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* Posts by Fihart

834 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008

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Fake antivirus scams: It's a $120m business – and alleged ringleaders have just been frozen

Fihart
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Re: Now let's clean up download sites.

@Darryl

Google's paid-for misinformation.

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Fihart
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Now let's clean up download sites.

I am fed up with trying to download bona fide utilities via the likes of CNET only to be presented with confusing "Download Now" buttons which do not download the program you've selected but try to hijack you to sites selling something similar. The effect is to make me wary of downloading anything.

A friend has mentioned a program called Ninite as tackling this issue but I'm so cynical I hesitate to let anything but essentials onto my machine -- anyone heard anything good or bad about Ninite ?

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Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers

Fihart
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Re: Does this mean a new Freeview box (again !) ?

To follow up, today saw on screen that the latest (?) changes to Freeview mean you lose Film 4+1 unless you have an HD Freeview box.

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Fihart
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Does this mean a new Freeview box (again !) ?

Was annoyed when the last changes forced me to scrap a Pace box which worked faultlessly. Replaced it with a cheapo from Argos which blinks frequently if you set screen format to auto, occasionally freezes until switched off and on again -- always forgets to display subtitles after a few minutes (essential for some US shows).

As another commenter has already said, they could easily dump at least 75% of the stuff on Freeview especially the infuriating shopping channels.

Freesat (available via Sky dish and box without subscription) seems marginally more interesting as in addition to Freeview stuff it carries regional BBC, religious nutjob channels, some American entertainment channels and news from various foreign stations -- France (and sometimes Japan).

To be frank, I'm close to dumping TV -- only turn it on briefly for a couple of days a week and then fume at the endless commercial breaks.

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The Nokia ENIGMA THING and its SECRET, TERRIBLE purpose

Fihart
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eByGumBoots

It's the latest cool packaging for Nokia's second best-known product line. With networking added.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg

Fihart
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Scotch pies, haggis.

Yes to the above -- nice greasy mutton pies or assorted entrails with barley in a gut bag. But Scotch Eggs -- No ! However deliciously you make them -- Wrong !

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Want to STUFF Facebook with blatant ADVERTISING? Fine! But you must PAY

Fihart
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Sneaky "Like" ads.

My favourite is Warburton's who ask me to Like them on Facebook when I personally detest their bread as representing all that is wrong with Chorleywood Process loaves that were invented to make more bread out of less wheat during WW2 and have somehow become the default.

Theirs (and many similar promotional Facebook pages) is pure advertising and I can see why Zuck would reckon they should pay for the privilege. Trust that policy doesn't extend to Customer Support pages run by various utilities, mobile phone cos etc. which can actually be useful to users.

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VINYL is BACK and you can thank Sonos for that

Fihart
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Re: Vinyl introduces a lot of failings @ Alan Brown

The simplest way to demonstrate the turntable feedback issue is to place a coin on the stationary platter and rest the cartridge stylus on the coin.

Connect a (cassette ?) recorder to your amplifier's tape output socket.

Play a music CD (or whatever) via another amp and speakers at normal volume.

The sound recorded via the cartridge and turntable will pretty faithfully reproduce the music you played in the background. This even works with softly suspended turntables -- though the suspension should reject sound at frequencies below that of the suspension's resonant frequency.

It is not surprising that the first successful softly suspended turntable was built by Ed Villchur, originator of the AR infinite baffle (i.e. sealed) loudspeaker who had a greater understanding of such things than turntable makers whose origins were in making musical boxes (Thorens) or rotating window displays (Garrard).

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Fihart
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Re: Technics SL-1210's @AbelSoul

"The brakes on the 1200 are wearing out a bit - press stop and it'll keep going a bit longer than it should - but otherwise both are still in excellent condition."

I think there's an adjustment for that -- the braking is dynamic, related to the motor's current. There are no physical brakes to wear out. There are lots of Technics-nut sites with maintenance tips.

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Fihart
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Re: C'mon

As per my earlier comment, you are right, the Technics doesn't sound great in standard form, I think largely due to the rubbish arm and lack of feedback isolation, despite the ingenious rubber/metal sandwich plinth.

Friends who know about these things comment on the deck's unwavering rotation as audibly better than belt-drives, but a popular upgrade includes not only changing the arm but also upgrading the power supply and (as I recall) the speed circuitry.

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Fihart
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Remember to turn the sound down.

You don't actually need any of these USB type turntables if you possess a regular turntable and hifi amp with a phono input socket. Just connect the tape record output socket of the amp to the sound-in socket of computer and use a program like Audacity. Simple then to save as MP3 or burn to playable Audio CD.

A useful tip when transcribing, especially when using one the turntables described in the article which lack suspension, is to monitor recording with headphones or with the sound turned down low. Otherwise colouration will result from the turntable acting a bit like a microphone (you'll realise that if you gently tap the deck while a record is playing and you hear a resonance through the speakers).

I have a Technics (good for instant-start cueing when recording) but my deck of choice is an old wobbly-suspension Thorens 125. The difference in sound between the two is a revelation.

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UK PM Cameron says Internet must not 'be an ungoverned space'

Fihart
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An ungoverned space ?

Wot, like the unregulated market in rented housing that is toppling into unaffordable anarchy ?

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Bloated, slow and self-perpetuating: Cisco slams standards groups

Fihart
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Scary.

Only had brief and unsatisfactory dealings with Cisco (sought a Windows wireless adapter driver that worked). Various bods from the organisation responded to emails, but none solved an apparently simple issue.

Website looked like it had been designed by Albert Speer -- doubtless redesigned to be less intimidating since.

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The last PC replacement cycle is about to start turning

Fihart
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In defence of desktop.

All too easy to lose (or smash) a phone. I guess there's always "the cloud" but I'd rather have important stuff living on a proper computer which can be fixed with cheap off-the-shelf parts if it fails.

And I cannot type much more than a web address or a short text email on a phone -- the desktop, its 20 inch screen and antique IBM PS/2 keyboard better suit my fat fingers and aging eyesight.

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Facebook: Over half a BEELLION loyalists have SPURNED our Messenger app

Fihart
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Is it just me ?

Or do others instinctively turn off any chat options.

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British drones target ISIS for the first time

Fihart
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That headline.

Still listening to Blue Oyster Cult ?

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Chinese coder's got 99 problems and getting hitched is one: Huge iPhone woo plot FAILS

Fihart
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That headline.

Still listening to Prefab Sprout ?

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Obama HURLS FCC under train, GUTPUNCHES ISPs in net neut battle

Fihart
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The internet as an advertising medium.

Google has made internet search a game of picking through sponsored misinformation.

And the same greedy bastards now see the internet as their private distribution vehicle for mindless Hollywood nonsense.

This isn't what we came here for.

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FTC tells 'scan to email' patent troll: Every breath you take, every lie you make, I'll be fining you

Fihart
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The old American badger game goes on.

There's always some jerk who will try this sort of thing.

When I worked for the UK manufacturers of a famous diecast model car range we received letters from an (inevitably American) lawyer who claimed to have signed up for copyright many manufacturers of real cars on whose products our toys were based.

The company wavered on whether to negotiate to avoid the possibility of litigation. On further investigation we found that few major car firms had actually signed up.

Most had originally cooperated with us, often supplying blueprints to ensure accuracy. They remained content with the notion that putting replicas of their products into the hands of young boys might produce sales of that brand's real cars in later life.

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Got a STRAP-ON? Remember to TAKE IT OFF at WORK

Fihart
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Metal watch bracelet.

Can anyone settle the argument between my brother and I. Both own the expensive waterproof watches (apparently) favoured by tennis players and golfers.

These bracelets can collect a lot of nastiness -- presumably sweat soaked dead skin and ground metal -- and if left uncleaned will leave a black tidemark on wrist after exertion.

My brother wears the watch in bath or shower and washes it with soap.

With less faith in the waterproofing I remove the bracelet periodically and clean it in meths/rubbing alcohol. My brother suggests that the latter approach will wear the bracelet out as it strips any natural lubrication from the links.

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Amazon: Put our ALWAYS ON MICROPHONE in your house, please. WHAT?

Fihart
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Terrific. Or Terrifying.

If the product is as reported, Amazon have lost their minds on this one.

By contrast I find that Google's voice search on Android works amazingly reliably on the most obscure words. Such a relief not having to type stuff with fat fingers on a tiny touchscreen.

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REVEALED: Apple fanbois are 'MENTALLY UNSTABLE' - iShop staff

Fihart
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Re: The squeaky wheel gets the grease @ Semaj

(The Japanese have a different outlook:

"The nail that sticks out gets hammered down")

Alternatively:

"When customer's television breaks, first mend his heart"

Attributed to the 1970s Chairman of Hitachi, addressing retailers.

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Fihart
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Too true.

"My job is to make you happy with your product, not to actually fix your product, more to fix the relationship you have with the brand"

Yup, I've occasionally come up against customer relations drones trained to work that way.

As for fixing them, see below.

"It pained me every time an asshole asked for the manager and got what they wanted. Meanwhile, all the nice people (who actually spend money) get screwed."

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Sky ponders 200,000-customer MVNO 'trial'. Soft launch, anyone?

Fihart
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Re: As far as I am concerned....

"Sky = pay to watch 25 mins of adverts per hour.."

Amazing that people pay a sub and then have to sit thru bloody ads. And from my small experience of watching Sky at a friend's place the programmes seemed pretty dire -- but then that may just have been her bad taste.

Some landlords have taken Sky's shilling and let them install dishes and remove terrestrial aerial wiring so that tenants have to pay to watch TV. Luckily, even the oldest Sky box (couple of quid at car boot sale) will work as a Freesat receiver offering most of the same channels as Freeview, plus a few extras.

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Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY

Fihart
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Re: Apple killed the competition then deliberately dumped the market...

@ Adam 1

Music problem with most phones I've owned is that they don't seem to support folders. Personally I rip my existing CDs into album folders and can't be fagged to tag each track.

So unless there's folder support I end up with a list that reads Track 01 Track 01 Track 01 almost ad infinitum.

For all its sins (iTunes for one) at least the iPod supports folders -- not that I use mine as the battery is going and it's a faff to replace.

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Rise of the machines: Silicon Valley hardware store to deploy ROBOTS for customer service

Fihart
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You mean they don't already ?

Just visit a McDonalds.

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Microsoft brings the CLOUD that GOES ON FOREVER

Fihart
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Microsoft's whole business model.

@HandleOfGod

"However I've made my choice and spent weeks uploading stuff now so I'll stick with it for now."

Mainly inertia which keeps us using their products.

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SHOW ME THE MONEY! Ballmer on Amazon: 'They're not a real biz, they make NO cash'

Fihart
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Over a cliff.

I don't think anyone is accusing Jeff Bezos of driving Amazon over a cliff.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft more so.

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‘For the love of Pete, America, learn about decent chocolate’

Fihart
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Not chocolate.

Have to agree, but Californians (for example) just don't eat confectionery. Lots of sweet carbonated drinks, but chocolate never. In fact when in LA I discovered an English-run bakery that had actual buns and small cakes. Offered them to puzzled workmates, all refused.

In fact, LA has English grocery stores with essential like decent tea bags, marmalade and Marmite.

On the plus side, US has cheap champagne, cheap decent ice cream, sour-dough bread, blueberry jam, Laura Scudder peanut butter (the best PB I've ever found).

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Wanna hop carriers with your iPad's Apple SIM? AVOID AT&T

Fihart
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Softly, softly..............

"Apple SIMs ship pre-installed in the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 but can be removed with a tool that comes with each device."

Apple's way of gently introducing the software SIM.

Next generation they will announce that 90% of users didn't bother to change the SIM ("oh, the tool was that plastic thing I left in the box which I later threw away ?") and would "prefer the convenience" of a software SIM.

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Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit

Fihart
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This is a bit like chipped batteries and refills.

Panasonic (Lumix) and the inkjet manufacturers started this kind of nonsense, fed up with people buying cheap substitutes for overpriced replacement batteries and refills.

Rather than penalise consumers for doing what retailers lead them to do (i.e. look for the apparent best buy) the manufacturers should have gone after the makers of fake refills and batteries using trademark and IP law.

But of course that takes time and money.

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Apple's new iPADS have begun the WAR that will OVERTURN the NETWORK WORLD

Fihart
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Re: The simple way to avoid this.. @Beau

"Well, in Belgium it is all ready illegal to sell a locked phone!............."

I thought that. My bro lives there. But was corrected when I asserted it on this forum some months ago.

Be interesting to know whether Belgium still stands up to the telco bullies -- I gather its other consumer protection laws are pretty feeble.

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Fihart
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Do some phones and tablets lock to first provider ?

My impression from complaints about Samsung Note (?) was that it and iPhones could lock to the first provider whose SIM was inserted. This applies to other devices advertised as SIM-free rather than unlocked.

In effect, does the Apple virtual SIM slightly undo that problem ?

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Is living with Dolby Atmos worth the faff?

Fihart
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Been there, done that -- in the 1970s.

Back when I had more money than sense the hifi industry came up with a way of selling twice as many speakers and amplifiers and the record companies hoped we would all buy duplicates of existing albums -- in Quadraphonic Stereo !!!

In reality, having three competing systems; SQ (Sony, Columbia, EMI) QS (Sansui, ABC Records) and CD4 (Panasonic, WEA) was guaranteed to be self defeating. And the results were gimmicky, distracting and technically far from perfect, sometimes with added record surface noise and unintended phasing effects.

It was a relief to return to regular two-speaker stereo. While I am sure that modern multi-channel systems are much better, the added wiring and hardware issues remain.

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Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS

Fihart
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Re: Vendor lock in

A very good point.

In past if phone broke or battery failed, you could swap the SIM into your old phone and you'd be back in business instantly. Apple have systematically sabotaged that option by (in my view otherwise pointlessly) changing the SIM's format.

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Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy

Fihart
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Unfair

The couple were criticised for selling the cat on grounds that new owners would cause it stress.

Cats actually value their territory more than any people who happen to be in it.

Witness the disorientation and instinct to hide of a cat moved to a new home -- as would have happened if the couple had sold the house and moved with cat to new home.

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EE TV brings French broadband price war to the UK

Fihart
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They just don't get it ?

From a grumpy consumer's viewpoint, none of these telcos quite understand that some (many?) don't want;

1) Bundled TV

2) Bundled sport

3) Thousands of "free" texts (how many can normal people send in one month ?)

4) "Free" cinema tickets

5) Subsidised (locked) phones.

6) 24 month contracts

4) Anything else bundled that obfuscates pricing while, presumably, raising the cost of provision.

While I welcome a price war within this otherwise cosy cartel. let's have a war about prices, not add-ons.

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Gates and Ballmer NOT ON SPEAKING TERMS – report

Fihart
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Re: Never a good idea..... @ PeterM42

In many large companies it's normal to spend time selling at the coalface before being considered for advancing on the exec ladder. Usually it's essential if a company is not to produce only what the engineers deem fit and the bean counters will countenance..

That works in normal competitive markets, but one has to wonder when Microsoft is/was such a blatant monopoly. Typical of monopoly thinking was the purchase and gutting of Nokia in order to force a previously unwanted phone technology onto the market.

As for wrecking the Windows cash-cow in order to barge into the tablet market, predictably a disaster.

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AT&T to fork out less than two days' profit in bogus bill charge flap

Fihart
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Telcos a nasty cartel.

The sort of plain dishonesty and contempt for user displayed by these telcos should be dealt with by jailing the directors for fraud. Fines are just a levy on shareholders and barely touch the perpetrators.

I'm still furious that T-Mob raised PAYG text price by 20% when the actual cost of a text is so miniscule it apparently cannot be calculated.

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Music-mad Brits drive up hardware sales too – claims BPI

Fihart
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TV as background

How crap does a telly program have to be that viewers are listening to music while it's on.

Of course these could be the kind who just have the set on as company.

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Facebook apologizes for binning accounts of drag queens

Fihart
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Fakebook.

If Facebook just dumped all the accounts in pets' names they'd lose a fair percentage of users.

Don't know why they chose to focus on a sexual lifestyle when, presumably, there are actual fraudsters out there.

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Windows 10: One for the suits, right Microsoft? Or so one THOUGHT

Fihart
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Re: What about Windows 9? @Steven Raith

According to Wiki, Aston Martin named their car the DB9 instead of DB8 in case it seemed it was only available with a V8 -- and as they felt the 9 indicated that it was not an evolution from the 7 but a new design.

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Fihart
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Re: What about Windows 9?

What about Aston Martin DB8 ? Went straight from DB7 to DB9.

Perhaps to avoid a model which became known as the "Deviate" and jokes from Clarkson if it ran wide on corners.

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That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN

Fihart
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Someone tell Sainsbury's

........ "significant fraction of the big drink was created more than 4.5 billion years ago".

Yet they still put sell-by dates on bottled water.

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CURSE YOU, 'streaming' music services! I want a bloody CD

Fihart
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Re: have an upvote

Add the unfairly neglected Spanish composers -- Falla, Albeniz, Rodrigo, Turina, Granados.

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Fihart
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Bah, humbug.

You can keep yer streaming nonsense. I realised long ago (circa the first Walkman in 1980 ?) that I didn't really need music on the go. It was fun for a few minutes but soon I didn't even notice it. And with ambient noise on the street in London or on public transport, impossible without damaging my hearing.

So, though I have all the necessary gear to rip even vinyl to MP3, I generally listen via CD at home with minimum distractions. As used CDs have recently sold for between 50p and £2, my collection has swelled greatly.

Supplies are inevitably drying up so I suspect that once the penny drops that CD offers convenience and quality, they may become more sought-after than vinyl.

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Putin tells Google, Twitter, Facebook: Have a vodka and censorship on the rocks

Fihart
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Re: Do they even have Russian market share?

Information is the enemy of oppression.

Though China has thriving social networks, on an educational trip there my young relative did a thriving trade in showing local students how to set up a VPN and access Facebook.

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Good grief! Have you SEEN BlackBerry's SQUARE smartphone?

Fihart
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Price is a problem.

BB could (judging by the sheer quantity of comments here) have a hit on their hands. But the price has to be closer to £400 to compete with the likes of the HTC One.

Though I would never spend even that kind of money, have to say it ticks the right boxes -- a big screen and a physical keyboard.

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Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team

Fihart
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The guy's a nightmare.

This is as stupid as Coca Cola firing as exec spotted buying a Pepsi.

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