* Posts by Fihart

912 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008

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Windows 10 marks the end of 'pay once, use forever' software

Fihart
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Now I can say no.

Granted, recent versions of Windows have been more reliable and included useful drivers. But, as other commentators have said, Linux is pretty viable now. In the past, every version I tried fell down on graphics or sound issues. Doubtless drivers could be found but usually not on the manufacturers' sites.

Installed the very slim Peppermint Linux this year and everything worked on both the machines I put it on -- amazingly, including wifi. Still looking for scanner software and a better screengrab application. But ease of use, speed, pain-free updates and seeming stability means I can now look at making Linux my main OS. It's already preferable for internet access just because it boots much faster.

Any Windows' improvements are not enough to justify the faff of installing and learning a vast new OS and its (doubtless) vast updates to fix the screwups inevitable in something so big

I suspect that if they could step outside the feature-led marketing approach and produce a slimline version of Windows, Microsoft would actually gain some friends among the tech community.

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Windows 10: Buy cheap, buy twice, right? Buy FREE ... buy FOREVER

Fihart
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Word Free

The "urban myth" that MS let Word get pirated seems more plausible when you consider that Microsoft Press did a roaring trade in an overpriced guide to using Word which more than replaced the printed manual that accompanied legitimate copies of the appplication.

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

Fihart
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Re: To paraphrase Reagan...

@ Charlie Clark

Hard to think of a firm that has less goodwill from its customers. Perhaps H.M. Prison Service is slightly less popular with users.

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Crazy Chrysler security hole: USB stick fix incoming for 1.4 million cars

Fihart
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look and learn

Before they start adding more pointless electronic complexity to their cars, Chrysler/GM/Ford should study German cars that are safe and durable, Japanese cars for reliability, Italians for style and performance.

With few exceptions (Studebaker Avanti, 1964 Buick Riviera, 1964 Mustang, 1970 Plymouth Barracuda, Corvair) most post-war American cars have been hideous and as horrible mechanically as they look.

Of course, US drivers expect to buy cars cheaper than almost anywhere in the world and they get what they pay for.

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

Fihart
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Re: So,an invasion route ...

Tunnel is never going to happen.

If you think UKIP times 12 you have the Republican Tea Party faction.

Historically, Teddy Roosevelt allowed Los Angeles to hijack water from Northern California in part because he saw building a second large city on the West Coast as a bulwark against potential Asian expansion.

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Microsoft starts switching on paid Wi-Fi service with latest Windows 10 preview

Fihart
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It's just business. Nothing personal. Again.

Think of something that's free or cheap and try to get people to pay a premium for it.

Isn't that the MS way ?

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Osbo PRINTS first Tory budget in 19 years with his BARE HANDS

Fihart
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Re: Cutting Tax Benefits.

@LucreLout

As you say, you are well paid enough to make the commute worthwhile.

I agree with you that you should not have to pay more tax to subsidise low wage employers -- but then you may have to pay more for food and the other goods sold by those firms when they are finally forced to raise wages or close branches in London.

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Fihart
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Cutting Tax Benefits

This is very serious for the working mums on low wages who keep our infrastructure going.

Someone I know working for Sainsbury's can only afford to live in London with state help with rent and kids. The budget is saying that either (a) Sainsbury (etc) must raise wages and prices if they want to operate in London or (b) their employees will have to commute from the suburbs.

I don't see (a) happening because of competition nor (b) because commuting for several hours a day (and the cost of fares) to work for peanuts is unviable, especially where mums have to fit work around their kids' school hours.

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Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

Fihart
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Re: I'm starting to lose track of this

@TheOtherHobbes

"Nadella is replaced by Cortana."

Brilliant. Have an upvote.

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Microsoft in Blighty reveals its 78 THOUSAND POUND Surface 3 slabloid

Fihart
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The price is right.

That's no typo -- it's what it cost Microsoft to build the Surface range, divided by the number sold.

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Revive the Nathan Barley Quango – former Downing Street wonk

Fihart
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Well spotted.

That the impetus behind this scheme is property values. Fact is that fatuous, boy-beardy, businesses are soon be priced out of currently affordable spots by chain stores and prestige buy2let residential blocks.

See Notting Hill, Camden, Islington, Brixton etc.

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Google harms consumers and strangles the open web, says study

Fihart
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When Google was good.

X years ago when a techie friend e-mailed me insisting that I must try this new search engine called Google.

But now Google is bad. Brother looked for a hotel near my place and Google was cluttered with paid-for results for sites recommending hotels.

So now use DuckDuckGo -- seems to work and claims not to track.

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Hi-res audio folk to introduce new rules and weed out impure noises

Fihart
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It'll do !

Hard to trust studio engineers when it comes to sound quality as half of them have been deafened on the job. Just listen to the awful speakers* they monitor on and the painful levels. As a friend who sells audio stuff said recently, most engineers have reliability as their number one priority when choosing gear -- fidelity somewhat less. Worse, recent artists seem to actually seek what they call a lo-fi sound -- e.g. albums by Doves.

* is that a JBL in the picture ? Nuff said.

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Google's new free music service is classic Google: Take someone's idea and slap ads on it

Fihart
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All we love about Commercial Music Radio.

On a website. What could go wrong ?

I guess they won't have nauseous deejays, at least.

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Noshing moth menaces misled into male-on-male mating

Fihart
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Re: straight in the microwave

Found one of the buggers (doubtless laying eggs) on drying socks. Missed the little blighter but re-washed socks, rinsed, popped them in microwave for 2 minutes. Poached eggs.

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Fihart
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Bloody moths.

Clothes moths seem to be supreme survivors. Just whacking every one you see settled on a wall reduces their numbers and subsequent damage but they still come back in a trickle throughout summer/autumn and return next spring.

Friend has used pheromone stickers and they certainly attract and trap the little buggers. But the numbers trapped seems to remain constant, so this is less effective than whacking them.

Forget fly spray which kills mozzies and flies -- and spiders that may prey on moths. Probably do more harm to yourself than to the moths.

Best is prevention. If you buy secondhand clothes, run them through the hottest wash immediately. If holes appear in a garment, hot wash or discard at once. Store all natural fibre garments in reasonably sealed cupboards with mothballs. Regularly use vacuum cleaner attachment on carpet edges.

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Bring on the Music, Apple: Spotify ups the ante - and money pot

Fihart
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Apple v. Music

Though I own two (secondhand) iPods I seldom use them because adding music via iTunes is a pain (at least compared with drag and drop on Samsung and Sony players). Occasionally I have to help a friend with her iPod and end up shouting at it.

This weekend I was asked to try to rescue an Ipod Touch which friend of friend had locked up with a wrong passcode (why would you need a passcode on a music player, anyway).

As far as I could see, without diving into the bowels of the OS or backing it up to the original computer it was teamed with (which I didn't have), all the music on it would be lost when unlocking, as that involved a complete wipe and OS reload. The operation, including research and downloading iTunes to my computer, took more than an hour.

Once it was working again the iPod displayed a new beastliness towards music in that it seemed impossible (I know now it isn't) to rip a CD to the iPod. At least on older versions of iTunes, it was a little simpler to rip and transfer. With the new generation Pod with wireless net connectivity Apple has made it simpler to just download tracks from them -- at a cost per track that I pay for complete albums in charity shops and flea markets !

So, in helping out, I assume I have destroyed her music collection purchased at some considerable cost -- and she may have some trouble restoring it from her computer as the iPod is now teamed to my computer.

I may here be displaying ignorance of ways of managing an iPod that are obvious to the more experienced user -- but my complaint is that the Apple approach (which doubtless extends to iPhone) is annoying nonsense compared with other brands.

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HTC execs: Oh dear, did we say we'd sell lots of smartphones? Our bad

Fihart
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HTC One now a lovely phone - but seems expensive for a relatively obscure brand. Wonder too if some bitten by M7's unresolved camera bug (in low light everything goes purple on my mate's) have deserted. HTC budget Desire looks nice but doesn't review enthusiastically.

Confirms theory (expressed a year ago ?) that "landfill Android" would reduce even quality smartphones to a commodity. Only vast marketing budget (and dealer sweeteners ?) are keeping Samsung and Apple in the game.

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NetApp consciously uncouples from 500+ staff

Fihart
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Reminder from England.

To U.S. users (abusers) of English.

We're happy to have you to borrow our language but we'd like it returned in one piece.

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BT boss in shock 'bigger is better' claim as £12.5bn EE bid heats up

Fihart
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Waste of (my) time.

On hold for 20 minutes yesterday trying to clear up BT bill overcharge dating back to January when unknown to me they started charging for caller ID.

So angry when finally connected to Indian call centre, told them to issue new correct bill or I would close the account.

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Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers

Fihart
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Big Bro's bright idea.

"Lightbulbs of the future will come with wireless extenders and speakers".

And, in time, cameras built in.

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Facebook is VIOLATING your SEXUAL privacy, warn Belgian data cops

Fihart
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Does this work ?

As I like to use Facebook, I do so exclusively via Firefox with History turned off. All other browsing is via Opera.

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Google fastens buy buttons to paid mobile search results – report

Fihart
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Unusable

Google has long been an advertising medium with paid results cluttering up your searches. I use Duck Duck Go these days.

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Good luck displacing Windows 7, Microsoft, it's still growing

Fihart
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Re: You listening Microsoft? Epson Drivers @gerryg

Thanks for that. As I'm thinking of moving some of my work to a Linux machine, may prove handy.

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Fihart
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Re: You listening Microsoft? @Red Bren

Another big reason for sticking with older OS is hardware makers understandably won't write fresh drivers for old kit.

Had enough trouble searching Epson sites worldwide for XP drivers for scanners that came out in the days of XP. Let alone, hoping for drivers for 7 or 8/10.

Irony is, the likely reason I have these Epson models is that they were originally dumped in the street by Mac owners when Apple deserted SCSI.

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High-speed powerline: Home connectivity without the cables

Fihart
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Re: Noise!

Some particularly noisy ones were issued by BT to connect their router to your TV. These caused a ruckus and BT withdrew them -- but it makes you wonder whether the current management appreciate how much their forerunners at the GPO contributed to science.

The models in question didn't work anywhere in my home and interfered badly with my hifi.

More recently tried Netgear models -- worked but not everywhere in the house.

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Brit boffins BLOW UP Li-On batteries and film the MELTING COPPER

Fihart
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Not in my pocket, thank you !

......... “we tried to simulate a range of abuse conditions, from moderate temperatures up to trying to simulate a fire. And who wouldn't love to have the chance to try and reproduce that experiment"........?

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REVEALED: The 19 firms whose complaints form EU's antitrust case against Google

Fihart
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Fed up with Google.

Fed up with the paid-for results cluttering what was once an honest search engine. Happily, Duck Duck Go does the job and claims not to spy on you.

Of course, all we'll witness at the EU is competing monopolistic (if there's such a thing) bastards -- lying bastards anyway. Outcome unlikely to benefit consumers.

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Not so fast on FM switch-off: DAB not so hot say small broadcasters

Fihart
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DAB DRAB !

Finally got a DAB radio (cheapo portable from Argos). Mixed feelings.

Ignoring the anti-intuitive controls on this particular model and the predictably laughable battery life.

Reliable reception on the stations it receives in my North London location, fairly high up -- though doubtless many other stations it doesn't get. Nice to get Classic FM more reliably than via my expensive FM tuner. Radio4 Extra is my main reason for turning it on.

However. So many music station are at less than MP3 quality (I can't quite see how better radios are affected less by that as claimed in a recent Sunday Times piece). If I wanted AM quality I wouldn't have bought a DAB.

So many stations are irrelevant to me (religious nuts, foreign language stations, sport). Looks like DAB has gone the way of Freeview -- too many stations, too little quality content.

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What's broken in this week's Windows 10 build? Try the Start Menu, for one

Fihart
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Re: Company bloat/inertia?

".......absurd warnings like "Do you trust this printer?"

Priceless.

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Singapore's PM personally programmed C++ Suduko-solver

Fihart
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Sure you aren't....

....confusing him with North Korean Dear Leader ?

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Fed-up Colorado man takes 9mm PISTOL to vexing Dell PC

Fihart
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Re: Err... @Johndoe888

My (least) favourites were anything with a PC Chips motherboard. Promptly renamed PC Chimps. Runner-up, Foxconn boards for apparently little driver support on website.

Generally, manufacturer whose drivers don't work with OEM versions otherwise identical to branded retail versions and who deny any knowledge of OEM products clearly manufactured by them.

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Microsoft to open first flagship Store beyond North America

Fihart
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If we build it they will....

....(probably not) come.

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Go for a spin on Record Store Day: Lifting the lid on vinyl, CD and tape

Fihart
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Re: A modest haul

The entire works of Iron Butterfly (60's proto-heavy band). Five or so albums including the most awful hammy vocals on screechy Atlantic recordings . However, proving the joy of ripping, I've selected a good CD's worth of tracks that are actually rather enjoyable.

Equipment: Thorens TD125/Mission arm/ADC XLM cartridge via Quad 34 pre-amp to Sony CD Recorder.

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Revealed: The AMAZING technology behind Apple's $1299 Retina MacBooks – a lot of glue

Fihart
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Bloody proprietary screws !

Glue at least aids structural integrity -- and recycling (apparently). Fixed battery is becoming universal in phones because they last longer than most people choose to keep the phone. Not so sure about laptops as, when I fix them for some other fault, also find the battery on its last legs. The industry doesn't help by using uniquely shaped batteries and charging silly prices for replacements.

But there is absolutely no excuse for using weird screws -- before I got the right tools I used to curse hex and torx and drill them out. Risky trying that in a superslim laptop.

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Life after Nokia: Microsoft Lumia 640 budget WinPho blower

Fihart
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I don't want.

I don't want to learn another phone operating system - that will resemble a desktop OS that no-one likes.

I don't want to rent a word processing application (the only bit of Office I'd use).

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Amazon listens to MORE of your private stuff

Fihart
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pointless

I have a device which switches stuff on when you clap your hands. Great idea for lighting. In theory. In practice you have to clap in exactly the right way. However the thing seems to respond randomly to other sounds. So unless you want lights flashing in time with music,forget using the hifi.

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Streaming tears of laughter as Jay-Z (Tidal) waves goodbye to $56m

Fihart
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Re: Fred-rick Nee-chee

Actually a rather rock-literate reference to Jack Nitzsche ace arranger and (like Cher) Phil Spector alumnus.

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Fihart
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Re: Bank Holiday?

Oh.

I was just going to comment that his observation that CD quality's already available -- from CD -- tickled my ribs.

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BT thinks EE customers will FLEE from enlarged four-play mobe biz

Fihart
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A perfect match.

BT's ridiculous charge for paying a bill other than by direct debit.

EE/T-Mobile charging 12p or 15p for PAYG texts -- texts cost the telco's so little nobody has been able to calculate it.

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YOUR DATA could be SOLD in RadioShack's bankruptcy auction

Fihart
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Customer data, no problem.

Probably haven't shopped there since the advent of the internet !

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Mono Magic: Photography, Breaking Bad style

Fihart
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Re: Dust to (bloody) dust. @1980s_coder

One of the most pronounced differences is the use of cheap zoom lenses on budget snappers. Pros use a range of lenses. Perhaps explains why shots with phone cameras can be surprisingly good.

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Fihart
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Dust to (bloody) dust.

As your kitty pic demonstrates, 'real' photography was/is blighted by dust. Try scanning old slides or negs and you'll appreciate digital cameras more. Add the weird issues with Kodachrome and you'll see why sales of film scanners never took off.

The real joy of 35mm was that a good lens was all you really needed -- the rest of the hardware had little bearing on results. With digital there's a big difference between the output from compact snappers and professional gear, though I've yet to see a digital camera with the physical charisma of a 1958 Leica IIIG or a Nikon F.

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Microsoft sniffs around Xiaomi Mi 4 smarties with Windows 10

Fihart
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Mmmm.....Xiaomi !

Aren't Xiaomi those sour tasting sweets from Scandinavia ?

The Chinese need to think a bit more about naming before tackling Western retail markets -- e.g. the Vodaphone drone who strongly recommended the "Hawaii" Ascend.

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Dear departed Internet Explorer, how I will miss you ... NOT

Fihart
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"I'm on the internet....."

Good piece but really of most value to those who will never read it.

Like the colleague who somehow couldn't grasp that Word was not Windows and referred to both as Microsoft. The friend who couldn't understand e-mail -- "no I don't use it much because the I can't afford the long distance calls".

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Legalising London's bed-hopping economy is POINTLESS

Fihart
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To hell with the neighbours !!

The original legislation protected neighbours from landlords using flats as ad hoc hotels.

Some years ago a neighbouring property owner did a deal with a tour operator who brought in coachloads of tourists from East Europe prepared to share rooms full of bunk beds. Result, endless noise of 25 or so people tramping up and down stairs, clearly audible from my bedroom. These properties were built to house between four and, perhaps, nine persons.

I failed to persuade authorities to intervene on fire safety grounds. Eventually, local authority planning enforcement officer raided the place. Hopefully, regardless of "sharing" legislation changes -- planning law governing "change of use" from (normal) residential to commercial still apply.

Also, most residential rental agreements bar subletting the whole of the property -- if you suffer from "sharing" neighbour, contact the landlord, who may then evict the offending tenant.

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