* Posts by Fihart

901 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008

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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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Mattel urged to scrap Wi-Fi mic Barbie after Register investigation

Fihart
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Because we can !!

Egregious example of wifi being used irresponsibly.

I'd equally condemn ISPs for handing out wireless routers like candy. I've seen installations where wireless was used within inches of a desktop computer -- a simple ethernet cable would be faster and not interfere with those who actually need a wireless link.

And so many routers end up in landfill as users move flat or change ISP.

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HAPPY 20th Birthday MICROSOFT BOB

Fihart
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"Oh Cortana, you make me laugh....."

Not arf.

God, the vacuous tv ads for Microsoft phones right now.

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Broadband routers: SOHOpeless and vendors don't care

Fihart
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Re: virgin on the ridiculous @Boothy

Yup. Prior to Virgin we had the Sky hobbled white Netgear box. Luckily SkyUser website steered me to UPnP fix. Better still the router could be (unofficially) reflashed to Netgear retail firmware and re-used with other ISPs.

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Fihart
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virgin on the ridiculous

Our Netgear router supplied by the isp with proprietary firmware some years ago had barely functioning wifi until an update was released weeks later. As far as I know the retail Netgear version either had no problem or it was solved sooner but we could not use that firmware. Situation is similar to mobile phones hobbled with useless telco firmware. Mostly the proprietary stuff adds nothing but branding and disables some features.

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So long, Lenovo, and no thanks for all the super-creepy Superfish

Fihart
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@ Michael Wojcik Dell not unbreakable but....

...at least easy to break up.

Older Dell laptops were bulletproof construction-wise. Later models not quite so -- issues with keyboard mechanics (who approved that ultra-fragile butterfly mechanism under the laptop keycaps ?) and power connector burning out.

However, I was charmed by the ease of dis-assembly of the two (Irish built) heavily used D505 and D510 series models I recently took on. With luck a third will turn up and I'll be able to build one that actually fully works.

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Fihart
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Re: @Iain Thomson Linux not terrible.

After years of concluding that Linux was too beardy and incomplete, I was strongarmed by a friend into trying Peppermint (as far as I understand it, a Lubuntu spinoff that sort of combines local disk with cloud programs).

I like it. Fast and works well (without driver issues !!) on the first two machines I tried. Failed on one with an Intel Mobile CPU (issue with CPU maximum memory addressing or something).

It's not going to replace Windows yet for me, but is now on my internet browsing machine of choice. Here's hoping this really is the future, this time.

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For pity's sake, you FOOL! DON'T UPGRADE it will make it WORSE

Fihart
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Lock Apple and MS in a room......

...and let them fight it out.

Your story should be obligatory reading for all software developers.

Sums up my brother's contention that personal computers just aren't fit for purpose yet -- if they ever will be under the current mindset..

Even as someone owning PCs since 1985, I am endlessly swearing at Windows or the stupid hardware manufacturers. Stuff is too complicated and barely finished -- and the people selling it don't give a damn.

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

Fihart
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Re: Lenovo software now matches their build quality

Our experience with Lenovo desktops -- bulging motherboard capacitors after 3 or 4 years. Friend's Laptop, keyboard issue. Not the Thinkpads of the IBM days.

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$10,000 Ethernet cable promises BONKERS MP3 audio experience

Fihart
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Costly analogue cables mostly nonsense too.

I've tried lots of home-build fancy interconnects and merely concluded that if they made any difference at all it was just that, a difference -- slight and hard to say when it was better or worse. Sometimes more treble, but usually modern systems are too trebly already.

All I can confirm is that shorter, thicker, speaker cables are a better idea. Put simply, at the other extreme, very thin cables would heat up and waste power you wanted driving your speakers.

Thin cable would also reduce the dynamic braking effect on the drive coil (known as damping factor) which would, theoretically, make the bass less controlled. Of course this is proportional to the length of the cable. Inside loudspeakers, most manufacturers use surprisingly thin cables because of the short runs involved.

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Plane crash blamed on in-flight SELFIES

Fihart
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Re: Entertaining ourselves to death.

Reported slight increase in deaths was on BBC radio this morning notable because (as you said) trend has been downward. Thought gadgets may be a factor.

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Fihart
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Entertaining ourselves to death.

Throw in the increase in road deaths, thought to be due to drivers distracted by incar gadgets and (even hands-free) mobile phones.

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