial." What was that about intelligence?

And if I can make an assumption about your country of origin, "Hans", the less said about Bild the better.

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Spleen

Re: just wondering if this true

I never really understood the bit about the Mirror. Perhaps it was different when Yes Prime Minister was written, but for as long as I've been buying newspapers, the Mirror is for people who are too left-wing to read the Sun and too thick to read the Guardian. They don't actually ever think about politics, they just know they are left-wing in the same way that Liverpool and Everton fans know they are Liverpool and Everton fans.

The rest is still largely true. (Except the Morning Star joke doesn't quite work anymore - the implication is that Morning Star readers wanted the UK to be part of the USSR.)

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That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140

Spleen

Fair enough. If all the info I've provided Facebook with is actually worth £140, then since I signed up to Facebook I've paid £20 per year, or £1.67 a month. For that I get a convenient place to communicate with my friends and people in my sports club, organise social events and show off my amateur efforts at photography. Seems very reasonable to me.

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Gaming gasm UK: Rubbing shoulders with LEGENDS and newbies

Spleen

Re: Really!!!

Yeah, and how come with all the modern filmmaking and CGI techniques Hollywood keeps churning out re-hashes of the same old "boy meets girl" or "boy overcomes battle against evil force / himself"?

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Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER

Spleen

The problem with this strategy is that if you have a large enough stash of Bitcoins that selling it will affect the market price, the same works in reverse. You will have extreme difficulty buying them all back without causing the price to rocket. Quite possibly it will go above what you sold them for before you've managed to retrieve your hoard.

Successfully making the market believe that there may be a risk that SHA-256 is broken may cause it to fall lower than if you had just dumped the Bitcoins without saying anything. But again, there is the opposite effect - when you try to buy them back it will signal that there isn't a problem after all and everyone should pile back in.

Not saying it couldn't work. But so could betting on the 10-1 at Chepstow. Like all currency speculation it's just gambling.

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Ordnance Survey intern plonks houses, trees, rivers and roads on GB Minecraft map

Spleen

A book on fighting in Minecraft??

Chapter 1: Swordfighting. Jump and bash, repeat.

Chapter 2: Bows. Hold down fire, release, repeat.

Chapter 3: Creepers. Dig a hole, lead them in, leave them there to starve. Bastards.

I know strategy books are always a rip off for those with more money than ability to Google, but really, surely everyone knows that Minecraft's complexity is in what you do with it, not the game itself. You can probably learn everything you need to know in about the basic game (down to how to get to The End) in five minutes on the wiki.

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The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft

Spleen

If it wasn't built in Survival Mode it doesn't count

"...and here we see the jewelled crystalline chamber pot of King Llam-e-dos. This sacred artifact is five thousand years old, and truly priceless. Any questions? Yes, you, the small green boy with the curious skin problem."

"...sssssssSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" *BANG* *crash*

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Microsoft buys Minecraft for $2.5bn. Notch: I'm getting the block outta here

Spleen

It's not just the Lego aspect. There are two sides of the game which don't get enough credit: the aesthetics and the game mechanics.

By aesthetics I mean the combination of the graphics and the random terrain generator. They create some beautiful landscapes which are a pleasure to build on. In my first go at Minecraft I built a "house" out of an above-ground cave I converted, filled in and added doors to. Dug out the ugly dirt bits, replaced them with stone bricks and lit the place with recessed torches. Hollowed out the top of the mountain, added some large windows and watched the sun set over the trees. Pure joy. It's not just about what you build but how it fits into the world. (Which is why those giant pixel-art creations are very impressive but IMO miss the point a bit.)

Secondly, the game mechanics, the balance between effort and reward. The start of the game where you punch trees until they break is the butt of many jokes. But once you've got wood you can mine stone, once you've got stone you can mine coal and make torches, once you've got torches (and some weapons to defend yourself from the monsters) you can go underground and find some iron, and on and on it goes. It's a classic progression, like the Civilisation tech tree or the RPG get-bigger-sword-to-bash-bigger-monster routine.

The creative aspect gives you the incentive to progress through it. If I want my house to have iron railings I need to go underground and get some iron. If I want to set up something electrical I need to go further down and get some redstone. If I'm bored of torches for lighting, I need to create a portal and go to the Nether to find some glowstone. And so on.

Although most of the praise for Minecraft goes to the Lego-building aspect, there have been games that allowed you to build stuff out of blocks before (e.g. Infiniminer). Minecraft is a work of genius because of the way it marries that with beautiful aesthetics and balanced, rewarding gameplay.

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Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer

Spleen

Re: Phones4U

Ewww.

What happened to part 2 of that article?

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Spleen

Good riddance. Did anyone see the Channel 4 'comedy' PhoneShop? One of the least funny comedies I've ever seen, but in fairness its portrayal of their obnoxious sales tactics was too close to the bone for its own good.

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Apple Fanbois (and girls) already lining up for NEW iPHONE

Spleen

Re: You may try to read the actual article..

That's even sadder, frankly. What sort of person would buy a product because they thought "wow, if someone at the front of an Apple queue is behind it, it must be good"? Well, I can answer my own question: the Rays are promoting something called "VideoMedicine" which lets you talk to doctors via Skype. So it's an app to make it easier for hypochondriacs to moan about their imaginary aches and pains. If you think about it, the Venn intersection between people who spend all their time talking about their iPhone, and the similarly desperate-for-attention people who spend all their time talking about how they might have bird flu, is probably pretty large.

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Spleen

Re: I suppose that we should hope that Mr and Mrs Ray..........

If they have triplets they could name them Alpha, Beta and Gamma.

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Spleen

As others have said, the whole camping out for weeks on end, followed by the hilarious spectacle of the employees applauding you in as if going to the Apple Store is something worthy of adulation like running a marathon or winning a cup final (congratulations! you're a mug!), is part of the Apple cult image. When something's parodied in an advert for Carlsberg industrial cider you know it's part of the popular consciousness.

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Govt waves stick at pirate-friendly Google search

Spleen

Theft is also commonly understood to mean "taking something that doesn't belong to you". A word can have more than one definition.

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