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* Posts by Fihart

771 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008

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Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything

Fihart
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Re: Data is born free but is everywhere in chains. @ Kraggy

I think it fair to point out that the examples I gave are to do with products that the customer has already paid for. Firmware updates are, for example, often made available to fix manufacturers' screwups.

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Fihart
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Data is born free but is everywhere in chains.

I vowed never to buy a Plextor CD writer after finding that firmware updates were apparently only available to those who who had registered the warranty. Useless as I'd bought secondhand.

A privately authored net page showing how to renew the drive and laser in an expensive Arcam hifi CD player for £10 instead of the £200 (obviously including labour) charged by the manufacturer was marred by finding a link to a service manual pdf had been severed. Perhaps copyright issues, but bloody-minded nevertheless.

Fortunately, these are rare exceptions to the well-intended (if not always perfect) web support offered by other large and small manufacturers the world over.

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EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages

Fihart
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Re: still deleting posts over at EE's online community @macladd

I'd forgotten about the EE user forum. I had joined the T Mobile one but they merged this with the Orange one and dumped all the users. I can't remember whether I could be bothered to rejoin the resulting EE forum, which shows how useful the T Mob forum had been.

Like many such, was full of know-alls competing to win points (I think, to get discounts). So posts tended to be either "this company sucks" or bland pro-company replies from moderators and points-seeking stooges. I doubt if the company took any notice of forum comments.

Public platforms such as Fbook and Twit are more effective at pressuring errant companies.

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Fihart
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Re: Billing issues. @ Thomas 6

Precisely. That's why I regarded their response as fair.

In fact a nagging issue was caused by something that was never identified (their suggestion was a glitch in Picture Messaging). Solution provided by phone shop was, if one has problems with random billing, switch off Data or x out Access Point Names.

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Fihart
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Billing issues.

Last year EE got into serious trouble with customers over PAYG balances and there was a firestorm of criticism on Facebook. In their defence it was sorted out fairly soon after. I've had various other issues with T Mobile (aka EE) making apparently random deductions, usually to do with apps updating unasked and once with an accidental dial (thanks touchscreen). In all cases the company has responded to online complaints or letters and, I think, quite fairly.

I do deplore that EE have no e-mail complaints procedure and charge for calls to customer support. The telcos are a cartel and their charges need to made more transparent and seriously curbed.

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China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft

Fihart
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Welcome, RSOD.

Red Screen of Death.

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No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate

Fihart
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We laughed at the Nazis.

What are ISIS if not fascists ? Young Muslims here need reminding that joining Oswald Mosley's blackshirts in the 1930s didn't work out so well either.

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

Fihart
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Big and not clever.

Word for Windows (version 2 or whatever) did the job. Since then the program has multiplied in size. Doubtless, lazy coding and adding stupid features -- I get angry when Word starts capitalising words or creating bullet points, unasked.

When I first started computing, Superwriter supplied free with the Apricot would run from a floppy disk with room left for documents. In fact, I ran it from a virtual disk, so it started instantly. Word now comes on a DVD ??

Oh and Word versions recently started saving .doc files as .docx just to madden us further. Hopefully, the subscription sales model will kill it off.

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'Video on internet may not be entirely truthful': Times headline

Fihart
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Re: This is why @ William Boyle

Well said, I'm afraid.

Once tried updating XP on line and it took hours and eventually timed out. Adding patches from CD less problematic but (as I recall) main result was XP slowed down and networking had added faffing thanks to changes to whether firewall needed to be on or off for new connections. Oh, USB2 worked after update. That's all.

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Cult of T-Mob US wants you to INDOCTRINATE your friends and family

Fihart
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Wouldn't work here.

At least not with my friends. Having heard me bleating about T Mob issues, aren't likely to suddenly accept my recommendation to join T Mob.

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Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media

Fihart
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ISIS -- a Manson gang for our times.

The Woodstock ethic worked when it was middle class kids dropping acid and dressing like dropouts. Once deluded people like Charlie picked up on it things got nasty.

In Europe there's been a fairly harmless fad for teenage Muslim girls to adopt headscarves, but when cretins like the one in the video pick up on Islamist ideas things inevitably turn deadly.

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

Fihart
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Collective Delusion.

a.k.a Religion

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New voting rules leave innocent Brits at risk of SPAM TSUNAMI

Fihart
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Doorbells @Ho Ho Hipster

Mail order deliveries are a nightmare in London -- companies don't seem to train drivers to realise that (for example) 123a Example Road is usually NOT next to 123 Example Road but may be round the back or above. This has even led to lost utility bills via TNT's regular postal "service" where you'd think the mailman would have discovered this through familiarity with his patch.

As for phoning -- just seems logical to include a phone number on delivery instructions and hopefully with better tracking technology the companies should be able to phone and give an estimate of when a delivery is scheduled (instead of expecting one to wait in all day).

Meanwhile local shopping centre has Amazon lockers and I gather other brands are being installed at Post Office branches.

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Fihart
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More people will boycott Electoral Register.

In urban areas with properties split into several flats or (worse) bedsits, electoral registration is already hit and miss. Here we have disconnected doorbells because the bona fide vistors always call on mobile when they arrive.

Quite possibly the majority of occupants from overseas don't even think they qualify to vote -- and, apparently, some UK-born flat dwellers think they aren't entitled because of their short occupancy.

The outcome is that as a tenants' interests are under-represented politically, especially as so many MPs are, themselves, private landlords.

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Brits' BORKED Samsung kit held up after repair centre slips into administration

Fihart
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Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

While subcontracting repairs is common enough, it doesn't seem to quite mesh with the global size and big-budget advertising of a company like Samsung.

But these companies aren't all that interested once they have your money and, presumably, the margins they allowed the repair firm didn't contribute much to its financial viability.

Where the product has been returned via a retailer, the responsibility lies with the retailer -- they should retrieve and repair or replace your property and try to reclaim any cost from Samsung using future orders as leverage.

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Chrome update to raise alarms over deceptive download bundles

Fihart
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Maybe Chrome won't be installed unasked either.

Astonished that an update to a trusted program like Avast tried to thrust the Chrome browser onto my PC unasked.

Normally I wouldn't object as I have used and liked Chrome in the past but, with recent revelations about its memory footprint and battery thirst, not so welcome.

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What's in your toolbox? Why the browser wars are so last decade

Fihart
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Wrong platform.

Having used most browsers for the desktop I'd agree that they are, mostly, functionally identical.

So let's have an article that compares mobile browsers -- currently my Blackberry (OS6) native browser crashes out on some pages and Opera Mini doesn't but is maddening to use.

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We told you jailbreaking your iThing was dangerous

Fihart
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Re: Hilarious @Jimboom

Not just games. All sites where ads are deliberately placed next to the scroll bar so that if you drift off it you are hijacked to some ad site.

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Car hackers build kit to protect you and your motor from fiery death

Fihart
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"Turns out IDS is actually useful for something".

That'll be a first, given the mess the Tories have made of the Welfare system.

Oh, not that I.D.S ?

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Researcher snaps a Zeus hacker's photo through his webcam

Fihart
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Re: Really

Lovely that the hacker didn't have the sense to disable a webcam.

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BT FON fail: Telco CHARGES customers for FREE Wi-Fi usage

Fihart
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Idiot Users

Call from friend: "my internet seems to have disappeared. BT say the server must be down".

This is the friend who had a desktop PC wired to an ancient BT router. But she then bought a laptop with wireless. When I asked if she had now got a wireless router from BT she replied that she didn't need one as she had internet from BT via wireless anyway.

Next time I visited to fix some other bit of tech I saw that indeed she had BT wireless -- but she was clearly tapping into a neighbour's BT FON facility. She brushed away my concern that she should actually use the broadband she was paying for by getting a wireless router connected to her own ADSL feed.

So when the call came the other day I sighed and explained that probably the neighbour whose service she'd been using unwittingly had gone on holiday and turned off the router.

"But I'm paying for BT broadband, I don't understand."

I think she still doesn't really believe me but has agreed to ring BT and ask for a wireless router.

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It's official: You can now legally carrier-unlock your mobile in the US

Fihart
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Re: Ironic

"....why most people want to unlock their phone (read Jailbreak) is to play pirated content and games."

I rather doubt that.

I'm sure the major incentive is to switch to a better value provider.

Probably also to enable a newer version of Android than has been released by the telco -- or to rid the phone of branded cruft.

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Fihart
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Doubly surprised.

I don't know what's more astonishing.

a) That the US allowed the telcos to successfully lobby for the original move to make unlocking a crime.

b) That the legislature eventually responded to people's outrage about the above travesty.

The lesson (I guess) is that big business will push us around as far as it can until they go just that bit too far.

Locking quite unnecessary anyway if the customer is locked into a 24 month contract.

In the case of pre-pay (Pay As You Go) the telcos could just drop the subsidies on those phones.

Probably, the real solution is to uncouple the telcos from the selling of phones -- let them sell connections and regular electronics chains sell phones. Chances are both connection deals and phone prices would be cheaper with more competition.

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Recording lawsuit targets Ford, GM in-car CD recorders

Fihart
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Re: "Obviously they are designed to copy CDs already owned by the driver."

@ pascal

Obviously your comment is humourous. But how often when offered a lift in a friend's car do you think "must go home first and get a bunch of CD" ?

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Fihart
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It's for use in the car, stupid !

Where is the evidence that such devices lead to pirating ?

Obviously they are designed to copy CDs already owned by the driver.

So that the music contained can be listened to in the car with more convenience (and at less risk of distraction) than 1) locating the correct CD. 2) extracting CD from case single-handedly.3) posting CD in slot.

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Apple and Samsung UNDER THREAT from local brands – study

Fihart
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Inevitable with the telco cartel.

While the telcos have a de facto cartel on distribution of over-priced major branded phones, they are actually growing the next generation of manufacturers that will eat them.

Own-brand models from formerly small Chinese manufacturers -- T Mobile's deals with ZTE for example -- are giving such firms the finance and brand awareness necessary to launch directly into the market. Huawei are the first that most people here are aware of, offering good phones at the right price. In future, lesser-known brands such as the ones mentioned in the article will gain acceptance with consumers.

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China in MONOPOLY PROBE into Microsoft: Do not pass GO, do not collect 200 yuan

Fihart
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Just a regular software audit.

"......following a series of surprise visits to Redmond's offices in cities across China on Monday."

Probably intended to intimidate rather than discover anything relevant.

Do Microsoft do spot checks on customers ?

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CAPTCHA challenges you to copy pointillist painter Seurat's classic

Fihart
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CAPTCHA doesn't work on phones.

Will someone tell Yahoo Mobile's designers that putting a CAPTCHA hurdle between signing in for a new password makes the process unusable.

For a start the new CAPTCHA version has not only jumbled letters you have to enter but a swirling mass of other characters behind. Virtually impossible to read on a small screen. Do these people never test stuff for usability ?

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FTC to mobile carriers: If you could stop text scammers being jerks that'd be just great

Fihart
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Ye olde Royal Mail principle.

When the first postal service was established, recipients had to pay. Result, they turned mail away. Delivery costs were unmanageable and, thus, postage expensive. Royal Mail's solution was the Penny Post whereby the sender paid an affordable amount and recipient paid nothing.

Apply the same principle to all texts so the spammers and scammers are out of business.

As for telcos taking a slice of revenue obtained by deception, that's a case for Small Claims Court (argue proceeds of crime principle).

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In the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave ... you can legally carrier unlock your own phone

Fihart
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@ John Tserkezis

Similar in UK -- £20 to the telco to get a code to unlock a phone or (often) about the same to dodgy corner shop to do it for you . Problem really is that many phones, after a 24 month contract, are not worth £20 or, at least, a new phone is more tempting.

Unlocking and rooting Android -- maybe not worth the risk with a new phone, not worth the trouble with an older one.

So stuff goes to landfill unnecessarily

Basically, telcos need to be told to automatically unlock phones for free at end of contract or stop locking contract phones in the first place. Personally I'd rather see the end of the telcos phone selling cartel and let them just provide connections on transparent terms. This would make it profitable for regular retailers to sell phones that work with any telco, at competitive prices.

My guess is that as smartphones become increasingly commoditised people will ship in grey market phones from lesser brands (not least because models not crippled by telcos have twin SIM slots) .

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Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle

Fihart
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Should be arrested by the Fashion Police.

If you must listen to music at the volumes needed to drown traffic or rail noise (and deafen yourself) stick with earbuds.

On-ear h/phones like those by "Doctor" Dre look just as stupid as boy-beards, pointy shoes and those jeans that hang around the crotch.

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Mr Almunia, how many more times can Google rewrite Euro search 'dominance' settlement?

Fihart
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Pic is just too appropriate !

Enjoyed the illustration of Google toilet paper. Apparently there's another version called Google+, but no-one uses that.

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There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES

Fihart
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Re: a drift to US moral codes and values?

@ John 156 for the most thoughtful comment here.

US TV shows and movies (and many UK films made with an eye on the US market) are too American for my tastes. Ignoring the obvious pointless explosions and shouting and the one-dimensional villains, the stories largely lack the ambiguity of real life.

Thankfully a few shows roll along like Madmen and The Sopranos but by and large I'm happier watching something like the French 'Spiral' or Italian 'Montalbano' and the Scandi cop shows.

I also watch foreign-language films on the basis that if they have made it over here without the hype put behind Hollywood rubbish, they must have something going for them. Surprising how good films from Argentina, Iran or Korea have turned out to be.

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Fihart
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Nothing on TV

Report confirms the general experience.

Best stuff on BBC is old Danish, Swedish, Italian series.

Best US stuff -- Madmen only available via Sky and Breaking Bad via torrent. For most people not at all unless downloaded while on hols abroad -- thanks for that Virgin/BT.

Commercial TV is doomed due to vast choice but little you'd choose and infested with ad breaks that are too frequent and too long.

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Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS

Fihart
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More Chrome issues.

To quote a friend:

"wouldn't advise anyone to use Chrome unless they had 8mb of Ram! tho a workaround is the Chrome extension "OneTab" which puts all your open Chrome tabs into just one tab, greatly minimising RAM usage - even so Chrome hooks really hurt available RAM!"

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Fihart
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Google is listening ?

If enough people dump Chrome and answer the exit questionnaire thoughtfully provided by Google, maybe things will get fixed. Note that the questionnaire also mentions privacy and app store so I mentioned worries about irrelevant permissions demanded by some apps.

I suspect that Google do monitor uninstall reasons -- they are an information company above all.

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Price cuts, new features coming for Office 365 small biz customers

Fihart
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Re: testing 1 2 3 @karlp

Hello Karl, head office in Redmond has noted your efforts and your prospects are looking up.

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Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!

Fihart
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Now we know ?

Why Yahoo so often shows pictures of attractive young Asian women ?

Wish they'd concentrate on work instead -- Yahoo Mobile Mail has been impossible for me to sign into on either Blackberry or Android for some days now.

No response so far from Yahoo "Care" on Twitter or Facebook.

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Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?

Fihart
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Yup, that's why I won't use apps.

I was just about to add a useful app when I read the permissions agreement and went "no way !"

Google's arrogance undermines one of the main benefits of Android.

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The final score: Gramophones 1 – Glassholes 0

Fihart
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So right about the record player.

Your record player example clearly applies to mobile phone -- screen too small for internet, keyboard too small for typing, music player doesn't support folders, mapping which should work with GPS wants expensive data feed as well. Takes a sixty page manual to explain it all (if you're lucky).

When I find a toaster that also makes coffee without compromising either function or second guessing (wrongly) whether I take sugar or not, I might take smartphones more seriously.

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'Apple is TERRIFIED of women’s bodies and women’s pleasure' – fresh tech sex storm

Fihart
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So they won't be diversifying...

An Apple branded sex toy would sell millions. A girl recently told be how she enjoyed it when her mobile vibrated in her "pocket".

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Get ready for LAYOFFS: Nadella's coma-inducing memo, with subtitles

Fihart
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Hmmmm chocolate....

Sorry Mr Nadella,

I just can't stop thinking Nutella.

And judging by your message about Office 365, maybe just nuts !

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Say goodbye to the noughties: Yesterday’s hi-fi biz is BUSTED, bro

Fihart
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Re: RE traditionally separates would be swapped out over time

Good point Simon Harris. The 70s Kenwood stuff in the pic may still be working somewhere and much of it sounding good.

My personal best for an old amp is a US spec (110 v) Kenwood budget model found in a car boot a couple of years ago. I remember this model's Trio (UK) equivalent belonging to a friend in the mid seventies when it was already a few years old.

Car boot find works perfectly after cleaning some switches -- it was low spec (15 watts ?) bottom of the range kit so never sounded the bees knees but it's acceptable. Particularly like the fake wood printed steel case and champagne coloured alloy fascia.

Presently listening to impressive 1980s Quad 405 Mk 2 and preamp, elderly Marantz CD player and 1970s B&W DM2s -- some found in charity shops and dumped in street.

I have no reason to change that system.

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Thought PCs were in the toilet? They're STILL eating Apple's lunch

Fihart
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Lenovo, no thanks.

I guess some of the IBM magic rubbed off on Lenovo, so I was unpleasantly surprised opening a four or five year old Lenovo desktop to see bulging capacitors like I've seen on "lesser" brand computers which were older.

Astonished this problem has gone on for so long.

Replaced the Lenovo with an Asus.

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Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system

Fihart
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I expect you pay for garden fertiliser.

Then complain when the moggies offer it for free.

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Mexican watchdog sinks teeth into Carlos Slim over 'market fixing'

Fihart
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Slim pickings (for the rest)....

All you need to know about phone system in Mexico (actually, all you need to know about Mexico) is that Carlos Slim is the richest man in the world making money in one of its poorer regions.

But over the border in the land of the free, Verizon and AT&T pretty much have a duopoly that's reflected in prices higher that in Europe.

Corruption isn't the issue (its endemic in Mex) the system is what's wrong. Where governments dish out licences to print money, no surprise when the recipients do so left to their own devices.

Before the curbs on roaming charges, who'd have thought we'd be grateful to the EU.

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Korea’s third biggest phone maker faces $180m OBLITERATION

Fihart
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Duff name doesn't help.

Pan(asonic) Tech(nics). Reminds me of Suny radios sold in Africa or NCKLA phones.

Of course the Koreans ain't great at names, Lucky Goldstar was well overdue a change to LG.

I was surprised to see Daewoo folding bicycles now branded Chevrolet.

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PANDA chomps through Spotify's DRM

Fihart
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Re: Run DRM -- CD Recorders

They didn't need to ban CD recorders because consumers didn't buy them.

1) They cost too much

2) Some models proved very unreliable.

3) The discs they needed cost more (to pay fee to copyright owners) and were hard to find.

4) You could rip CD etc on a computer without any of the above issues.

Ironically, many recorders were bought by musicians to record music they actually owned the copyright to.

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27 Data-Slurping Facts BuzzFeed Doesn't Want You To Know!

Fihart
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not untypical

If you complain about T Mobile they later send you an invitation to contribute to improving their service. Thinking this might actually be helpful, I started completing the questionnaire. After a number of questions I realised it was just a market research tool and sent them a snotty reply.

From their pricing, one might guess that the telcos think we are idiots and this rather confirmed it.

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Mobile SIM chip-makers 'will be fined by EU' for price-fixing, say sources

Fihart
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Is there anything....

...in the mobile/cellphone world which isn't a rip off ?

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