* Posts by John Robson

1617 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Tesla's splitting with sensor supplier

John Robson
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Re: Getting Distracted

Tesla's selling point is that it's a great car.

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UK 'leccy car company Ecotricity patches leaky car recharge app

John Robson
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Re: Oh dear...

Yes - it relies on the larger company doing it right. but if *I* was doing it, I'd suggest that they would be better at it than I would.

And often it looks like these people are less good at it than I would be...

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John Robson
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Oh dear...

Maybe authenticating via google/fb/oauth/MS token wasn't such a bad idea. At least they have some people who can think in terms of security (not saying they're perfect, but I suspect they are better than your random startup)

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Zen loses its chill: UK biz ISP falls offline for four hours and counting

John Robson
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Re: Zen Downtime in our case was approx 8 hours (2 X Business FTTC)

You may well get a post mortem tomorrow. But since they only got it fixed at midnight - I'd give them a few hours...

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After Monday's landing, SpaceX wants to do it in triplicate

John Robson
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Yeah - but...

It's a landing pad.

Doesn't need a huge amount of complex work - a good solid slab of something that won't melt.

A road to get the crane/lorry up to it after.

Maybe some fire suppression systems in case of RUD

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John Robson
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I just love the idea of the two boosters coming down roughly together...

Crazy, crazy world we live in - and this would certainly make for one spectacle and a half...

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Linus Torvalds in sweary rant about punctuation in kernel comments

John Robson
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Re: I used to have pretty squares around comments...

"Personally, I tend to write a lot of comments while figuring out the shape of the new code, but once the code's actually working, unless the logic is amazingly complicated or obscure (usually due to external factors), it'll all be deleted. I'm much more a fan these days of making the code itself as clear and self-documenting."

Code should say what it does - Comments say why.

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John Robson
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I used to have pretty squares around comments...

But then I worked somewhere with a mandated editor and a metric crapload of macros baked in.

You'd type virtually any keyword and about 15 lines of stuff would appear - the appropriate statement, formatted according to style, a comment box, custom logging options etc etc.

It was actually really nice - because you could just write the code, and the house style just happened around you - and it made it really easy to fill in the logging details and comments.

Never had to worry about aligning the stars though - the macros handled it for me.

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Dear Tesla, stop calling it autopilot – and drivers are not your guinea pigs

John Robson
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Re: Darwin Award

"> Given a choice - I'd have an autopilot enabled car now, and use it as well. I would be significantly safer as a result of doing so.

Are you applying for a Darwin Award?"

No - I'm not.

I've looked at the state of play, I know people who work at Tesla, I know people who have them.

I have read the user guide.

The addition of autopilot is a net safety enhancement. It is not a license to kip, nor to watch a film/read a book.

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John Robson
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"The technology is several years away from being deployable safely to the masses. Driver assist systems that handle emergency braking, etc. are deployable because the driver is still actually driving the vehicle."

Clearly having a collision rate lower than that of humans is too dangerous - so we should actually ban all human drivers...

Of course not *you*, you're one of the 90% of drivers who consider themselves to be a 'good' driver.

The technology is very good at what it does - and it's capabilities are improving all the time, unlike human drivers who are generally careless and whose abilities/habits tend to degrade over time (after those first couple of years).

Given a choice - I'd have an autopilot enabled car now, and use it as well. I would be significantly safer as a result of doing so.

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Security gurus get behind wheel of driverless car debate

John Robson
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Pretty sure..

That the Jeep wasn't a self driving car.

They're right to be concerned, but this isn't a self driving issue...

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Shocker: Computer science graduate wins a top UK political job

John Robson
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Er - why

is EU hyphenated in the new acronym... As one of the few bits that's actually a common acronym shouldn't it remain?

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Tesla whacks guardrail in Montana, driver blames autopilot

John Robson
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"So how can radar and and ultrasound get confused by a white sided truck against a bright lit sky?"

The ultrasound is a very short range system - a few metres at best - good for basic blindspot and sideswipe detection, as well as basic collision avoidance.

The Radar is forward facing only - and has significant range, but it is a fairly narrow antenna array, and I suspect it is therefore making a pretty much 2-D image of the world - RADAR reflected from a flat vertical surface 12" above the unit will return 24" above the unit - so seeing 'under' a trailer is possible.

Of course we might reasonably expect it to have see the truck first - maybe some warning bleeps when vehicles cross the path?

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John Robson
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Autopilot does use radar.

It also uses ultrasonics.

The richest information source is still a forward facing camera though.

This is going to happen because people can't use their brains enough to accept that a driver aid is and aid to driving. The Tesla is not a self driving car.

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Student Loans Company burns £50 million in IT project superfail

John Robson
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Re: How the fec....?

"I guess the complexity in the setup comes from the SLC somehow integrating with the tax office"

Hang on - we have a department who already manages finances and repayments.

Who deal with underpayments from last year, and the overpayments they take...

Why was this just part of the tax office to start with. Here's tuition and a grant against future tax liability...

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By Juno! NASA delivers first new snaps from Jupiter

John Robson
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Re: Juno and its pictures...

(And yes, I just wanted to use apojove and perijove, because I'm a nerd)

But you still claimed it was moving away from Saturn...

D'Oh

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Apple crumbles: Mac sales slump while Dell, HP Inc, Lenovo shift PCs

John Robson
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Not replacing my mac...

I don't need more computing power than the i5, I've put an SSD for boot & Applications, and last week grabbed a good deal on 16GB RAM, with the 4GB that was there going to a laptop (a great bonus).

I have large amounts of directly attached external storage, and a nice long HDMI cable to my monitor.

So it's 4 years old, and likely to last a good number more years - why would I buy another computer again?

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UK.gov flings £30m at driverless car R'n'D, wants plebs to speek their branes

John Robson
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I'm not too bad at driving, until I get tired - or my kids start playing up.

A computer could certainly be better at driving than I am.

The issue is that there are edge cases which we still haven't handled - although these are clearly very rare (as in - already rarer than the cases which humans don't handle).

One key advantage is that every time we come across such an edge case - every car on the road can take the lessons learnt and apply it consistently into the future.

The self driving car will come soon, hopefully my kids will never have to learn to drive...

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Galaxy S7 Active can't swim, claims site. But it can, vendor retorts

John Robson
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Re: Metric converstion

What is this metric of which you speak.

We have El Reg units here.

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'We shall overcome' net neutrality, sing Euro telcos in the key of 5Gs

John Robson
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Services...

Surely Net Neutrality....

Is all about being allowed to prioritise a service - just not a specific provider...

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Loose wrists shake chips: Your wrist-job could be a PIN-snitch

John Robson
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Re: Pretty neat

Dyslexia is one reason to set the flag to regularise the buttons.

No branch should require your PIN, your account details and any reasonable form of ID should suffice.

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John Robson
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Pretty neat

attack vector.

Who will call for touchscreen grids which change randomly each entry?

Or at least variably labelled buttons

(And yes I know that would be havoc for disability reasons - no reason not to have a flag on the card that regularises the keypad though)

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Debian founder Ian Murdock killed himself – SF medical examiner

John Robson
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Re: With friends like that ...

"Not the cops, for sure."

Not the question asked - who *do* you call to a friend who you think is suicidal, and who lives hundreds of miles away?

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John Robson
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Re: With friends like that ...

Who would you send round if you didn't live within range?

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TP-Link abandons 'forgotten' router config domains

John Robson
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Re: Why?

So that they can put the name resolution in the router perhaps?

If you mean - so that they can use it to connect you to your router then isn't that what the .lan or .local versions were for?

Please tell me those aren't now valid TLDs...

Of course they could always use config.netgear.com anyway - since they own the domain it's not problematic - then just put a page saying that you need to connect to your router's LAN, using it's DHCP and DNS for this link to work...

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John Robson
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Why?

Do they not use subdomains?

Why does everything have to have it's own main domain.

config.tplink.com <- there, see...

Easy to type, and not going to go away any time soon.

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5 years, 2,300 data breaches. What'll police do with our Internet Connection Records?

John Robson
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They'll put them on the internet

But it's OK - because they'll know who has looked at them with the next round of data...

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By Jove! NASA's Juno prepares to slip into orbit around Jupiter

John Robson
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Orbit - not clouds...

At least not for a while.

The final plan is for aero braking and destruction in the arms of Jupiter, but that's a while after orbital insertion.

No mention of the three plucky lego figures?

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We'll smash probe into comet 300 million miles away for kicks, er, sorry, ... for science

John Robson
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IIRC it completed it's primary aims - that's why it had a battery after all.

It was the 'bonus' science it couldn't get.

It was a shame, but even a dead loss would have yielded good science. We know a lot more about space faring objects as a result of this mission than we did before.

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NVMe SSDs tormented for months in some kind of sick review game

John Robson
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So basically...

These are fast enough to make the bottleneck be somewhere else for most loads.

To suggest that other bottlenecks will appear is hardly groundbreaking. It's what a bottleneck is, that thing you concentrate on until something else takes it's place...

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Bezos' Blue Origin's first live Webcast a no-explosion yawnfest

John Robson
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Re: No explosions, no failures, and no rapid unscheduled disassembly?

"Nothing launched into space, either. <Musk fanboy mode off>"

It got launched into space, it just didn't stay there...

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John Robson
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" I'd be interested to know if they can still land like that after doing an orbital boost with a full payload."

Of course not - but then again the entire rocket is what SpaceX consider to be a first stage payload (i.e. it's less than the mass of the Falcon second stage and it's payload (the sat).

This is a strictly 'hop above the atmosphere' rocket. Cool, and really useful as a technology demonstrator, and for getting funds by selling trips to the rich... but the serious business takes a whole lot more rocket!

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Space Data dudes say Google lifted Loon balloon tune

John Robson
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Re: I just forked your ballon, guy!

They could just buy the company and fire everyone...

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SpaceX winning streak meets explosive end

John Robson
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Re: So random...

To be fair this wasn't from orbit - far too slow for that.

It was from an orbital injection flight though, and a geostationary one at that...

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Tinder bans under-18s: Moral panic averted

John Robson
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Re: Why is 18 improbably old?

"I know of no-one who has regretted waiting"

A lot of youngsters before the 1960s got married because that was the only way UK society allowed you to have sex. Sex education was almost non-existent - basically "just say no" - and contraception was a taboo subject. So the result was a quick couple of kids, or more, and often a loveless marriage when the lust was satiated. Divorce was also nigh on impossible for most people.

Again - that's a different problem.

The lack of decent sex education is an issue - and frankly I don't envy anyone charged with providing that (and am not particularly looking forward to those discussions at home either) because most of the current generations never had a decent education it makes it much harder for us to talk about - and therefore harder to educate the next generation... ad nauseam...

Don't get me wrong, sex is great - but the general presentation from the media is absurd.

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John Robson
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Re: Why is 18 improbably old?

"I know of no-one who has regretted waiting"

I'm another who regretted waiting. It built up sex in my head until it seemed one of the most important things in the world, which then caused problems in later relationships.

That's a genuine response, and deserves a reply.

Were the problems caused by waiting or by the unhealthy presentation of sex in the media* used in the meantime?

*Mainstream or otherwise

Because an unrealistic expectation isn't the sole preserve of the patient - would those problems have happened in earlier relationships? that might have been less able to deal with them?

I don't know the answers to the above, they are just 'as thought' after reading your post, which obviously deserved a reply.

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John Robson
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Re: Why is 18 improbably old?

"I know of no-one who has regretted waiting."

Me, I'd have like to have started earlier.

So that's one for you.

Says someone who won't introduce themselves. No I don't know you.

Also that sounds more like 'wasn't offered' rather than 'waited'

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John Robson
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Re: Why is 18 improbably old?

@AC - Emotional maturity doesn't magically happen at a certain age or at the same age for everyone. Trying to tie the legal age to something like that is pointless.

So why have a limit at all?

@AC - The legal age is to protect against exploitation not teenage regrets.

Actually it's there for protection of all sorts, not just exploitation. Teenage regrets are nothing compared with unplanned children in an unstable (or non existent) family.

The limit is in place because there are consequences which cannot be reasonably accounted for by most teenagers - and we really ought to be protecting the less able teenagers. Sex isn't something that is required for life to continue, there is no significant detriment to having teenagers wait (I know of no-one who has regretted waiting).

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John Robson
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Why is 18 improbably old?

Physical and emotional maturity are not attained at the same time...

I know/knew far more people who had serious regrets about early sexual encounters than people who celebrated them unconditionally. The difference is more pronounced for one gender - but that's where emotional maturity is particularly important for the other...

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Freeze, lastholes: USB-C and Thunderbolt are the ultimate physical ports

John Robson
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Re: Smaller network plug than RJ45 please!

Don't know if you ever had an X-Jack (I think) PCMCIA network card.

It had a sort of tray that popped out to accept a vertically oriented rj45 cable.

Bit flimsy though.

RJ45 has to support the weight of a cat5/6 cable, so some mechanical rigidity is required for most places.

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John Robson
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I'm sure thunderbolt is great...

but the cost is prohibitive at the moment - the cables alone cost a fortune.

HDMI/DisplayPort/DVI will be around for a while. Ethernet will certainly remain.

Space division multiplexing is far easier when you have wave guides available...

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Android might be on the way to the Raspberry Pi

John Robson
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Not sure...

how I feel about this, except that I have one application that I'd love to use a Pi for, but it needs android (or me to do a whole pile of porting)

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US nuke arsenal runs on 1970s IBM 'puter waving 8-inch floppies

John Robson
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So we complain

when the develop new stuff,

and we complain when they keep systems running for decades. Whatever the budget overrun back then it's probably still cheaper than they thought it was in terms of years of operation...

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Microsoft bans common passwords that appear in breach lists

John Robson
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Re: Only one soluion...

threeandsix?

They are two factors of eighteen after all...

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John Robson
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Joke

Re: Microsoft what?

"remember to backspace the last four when I try and log in."

So now it's a 24 key password - more secure, see....

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Former Sun CEO Scott McNealy has data on 1/14th of humanity

John Robson
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Re: Dataless/stateless thin client

"the problem there is they can't run anything phones and tablets can't"

Yes they can: anything that needs a real keyboard. You can, of course, tote a separate keyboard around to plug into your phone or tablet but you then have a netbook in two parts.

Except of course that that is actually a convenient form factor for many people.

I have an iPad which I use for almost everything - I also have a couple of bluetooth keyboards - one folding one, and one Apple one in a decent case (which also supports the iPad should I need it)

Most of the time I just use the iPad mini, when travelling I'll take the small keyboard with me. It's about the size of a mobile phone or a wallet, and fits nicely in my case. IF I need it then it's there, but in general I don't need it when I'm out and about.

If I'm going somewhere to work seriously then I'll take the slightly larger keyboard in my case (it still fits) and that gives me a full sized keyboard. If I RDP/Citrix/VNC then all I really want is to be able to turn my phone into a wireless connected trackpad...

No plugging in required, I just open the keyboard and it automagically connects and I can type away. Of course for most things (where I'm on a conference call and screen sharing) then the iPad does it just fine, and I can take notes etc in the time honoured fashion - or, you know, pay attention.

Who am I kidding - I'll fire up the laptop to do some browsing whilst the iPad handles the work of making it look like I'm paying attention...

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British cops to film you with 59k body-worn cameras by end of year

John Robson
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Not 59,000 each then?

I was worried for a moment...

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Apple hires crypto-wizard Jon Callas to beef up security

John Robson
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Re: There are simple ways to recover from bricked phones

Add in optional authentication to charge (which is a fairly minor inconvenience) and you get to DFU pretty fast as well...

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India launches hypersonic space shuttle precursor

John Robson
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Because...

We've cured poverty over here - noone lives on the streets...

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Three UK: Our MMS prices are up. Get around us with WhatsApp or Skype

John Robson
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Can I disable MMS?

since I've never actually wanted to send an MMS...

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