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* Posts by David Hicks

1243 posts • joined 22 Apr 2008

Coders are creatives too: Where's our love?...

David Hicks
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IEEE fail

The IEEE have been hammering out a definition of how they might approach an engineering certification and professional accreditation for what, 15 years now?

I'll stop calling myself a Software Engineer when there's a way to become an accredited Software Engineer, and I'll only stop long enough to get accredited.

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Parallel import argument turns toxic in Oz

David Hicks
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Devil

Yes it is about time

The importers and the "White" market are strangling Australian retail - and the price of most consumer goods here is ludicrous given the parity in currency between AUD and USD.

Just look at the Kindle. $109 for the base model in the US, AUD 139 here. The "Kindle Keyboard 3G" is $139 in the US and AUD 219 from Dick Smith!

You'd have to be a fool (or in a hurry) to buy anything serious from the stores here. JB Hifi have obviously started to realise that if they keep allowing themselves to be screwed by the suppliers then there's not going to be any place for them much longer.

I always found the banning of grey markets in some places (EU) to be the shady, nasty, dirty side of globalisation and free trade - Big companies get to look worldwide for cheap materials and labour, but then try their damnedest to stop the consumer using the same privilege to source their goods.

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Nokia's Great Lost Platform

David Hicks
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Linux

Over here in 'stralia

There's actually quite a big N9 marketing campaign.

It's a pretty phone and I love my N900 but... the specs are way below market average now, and there's no keyboard.

I really, really hope it appeals to the masses and Nokia/Maemo get to continue, but I don't think it's the phone for me.

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Punters hate copyright, says Steelie Neelie

David Hicks
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Thumb Down

The view of copyright data as "Property" is modern and misguided. It's also an artificial, governmental imposition - something I believe that Saint Ayn disapproved of IIRC.

By the way, you may want to read about her life (particularly the way she treated those close to her) before putting too much faith in her simplistic and fallacious parables.

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'Devastating' protocol flaw could paralyze Bitcoin system

David Hicks
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spending drives the economy, enriching us all

Whereas stuffing money into an old mattress doesn't achieve much at all.

Yes, Bitcoin is very different. It is a currency with such a tiny amount ever to be created, that if it ever took off on a worldwide scale each one could become worth the equivalent of a billion or more modern-day dollars! Knowing this you'd be a fool not to hang on to them, which of course kills any sort of bitcoin economy as people just hoard. And those that are more short-term thinkers are currently engaged in pure speculation. The 'currency' also lacks several features that many people find useful - for example there's no chargeback if they've been defrauded by a vendor. Which I know is something specifically designed out of bitcoin due to ideology.

Also I actually like the idea of society being able to adjust the amount of currency to fit the economy and keep the currency units worth roughly the same (slightly decreasing as mentioned) day to day. It's a useful mechanism.

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David Hicks
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I know you're being sarcastic there

But in order to keep the value of a currency unit somewhere around constant this is a really good idea.

And inflation, when kept reasonably low, is a good incentive for people to actually use money instead of just sitting on it.

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David Hicks
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Far from the biggest flaw

Not that the other flaws are technical, necessarily, they're more about policy and design.

Whichever individual or group came up with the crypto scheme and the network, they were clearly very clever. However they also pretty clearly had a simple and idealist view of economics which was doomed from the start.

Having spent some time being told I was 'ignorant to the point of fraud or criminality' by bitcoin aficionados for listing problems I saw with the currency and community, I'm getting quite a kick out of watching the value drop to 7% of it's peak and the community dwindle.

I just feel sorry for the folks that lost money on this fools errand, there must be a lot of them.

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Why GNOME refugees love Xfce

David Hicks
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@Goat Jam - Headless + VNC

I'm guessing anyway, I have a small ARM box that I occasionally VNC into, for some reason. There's no real need I suppose...

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David Hicks
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Best of both worlds

For me anyway, I had a full gnome system that updated to Gnome 3 in the last upgrade. I just installed XFCE 4 on top and hey presto - Gnome 2 style panels and menus and all the applications I was used to.

It really is a godsend and allowed me to get back to work instead of fighting with enforced "paradigm shifts" (cockups).

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Ubuntu republic riven by damaging civil wars

David Hicks
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Made the move to XFCE

Debian testing just went to GNOME 3/Shell. There's no task bar. Empathy is given first-class status and all other IM clients relegated to the notification area, which is now hidden and "deprecated". You can't put shortcuts on the top bar, and the menu system just sucks. Also it brought Pulse Audio with it, that breaks some of the applications I use and immediately redirected all audio away from the headphone socket to the HDMI output. Useful...

It took a little while to install XFCE and make it look like Gnome 2 did, but now it's there, it works almost identically.

I've been coding for about 15 years now, I've never before encountered such a radical, unhelpful and unnecessary shift in paradigms, and I don't welcome it.

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WTF is... Bluetooth 4.0?

David Hicks
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FAIL

Bluetooth always did suck

I've always hated bluetooth. When it works to pair a phone and a computer for net access, it's damn slow. But usually -

"Well, they can see each other but there's not option to do anything"

"Where's the connect to internet button"

"It looks like it's working until I actually try to send the file"

"For some reason the buttons on the headset work but no sound is coming out"

"They're just refusing to pair properly"

Aas a result, I've had BT capable phones for almost a decade, and I've used any means necessary to avoid having to use it for anything. Well, anything except "BlueProximity", which automatically performs an action like locking the screen when you walk away from your computer. That works ok I guess.

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Google planning major upgrades to Google+ ‘within days’

David Hicks
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By Christmas Google Apps users will have access?

I'm still not going to set up a whole new google account just to use +, and then have to find a way to merge or transfer it if/when they get off their behinds and enable profiles for Apps users.

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Hacktivists pose growing threat to industrial computing

David Hicks
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WTF?

Not just Anonymous surely?

I mean, they're a bunch of misanthropes, sure, but a bit agenda-less. I would be more worried about domestic or foreign terrorists, or other states.

Personally I think the whole thing is ludicrous. How hard can it be to keep your industrial control gear off the internet? Is it that hard to have physical separation of networks and strict rules on what data gets transferred (manually I might add) between your control network and your internet-attached office network?

Maybe I ought to go into security consultancy. it seems that you could go far with two bucks worth of common sense and a willingness to slap a few folks upside the head.

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Apple iPhone 4S

David Hicks
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WTF?

So Siri was an App....

... and yet now is the killer feature of the new model?

How does that work? Was it pulled for everyone else?

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Vivid commits to east coast rollout

David Hicks
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Flame

So they're improving the Perth connections to the 'net?

Because it's about time, their service went from bad (4Mbit) to worse (less than 0.5 most of the time) over the last year or so. It got so bad I had to leave them.

I love the idea of wireless internet, but Vivid seem to have spent a lot of time ignoring their customers and denying they have a problem with backhaul.

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High-frequency traders attract regulator’s interest

David Hicks
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False Dichotomy

There are a lot of states in between "No electronic trading" and "paying for a place close to the exchange so you can get information faster than everyone else"

Some ways would be taxes or fees (Tobin tax for example), or having trades work on a 1 second, one minute, one hour or even one-day clock cycle, you could institute minimum hold times.... All sorts of ways. None of these are likely to happen as the politicians and the finance houses are in each other's pockets, but there are possibilities that can remove the attraction of HFT without negatively impacting genuine investment.

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David Hicks
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Devil

This is so far from investment

That it's ludicrous. They don't carry market information around, they sit as close as possible to the exchange and use information nobody else has yet to drain cash out of the system. I can't see how this is remotely connected to what the stock market is supposed to be about - investing in companies that have a profit/growth potential.

All it does is take money from other players on the market. And when anyone figures out how to outsmart the robots in order to make their own profit, they get huge fines and (suspended) prison sentences.

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Apple wins for now: no Galaxy 10.1 in Oz

David Hicks
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Flame

The law does not require anything

Patent law does not require enforcement, it's optional.

You're thinking of trademarks.

Also, before declaring that the iPad is revolutionary and Samsung are just copying it, you might want to look at all the prior art - Star Trek for instance. The idea of a thin tablet computing device has been obvious for decades.

Show a layperson a science fiction show, an apple tablet and a tab and they'll have the same problem you posit. That this is anywhere near the courts in the first place is ludicrous. Compete on features and price, or genuine innovation. Not "nuh-uh, I patented this tiny, insignificant aspect of of an obvious progression of the technology before you did!"

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David Hicks
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Thumb Up

Wow! It must be good then!

If Apple are that keen on blocking it!

It's still for sale in the US isn't it? Might pick one up in a couple of weeks then...

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22,000 'freetards' escape Hurt Locker piracy suit

David Hicks
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Are you two kidding? Or just special

Downloading has always been illegal in the UK and the US. It just isn't often pursued as, without distribution, the penalties are low and taking it to court was a waste of the everyone's time.

The new trend, however, is to try to do this in huge numbers, and probably put in some reference to the fact that P2P is not a download-only technology.

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Facebook's complexity will be its doom

David Hicks
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Linux

Google+ Popular with the geeks?

As far as I can tell all the geeks went there early then got bored with it and left. They're back on facebook now.

That's not to say they won't switch again, but clearly it wasn't compelling enough to make a one-time switch immediately.

Me, I can't use it as my Google Apps for Domains account cannot also be used for Google+, until they fix some stuff. And if I register a throwaway account I'd just have to get set up all over again when they do fix it. Bah.

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Zombie mobile Linuxes mate

David Hicks
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Unhappy

Shame about Maemo

It was a nice platform. I liked having a full(ish) linux system with package management and X-windows on my phone.

Yes, I know I'm weird.

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Sony Vaio SB 13.3in notebook

David Hicks
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Meh

Me, I use the fingerprint thingy

I use the fingerprint thingy on my old SZ, because it saves typing in (or remembering) a logon password.

It irritates me that Win 7 only seems to pick up that it's there about 2 boots in 3 though, and I have no idea how to rig it up to work with linux so it's mostly not used I guess.

Looks pretty, probably not going to buy one due to it being a Sony, and also that I reckon on heading back to the land of the customisable, cased PC instead of another laptop.

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Facebook suggests sharing everything all the time

David Hicks
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You can also use tools like adblock plus to block any/all facebook related assets from loading in third party websites, which should stop fb's ability to treack a lot of this crap.

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Why Samsung won't open the Bada OS box

David Hicks
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Linux

Depends what you mean by "Better"

Intrinsically better to me means open, because I can mess with it, change things, break things, and end up with a device that does what I want the way I want it to.

"Better" is entirely subjective.

Open Source software is better, to me, even with limitations and less functionality than closed source competitors.

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Microsoft milks Casio for using Linux

David Hicks
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But Justin...

... (puts on best attempt at Agent Smith voice) how can you look for prior art, if we don't tell you what the patents are?

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TouchPad sales doubled after it was discontinued

David Hicks
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Holmes

Well duh

Lots of people look at tablets and think "Oooh, shiny". I include myself in this. What they don't think is "Oooh, shiny, and worth 500 quid" because they don't (yet?) see them as an essential piece of kit.

Drop the price of what seems like a quality tablet into the impulse purchase zone and of course you're going to get sales.

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Google Native Client: The web of the future - or the past?

David Hicks
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WTF?

It is mentioned but I'm going to bring it up again

Isn't this likely to be a security nightmare?

There's enough harm can be done with Javascript, which the guy seems to hold up as a paragon of secure computing, but starting a cat and mouse game with native code hackers seems like a really bad idea.

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Is using your own kit at work a good thing?

David Hicks
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Blurs the line too far for me

And what happens when you do company work and personal programming stuff on the same machine?

It's already dodgy enough trying to publish your own (FOSS or commercial) stuff without work thinking they have some sort of claim on it. Blur the line further between personal and work equipment and you're just asking for trouble, IMHO.

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Memo to kid coders: Enterprise software exists

David Hicks
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A developer is more than just a programmer.

Someone that develops software.

There's more to software development than just programming, you know. There's testing, planning, building and releasing, to name but a few other roles a developer will often take on.

Apparently I'm a software engineer, which I know some people find even more contentious.

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Green energy and jobs will cripple the UK economy

David Hicks
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FAIL

What about investing in green power tech

And then selling it to other countries, that could turn a nice profit, no? Or is that not part of the study?

As others have pointed out, this study seems deliberately naive.

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Woman in strop strip for Bermuda airport customs

David Hicks
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Big Brother

That's right citizen

It's give up your rights and your privacy or stay the f*ck at home!

Love this world. Oh yes, it just gets better every day.

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Room-temperature brown dwarf spied just 9 light-years off

David Hicks
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Boffin

Not a lot

A Brown Dwarf is basically a gas giant large enough that fusion can be sustained at the centre, though it's not really a star either on account of being quite dark and distinctly tepid.

IIRC.

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Canonical ARMs Ubuntu for microserver wars

David Hicks
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Linux

Was thinking much the same

Some of us were hotly anticipating said ARM based netbooks, but the very few that did arrive were two years after they were hyped and never really took off.

Also - how is any of this article news? Ubuntu have had ARM support on and off for ages. I don't get the impression it's that difficult for them to do, mostly because they build on debian which has more ports than you can shake a stick at.

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Malware mints virtual currency using victim's GPU

David Hicks
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Meh

Sooner it dies a death the better

Yet another strike against BTC - now a proportion of the money supply is illegally generated!

And to those that say they'd notice the machine getting hot and the fans on - I hope you would, as readers of the register. Millions wouldn't think past "Computer is loud!" or "Computer is broken!" though.

And then perhaps it could be refined. What's to stop a virus writer putting in some temperature detection and slowing its activity to keep it a little cooler, plus making it a very low priority process so it doesn't interfere with normal operation?

I'll admit to gaining quite a bit of schadenfreude from watching the price of bitcoins slowly decline over the last month or so...

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Man reveals secret recipe behind undeletable cookies

David Hicks
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Thumb Up

I've said it before and I'll say it again

Adblock, Cookie Monster, Better Privacy, flashblock, maybe NoScript (I don't bother).

Set your browser to flush the cache on exit.

Evercookie doesn't work against this setup. I see very few ads on the net. If a site needs session cookies to work I can enable them temporarily or permanently as needed. If a site I trust (el reg) wants them I can enable them.

I can stop facebook logos loading when I'm not on facebook.com, kill scripts that slow everything down unnecessarily, generally make the internet a nicer place to be. If a site wants to track me then they can. I'm just not going to let my browser help them.

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People don't want tablets, they want iPads

David Hicks
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Nobody else has the apple effect

For good or for bad, Apple customers are prepared to spend a lot of money on Apple gear.

If you want to attract people away from the iPad, or attract customers who would not buy an iPad, you're going to have to be really, really good on price.

429 quid for a 32GB slab/pad/panel/tricorder/whatever is not in any way cheap.

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Wikipedia: It's not for girls

David Hicks
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Meh

There are a large number of clique-ish, angry nerds on there who will delete pages and revert information that goes against their political views, or is decided quite arbitrarily not to be notable enough.

I watched a friend's page get deleted because of notability concerns (he's had three novels published recently) while there's a page for every bit-part character in the most obscure anime/manga you can think of....

Yeah, it's populated by the absolute worst sorts of geeks and I can well imagine rampant sexism in the mix there too.

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Hey dumbo, Facebook isn't sharing telephone numbers

David Hicks
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Pint

Agreed

There are actually quite a lot of us out there that have rules about who is our facebook friend. Mine is "I have in the past and would again in future like to have a pint with this person"

Similarly to the above - anything that gets onto facebook in the first place is so inconsequential that I genuinely wouldn't care if my parents or my workplace saw it. Both groups already know I enjoy spending time talking arse down the local, and frankly if anyone has the patience to scan through more than a couple of weeks worth of inane banality then they're welcome to whatever they think they can infer from it.

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PS3 controller makes move on Android games

David Hicks
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Is there no tv out?

Sorry to bring this subject up *again* but my N900 has tv-out, so along with a sixaxis controller it makes for a great portable console when on the road and staying at hotels and the like.

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Twitter-control botnet mines Bitcoins

David Hicks
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That all depends

All the non-savvy will notice is "Gee, this computer's getting slow!" while their electricity bill rockets.

Especially if they have a decent GPU.

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David Hicks
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And nothing of value was lost

Well, nothing of very much value, any more. After repeated scams, theft and fraud it looks like the price is down to under a third of its peak and heading downwards.

I know it's wrong, but I'm getting a lovely dose of schadenfreude by reading the bitcoin forums at the moment.

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Nokia ‘giving away phones at cost’

David Hicks
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Lost it, totally.

They just can't compete. Their devices are behind the curve on hardware *and* looks these days. And they keep making stupid decisions.

Like the N950. It's the developer-only version of the N9. It's a little large, has an aluminium case and (most importantly) a slide out keyboard. This is *exactly* what N900 owners want. But no, unless you've published an App you can't even apply to be considered to get one, let alone just buy the damn thing. Instead the only new maemo device is the N9, crippled like nearly every other smartphone on the market by not having a physical keyboard.

I think I'll be looking at WebOS devices next.

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Feds arrest 16 in Anonymous hack probe

David Hicks
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Big Brother

In an FBI interrogation room at this very moment...

It seems that you've been living two lives.

In one life, you're Joshua J. Covelli, program writer for a respectable software company. You have a social security number, pay your taxes, and you... help your landlady carry out her garbage.

The other life is lived in computers, where you go by the hacker alias "Toxic" and are guilty of virtually every computer crime we have a law for. One of these lives has a future, and one of them does not.

(hey, el reg - we need an Agent Smith icon)

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Dixons Retail boss pockets £1m in face of consumer meltdown

David Hicks
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I wish someone would give me a million quid

for being a total failure.

As it is I can only command a a small fraction of that much and I actually have to provide useful, profitable work. Maybe I'm doing something wrong here.

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Microsoft kills Windows Vista SP1 support

David Hicks
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Linux

And where does this money come from?

There's a free upgrade to Win 7 from Vista is there?

Personally I took advantage of the manufacturer's downgrade media offer. Then switched entirely to linux.

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Ballmer begs partners to love Microsoft clouds

David Hicks
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Devil

Nokia support them?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!

Nokia think your phone platform is just peachy do they Steve?

Could this be because the guy in charge is fresh out of MS academy?

This is the worst case of cart before horse. There's an MS guy in charge, so Nokia like MS software. This does not count as a testimonial any more than my mum saying I'm such a handsome boy.

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Cleaning up the Bitcoin act

David Hicks
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So it's not a currency?

It's a speculative asset? Glad to hear you agree.

Me, I thought it was a currency and payment method. If it is then any bitcoin income will be taxed. If it's not then it's a modern tulip bulb.

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David Hicks
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We don’t want Bitcoins to be underground and illegal.

Then expect to be assessed for tax.

And then expect to lose about half your users that are crazy libertarian types and consider tax to be immoral and an affront to their absolute ideas of freedom.

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Aussie carbon tax in actually-makes-sense shocker

David Hicks
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As a high earning single geek

With a car and no property, this barely affects me or my finances at all as far as I can tell.

Why all the fuss?

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