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* Posts by Steve Evans

2377 posts • joined 17 Apr 2007

Microsoft invents touch-sensitive mouse

Steve Evans
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Oh please...

Stopping copying Apple mice... As with most things fruit themed, Apple mice are renowned for being a triumph of form over function. Being completely horrible to use before they fall apart.

Best thing I ever did to a Mac was put a Logitech onto it.

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Windows Phone 7 to get cut'n'paste shortly, says Ballmer

Steve Evans
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Symbian users waiting...

Not such an issue? You've not had a UK country variant Symbian phone have you?!!!

The network provided phones are bad, but at least you can shout at Orange et al... The UK CV is the closest we get to a generic Nokia, yet somewhere, someone decides when we get updates.

Nokia don't care, they've got their money. The "tricks" to hacking a Nokia phone to make it a real generic Euro phone, and get access to the Nokia firmware when it is released is a banned subject in their forums. They'd rather you were stuck with year old firmware screaming abuse at the phone... Presumably going quiet once you escape your contract and buy something non Nokia!

Anyway, I've counted to 10... Calm...

Now I'm back to laughing at so called "smart phones" continuing to be released without basic copy and paste functionality... I do believe I had that on my Symbian Nokia 6600 back in 2003... Glad I don't have to wait for an update to get it!

Note to self: add copy and paste to the feature checklist when you jump to Android in a few months.

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Renault fingers three for spying

Steve Evans
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Errrr...

I thought the only design secret Renault had was to make things out of cheap plastic, and that includes the wiring loom.

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Pickles throws down gauntlet on council data

Steve Evans
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Ummm...

So this would be the same Eric "Fatty" Pickles, who's constituency is Brentwood & Ongar... The same Brentwood who's tory controlled council has made such a mess of their accounts that they couldn't get them signed off and got audited?

http://www.thisistotalessex.co.uk/news/Council-facing-heavy-accounts/article-2853704-detail/article.html

It starts at home Eric!

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10-year-old girl becomes youngest ever supernova discoverer

Steve Evans
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Re: Super what?

I was about to head off to the BBC to post a complaint about the plural form of supernova, but first I stopped by a dictionary.

Unfortunately it appears Supernovas is just as valid as Supernovae. Yes, I know, it's horrible, but it looks like our beloved language is being destroyed from beneath us. Maybe the OED is now maintained by the Guardian.

From checking a few dictionaries I have here, 'novas was valid in my third eldest dictionary from 1987. If it makes you feel better, the second eldest dictionary from 1932 doesn't even have Supernova, let alone the plural, so the damage was done some time in the 55 years between! I decided not to check the really old one from the 1800s!

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Double-clicking patent takes on world

Steve Evans
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Soooo....

Does this mean those annoyingly impatient IT n00bies (like my mother) who click on something, don't give it a chance to open even thought the hard drive is flashing like crazy, and then proceed to click madly on the icon again and again (resulting in 15 copies of the chosen application after the PC has caught up about 2 minutes later) can be fined?!

Oh please let it be so!

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Apple iPad 2 said to sport über speaker

Steve Evans
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Jobs Horns

USB and SD...

Although a wonderful addition, I will not be surprised if they don't appear. Every external connection opens the possibilities for people to hack the fruity device. Apple already have enough problems keep their things locked down without the chance of some smart-arse getting linux to boot off a USB stick!

Although I for one would love to see that!

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Car immobilisers easily circumvented by crafty carjackers

Steve Evans
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It may be weak...

But many immobilisers have another method to defeat bruit force attacks, they stop listening after a set number of incorrect attempts.

This technique is obviously not applicable to real time IT application communication, but in a car it's not a major problem.

If an immobiliser "sleeps" for 10 seconds after 5 incorrect attempts it reduces the brute force rate significantly. 1800 an hour, which doesn't even cover the possible permutations of a 10 bit key, let alone a 40 bit key which would last longer than the car!

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'Porn lock' heralds death of WikiLeaks, internet, democracy, universe

Steve Evans
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Schurely...

As there are a multitude of broadband providers, if this is a feature that was high on the wish-list of customers, we would see it advertised in huge print from the likes of BT/Talktalk etc. It's called having a free market, and market forces.

However we don't. In fact they seem to hide restrictions (caps on unlimited connections for example), which can only indicate one thing. People don't want it! What people want is a reliable high-speed connection, and HMgov have managed to do nothing about that! How about "All houses to have at least 20Mbs by 2011" for a sound bite? That would get more attention.

Filtering smut is impossible. It would be easier if the .xxx TLD was approved but politicians don't seem to get that and object to it. Even so it will be still scattered anywhere and everywhere. Politicians love the sound bites, but know nothing about how the internet works. Neither do their advisors, or the advisors of the advisors. Jen from IT crowd springs to mind, an army of them in ill-fitting shoes! Even if they did manage to block some of it, every 12 year old boy would quickly locate it somewhere else that the men in suites and women in tight shoes had never considered (or knew existed), such as usenet, remember that? Oh yes, that's still alive, and yes, full of smut!

HMGov should keep their noses out of people's business, and out of the money trough too whilst they're at it.

If they want to do something useful, they should direct some of their hot air at the UK airports to defrost the planes, I'm getting a bit bored of the continually rotating snow news!

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Bummed-out users give anti-virus bloatware the boot

Steve Evans
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Sometimes...

Sometimes it's not the anti-virus that is to be blamed. Earlier this year my brother complained that his Lenovo laptop, which has been working perfectly well, was unusable on his wifi network.

Sure enough, I tried it, and cabled LAN was fine, but as soon as wifi was started up, it connected to the LAN, but the machine just bogged down. AVG antivirus was taking all the CPU. Removed AVG, the machine worked fine on the wifi. Tried AVAST, same thing happened, wifi caused the machine to bog down.

So I decided to have a look at exactly what the antivirus was doing using some of the sysinternals (now microsoft) process explorer tools. I found both AV packages were really interested in one html file... It turns out that from the day my brother got his laptop, all his wifi activity was being logged to the debug file (not the raw packet data, but still pretty detailed, and very frequently updated), which Lenovo had decided to give a .html file extension. Any change to that was getting the attention of the AV and forcing it to scan the file. Initially this wasn't an issue as the file was small. By the time I got to investigate, the file was 5meg!

I added the file to the AV exclude list, and weeeee, back up to speed again! A bit of digging found the switch to turn off the wifi debug log in the Lenovo access connections package and I deleted the file.

His machine had been bought new, so why it was set to log by default is beyond me. Why they chose to give the log file a .html extension is also beyond me, as it was raw text.

For my own machines I use a variety - I believe that a mixture is a good thing, if one package misses something bad, and it starts to spread on the network, hopefully one of the other packages will spot it and alert me to its presence. I can then do something about it.

I also add quite a few excludes to the file list, preventing the scanning of source code and txt files.

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Ofcom proposes UK phone numbers prefix re-org

Steve Evans
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FAIL

Re: 070 scam magnets

Too right... The stupid thing is, their last reorganisation (the 01 geographic prefix etc - which arrived shortly after everyone had had their business cards reprinted to change their 01 London number to 071/081 requiring them to head to the printers again to get 0171/0181 instead) was supposed to clear up just this kind of mess. Mobiles started 08, and so did a lot of premium rate numbers like the infamous 0898. So mobiles and pagers got 07... Unfortunately they defined this not as "mobile phones" but "mobile services", which allowed 070 through the door. Not an issue, but they also allowed the cost of 070 to vary wildly!

I really don't know what they were thinking, or if they were thinking at all.

At the time I was working for a company that, amongst other things, did telephone call logging, so keeping our charging structure database up to date really revealed what a complete mess it quickly became.

Hopefully this time they will show some sense... Then again, if they had any sense wouldn't they have a structure that indicated the level of rip-off the particular charging model is?

090nn - Under 10p a min

091nn - 10 - 19p a min

092nn - 20 - 29p a min

etc etc. You could even use the next digit to indicate the price to the pence level.

Seriously greedy rates can be bundled up at 099nn, which nobody in their right mind would ever call. Then again, x-factor viewers are clearly not in their right mind.

What does worry me already is that their proposed numbering scheme already shows gaps in the 08nn range, and you know what happens to gaps in numbering scheme? Someone sticks something in there without much thought and planning, which is exactly how the variable charging 070 range came to look like a mobile.

Fail? Because the 01 geographic location prefix and 07 mobile prefix were supposed to clear up the mess and confusion, and here they are trying to clear up the mess and confusion they created with that!

Oh well, with luck someone will invent a business card with wireless enabled dynamic ink and we'll be able to keep them up to date via an RSS feed.

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Steve Evans
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Re: wow

Believe it or not the old system made sense when it came out too! Unfortunately the "common sense numerical assignment team" only seem to meet every 10 years, and inbetween times the number scheme is maintained by a team of retarded hamsters with only a single GCSE in domestic science between them.

Leaving gaps in the numbering scheme, such as the free space in the 08 range, is just giving the aforementioned hamsters far too much room to play and make a complete f*cking mess.

I'll see you all back here in a similar thread in about 10-15 years time.

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Paris Hilton meets bikers, opens up... wallet

Steve Evans
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Re: Lucky

Cheeky sod! Some of us aren't in a middle age crisis, we never left being a teenager behind!

(aka, owned bikes all the way through our 20s,30s etc etc).

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Steve Evans
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Re: 1000 cc V Twin? Pah

Hey, we're talking about bikes here, not cars with two wheels and a roof missing! :-p

Seriously though, nice bike, lovely for a long cruise. I'm just still enjoying the near death twisty experience. When I grow up (if I last that long) I'll buy one, promise.

BTW, I believe the stroke and bore of my two 500cc cylinders exceeds that of your six 300cc ones :-p

;-)

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Steve Evans
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Re: Better weather

If you want to ride in snow and ice then that's your funeral!

I have yet to find a reliable local source for spikes tires!

I did used to have a 250cc Yamaha quad, that was wonderful in the snow.

As for the Aprilia, sure have, I've ridden a couple. Pretty nippy for what they are, but there is a world of difference between the RS125's 15bhp and 100bhp+ that comes out of a big bike!

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Steve Evans
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Re Ahhh....

Indeed. Anything with big cylinders in strange arrangements is good for vibration. My 90 degree 1000cc V twin will happily start walking it's way along the pavement if left running on its sidestand!

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Steve Evans
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Re: Buth with a two-stroke[sic]

Sure, more bangs, but so much shorter lived!

You wouldn't want your big end giving way at just the wrong moment would you!

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Steve Evans
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Ummm...

Well I've clicked right on over to the comments, but only to say that a 125cc bike could never be described as a "roaring, thrusting between-the-legs monster". Annoying buzzing mosquito thing would be more accurate.

If the modermatrix would like to give me a call when the weather is slightly more suitable I'll happily warm up 1000cc of V-twin and show her the difference.

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UK.gov braces for possible Wikileaks hacklash

Steve Evans
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Re: Why it isn't 'cyber-terrorism'

Agreed. Another oft misused term is "hacker". The recent "phone hacking" was a perfect example. The "hacker" gained access by using the default, unchanged passwords for the mobile phone voicemail systems.

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US Navy achieves '100 mile' hypersonic railgun test shot

Steve Evans
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WTF?

Question...

If this thing is accelerated by electromagnetism, where does all that smoke some from? It doesn't look much different from a standard chemically propelled shot in that respect.

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Steve Evans
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Re: Interference

That's the least of their worries, have they not seen the Philadelphia Experiment?!

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Steve Evans
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Re: buckshot

Not really... The problem is the smaller the "shot" the less mass each piece has whilst increasing the surface area and air resistance of the load. This means it will slow down pretty quickly compared to a single shell with the same mass of all the combined bits of shot.

I'd much rather have someone shoot at me with a shotgun at 100 yards than a .22 rifle. The shotgun may have a larger charge, and cover a larger area making me easier to hit, but by the time those little bits of shot reach me (if they haven't just dropped to the floor), they'll be lucky to make it through my coat, let alone my skin. Whereas the .22 slug would really hurt!

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Apple iPhone 4 vs... the rest

Steve Evans
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Re: Desire

Re the Nokia comments, I really couldn't agree more. They weren't beaten, they threw the game.

I made the mistake of moving from my reliable N95 to the N97, and after over 10 years of loyal Nokia ownership I feel about as valued as a Catholic priest in a children's home. Customer service just isn't in their dictionary. They fail to admit faults even when they have dozens of threads in their forums screaming "The camera lens cover scratches the camera", "The GPS won't lock" etc etc. The give away free turn by turn navigation, which is nice, but useless for anything other than walking as it's always 30 seconds behind where you are! Try navigating motorway exits and residential turnings with that kind of lag and you'll quickly get very annoyed at the voice saying "recalculating route".

The N8 may be a great phone, but I'm sorry I have no confidence in Nokia's after-market service (I suspect it's single, empty, cubical in Finland), so I'll be off looking at a possible HTC devil I don't know in preference to the one I do.

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Apple chap knocks up ancient Lego computer

Steve Evans
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Re: And within a few hundred years

Actually, I believe it already had. The original machine tracked the movement of the heavenly bodies through the sky, but modelled with the Earth as the centre, meaning that planets would stop part way across the sky and then turn round and head off the other direction! IIRC Mars' path is particularly impressive.

To my mind this is even more impressive than the astrologically accurate Lego version!

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WikiLeaks' Assange to be indicted for spying 'soon'

Steve Evans
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Re: Now we know why he was remanded

Do you mean you didn't immediately think this the second your heard the Judge had remanded him?!

Looks like USA are shedding rights faster than a the worlds most inept gang of right handed Arab pick-pockets.

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Judge puts Assange behind bars ahead of extradition hearing

Steve Evans
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Ummm...

"Bail was refused on grounds that Assange has access to finance, the case is serious and he could fail to surrender"

Those would be the finances they have frozen in Switzerland, and the not surrendering like he did this morning as arranged?

Looks like it's who you know which is important, not what you know!

Good luck Julian, I don't fancy your chances, I bet there are a few phone calls going on from the US embassy right now. Swedish extradition on dubious charges might be least of your worries.

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Blighty's kids nosedive down global reading, maths rankings

Steve Evans
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I'm not surprised...

I've just received a "WTF" mobile phone shot from a friend of mine who's discovered a 16 core windows DELL box running in the local primary school.

I was initially impressed that they were obviously offer 7 year olds courses in nuclear physics, or at least doing some impressive real time ray trace rendering, but it appears the box is purely a file and print server. The CPU usage graphs are a uniformed flat line (yes, at the bottom).

No wonder they don't have any money left for those old fashioned things like teachers!

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Mass mind control artist condemns El Reg to obscurity

Steve Evans
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Who?

I've never heard of Limbaugh, I can only assume he's an obscure fat headed moron.

If he's the highest rated radio show, and Fox the highest rated TV, I'm starting to get very very scared... The fruit-loop from Alaska might actually get near something sharp and dangerous!

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Intel reveals 'the billion dollar lost laptop problem'

Steve Evans
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Yet again?

There are already plenty of solutions to data security on lost laptops. Truecrypt for example.

Plus are already plenty of laptops with built in hardware level encryption.

Unfortunately until they are used and enabled by default they won't help.

Even when they are, you just know the idiots in the public service will be walking about with unencrypted data either on a memory stick or a CD/DVD which will spend their entire life in the laptop bag until the day they are left in the back of the taxi.

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Russia wins World Cup bid in parrot-sickening travesty

Steve Evans
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Re: Excellent news

"Why can't this happen every year?"

Why can't this happen every *day*!

Just ship them all off to somewhere with lots of football pitches and let them watch and play 24/7.

The rest of us can then get on with being civilised.

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Sarah Palin calls for US to stand by North Korea

Steve Evans
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Please...

Nobody let her near anything sharp (or a big red button), she's priceless as entertainment, but please, don't ever put her anywhere she can hurt herself or anyone else...

Maybe something like "The Truman Show" would be perfect for her.

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Steve Evans
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Re: @anon coward

And it's owned by its shareholders, many of which are from... A Merry Car!

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Pole positions: Base station spotters scrap for prize

Steve Evans
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Re: Or

Actually, it gets worse... I actually know the "Too tall photographer", I'd better delete his number from my phone first! If they find that they're going to throw away the key!

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Steve Evans
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IIRC

There is a particularly unconvincing tree by the M25, round the bottom bit near the services.

There's also something very odd between J29 and J30. It looks like a Roman column with branches tied to it. I'm not joking, it's not a badly modelled tree (unless the artist has never seen a tree) it really is a Romanesque column standing in a field. I'll try to get a photo of it (without being arrested for stopping on the hard shoulder).

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Xbox modder can't claim fair use, says judge

Steve Evans
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Rewrite needed....

You guys need to rewrite some lyrics... The words "Land of the free" have been reported for being misleading and misrepresenting the country.

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Acer replaces laptop keyboard with multi-touch LCD

Steve Evans
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Re: Title

Why? A sheet of glass is far easier to seal against a plastic case than 100 odd moving buttons.

Bar the ports, and the required ventilation for the CPU and chipset, this thing could be completely fluid sealed.

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Steve Evans
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Oooh...

Whilst I appreciate the other comments, and expect it to be a nightmare to type on, I do see a use for it... For making animations and photo retouching.

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Lawsuit says Facebook plunders user names, photos

Steve Evans
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Pah!

Anyone that uses friend finder, and trusts Facebook with their messenger username and password, really does deserve everything they get (or lose!). They already know too much!

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Speak geek: The world of made-up language

Steve Evans
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Re: Esperanto's success

It's still a seriously rare language, and to make matters worse, you can't go anywhere specific (bar an Esperanto conference) to use it face to face! Estimated speakers 2 million... Which puts it about level with Macedonian. Except you can't just hop on a plane to Esperanta to experience the culture!

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Steve Evans
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Re: Creoles are far more interesting

I agree, sometimes the root of the words are still understood, which makes for a fascinating history lesson.

Take various words for animals/meat in English for example. When it's a smelly farm animal, the word is the original old English/Saxon word. Cow, Pig, Sheep. When it's cooked and on the feast table of the Norman masters it becomes Beef, Pork, Mutton. Still recognisable as the French words today (although I'm sure they'd look at you blankly purely because of pronunciation).

Attempts to get people to learn a universal language such as Esperanto are always going to be an uphill battle. First you have no native speakers, so you can't go for a total immersion course in the country. Then you have to convince people it is required. If the person happens to speak English you could be in with a problem as no matter where you go you can always find someone who can translate English into the local tongue. Add that to the fact that they kept genders for inanimate objects in Esperanto and most English speakers are going to look at you like you're mad!

If you want odd languages you don't need to learn Klingon, there's a world or real ones out there, complete with countries full of people that can speak it back to you... Try Hungarian!

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Ten... budget Android smartphones

Steve Evans
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Re: Resistive vd capacitive

No problems with my resistive, it's over 18 months old, and has even been run over by a landrover!

The LCD needed replacing, but the resistive screen is still original.

Yes, I regularly use an iPhone in anger. They're okay, but needing big text for big fingers seems a bit self defeating to me.

I like having lots of text on my screen, which means lots of small text and links. With resistive I can use them, I can read them, and I don't have to continually scroll.

As for people hating resistive, it doesn't seem to have harmed the Nintendo DS.

I have a stylus with the my DS, and I believe there was one with the phone. I never use them.

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Steve Evans
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Resistive vd capacitive

I really don't understand the continual bashing of resistive screens (beyond the fact that resistive is not the Apple way).

I use both, and I far prefer the resistive.

So far the only con I have found to resistive is it can't do multitouch, fair enough, as the user interface isn't designed to take advantage of such a feature, it's not an issue.

The pros are huge. I can use it wearing gloves. If you have finger nails then you can still use it without having to angle your fingers in a way would would be a bit odd when holding the phone.

When you're not wearing gloves, the benefits starts to really appear - accuracy.

You can click on a 2mm high text link on a web page, amongst a sea of other text links, and get it 99% of the time, because you are using a narrow tapping thing like your finger nail.

Plus you can see what you are tapping right up to the point you hit it, because said fingernail is fine and narrow. Not got fingernails, well pick up anything you like from your desk. Biro lid, matchstick, car keys, anything you like, it'll work (taadaa!).

Take a capacitive one, requiring the contact of a squashy finger tip, and you'll be hard pushed to hit anything smaller than the size of a bus with any accuracy. Is it any wonder that the way to navigate "back" is such an easy gesture?

The iPhone4 might have a seriously impressive number of pixels per inch, but you can't use them to resize a webpage to tiny proportions if it has a lot of links close together, the most you can do with it is enjoy some nice font anti-aliasing.

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NY youth makes $130k selling real(-ish) white iPhone 4s

Steve Evans
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Re: $35.99

Thank you Sir!

I honestly couldn't believe the number of thumbs down I received for suggesting that $279 was a non competitive price!

Personally I was thinking if I was a fanboy, I could go and get one fabricated from scratch by a local plastics moulding firm as a one off for less!

Hell I could get a gold plated one done for that!

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Steve Evans
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He might be fluent in Chinese...

...but his English is suspect...

"We offer competitively priced parts needed to convert your current black iPhone 4 to a White iPhone 4"

$279 is competitive?!

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How to make boots on Mars affordable - One way trips

Steve Evans
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Joke

"colonists may be preferred who are beyond their reproductive age".

So as men are technically capable for their entire life, surely this would mean the crew would comprise purely of older ladies.

They're never going to fit all their shoes into the capsule!

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Chicago officer beats off dildo-wielding bill-skipper

Steve Evans
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And....

Where pray tell is the required Monty Python self defence class quote?

Although seriously she's lucky she wasn't tazzed. Guess she didn't walk on the cracks in the pavement or look like a photographer.

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Facebook set to unveil 'Gmail killer'

Steve Evans
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Yeah, right...

I think they already know too much, I think I'll stick with separate accounts thanks.

Plus of course hotmail/gmail et al don't go fiddling with their sites every couple of days and break things, The example the notifications list hasn't worked on facebook mobile for at least they last few days.

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No wonder CompSci grads are unemployed

Steve Evans
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Re: C++ blows - Agreed!

As a young teenager in the 80s I started playing first with a commodore PET at school and then my own BBC Micro. So I picked up BASIC. My 'O' level was written in 6502 machine code. My 'A' level was written in BASIC. They had taught us Pascal, which was an option, but I was pissed at them for not letting me use machine code for the 'A' level.

I would give Pascal another chance a few years later.

Even doing the 'A' level I started to become disillusioned with what we were being taught, so when I saw the degree syllabus I decided I'd had enough of this education rubbish. I still remember the computer science teacher calling me out of a geography lesson to help him set things up when I was 13!

From there the big old world of work started. COBOL, PCs, 8086 machine code, DOS TSRs, windoze, bit of OS2, VB, Delphi, C etc. Intarweb and TCP/IP.

Delphi (Pascal++) is probably my favourite for writing windows apps. It's just so quick. How C became some dominant when it was designed to make thing unreadable after you turn away for 5 minutes is beyond me.

I never ceased to be amazed at the number of grads I worked with who just had no fundamental knowledge of computers. Sure I could forgive them for not having built a computer from spare bits aged 15, not everyone was a geeky as me, but to looked astonished when I open a command prompt and type a few magical incantations is unforgivable.

Typical example - "I have a load of music mp3s, mpeg movies and word docs all together in a directory, how can I move just the tunes and movies?"

Errr, move *.m* <destination>

Reclaim all the drive space windows has cluttered up with temporary files?

del "%temp%\*.*" /s /f /q

Simples.

These days I program windows apps and microcontrollers. It's interesting juggling between Delphi windows apps and C/ASM on the MCU, ad yes, fixing other people's C code.

There is always a sigh and relaxed smile on my face when I return to Delphi and have native string handling once again! Not to mention the inherent security aspect of having a language which knows how to handle strings, and isn't just forcing you to throw random characters about in memory!

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BA slams stupid security checks

Steve Evans
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Re: Why can't we just have....

Or red plane and Green plane. I think the red plane would have to be flown by remote control, probably from the green one, who'd want to pilot that one?! It could work you know... Make everyone eat a ham sandwich. Those that refuse go into the red plane.

Sure it will mean the Muslims and Jews are on the same plane, but hopefully the hippy vegetarians will manage to keep it calm with a sing along.

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Steve Evans
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Re: 3. Incident with underpants bomb - no action

Pity, I think any terrorist who wants to set fire to their own genitalia, and cook their DNA from the gene pool should be allowed to do it.

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