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* Posts by Stevie

2554 posts • joined 12 Jun 2008

Canada's boffins need A WHOLE YEAR to recover from China hack attack

Stevie
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Bah!

Canada has a CIO?

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Thirteen Astonishing True Facts You Never Knew About SCREWS

Stevie
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Re: Spanners Vs. Wrenches

Oh, there are a lot more confusing differences waiting in the spanner drawer of the toolbox for the unwary ex-pat doing the in-driveway-engineering thing than that obvious and well-known one.

Upside: awesome tools that often would be banned in the EU, like gasoline-powered chainsaws mounted on 10-foot poles and portable hydraulic pincers only the fire brigade is allowed to have elsewhere.

Land of the Red Man. Land of the Free. Land of Husqvarna and Tecumseh. Praise the lord and pass the two-stroke oil.

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Stevie
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Bah!

Riddled with inaccuracies, as usual for The Register.

A "Brummie Screwdriver" is NOT a common-or-garden clawhammer, but rather the old-fashioned cast-iron Stillson's-type plumber's monkey-wrench, 15-18 inches long, traditionally painted red on the handle.

The hammering face is usually the back of the monkey-screw housing.

Also, picture number 2 *is* a screw, specifically a "Machine Screw".

The bolt, which the author seems to have confused this with, is easily distinguished by a smooth, threadless section near the head. You can *use* a machine screw as a bolt, but there are penalties for doing so without using a bushing as any proper engineer would know.

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Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series

Stevie
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Re: Anyone read Dominion by C J Sansom?

Or there's "Bring the Jubilee"* by Ward Moore, in which time travelers ... nope, you'll have to read it yourself.

* the name of the song known by many as "Marching through Georgia", used as an anthem by CSA citizens (and, with alternate lyrics, by Manchester United fans).

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Stevie
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Bah!

Well, if it sucks deluxe we could always spritz it with UBIK ...

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Stevie
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Re: Prometheus wasn't a bad film at all. Stop whining.

Yes it was. Whining not only permitted, but approved.

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DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss

Stevie
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Bah!

" Instead, NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) satellite was perfectly positioned to record the blast."

And presumably is now so much silicon slag floating silently in the hellish void.

Or are all those threats of The Flare That Ate The Intarweb perhaps a tab overblown?

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Stevie
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Bah!

Neil deGrasse Tyson was on Bill Maher's show on Saturday laughing so hard at this "near miss" story he damn near coughed up a lung on camera.

He thinks these so-called "boffins" should get a f*cking grip and so do I.

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

Stevie
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ultrasonic (old skool) electromagnetic (new school)

"Nuclear electromagnetic. It's the next inevitable step."

Dr A. Heller.

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Stevie
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Bah!

"You could even go back as far as 1943 with the Ferdinand Elefant tank destroyer that had a hybrid electric drive."

You'd be mad if you did, though, since the drive was a miserable failure in the competitive tests vs MAN* when bidding for the intended use (the Panzer VI aka Tiger) and when the chassis was repurposed as the Ferdinand aka Elefant it was a death trap on tracks due to other ridiculously obvious design issues (the most prominent being no self-defense machine gun; there are credible reports of commanders opening the gun breach and firing pistols down the barrel in an attempt to stop an onrush of infantry bent on close-quarter tank vandalization and the ever-popular dropping-of-grenades-down-hatches).

Most Ferdinand/Elefant AFVs were abandoned by crews once they ran out of ammo. I never saw a picture of one repurposed for "the other side" (usually the Russians, who had a few panzers of various marks wearing the red star by the end of WWII) which speaks volumes for the market for them. Or, the lack of willingness of people to photograph them. Or both.

* So was the MAN chassis. It broke down several times during the trial. But Team MAN were better at explaining why than Team Porsche were.

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US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'

Stevie
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not just the UK government who are completely useless at IT

You will note that there is a big bux vendor involved, and that that vendor used to make expensive aeroplanes for the government, but now doesn't so much. Keep that in mind for a bit.

I work at the sharp end of Govt IT these days and I can state unequivocally that were the taxpayer to shut up demanding that we bid out every bloody project to grubbing low-bid vendors they might actually get value for money instead of the atrocious waste they actually fund. Government is a not-for-profit organization when working properly. No private vendor is, especially a former aerospace giant. You do the math.

One vendor I had the misfortune to be interacting with bills by the page of documentation. That's how they word their contracts - documentation is proof of work done. Their project documents are a thing to fear, and by some accounts are responsible for much of the deforestation of Latin America. I never knew IT involved so many adjectives and adverbs.

And you never get one vendor rep, they only come in three- and six- packs, depending on who else will be at the meetings. Of course, there is *always* one that must attend by phone too.

Makes me pine for the old days, in the manufacturing industry in the UK. Actually, I only remember cost overruns and abandoned projects as the norm then too, and I only worked in the private sector.

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Reg Latin scholars scrap over LOHAN's stirring motto

Stevie
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Re: I'm going for a declensionless Anglo-Latin fusion.

Far out! Who've you got on bass?

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Stevie
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Bah!

People called "Romanes", they go to the house?????

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UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

Stevie
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Re: Better but still a bit of a pigs ear

However the reality is that they show you a box to choose the options, the text they place next to ODF is along the lines of "if you use this then you will be missing out on a ton of features that you paid money for are you really really sure you want to spoil your experience and waste your money...

And you will lose functionality. The last one that caught me was a document that I wanted to be in three columns per page *except* page one which needed to be in two columns. MSWord: Easy. OOWriter: Not possible.

You might not care about that loss of functionality of course, but it is real, just as real as the cross version problems OO warns about under certain circumstances when you use heavy-on-the-functions OOCalc.

Not warning about this sort of stuff would be the Evil Thing To Do (in my opinion, as an educated user of the advanced functions of both OO and MSO).

Bravo HM Govt. for making the jump. Shame the argument they use is bankrupt (if you want the message to get out you use HTML or PDF because they are universally portable - or damn near so). Let's hope this is more than just the opening move in a license negotiation.

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Stevie
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Have you seen the horror Word produces when you save as HTML?

You do know there's a switch to turn off all the inline styles, right?

And that they are there because of an insane requirement that not only should the generated HTML "look like" the original document, but that any HTML made from a word document by default be able to be reconverted back into a word document with minimal loss of styling from the original Word document?

It's right there in the help, or was last time I looked (MSO 2003). Turn off the switch and you'll get about what you'd expect plus a couple of meta tags.

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Kickstarter tin-rattlers offer reboot of '80s Integrated Space Plan megagraphic

Stevie
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Bah!

Not just beers, Martian beers!

Your round.

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New BOMB detect-o-tech 'could give sniffer dogs competition': TRUE

Stevie
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Bah!

So, did anyone take the precaution of taking it into various places like airports, hotels, billiard halls etc and seeing what it thought it could smell before contacting the press?

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MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets

Stevie
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Bah!

"Researchers at the University of East Anglia"

Ah, the old Alma Mater rises above the nasty e-mail scandal of the oughties and reclaims the Crown of Science.

The only way this could backfire is if some clod makes reference to climate.

"Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate."

Godsdammit!

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Students hack Tesla Model S, make all its doors pop open IN MOTION

Stevie
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The Austin metro could be unlocked with a front door key

Pshaw! I unlocked many a locked Vauxhall and Toyota for distressed ladies with consummate ease in the 79-81 era using ... the otherwise useless fish descaler on my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.

Slide it in, bit of a wiggle as you pull it out a bit and repeat until job done.

And the ladies were always left smiling.

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BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled

Stevie
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it was working again

So, more of a bbccouk-up then?

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Why has sexy Apple gone to bed with big boring IBM?

Stevie
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Re: Overly redundant (again and again)

Yes, it obviously should have read "Apple’s iPad is 36 per cent of the iPad tablets with the iPad".

Rookie mistake.

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Victim of Tor-hidden revenge smut site sues Tor Project developers

Stevie
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Bah!

Not usually sympathetic to people stupid enough to gift pix of themselves as nature intended to others and expect them to stay confidential, but in the case of this sort of website I have to say that how limp-dicked can you be to need to use this sort of anonymous vengeance bullying to get satisfaction?

Seriously? *This* is all you have? And you don't even have the balls to claim ownership?

No wonder she dumped your sorry backside.

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NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'

Stevie
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Bah!

"those naked selfies people send to their loved ones are common currency among NSA staff"

Duh.

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Dungeons & Dragons relaunches with 'freemium' version 5.0

Stevie
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Re: perhaps they thought it best

Well, it has been in open playtest for months now, so that would be a good guess.

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Stevie
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Re: GURPS like a tax form?

Yes.

In support of this contention I offer GURPS For Dummies in which the advice from GURPS experts to get it all into a spreadsheet is repeated for both character builds so you can finish before the GM dies of old age and for GMs conducting combat so a simple flesh wound doesn't cause a quarter hour break to refigure the combat modifiers.

And personal experience, of course. What, you thought I'd never actually had a go?

Also, you write of GURPS in the past tense but it is still available in the gorgeous 4th edition hardback printing. I know, 'cos I have one. Well, two, since it is a two volume set. I bought them to see if they would make the free "GURPS Lite" rules that we were using for Tales of the Solar Patrol make sense. They did, but it is debatable whether that was worth the 80-odd bucks of acquisition.

I can't speak for 3rd edition, but the service pack, 3.5, is such a doddle it lured me back into playing D&D after a hiatus begun when I ran screaming from AD&D in 1981 and took up running Traveller, and then Call of Cthulhu. If you are saying you can make GURPS work but not 3.5 I have to question your sincerity.

As for simple rules systems, why buy expensive rules if you are going to throw most of them away? If you don't need the fractal insanity of GURPS in its entirety, Savage Worlds offers the quickest and cheapest way into generic engine RPGs, and BRP (Gold Book) a slightly more involved one. Both are easier to assimilate and cheaper to own than GURPS.

One thing Pathfinder and the older D&D 3.5 offer that GURPS doesn't is a comprehensive Bestiary that can save the GM oodles of time (and again, much cash). Trying to assemble a GURPS bestiary is an exercise in going slowly mad. Ask me how I know this.

GURPS settings are lavish things, sometimes great, sometimes not - one example of a swing and miss that leaps to mind is the patently ridiculous statement that the Mini Moke taxis could do "about 40 mph maximum" in the GURPS The Prisoner sourcebook. This from an 'expert' on the background too. And I imagine everyone could live without the third edition bindings that fall apart at the drop of a hat.

On the other hand, the Discworld and Vorkosigan Saga are works of breathtaking scope, and after Wizards of the Coast set the bar a little higher, fourth edition books have been in color on gloss paper too (bringing them up to par with Savage Worlds, D&D and Pathfinder publications). Both of those are out of print now, unfortunately.

I just think these settings would all work better, be easier to run and be seen by a larger audience if they were run under a different game engine.

Because GURPS looks, and is, complicated.

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Stevie
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Re: I'm 45 and have a job.

Bah!

I'm 59 and have a job and a college-age kid and I run two regular RPGs and play in a third. If I had more free time I have a backlog of stuff I'd like to try out too. I have from 6-8 players a game.

Used to be I'd run a game of Call of Cthulhu for the same three people once a month, but I was getting bored and didn't get on with one of the people.

The secret for me was relocating my gaming to a local friendly game store where I could tap into a huge player base via their "meetup" website.

Once you have a pool of gamers to draw from you get to see the Rule in action: RPG would-be players outnumber RPG would-be GMs by at least 4-1. So getting a group together becomes an exercise in finding a game everyone wants to try out. I have dozens of the buggers lying around in boxes, but everyone can find a D&D audience in a game store (I don't run that one myself).

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Stevie
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Re: Any suggestions

Savage Worlds might be worth a look.

I'm fond of a few of the non-High Fantasy SW settings as a GM (Solomon Kane, Space 1889 and Deadlands:Reloaded) but will readily concede that the magic system lacks the sheer heroic oomph of Pathfinder's, a fact that becomes apparent in those settings where Weird Scientists keep inventing the same four devices.

Also Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but that may be too "Old School" and randomly deadly for many.

I reckon for the average RPGer wanting to adventure in a high fantasy/Sword and Sorcery setting, Pathfinder is probably the best bang for everyone's buck. The starter box is phenomenal value for money.

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Stevie
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Re: GURPS?

GURPS, the RPG that makes income tax instructions look easy.

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Stevie
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Bah!

"Your correspondent has the original, three-book, Traveller rules if anyone fancies a game."

I've got a mint copy of Striker and 400 15mm figures from the Traveller range standing by for when you want to try a grown-up game.

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Microsoft swings axe at 18,000 bods in its largest ever round of layoffs

Stevie
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Bah!

"synergies and strategic alignment" apparently means "outsourcing".

At least, that's the only way I can get this version to match the one I heard on NPR on my commute in.

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Huge FOUR-winged dino SPREAD LEGS to KILL – scientists

Stevie
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Bah!

Egad! A prehistoric X-Wing dinosaur!

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

Stevie
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Re: Tall items don't fall intact

Chimneys don't fall intact because they are made of individual bricks held together by old, cracked and weathered mortar that has often been given a good thwack by the shockwave of a demolition charge.

If you watch a chimney in decent repair felled by a "Fred Dibner" the old fashioned way you'll see that what is actually happening is that the base collapses as it tries to hold the weight of the falling chimney so that it slumps rather than snapping in half. Often the top of the chimney doesn't get very far from the vertical as a result but *does* travel laterally the full length expected, or damn near.

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Stevie
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I saw the launch

WELL I SAW THE LANDING. EH? WASSAT? SPEAK UP MAN!

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Popular password protection programs p0wnable

Stevie
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Bah!

Didn't see that coming.

Oh wait.

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LibreSSL crypto library leaps from OpenBSD to Linux, OS X, more

Stevie
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Bah!

I cannot support this effort no matter how well-intentioned, as they needlessly broke the "libre name" paradigm established by the open office forkers a couple of years ago.

It should have been SSL Libre of course.

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Another 'NSA-proof' webmail biz popped by JavaScript injection bug

Stevie
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Re: Is it too late for everybody to get behind that?

Easier to simply Get Rid Of Useless JavaScript Now! and remove the most pernicious XSS infection vector the world (wide web) has ever seen.

Seriously, why in the name of Farkle J Thinggblat the Fourth would you need to have client-side javascript (or indeed any client side smarts) in order to read e-mail?

Stupid with a capital stupe.

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FBI: We found US MILITARY AIRCRAFT INTEL during raid on alleged Chinese hacker

Stevie
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Bah!

Brimey.

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New Doctor Who episode leaks online as proper trailer debuts

Stevie
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Re: Someone, somewhere is going to get shot.

Please please please let it be the f*cktard who voices the "programs to come" adverts on BBC America in the same superloudshouty voice twenty or thirty times an evening with exactly the same annoying cadence (the one-size-fits-all-uses "Top Gear Delivery") every f*cking time.

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The final score: Gramophones 1 – Glassholes 0

Stevie
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Bah!

What a shame there's no way to force the camera to shut down if one points at you.

But then, I said that when I saw the first cell phone equipped with one.

Stevie's Law: As the tech gets more intelligent, the people who buy it get dumberer.

Same ole say mole.

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Amazon begs Feds for drone test permission slip

Stevie
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Re: That NASA astronaut will come in handy.

I think we should start a write-in campaign to get legislation passed in all countries in which these things will fly to the effect that "No Delivery Drone shall take off unless properly crewed by a Playmonaut equipped with the requisite environmental suit".

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Stevie
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Bah!

I see this as a move to panic rival e-stores into ill-advised and ruinously expensive delivery drone programs of their own.

When these rivals have run themselves into bankruptcy, Amazon will ride in to rescue the wailing shareholders from penury.

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Stevie
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55 pounds of drone falling out of the sky

BUT

tests done by a friend of mine back in the late 70s/early 80s proved conclusively that were the flattened person to be wearing Toe-Tectors footwear, his/her toes would survive nicely (he was intrigued by the wording of the Toe-Tector 10 kiloquid compensation-to-surviving-family guarantee for people who "died as a result of toe injuries while wearing Toe-Tectors")

Presumably an Amazon/Toe-Tector joint project to market the foortwear and to offer cloning services to the newly drone-squished will soon be announced to the eager press.

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New Bluetooth tech lets you control 4 BILLION lightbulbs at once

Stevie
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Re: considered "dead" when it dropped to 70% of its initial illumination

Can't count the number of red traffic lights near my house with more than half the LEDs burned out, nor do any of the busses I've clocked in the last few weeks have a full matrix or redduns in the taillights that "last forever".

The Jeep that passed me the other day had a full bar of them so bright the fucktard behind the wheel had turned off his headlights (by which other people would have been able to judge the width of his car despite the dazzle coming from the bar of brightness mounted low and central - which conveyed a much smaller frontal area).

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Stevie
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Re: I dont kwow why

"They have, but most people find it easier to locate a light switch that is always on the same place on their wall than it is to locate a remote control, especially if it is dark"

Which is why the range included wall switches. Still does, but you have to source them from somewhere else now (the Radio Shack range was just rebranded stuff you could always get elsewhere).

There's this thing called "google" ...

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El Reg nips down IKEA's 'I've Got A Screw Loose Street'

Stevie
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Bah!

Spanish get the win for having a sense of proportion as well as a sense of humour.

Well done that municipality.

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Call girl injected Google exec with heroin, drank wine, left him to die – cops claim

Stevie
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Re: Ah.. a scandel in the finest traditions.

Ah. "Reiser is innocent".

By all means reserve judgement.

In both directions. Evangelism on either side is unwarranted.

But since you dipped your feet in the pool, remember: ducks, walking, quacking.

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Apple rats on Google to FTC: You thought WE were in-app-ropriate?

Stevie
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Bah!

Oh Bruce Sewell, you are so right, but didn't anyone ever tell you that no-one likes a tattle-tale?

As a lawyer that means you are doubly hated by everyone now.

Why not make a smart-alec comment to the press and go for the hat-trick?

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Europe's highest court: Apple CAN trademark its retail store layout

Stevie
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Bah!

Clearly a transparent opening move to litigate against the Raspberry Pi "Pi Tin" manufacturers for copying their design in miniature.

I see right through this.

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Google went behind our backs and really HURT US, squeal upset porn kingpins

Stevie
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Bah!

But how will ... a friend of mine ... get his p3niz p1llz now?

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