* Posts by John Robson

1157 posts • joined 19 May 2008

Tired tablets don't tickle the imagination, so sales fall again

John Robson
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Re: Tablets are like PCs, not phones

Maturing market sees smaller niche markets emerge as viable segments.

Smaller providers make suitable specialised devices and reap rewards.

I'm not sure how often this headline can be considered news?

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Let's all binge on Blake’s 7 and help save the BBC ... from itself

John Robson
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Re: NowTV is good

720p is good enough for most things - I have various things on bluray - which *do* look better, but if the content is good then 720p is just fine.

Most stuff is exDVD anyway, so it never was 1080p...

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John Robson
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NowTV is good

I'd quite possibly subscribe to a BBC Store - there is a huge amount of decent material there.

I *do* subscribe to some OTT media provision, but have no live TV capability - I just don't value it enough

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A third of workers admit they'd leak sensitive biz data for peanuts

John Robson
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Passwords

My password is horsebatterycorrectstaple - I'll have my chocolate bar please....

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Ofcom wants to ease the pain of switching mobile networks. Good luck

John Robson
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Changed networks twice in the last few months...

The middle operator wasn't offering the deal I *thought* I had read...

But it took very little time. Yes, a unified SMS number (maybe 722 (or PAC)) to get a PAC by return would be good...

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World-beating TWO-QUADRILLION-WATT LASER fired by boffins

John Robson
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Re: Oh dear...

They really don't

see the renaming of NMR to MRI as evidence...

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Ford's parallel PARCing: Motor giant tries to craft new tech just like Xerox

John Robson
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Re: @fandom (was:"Cars already decide when to change gear for you")

@jake - "Intake of nicotine, fat, alcohol, salt and sugar is far worse when it comes to mortality ... Do you want those banned in your lifetime, too?"

Nicotine doesn't - it's the asscociated tar I think...

But the big difference is that (except for certain aspects of alcohol consumption and smoking, which are already legislated against) these items don't kill other people.

But there are already plans to levy taxes on salt/sugar rich foods, and I support those.

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John Robson
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@ jake (was:"Cars already decide when to change gear for you")

"Electricity will never kill off feeding horses"

Huh - deliberate misreading?

"Horses & other manually driven vehicles are here to stay"

No doubt - but neither will be used as a mode of transport. They will both be sport/hobby instead. Which is fine. I have no desire to stop people having their fun - but they can do so in an environment which doesn't threaten the lives of others...

There is some overlap for other forms of transport - Walking and cycling are used both for sport and transport, but they pose very limited external risk.

"He refused to listen to me when I pointed out the leaking fluid ... and then told the engine control system to stop complaining."

You know what - I don't think anyone can blame that on the gearbox. That's user failure.

I've driven a mix of manual and automatic, petrol and deisel cars for longer than I care to think about. If you ignore the warnings then anything will break. One big advantage of electric drive is that there are far fewer things to go wrong (potentially down to one moving part per wheel) - and I think that the electric motor will kill the gearbox.

"Shirley you are discussing fast-so-called-food rather than automobiles in the above sentence?"

Don't call me Shirley. And no - people (including myself) are by far and away the weakest link in the system. Even the current generation of autonomous vehicles are better than humans (including me).

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John Robson
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Re: "Cars already decide when to change gear for you"

@Lionel Baden

Even if they did ignore the odd defect - that would still leave these vehicles far safer than the current generation of control systems.

I strongly suspect that the legislative framework would react fairly strongly in these (by definition rare) events.

The current control systems don't pay attention at all times, they don't look all around them, they do get tired and distracted. They generally overestimate their own ability (last survey I saw said that something like 85% of drivers considered themselves 'better than average').

In fact the current control systems kill multiple thousands of people each and every year - more than 5 people EVERY DAY in the UK alone.

Proper legal controls would help, like a willingness to revoke licences (even fairly short bans would be effective if they were regularly issued), but the majority of deaths aren't caused by malice.

Beyond the Kerb

The driverless car is coming, and coming soon - and we'll all be better off for it. Those who enjoy the act of driving can go and play on a track*, where you can *really* enjoy your driving.

* Race or off road.

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John Robson
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Re: "Cars already decide when to change gear for you"

@Jake - None of mine [change gear for me]. Nor will any of them, ever.

Hopefully the act of changing gear will be as old as feeding horses anyway - the electric motor will kill it off. But seriously - when did you last see an automatic gearbox fail?

@Jake - what will happen the first time a self-driving car kills somebody?

It will be an event which will be analysed thoroughly and the lesson(s) learnt will be taken on board by all other vehicles on the road, and *never* repeated.

The possibilities for carnage are *far* higher if you put tired, distracted, fallible, meatsacks in control of a lethal weapon.

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John Robson
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@Terafirma-NZ

Yes - because there are no cars which can do this at the moment.

OK, they can't yet do it in all weathers, but the GCar regime has shown it is well within our capabilities - and there are others out there.

I don't think this will take decades - I'm hoping that my kids will never have to learn to drive (they may well choose to though)

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Ballmer's billion-dollar blunders: When he gambled Microsoft's money and lost

John Robson
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Re: Hmmm [Going OT]

@irmoko - (perhaps it'd be collecting license fees if those phones would be Android).

I've wondered for a while whether Google isn't powerful enough to write a decent ext driver for MSWindows (and macOS?) and ditch the FAT system on Android - it would also allow dedicated cameras/media players to do the same, since the FS driver seems to be the main reason that people stick with FAT.

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Automattic says spooks asked for something it can't reveal

John Robson
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Re: So, up to 125 then

Surely 3-128 is a "band" of 125...

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Samsung emits mobe charging monitor. For your 'active lifestyle'

John Robson
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Re: Scrabble

@Bucky 2

QI has been a well known "2 letter scrabble word" for a long while - certainly more than a decade, probably longer.

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John Robson
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Plinth?

Don't think I've used a monitor or TV anything other than VESA mounted to a pole or the wall for about 5 years...

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Jeep breach: Scared? You should be, it could be you next

John Robson
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There is some benefit to being able to remotely update firmware

But I can't see all that much advantage over a dealer version.

When you update the car firmware you also program the version number into the entertainment system - then it can notify you that there is new firmware available from your garage.

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US beats Iran as Japan's tincan footie team wins robot World Cup

John Robson
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Query

Were the robots provided?

So it was an AI test, rather than a robotics one?

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Choc Factory research shows users just don't get security

John Robson
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Derren Brown

"Noon can hack my mind"

Really? Has noone seen Derren Brown (other such tricksters exist)

The human brain is fairly predictable...

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Help! Our Virgin Media TiVo boxes are stuck in a loop! Help! Our Virgin..

John Robson
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Re: Good broadband bad TV

@Wardy01

Because that would mean they needed to implement multicast properly - and their techs haven't heard about it yet...

Their network is pretty much the perfect environment for testing this kind of solution - but since the existing system works (sort-of) they stick with it

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NASA briefing in HOURS: 'We are upon the CUSP of finding ANOTHER EARTH'

John Robson
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Or a space mirror?

XKCD: http://m.xkcd.com/1532/

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Intelsat to FCC: For the love of satellites, STOP ELON MUSK!

John Robson
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Confidential

Clearly means something different in the US:

"Intelsat isn't waiting around for SpaceX or the FCC to voluntarily release the information, either. It has simultaneously filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that would compel the FCC to release SpaceX's confidential documents."

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Facebook fails to block NY DA's fat warrants for profiles of suspected September 11 fraudsters

John Robson
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@icesenshi - No way to challenge a warrant's legality or defectiveness until it's it's executed. Then the government can say 'oops' but by that point it's too late. Only in America.

I *think* that the point is that all such evidence gets thrown out in court, and that is meant to be the guard against overly broad warrants.

Of course the data has still leaked, and we don't trust the police to deal with is sensitively :(

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Oi, #tubby! You are what you Tweet, boffins find

John Robson
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Food tourists?

With it being geotagged are there particularly dense areas where speciality foods are mentioned alot, but mostly by tourists?

Or is it drowned in the narcissistic ramblings of the general populace?

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UK.gov makes total pig's ear of attempt to legalise home CD ripping

John Robson
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Surely

The Gubbinment can provide a fund totalling one pund per annum.

The music companies can then go to court to argue over how it gets split....

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Are you a Tory-voting IT contractor? Congrats! Osborne is hiking your taxes

John Robson
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@AC - Why arn't dividends taxed at the same rate as any other income?

Because politicians get them?

The concept is that the income has already been taxed (when it was company profit) so to tax it again would be double taxation (or triple if you include the VAT you'll inevitably pay on anything you buy with the income).

It's to encourage people to make sucessful businesses - but from the IT contractor market it gives an advantage to the small firm - one or two people who work together and share the profits - over the huge conglomerates.

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What goes up, Musk comedown: Falcon rocket failed to strut its stuff

John Robson
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Re: The processes failed before the strut did

@Grumpy Fellow - The point is to figure out how their processes allowed a defective critical strut to be assembled into the spacecraft in the first place.

You say that as if there are only a few *critical* struts.

They're all critical - and they have now started an additional testing regime on all the strruts they are using (hopefully not just in this location), which they have also redesigned somewhat.

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Fondleslab, wristjob action just not doing it for Apple right now

John Robson
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Re: Obvious

I expect my tablets to last a fair while, my phones to last longer and don't use a laptop.

The iPad (moved to apple for specific audio control applications) will do me for a good while, it's not going to get replaced quickly, much to Apple's displeasure.

OTOH, after using Android until this iPad I'll be getting another when it does die...

My phones don't seem to die quickly either. Currently my Desire S is running with about a 10 day battery life (it complained this morning about low battery, with 10 days and some hours reported by the battery usage meter) - amazing how well these things last if you leave them in a pocket - it gets WiFi every month or so to update the contacts from the Goo machine.

In the western worldd the market is both saturated and mature.

There are no killer features, there is no obligation to replace products that work - so people don't.

Shock results indeed.

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Reg reader? Work at the Home Office? Are you SURE?

John Robson
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Middle managers

can't spend too much time in meetings. Don't let them out, they might try to enforce decisions...

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Happy NukeDay to you! 70 years in the shadow of the bomb post-Trinity

John Robson
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Scientific rigour

"As scientific experiments go, the Trinity test wasn't even remotely rigorous – the scientists had little idea what the strength of the explosion would be and ran a sweepstake on the final result. Some thought it would be a fizzle, while others had more dire predictions."

Aren't most good experiments the ones where you don't know what's going to happen. What's wrong with a sweepstake (I particularly like Fermi's plan...).

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Google robo-car in rear-end smash – but cack-handed human blamed

John Robson
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Re: Not my fault guv...

@AC - As nobody was injured I couldn't call the police

Yes you can - property damage.

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John Robson
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Re: Maintainance?

@The McV -I don't expect them to be safe until sometime next century......

Which is still millenia ahead of people...

They are going to be *safer than people*, which is the only sane first target, very soon indeed.

Indeed for most purposes (in the climate of california) they probably already are...

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John Robson
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Re: What do the statistics tell us?

@AC - Have the google cars done anything equally challenging ?

Can't quite work out if you think the M25 is challenging, or if you haven't seen any of the Google Car videos. They are tackling the fairly hard problem of city street driving, although they can do freeways those are pretty easy targets, very limited vehicle types and decisions to be made.

In *this* case the car stopped (as would anyone else) because the vehicle in front had stopped... OK I rescind my "anyone else", because the driver behind didn't stop, or even slow...

These cars are being tested in simulators, and presumably on test tracks, but they are also being tested in rush hour on a busy junction (sufficiently busy that the far side of the junction is blocked, so the correct response is to wait (as demonstrated by the human two cars ahead).

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John Robson
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Re: What do the statistics tell us?

Not sure they are - it was a few years ago that the google mobiles had covered more than the average driver does in their lifetime (well, assuming they drive from 17-87)

There has been much more driving since then, so quite possibly two lifetimes so far? (pure guess) and they've been rear ended 11 times (and three other collisions). In this case it wasn't even the GCar that was the first to stop - the GCar had two vehicles ahead of it which had stopped!

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Metadata slurp warrant typo sends cops barging into the wrong house

John Robson
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Re: Typo's happen

@SolidSquid

I think we have to accept that occasionally these errors will creep through, yes they should be looking at why it wasn't caught and applying sensible approaches to minimise repeats.

I'm interested to know why it wasn't copied digitally - presumably a form that has to be filled out with a quill?

I did also suggest that it was important that the apology was accepted - for me that would include repairs to the house, and damages.

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John Robson
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Re: Typo's [sic] happen

@ Doctor Syntax

Gah - I shall go and give myself 60 lashes with the birch.

But yes, it is slightly ironic (especially as my boss came and checked whether or not there should be an apostrophe in "Best Man's Speech" yesterday).

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John Robson
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Typo's happen

Yes we should be double checking, and have a second set of eyeballs on everything.

But one typo in how many pieces of Police work? That's not unacceptable.

What's MUCH more important is how they responded *after* realising the error. Did they go back and return the PCs with an apology, was said apology accepted?

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Ad slingers beware! Google raises Red Screen of malware Dearth

John Robson
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Re: Ads in the Pot meet Kettle world.

Pretty sure it's used when ads contain driveby downloads or other malicious payloads rather than being ads per se.

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On yer bike: Hammerhead satnav for cyclists – just don't look down

John Robson
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Re: Rules are for you too.

@Druck - Working in Cambridge you take your life in to your hands crossing the road, and not because of the motorised traffic.

Out of interest how many pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in the last decade?

It's less than 5, across the whole of the UK - as opposed to how many pedestrians killed by motor vehicles?

It might give you a shock - and it's stupid of any cyclist who does just blast through - but it's really not threatening your life...

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John Robson
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Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

@AC

Well, my bikes all have mirrors, and they aren't actually rare any more.

They're not always as obvious as mine either, indeed there are some which fit inside cycling glasses...

The noise of a vehicle is almost always useless - yes you can tell whether they've put a baked bean can on their exhaust - but you can tell that from one ear as easily as two.

I don't think I've ever had to make any sort of manoeuvre based on hearing a vehicle - and I have been cycle commuting for about 9 years now. I don't wear earphones normally, but have been on the odd conference call whilst cycling home, and one earbud in makes absolutely no odds to my awareness of other road users - a buff is useful to keep the earbud in whilst cycling though, and reduces wind noise (which is a much bigger issue for some cyclists than you think - a 25mph wind over your ears makes it fairly hard to hear anything).

I have cringed at least once - hearing the squeal of tyres and a car in a clear loss of control line astern is an unpleasant sound - but there was nothing I could reasonably do about their problem (I put some more power in, and they stopped (in a cloud of blue smoke) before hitting me).

When I'm in stop start traffic I'm normally watching for the attention of the driver of the vehicle I'm about to pass - you know making sure they're not about to just randomly pull right without indicating, other things like that. I'm not exclusively staring at their mirror, but it has the majority of my attention.

Motorists tend to fall into two camps: Those who have seen me coming from a way back and pull left as I approach, and those who wouldn't see a fire engine.

From my ears (which are reasonably good, as attested by an audiologist, and I do occasional tests on higher frequency stuff) I can't tell which lane a vehicle is in - I can tell that I want to look in my mirror, or make eye contact with the driver. I also can't do anything with the information - so what there's a car coming up behind me - I can't teleport (or I'd have teleported to somewhere prettier to do my riding). My only reasonable choice is to continue doing what I'm doing.

In a city environment this is even more so - there is so much traffic noise coming from all around, and bouncing off so many buildings, that there is almost no information left in it. There are also lots of close junctions, and an audio queue that tells you what road name you want makes far better use of one ear's attention than "there's still traffic around"

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John Robson
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Re: add audio-comments/updates/street names

@AC - Depending on which shoulder the cyclist looks over

Unless of course the cyclist is using their mirrors. Far more useful than ears IMHO.

Motor vehicle noise doesn't actually tell you much - certainly not in a city where the plethora of junctions would make an audio queue for navigation much more important.

As for motor vehicle drivers, how many of them actually use their mirrors? I frequently sit just behind the offside of cars, watching the drivers face in the wing mirror - In stop start traffic they are generally completely hypnotised by the vehicle in front, absolutely no awareness of anythign around them at all (note I said generally - some do, but more don't than do).

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Trebles all round: The BBC's won this licence fee showdown

John Robson
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Re: Expanded it onto computers...

@Daniel Hutty

Easy enough to misread ;)

I've no idea what order posts arrive in, or what the time delay is, it seems somewhat variable.

Legislative change - hooray, so it'll be screwed up whatever it is...

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John Robson
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Re: Expanded it onto computers...

@Daniel Hutty

There were no posts visible when I posted my comment.

But your "yes" doesn't really help with regard to the iPlayer or everything question.

Other posts (may be yours, I can't see them now that I'm replying) imply that it's iPlayer only.

Oh well. I'll just drop iPlayer from my NowTV box(es).

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John Robson
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Expanded it onto computers...

It has been on computers for a long while - anything watched live is subject to the Licence fee.

Or are they now trying to claim it for on demand content - just iPlayer or anything?

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Police investigate strange case of doughnut-licking pop singer Ariana Grande

John Robson
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@AC - renouncing American citizenship has a variety of negative consequences.

Whilst I agree that most USians didn't have a choice about where they were born (not many people do) I'm intruiged why renouncing US citizenship has negative consequences? I mean I'm assuming that you are taking up citizenship of some other country, not just renouncing all citizenship...

Nationalism: The belief that your country is the best because you were born there...

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Someone at Subway is a serious security nerd

John Robson
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Re: Subway devs employ security by design

@djack - running an updated custom firmware that my bank deems to be insecure.

Your bank doesn't deem it insecure, they just haven't checked.

And why should they, care I mean. It's the OS - that's the user's responsibility isn't it?

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The Empire Strikes Back: Disney tractor-beams StarWars.co.uk from Brit biz

John Robson
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Re: Or....

@Andrew Richards

I probably agree with you with regard to actively used characters/universes - but there is a huge catalogue of very old material which is no longer developed, most of the relevant creatives are long dead. But full copyright protection still applies.

Of course if you try to define that then you end up with disney releasing pointless and garbage prequels with "characters" like Jar Jar....

But overall I don't see why the creative work in designing a character should be more protected than the billions of pounds of research which go into the development of drugs, or any other technology...

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John Robson
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Re: Cuts both ways...

@FlatSpot...

You'll not that that was a rival, using their name in their own business field.

Rather than this, which is a reseller using the name of the company whose good they are selling - with an obvious redirect to their own site when you select any item.

There is no chance of confusion here...

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John Robson
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Re: Or....

@Andrew Richards

Because copyright was instantiated to protect creative works for a certain time - much the same as patents.

After a time the copyright protection is rescinded, and others can make derivative works. Of course the mouse company then lobbied for extension after extension such that copyright is now for a few centruries after the owners death. Then they register a corporation (which cannot die) as the owner, so that copyright is eternal.

That was not the intention of copyright law.

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Number 5 is alive! VirtualBox the fifth debuts

John Robson
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Re: VirtualBox RPMs have the version number in the package name field

@Richard Lloyd

Is that to prevent accidental updates for the cautious, but more to the point, don't they have virtual packages whci point to the most recent version?

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China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America

John Robson
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Surely they'll be

designing this to be a hyperloop, if that tech is also being considered elsewhere...

That makes it 1800mph, rather than 200, which rather changes the travel times...

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