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* Posts by Neoc

1212 posts • joined 13 Jun 2008

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Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!

Neoc
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"Now, back to business. Just how many As are there in SPAAAAACE, exactly?"

Depends on which season of the Muppets you are watching.

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French telco takes on US rival Netflix... with whose dongle?

Neoc
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Meh

I have a home-theatre PC. The HTPC software I use has a plug-in so I can watch Netflix through it (without having to shut down the software and call up Netflix's website) and it also interfaces with my networked free-to-air TV tuner.

I wouldn't bother with this unless I could integrate it into the HTPC, but these companies seem to go out of their way to make sure you can't see their broadcast except through their hardware (I'm looking at you Foxtel and IInet), even though you've paid for the service. :(

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Euro banks warned off Bitcoin as Canada regulates it

Neoc
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Easy out.

You buy bitcoins. You sell bitcoins. Their actual values are based on supply and demand. Does that sound like something that already exists?

Yep: Bitcoins are just easily-tradable stocks (but without the whole bullshit that goes with short-selling, futures market, etc...). So treat them like stocks and you'll have already-existing regulations.

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Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE DNS outage

Neoc
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Interesting

Some of Vodafone Australia's mobile customers were suffering from a DNS outage yesterday as well (call it 11am - 3pm AEST). In my case, my mobile was affected but my tablet wasn't.

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Conformist Google: Android devices must LOOK, WORK ALIKE

Neoc
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Meh

First thing I did when I bought my last two Android phones was to change the Launcher.

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Half a meellion euros stolen in week-long bank smash 'n' grab

Neoc
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Coat

I guess someone ran out of Luuuk.

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Google pries open YOUR mailbox, invites developer partners

Neoc
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Re: I wonder

@Chairo: It won't (just) be in Android - If Google are planning on superseding the IMAP API as stated then it mean that any email account you hold at Google (via gmail.com or your company having parked their mail server there) will be accessible via this API. Although I'm sure they'll squeeze it into the Android mailing client so that your non-gmail letters can be perused.

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Neoc
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Re: Google gets permissions wrong again!

Download "App Ops" from the Play store. Depending on your version of Android it provides access to the permission manager.

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Neoc
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Oh Problem? Where art thou, Problem?

<<The Wall Street Journal says, for example, that “A travel app, for example, could scan your email inbox for booking confirmations and automatically compile them into an itinerary. An expense app can dig through your inbox for receipts and automatically file them to your cloud-based account.”>>

Funny, TripIt already does that with my emails and doesn't require a new protocol. Yet another Solution looking for a Problem.

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Content control freaks are peddling futility, says iiNet

Neoc
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>> His simple prescription to the content industries is that “start treating your customers as customers, not the enemy, and you might find things improve”. <<

Amen to that. Hint to the Australian Government: treat the cause, not the symptoms. If "piracy is rampant in Australia", figure out what caused it and fix THAT.

Of course, the media companies won't like that concept...

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Vodafone AU in new four-hour Vodafail

Neoc
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Vodafail, but not for the obvious reasons.

I am a Vodafone customer, have been for quite a while. There have been some disturbances here and there, but mostly the problem has been really poor voice reception or download speeds - including in the heart of the CBD.

But yesterday was a page out of the "how to lose customers" handbook. Voice and SMS went off the air (pun intended) but data continued. The first I realised there was a problem was because I was trying to get in touch with Vodafone (via a landline) to ask them some questions unrelated to the subsequent problem; there were long, silent pauses in the menu system which eventually simply disconnected me. By the third try the menu system wasn't responding and I was getting disconnected within 3 seconds. On a land-line. No automatic messages, nothing.

Went on-line to find out what was happening. Vodafone's "network status" page kept saying everything was working perfectly, regardless of the postcode I typed in. Except it was very obvious that things were going horribly wrong. You'd think that by now they would have taken that obviously flawed page off-line and placed a great big banner on their front-page announcing a problem. Instead; the announcement was buried in the middle of their forum.

As for the announcement itself, it simply stated that there was a glitch (my word) and that some customers were having intermittent problems. Not quite, Vodafone: I lost connectivity between (roughly) 12:10pm and 5:00pm. And I may have lost it beforehand and not realised. So that's almost 5 hours (some reported 8+) where mobiles stopped working for all intents and purposes. Considering that Vodafone's business model is to try and wean people off landlines altogether and onto mobile voice and data, is it any wonder your customers were calling for someone's head on a platter when their only mode of communication (both private and commercial) is via VF's mobile network?

Eventually the network came back up. Apparently, Optus and (so I understand) Telstra also suffered outages - I can't attest to either. But there has been no word as to what caused the problem in the first place; only vague wordings about a "technical issue". And that includes the press release. That seems to be Vodafone's PR stand on this event: say nothing and hope nobody asks questions. Except of course that just about all of their customer will want answers - if not for the outage itself (excrement occureth), then for the piss-poor customer- and public-relationship displayed during this outage.

TL;DR, Vodafone's greatest failure yesterday did not come from their network, but from their corporate headquarters.

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Stopping IT price gouging would risk SOCIALIST DYSTOPIA!

Neoc
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Remember folks...

These are the same companies that tell you it's OK for them to go shopping around the world for the cheapest labour and biggest tax-breaks, but that it should be illegal for you to buy the same product from a different country.

Goose, meet Ganda.

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The cute things they say

Neoc
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Because sometimes their brains go into Neutral.

Let's dig one out from the 90's - my first job was with the department of education. They were using a rather well written (for the time) database system to help schools keep track of students, classes, scores, etc. The software ran on a *nix variant and came in two flavours: High-school and primary. The High-school version produced backups that were large enough to warrant 1/4" tapes, while primary schools' backups would fit on one or more floppies. All schools were carefully instructed on the values of backups.

Being lowest in rank, I spent my first few years as the guy being sent out to deal with problems at the local schools (we had regional people for the others). Every so often, the system would be so badly borked the only thing to do was wipe the drive, re-install the OS and the software and break out the backups. And of course, most of them hadn't followed the simple backup procedure we'd installed (5 weekly backups, one a day, reuse last week's media). So when I got called to XXXX Primary School and found out their system required a rebuild, I requested their backups fully expecting to be met with blank stares. But the Admin staff smiles at me and asks which day's backup I want. "You mean you keep a full set of backups?" "Oh yes, religiously," she replies, pointing to the whiteboard across the room where the backup disks are being held aloft by large magnets, under great big MON/TUE/WED/etc... headers.

Had a fun time trying to explain why I couldn't get any data out of any of the backup disks.

-----8<-----

Second one comes from the early 00's. The system was originally written before GUI and the screens were basically 24x80 text-based forms. Not a problem, it was early days for GUI so seeing an old green-terminal set of screens being re-created on a Mac or Windows machine wasn't that odd. What was odd was a set of requirements I got from a fairly high-end user. I paraphrase:

"We want three screens: a Query screen, a List screen and a Maintenance screen. If the user enters a query which returns more than one item, the system should display them in the List screen so that the user can pick the right one and update it. If the system returns only one item and it's the right one it should jump directly to the maintenance screen. If there is only one item but it's the wrong one, the system should display it in the List screen so the user doesn't accidentally update it."

It took me 30 minutes to finally get through to him that the system could not automagically tell if the record was the "right" one or not if it matched all the query parameters.

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BOFH: On the contrary, we LOVE rebranding here at the IT dept

Neoc
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Reminds me of when the Chairman of the University of the Northern Territory got his new "signature stamp", with his degrees and his position all nicely abbreviated.

Nobody noticed until the first batch of letters went out...

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So, what exactly defines a 'boffin'? Speak your brains...

Neoc
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I would have thought one of the major requirements would be for the work they are doing to have the potential of discovering/creating something new.

So - a metallurgist might end up being a boffin, but it's highly unlikely that an architect (no matter the number of degrees) does the same - most would be trick-cyclists.

But what about middle-ground, say Astronomists? I'd say the one which simply look at telescopes are NOT boffins, but the ones who use said observations to come up with new theories (or better places to look) are boffins.

YMMV

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Ireland accused of giving Apple 'selective advantage'

Neoc
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Actually, no matter what the Review finds, Apple has broken no laws. It has applied the Tax Laws as each country told Apple applied to it. What they have done may be immoral, but it is not illegal.

What the Review is checking is whether Ireland, by allowing this shenanigans, may have breached some EU rulings about Taxation across EU states.

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Google, Red Hat, Ubuntu, Parallels bet on virtualization's surprising successor

Neoc
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So, if I understand this correctly:

If you want multiple copies of the same hardware/OS tuple, use Containers.

Otherwise, you need to use Hypervisors.

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Japanese finally produce a ROBOT which isn't DEAD INSIDE

Neoc
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"There's good news for those of us worried about a robopocalypse: there's a speedy way to stay safe if Pepper goes berserk. Just climb stairs."

Pepper = Dalek 1.0?

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Boffins publish SciFi story to announce exoplanet find

Neoc
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He said "Kapteyn!"

I said "What?"

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Protecting code's secrets wins ACM prize

Neoc
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If it has to be decrypted for it to work, someone will eventually break it.

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Australia's first public swatting victim a nice bloke

Neoc
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Logic should have been applied...

Why would someone in Sydney NSW text the QLD Police? Makes no sense.

More than likely, we'll find the SWATter was a Queenslander and he texted QPS out of habit.

(Yes, I am a QLDer. QPS = Queensland Police Service).

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Kickstarter cup-rattling, light-dimming Internet of Stuff upstart takes on Sonos, Bose

Neoc
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One wonders why El Reg is telling us *now* about a kickstarter that ended over a month ago...

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CSIRO claims milestone in solar-powered steam turbines

Neoc
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Heaven knows there's enough sun here in Australia...

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Android is a BURNING 'hellstew' of malware, cackles Apple's Cook

Neoc
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Idiot misses the point... on purpose?

I have a couple of servers running Linux, PCs and a Laptop running Windows 7, phone and tablets are running Android and, yes, I have and iPad. One of the original. Whose OS *can't* be upgraded to 6, let alone 7 or 8. Physically CAN'T. And since my iPad 1 still does what I need it to do, I feel no need to buy a newer one. So I am in the 11% running an outdated iOS version. Surprise!

Apparently, the reason most Apple users run the latest iOS version has nothing to do with how easily Apple makes new versions available, it has to do with the facts that most of them will slavishly upgrade their hardware every time Apple brings out a new version. I, on the other hand, am perfectly happy with my old v1 iPad (I keep it for a comic-book reader which is not available on Android) and feel no need to upgrade my hardware. And so do most Android users, who don't feel the need to compulsively upgrade their hardware "simply because".

I know I sound like an Android pusher - I am not (see hardware list above - the right OS for the right job). I just want to point out that Cook was talking bullshit in this respect.

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ASUS launches 5-in-1 Android Windows Phone laptop tablet (breathe)

Neoc
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Re: "Who am I?!?!?!?!"

"I'm Jean Valjean!"

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iiNet trial killed ISP-content talks, says Brandis

Neoc
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Sooo.... lot's of hand-wringing going on about how to stop Piracy... but no-one's bothering to look into why Piracy is "such a big problem" in the first place. Like stupid release schedules around the world. Or price discrepancies across markets. Or stupid DRM rules that stop me from watching/listening what I want when and where I want.

Cart, horse.

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Australia iOS ransom gizmo-snatch OUTRAGE not our FAULT: Apple

Neoc
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End of the world?

"Apple Australia has contacted The Reg..." Surely one of the signs of the Apocalypse?

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ET hunter: We will find SPACE ALIENS in 20 years

Neoc
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...what the...?

Two weeks ago, the Pope went on record saying that of course the church would be happy to welcome extra-terrestrial life into the fold. http://global.christianpost.com/news/pope-francis-talks-about-aliens-says-he-would-welcome-martians-to-receive-baptism-119630/

Now we are being told contact with extra-terrestrial life is likely to happen in the next 20 years.

Are we being softened up for something...?

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Bitcoin blockchain allegedly infected by ancient 'Stoned' virus

Neoc
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Re: STONED

I still have a warm spot in my heart for the Cookie Monster virus. DOS-based, it would eventually put up a message saying "gimme cookie" and do nothing else. After a while, the message would come back. Again and again, each time with less time between the message until eventually your PC would freeze.

To get rid of it? You typed COOKIE on the command line and it would sanitize itself from your system.

Benign, but fun.

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Boffins run iOS apps on Android hardware

Neoc
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It'd be nice

When I moved from an iPad 1 to an Android slab, I found equivalent apps for all my iTune apps with little problem. Except for one - it was (and as far as I am concerned still is) the best comic-book/manga reader around. Unfortunately, the author has no plans to rewrite it for Android. So if Cider does get released, I'll finally be able to completely ditch my ageing iPad.

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Supposedly secure Dogecoin service Dogevault goes offline

Neoc
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What did the Doge do?

King Roderick: The Duke. What did the Duke do?

Hubert Hawkins: Eh... the Duke do?

King Roderick: Yes. And what about the Doge?

Hubert Hawkins: Oh, the Doge!

King Roderick: Eh. Well what did the Doge do?

Hubert Hawkins: The Doge do?

King Roderick: Yes, the Doge do.

Hubert Hawkins: Well, uh, the Doge did what the Doge does. Uh, when the Doge does his duty to the Duke, that is.

King Roderick: What? What's that?

Hubert Hawkins: Oh, it's very simple, sire. When the Doge did his duty and the Duke didn't, that's when the Duchess did the dirt to the Duke with the Doge.

King Roderick: Who did what to what?

Hubert Hawkins: Oh, they all did, sire. There they were in the dark; the Duke with his dagger, the Doge with his dart, Duchess with her dirk.

King Roderick: Duchess with her dirk?

Hubert Hawkins: Yes! The Duchess dove at the Duke just when the Duke dove at the Doge. Now the Duke ducked, the Doge dodged, and the Duchess didn't. So the Duke got the Duchess, the Duchess got the Doge, and the Doge got the Duke!

King Roderick: Curious. I... I... hmm? What? What's that? All I heard was that the Duchess had a siege of rheumatism. She's 83, you know.

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Facebook-backed spec lets apps link to other apps on mobes

Neoc
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NO!

"For example, a page might include App Links tags indicating where to find an Android app, an iPhone app, and a separate app for iPads, plus another tag that specifies a fallback web URL"

So instead of me deciding (through my preference settings) that I want to use (say) VLC to view videos or flash files, the page will now override my choice and tell me I *must* use their preferred App or else be redirected to a web-page?

I don't think so.

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FCC seeks $48K fine from mobile phone-jamming driver

Neoc
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On a separate note...

If it's so illegal for Joe Public to use one, why are they allowing manufacturers to *sell* them to Joe Public in the first place?

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Neoc
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Re: Decision time?

@Poopypants: except it would also disrupt the phones of any passengers in a car. I don't know about you, but my wife regularly calls other people when I am driving in order to (for example) let them know we have been delayed, or call a take-out place after work because neither one of us feels like cooking dinner, etc...

Unless you can somehow restrict the technology to drivers-only, it's not reasonable.

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Firefox, is that you? Version 29 looks rather like a certain shiny rival

Neoc
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Oh, FFS!

<sigh> Yet another group/company that believes desktop GUI should look/behave the same way as Tablet/phone GUI. Why would I want to waste screen real-estate on finger-friendly icon when I use a keyboard/mouse on my desktop/laptop? And don't use the argument that most laptops have a touch-screen these days: that's because Win8 basically made it mandatory - cart-before-horse time.

By all means develop a finger-friendly GUI, BUT STOP FORCING EVERYONE TO USE IT!!!

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Trolls and victims watch Supremes for definition of meaningless patents

Neoc
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You missed one: 2010s' "xxx but in the Cloud".

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Neoc
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Re: Dear Reg editors:

If it's good enough for "The West Wing", it's gotta be good enough for El Reg.

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Data retention: encryption won't protect you much

Neoc
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Re: Retain *this*, sucker

Erm... no. I gave a presentation on Electronic Security as part of a University course back in *1998*, and in order to provide adequate comparison I also investigated (and talked about) the *physical* options available to Law -Enforcement Organisations around the world. Egads. The simplest one was a liquid which could be sprayed on an envelope or packet which would render the wrapping transparent for up to 15 minutes and then evaporate without a trace. Guaranteed. Only sold to reputable LEOs, of course </sarcasm>.

I listed a few more "physical" attacks on mail, enough to make people realise that anybody *could* listen or read anyone's correspondence if they wanted to.

I can only assume they've come up with better products since 1998.

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US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code

Neoc
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"Hi - we'd like to install security software on your phone which will become the perfect ransomware as soon as someone cracks our security in three... two... one..."

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NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers

Neoc
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I'm 10km from the GPO in Brisbane, and we're not even on the 3-year list. We use to be, but we got taken off.

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IBM Hursley Park: Where Big Blue buries the past, polishes family jewels

Neoc
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"...A visit to the basement of Hursley..."

-----------------------------

"I eventually had to go down to the basement."

"Ah. That's the Display Department."

"With a torch."

"The lights had probably gone."

"So had the stairs!"

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Ancient Earth asteroid strike that dwarfed dinosaur killer still felt today

Neoc
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Re: Point of order.

<thumps head on desk repeatedly> d'oh. d'oh. d'oh...

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Neoc
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Headmaster

Point of order.

"at least three times as massive"

Erm... comparison chart shows the size difference to be 10Km wide Vs 30Km wide. That's a tripling in one direction only. Assuming the asteroids were roughly circular and of comparable composition, then the MASS would be roughly 9 times larger. And thus "nine times as massive"

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Not just websites hit by OpenSSL's Heartbleed – PCs, phones and more under threat

Neoc
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Never understood why malloc (and the rest of its extended family) didn't nuke the memory area by default before passing it to whoever asked for it.

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'Monstrous' Apple kicked us off iAd, claimed we are its RIVAL – Brit music upstart

Neoc
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Re: Wrong. @ThomH

Note I said "potentially illegal". I do not know enough about the American legal system to make a judgement on whether Apple is allowed to restrict access to iAds because the other product is competing with iTunes. That's why Lawyers charge large amounts of money. For all I know, it's perfectly legal and above board for Apple to have stuck that clause non-competition in the iAds T&Cs.

Then again, it wouldn't be the first time a company has placed ridiculous and non-enforceable clauses in their T&Cs hoping nobody would call them up on it.

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Neoc
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Wrong.

Sorry Chad, you've got the wrong end of the stick - we are talking about separate Apple products which Apple is using in a non-competitive fashion.

First product, iAds, allows people to place advertising via Apple.

Second product, iTunes (Radio in this case), allows people to access radio-like music streaming.

Apple is telling people they can't use one of their product (iAds) because it thinks they are competing with it on another product (iTunes). And that's potentially illegal, same as when Microsoft and AT&T were dragged to courts for abusing their monopoly in one aspect of their business to achieve sales in another aspect.

So using your own analogy, if Macy rented promotional placing in their store (iAds) they would not be allowed to forbid Gimbels from renting the space simply because it was a competing store (iTunes).

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Amazon stuffs games into Fire TV box: Soz, rivals... WE don't need to make cash on hardware

Neoc
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Fail

"but all of your video is stored in the Amazon cloud."

Considering I rip all of my DVDs/Blurays and place them on a NAS at home for ease of access, anything that stops me from accessing them is immediately written off my list.

Eventually, *someone* will come up with a source-agnostic media player with appropriate plugins for each of Amazon/Hulu/Netflix/Etc... which presents them all in a unified format.

Personally I'm currently using a home-built HTPC with remote, running MediaPortal with assorted plugins (love the TV Series plugin). YMMV. It's not perfect and only handles Netflix so far, but it's better than being locked-in to a single provider.

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Does my mass look big in this? Roly-poly galaxy El Gordo more porky than first feared

Neoc
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It's big. Really big. You just won't believe how hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it's a long way down to the Chemist, but that's just peanuts to Space.

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Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'

Neoc
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I actually enjoyed playing the game. There seems to be concentrations of the little tykes - they're not evenly spread around the world. 86 down, 64 to go.

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No Notch niche: Minecraft man in rift with Oculus after Facebook gobble

Neoc
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I must admit I *was* looking at purchasing an Oculus Rift (or whatever the commercial version was going to be called). Now, however... There is something about this that is raising the hair on the back of my neck...

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