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* Posts by SkippyBing

623 posts • joined 21 May 2008

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NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'

SkippyBing

Re: We know, you know.

I'd suggest if your friend was in the TA his background may have been more thoroughly checked than your average punter at the airport. The questions about your relatives on the standard security vetting form are almost as intrusive as the State Departments visa application for people from the Middle East. Mind you they don't seem to notice if you make stuff up on that as the 50 members of the Iraqi Navy I completed the forms for all got in and out okay and I made half of it up...

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SkippyBing

Re: We know, you know.

You have a naive, almost childlike, belief in the competence of government organisations.

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Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

SkippyBing

Re: You always need extra fuel!

If only there was some way to defend the supply ships, maybe you could use aircraft...

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SkippyBing

Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

'Scimitars had fallen out of operational use at sea by 1966.'

As had the Buccaneer S1 which was the model that couldn't get off the deck with full weapons and fuel. The S2 had about 50℅ more thrust so was far less limited in what it could launch with and so less reliant on tankers. And actually useful as a tanker.

If you want to be really pedantic you could point out that of the two carriers that deployed the Mk1 Buccaneer only Eagle carried Scimitar tankers as Victorious didn't have the room. This meant the Vixens of 893 had to double up as tankers as the S1 Bucc was pointless in the role as it couldn't carry enough spare fuel, much like a marinised Typhoon would be.

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SkippyBing

Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

'Considering that Nimrods were Comet 1 airframes (yes, the very same that embarrassingly broke up in flight) I reckon they did pretty well.'

Yeah, until one blew up in mid air killing 14 people because BAe Systems lied about the safety case .

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SkippyBing

Re: Bust-up

@Alan Edwards

That's kind of my point, they adjust for different aircraft by altering the steam pressure, it's really the only variable there is. That's why in the linked pictures of cars and pianos going off the bow they don't go that far to avoid damaging the cat. Although you do wonder why they didn't try full pressure on the piano they launched off the Ark at the end of her last commission, it's not like they were going to use it again!

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SkippyBing

Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

'Well thats what you get if you don't build it here'

As I understand it BAe are also making part of the fuselage of every F-35. In fact something like 20% of the total build is from UK industry, which over the course of the programme will probably be of greater value than if we had a 100% UK built aircraft and then only brought a hundred or so of them.

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SkippyBing

Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

'Ignoring buddy-refuelling tanks, you mean?'

There's not a lot of fuel in buddy-buddy tanks*, normally the tanker also transfers fuel from it's internal tankage and as many external tanks they can hang off the thing. Ideally you want a tanker carrying as much fuel as possible, not launching one tanker per fighter as you'd soon run out of room on the boat.

There's also the issue of arrested landings where you need a tanker airborne to top up anyone who's delayed landing for whatever reason** otherwise you soon run out of aircraft as they typically only plan to have enough fuel for a couple of approaches, to minimise landing mass. For VSTOL aircraft this is less of a problem as they seem to get the landing right first time.

V-22 could work and would be an idea for F-35 as well, plus they'd make a more useful AEW platform. Alas I don't think the Treasury/Defence Logistics would be happy adding another type to the UK order of battle as they've spent the last few years trying to get us down to two fast jet and four helicopter platforms. Although it's still going to be a decade or so for that last one to pan out.

*In absolute terms there's quite a bit but not in fast jet terms and then half the tank is gubbins for transferring fuel.

**Either messing up their own approach a number of times, or someone else doing it and causing the recovery time to slip right.

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SkippyBing

Re: a navalised Typhoon

'You've never been in that position because you've never done any commercial or military flying. '

Wrong on both counts. I've never thought 'oh, if only I had less fuel and couldn't fly as long'!, this doesn't mean I've always flown with a full fuel load it just means on those occasions I haven't I've cursed Westlands for their general inability to manufacture a half decent aircraft, or the passengers for never saying no to dessert.

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SkippyBing

Re: SkippyBing a navalised Typhoon

True, but if the best you can do is launch a Typhoon with an air to air load and partial fuel I can't see you getting a second one off the deck with enough fuel to transfer across. With the F-4 the catapults could get you off the deck with a full air to ground weapons load and as much fuel as you had room for. The second Phantom could then load up with full internal and external fuel and top up a number of other aircraft once they'd climbed to altitude and got to a more efficient flight regime.

A better comparison might be the Buccaneer S1, which like the Typhoon, couldn't get off the deck with a full weapons load and fuel because of some rather anaemic engines and weak catapults on the carriers in service. In that case tankers were used, but they were normally Scimitars, which could launch with full internal fuel and an external tank on each pylon. But that's not an option for Typhoon as if we had a fighter that could launch with that much payload we'd probably want to use it instead!

TL;DR, You need a tanker that can carry lots of fuel, Typhoon can't.

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SkippyBing

Re: a navalised Typhoon

'Fuel management is an art'

True, but I've never been in a position where I've thought 'oh, if only I had less fuel and couldn't fly as long'!

My point was more that you should have the option of launching with a full fuel load as a matter of course which doesn't appear to be an option with a theoretical navalised Typhoon.

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SkippyBing

Re: Bust-up

The problem with launching a bus, car or indeed upright piano from a steam catapult is that it doesn't weigh as much as a fully loaded jet fighter. This means if you use the same steam pressure as you'd use for a jet on a bus the underdeck parts of the catapult will fuse together at the end of the run due to the much higher terminal speed. So ultimately it's still only going to come off the end of the ship at around 140 knots.

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r209/TurboBob/Military/ArkRoyalPianoLaunch-2_zps0af25ec5.jpg

Of course if you're not worried about writing off the catapult it could be quite interesting...

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SkippyBing

Re: No catapult, no use...

The decision to go VSTOL rather than have catapults was made a long time ago by someone who didn't understand that just because we were currently using Harriers didn't mean we always would be. And by a long time ago I mean last century, and presumably by someone who didn't understand the question.

However it may surprise you to know that many countries operate carriers using helicopters for AWACS, such as the Sea King Mk7, and manage to do COD with helicopters without dying of scurvy or running out of spares. Is it the gold plated perfect solution, no, but it works. People have even won wars with it.

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SkippyBing

Re: a navalised Typhoon

' not really much need for extra fuel'

You always need extra fuel!

I'm also not totally convinced by simulations from the people trying to sell you the aircraft, especially when BAe Systems are involved. I'm also not convinced by the argument that it would mostly be on fleet defence, if we'd had them for the last decade they would have been doing what the USN has been and launching with a full air to ground load, crossing over Pakistan and supporting ground forces in Afghanistan.

The recovery options for Typhoon aren't great either, all the simulations I've read about pointed out that to get down to landing speed the nose would be so high the pilot wouldn't be able to see the ship. And it's not a small ship.

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SkippyBing

Re: You think aircraft carriers are expensive...

To be fair they're not that expensive, less than two weeks of benefits and pensions payments. Or about 18 months of TV licence fees.

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SkippyBing

Re: a navalised Typhoon

Oh you could get a Typhoon off a ski jump well enough, it's just useful things like weapons and fuel you'd have to leave behind. Which is presumably why you never seem to see Russian Navy Flankers launching with anything more than a couple of air to air missiles.

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Tesla, Nissan, BMW mull all-for-plug, plug-for-all electrocar charger plan

SkippyBing

Re: Battery Cars.

I'm also fairly sure most cars have an electric motor, if only to spin the internal combustion one up to speed!

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Whoops! Google's D-Day Doodle honors ... Japan

SkippyBing

Re: Why is "identical" good?

You may want to get better textbooks.

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Hey sailor, fancy putting your hands all over a NeRD fondleslab?

SkippyBing

Re: Shipboard Hardware

Hmm, I don't recognise that as a problem this side of the pond, possibly because everything is someone's 'my' as they've signed for it and have to return it in the condition it was issued or be fined. Certainly we had a number of non-ruggedised laptops used for a variety of purposes that had lasted years. On the flip side when I worked with the USN there seemed to be a greater availability of kit so it may be that there's less tendency to look after something if you know it can be replaced without having to spend a week begging stores to give you the last one on the shelf.

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SkippyBing

Re: Shipboard Hardware

My Kindle seems to have managed happily onboard a number of naval vessels and remains perfectly usable, as do all my other electronic devices, so you may be over estimating the challenge.

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A first-world problem solved: Panoramic selfies, thanks to Huawei's Ascend P7

SkippyBing

Re: Truisms Spoken Aloud

Sorry, you're saying there are people in the USA who're embarrassed to be heard pronouncing words incorrectly? It's just it doesn't seem to stop them trying to say Jaguar, route, schedule, herb...

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Sony Xperia Z2: 4K vid, great audio, waterproof ... Oh, and you can make a phone call

SkippyBing

Inadvertantly dropped my Z1 onto concrete while slightly hungover and handing it to a mate so I could get a hand free. After bouncing from its back onto its front there were a few more scratches on the screen protector it ships with but apart from that it was fine, even took it into the pool later to take some photos with no ill effects.

I just need to replace the screen protector now, and resist the urge to get a Z2...

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Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight

SkippyBing

Re: Flight Route

I'd imagine it's because they don't want to take something that delicate through the inter tropical convergence zone (ITCZ). That's a more or less permanent line of thunderstorms around the equator, there's a degree of modification with time of year and land mass but either way the massive updrafts can push planes way above their operating limits, Flight of the Mew Gull by Alex Henshaw gives a vivid account of flying through it at night.

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5 Eyes in the Sky: The TRUTH about Flight MH370 and SPOOKSATS

SkippyBing

Re: Rolls-Royce monitoring system

I guess that can be turned off as well!? Yes, or at least the transmitter part can.

Just about every electrical component on an aircraft can be isolated, it's almost as if they're worried about fire. This is a requirement of the certification regulations which for a Boeing 777 is probably FAR part 25.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

SkippyBing

Re: A simple test…

'One problem though is that the satellite will presumably be in a different position'

That'd be an interesting geostationary satellite if it is...

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SkippyBing

Re: Another interesting hypothesis

'More likely the plane would be hit when on the ground, due to time plane is on the ground vs. airborne.'

Due to the cost of parking at an international airport most in service airliners spend more time airborne than on the ground.

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SkippyBing

Re: Spy satellite?

Re positive control, if you can figure out how to actively monitor the airspace more than ~200NM from land so they can do that then I suggest you patent it before going public. Once you're out of radar cover it's procedural reporting of the airliners position by the crew. To date this has proven remarkably reliable, in several decades they've only mislaid about 1 jet airliner.

Re spy satellites, oddly they tend not to monitor the open ocean on a regular basis because there's not a lot there to look at, the odd ship maybe but it's not an efficient way of doing it. You are effectively looking down a straw at the surface of the Earth, so you have to know where to look before you can make out the detail. Repositioning a satellite to scan the search area is an expensive task, although at the rate it's currently expanding that may change...

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SkippyBing

Re: Ping

I don't see why, the only satellite that would have been listening for them is the INMARSAT over the Indian Ocean. Others may have been in a position to receive it, but unless they were listening out for it it's unlikely they'd even log it.

The other problem you'd have is that the INMARSAT knows when it transmitted the signal so has the round trip time to give a range, other satellites wouldn't have that information. You could possibly recreate something with timestamps but I doubt they're of the accuracy you'd need to get a decent fix, even half a second at the speed of light is a long way.

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SkippyBing

Re: That arc seems a bit simplistic to me

I believe that's what they've done, which is why you see two arcs, starting an hours flying after the last known position, rather than a circle.

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SkippyBing

As I understand it, the arcs are the 5 or 6 pings joined together.

Remember, they know where the plane started from so you're only interested in the bit of the first range ring that's within a sensible distance of that. I.e. draw the range ring on a map. then draw a ring representing the max distance the airliner could have gone since its last transmission and where they intersect is your first point. Repeat for the next 5 pings and you get a line, as you only have the range you can't tell whether it went north or south.

The line they've drawn is really a datum to search from, there could be quite a bit of deviation from it depending on the actual speed of the airliner, but if the range to the satellite is changing you have to assume the aircraft is moving.

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Malaysia Airlines mystery: Click here for the TRUTH

SkippyBing

Re: So what is going on?

'What is its actual spatial resolution of genuine radar echoes?'

It depends on a variety of things, but mainly the ratio of the wavelength to the dish size, the bigger the dish the tighter the beam, and the pulse length i.e. the time the radar is transmitting for. The problem is the longer the range you want the worse these factors become as you need to pump enough energy into a pulse to get a detectable return after its travelled several hundred miles.

Even if your beam is 1/2 a degree in width by the time you've hit 120 miles it'll be a mile wide and probably half a mile or so in depth (this doesn't change with range).

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SkippyBing

Re: So what is going on?

'Someone needs to urgently re-do the risk analysis here. Yes, there's a (tiny?) fire risk in having some active electronics on a plane that cannot be disabled by any volitional act in flight.'

Put it this way, you've heard of one aircraft disappearing which may have been helped by the transponder being turned off. What you don't hear about is the hundreds of times the crew have had to turn it off for whatever reason, e.g. fire, or in the kind of underpowered things I fly load-shedding so the battery will last longer when the generator fails.

I'd say the risk to life from not being able to selectively isolate every bit of electrical equipment is greater than that from someone using that ability for nefarious purposes.

There's an analysis here: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/analysis-sabotage-most-common-factor-in-en-route-accidents-396830/ of the 46 jet airliner en-route fatal accidents, which I think puts this case into perspective in terms of numbers.

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SkippyBing

Re: The Most Bonkers Explanation award goes to...

'And formidable, victorious, courageous, and majestic.'

Not to mention Implacable and Audacious...

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Elon Musk slams New Jersey governor over Tesla direct sales ban

SkippyBing

Re: "Unless they are referring to the mafia version of 'protection'"

'Haven't we learned from bank bailouts, rate fixing and auto maker bailouts that free markets are a total joke'. At least two of those aren't examples of free markets. In a free market the banks would have been allowed to fail allowing the banks that weren't run by a colony of inept monkeys to take over their share of the market, ditto the auto makers. Unfortunately we don't have a free market because that wouldn't allow politicians to look like they're doing something.

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Frenchman eyes ocean domination with floating, mobile Bond villain lair

SkippyBing

Bit League Division 2

I mean any self respecting evil genius would have a heli-pad on their aquatic lair. Certainly I'm not stumping up 40 Million Euro unless they add one.

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SkippyBing

Re: Not ideal for supervillains

Yeah, but it's a big ass ocean to search.

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Fandroids get their very own PERVY SMUT browser

SkippyBing

'The most effective form of control is one that people do themselves.'

If I had self control it wouldn't be a problem!

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Ofcom says yes to sat broadband on PLANES (and trains and ships)

SkippyBing

I think there may be issues with atmospheric attenuation, there's a lot less air between a plane and a satellite than there is between two planes at any decent range. Plus on something like a trans-Atlantic flight you'd be out of line of sight of anything in vicinity of land for most of the time anyway, obviouly you could relay through multiple aircraft but that would probably require a level of cooperation between airlines that they're unlikely to go for.

I suspect it may be easier tracking a geostationary satellite than another aircraft as well, the latter is a lot less predictable.

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LOHAN develops amazing mind-reading powers

SkippyBing

Masthead

I've just noticed what happens when you mouse over the mast head image. Very nice, more of this kind of thing!

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Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

SkippyBing

In the Rolls-Royce case, currently only BMW can manufacture and sell cars under the RR name as they brought the licence from RR Aero, who own the rights to the name but have been a separate company since 1973 when the government separated them due to the costs of developing the RB211 (now Trent) turbofan.

Oddly you could have Googled this and got the information from Wikipedia...

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Pinterest who? EU rules social network CAN'T trademark its own name

SkippyBing

Presumably people in their market have? Otherwise you're saying if a company isn't widely known because it works in a niche area it's trading name can be taken by one that is.

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What is the difference between a drone, a model and a light plane?

SkippyBing

Re: Do it for real . . .

I got my fixed wing PPL in the states back in '97 for around £2000 + flights & food, the accommodation was included in the price of the licence. You can either get an FAA licence and then convert it to an EASA* one when you get back to the UK, or go to one of the places that has EASA licensed examiners and get an EASA licence which is what I did. If you can spare the three weeks or so off I'd definitely recommend it as you can do two or three flights in a day and really notice your progression. Plus flying down Daytona beach and past Kennedy Space Centre isn't something you'd get to do on your UK Nav flights!

*When I did it it was the CAA but it's the same difference.

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SkippyBing

Re: Think they're against GA?

I don't think that'd be a major problem, for instance TCAS doesn't really care what the course of the other aircraft is, it just plots the bearing of the contact and its range, for an advisory it calculates the rate of closure to see if you're going to hit. For anything moving at a moderate speed a para-glider would be more or less a stationary contact. It should also reduce the ATC traffic reports where they can only tell you there's something near where you are, possibly, based on two faint radar returns and you spend the next few minutes being overly paranoid. Lots of returns in the same area shouldn't be a problem, although ATC may want to put a filter on that area if it gets too much.

Personally I'm in favour of anything that makes it more likely I won't hit the slow moving white thing against a background of slow moving white things, but apparantly glider pilots are less concerned about being hit because their planes blend in with the clouds.

Having said that I think it'll be another generation of transponders before there's one that's practical for use in unpowered air vehicles without having to carry a massive battery.

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Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

SkippyBing

I understand that the wood may have been invisible to radar, but what about the engines, they seem to be mostly lumps of metal with lots of lovely corner reflectors to return a signal. Not to mention the various other metal fittings inside the beast.

As for being offered Italian troops, I shall refer you to an Admiralty report on the Italian Navy prior to WW1 which essentially said, 'in the event of war we'd rather the Italian Navy was on our side, but on the whole it doesn't really matter'.

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SkippyBing

Re: Not the whole story about DH

'Another design flaw - they were very very dangerous to land on deck'

No more than any other carrier aircraft of the time to be honest and some of the US ones were worse*. The bigger problem with the Vixen was getting out of it in an emergency, the Observers ejector seat had a tendency to get stuck which lead to quite a high fatality rate even where there was plenty of time to sort things out. It was improved with the later hatch which you could eject through rather than having to jettison, certainly worked for my old man.

It's also worth bearing in mind that the prototype Vixen that crashed at Farnborough was pushing the limits of what was possible at the time and the stresses on the airframe weren't fully understood by anyone. Mind you I still don't get putting square windows in the Comet.

*There seemed to be a much greater tolerance for fatalities in the '60s, most probably due to a number of personnel having served in the war and being slightly inured to it.

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SkippyBing

Re: Mosquito

'the only jet to see squadron service during the war,'

Which does raise the question of what the RAF's 616 Squadron were flying from mid-44 onwards if it wasn't a jet fighter... <cough> Meteor </cough>

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SkippyBing

No, it was actually a target, it may also be the origin of the term 'Drone' for an unmanned aircraft, because it was a bee...

Bear in mind at the time they probably cost less than a few few shells for a battle ship so the expense wasn't that great and they 'optionally manned' to use the current term so it's not as if you couldn't get some use out of them first.

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

SkippyBing

'“We think it would be great if the BBC made Radio 1 or Radio 2 DAB only!”, Paul Keenan, Bauer CEO told the Go Digital festival'

I think it'd be great if Paul Keenan gave me all his money while being forced to listen to a legion of babbling DAB radios. Isn't it fun making up things that'll never happen...

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Excise Xmas prezzie indecision MISERY with El Reg’s gift guide²

SkippyBing

Re: Hard-learned lesson

" just bear in mind that as soon as you give someone any present that requires a plug or has an on/off function you are responsible for its correct operation forever"

And yet somehow it never occurs to them to call the f****ng support number until you mention it. Incidentally Asus tech support talked my Mum through fixing a problem with her Transformer over the phone so they get a big thumbs up from me.

Now I'm off to Google how to solve a problem with a software package I don't have on an operating system I don't own as apparently I'm still the best person to ask from 200 miles away...

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REVEALED: How YOU PAY extra for iPHONES - even if you DON'T HAVE ONE

SkippyBing

This real world thing, how does posting anonymously on an internet forum fit in with that?

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