* Posts by Nick Ryan

1487 posts • joined 10 Apr 2007

Samsung-Microsoft deal will bundle Office 365 with Android Knox

Nick Ryan
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Re: so negative, wow!

But it is true, for the large majority of cases, that Google Apps are "good enough". Most users of MS Word do not write multi-column, multi-chapter index integrated tightly version controlled monster documents - for these users a PC is little more than a glorified typewriter. Some parts of the "office suite" the Google Doc editors are actually better than the Office 365 versions.

However when you need to go beyond, for example, a relatively simply structured document or letter, then you will quickly find the shortcomings of the Google Doc editors. While there are "plugins" that help to alleviate the gap in functionality, experience has shown most of them to be pretty appalling - getting better but still not very good.

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Our 4King benders are so ace we're going full OLED, says LG

Nick Ryan
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Re: I want mine on a large sheet of paper

I hope you used HD paint?

Seriously, projection screens are being sold as "HD ready", "HD compatible" and similar nonsense.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: OLED Burn-in

We tried that LCD fix, and believe me - these buggers were "burnt in" quite effectively. The manufacturer even accepted them for replacement without argument which indicated an abnormal fault that they knew about rather than just "sticky" LCD pixels.

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Nick Ryan
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LG and Panasonic still are, and from what I hear are still selling fairly well.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Life?

One of the biggest hurdles of OLED degradation isn't so much the "brightness" degredation it was that the different colours degraded at different rates. I understand that they've solved this problem, I'd guess from improved tech but also improved management of the output balance during the life of the device.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: OLED Burn-in

OLED can definitely burn in just like plasma but the management tech and operating parameters should mitigate this - along with being sensible. I have what's probably an 8 year old plasma and there is no burn in on it.

Amusingly LCDs shouldn't get burn in, but I've come across a few outstanding models that managed this feat... piss poor power regulation I'd guess.

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Nick Ryan
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I still have a "professional class" (whatever that really means) panasonic 42" display running as a TV. I'd replace it with something that natively had HDMI if I could find a display that was genuinely as good: the plasma has fantastic viewing angles, a nice glass screen which is pretty much child slobber proof and isn't easily scratched like a plastic display and the pixel accuracy and colour / black-to-white range is superb as well. The downside is that it's not HD but with the quality of the display few people actually notice that.

Currently I'm patiently waiting on OLED tech to see what comes out at a sane price.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: content is king

That would certainly explain the runaway success of 3DTV

That will probably be because there was very little content that actually benefitted from being in 3D. From the nauseating "enhanced 3D" that sky sports shat out to the gratuitous throwing of things at the viewer for no apparent reason in films, there was obviously a serious shortage of experienced, or good, 3D directors and content producers. This situation wasn't helped because much TV / file content is a summary of vision filmed from further away than a human would naturally be and the further things are away the less the 3D effect. While having stuff in 3D is nice, it rarely added to the experience and then there were the problems with actually viewing it in 3D...

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Hello? Police? Yes, I'm a car and my idiot driver's crashed me

Nick Ryan
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Re: FORD SYNC

Yep, spotted than on new Fords. Seems to be something similar on some new Peugeot models as well.

Does anybody know if this part of the same scheme or is it a separate initiative?

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Sit back and let someone else manage your telephony

Nick Ryan
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The hardest part about dealing with the Ciscos, Mitels and Avayas of the PBX world is how they insist on using different terminology for largely the same features and to add to the entertainment also add various artificial restrictions to each of these features. Want an extension / user to be a member of more than one pickup group? Forget it on one system, on another they can be members of four but for no readily apparent reason not more than that. [just mindless examples] Gah!

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.Free domains at Amazon while Google says bye to .family

Nick Ryan
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Re: Seriously, every loser wins?

Glad that I'm not the only one to have read it that way.

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Honey, I shrunk the Windows footprint

Nick Ryan
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Re: Don't stop there

In Microsoft's (partial) defence, a huge number of the problems with Windows and Sleep mode are due to device drivers and in my experience, particularly wireless network drivers but these aren't the only culprit. However one application in particular seems to often make a mess of Windows Sleep mode, sometimes even preventing it completely: Microsoft Outlook. Thanks for that MS.

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Leaked Windows 10 build hints at peer-to-peer patching

Nick Ryan
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Re: oh lord...

This may be something that is also intended to help non-first world Internet connection countries or regions. Just considering these situations there are a lot of instances where there will be quite a few locally networked PCs but with rather limited bandwidth - far better that the systems are patched and updated than not. Or another easy example in the first-world Internet sceneria on a HE campus of some form there will be thousands of non-domain controlled PCs downloading thousands of updates which eats a lot of bandwidth.

This is actually rather a good idea from Microsoft (as long as it's done properly, but that's true for anything really).

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Nick Ryan
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IT Angle

IT angle? Who cares! I suppose there were the tweets though.

He annoyed other authors with his writing style but succeeded at being a greater author than most of his detractors because what he wrote was fun to read, often clever and insightful on many levels.

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Vodafone: Can't make calls on our network? Use Wi-Fi

Nick Ryan
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Re: There's also ...

The "Three" version is shite. Install a crappy app on your mobile, register it - but only when you have a good signal, and then suffer with an utterly backwards, non-integrated "phone and SMS message" system that doesn't work very well, is annoying to use, and is entirely separate to your normal phone and SMS functions.

I have a nasty feeling that the other offerings aren't much better.

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HAPPY 20th Birthday MICROSOFT BOB

Nick Ryan
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Re: Memories of Microsoft Bob

I'm starting to believe Microsoft Bob to be a giant false memory; I don't believe I've ever seen Microsoft Bob, even though I feel I have.

You're lucky. Some "friends" of mine decided that it would be fun to install it on my computer when I wasn't around and then to watch me curse and swear at it. Gits.

Almost as funny as when they decided to configure a 2 minute long wav file as a windows launch sound, during which time the system hung until the audio had completed playing. Win 3.x - what a joy.

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Nick Ryan
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The original design of the Windows Start menu (not the correct name for it, can't be bothered to look it up) was for the bar to at the top of the screen. I believe it was moved to the bottom by default quite late on in the development cycle to differentiate Windows from Apple.

If you find an older version of the OS, move the start menu bar to the top of the screen and suddenly you'll find that it begins to make a lot more sense. Shutdown being at the end of the list of options, being the most obvious, but also any popup menus that show as well.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Mutt mistake

Arrrgh. I'm not starting to remember the ghastly hacks that were required to completely remove the sodding Office Assistants from an installed copy of Office. The alternative was to uninstall everything vaguely related to MS Office, kick the original installer hard in the knackers (or another appropriate punishment) and then install MS Office again, this time taking care to deselect the assistant options.

IIRC after a while there were non-MS tools to remove the assistants from MS Office installations, and of course installation profiles that automatically deselected the things.

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Would YOU touch-type on this chunk-tastic keyboard?

Nick Ryan
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Re: Eternal problem

Was trying to remember the name of that device from the late 70s... Microwriter - the device that was interesting but useless for almost everything due to certain little functional issues. Connectivity - good luck with that. Editing - you basically can't edit until you get the text into a more conventional device.

This said, the rather more recent follow up CyKey does look vaguely interesting. It would look a bit more interesting if it was possible to connect it to any form of modern device without all kinds of nasty kludges and cables. They claim to be working on bluetooth support but are having licensing problems... which is a little strange seeing as bluetooth chips are pretty damn easy to get up and running as they are largely "commodity" systems now, but maybe the problem is more integration / configuration and power management on CyKey's side.

Still a niche product though.

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Hated smart meters likely to be 'a costly failure' – MPs

Nick Ryan
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Re: Sort of related question

Nest works fine for me. A much better interface to deal with than the utterly unwieldy two on, two off or some nightmarish one-off, one-on kludge during winter particularly when you have the typical interface of 4 buttons repurposed for everything in some archaic manner. You ditch the silly idea of "heating on" and "heating off" and just set the temperature that you want, when you want it. In a particularly cold winter's night you don't really want the heating "off", you just want it at a lower level than during the day when you are around and would like to feel your fingers. The temperature is set at a target value for a particular time therefore if you want 20C at 6am in the morning and your house takes 45m to warm up to that from 12C it will turn on at 5:15am. Similarly, if the temperature is 16C and it predicts only a 30m warm up period, it'll turn on at 5:30am instead. (silly temp examples, but you get the idea)

The auto-away option overrides the temperature to whatever you set as your minimum / frost-protect temperature and should spot when you are away or not in case you forget to turn it off. The remote app can turn the heating up and down or trigger the away option manually and if you expect to be home at, eg, 8pm you can tell the system to have it warm for you then.

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Canadian bloke refuses to hand over phone password, gets cuffed

Nick Ryan
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Re: The Law on encryption passwords in the US is well established.

That actually seems like a sensible way to interpret things like data encryption. How the hell did this happen?

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Hidden TrueCrypt volumes

Love the map :) Haven't seen that particular one before.

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£280k Kickstarter camera trigger campaign crashes and burns

Nick Ryan
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Re: Risk?

I'd forgotten about some of those, particularly the impossible projection watch, which even it were physically possible to somehow cram the required components into the ring (I consider it currently borderline possible but damn expensive as most would have to be custom integrated) however just the reality of basic geometry made the actual projection side impossible at the angles and targets demonstrated in the photoshopped images.

And as for Bleen... whichever fools backed that really need to watch less hollywood "sci"-fi and engage a bit with reality.

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Android malware hijacks power button, empties wallet while you sleep

Nick Ryan
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re: @MichaelMorrissey

Thanks for registering just to write unsubstantiated almost-racist rubbish.

Android users tend to be from "the third world"? Hardly: many android (and winphone) devices are often the same price or more than the apple equivalents. This doesn't equate with them being used by "poor people".

For some reference statistics, which you will doubtless enjoy manipulating and misreading to give whatever picture you want: smartphone % penetration by country..

Back to your "third world" angle: Here's a breakdown of the US's smartphones by OS. Unless you are going to now state that the USians are in fact living in a third world country, would you care to explain this?

Relating back into the first stats, here's one showing worldwide market share..

While it is interesting to note that the US has a more balanced split of Apple vs Android in it's market, the US is only 13th in overall smartphone penetration. Some "third world" countries such as Spain and Germany have rather higher OS splits in favour of Android compared to Apple.

One point to note is that in the developing markets the price paid for handsets is less than in the developed markets. This necessarily skews the market split away from Apple as other than 2nd hand or older devices, most Apple phones are priced out of the reasonable disposable income price range - food, heating, clothes, education or mobile phone? WinPhone devices are making reasonable inroads into these price constrained markets but nothing compared to feature phones and to a lesser extent "landfill" android phones. It's these phones that will be targetted by this kind of exploit, they are often unsupported, never updated by their manufacturer and often too costly for an end user to even consider the data bandwidth to peform an update and often as a result they have access to local app stores and not Google Play. However this does not mean that an app that requires Root access will work as even the landfill devices don't come with root access as standard.

Basically, it's a security scare story from an advertiser that's sole reason for existing is to sell security products.

(EDIT: some of the links may not work as the damn stat site sometimes arbitrarily requires a signin to view the stats. sorry).

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(Re)touching on a quarter-century of Adobe Photoshop

Nick Ryan
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Quark also shafted every user, repeatedly, through their despicable file version handling practices. Want to import a file from a version that's more than one release old? Forget it. How about save a file in a new version in an earlier format to allow somebody else to use it? Forget it. Gits. This and their dastardly unreliable configuration settings that somehow reset themselves just before a deadline or files that were saved to be unreadable... the pain just goes on.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Need a good kicking

Adobe patch their Photoshop products? Ha, we'll have flying pigs next. Oh wait, you mean the "buy the next version and hope it's been fixed in that" style of patching...

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UN negotiations menaced by THOUSANDS of TOPLESS LADIES with MAYONNAISE

Nick Ryan
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Re: And he is....

AIUI: very, very little of any worth goes on in the public chambers. Generally anything of value happens in the side (private) rooms with smaller groups. In English, just to annoy the French.

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TITANIC: Nuclear SUBMARINE cruising 'Sea of KRAKENS' may be FOUND ON icy MOON

Nick Ryan
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I thought that at one time but it's the weight that is the problem. Getting relatively light payloads as far as Titan is expensive on fuel as even with a large chunk of the journey being coasting which is likely why no orbital stages are discussed for this one. There are usually substantial course corrections (navigational changes) as they are inevitably sling shotted into place and we don't have any powerful enough engine systems which wouldn't require enormous amounts of fuel for a direct flight, even to Mars, let alone further. Lifting huge and heavy payloads into near Earth orbit is pretty much trivial in comparison to interplanetary missions.

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Behind every great tech boss there’s ... who exactly?

Nick Ryan
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Joke

Behind every great tech boss there's... a wife who drains his bank account dry like a vampire in a blood bank?

:)

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Why 1.6 million people will miss Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 date with fate

Nick Ryan
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Re: Rockin' hard place.

Well written software should continue to work on a later OS however the other factor is how many specific OS, or OS locked application, dependencies there are in place.

One of the more common application problems will be poorly written IIS applications or IIS applications that use features that have been deprecated or altered in a non-backwards compatible manner on later versions. I've found that on a few occasions that it's just the damn installer that has the problem, the application itself runs fine on a new instance of IIS. IIS is a particular problem here because there is no separation between the IIS application and the OS - get a new OS, get a new version of IIS, there is no choice on this.

A business problem is the challenge that in many cases the current servers continue to run fine, are reliable and haven't had a problem in the last 18 months... therefore why should they be changed now? Computers are tools and one shouldn't have to replace working tools.

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Trouble comes in threes: Yet ANOTHER Flash 0-day vuln patch looming

Nick Ryan
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Re: bbc.co.uk

It's not so much iPlayer, it's all of the videos on their website. They all seem to "require" flash for some very annoying reason.

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Nick Ryan
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bbc.co.uk

Are you paying attention? Please, please, get rid of the useless and annoying reliance on Flash for video.

It's the only reason I might use flash other than the odd backwards site "requiring" it for multiple file uploads.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Sizzling sag aloo

Nick Ryan
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Re: Aloo is "classic" Indian food? Really?

Unlike various other "national" food types such as Chinese, Indian fare has rapidly taken on whatever local or new ingredients as are available. e.g. How many potato based Chinese dishes are there available in a Chinese restaurant, or Cantonese, or Japanese?

The fact that many of the Indian recipes we know of in the UK were created in the UK or Europe is another factor. Now to just educate people that "Jalfrezi" is simply as style of cooking, not an indicator of peppery hotness, similarly "korma" is not necessarily for hot-food-whimps either as they can be made deliciously hot.

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BOO! Grave remote-code exec flaw in GNU C Library TERRIFIES Linux

Nick Ryan
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Re: re Using zero terminated strings in C didn't turn out to be the best design decision ever

C pretty much makes buffer overruns the default behaviour. Nice one K&R, nice one.

No it doesn't. Shoddy programmers who don't check length parameters are the fault here.

While the other copy functions perform the parameter checks for the programmer, checking the length parameters before calling the function and gracefully handling any problems is often a better solution than passing off the checks to the function.

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Top US privacy bod: EU should STOP appeasing whiny consumers

Nick Ryan
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Safe Harbor enforceable?

hahahahahaha... what has the US "privacy" bod been reading?

The terms of Safe Harbor agreements are rather too clear: any data is only covered for the exact pre-registered purposes. If data is collected for any other purposes then a Safe Harbor agreement does not apply to the data, therefore if a US organisation claims to have signed up to the Safe Harbor agreement then an EU organisation must ensure that the registration has been filled for the exact purposes stated. For example, a US organisation has signed up to Safe Harbor for support purposes for Product A, however a customer provides data for the support of Product B, this is not covered.

The other gotcha for the Safe Harbor data is that any "official" US organisation that can demonstrate a requirement to access the data must be given access to the data and that there is no legal process to filter this. For example if a local US county decides that it requires access to the data, it must be given access and the safe harbour agreement does not extend to this organisation...

In effect, once your data is in the US, it can wind up anywhere and there's nothing that you can do about it other than not allow the data into the US in the first place.

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Professor's BEAGLE lost for 10 years FOUND ON MARS

Nick Ryan
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Re: Beagle sitting there...

The martians are still looking for the Any key.

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Insert 'Skeleton Key', unlock Microsoft Active Directory. Simples – hackers

Nick Ryan
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So let me get this straight... Some malware that somehow finds itself executing on a DC with sufficient local system access (not necessarily "domain admin") can alter the in-memory code of the authentication process and insert its own tweaks to let specific passwords through as well as the correct ones.

Clever but, well, duh. When a process has full access to all memory in a system it can make all kinds of interesting changes but isn't this what ALSR was meant to help to partially mitigate? ALSR can't fix this problem entirely as the executable needs to be discoverable somehow, it just makes it harder as the attacker has to put more effort into finding the correct memory location to patch. Other than this, good luck fixing as Windows isn't designed to segregate application memory space in this way when a user with local admin access is involved and continually security monitoring or reloading in-memory images is CPU intensive.

As noted previously, when a user with sufficient privelidges is compromised, you have a lot of problems and this is just an example of one. Pretty much why Best Practice dictates that no user should ever have such access on their normal account and instead have a separate admin account which they use on the occasions that they genuinely need to perform system administration. This doesn't make the problem go away, but it does help to reduce the chances.

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Tesco preps for Big Data Engine dump: Laters, Clubcard dev

Nick Ryan
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Tesco have lost the plot on all of the basics of their core trade one of which, as pointed out, is elementary customer service. Sainsburys do seem to have it right though - there are two "mini" supermarkets near where I am, one a Sainsburys Local and a Budgens. From the start all staff in the Sainsbury Local have made a point of clear greetings and farewells, most of the Budgens grunt at you if that much - one rude arse just held his hand out for the money and didn't say a word. Guess which is the more pleasant place to shop? Sainsburys without a doubt. Guess which seem to have the happier staff? Sainsburys as well - just the basics of human interaction seem to be keeping the Sainsburys staff in a better mood (and overheard conversations seem to reflect this as well). It's also interesting to note that Sainsburys have audio recording at their tills which could help to enforce this as well as I suspect that it's a concerted effort from Sainsburys rather than just staff initiative.

[from inside sources] Where Tesco also fail is that their head office is an utter shambles with a lot of reportedly quality staff leaving for nicer places. The staff that seem to be sticking around are those who brown nose their way everywhere and those with no interest in anything much other than their own personal status quo. They're promoting the wrong staff into the wrong places with inexperienced (e.g. cheap) staff in critical roles (some departments are known locally as "the creche" as a result), devaluing good and / or experienced staff until they leave and the result is an impending growing mess that'll likely implode soon enough. On top of this they are also attempting to offshore as much of their core operations as possible, which as we all know works so well when you add in even cheaper staff, language and context issues and a few thousand miles of not giving a shit.

It could be that somebody with a clue has taken over at the top and is savvy enough to spot the problems and how to fix them by establishing a focus on their core business.

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Hey look! Microsoft's workforce isn't all white men

Nick Ryan
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Re: Global and local, black and white.

Too right. Although from what I can find the US's approximate ratio is 72% "white" therefore there are a disproportionally low number of white employees and with 4% of the US being Asian, their share of 29% of Microsoft's workforce is definitely out of whack. Nothing's straightforward though as around 9% of the US's population are "mixed" race therefore either of Microsoft's reported values could be out by around 9% as what is self-reported is not always the same as census demonimations.

It's much fairer to ensure that staff of equal roles are paid equally, but even this doesn't work as those employed in expensive areas where the wages are generally higher than average would expect higher wages. It is much better to employ with equal opportunities, rather than a thoroughly retarded, backwards and do-gooder-bigot-serving "equal representation" which can only lead to octeganarian male pole dancers.

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Hipsters ahoy! Top Ten BOARD games for festive family fun

Nick Ryan
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Hunters and Gatherers?

Not sure about the inclusion of Hunters and Gatherers as while it's a fair game it's the one that I've seen so many times abandoned or thrown into charity shops and even my copy has been barely touched and is almost pristine. It's not a patch on the main Carcasonne game and has a few flaws that once you've sussed the tactics tend to ruin the game.

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American bacon cured with AR-15 assault rifle

Nick Ryan
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Re: Hangover Cure?

An easy solution, buy from "microbreweries"... usually rather better than the commercial nat's piss that you find in every bar.

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'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

Nick Ryan
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Re: Exaggerating much?

@ Ivan 4 - I'm not sure you read the RSPB article...

They clearly stated that there are gaps in their knowledge regarding placement, that there will always be some trade offs but that they are committed to ensuring that the adverse effects are minimal. They even state where there have been some complete failures of placement that have had a serious impact on the local bird population and while there have been a few bad cases in the UK, they are very minor compared to the ones that they cited.

As to the effect of the RSPB's objections and whether or not they are overruled or ignored, that's a different matter.

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Nick Ryan
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Re: Exaggerating much?

Agreed. Wind power has its place, but shouldn't be seen as the solution to anything in its entirity, more a possibly useful component or supplement to power generation.

As for how evil these things supposedly are, the sensible organisations have a rational, well thought out policy and approach to the matter. For example, here's the RSPB's take on wind farms: http://www.rspb.org.uk/forprofessionals/policy/windfarms/

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Nick Ryan
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Re: This isn't about energy, it's about ideology.

Why whenever I read the word "Neoliberal" in some text on the Internet do I imagine the writer frothing at the mouth and dribbling a bit?

On the other hand, some bits of the current economic system are truly unstainable or just mythical: "perpetual growth" being the most stupid where all countries, industries, markets and everything else must be seen to be growing continually or are judged to be a failure.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Thin plot, great CGI effects

Nick Ryan
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Re: one film edit

Some bits of the books did go on a bit, so cutting them out of a film where the film representation would taken even longer would not help the story. However one film seems to be most about dwarves singing, and the next morphed into tedious kung-fu / wire-floaty / unfeasible action scenes and it all felt like contrived filler particularly as it didn't even add to the film as a whole, it took away.

However having seen the first two... I'll try to avoid the last but may not be successful.

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Microsoft's dodgy new Exchange 2010 update breaks Outlook clients

Nick Ryan
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Re: Exchange IMAP???

I doubt it - the similarities between standard IMAP and Microsoft's IMAP implementation in Exchange are few enough that bugger all works with it. There used to be entire websites dedicated to the topic, but I suspect they gave up as it became more and more obvious that MS didn't give a stuff about IMAP and were only interested in their in-house APIs.

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Buy Your Own Device: No more shiny-shiny work mobe for you

Nick Ryan
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What utterly useless advice. Four fingers of kit kat are much more similar in shape and size to a modern mobile phone. Unfortunately kit kat wrappers no longer have the foil inner so we lose out on the shiny shiny relevance but at least the shape is near right. Sheesh. ;)

The other fun simulation is to look stupidly confused when the signal disappears, strangely around the same time the train goes through a tunnel.

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Why, hello there, Foxy... BYE GOOGLE! Mozilla's browser is a video star

Nick Ryan
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For its part, Microsoft has said future releases of IE will add support for WebRTC.

Maybe I'm getting more cynical... but what's the betting that this "future release of IE" will, somehow, only be Windows 8 only? Due to "technical" reasons of course...

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It was SPACECRAFT vs BOAT at ORION LAUNCH. The boat won

Nick Ryan
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Re: You will not go to space today

Do you mean the Up Goer Five XKCD?

Still a great XKCD, clever and surprisingly accurate too.

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Brit smut slingers shafted by UK censors' stiff new stance

Nick Ryan
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Re: hardly difficult to get around

it is now illegal, for instance, to detonate nuclear weapons in the UK.

I will sleep better in my bed knowing this. I may even write to my local government representative and thank him for pushing through such an insightful and meaningful law that will make us all feel better.

Of course those that would detonate a nuclear weapon in the UK don't give a rat's arse about UK laws. There goes my better night sleep :(

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