* Posts by John H Woods

2145 posts • joined 14 Nov 2007

So Quantitative Easing in the eurozone is working, then?

John H Woods
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Consistent K

""1.44MB", just because weenie programmers are wedded to this bizarre shibboleth, but can't even use it consistently." -- pnony

1.44MB is an excellent choice if you want to complain about lack of consistency because the M is neither mebi nor mega but kibi-kilo (or kilo-kibi)!

(512 bytes per sector x 18 sectors per track x 80 tracks per side x 2 sides = 1440 x 1024)

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John H Woods
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"You're still here, aren't you?"

Mentioning natural selection here confuses me and, in any case, I would disagree with the (equivalent) definitions you have offered. What is the 'systematic removal of the points on the left hand side'? Is it people starving to death? Skills becoming less valuable? Increases in minimum wage? I would argue the first isn't natural selection because it's about entities not traits, the second isn't because it's not about heritable traits and the third isn't because it doesn't appear to be related to natural selection at all.

Surely winning and losing, economically, are easy to define. One is winning either if one's relative standard of living is increasing or, if it remains the same in relation to others, one's absolute standard of living is improving (even if one remains on the left hand side). It is perfectly possible, relatively speaking, for only a minority of the population to be winning, as there's no guarantee the distribution will remain the same shape.

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Toyota chucks 50 MEELLION BUCKS at AI car tech

John H Woods
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"if a vehicle comes out of a side street into your path immediately in front of you a collision is inevitable." --- Smooth Newt

Unless the vehicle hits your door, this is almost always a failure of anticipation. You didn't see the sidestreet or you did but you didn't see the approaching vehicle was unlikely to stop, etc. If you *couldn't see* either of those things, you were almost certainly doing some combination of going too fast and paying too little attention.

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China's TCL strokes Android with its 17.3" fondleslab WHOPPER

John H Woods
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Re: "We call it a big tablet.”

I rather like the sound of "biglet"

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Feeling sweary? Don't tell Google Docs

John H Woods
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Re: heh...

PS Home, when it first came out, had people coming up to you and saying ****O! because the HELL had been blipped. Also, 1 Billion people weren't allowed to refer to their own nationality because INDIAN is only ever an unacceptable word for Native American.

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Almost all dot-science malicious, dot-cricket rigged, researchers find

John H Woods
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"I'd like a magic tool to auto-block all domains outside of the traditional .com, .net,. .co.uk, .org.au, .gov.nz, and so on." - Tannin

No magic required, dnsmasq will do what you want.

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John H Woods
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Re: Don't rely on this so called "report"

"On top of this .science isn't even in available to the general public! (yet)" -- TheOtherMatt

I think it is - I registered one just to get an email address @itsnotexactlyrocket.science. I'm not flinging any malware (or anything at all) from the address though.

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Xiaomi aims to knock Apple off its branch with move into computers

John H Woods
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baited with what?

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ICO probes NHS clinic's data blunder that exposed HIV+ status of 800 patients

John H Woods
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Simple solution

It is very unlikely more than 10 people need to be in either the TO or even the CC field of an email. Why there are still not safeguards in email clients in 2015, I just have no idea.

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OH DEAR, WHSmith: Sensitive customer data spaffed to world+dog

John H Woods
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"It is a bug not a data breach." The first part of the sentence is true, the second part is an outright falsehood. I do not understand how organisations are allowed to get away with making such statements.

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Another chance to win a 6TB Western Digital Black hard drive

John H Woods
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"Stop calling me SOME PIG"

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Back to school: Six of the smartest cheap 'n' cheerful laptops

John H Woods
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Re: Don't forget second hand options.

+1 for old ThinkPad T4xxs. You can even add an eGPU to get an Alienware-thrashing gaming performance when plugged in back at the dorm, and a reasonable 24" dorm monitor / TV is a very cheap addition too. Away from the dorm you get robustness, easy repair as you mentioned, and a boring looking laptop that will be near the bottom of the pile in attractiveness to thieves.

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Drum roll, please .... Results are in for the collective noun for security vulns

John H Woods
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Re: Wait, more than one collective noun?

"A set cannot be a member of itself" -- DavCrav

(Apologies to Bertrand Russell and the very large set [or class] of people whose maths is better than mine if I've got this wrong but I think that ...)

... this is equivalent to saying that "the set of all sets that don't contain themselves" is the same as "the set of all sets" But clearly, because the set of all sets does contain itself, your statement is self contradictory.

In practice I seem to recall it is undecidable - you either say you are working within a system where sets can contain themselves (ZFC) where the ZF refers to Zermelo and Fraenkel and the C stands for 'Choice' (as in the Axiom of), or you say that you aren't.

Bonus AofC joke:

Q) What's yellow and equivalent to the Axiom of Choice?

A) Zorn's lemon.

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The Raspberry Pi is succeeding in ways its makers almost imagined

John H Woods
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"unusable to people who are red-green colorblind" -- Michael Wojcik

Did you mean red/yellow/blue button? That's hardly unusable to the colourblind once you know which button is which finger. Unlike the (still) unusable pastel shades that are the defaults for much of Excel graphs and Powerpoint templates.

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John H Woods
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A Smalltalker who cannot easily write in any other OO language (OK, they might tut and sigh a bit) doesn't really know Smalltalk. There's almost no language in Smalltalk (three reserved words) and almost no syntax --- it's virtually all paradigm.

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John H Woods
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"Scratch is an introductory concept kind of thing" -- werdsmith

Under the hood it's Smalltalk; an, or rather the, OO language that puts almost everything that came afterwards to shame.

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Google robo-car suffers brain freeze after seeing hipster cyclist

John H Woods
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"They often refer to nearside and farside though to designate a side of the car"

ITYM nearside and OFFside, And we use the left in the UK for the same reason we mount our horses from the left, it keeps one's sword / lance arm free when mounting and available to engage oncoming traffic when riding!

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John H Woods
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Re: It does seem somewhat ridiculous to have one's feet fixed to the pedals...

"It does seem somewhat ridiculous to have one's feet fixed to the pedals...if riding in city traffic." -- Fraggle850

... Or, indeed, in the country. Slowing for dog on a transverse vector, I wobbled into an electric fence and lay there with my feet fixed to the peddles getting a blast of twitching every two seconds as the fence continued to operate normally. My wife and sister in law almost injured themselves laughing.

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French woman gets €800 a month for electromagnetic-field 'disability'

John H Woods
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Re: KU the pedants

"I can't see what the role of the pedants is." -- KC

It's a pun: Ku band; cue the pedants (as in "cue the music") where Ku and Cue have similar pronunciation.

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The most tragic thing about the Ashley Madison hack? It was really 1% actual women

John H Woods
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Re: Why the percentage shock?

"while women are programmed to choose a dependable partner who sticks around." -- Archivist

Speaking as an erstwhile geneticist, that's not strictly true. There's a considerable advantage to women to play it both ways, and significant evidence that they do. The optimum mating strategy for a women is to become impregnated by an extremely attractive (and likely promiscuous) male and then have her family provided for by some dependable saddo with material resources who is unlikely to cheat.

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Does Linux need a new file system? Ex-Google engineer thinks so

John H Woods
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Re: Sure, why not.

"But what if she's _really_ annoying?" --AC

Or FAT?

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Shingled drives get SpectraLogic archive down to 9 cents/GB

John H Woods
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"

" ... it's likely out of the range of most people reading this ..." -- Lee D

Quite possibly, but unlikely to be out of the range of all of the clients that many of us are advising ;-)

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PINs easily pinched with iPhone-attached thermal imaging kit

John H Woods
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Surely the solution is ...

... IR illumination of keypad? Maybe slightly warming the whole pad would do it?

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Geeks on quest for world's most pointless YouTube video

John H Woods
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Re: Ridiculing and bullying

"I do not believe anyone should be publicly criticising and ridiculing what others do, no matter how pointless or inane they find it themselves. The worst of it is that they are going out of their way to find stuff they don't find worthy and encouraging others to do the same." -- Jason Bloomberg

+1 Satire <> Mockery. I have had to have words with muscular poseurs in the gym for taking the piss out of my fellow fatties. As far as I'm concerned, if you've got the bandwidth for this nastiness you aren't working hard enough.

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Computer Science GCSE male dominated, but geekettes are ready to rise

John H Woods
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Re: Sexist, but joking = Sacked

I didn't support him being "sacked" because it's not how academia should work: the #distractinglysexy response from female scientists was much better.

Nevertheless: there's a bit of a difference between being apparently serious and being obviously ironic; there's a bit of a difference between being a satirical news source and being a brand ambassador for an institution; and there's a bit of a difference between being fired from a job with teaching time, lab-time and a salary and being asked to resign such a non-salaried brand-ambassador role when you've put your foot in it big-time and embarrassed your brand.

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Boffins raise five-week-old fetal human brain in the lab for experimentation

John H Woods
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Re: Get a grip

"Who here remembers that horrid day when, after 9 months of being cosseted in the womb, you were squeezed violently through the birth canal to feel for the first time the pull of gravity, cold, hunger and fear? The answer is non[e] of you. We are are the product of nurture. These proto-brains are no more human than my 5 month old finger was a human when in the womb." -- smartypants

Without either agreeing or disagreeing with your sentiment, I feel obliged to point out that this method of classification would also make the brain of the average 2 year old a 'proto-brain'

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Dixons Carphone still has 7.5k Windows XP EPOS systems

John H Woods
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Re: security taken extremely seriously

All utterances of "We take our customers' security extremely seriously" should go on record, resulting in an automatic doubling of any data protection fines eventually incurred. If the statement cannot be made to count for something, all journalists should simply refuse to report it.

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Oracle to certify its database v.12c for Windows 10

John H Woods
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Virtual machines?

I'm not expert enough to make much sense of my search results, but I was under the impression that ORACLE support had a few limitations when running on VMs -- specifically that they will not provide support for any issue that is not known to happen on native O/S unless the user can demonstrate that the issue is not related to the use of, for instance, VMware.

It's not quite 'insisting on physical machines' but it does seem to me (again, not an expert) that this may be a bit of an out-dated attitude. Would much appreciate comments from the knowledgeable...

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DIGITAL DOPING might make you a Tour de Virtual cycling champion

John H Woods
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Re: FFS

"You missed this?: "Each device scored one of the three pockets in the back of my club jersey. I couldn't turn them on and off simultaneously, but started and stopped each within seconds of the others." --- JeffyPoooh

You're right, I did miss that. But it's still only one run per device, so whilst my off-the-top-of-my-head suggestions for variance were wrong, I think my complaint about the test method still stands. Several runs with the same three devices are needed to determine what the intrinsic variability of each device is before meaningful comparisons can be made between them. Otherwise you end up with the "Which? effect" where, because one particular washing machine, vacuum cleaner etc. outlasted another, they mistakenly think they can form judgements about longevity of each model.

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John H Woods
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FFS

All journalists should go to science, or at least stats, school. Not only are the discrepancies here effectively negligible (you really didn't think GPS was millimetre perfect, did you? I was actually amazed about how close they were!) but as you've only done each run once you have no idea at this stage whether the variability you are observing is due to the runs being different (different times of day, different 'wiggle' from the precise route, or even just random error) or whether it is significantly different between the devices.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

John H Woods
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"Oh c'mon, nothing about abort, kill, peek, poke, inject, grind?" -- oldtaku

Or Wang Laboratories? Or the 'nix finger? Dongles?

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Skills crisis? Not for long: More and more UK kids gain STEM quals

John H Woods
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Re: The CIA World Factbook

... is a pretty well respected online resource; I suspect that is why you've collected a few down votes.

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John H Woods
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"so-called" skills shortage is right ...

Looking at the advert on the right ...

New Business sales: £80,000

SC Cleared Planning Engineer: £43,000

Magento Developer: £35,000 - £40,000

You'd be better off spending 3 years and £30,000 learning golf, as I see no sign of the UK's distinctly anti-meritocratic culture fading.

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Blacklists miss 90% of malware blogged IP love

John H Woods
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Dangerous subnet ...

... just avoid 0.0.0.0/0 and* you should be OK

*and disable IPv6

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Stop taking drug advice from Kim Kardashian on Twitter, sighs watchdog

John H Woods
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"Err, doesn't that link in the article deserve an [NSFW] tag ..." -- 1980s_coder

and maybe an NSFB tag, too!

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Boffins: The universe is DOOMED and there's nothing to be done

John H Woods
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oh well ...

sudo shutdown -h 3000000000000000000000

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Oracle pulls CSO's BONKERS anti-bug bounty and infosec rant

John H Woods
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"just noting that on a strictly economic basis, why would I throw a lot of money at 3% of the problem..."

Well, on a strictly economic basis, until you've established that the 'lot of money' is actually greater than 3% of the problem, the question is meaningless.

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Indian carriers forced to send TXT for every 10 megabyte download

John H Woods
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@Raj

"What's the point of responses that go 'this sounds like a bad idea because <insert completely unrelated use case for another much more data-intensive country>'" -- Raj

Sorry, Raj -- I think many UK readers will find the idea of the government making a quick fix response to protect consumers from telcos such an alien concept that it will make their heads spin. As it was a quick fix, I don't suppose there's much to stop them refining the rules quickly in future as circumstances change. But from the point of view of someone who lives in a country where the 650 idiots in the building with the clock couldn't come up with a useful, even if somewhat flawed, regulation within the lifetime of one parliament, it's very confusing!

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

John H Woods
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Re: Linux?

"I've been looking to build a small under-the-tv unit for my dad. My current parts list comes to £250 based around this case and an AMD Athlon 5350 or its 1.6GHz, slightly cheaper sibling. The barebones version of this Asus is very tempting as an alternative, but only if I can make it a: run flightradar24.com smoothly and b: play home movies smoothly across the network." -- Martin an Gof

I've got (a) and (b) working pretty well on a Raspberry Pi2. If you want a Wintel box though you could buy a laptop with a broken screen off ebay, £250 seems pretty pricey to me.

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Safe as houses: CCTV for the masses

John H Woods
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The trouble with these things ...

... is that, given past news, they are probably better at letting intruders look at you than vice versa

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Moronic Time cover sets back virtual reality another 12 months

John H Woods
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Re: The only way to not be ridiculed...

Reminds me of the old joke about when the French Resistance didn't have enough guns and new recruits were given broomhandles for training. But one day the Germans surprise them and the poor old noob has to defend the secret bunker with nothing but a broom handle. Bizarrely, he finds that taking careful aim and shouting "bangety bang!" is actually *working* and the oncoming hordes are dropping like flies. However, there's too many of them and they are nearly upon him. That's where the bayonet training kicks in and, amazingly, poking the chaps in the ribs and shouting "stabety stab" seems to be doing the trick. On all except one attacker; he just keeps rolling on towards our plucky hero. Just as the latter is about to be literally trampled by one remaining slow moving assailant trundling impassively towards him he shouts "Hold on, why aren't you dead?" The German replies: "Clankety clank, I'm a tank"

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Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

John H Woods
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Re: No compass...

"I doubt any touchscreen works well in the rain." -- tacitust

My Sony Xperia Z3 seems to work fine in anything but the heaviest rain.

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Samsung looks into spam ads appearing on Brits' smart TVs

John H Woods
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front projection

Agreed --- Most 'home cinema' is just 'big telly' - but with a small amount of effort you can get a projector to give a truly gorgeous image of any size you like. You don't even need to have a home cinema room. When our projector is off, it just looks like we have a modest 23" IPS monitor to display one of the inputs (SKY / Pi / PS3 / Wii). The projector only dominates the room when it is on - which is when you want it to.

You don't even need an expensive projector - I got this 720p SONY 3LCD one off ebay for a hundred quid. OK it's not as good as my sons' Full HD / 3D Optoma, but it produces a great picture (and warms the room in winter)

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Windows 10 wipes your child safety settings if you upgrade from 7 or 8

John H Woods
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Re: ...We all know that porn is found in bushes...

"Hedgeporn, like public phone boxes and state pensions, will be an unknown pleasure to current and future yoof...." -- Tim Jenkins

Well, they certainly don't have to go outdoors to find it! But weirdly I still come across it walking the dogs --- I've actually found digital hedgeporn, too in the form of DVDs!

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Biggest security update in history coming up: Google patches Android hijack bug Stagefright

John H Woods
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Re: Re asdf: Incredible!

"so rolling out an update to hundreds of millions of devices doesn't seem to be an industries first..." -- OliverJ

I hear what you're saying but It's not the count, it's the diversity. The hundreds of millions of devices which got IOS8 were what, about half a dozen SKUs?

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

John H Woods
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Re: inside out

"I can't help but feel that it would have been better to add light output to loudspeakers, rather than vice versa." -- artificial bitterness

I have a sudden nostalgic vision of Sound-to-Light systems from Tandy

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Nearby exoplanets circle naked-eye-visible star

John H Woods
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Re: denizens of city centres (who deserve what they get).

"The idea of a post-midnight switch off was briefly floated here before being roundly shouted down as irresponsible and dangerous by the local think-of-the-children brigade" -- AbelSoul

What? Which members of this brigade let their children out after midnight? Here in rural Warks, our lights go off at 00:00 (01:00 on Sat and Sun) and it's marvellous. In fact, the only downside is that I didn't know they were going to do it: first night it happened I went out with the dogs, stumbled over the lead of the electric lawnmower that I had, ahem, left out and, almost as I did so, all the lights in the village went out. Took me a second or two to work out what had happened ...

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