* Posts by Steve Evans

2530 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

Ahmed's clock wasn't a bomb, but it blew up the 'net and Zuckerberg, Obama want to meet him

Steve Evans
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Too many people running about in a blind panic in the "land of the brave"...

"he brought the clock – a simple project housed in a pencil case – to show his engineering teacher. When the clock was seen by another teacher, school administrators and police were called in and the young man was eventually led away in handcuffs."

Given the "other" teacher and administrators were obviously complete ignorami, why didn't anyone think to ask the engineering teacher to have a quick look before they started calling the feds?

Or maybe a chemistry teacher (who I hope would be able to spot a lump of possible explosive)... Or anyone who doesn't get their entire world view from hollywood?

Honestly, it's mains powered, it doesn't even have a nice cluster of cylindrical batteries to *vaguely* represent the stereotypical 6 dynamite sticks... It's less likely to explode than a mobile phone on a cheap Chinese knock-off charger!

So who fancies sending the school a present?

http://nootropicdesign.com/defusableclock/

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Android 5 lock-screens can be bypassed by typing in a reeeeally long password. In 2015

Steve Evans
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Re: where as android needs months to bring all their users to that update

Unfortunately Google gave other manufacturers a nice phone OS to use for free, with very little tie in... In hindsight it might have been better to have a little more control, such as enforcing timely upgrades for at least a couple of years after a phone model stops being sold. They didn't, and Android as a whole cops the bad press, when the delay is with the OEMs.

But that's hindsight for you... Reality is get a Nexus, and get updates, or go to HTC/LG/Samsung etc, and hope.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Fancy a ham and cheese 'dry tree trunk' sarnie?

Steve Evans
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Re: Rare Bacon?

I knew that sounded a bit wrong almost before I hit submit!

But hey, it was worth it for the giggle.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Rare Bacon?

That bacon doesn't look anywhere near enough...

I think you need some nice thick cut man bacon, this foreign living is making you soft!

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Arizona lads recover epic stratovid – two years after launch

Steve Evans
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Coffee/keyboard

Relying on the mobile phone company's coverage map!!!

Oh the innocence of youth!

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HERE COMES APPLE with some new sh*t or something

Steve Evans
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Re: Suck it up, haterz

Whilst this might be clickbait, and what part of the internet isn't these days? I like to think of this article as a satirical, text based, slap of "get a grip" on all the hype swallowing/regurgitating news channels.

By God they need it!

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Wileyfox Swift: Brit startup budget 'droid is the mutt's nuts

Steve Evans
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Re: Absolutely brilliant, except the screen size

Don't worry, these things go in cycles... I'm sure the race to the tea tray size phone will soon stop, and we'll begin the race to the USB stick size again...

I for one am not looking forward to the Nokia 8210 scale devices, my sausage fingers are way to big for such toys...

/me lovingly strokes Nexus 6...

Re the Swift - I can see a big market for this phone, not bad at all!

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Partially blind albino porn pirate nabbed for £300k bedroom streaming site

Steve Evans
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Re: @Ilmarinen - @6x7=42

Don't blame the company, they are simply reading and obeying the rules written by HM Gov... The only reason they can avoid paying as much as you is that they are multinationals, so have a several rule books, with big holes to drive the monkey truck through. the accountants as simply doing their job.

The whole demonising of "avoidance" by the HM Gov is laughable, they're all at it with their trust funds and country houses owned by companies (so they can pass to the kids avoiding inheritance tax), and accounts on far flung islands.

If Cameron was really serious he'd start fixing the rule book instead of going for media sound bites, but then those in the houses of commons and Lords would feel it right in the wallet.

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Stench of confiscated dope overwhelms Catalan cop shop

Steve Evans
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I believe there is a great invention for this problem...

Plastic bags!

In fact, given that this is evidence for prosecution, you'd rather hope the evidence would be secured and tagged, not just thrown in a pile in the garage!

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Sacré bleu! Apple, Nokia, Samsung et al end their three-year sulk over 'home taping' tax

Steve Evans
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Re: I supposed that ...

It raises an interesting question... Does this mean that video/music piracy is legal in France? After all you have paid a tax which assumed you are going to pirate something on the media, which rather blows a hole through claims of "theft" and denying the right holders of their income...

(Yes, I know, I live in a dream world which is far too logical).

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Honor 7 – heir apparent to the mid-range Android crown

Steve Evans
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Re: I have an Honor 6

Software updates are always my concern, especially with Chinese manufacturers. I lose count the number of times I've become the nominated support person for some crazy cheap phone, and then battled with "Chinglish" websites in an attempt to find updates, only to find that what it shipped with is all that it ever got. Having said that, even the likes of HTC have bitten me with that on my first Android. Abandoning me with an unsupported phone less than 6 months after I bought it as a current model several years ago (which is why HTC rarely even make it to my long list, let alone my short list these days).

However, it's still interesting, and if CyanogenMod started supporting it (binary firmware blobs permitting of course), I could be very interested in recommending it to my cheapskate rellies.

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Steve Evans
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Re: One unanswered question ..

Unlikely.

Just be glad it's a "vaguely" real word, it could have been something far worse!

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Windows 10 now on 75 million devices, says Microsoft

Steve Evans
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Re: Ok so 10M have installed it

It's certainly "on" two of my machines, having downloaded (and eaten a chunk of my C drive), but I haven't installed it yet...

Given the nature of PR, I imagine he chose his words carefully, and I do count +2 to the total.

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Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is

Steve Evans
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Machine translation is always good for a giggle!

You have to be so careful with automatic translation... Machines have no idea about idioms and colloquialisms, so avoid them like the plague.

Sometimes people just don't realise that their local name for something isn't universal... This is especially true of food. I've seen English menus which are a literal translation of the local language, which are no more help to me than the original.... "Princess steak - Steak cooked in the traditional princess style" (I think it was princess)... Perfectly good English, just completely useless!

If you want to see truly bad machine translate, try bing. I've yet to use it to translate any of my foreign Farcebook friends into anything more than gibberish.

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High-heeled hacker builds pen-test kit into her skyscraper shoes

Steve Evans
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Re: Cover: Blown.

Gives a great excuse though... "Sorry dear, we know who you are... You must understand you can't be allowed in the building with any clothing or footwear."

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Steve Evans
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Re: http://imgur.com/a/hj07m

"I'm inordinately proud of the amount of plastic required to support my boobs :-D"

She's knows exactly what she's doing... VERY DANGEROUS! DO NOT APPROACH!

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Steve Evans
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Holy shamoly...

Sorry, all coherent brain function has just failed...

Thank God I'm not in charge of door locks!

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Embracing the life-changing qualities of USB power packs and battery extenders

Steve Evans
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Re: No substitute for a big battery

I used to think like that, but since getting the Nexus 6, which supports Qualcomm turbo charge, and the Aukey 10,000mAh USB battery (which also supports Qualcomm turbo charging), I'm rather glad the Nexus didn't have a bigger battery...

That keeps the weight of the phone down, and 30 minutes tethered to the Aukey whilst I'm having my lunch, driving the car etc, and the Nexus is juiced up again.

The USB thing looks interesting... At the moment I'm trying to find a site where they understand that converting a price from $ to £ involves a bit more than just changing the $ to a £.... *mutters*

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Yet another Android app security bug: This time 'everything is affected'

Steve Evans
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Collective noun...

Shooorley a lot of flaws would make a tower block... Or high rise.

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Apple: Samsung ripped off our phone patent! USPTO: What patent?

Steve Evans
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Re: Taketh away

IIRC, the US patent system will basically take your registration fee and register it... They leave the arguments of prior art to be sorted out later in court.

In other parts of the world you have to pay for a search to ensure your patent isn't already registered, and it's actually checked to see if it's even worthy of a patent before you can actually go about registering.

You can see how the US one would be more profitable for the patent office, and the lawyers a few years later,

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DIGITAL DOPING might make you a Tour de Virtual cycling champion

Steve Evans
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Re: Not much difference in distances....

I remember doing 50mph on my pedal bike as a teenager, it was easy...

Only became terrifying once I let go of the sissy bar on my brothers motorbike and had to rely on my own little brake blocks and not just stopping myself via my arm braced against his bike.

I'll admit there was probably about a second of "weeeeeee" enjoyment, just before reality and outright terror set in.

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Steve Evans
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Re: FFS

I assume the author has never seen GPS accuracy figures...

GPS isn't precise, it's pretty good, but it will suffer from "jitters", you can be sitting still and your location will still be wandering about a few meters in all 3 dimensions according the the GPS data. It's down to the software to try to smooth this out... If you are sitting still, and it's possible to take multiple readings, then averaging is fine and over a few seconds the exact location will become pretty precise... But you're not stationary, you're pedalling along... So if you're riding along a flat road, and the GPS jitter is showing you're going up 1m in one measurement, and down 1m in the next (in reality you'll be luck if it's as small as 1m!), what should the software do? Probably ignore it as jitter... But where should it draw the line of jitter vs you going over humps on a off-road BMX course?

No surprise that different programmers come up with different arbitrary levels, either based on figures off the top of their heads, or maybe some data they collected cycling to work in their own specific environment.

Combine these natural GPS drifts and programming assumptions over a long ride, and figures will be incredibly different. It's amazing they are as close as they were.

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Ofcom coverage map: 7/10 – must try harder next time

Steve Evans
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Re: Absurd map

I just checked my office... It appears 4G indoors is expected...

Odd, because we struggle with voice calls inside, and generally struggle with 2G data outside... Must be my phone... And those of all my colleagues...

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Steve Evans
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Is it just me?

Or is there a total lack of link to this map in the article?!

As for the accuracy, why not get your customers to do it? Apple and google have already built wifi/cell based AGPS databases from the data logged by the phones, why not do the same with signal quality...

(Yes, I know there are already such 3rd party tools available, but they need more feet on the ground).

Curiously, I have a very very small blackspot near me... It's about 20 feet long... on a straight flat road with fields on both sides... Oddly enough it's right near a black-spot eliminator mini-mast... Unfortunately it's not a mini-mast for my network, so I suspect the strong radio transmissions from it are completely desensitising the receiver's AGC in my phone when I'm very close to it.

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Choc Factory patches zero day Google for Work hack hole

Steve Evans
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It's a tricky thing to judge.

It's not safe to assume that the white hat hacker is the only person to discover the flaw, a black hat could have discovered the flaw since, or more concerning, before.

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Exploding Power Bars: EE couldn't even get the CE safety mark right

Steve Evans
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Re: Totally .... @Steve

Not a problem Peter.... I try to never overestimate the ability of people on the intarwebz to blow themselves up!

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Steve Evans
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Re: Totally ....

May I just reinforce that Peter is suggesting an *Alkaline* AA batteries... Which have a greater internal resistance than rechargeables, so a lower current...

Do *NOT* do this with rechargeables! They have a much lower internal resistance, the current that flows will be much higher, your bit of wire could easily become red hot, and the battery will at best be ruined, at worst could explode.

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Huge explosion kills 44+ in China, blasts nearby supercomputer offline

Steve Evans
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Re: Talk about risky locations..

Canvey Island wouldn't last long if all the gas storage went up... Although TBH, I'd be more worried about the other side of the river and the North Coast of Kent...

Only 1500 tons of high explosive, sitting in the river and too unstable to dare do anything with!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Richard_Montgomery

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Patching a fragmented, Stagefrightened Android isn't easy

Steve Evans
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"it needs to push carriers to push over-the-air updates promptly after fixes become available."

Carriers?

I don't think they get a say in it any more... Sure, back in Nokia Symbian days they did (because they were always customising the interface - and generally screwing it up), but on iPhone and Android, the phone polls via the intarwebs for OS updates.

Whilst it's possible carriers have redirected this, most of them don't bother fiddling with the system partition, they just stick on a few crappy carrier apps, which a system update will happily go underneath.

The delay is the OEMs like Samsung, HTC and LG, who heavily modify, and change the source of updates from the Google servers to their own.

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Stop taking drug advice from Kim Kardashian on Twitter, sighs watchdog

Steve Evans
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"can cause drowsiness and should not be taken before any activity requiring mental alertness"

So no side effects that would be detectable in a reality TV star then...

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Big, ugly, heavy laptops are surprise PC sales sweet spot

Steve Evans
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Hardly a shock...

Lightweight "lappies" (sorry) are pretty expensive, and TBH, generally not used for much more than you could do on a tablet. If you really need to write a lot you'd probably want a better keyboard than a lot of lightweights have, so you'd have to throw a USB one of those in the bag too, and then you might as well just use a tablet with an OTG cable, or bluetooth.

A "luggable" however, is a much more justifiable, and capable, machine.

Personally I have no place for an expensive lightweight fashion accessory in my gadget collection... I've got a mobile phone with a 6" screen which handles most tasks... If that's not enough I've got a tablet. Thanks to the aforementioned OTG cable and a mouse, they handle Team viewer, MS Remote desktop, SSH. All from the contents of my coat pocket.

If I need more, then it's probably compiling something, and that's where the i7 SSD powered luggable comes in.

No space for a "toy" in there.

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Court KOs irate Apple iMessenger woman's bid for class-action face off

Steve Evans
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Re: Next Case...

@Andy E

That functionality might be what it does now, but it wasn't how it worked originally. So if that is indeed a true description of the functionality, and the iPhones verify both ends are happy to iMessage before each communication, it looks like the Apple engineers have moved faster than the wheels of the legal profession (who would have guessed!).

Yes it is possible to unregister from iMessage, but you need to realise you are in iMessageLand to start with. Many don't.

IIRC, the leaving iMessage option only appeared, or became known, after this fuss first started.

@Cynic 2

The difference being a BBM number is a BBM number, not a mobile number... For communication between BBM users, you can change phone, mobile number, network, country, whatever you like, and install the BBM client on your phone (BBM client available for iPhone, Android, BB and probably Windows mobile), tell it your BBM number, and you're away. It's like an email address, completely portable. iMessage is tied to your Apple account, unavailable on other platforms and is "subverting" communication which should be routed through a mobile phone standard.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Next Case...

Almost Thomas 6... Except iMessage isn't an option outside of Appleland.

Person A has an iPhone, and sends a message to person B with an iPhone... The iPhones recognise they are both iMessage capable, and from that moment on, every "text" message they attempt to send completely avoids the SMS standards (and SMS allowances of your contract) and instead are sent via an Apple server as data.

This all works fine until person A get a non Apple device.

Person B sends person A a message. B's iPhone goes "oh yes, I remember them, they're on iMessage" and sends the message to the Apple server, where it sits... Forever.

Person A sees and hears nothing.

The problems are:

1) iMessage is an Apple "feature" (or hijack depending on how you look at it) which isn't available on non-Apple devices

2) The general public don't realise that when they send an SMS between iPhones that have "recognised" each other as iMessage capable, it's not an SMS anymore.

3) There is no fall-back or timeout on a delivery failure via iMessage.

This would have been a complete non issue if Apple had considered the idea that people might leave their distortion field and had a delivery failure timeout... Once a delivery fails via iMessage the sending phone could then use the *global standard* of SMS unless the other device once again "negotiates" and they agree on iMessage again.

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Steve Evans
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100Hz–20kHz

A label claiming 100Hz–20kHz is meaningless.

Without any idea of the response curve across that frequency range, all they're saying is they will make some kind of movement across that range.

In an ideal world that response would be flat (this won't happen), so you expect the response to fall off a little at both ends...

In reality, what you've got there probably looks like pile of manure, a peak in the middle falling off on each side so steep that even Eddie the Eagle would balk.

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Testing Motorola's Moto G third-gen mobe: Is it still king of the hill?

Steve Evans
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Re: Dunno about other banks...

The Barclays apps (pingit, banking) bork and throw all their toys out of the pram if you dare to root your android phone. They seem to have a team who do nothing more than find new ways to detect the device is rooted... Every release seems to bring new detection which neutralises the last technique hiding the rooted state.

Which to me sounds like their data storage relies on hiding it somewhere inaccessible as opposed to encrypting it properly like a real programmer should do.

Anyway, back to the new G... Looks nice.

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It's enough to get your back up: Eight dual-bay SOHO NAS boxes

Steve Evans
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Drive compatiblity...

Have Thecus sorted out their weird drive compatibility issues?

I'm a long term user of a very reliable Thecus N5200pro, but blimee was it a few months of pain initially... I think (IIRC) I'm running a beta OS image which some guy on a long dead forum extracted from Thecus directly. It's not the latest image, I'm not going to touch that because of the horror stories and risk of data loss. Basically bugs which were fixed in the beta prerelease reappeared in the next release(s).

It's a pity, as it's a damn reliable system in my current configuration, and is currently happy with 5 x 2TB Samsung drives, but I dare not ever try anything bigger in it due to the previous pain!

In short, the support struck me as willing, but the version control was chaotic and confused. Multiple engineers appeared to be working on multiple branches of the code, and nobody ever merged it back into one!

Luckily it's not my only NAS... The other is an HP Microserver which was on cashback. Everything critical is synced between the two of them.

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OnePlus phone fanbois flock for a shiny phondle

Steve Evans
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Can me a cynic...

But given the way One+ like to promote their products though restricted supply and hype, I can't help wondering how many of those in the queue were from rent-a-crowd...

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The Q7: Audi’s big SUV goes from tosspot to tip-top

Steve Evans
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Re: A trick up its sleeve?

I was just about to make the same comment... As far as I can remember, every AWS system I've ever experienced has done that same "trick"... The Nissan 300ZX from the (very) late 80s for example, not to mention the Skyline GT-R.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Bacon and egg sushi

Steve Evans
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Sorry, but I can't help feeling that if you left the eggs and rice out, you would have so much room left for more bacon.

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And on that bombshell: Top Gear's Clarkson to reappear on Amazon

Steve Evans
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Re: Oh well, at least you get to watch some fun TV whilst waiting for a delivery...

Actually AndyS it was about a UK TV program appearing on Amazon prime...

I chose to stick the boot in from the prime angle, which for me in the UK, is pretty poor for package delivery.

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Steve Evans
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Oh well, at least you get to watch some fun TV whilst waiting for a delivery...

Well there's no point signing up to Amazon to get prompt delivery, they're either late, or don't show up (filing a "tried to deliver, no answer").

I suspect their vehicles are GPS tracked though (in an attempt to get the delivery drivers to actually do their job), as we've watched one of their clattery old vehicles drive past, just as the "tried to deliver, no answer" pinged up on the phone.

Delivery at 30mph would be tricky at the best of times.

I guess those speeds are only going to increase with the influence of Clarkson!

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UK.gov wants to stop teenagers looking at tits online. No, really

Steve Evans
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Typical HM Gov idea. Ill Conceived, impossible to implement, and a total waste of money to even try (as usual).

For a start, the age of consent isn't even consistent across Europe, and there's a free movement of people, goods and services clause in the EU rules and regs.

Sounds like just another excuse to build a great firewall of UK... Which we know those in power would dearly love to be able to do.

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Bloke cuffed for blowing low-flying camera drone to bits with shotgun

Steve Evans
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Re: I sort of agree

I feel the urge to build a much larger drone, with a trawler net hung beneath it to hoover lesser drones from the sky... Kind of like the Stromberg's submarine swallowing Liparus, although more maneuverable and with less water.

The lesser drones can then be imprisoned in bamboo cages with their cameras fixed pointing at a random note.

(Because firing a 12 bore from a UK back garden would get an armed response team kicking the door down!)

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Oh, Obama's responded to the petition to pardon Snowden. What'll it be?

Steve Evans
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I wonder...

Maybe Ed should change his name to Richard Nixon...

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MORE Windows 10 bugs! Too many Start menu apps BREAK it

Steve Evans
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Re: wtf do you do with all the icons!

... Display them in a carousel, which orbits slightly less frequently than Pluto!

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Steve Evans
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Re: Decisions

It's got to be something like that DrXym... Nobody in their right mind would define a DB field as 9 bit unsigned (or 10 bit signed)...

Then again, they might not be in their right mind!

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Dev probes bad proxies, writes white hat checker, black hat DIY guide

Steve Evans
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OT: Horrible captcha

He's got a horrible captcha thing on that testing website... It took me several goes to get it correct...

Identifying pictures with bread in them?! when several of the pictures contain items so small they could be biscuits or toast fingers, another could have been doughnuts/donuts or rolls... A different one showing "street signs" which are a highly national style (US I guess) and included some weird signs which might be found on a US street for all I know.

The sooner the xenophobic captcha designers use pictures which are clear, and internationally recognisable, the better.

- May I suggest avoiding man-made items... How about select all the picture of cats, dog, snakes, spiders, fish, mountains, sea, islands, flowers.

- Or very generic man-made items like motor vehicles, boats, trains, planes, rockets.

Or maybe I should make a British version, with "Select all the cars sold in the 1950s" or "Select the Prime ministers" or "Select all the legal currency"

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Ballmer's billion-dollar blunders: When he gambled Microsoft's money and lost

Steve Evans
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Re: Hmmm

Nokia was already in trouble even before they were Elop'ed.

They had been caught on the hop when the iPhone arrived, and although the iPhone 1 had some serious failings which a mobilecentric company like Nokia wouldn't have made, Nokia had all the maneuverability of an overloaded oil tanker, giving Apple the opportunity to fix the flaws and release #2 before Nokia could really come up with any answer.

The N97 was a case in point. A knee jerk touch activated symbian phone, which could have been really good (it had battery life which you can only dream of these days), but it was obviously a rush job, and the flaws doomed it to failure. There were some fixes OTA, but with various invisible geographic agencies in charge of update release, you were pretty much screwed unless you knew how to unlock the phone and switch to generic Euro model (which received updates direct from Nokia).

The support forums were full of Nokia moderator employees with an overdeveloped sense of self importance, complaint posts got deleted instead of solutions offered.

I remember spelling out to one of the moderators that treating customers badly was not the way to retain those customers, and that without customers they wouldn't have forum posts, and without forum posts they wouldn't need moderators. In short be nice to the customers or be out of a job.

I got banned for "disrespecting Nokia".

I dumped the N97 and went out and bought an Android phone.

6 months later Elop arrived, and the decimation began.

I laughed.

So Microsoft (a non mobile company) buys a conceited dinosaur of a mobile company, and they fail to make a success of mobile devices... Hardly a shock.

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Got an Android phone? SMASH IT with a hammer – and do it NOW

Steve Evans
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Re: Workarounds

I wonder how hard this would be to block at the MMSC end? Although we all know how much networks like to get off their arse and do something useful... They love acting as dumb pipes, but only when it suits them!

Oh well, given I haven't received an MMS in over a year, I just mangled the details in the APN... That should keep things safe... At least until an update arrives, which I expect won't be long on my Nexus.

I fear for the security of OEM devices though.

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OnePlus 2: The smartie that's trying to outsmart Google's Android

Steve Evans
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Re: Nice

Lack of NFC is a bit of a budget cut too far, I suspect that NFC is really going to (finally) take of during the life of this phone. Even the iPhone has it now!

Even stranger omission given the original 1+ had NFC.

The other thing I'd miss is fast charging, but then if you aren't used to it, you probably won't.

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