* Posts by Fihart

858 posts • joined 3 Jun 2008

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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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Bankruptcy could see RadioShack close doors for good – report

Fihart
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Re: Radio Shack will not be missed ... @Gray

"Wage advancement and promotions based on service or skill or dedication are no longer factors in retail workforce compensation. Human Resource computers crunch sales figures vs. hourly wage = profit quotient. Minimum wage wins every time."

Too right. Helped a friend apply for retail jobs online (the only way you can with most big firms). No CVs allowed. Was shocked at the questionnaires -- mostly sort of psychology tests designed for a computer to eliminate any marginal candidates. At no point did my friend have a chance to state that she had 10 yrs experience in retail. Companies obviously want cheap, inexperienced, compliant wage fodder.

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Fihart
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died in the Uk years ago

And not much missed. Perhaps hope for small indie electronic hobby stores like London's (plug) Cricklewood Electronics.

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Fihart
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BT tricked me

In the Reg yesterday I learned that Caller ID is built-in to modern telephony. Yet last Feb BT started imposing a £1.75 pm charge for a service which had previously been free.

As they hadn't even notified me of this change (apparently there was a note in their free newsletter, but that hardly constitutes a change of contract notice) I complained. And they "kindly" agreed to waive the charge for 12 months if I agreed to stay with BT for the year.

Last week I received a pre-printed letter about renewing the contract and -- obviously -- this is a widespread issue. It seems plain to me that this added charge was designed to trick existing customers into signing on for an annual contract instead of their existing rolling short notice contract.

My advice to BT customers is to cancel caller ID and save £21 pa -- the volume of nuisance calls has anyway reduced following legislation.

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Wall St wolves tear chunk off Microsoft: There goes $30bn!

Fihart
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MS blamed the Office slump on the transition to Office 365

Paying annual rental for something you previously bought outright. Good luck "transitioning" that !

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Tat bazaar eBay confirms: THOUSANDS of workers will be AXED

Fihart
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ebay lose money ?

Surely only for the purposes of tax avoidance.

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Free Windows 10 could mean the END for Microsoft and the PC biz

Fihart
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Free now. Pay (and pay again) later

I think we can assume that this is a preview for the Windows subscription model where ordinary punters are required to pay annually almost as much as Windows used to cost to buy outright.

Contrary to the Reg headline, from the hardware sellers viewpoint, perhaps there is a cost cut possible on PCs.

However, once punters catch on to the plot to bleed them annually, even more will desert to Mac than were driven away by Win8 catastrophe.

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Should spectrum hog TV give up its seat for broadband? You tell us – EU

Fihart
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Re: The point about Broadcast TV

Fair point, if a bare-bones Freesat box and mini-dish didn't cost much more than a Freeview box and TV aerial.

Problem is that the Freeview box and TV aerial are already in place. Are we expected to cough up yet again (I've had to replace Freeview box once already) to watch TV that's infested with ads -- and pay a TV licence ?

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Ford recalls SUVs … to fix the UI

Fihart
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Do the designers ever drive these things ?

Visiting a Mercedes Benz dealer I found that their 1990s E Class models' folding armrest interfered with manual gear changer. And that the car was only available with a foot operated parking brake (what you'd normally call a handbrake). Try doing a hill start in a manual car with that !

I was told that few Mercedes Benz buyers chose manual gearboxes -- and when I did (not an E class) I felt I could see why -- the clutch seemed heavy and initially I often stalled the car. Sold it after 12 months and since then my family have been riding around in a succession of BMW 5 and Jaguar XF models.

Mind you, I also tried one of the 1990s big Jag saloons and could barely fit my size 11 feet into the footwell so much did the transmission intrude. Confirmed my suspicion that only small men drive such big cars.

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It's 2015 and ATMs don't know when a daughterboard is breaking them

Fihart
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First rule

Only use ATMs within bank branches -- more likely that bad guys would be spotted fiddling with the machine.

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Yahoo! Says! Chrome, IE Users! Should! 'Upgrade'! To! FIREFOX!

Fihart
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Yahoo -- get with the program !

Silly buggers have been pestering users to change browser ever since they introduced a new look a few years back that wasn't compatible with my then choice, Opera. Eventually, fed up with being nagged I switched but frankly I'd rather they'd stuck with Yahoo's classic look or put in the effort to match most popular browsers.

I've largely switched to Firefox after a flirtation with Chrome, so the new nagging doesn't bother me. But Yahoo's performance in the past few years has been pretty poor (not to mention the recent underseas outage) and I suspect that this latest move will push some users out the door.

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Canadian watchdog goes to court to probe Apple's iPhone deals with mobe networks

Fihart
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Nothing to do with Blackberry ?

Of course not.

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'I don't NEED to pay' to watch football, thunders EU digi-czar

Fihart
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I would not watch sport if they paid me.

Too much bleedin' sport on radio and telly.

Whoever dreamed up Radio5 Live as a sport and talk channel ignored the facts that;

a) sport is largely visual.

b) the sort of people who like talk radio are not always those who follow sports.

And is it really necessary for footie commentators to go into screaming mode every time the ball approaches the goal ? It's obviously fake -- and stressful to the listener.

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Review mass-snoop laws regularly, says RIPA daddy Blunkett

Fihart
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Re: And in other news

Blunkett belongs in the Tower of London for recklessly abandoning this country's border controls.

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Feast your eyes: 10 'fortysomething' smart TVs

Fihart
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Re: Dumb TV please

Not so much Dumb as retarded. I might be tempted to buy a new TV if the programs didn't just get progressively worse and the ads grow in frequency and stupidity.

My now seldom used 24" Sony Trinitron CRT still has a better picture than older/cheaper flat screens. No, you say, CRT takes up too much space -- not when most people I know with flat TVs still put them in a corner.

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Fihart
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Re: Panasonic TX-47AS650

You can add Sat programs free by adding an old Sky box. Cheap at carboot or free from dumpster -- still supports similar line-up to Freeview and other programs without a subscription.

Dish may be a little harder to source but installation and alignment are simple using the utility built into the Sky box. Any existing dish should support a second feed.

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Apple knob refusenik Sir Jony Ive handed award - for talking BOLLOCKS

Fihart
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Digital crown ??

Mr Ive should watch his mail for a letter from the lawyers for Rolex -- their winder (plain English) already has a crown on it.

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Go festive this year with Christmas carols, baby Jesus and CLITORAL STIMULATORS

Fihart
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A bit rich...

An IT bod complaining about pointless tech-complication. Ever since encountering a Teasmade (or Teasmaid ?) and a cheap pair of binoculars with a transistor radio built in, I have been less than convinced of the convenience of combi-products and similar technology. Personal Computers are (and Mobile Phones have become) pinnacles of combi-ness.

On techie site, of all places, I find a writer advocating devices that just do one thing well -- in this case the light switch. What next here, the return of the dedicated word processor ?

Incidentally, Black Friday (more like a Grey Monday) at local Sainsbury featured only one line that caught my eye. Some spectacularly cheap tellies (32inch for £89 or 40inch for £149) labelled with one of the several brands of the gloriously named Universal Multimedia Corporation of Bratislava. Helpfully, one of these sets was running -- directly next to a Panasonic. A glance showed that you get what you pay for.

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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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