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* Posts by Nick Ryan

1115 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

BT Vision beats rivals to honour of being worst UK Pay-TV

Nick Ryan
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0.72 complaints about TalkTalk per 1,000 customers

... that'll be cause the rest of the 1000 customers either gave up trying to complain months earlier or are still stuck somewhere in the dark recesses of talk talk's telephone support system.

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Microsoft says tablets will trump PCs in 2013

Nick Ryan
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Partly correct in some ways...

Microsoft reckons tablets will outsell standard PCs next year - and Windows 8 will be the catalyst for the shift.

Taking these two intriguing Microsoft marketing droid statements apart...

"Tablets outsell standard PCs next year"

Depends on your definition of "standard PC" and "tablet", seeing as notebook sales are growing much faster than standard PCs this isn't much of a target.

"Windows 8 will be the catalyst for the shift"

It'll be a catalyst for something, probably a shift * - but Windows 8 will definitely not be a catalyst for an increase in sales of tablet form factor PCs. There's a good chance it'll do the opposite.

* My betting is eventually, heads will shift, then roll a bit. Not too much mind, as they're not allowed rounded corners.

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Automated bank scam 'Operation High Roller' stole from the rich

Nick Ryan
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All very sophisticated

...but when "money" is just a line in a database how likely is it that there is also a lot of fraud where money is just created in a database and then transferred elsewhere to other systems before the additional line / line changes are detected?

After all, it's effectively how the banks operated to bring about the most recent recession.

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Apple wins US ban on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1

Nick Ryan
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Mushroom

Couldn't they just compete on being good at what they do and not in the "who's got the best lawyers or chooses the most friendly court" department.

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Ballmer welcomes Yammer to the Microsoft family

Nick Ryan
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Re: If you can't innovate, acquire

To be fair to MS, Skype was getting worse and worse before MS bought them. However MS definitely haven't improved anything in any way since the purchase but they haven't really had that much time to tackle it... However is MS terms, the changes will likely involve bodging MSN into it, rebranding it five times (must include "live" and "zune" somewhere in the brand changes) and then finally getting to pretending that it's an integrated (barely) component of MS Office.

I'd see Yammer going the same way, except that it's far less used than Skype and the revenue stream opportunities look even more unlikely.

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Huawei Ascend G300 budget Android

Nick Ryan
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For once a budget phone that isn't more usable as a doorstop and is available at a price that isn't insane. After all since when is "mid-range" £300?

Hopefully other manufacturers will take a kicking from this device and respond by making decent budget phones as well.

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Philips 46PFL9706T 46in 3D smart TV

Nick Ryan
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Re: Really ?

Certainly doesn't stop the buggers flying straight into every bright light they come across.

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Nigerian scams are hyper-efficient idiot finders

Nick Ryan
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Re: But who gets the money?

Who said that they're actually Nigerian? From studies and research into these, the criminals involved are almost never based in Nigeria and usually aren't Nigerian either. Often they are based in much more pleasant locations in Western Europe or the US.

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Holographic storage: We're going to do it this time. No, really

Nick Ryan
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Re: 50-Year lifetime

Where can I buy a 5.25" stone tablet engraver for my PC?

PC World probably sell them - everything else they have tends to be a generation or two old at higher than current prices.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: 50-Year lifetime

Scribing things onto cave walls has been proved to be even more long-term than either paper or papyrus :) The downside with this is that while the media is still readable, the context and meaning has been lost so we have to make that bit up.

If there's a shortage of cave walls then scratching things onto bits of cave walls - as in stone slabs or when there's a shortage of these, making your own out of clay, has been proven to be quite long lasting as well.

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Speedball 2 Brutal Deluxe

Nick Ryan
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It's just such a shame that the recent sequel was so abhorrently awful and nothing like the originals that it's nothing more than an insulting cash in on nostalgia.

I wasted far too much time playing both Speedball 1 and 2 :)

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Brit telco flagship BT joins blockade of Pirate Bay

Nick Ryan
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...and the other 50 nearly identical torrent search sites are still available.

Blocking TPB is merely pissing in the wind for the sake of political brownie points.

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Vendors have second stab at smart TV standard

Nick Ryan
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"And that's the problem: will smart TV technology ever take off when television makers, even those promoting multi-vendor standards, insist on minimising the compatibility between one year's TVs and the the next"

Simple answer - no.

TVs are not high churn items and users expect them to last a while. The ongoing digital changeover is the only reason they have had to upgrade their televisions for a long time and even with this change, many users are just purchasing a digital set to box and plugging this into their existing television. The move from CRT to flat panel (mainly LCD) is not a forced change but one that is seen as desirable especially now they are commodity items and ever supermarket possible is offloading cheap me-too but perfectly adequate quality systems for low prices. A large percentage of these users also took the opportunity at the same time to switch to High Definition now the standards have settled a bit and the rampant stitch-up of early adopters has passed.

As for consumer satisfaction with smart TVs - from personal experience I don't know of any, especially non-technical, user that is happy with them. This dissatisfaction is either down to awful EPGs and interfaces riddled with adverts, many models missing features such as iPlayer, c4Player and other popular catch up services, through to unstable or just slow to start systems.

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Brussels could 'clash' with London over UK snooper's charter

Nick Ryan
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Re: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

Another good retort to "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear." line is "do you have curtains?"

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New Samsung chief: I want SOFTWARE

Nick Ryan
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Easy!

1) Shoot, with prejudice, every one of the designers and management involved with Samsung Kies.

2) Release software updates for all phones last manufactured in the last (arbitrary number) 5 years. If this gets expensive to support then it should teach them to keep things simple and to not produce so many damn phones that are often indistinguishable from each other.

3) Sync everything online and/or to a local computer. Yes, this may require a replacement to Kies but with the previous team dead it'd be hard to do a worse job.

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Honour for Queen's IT manager

Nick Ryan
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Re: Ruler

Yep... and yet the US CIA World Fact Book (quite a good site with handy summary information) for a while listed the UK as a monarchy. Admittedly it was updated to read "constitutional monarchy" which describes the situation relatively well however could do with a note to indicate that the Monarch, while nominally the head of state, has no real political power and is expressly forbidden from meddling in politics.

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Asteroid zips past Earth

Nick Ryan
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Re: When too much is too little

In astronomical terms that's still considered rather too damn close.

Others have made it rather closer, such as those that have skimmed off the atmosphere like a pebble over water (you can't really get much close without an impact), but most are suitably far away but close enough to be a concern. The concerns are generally due to the huge number of variables in calculating orbital trajectories of less massive objects and the vagaries of the measurements available.

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UEFA Euro 2012

Nick Ryan
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Re: Footie?

Never had to run? Have you not heard of "last orders"? :)

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Nick Ryan
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Permissions

Bah. Why do apps like these require the permissions to identify my phone and get its number? i.e. the "Read phone state and identity" permission.

Call me paranoid but I've taken to not installing apps that require this permission - they do NOT need my mobile number, nor the number of whoever happens to be calling either.

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Why MongoDB? It's the developers, stupid

Nick Ryan
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Aha! Just remembered where this quote is from.

"Hey, where da white women at?"

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LG's quad-core Optimus tabphone powers into Europe

Nick Ryan
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photoshoppery...

http://regmedia.co.uk/2012/06/11/lg_1.jpg - you just have to love appalling photoshoppery :)

The more you look at the way the girls are holding the phones, the more disturbing it gets...

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We'll pull the plug on info-leak smart meters, warns UK.gov

Nick Ryan
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How do these so called "smart" meters communicate?

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Sean Parker launches Chatroulette killer: For why?

Nick Ryan
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Video calling...

Pushed by the channels, not wanted by many other than web 2.0 sales pushers.

The few that I know who went down the line with video calling/conferencing quickly gave up as the dream that was sold was nowhere the hard reality. From codecs where video is the driver resulting in choppy audio (choppy video is passable, choppy audio isn't) to the rampant lies about required upload bandwidth which when combined with the upload bandwidth lies given by ISPs results in nowhere enough bandwidth, it's often off to a very bad start. That's before the environmental issues of audio, lighting and visual presentation come in - you do have a dedicated room for video conferencing don't you? Video conferencing can work, and when it does it can work well but it takes a lot more effort than most solution pushers will ever admit.

Of course, that's the commercial video conferencing side - while personal video conferencing shares the same bandwidth and performance issues and is frequently made useless by environmental factors (for example users with windows behind them), many users just prefer not to be visible due to the additional stress of trying to look good on camera. This said, it's fantastic for widely separated families to keep in touch, even if they don't often use the video option it's there as an option so they can see each other.

As for using it on mobiles... forget anything other than wifi otherwise there's never anywhere near enough bandwidth to upload the video stream.

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Advertisers slam Microsoft over 'Do not track' decision

Nick Ryan
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As if the ad pushers were ever going to adhere to "do not track" anyway - voluntarily or not.

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Windows 8 Release Preview open for download

Nick Ryan
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Release Preview

Got the thing working earlier ("upgraded inplace" haha) from the previous version...

The backgrounds help to pretty it up, but it's still ugly as sin. I know that this is subjective, but the design i disgusting and the use of colour and space appalling and as for the unintellible icon things that are now all white blobs... they're a masterpiece of dumb. Moving on from the subjective visuals...

It's still unbelievably stunningly unintuitive, operating on the most stupid "mystery meat" navigation scheme which if you used a mouse you'd hope that a hover window would show to indicate what the blob or region your point at actually does, but no. I hadn't used it for a few weeks and could not for the life of me remember how the hell to switch between apps using the mouse, couldn't remember how to unlock the dumb lock screen and as for getting to a real environment where you could do some work, well it took a while to remember to poke "desktop". There are still all of the inane "move mouse over this arbitary and unmarked spot on the screen to do something important" interfaces *everywhere* and that just compounds the frustration. All the while you're discovering new, unintuitive things that pop up on arbitrary clicks on arbitrary spots of the screen.

The mouse is still a "also have" interface device, along with the keyboard. The mouse wheel may scroll the menu quite nicely now but as soon as it hits a list, the list is scrolled instead. Why could I not click on the background and flick the screen in a very similar way to a finger swipe? They've taken a largely analogue operated interface and bodged the digital operation of a scroll wheel onto it.

Ignoring most of the junk applications, moving onto something vaguely useful: Internet Explorer in metro mode... just how the **** do I get to my favourites again? Then give the damn thing a few seconds, the next question is... how the **** do I get back to the ****ing address bar? (randomly open a new link and click *very* quickly on the address to allow you to type and change it). Eventually you'll get a couple of "tabs" open, which leads to the next stupidity... how the **** do I switch between them? I gave up and used IE in desktop mode and at least it was vaguely usable there.

Back in desktop mode it now feels harder to get back to the metro ugliness, the hit target for the "start" menu seems to have been shrunk by a few more pixels.

If there was a way to never, ever have the blight of metro on the system ever again then it would be quite a good upgrade to Win 7. However with this blight in place it's ugly, disfunctional, disjointed and exceedingly annoying to use. There are a few improvements and nice little tweaks here and there but nowhere near enough to get over the gobsmacking uselessness of the metro interface.

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82 London Underground stations to get free Wi-Fi for the Olympics

Nick Ryan
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Re: Bollox to the wifi

IIRC there's still an open challenge to design an effective (given cost and location) air con system for the underground.

This aside, we could improve things by executing those tube-jockeys who in this weather close the windows and air vents.

Next up, the soap dodgers...

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Microsoft hands out tools to sneak Skype onto new PCs

Nick Ryan
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Re: So when...

"Original Equipment Owner pre-uninstall kit"...

that'll be PC Decrapifier then...

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Nick Ryan
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Re: "This is nothing but a tool for OEMs"

Only way out of it? Not really.

Just get hold of a physical disc of the appropriate type, insert, reboot and format with prejudice everything on the system. The OEM key is locked to the BIOS, not the install media as long as the version is the same - ultimate, pro, etc.

This way you can even get rid of the daft multiple partitions some OEMs still seem to think that we want or need (yes, it can be helpful to partition data but in reality all the data tends to get written to C: which gets full and nothing on the second drive).

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Steve Jobs was top of the flops, says Apple's Tim Cook

Nick Ryan
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SIRI

So it'll still be useless at understanding anyone other than a mainstream (whatever the hell that is) North American accent. Fail.

Siri will be be smarter - not exactly a high target but would be very welcome. Most of the "smart" processing is off phone therefore upgrading this with steady improvements, in the way that search engines do this, is something that's very overdue. Some improvements on the phone side ought to be related to local content interaction.

As for popular? I suppose in the first few days of the phone's usage then yes, it was probably the most popular new feature. The other major features such as the improved camera and display don't have the same initial impact but do have durability... siri, on the other hand was ditched by almost all users after the first "this is cool, let's show it off" phase of the first few days.

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Leaked snaps said to confirm iPhone 5 speculation

Nick Ryan
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Re: Well finally....

It would be nice, especially given the industry guidelines (a bit shy of regulations IIRC) on what connectors should be used.

Will knacker all the 3rd party integrators and force users to buy new docks... but then Apple would likely blame this on a governing body and then rake in the profits from sales of new docks and connectors.

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SpaceX does what it HASN'T done before: Dragon in close ISS flyby

Nick Ryan
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Elite docking music

...unless the video is set to this, who cares?

:)

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Chuck Exchange mailboxes into the cloud... sysadmin style

Nick Ryan
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...and if you're running Exchange 2003 (or older) then you're screwed as the Outlook Anywhere component is not available for these versions. Not that it provides anything exactly complicated, but MS would like you to upgrade instead. So to migrate 2003 or earlier Exchange then you must first pay to upgrade to 2007 and then upgrade or suffer the consequences with what can be a very nasty upgrade process. This is before the nightmare if anything SBS related is taken in to account. It's pretty much a miracle that an SBS Exchange server like the one described transferred properly, but if it's true then it's a good thing as ridding the world of SBS is a noble aim.

This does leave one very serious future problem though. What happens when one wants to migrate out of the Office 365 cloud to a different provider or solution? What provisions are there for this?

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Can SMEs score those big gov contracts?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Oh really?

Absolutely agree.

We gave up on even considering tendering because of the amount of bias and bribery that goes on in these kind of projects. Even though we knew that we could do the project and we could undoubtedly do it better and cheaper than the big name government contractors, if we didn't spunk money up the wall on overpriced sub-contracts and supplier deals and other back handers there was no way we'd ever get the contract.

Often the contracts were rife with clauses (threats) that you had to purchase specific required (but no really) kit from a single specified supplier who, when contacted, would refuse to deal with you or even discuss actual requirements.

Likewise if you weren't willing to take the buying manager on frequent all-expense paid golf trips you'd find that he'd frequently be in meetings, would nit pick on details that when you found the winning contract weren't include in that and all kind of other little hindrances that when added together made for a fruitless exercise.

A lot of money can be made from these projects, so there's a lot at stake and this tends to not produce the best from people on all sides of the table.

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What's copying your music really worth to you?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Format shifiting levies

From personal experience with the UK PPL (Phonographic Performance Limit) they pay lip service to distributing the fees levied to the artists involved but that's it. In reality, the only methodology they can possibly have implemented it to levy fees, pool the fees and then share out to the distributors arbitrarily.

I know this because I previously worked in the industry where we could list the date and times of tracks as played in clubs and pubs nationwide and with even just taking one chain consisting of hundreds of venues even just the monthly report of this is very lengthy. The PPL insisted on this in paper format (although we did manage to persuade them that CDs of the PDF documents were better), there is no way that they were going to process the records and distribute the fees fairly based on them. Instead the fees were split between the distributors who were then left to reward artists as they felt fit.

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Creatives spin copyright licence that sticks to web

Nick Ryan
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Re: Bottom line ...

Also, if it's available in analogue, or just available at all, then it's available digitally. Somehow, someone will find a way to digitise it or bypass DRM.

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Windows Phone beats iOS sales in China

Nick Ryan
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Sales or overall market share?

The article is misleading. Are the figures being reported:

1) sales of devices over a period of time, over what period?

2) shifting of devices to sellers (aka inventory stuffing) over a period of time, again what period is this?

3) overall market share of sold handsets - if so, over what period of time?

4) overall market share of operating handsets (i.e. handsets actually in use), again covering what period of time?

or

5) something else?

The linked article http://english.analysys.com.cn/article.php?aid=127990 is of little direct relation to this story as it relates to 2011. In other words, this "news" about WP7 in 2012 is just another weaselly worded press release unless some form of figures and concrete numbers are shown.

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Watchdog bites bar over 'offensive' Facebook ad

Nick Ryan
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Re: responsible?!

IRRC it's been prohibited for a very long time to serve anybody who is obviously drunk in a licensed establishment. It only became a criminal offence recently due to Blair and his lawyer cronies making pretty much everything into a criminal offence (i.e. more work for lawyers)

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UK man to spend year in the clink for Facebook account hack

Nick Ryan
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Re: Digital equivalent of breaking and entering.

Thanks to nu-labour and cronies (made entirely of politicians who are/were lawyers or very closely related to them), pretty much everything in the UK is now a criminal offence and not civil.

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UK milk wastage = 20,000 cars = actually completely unimportant

Nick Ryan
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Joke

It's those damn cows driving around in cars that are the real problem here.

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Hated Visual Studio 11 beta in HIGH-ENERGY colour blast

Nick Ryan
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...well it "works" for Adobe

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Software functionality not subject to copyright: EU court

Nick Ryan
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Re: The Oracle cannot be all knowing then.

Oh dear, reading this, suddenly something nearly came out of my Caffeine/cookie input hole.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Speaking as a developer...

Ah yes, the US Patent system and prior art - where prior art is only applicable if in the US, prior art in the rest of the world doesn't count.

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Microsoft kills Windows Live brand

Nick Ryan
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Re: Hotmail

Agreed, that was an epic level of stupidity from MS's marketing drones. Just adding "Microsoft" to hotmail would have kept the brand intact and hotmail wouldn't have suffered so much.

...that and not knackering up the webmail user interface almost as often as yahoo.

Unfortunately MS have a track record of buying previously successful branded products and ruining them, for example multimap used to be the place to go for a map but not now. (to be fair the API for multimap was excruciating in the first place, so in some ways it couldn't have got worse).

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Virgin Media cuts Pirate Bay access for millions of punters

Nick Ryan
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Re: I wonder ...

+1 for honesty :) El'reg isn't exactly low profile after all...

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Facebook unfriends 19-inch data center racks

Nick Ryan
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Dell

No matter what size the rack cases are horizontally, the damn Dell engineers will doubtless still make their rack mounted kit inexplicably longer (deeper) than anything else.

The problem is not so much the horizontal width, it's the problem that in the real world every bit of kit tends to need cables attached to them to operate and it's the cable management - including suitably separating power from data that's the big issue. It doesn't matter how neat you try to be, as soon as you start to have to swap kit out the nightmares start. If this were solved acceptably, then the issue with airflow ought to be fixable as well - as in a rat's nest of cables isn't usually the best for airflow.

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GCSE, A-level science exams ARE dumbed down - watchdog

Nick Ryan
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Re: telling ?

...and they can take a sheet of all the formula in as well.

Next they'll be allowed calculators.

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Nick Ryan
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That graph really is telling.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: GCSEs no longer fulfil their purpose

Unfortunately it's bugger all to do with the pupils. It's down to the school getting the correct number of grades and the Education Department proving* that education is working.

* Proof in this case is massaging whatever numbers you're saddled with to produce the results that you need.

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'Oppressive' UK copyright law: More cobblers from IP quangos

Nick Ryan
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"There aren't any good movies or games anymore because of copyright infringers, so-called "pirates" (I prefer to call them Data Terrorists)"

Really? So the production companies insisting on never taking risks and just releasing the same old stuff over and over again has nothing to do with the problem then? If they had the balls or skills to spot what will be good rather than handing this task over to a beancounter first and then making it regardless then they would be more successful. Not that this selection is ever going to be an easy task, but it has been done quite successfully in the past.

This is aside from the other side of the problem:

In films there's the abject greed from the "stars" which combined with a braindead celebrity culture where no matter how poor the film is or the actor is at acting, herds will turn out and watch it anyway. As a result a huge chunk of the budget goes to these celebrities regardless of how good the end result is.

In both films and games there's the over reliance on special effects and the enormous budget that this required, thereby moving the break-even point further into the distance. But how often do these special effects actually add something rather than, in a film, countering the lack of plot, dialog and acting and, in a game, the lack of gameplay and general playability?

If you want good films and games, then go to the "Indie" (small publisher) scene, you'll be very surprised as the quality of both films and games that you can find is staggering. There's a lot of dross, but there's a lot of dross in the big budget titles as well...

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SpaceX test-fires Falcon 9 rocket as Dragon sleeps

Nick Ryan
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"The Dragon has already proved it can take off and land, but the software required to get the craft to pull in alongside the fast-moving ISS and dock with it is tricky stuff."

It doesn't particularly matter what speed the ISS is "moving", speed (velocity) is relative. For example the equator of the Earth rotates at roughly 1000 mph compared to the centre, the Earth rotates around the sun at roughly 67000 mph, and so on... it all depends on your reference points.

The aim is to get the rocket near the ISS and then to reduce it's velocity relative to the ISS to zero at the point when it gets within reach of the station's arm.

It's not rocket science you know. Oh wait it is...

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