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* Posts by John H Woods

1269 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

Ban drones taking snaps of homes, rages Google boss... That's HIS job, right?

John H Woods
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Fun new business opportunity...

Anti-drone drones. Pestered by nosey neighbours drones? We'll hunt it down and you can have the DVD of the engagement to cherish and keep ...

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Under the microscope: The bug that caught PayPal with its pants down

John H Woods
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Oh FFS

Sanitize your fracking inputs! When will companies realise that coders with a clue cost money?

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Flexible flywheel offers cheap energy storage

John H Woods
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Context

14kWh is 50MJ - is a couple of pounds / dollars worth of energy: a few micrograms of uranium or a couple of litres of diesel. But this is a third of a tonne! Why are we, in the 21st century, so short of ideas for sensible energy storage that we are considering massive flywheels?

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Wales slams Amazon over lack of Kindle support

John H Woods
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Re: Lower number than in the article

"We get to about 5000 copies, which is important for the author, but so irrelevant that it isn't worth Amazon employing someone to add the extra lines of code in their database."

As someone who has been involved in i18n projects, I think it's very unlikely that the effort involved here is that considerable. Amazon only have to add a small premium to Welsh language books to cover it, so - whilst I agree that Welsh should not have any special subsidies, it isn't unreasonable for it to be a supported language.

As for those people who found Welsh language programmes on the telly annoying, a performance of La Traviata I once saw was utterly ruined for me by the near-stage-right presence of a signer, waving their arms and grimacing dramatically, presumably for the benefit of the small proportion of deaf people who (a) go to the opera and (b) are unable to read the surtitles. Now *that's* PC gone mad.

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Ofcom: Parents, here's how to keep grubby tots from buying Smurfberries

John H Woods
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Re: How Did We Survive

Money? Ration coupons? You were lucky! My parents used to give me a club and a send me out to kill my own food wearing nothing but a bearskin.

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Dubai splurges on 700hp, 217mph Lamborghini police cruiser

John H Woods
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You don't need to catch them ...

... just get close enough to fire a magnetic/adhesive GPS tracker onto the vehicle. Pretty hard to outrun the helicopter then ... even if you can beat it in a straight line.

Which reminds me - have you guys seen P.R.E.Y A.L.O.N.E - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccw4OepTDUY

In this amazing Irish short film, whose SFX were done on a farm of cheap PCs, there is a blistering chase of a car through the subway system by a couple of fighter jets - and a great twist in the tale ...

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... time machine. Iranian Dr Who claims he invented a ...

John H Woods
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Boffin

Time machine:

Please select:

My wealth / income places me in

a) the top 1%

b) the remaining 99%

Five year forecast:

a) things will get better for you

b) things will get worse for you

Thank you for using my time machine.

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Shaky liftoff for Sputnik: Dell's Linux lappie runs its own cloud, ish

John H Woods
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Re: FIX THE SCREEN!!! WUXGA FTW!

^^^ THIS ^^^

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Finance bods probe RBS over bank-crippling IT cock-up

John H Woods
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Not a single person error...

Whether a noob made a mistake or not is largely irrelevant ... if a single person can do this, whether accidentally or deliberately, whether remote or inside the datacentre, the system is already a failure.

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Hard luck lads, todger size DOES matter: Official

John H Woods
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BMI...

... the research also suggests that the preference for bigger members was more marked in women with a bigger BMI. This may be obvious, but I expected some commentards to have something to say about it ...

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John H Woods
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Published in PNAS ...

... where else?

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Patent shark‘s copyright claim could bite all Unix

John H Woods
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Something for Andrew and Lewis ...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/video/2013/apr/01/guardian-goggles-video

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

John H Woods
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Payback...

... helping people often pays back, even if you don't expect it. I never expected to get anything but good karma from helping my neighbour with his PC. Maybe I've spent 10 hours doing it over the last 10 years?

Then my mother in law moved house and said I could have her summerhouse if I could work out how to get it to my house. My neighbour and his son spent one weekend dismantling it, stored it for two weeks on their premises and reassembled it in my garden the weekend after - everything from the slabs to the felting.

I think I'm suddenly in karmic arrears again!

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MI5 undercover spies: People are falsely claiming to be us

John H Woods
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Liar's Paradox

"Hi, I'm from MI5"

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Not got 4G? There's a reason we aren't called 'Four', sniffs Three

John H Woods
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Tethered to Three in rurual Warwickshire...

... getting 6Mb/s down, 1.5 up with a latency of 80ms. Bandwidth better than my Sky Broadband, latency only 10-15ms worse. Using around 8GB/mo and paying 15GBP for it PAYG.

I'm certainly not going to leave Three to get 4G!

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Roomba dust-bust bot bods one step closer to ROBOBUTLERS

John H Woods
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Interesting ...

... I seem to recall that some AI and cognition researchers theorised that we could only recognise a chair because we had imbedded knowledge of the act of sitting down. DPM seems a useful compromise for systems which rely on their vision alone.

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Furious Stephen Fry blasts 'evil' Reg and 'TW*T' Orlowski

John H Woods
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Re: to my mind the only thing julie burchill did right

The thing about Julie Burchill is that she doesn't seem to be all that knowledgeable either. Whereas Fry is affable, avuncular and slightly misinformed, she is a total bitch who thinks she is much cleverer than any available evidence would seem to support.

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John H Woods
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Happy

Let's be fair...

... it's not just Fry. Yes he sounds authorative, but that may be an error of the listener rather than something he is deliberately trying to convey. Didn't I read, just last week on ENGADGET (which I think thinks it is a serious tech site, although I know of no serious techs who agree) that Tim Berners Lee invented the INTERNET?

My old dad (sorry to bang on) was a highly sociable bloke who met a lot of interesting people, many of whom were experts in some field or other. He came to the conclusion that whenever you met an expert in X, they would usually tell you that a lot of things reported in the popular media about X were wrong. After meeting sampling for enough values of X, he concluded that the popular media are mostly wrong about EVERYTHING.

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Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop hailed oddest book title

John H Woods
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My favourite ...

... (and relevant for Object Orientation) ... "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things" by George Lakoff.

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Google patent filing suggests Glass will be ULTIMATE REMOTE

John H Woods
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Pint

Re: Voice control fashionable again

Sil: "[voice control is] useful in so few scenarii"

Let's meet up and discuss grammar over a panino or two?

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Apple pulls iForgot password recovery system over security bug

John H Woods
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Re: We really are at the mercy of crappy programmers now...

Pete Spicer: "People don't care about security all the time it affects their convenience"

I sort-of understand how this happens in some applications, but this is a fracking Password Reset application. The PRIMARY function is security related - this is not adding <feature X> to an application.

This isn't just a (ludicrous) coding failure - this is a failure of testing, and indeed management. We are at the mercy of "crappy everyone" and the buck stops at management. They will blame the coder - not the people who hired him, the people who managed him, the people who reviewed his code, the people who tested his work and the people who signed it off for production. All of them have failed in their jobs as much as the coder, and it shows a total disregard for user security.

To then say "We take customer privacy very seriously" seems to me to almost be the equivalent of saying "we know X is very important but we have no idea how to do it"

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Dongle smut Twitstorm claims second scalp

John H Woods
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My boss ...

... would just have rolled her eyes and, if she could have been bothered, cut the guys to shreds with a couple of well chosen words.

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Young model ruthlessly fingers upskirt iPad petshop pervert

John H Woods
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Advice from the Romans

SEMPER UBI SUB UBI

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Paying a TV tax makes you happy - BBC

John H Woods
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Re: For 41p a day, I say, keep the tax.

You are right about Broadchurch. But I think one of the reason ITV has these premium shows (like Downton Abbey) is they have to compete with the BBC. I think if the TV licence goes, it won't just be the BBC channels that get worse.

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Holly(oaks) talking head is FUTURE of face messaging, claims prof

John H Woods
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Researcher mistake #1 ...

... being drawn on the question "but what is it for?"

The answer they gave, an animated message avatar, was presumably an off-the-top-of-the-head remark which has been rightly ridiculed. You're better off at one of the extreme ends of the groovy-boring spectrum - either: "Because it's cool, the use of this is limited only by your imagination" or: "to determine whether emotional facial modelling could be achieved in a smartphone-sized application"

I always liked the answer, "this is the research department, ask the chaps over there in development".

Once you have deflected the question the reporters and commenters will do your work for you: Richard12 probably nailed it in the first comment --- animating NPCs in video gaming.

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Microsoft issues manual on Brits to Cambridge exports

John H Woods
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From the land where the consumer is king?

... this, like the "land of the free" is simply verbiage. My understanding is that consumer protection is a hell of a lot stronger in UK and Europe than it is in the US.

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John H Woods
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Re: Classic Yanklish

Actually - depending on the riding style, saddle and behaviour of the horse, it could still be the UK fanny that is sore after a day on horseback.

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Touch screens and greasy mitts: All you need is glove

John H Woods
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This is why I need hover touch ...

... I have tried everything else. Well most things ... I even had limited success supergluing small circles of aluminum foil onto my fingertips.

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We shall CRUSH you, puny ROBOT... with CHESS

John H Woods
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Grandmaster skill not required...

... if a puzzle is to be easy enough for a reasonably competent chess player to solve, then an average PC running gnuchess will also be able to do it. Massive horsepower was only required to defeat grandmasters because their game is at a *much* higher level than that of even the most talented players in a normal chess club.

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Smartphone users prefer LOVELY apps to fiddly mobe websites

John H Woods
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Re: Just say no.

" If anyone knows of a way of setting "No, %&^ off, just show me the &%$ing website like I asked you" to be the default response, please do let us know."

In the end I gave up and set my browser user agent to pretend to be a desktop.

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New UK cyber-champ: Chemist's winning formula cracks 'F1 race hack'

John H Woods
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Re: Training?

"Given that both he and the runner up weren't formally trained and yet still topped-out the competition it does seem to make the value of that aspect of the prize a bit suspect?"

Just reminds me of those super-hard (technical term) crosswords where the prize is ... a dictionary.

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'Wireless charging' in Galaxy S4 will betray Samsung's best pal

John H Woods
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Re: Is distance charging really such a good idea?

"My University professor of high frequency electronics/ RF engineering would frequently tell us that even he would only use his mobile phone sparingly as the health concerns were unknown."

YMMV but I'd have paid rather more attention to what the BIOLOGISTS thought.

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Dell's having a fiddle with Violin Memory - but will it flash the cash?

John H Woods
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Coat

Well...

... it would be another string to their bow

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Six things a text editor must do - or it's a one-way trip to the trash

John H Woods
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Emacs

Not that I would ever develop using it, as I prefer to use an IDE where I can just highlight some text and execute it ... but because I spend a good chunk of my life reading and analysing truly enormous text files.

Emacs' combination of managing huge files, macros and regexes seems to me to be unbeatable in this regard. I have - more often than you would believe, received a million line log file with the dates in US format instead of ISO format.

It takes 20 seconds to write:

replace: "^\([0-9][0-9]\)/\([0-9][0-9]\)/\([0-9][0-9]\)" with: "20\3-\1-\2" and about 10 seconds to execute it. Job done.

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

John H Woods
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No real defence against live coercion ...

... except silent alarm signalling.

e.g. when you are enrolled, you are randomly assigned an orientation - fingers to 10 o'clock, 12 o'clock, 2 o'clock. Scan your hand at a different angle and it appears to work but raises a silent alarm elsewhere.

There was a UL that entering your PIN backwards at an ATM did this - retrieved your money but alerted the police. AFAIK it is just that, a UL, but the principle is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

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Inside Lord Sugar's 'you're fired' YouView bust-up with TV baron

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Sergey Brin emasculated after HORROR smartphone disaster

John H Woods
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Re: Confessions of a search engine Exec

"Five 9s of crap and the rest is just dumb"

Get a PVR and do a little bit of research in advance instead of sitting down and trying to find a channel with something on. I can find at least 3 hours of worthwhile TV to watch every night. But if I had to sit down and just watch "what's on", I would certainly agree with you.

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Squillionaire space tourist offers oldsters a holiday to Mars

John H Woods
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Just suggested it to my wife ...

... she says she'd do fine once she had got me out of the airlock.

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Jimmy Wales: 'I'm Wikipedia's monarch'

John H Woods
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Re: Wikipedia as a reference? ...

NOTHING is reliable. But when you say "most of the articles seem to consist of self-serving advertising very heavily monitored by a select group (or single issue obsessives) who vigorously expunge any unorthodox facts", can you give an example?

For instance, when one looks up scientific, mathematical and computational entries they appear largely correct. When one looks up more subjective stuff, like history, then obviously there are grounds for disagreement, and at the far end of the spectrum, regarding pop culture, biographies etc, it may well be inaccurate. But who cares? If you expect any source to tell you everything you know about material where there is room for interpretation, then you aren't really able to correctly use any reference material.

So until people can point out significant factual inaccuracies in articles like "Sulphur", "Service Oriented Architecture", "Pythagoras Theorem" etc. I am going to remain sceptical. Just because Wikipedia is more wide ranging than other encyclopaedias, and stretches into areas where much less accuracy is expected, does not mean it is worthless for core reference material.

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Outsourcing your own job much more common than first thought

John H Woods
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Re: Google

"The problems start when you are trying to do something that hasn't been done yet anywhere in the world."

Yes, but unless you are at the cutting edge of some research programme the key warning sign is that you are considering doing something that hasn't been done before. Quite often - not always, I grant you - it's an indication that you might be about to do it wrong.

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Look out! PEAK WIND is COMING, warns top Harvard physicist

John H Woods
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Thumb Up

Re: Why not just build a solar panel that covers half the world....

Your point is correct that it would be just as mad to build that solar panel as to cover the world in windmills.

Nuclear power is safe. In the Fukushima "Nuclear Disaster", approximately 0 people died despite a catalogue of misadventures and failures at fairly old nuclear plants which had been subjected to an *enormous* environmental event - an earthquake and tsunami which killed 25,000 people.

As a result, I have started to ignore, or at least question, anyone who suffixes the words "Nuclear Disaster" to "Fukushima" because I consider it to be an empty phrase. Although I'm not sure "bleeding heart liberal hippie" is a very meaningful phrase, either - it certainly doesn't apply to many of the liberals I have ever met.

Let us rise above the stupid point scoring and ad hominem attacks of our political 'leaders', and actually use hard fscking science and actual fscking facts. Now excuse me whilst I return to my (ever sceptical) reading of the Guardian, albeit sans elbow patches.

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Boffin shows pics of germs grown on SPOTTY STUDENTS' MOBES

John H Woods
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Re: H.G. Wells put it best

This is only the beginning of what lives on and in you. If you count cells numerically, rather than by volume, we're only 90% human. And some of the multicellular organisms in the habitat of a person look truly horrific under the microscope - search "Demodex".

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Australian supercomputer to use geothermal cooling

John H Woods
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Headmaster

Re: Geothermal for cooling?

As they are Australians, I guess they "got lucky" . I think "lucking out", in the UK and Australia, is ending up out of luck. Although I think the USage is becoming more common here amongst the young ones.

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Elon Musk: 'Fudged' NYT article cost Tesla $100m

John H Woods
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"apart from the speed issue"

Yeah, that never makes any difference to the energy consumption of a vehicle, does it?

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BBC's new bosses - the lawyers - strike out Savile probe testimony

John H Woods
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Not just every public body...

... pretty much all large corporates are the same

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PSF warns on angry trademark attacks: Python coders, this is not our way

John H Woods
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Programmer wanted...

... experience in TLFKAP required.

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John Sweeney: Why Church of Scientology's gravest threat is the 'net

John H Woods
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Re: Would you like a free personality test?

I also fell for it as a gullible and lonely teen in when an attractive girl offered me tea, biscuits and a free personality test. However, on reading through the exhaustive list of questions I realized I couldn't be bothered and had another idea. My prize possession was an early Playboy-branded Casio watch my Dad had bought, with a bunch of unnecessary functions, including a random number generator, which suddenly found a use.

When they told me the results and started to draw conclusions, I told them what I had filled in all the questions randomly so their methodology must be totally flawed. They became rather aggressive, and two goons were summoned to "deal" with me, and it got rather horrible rather quickly. Fortunately for me I had already learned to handle myself in Middlesbrough (where the posh "Officer's Boy" accent didn't go down too well in the early 1980s) so said aggression rather backfired upon them. The copper outside who hoovered me up merely enquired as to whether my knuckles were ok and said, "Stay away from that lot, sonny, they are utter scumbags" before resuming his duties.

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4G in the UK? Why the smart money still says 'Meh'

John H Woods
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Re: Need better 3G service first

I agree with GregC - I get around 4-6 MB/s down and a quarter of that up nearly everywhere round here (rural Warwickshire) minus a few holes. In fact, 3's data service is better than their voice in my experience - quite often I've dropped a call to resume it on Skype!

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Top tools for junior Linux admins

John H Woods
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dd

Good post for noobs about to dd

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-newbie-8/learn-the-dd-command-362506/

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Quit the 2D internet, flee your cave, and GET LAID, barks rock star

John H Woods
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Re: He's quite right

"Stop giving planning permission to the large out-of-town centres."

... with free parking. Often the town centres not only have expensive parking but extremely short maximum stays, which ensures you can't spend too much time in the local shops. Because you will avoid spending money in the retail parks owned by the friends of local government.

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