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* Posts by Steve Crook

360 posts • joined 17 Jan 2008

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EU: Let's cost financial traders $400m a day, because EVIL BANKERS. Right?

Steve Crook
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Testing the algorithms?

"To minimize systemic risk, the algorithms used would have to be tested on venues and authorized by regulators"

So they're going to set up an artificial market, install all that software and specific hardware that the companies have practically under armed guard because it's so secret, test it and then write a report? Really?

Regardless of the sense or otherwise of actually implementing controls, the practicalities of having a central body that checks the software and authorises it as fit for purpose is mind boggling.

What happens if the auditors mandate a change and their change to the algorithm actually causes problems that cost money?

It sounds like a massive pigs breakfast in the making...

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Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey

Steve Crook
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Re: Possible problem with the questions, rather than Americans.

Can't help feeling that the headline figures should also have included the somewhat confident people. After all they still think it's likely that the theory is true, but they may just not know enough about the subject to express a string degree of confidence.

Just seems to me to be another stupid survey and press release designed to make a point that really doesn't need to be made.

After all, the universe is currently thought to be 13.8 billion years old, but wasn't not so long ago that they added a few hundred million years. We didn't have dark matter, now we have dark matter, we didn't have dark energy, now we do. But that's the beauty of science...

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France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours

Steve Crook
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Re: Up the creek without paddle...

@Don Jefe

Wow, did I touch a nerve?

You manage to infer an awful lot from a couple of sentences. The the point I was making, but that you chose to ignore, was that the French economy is not working in splendid isolation (or indeed working much at all), the French people aren't expecting to sacrifice standard of living to avoid an inconvenient phone call from work. So far at least, they're not doing more with sufficiently less to be able to prop up the fat, comfortable and bloated state and associated political class that they are lumbered with.

In my last job I didn't *expect* to receive a call from work during the middle of the evening, but as the company had customers in the US and far east I had to accept that it was a possibility and be prepared to deal with it. That said, I have never wanted to devote my life to work, I have other, better, fish to fry.

Hollande has an economy that's struggling. He needs to do *something* about it, and has to date, done not much at all except enact legislation that will make it that little bit harder to attract inward investment.

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Steve Crook
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Up the creek without paddle...

You have to admire the French for sticking to their guns. But someone really should let them know that most of the rest of the planet isn't operating according to French working hours or playing by the same rules. God help them if this is Hollande's big idea for turning around the French economy.

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How Brit computer maker beat IBM's S/360 - and Soviet spies

Steve Crook
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Re: Plus ça change...

@John Hughes

Agreed, but the 2900 dealt with all that and with a far superior architecture. My brief exposure to CICS programming and comparing it to ICL TPMS made me wonder how anyone ever got anything done on an IBM machine.

My main experience working within ICL was a five year period spent developing software using CAFS. We really struggled to get technical information on CAFS despite us being in the same company. Everyone lost out.

When combined with CAFS, we had something unique in the market. It didn't sell well because customers almost always had to buy hardware to run it (special disk drives at least) and ICL wouldn't bundle the software to sell the hardware or vice versa. Despite the potential to get them a foothold in otherwise solid IBM sites.

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Steve Crook
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Re: Plus ça change...

There's the assumption here (it seems) that the ICL 1900 and 2900 were, in some way, poorer hardware/software compared to that being offered by IBM. I can't agree with that idea. I spent about 10 years programming on ICL mainframes (mostly 2900) and when ICL lost bids it was rarely on a technical basis.

ICL had problems. They had far more to do with rivalries between different groups and generally poor senior management.

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Bendy or barmy: Why your next TV will be curved

Steve Crook
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A massive reason not to buy yet.

I'd like a 4k screen and something substantially larger than my current 40''. But this is just turbulence in the market that means I'm going to wait until things have settled and prices have dropped. Unless the breakdown timer in my TV runs out before then.

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Lycamobile launches 'unlimited' 4G for £12 a month. Great. Now where can I get a signal?

Steve Crook
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It'll ride up with wear sir....

"Lycra undercuts Three’s “unlimited” £12.90"

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Organic food: Pricey, not particularly healthy, won't save you from cancer

Steve Crook
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Re: Confused

Part of the organic thing is that it tastes better and, because there aren't any pesticides, it's supposed to be better for the eater and the environment. As far as the first is concerned, I couldn't say that organic was any better than anything else.

As for the other two, there appears to be no cancer risk from non-organic, as for what other benefits organic might offer in other health terms, perhaps these will be tested too.

Finally, organic farmers *are* allowed to use chemicals, it's just that the range of them is restricted, and they can't use modern pesticides. There's an argument to be made that, because the chemicals they use are less effective than modern pesticides, they have to be used more often.

Possibly the best argument for organics might be the wildlife angle, everything else looks doubtful to me.

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Panasonic slaps Freetime EPG on 2014 smart tellies

Steve Crook
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EPG not so hot, requires work

I've got a Humax pvr with the freesat/freetime epg on it. I set up my favourites channels, but it's not possible to have the EPG default to showing the favourites. I display the EPG, press list, select favourites and press enter. Every time.

It's not possible to search the EPG for programmes of a particular genre, so looking at a list of films for the coming week (or the evening) isn't possible. When I queried this, I was initially told that it was impossible to do because it would require an enormous team of people to collect and collate the information about the programmes to be able to classify them. Strange because Humax freeview PVRs have been able to genre search more more than a decade.

There are other usability issues and the Freesat/Freetime people seem to be reluctant to do much about them. I'm not sure I'd consider the EPG in its current state to be a bonus...

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Heroic Playmonaut wowed by LOHAN's bulging package

Steve Crook
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Oxygen supply?

Don't see any tanks or does the suit incorporate a rebreather?

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SCRAP the TELLY TAX? Ancient BBC Time Lords mull Beeb's future

Steve Crook
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Repeats?

But with all those extra programmes there'd be no room for the repeats of Porridge, The Good Life and Dads Army in the BBC 2 schedule. Whatever would happen to Egg Heads? Or Great British X

I've decided to boycott any programme that has "Great British" in it. I'm expecting an apology from the BBC and a rapid change to their schedules. I won't be able to tell you about their apology because it will be embargoed under the Chatham House rule.

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Steve Crook
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Re: Just a News Operation

I'll reserve my judgement on the new doctor, but based on the last two, I wouldn't lose any sleep if Dr Who was returned to the crypt he was packed into post Sylvester M. In fact, if pushing a button to perma death all the modern Dr Who and Torchwood episodes meant we could recover the remaining missing Dr W episodes I'd do it in a flash.

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HELLO LENOVO. Do you really, really want to make smartphones?

Steve Crook
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Stock Android

I'm looking for a new phone, and I'm only considering phones with stock android. All the stuff added by the manufacturers gets in the way and delays or prevents updates to later versions of android.

Life would be better if the manufacturers just made it easy to uninstall their stuff and go back to native android

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BBC Trust: 'LA LA LA I'M NOT LISTENING' to this DMI mega-tech FAIL

Steve Crook
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Re: Easy come, easy go

Agreed, the BBC has to earn its money. It should go subscription.

As for the programme quality, can't agree with you. Fact is that much of the drama coming out of the US is superior to BBC content. There's also too much celebrity twaddle and too many shallow documentaries.

I don't listen or watch anything like as much as I did a decade ago and I'm almost at the point where, if the BBC did go subscription, I'd choose not to bother. I resent paying for an organisation that is poorly organised, spends its money unwisely and refuses to be open about its internal operation.

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Boffins claim battery BREAKTHROUGH – with rhubarb-like molecule

Steve Crook
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Re: Optimistic - Given the right components

Poach it gently in red wine. Add Muscovado sugar to suit your taste buds. When the rhubarb is just softening take it out of the wine and then reduce the wine to thicken it a little bit so you can use it as a sauce. You can use a little powdered Arrowroot to help the thickening if you like.

The trick is to use the younger Rhubarb stalks before they develop that really acid taste.

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Google tells EFF: Android 4.3's privacy tool was a MISTAKE, we've yanked it

Steve Crook
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Fools

Anyone who expresses any trust in any corporation or government probably deserves everything they get. Both should be approached with continual and complete distrust because they are there to make money, wield power.

Both will happily tread on our throats if it suits them and think it won't hurt their future prospects...

From this you can probably tell that I'm old and cynical :-|

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I want virtualisation on my iPhone, and I want it NOW

Steve Crook
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The Third Man

I'm reminded of this quote:

In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

With Apple being Switzerland. Not in the original innovation, but the way in which their desire for complete control of the ecosystem is stifling further innovation...

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Submerged Navy submarine successfully launches drone from missile tubes

Steve Crook
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Re: Recovery?

Why would anyone want to recover it unless it has something onboard that's sufficiently classified to make it worth the effort and its self destruct fails. Even if each launch costs $1m, it's a drop in the ocean of US military funding. It's disposable.

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Martians yet to retaliate after Curiosity's 100,000th laser strike

Steve Crook
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Coat

This is the voice of the Mysterons

We know you can hear us Earthmen....

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Gadget world's metals irreplaceable, say boffins

Steve Crook
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Re: Shortage scaremongering

It just looks like the merchants of panic are up to their usual sales tricks...

Even so, if there's a cost effective way to make this stuff more recyclable we should be doing it. As Timbo Worstall is always keen to tell us, there are slag heaps full of interesting stuff which can be extracted if there's a viable market.

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Bring Your Own Disks: The Synology DS214 network storage box

Steve Crook
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Re: I use...

I've been running a DS411j for a few years and Synology issue regular updates to their software. They don't appear to be a company that has problems with long term memory when it comes to supporting their product.

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While the BBC drools over Twitter, look what UK's up to: Hospital superbug breakthrough

Steve Crook
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Re: Ooooh Shiny shiny

@Badvok.

Rofl yourself all you like.

The British bit implies ownership not the spectrum of its new content. Contrast the quantity of coverage of the Twitter IPO with the forthcoming Chinese Plenary Session due to start more or less now. Twitter may be important to the BBC, but what happens in China over the next week or so is far more important to normal people. Coverage? What coverage?

The main reason I have a subscription to the Economist is the parlous state of BBC foreign news.

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Steve Crook
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Re: Ooooh Shiny shiny

The BBCs coverage of the Twitter IPO is symptomatic of much of its news coverage. Shallow, repetitive, pointlessly speculative and largely without balance. Still, at least Twitter stories will struggle to be the UK centric nonsense that normally makes up 80% of BBC news.

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Spies and crooks RAVAGE Microsoft's unpatched 0-day HOLE

Steve Crook
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Coat

"Spies and crooks BOTH ravaging"

I'm off to lunch, and won't be ravaging again until 14:30 at the earliest. Also, it's Friday and I want to make an early start for home, so I doubt there will be much ravaging after 16:00. Did I mention that I don't ravage from home?

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Watch out, MARTIANS: 1.3 tonne INDIAN ROBOT is on its way

Steve Crook
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Re: Spending

There's justification for the Indian space program as it advances their engineering skills and they've been busy launching weather and communications satellites, so useful stuff. Mars mission? I don't know. I'm sure you can justify large parts of it on the same grounds and £45m isn't a lot in the, ahem, cosmic scheme of things, even if you can buy an awful lot of solar stoves and vaccinations with it.

When they're selling launch capacity and and depriving the European space agency of revenue it will all make far more sense.

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No, it's NOT Half-Life 3 – it's Valve's lean, mean STEAM MACHINE

Steve Crook
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Quad 33

Glad you put the link in otherwise it'd only have been oldies like me that would have understood...

Am I the only one that thinks that the Steam Team all look rather young to have done this? Is this possibly a photo of the children of the developers?

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SR-71 Blackbird follow-up: A new TERRIFYING Mach 6 spy-drone bomber

Steve Crook
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Already flying...

It's either a bluff to try and scare the Chinese, or they're already flying something like them.

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BETHLEHEM-grade SUPERNOVA possible 'within 50 years'

Steve Crook
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Alert

Twilight Of Briareus

That is all.

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Digital radio may replace FM altogether - even though nobody wants it

Steve Crook
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Re: DAB Bashing

DAB sets are expensive and don't last long on batteries. I've got a Sony world radio that runs on 4 'AA' cells for about two weeks of fairly intensive FM listening. Is there any DAB radio that can come close to that sort of performance? No, thought not. DAB sets are almost all confined to mains operation because battery life is so poor.

I've been looking at DAB sets for some years and have always been put off by the price and the weight, mainly that of 4 'D'' cells that'll be needed for any sort of mobility.

My current cost estimate for replacing all my radios is in the region of £250 if you include replacing the car radio. I can't buy a single DAB adaptor like I could for the TV, and I have no reason to go and spend this money on radios other than the government forcing me to.

DAB offers me nothing I want, and at considerable expense. That's why I'm opposed.

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Steve Crook
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DAB and DAB+

There was an interview with someone from the BBC talking about DAB. I don't remember who or what program (Feedback?) but at one point they were asked about the technical shortcomings of DAB compared to DAB+, and they replied that, while DAB+ was clearly superior, there would be no switch to DAB+ for the foreseeable future because they didn't want to upset all the people that have invested in DAB sets.

The interviewer managed to completely ignore the open goal.

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The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

Steve Crook
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Re: Great expectations...

@Dave 126

But why use the PI to do it?

Don't most school kids have access to or own a laptop or other sort of PC? If you want to try your hand at programming, why not write apps for your smartphone. There's a big market out there and the opportunity to make some money out of your class project. The tools for doing this sort of thing are readily available and free if you've already got a smartphone/tablet, a PC and a USB cable.

I never got the idea that a PI was going to help with teaching programming. Interfacing with other hardware and junior robotics? Possibly... But not straight out programming.

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Study: Arctic warming at 'stunning' rate – highest temps in 44,000 years

Steve Crook
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@Michael M

The study does seem to make some fairly remarkable assumptions in extrapolating from samples taken at a couple of sites to the whole Arctic. There's another paper published (Ice core O18 based) that suggests that there have been several periods (pre industrialisation) where there were large shifts in Arctic climate, all from natural causes. So we still have a lot to learn....

This is covered at Judith Curry's site: http://judithcurry.com/2013/10/25/unprecedented-arctic-warming/

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Price rises and power cuts by 2016? Thank the EU's energy policy

Steve Crook
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Doing the reality based thing...

The Left like to monster capitalism, it's convenient and allows them to argue that politicians and unelected bureaucrats are far more altruistic and capable than those nasty fat-cats and their equally evil shareholders.

"poor short-term planning". Ha! It's been a lack of any planning and foresight. That's by the last government mostly, who had over a decade to put in place a workable plan to ensure we kept the lights on. They also had more money than they knew what to do with and a generally supportive population. They *still* managed to fuck it up.

If the government start to mess about in the energy market as per the the Labour plan we'll be no better off except in the very short term. Fuel prices might come down, everyone will feel good for a while, and we'll be sticking it to the greedy corporates. After that the money will be leached out of our pockets in some other way. As it always is because governments, particularly socialist governments, spend our money for us because they think they know better than we do.

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New Development. Where do we go?

Steve Crook
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Re: Go C#

> Java is... barely changed since the 90's - still comes with awful tools like Eclipse

Not so. Firstly Java has moved on a great deal from the language I was programming in during the 90s, I still prefer it to C#. As for IDEs,..

For Java development I've been using IntelliJ Idea since V2 and it's clearly better than anything else out there. The community edition is free, and if you decide you need the paid for version, the personal license won't break the bank. When I first started using it the community version didn't exist, so I chose to pay for a personal license rather than use Eclipse. It has support for languages other than Java.

If you go the C# route, I'd strongly recommend investing in Intellij Resharper. It makes MSDEV a tolerable environment.

I'm not associated with Intellij in any way, I just think their developer tools are excellent...

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Wikipedia Foundation exec: Yes, we've been wasting your money

Steve Crook
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Shock horror

Money gets thrown away in waste or corruption in organisation that doesn't have proper controls over what happens to its money. Who knew?

That the waste and corruption was revealed by someone who has just left the den of thieves is not exactly news either. Why is it that they never say ANYTHING publicly while they're in post? Why not try to do something about it first and then resign or get sacked?

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Tech specs wreck: Details of Google's Nexus 5 smartphone LEAKED over interwebs

Steve Crook
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Black Helicopters

Too late too late

Deep in my research cavern my minions are already manufacturing parts based on these designs. Google will soon be a thing of the past Bwahhhh ha ha ha.

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Universal's High Fidelity Pure Audio trickles onto Blighty’s Blu-Ray hi-fis

Steve Crook
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This and LPs both.

In a world where the majority are content to download MP3 despite it's shortcomings. This is going to be a minority sport. It certainly won't attract the strange group of people who are faddishly buying LPs...

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Police constable 1337 stunned by Lego lookalike

Steve Crook
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Amazing. Not.

Still, it took up space in the the newspaper that would, otherwise, have been filled with bile against immigrants, benefits scroungers, gays, politicians, unions, corporations or 'celebrity gossip'.

There was a time when people used to talk about newspapers like this as only fit to wipe your bum. But I wouldn't want to risk it.

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Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

Steve Crook
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Ahhh yes, windows and Unicode

It bring back all sorts of memories. None of them pleasant. But then I can't say I had many (any?) pleasant memories coding windows GUIs either direct to API or using the horror that was MFC. Unicode was just part of the shit I had to put up with.

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Half-Life 3: CONFIRMED?

Steve Crook
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Re: HL3? What's the point?

In fairness, you've got to compare it to other shooters at the time, and on that basis I think it holds up well.

I've been hoping that valve would have HL3 be their opener on Steam OS, my main concern is that if it does actually turn up it's never going to satisfy all of the pent up expectation that's been generated over the last 5 or 6 years.

Then again perhaps Newell is messing with our heads. Because he can.

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Scientists to IPCC: YES, solar quiet spells like the one now looming CAN mean ICE AGES

Steve Crook
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Re: It's all politics

@AC

He means they choose which papers to cite and which to ignore. Those they choose to ignore are usually those that don't tow the party line.

For good reasons of course, when there's a consensus anything that goes against the consensus is most likely to be wrong and therefore not worth consideration. The fact that this artificially reinforces the consensus seems to be lost on them.

It's a form of confirmation bias.

Of course there's a good deal of political interference. Look at the contortions they went through between SPM last draft and release in an effort to obscure the pause.

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Steve Crook
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They've already conceded it DOES have an effect.

@nom

What we're arguing about at the moment is the strength of the effect. I think everyone agrees that the changes in TSI are small, but there is growing evidence that the effects of those small changes can be quite large as they appear to have a significant influence on cloud formation.

It's a bit like the effects of CO2, the actual radiative effect of CO2 would only give rise to a 1c change, but feedback may be adding another degree or two. There's a lot more science that needs to be done, contrary to the impression one might have gained from the extremely political AR5 SPM.

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Google's robot army learns Spanish

Steve Crook
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Re: The gootards really need shunning/quashing ...

Didn't god punish humanity by making us all speak different languages?

You don't suppose this project is going to be like the Nine Billion Names Of God when Google make that last entry in their database and everyone can speak to everyone else...

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Rare gold iPhone 5s goes up against 50 caliber high precision rifle

Steve Crook
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Re: Amazing video

What impressed me most was the fact that there was so little resistance from the phone that the initial Barrett round went through and the phone stayed upright.

When I was a kid I dug up some 50cal machine gun slugs fired during WW2 at a temporary range. They were unjacketed lead (weighing 35g, 1.25oz) and you wouldn't want anyone to throw one at you let alone have it arrive at several hundred miles an hour. War films were never the same again...

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IPCC: Yes, humans are definitely behind all this global warming we aren't having

Steve Crook
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Re: Such a waste of time and paper.

Population will take care of itself if we let it. Development leading to raised standards of living, education and freedom for men and women to use contraception will all contribute to a stabilising and eventually, falling global population. It's worked in lots of places, including many that are supposed to be dominated by a religion that abhors contraception.

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RADIATION SNATCHED from leaky microwave ovens to power gadgets

Steve Crook
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Re: Free energy

Wetherspoons microwave their food? Oh nooooe....

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Google smacks Surface with free Quickoffice for Android, iOS

Steve Crook
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Re: Didn't Microsoft kill off a better browser by giving away an inferior one?

All I can remember about IE 5/6 was their shitty and inconsistent support for HTML and CSS and a complete determination to keep them outside the standards the rest of the world was working to. I think the biggest legacy of those versions of IE is the fixed width WEB site...

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BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

Steve Crook
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Yawn.

There's nothing like the BBC going all self congratulatory to make me want to run in the other direction. Dr Who was good once, briefly, many years ago.

In recent years there's been too much sonic screwdriver based deus ex machina for my liking. To the extent that I'd not be surprised to find that the Time Lord was actually based in the screwdriver and was remotely piloting the fleshy holding it....

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Biz bods STILL don't patch hacker's delight Java and Flash

Steve Crook
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Headmaster

while two in five (40 per cent)

Really....

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