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* Posts by Nic Brough

160 posts • joined 2 Jun 2008

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Microsoft takes hard line on Win 7 hardware

Nic Brough

Hmm.

The MS hardware I've got is generally quite nice. Makes me suspect that it's someone else's work, rebranded, but it all works fine under Ubuntu. More than I can say for the Vista debacle, where the computer was useless, and it's not exactly working great under Win 7 beta either.

As Tom says, I'm expecting a very quick u-turn from them, or a referral to the EU monopolies/competition people...

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Kettering to London: 18 hours by rail, bus and pack mule

Nic Brough
Coat

@Peter Thomas

>No, Wellingborough to London takes 1 hour minimum - if you're lucky.

It's a bit under that now, but it's definitely slower than it was when I started commuting - it used to be 46 minutes, and usually arriving 5 minutes early, but with 1 or 2 trains a week suffering significant delays because of the wrong type of cow eating a junction box at an unknown location in Somerset...

Nowadays, we get slower, less frequent and more overcrowded trains, because EMT have cut services previously run relatively well by Midland mainline (never thought I'd be praising them!), but the excuses are a little more informative.

Sounds to me like they're trying to blame their re-routing software for this 245 mile diversion, which isn't really fair, because it was never designed to handle the sort of wholesale mess EMT is making of "running" the railway.

I didn't get where I am today by having a box set of "Reginald (not Reggie) Perrin" in my coat pocket.

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UK.gov denies 'Google tax' plan

Nic Brough
Coat

Whut?

April first was last month?

Mine's the one with a small Fusilli bush in the pocket...

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Ofcom gets puffed out over wind turbines

Nic Brough

Title?

So how come other countries are littered with wind farms and not having these problems?

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Carbon capture would create fizzy underground oceans

Nic Brough
Coat

Hmm

>North Sea could turn to Perrier, cautions prof

Surely it would be more like <big name soft drink>. Just some sort of fizzy stuff loaded with pollutants? Probably still taste better than Perrier too.

Mine's the one with the bottle of tap water in the pocket.

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Competition Commission scuppers Capita takeover

Nic Brough
Joke

probably a duplicate, but

Crapita provide services? I knew I'd spot the Reg doing an April fool story today.

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Grey squirrels invade Nutt house

Nic Brough
Joke

Meh

I moved into a house recently where the surveyor noted "a significant infestation of squirrels in the attic".

The scrabbling in the walls stopped inside a week - the cat has a lovely squirrel-fur coat, and a large cheque from Walkers Crisps Ingredients Acquisition department ;-)

Joking aside (Cajun Squirrel crisps are vegetarian), the nut-ridden little maniacs have all vanished since the cat moved in.

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EU demands 20% energy cut from tech industry

Nic Brough

Grr

Dumb idea - if they really want reduce energy usage (and presumably this is one of those "green" directives) then IT energy use needs to rise, not fall. The energy cost of a few emails and a video conferencing has to be lower than hauling my sorry butt miles via car/plane/train. Computers could (not "will", but "could") help crunch the numbers to get us more efficient distribution networks and distribute information at a very low energy cost, etc etc etc.

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Battlestar Galactica eyes 'technology run amok'

Nic Brough

Humph

No Starbuck.

They could have at least got one little cameo in, I was very intrigued about the suggestion of using him as "new" Starbuck's dad in a flashback or something.

I loved the use of Richard Hatch though - old Apollo runs straight into a fight with the new one in the episode they introduce him

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Government flags ID cost increase

Nic Brough

Title

Oh look - the totally unpredicted and unforeseen "we're going to have to increase the price"

I'm vaguely surprised on the timing - it's about 6 months earlier than expected. And I'm with Ash on the first comment.

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Lights out, Britons told - we're running out of power

Nic Brough
Unhappy

So

They're bleating about low-energy bulbs making up 20% of our domestic usage. I'm not too worried about the exact effects of that here (cos the writer and other comments have already made my points)

But what about the rest?

The office I work in burns more electricity lighting the building overnight when it's empty than my house lights would burn if I left them on for a year.

There are shops throughout my town centre lit 24/7.

One set of (ignored and boring) Christmas lights in my town burns the same as my entire house including the Wii, the telly and the cat warming mat.

Advertising hoardings are back lit 24/7.

There are street lights outside my house firing huge amounts of photons straight up instead of at the road and pavements (reflectors anyone?)

There are escalators in my shopping centre running for 10-12 hours a day, ferrying people with perfectly good legs down stairs (up, I can see, for the infirm, but the handful who can't do down can take a lift), and that helps with our obesity problems... not.

Basically, I'm sick of the "go green at home" message - I've done my bit, now please go hassle people who can really make a difference.

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Sadville transports shaggers to porncentration camp

Nic Brough
Paris Hilton

Hmm

>Simply defining 'Adult' content is not easy

Paris Hilton might know...

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ID and Passport Service brings in ad men

Nic Brough

Eh?

Surely it would be better to get the Orang Utan to run the ID card scheme than just advertise it?

I'd trust "a size eight body in a size 12 skin" with a banana fetish infinitely more than the government with any ID information.

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US cops called to McDonalds menu cock-up

Nic Brough
Coat

@Sarah Bee - Wednesday 4th March 2009 15:23 GMT

>IT workers eat junk food

Hey! Pizza isn't junk food - it's got fruit (tomato) AND veg (jalapeno) on it!

Mine's the one with a pizza delivery menu and a US "refund acquisition utility" in the pocket, as suggested in the bootnote...

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NZ unleashes sonic Manilow weapon

Nic Brough
Coat

Gnnh

I'm far too old to be considered a mall rat, or unruly yoof (the phrases "white-haired" or "wrinkly" are much more likely to be muttered).

But you can count me out if they play Manilow at me in a shopping centre. I'll be getting my coat and leaving faster than the unruly teens.

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Barclays heralds new wave of wallet-waving

Nic Brough
Unhappy

Barge pole, not touching tag?

So, are they going to implement anything resembling security on these things? I'm thinking of how secure Oyster is as a relevant example.

No? What a surprise. I'll be using those small metal or linen tokens until they sign a contract that makes them liable for any and all of any loss I report to them (unless Bruce Scheier or Ross Anderson can prove I was acting fraudulently)

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Woolies Pic'n'Mix bows out with eBay auction

Nic Brough
Coat

Nice!

It's worth more than Woolies itself ;-)

Mine's the one with the bag of those little brightly coloured slightly fizzy ones you never knew the name for.

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Robert Llewellyn drops Red Dwarf clanger

Nic Brough
Thumb Up

Sadly

Red Dwarf has never been like dogs milk. You can tell when it's gone off.

For me, the first two series were near flawless, every episode was excellent. The next four were patchy, but turned out some really superb episodes, along with a few "meh" ones, especially where Rimmer faded out. The last two were weak, could have been done better, and threw away too much of the premise of the original.

Still, I'll hope for the best for the new episodes.

And yes, Grogan is Kochanski. (Sorry Chloe, not your fault, you landed a duff one there, it's like trying to play Dracula after Christopher Lee - you can try, but you'll never quite get it)

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Kiwis go all black over copyright enforcement laws

Nic Brough

Hmm

I joined Twitter just to see why the press kept rambling about it. Not sure I can be bothered to use it much (although the KDE4 widget thingy is nice). Is that what the bootnote was about?

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Operators and handset vendors plug standard charger

Nic Brough

Oooh

Standards? Whatever next?

Seriously, only 15 years later than they should have thought about it. And just in time for us to all start swapping to inductance chargers. I'd call them Muppets, but that's unfair on the Muppets.

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Pilots boycott gov ID cards

Nic Brough
Coat

@bbuckle

>>"...does anyone other than Wacky Jacqui want ID cards?"

>Haven't you heard? Apparently she is constantly accosted by people in the street demanding she speed up the introduction of ID cards.

Good grief, that's some powerful weed she's on, if it can induce hallucinations like that. Better find some scientific advice to ignore and reclassify it again.

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BT profits crash

Nic Brough
Thumb Up

Yep

The business model is shot. People are less and less interested in landlines, mobiles are far more useful. Broadband could rescue them, especially as part of a package, but they've chosen to shoot that down in flames by offering a middle-of-the-road service with Phorm and throttling thrown in.

Cost, speed/throttling and monitoring are the only things a user is really interested in when it comes to broadband, and they've decided to make themselves repulsive on all three counts.

They deserve to wither and die if they don't change.

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Virgin Media trials longer bandwidth throttling

Nic Brough
Unhappy

Nope

Well, normally I'd bang on about throttling being unacceptable. But it doesn't matter, because my experience of NTL and the possibility of being badly inPHORMed would drive me off anyway.

Oh, and if the PR people are capable of lying with such incompetance (last paragraph), then I've got even less confidence in the management.

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Norfolk town's schools first to be heated by burning cattle

Nic Brough
Happy

Title

I think vegetarians should approve - the animals are dead already, why waste the oil?

The vege's who don't like the way we farm animals are looking at the other end of the cycle - the actual demand for animals as food. I could understand objections if the animals were being farmed just for their oils, but they aren't, it's a by-product. if it were just oil, the farmers would grow a plant it's easy to convert into heating oil - far more efficient.

Oh, although if the heating goes wrong and the smell of cooking bacon wafts through the school too often...

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We need cheap, abundant energy. Here's how

Nic Brough
Happy

@Dr Stephen Jones

Hmm, well, it's a nice try but you've walked straight into the usual trap - not bothering to read or think about what was posted.

First, I made no claims as to the veracity of the models - this is simply what we are being told by climatologists talking about "climate change" and "global warming".

Secondly, your end summary "Heads I win, Tails you lose" is absolutely correct and is exactly what they are telling you, and as I am guessing that your opinion is that climate-change is a myth, I'm sad to see you walk straight into their trap and agree with them!

Finally, yes, it's simplistic language that doesn't help either side's case, and I didn't express my point that people need to try to listen and read more before their knees start jerking. Your response proves it.

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Nic Brough
Unhappy

@jai

It's comments like that which show why people talk about "climate change". Global warming means overall average warming, but the masses did not manage to grasp that global warming does not mean "everywhere gets warmer at the same time". Some places may cool during climate shifts, but the average global temperature rises and global warming tends to mean "more extreme weather events". Including deep freezes.

A more long-term cooling for the UK is a distinct possibility in climate models where the North Atlantic circulation shuts down - global warming causes it, but the net effect is every winter looking like the one we're having now. Gradually, overall global warming would cancel it out, but it would still mean a couple of centuries of significantly colder weather here than we've been having since I was born.

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Doner kebabs: Death wrapped in pitta bread

Nic Brough

title

The BBC are asking if this report "would put you off eating a Doner Kebab".

My answer is "No, the look, smell and taste are enough to put me off"

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Iron Maiden axe cut ribbon on 'rock’n’roll' hotel

Nic Brough
Thumb Up

@AC Monday 16:19

>I worked in an office next door at no.22 Warwick Street

I'm really glad you weren't at 22 Acacia Avenue...

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DARPA seeks spraycan wound-polyfilla* for injured troops

Nic Brough
Coat

@RainyRat

>No Goons?

>What, no reference to "Leggo - the wonder leg grower!"

Sssh, they're keeping that quiet because they'd have to admit the invention of "Footo - the wonder boot exploder". Not to mention Scradj, which would upset all the physicists.

<Waits for audience applause, not a sausage, exits stage left, getting coat on the way>

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Prisoner star Patrick McGoohan dies at 80

Nic Brough
Unhappy

RIP

A sad day, we have lost a brilliant actor who portrayed an iconic hero.

We all need a Number 6 to keep asking questions about our freedom, and I wish we had more actors of McGoohan's caliber.

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Cows can't detect earthquakes: Official

Nic Brough
Coat

Title

Can someone check if they were testing the Milton Keynes cows, or the slightly more natural variety?

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ASA rules on 'USB Fornication Optimiser'

Nic Brough
Coat

Title

How do we complain about people who complain about this sort of thing?

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UK scientists hit by lack of brains

Nic Brough
Jobs Halo

A title is required.

Hmm. Another option for the BofH and PFY "critical capacity optimisation" planning? There's only so much room under that patio you know...

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Mobiles finally admitted to English hospitals

Nic Brough
Thumb Down

A title is required.

On the technical side - is there any peer-reviewed evidence that mobiles ever interfered with hospital equipment? I couldn't find any. IMHO, the real reason they're banned is for yet another private company to bludgeon cash out of people by providing a vastly over priced "service" <insert rant about trains, buses, parliament, Brussels as appropriate>

On the human side, FFS, ban the damn things, the doctors don't want them, the nurses don't want them, and the patients don't need them.

The best thing hospitals can do is retain the ban, ideally enforcing it even more strongly than now, and leave patients in peace - hospitals are supposed to help you recover, and being annoyed by someone blathering away on a mobile is never going to help that.

It's bad enough on the train. If our government wanted us to be healthy, they could reduce stress and heart disease overnight by painting public transport with conductive paint.

Yeah, I know, hospital is where most people go to die, and are excellent places to catch a dose of C-Diff, Ebola, or MRSA, but at least give us a bit of peace while we're there! First thing I'll be asking for if I wake up in A&E will be a jammer...

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HMRC gets it wrong on one in ten personal records

Nic Brough
Thumb Up

@AC 14:29

>Result - nobody in government is interested in fixing problems that are of their own making. And we have no idea where to go to get this fixed.

>Any suggestions?

Actually, yes, two. You've already mentioned one possible one - getting the justice sytems involved. Ok, so the police are ignoring it, but it's worth chasing. Try contacting the IPCC, after warning your local police force that you are going to unless they take action. I've found this usually gets you something - at least a decent explanation of why they've not done anything, plus some often useful suggestions of what you can try next (and, no, I don't mean suggestions like "stick it where the sun don't shine", I do honestly mean that my local police officer apologised for their inaction and recommended two organisations to talk to who actually were able to help) Another option is to threaten the tax office with civil actions, from loss of earnings, loss of your time, distress or even getting data protection notices taken out on them.

The other trick which worked for a friend of mine was deed poll. She changed her name for personal reasons, not thinking about tax, but when she informed various government agencies, it seemed to throw all their systems into some sort of reset mode - they all asked for stacks of previous identity information, and somehow managed to sort out her income tax, NI and work records because they couldn't make sense of her previous identity (because they'd f****d it up themselves).

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Terry Pratchett knighted for services to literature

Nic Brough
Thumb Up

About time

What took them so long?

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Big Blue urged to open Notes and Domino

Nic Brough

@Kevin Mort

>Well at least we only muster three (grumpy, DJ and one AC) who are of the bash Notes crowd that generally haven't used the product since like R4 and just like to make noise.

Fair enough if your "bash Notes crowd" was a horde of noisy users who haven't used it since R4. But it isn't. The crowd in question certainly includes them, but the vast majority of it are on later releases, up to and including 8 (an improvement, as one AC already mentioned) and it is still almost universally reviled by the end user. Also, this crowd is not just a small fraction of end users - it's almost every single one of them.

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Photography: Yes, you have rights

Nic Brough
Black Helicopters

title

>Aggressive use of their cameras?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The only protection we have against totalitarianism is the ability to hold up the police and other governmental organisations to scrutiny by the masses. We need to know when they're being brutal, over bearing or oppressive. We need to know when they are on the take, covering up or framing people. We need to know when they are incompetant, selfish, or even just being a little bit human and making mistakes. It doesn't matter what it is, the police need to be watched.

The right to monitor the police in the execution of their duties, under any circumstances, should be high on the list of fundamental human rights.

Simply put, the police need to be watched, and should never have any right to stop us watching them.

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MSI mobo ditches Bios for EFI

Nic Brough

Gnn

Why? Why do we need this? I need a BIOS that does the basics, and has a minimal set of failure points. A gui is an unnecessary failure point, and now you're asking hardware manufacturers to add further failure points in their firmware too.

If it's fully usable with a keyboard, why do I need a load of garish headache inducing colours splattered all over it? It's a pretty safe bet that if I'm diving through BIOS settings, I've already got a damn headache.

Ok, some people need to fiddle with their BIOS, fine, and the current interfaces aren't exactly brilliant, but they don't need to be "improved" this way.

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Home Office death list 'stops ID fraud'

Nic Brough

title

Anyone care to add a certain Jacqui Smith to it, before she just admits her real name is O'Brien?

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Last Xmas for CDs, please, researcher tells music biz

Nic Brough
Stop

Title

I know I won't be the first to say it, but this won't work. The minimum requirement for a music distribution route to be successful now is that it provides the end user with music that they have chosen to buy, they can backup, is of decent quality, can be used on any device they see fit and sold on when no longer wanted. Audio CDs and DRM-free digital tracks (whether legal or not) are currently the only formats that meets these requirements.

Kill off CDs and the end user will move to the only other useful format, which generally means even less money as it's mostly pirate copies.

If the music industry is serious about getting rid of CDs, then they have to get rid of any form of invasive DRM (which probably means all of it), and, shock-horror, start selling *quality* music at a reasonable price, most of which which demonstrably goes back to the artist (that's my pet hate - I want to pay artists for my enjoyment of their work, not hear that my cash is being snorted up some nameless record executives nose). Or come up with a new business model, such as giving away the music and selling the gigs and merchandise instead.

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Ohio prof develops CCTV people-tracker 'ware

Nic Brough
Black Helicopters

And

they wonder why law abiding people like me have started wearing "hoodies"

Stop watching me! I'm not doing anything wrong, but that does not mean I am happy with being watched.

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Dogs and arson feature in top 10 data recovery disasters

Nic Brough
Happy

Is it just me

Or is there more than a hint of BofH and PFY activity in that list?

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Jacqui calls Vodafone man to run massive snoop database

Nic Brough
Black Helicopters

Gwan

> if you've nothing to hide then you've nothing to fear

Type it into a search engine. Read.

If you still have nothing to hide afterwards, then I look forward to receiving a copies of your most recent credit card bill, banks statement, and passport. When are you taking down the curtains in your house?

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Scottish firm pays £120,000 over unlicensed software

Nic Brough
Black Helicopters

@Robert Moore 15:51

> I still want to know where they derive their legal authority.

IANAL of course, but my nutshell understanding is that it is the same place you and I do if we are the copyright holder, or acting on the behalf of the copyright holder. The article states "sued for copyright infringement", which is a civil action and can be initiated by anyone with a greivance.

I suspect you're thinking of Plod kicking the door in, in which case the organisation has to convince the Peelers (or magistrate, or both, I'm not sure) that there is reasonable cause to do so before it happens (in theory... and you're not a member of her majesties opposition)

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DfT spends £81m to save £57m

Nic Brough
Joke

So...

... we now know JIMTHEBOSS works for the DfT

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Browsers fail password protection tests

Nic Brough
Black Helicopters

Title

Pleasantly surprised - IE7 scored 5, which is 2 less than Opera and Firefox, 3 more than Safari and Chrome and 8 or 9 more than I was expecting...

I'd be very interested in the results if some of the browsers had some of the regularly used options enabled - "privacy" modes and Firefox+NoScript for example.

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Mixed reviews for semen-based recipe book

Nic Brough
Paris Hilton

Question

Is it vegetarian?

Obviously, it's not vegan, but the most common form of real vegetarianism allows for things that can be extracted from animals without killing or maiming them - primarily eggs and milk, so my bet is that this is ok too!

Someone beat me to the Paris jokes, but I still needed a ? icon

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Public support for ID cards dips to 55 per cent

Nic Brough
Thumb Up

Good

Sadly, the report makes the usual mistake, and doesn't list the questions that were asked, which means it is questionable at best. We need to know what questions were asked, so that we can work out how biased (or not) the questions were in favour of ID cards.

For those of you who want to know why statistics like this tend to be useless without the questions, please look up "Sir Humphrey Appleby", "National Service" and "Yes Minister".

Anyway, there is some good news - if it asked the same questions as the last time, then we at least know there is a downward trend on support for ID cards.

I have to say that I find 55% support sounds wildly inaccurate to me, I'd have expected a 25% support score from a neutral set of questions.

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Atari promises it won't suck this time

Nic Brough
Thumb Down

HowTo fix this

* Take one well known brand with some kudos behind it

* Get together the guys from a respected team with known hits (Black Isle, I'm looking at you!)

* Give them money, coffee, and time (and gadgets, we like gadgets)

* Do not tie their hands with product tie-ins, let them write games they want to write.

* Get rid of the salesmen, PHBs and all the corporate marketing drek

Atari have fecked up the last two points. I believe a common Internet phrase would be along the lines of "Epic Failure", if I have been translating "Please provide me with a cheese burger" idiot script back into English correctly.

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