* Posts by Alan Brown

3448 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Whee! BT preps for FIVE HUNDRED MEGABIT broadband trial

Alan Brown
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Re: For a given set of values of They

Most Openreach people these days are barely trained monkeys operating as independent contractors with no union protection.

CWU coverage amongst fulltime workers isn't wonderful and they tend to complain that their hands are tied by manglement anyway. It's got precious little to do with "redundancies" and lots to do with putting off _any_ copper replacement as long as possible (the less you spend on maintenance, the more you make in asset-stripped profit)

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Alan Brown
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You'll only get "hundreds of Mb" if the total run is less than 100 metres, more likely 70 when crosstalk is factored in.

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Alan Brown
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That's because they can charge 100% or more of the equipment costs upfront, whereas fibre build outs would require them to eat infrastructure costs.

As long as fibre remains "special case" they can charge premiums for installation and supply.

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Alan Brown
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Re: If....

Yup. They cope just fine. I've got 30 year old runs of 5+ miles attesting to that.

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'Revenge porn' bully told not to post people's nude pics online. That's it. That's his punishment

Alan Brown
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FTC consent orders

Are usually settlements "with no admission of wrongdoing"

Which means that individual legal action is far from a slamdunk. Followon civil cases aren't easy nor do they have a high sucess rate.

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Wham, bam... premium rate scam: Grindr users hit with fun-killing charges

Alan Brown
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Re: Capping Calls

"Very plush isn't it?"

All the better to soak up the blood.

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Alan Brown
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Re: the solution is simple...even simpler

root+adblock plus.

Too hard for the average punter though, gay or not.

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Alan Brown
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Re: the solution is simple

"Give every telco customer the right to repudiate any premium-rate item (call or SMS, including reverse-billed) on the bill."

Telcos love premium rate numbers, as they get around 30% of the billable income.

Ideally they should be jointly and severally liable for such things (as with Visa) but as soon as it gets difficult (ie, someone files legal action), they'll wipe it off the bill and hand it off to the premium provider who then normally farms it out to a collection agency.

Telcos win both ways, because they usually charge the premium rate providers for services even if they wipe charges to the endusers - a customer of mine back in the late 1980s ran one of those premium rate bulletin board lines for downloading shareware and ended up being chased for thousands when customer complaints led to mountains of chargebacks (in most cases the customers pled poverty, etc).

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Alan Brown
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Re: @Kristian Walsh - £1 per second? I don't think so.

Normally the flagfall is charged as soon as the line connects and the recurring charges kick in at 59 seconds.

One of the nastier ways of scamming people is to have the malware make a lot of 3 second calls.

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Switch it off and on again: How peers failed to sneak Snoopers' Charter into terror bill

Alan Brown
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Re: Bullshit

"The filth that carried out the Paris atrocities and the murder of Lee Rigby were known to the security services. "

For that matter, so were the 9/11 bombers and Tomothy McVeigh.

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Alan Brown
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Some numbers NEED to be cut.

EG:

1: There are far too many admirals and other high ranking naval bod for the number of boats actually in the water

2: There are far too many high ranking bods in the RAF (it's something like 80% of the number in the USAF which is more than 4 times larger

3: Same in the army.

And you wonder why the UK commits to buy pigs like the F35B or HMS Sitting Duck

Getting rid of the trough-wallowing higher ups would mean that mil.uk could actually live up to its implied social obligation and look after rank-and-file staff who've been injured (physically or mentally) during their term of duty (they get paid a shit wage, the risk really isn't worth it), instead of trying to foist the load back onto the UK public via chuggers pushing the likes of "Help for Heroes"(*)

(*) The only good thing about chuggers: Once it gets to that stage, you know it's a lost cause and "administrative fees" are soaking up substantial portions of what's raised long before it gets to where it's actually needed.

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Alan Brown
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Re: People just aren't angry enough

Beware the "village average speed cameras"

A few strategically placed pieces of tape seem to be the preferred way of confusing them.

Or just do what they do in london and clone a few plates. At least 12% of cars in Greater London are on the road illegally and a good chunk of them have counterfeit plates (I've had the misfortune to have had one crash into me and the driver/passenger run off. It even had a pretty authentic looking tax disc attached)

Bear in mind that the ANPR systems that are fitted into police cars only contain a list of plates _of interest_ (known to have expired, no sinsurance, etc), not a list of _valid_ plates - so a totally fake plate won't trip any alarms and nor will cloning a similar vehicle.

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Alan Brown
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Re: I don't understand this stuff so - lets legislate the crap out of it.

"I'm dealing with a 4 vendor finger-pointing roundabout today,"

Sit them around a table. Have your staff stand behind each chair.

Smash their faces into the table each time they point at someone else.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Here's your problem Lord B

> As people used to say under Communist dictatorships, "fill their microphones with silence".

I prefer filling them with silence and then masking it with white noise.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Organising the Techies

> A recent door-knocking party canvasser was shocked that I could object to "such a nice man".

Safe Tory seat by any chance?

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Alan Brown
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Re: Experts?

" I don't blame Blair for the Iraq War, that was a judgement call "

The problem is that the reasons _given_ for going in had nothing to do with the _actual_ reasons for going in and the way it was done was guaranteed to cause problems later on.

The ultimate chuntzpah afterwards was appointing Blair as "Middle East Peace Envoy"

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Alan Brown
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Re: Experts?

"Same problem with the Canadian Senate."

It could be a lot worse - the upper house could be abolished.

As mentioned, it does act as a brake on the worst excesses of the chamber and an example of what can happen when it's not there can be seen in New Zealand from the time the upper house was abolished there in the mid 1950s.

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I'll get my coat – there's a dusty one flying off Comet 67P

Alan Brown
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Re: "A gaggle of astroboffins ... "

More like a sulk of them, if they don't get their data.

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Boffin finds formula for four-year-five-nines disk arrays

Alan Brown
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"It's a standard box in a standard slot with standard connections, arranged in a standard rack in known positions."

As is the location of the hard drive. You may as well just add an interface to that slot and forget about the robot. It's not like tapes where the complexity is in the tape drive and the cartridge is a simple unit.

Telcos have been doing "periodic maintenance" for decades, it's a known quantity.

There's an assumption being made that all the storage is in the same enclosure or even in the same datacentre. If it's that critical you don't do things like that.

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'Boozed up' US drone spook CRASHED UFO into US White House

Alan Brown
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Re: Is this the new hide and seek Reg?

"had not half the text been hidden by a popover ad"

Root + adblock plus.

Sorted.

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Landlines: The tech that just won't die

Alan Brown
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Re: BT tricked me

"In the Reg yesterday I learned that Caller ID is built-in to modern telephony. "

Not just caller ID.

ALL the "added value services" are just functions in the telephony switch. There's no cost to the provider for enabling them other than the labour cost of someone doing so (if they were enabled by default they wouldn't cost a thing)

It's the same scam as charging monthly rental on a telephone which cost £5 or less to procure and supply.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Answer me this...

"Have you heard of retail and wholesale?"

Have you heard of "margin squeeze" ?

It's arguable that BT is conducting this activity, despite the "chinese wall" between the divisions. Bear in mind that head office can see and act over both sides of the wall.

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Alan Brown
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Re: BT bashing

"Could someone please explain the reason for hostility towards Direct Debit"

BT (and various others) have amply demonstrated they aren't competent enough to be allowed to use it.

Personal experience. Having 3 DDs come out at the same time and then having them take months to sort it out, etc etc.

The tossers attempted to DD me after I moved away from them too.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Call filtering

"The police have this annoying habit too for sending no number - ever."

My Fritz system diverts all non-CLI calls to a message telling the caller to redial with it enabled, or dial a £1.50/min 070 number instead.

To their credit, the police do actually do call back with cli enabled. Most other outfits won't and don't call the 070 either.

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What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

Alan Brown
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Re: US Fracking has a time limit

" and a large earthquake mechanism is building"

Perhaps we should be glad they're not doing it near New Madrid (a large earthquake is brewing there anyway as you should already know)

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Alan Brown
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Re: so without any need to 'play nice' what will they do with both of those things?

"I suspect they are well aware that the oil wells will not last forever "

The saudi quote which sticks in mind from my youth is this:

"My grandfather drove camels. My father drove a truck. I drive a sports car. My sons and grandsons will drive airplanes. My great-grandsons will drive camels."

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Alan Brown
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Re: Get hungry, not starve... @adam

"In the event of a breakdown in cities, you need to get out fast, "

Analysis of such an event has described what would happen next as "the greatest environmental disaster of all time".

Cities supplied with electricity and good transportation systems are what has made our large populations viable. There's an enormous amount of farmland required to support a city and having people living on it drastically reduces crop yields.

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Alan Brown
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"Yes, the shale prospectors in the US are using relaxed rules and a sleight of hand"

In particular the USA's virtual total exemption on environmental regulations is something which makes gas fracking economic there (even so a lot of drillers were going out of business well before the oil price dropped)

It's highly likely that EU requirements coupled with higher population densities and an unwillingness to allow the countryside to be turned into a pincushion will make the economics here a different proposition.

Bear in mind that a large part of the reason for the US gas and oil gluts existing is a direct result of laws which prohibit capping wells until "the price is right". Once you have a well running, you are legally obliged to sell what comes out of it at the prevailing market price. This means that drillers have ended up selling the product below cost for some time.

Oil Barons (such as the Kochs) who go in and hoover up production for resale (and are the main drivers of the above-mentioned laws) are the ones making big money, because they don't have to shoulder the risk/expense of the actual exploration/drilling. As with gold rushes the people who become millionaires aren't the prospectors, but the ones selling them shovels and buying their gold.

Low oil/gas prices are damaging on several fronts. Countries which depend on oil revenue have to pump more in order to stay put, which ends up driving the price further down. That means more CO2 and as more explorers go out of business an increased risk that those remaining can corner the market.

China is taking advantage of the low prices to stockpile as much oil as it can. I am surprised the US is still running its strategic reserve down instead of building it up.

The real killer of oil prices won't be exploration technologies in any case. The PC (and microcomputers in general) was disruptive because it was a completely different paradigm from mainframes.

Taking the point of view that the oil industry is an energy industry(*) (non-energy uses are a fraction of output) then the paradigm shift will be alternative (and much cheaper) energy sources. As with the proliferation of home pcs in the early 1980s, we see solar, wind and others all vying to be "it", but the most likely long-term answer is better nuclear power plants.

(*) The oil industry was a predominantly lighting industry right up until the end of the 19th century and into early 20th century years. In the 21st century it's likely to move to be predominantly a source of raw materials for industry and agriculture, but demand will likely be less than half of what it currently is even with a wealthier global population wanting more "stuff"

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Anonymous: Snap on that Guy Fawkes mask, we're marching against child sex abuse

Alan Brown
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Re: Way beyond paedos

"That's one of the nicer things about the internet, the barriers to communication are less."

it's one of the reasons that those in power are terrified of it.

They can no longer control the spread of information - which is why they seek any means possible to rein it in, The "terrorism" label is currently proving much easier a stick to wield in this quest than other ones.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Mental

"Dickens was a total crackpot, and in a sane world would be ridiculed by Anonymous."

Perhaps, but...

1: there seems to be substance to some of the claims, else newspaper editors with copies wouldn't have been given D-notices and had their copies removed

2: The fact that the dossier has been "disappeared" means it's hard to examine either way.

Outlandish claims should be allowed to lay open in order to be discredited, not made to disappear..

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Alan Brown
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Re: What could possibly go wrong?

"Chilcot's inquiry into the Iraq War has taken six years so far."

I wonder what would happen if the unredacted version leaked.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Isn't this the equivalent of marching against malaria?

"You're right though - given the reasonableness of Anon's demands on this occasion, I don't see the need for the masks."

I do: Many of the people involved in the abuse rings are both still alive and still in positions of power and influence.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Isn't this the equivalent of marching against malaria?

"No, it isn't. It would be more the equivalent of marching against people being paid to research malaria but who are just sitting about."

In one case it would appear the dossier on child sexual abuse was handed to someone (Leon Brittan, now deceased) who's now suspected of having been a member of the very ring which was performing child sexual abuse. Given the "someone" was Home Secretary at the time it's not overly surprising that evidence into the Elm Guest House scandal went missing "on an industrial scale" as Keith Vaz put it.

As with Saville, it's a lot easier to bring out the evidence now the culprit is dead and can't litigate people into silence, although I imagine the remaining living members will be doing their best to keep victims quiet.

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Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL

Alan Brown
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Re: What's the big deal?

"They *can* swipe my finger or push my face into a scanner."

"Fingerprints" or "faces" as authentication are as broken as using a birth certificate as identification (I bring this up because birth certs AREN'T identity documents, but are frequently used as such)

A fingerprint scanner needs a pulse behind it. Ideally you should be using an infrared image of the veins inside the fingers to ensure that you're looking at an actual living item (these are more unique than fingerprints. Even identical twins have differing vein patterns)

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Alan Brown
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Re: If they felt AuthenTec was clearly superior

"Why shouldn't the technology available via licence? This, after all, is the founding principle of the patent system. Bullies that buy companies to shut down their licensing are stifling innovation."

That is _exactly_ what has been happening in the battery arena. You can't get patent licensing for automotive applications of certain battery technologies no matter how much you want to pay.

Getting it into court to unlock this kind of thing (patent lockouts) would probably take longer than simply waiting for the patents to expire.

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Dark Fibre: Reg man plunges into London's sewers to see how pipe is laid

Alan Brown
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Re: Wouldn't be necessary

"You seem to be arguing for a monopoly in last mile access - is that your intention? "

Not at all. However reality _IS_ that BT is a monopoly in most areas and is able to leverage that quite nicely (6-figure installation fees for 1Gb/s fibre where I am, vs a lot cheaper where there are competitors)

At some point it's cheaper for Virgin and friends to dig their own trenches (high density areas) but in the vast majority of the land it's just not economically viable.

The problem with a lines company which is part of an overarching monolith is that they do things which don't make economic sense if they were truly independent.

New Zealand analysed what had happened in the UK with the "split off" of Openreach (Telecom New Zealand did voluntarily split its lines operations off in order to stave off govt intervention), but it was realised that the combined structure was still able to be used as an effective anticompetitive tool - and after 20 years of monopoly abuse by Telecom New Zealand the govt wasn't in a mood to allow it to continue as "monopoly abuse lite"

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Alan Brown
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Wouldn't be necessary

If Openreach was cleaved off from BT and operated as a completely separate company without BT calling the tune.

That's what's happened in New Zealand. The result has been that the lines company is no longer "encumbered" by rules saying "don't sell to the competition" and is actively seeking out LLU customers as well as renting out dark fibre and duct space.

As long as BT owns Openreach, it can (and does) use it as an anticompetitive tool. Openreach may be forced to sell to everyone on an equal basis, but it's not going to lease duct space, sell dark fibre or make itself particularly easy to deal with or get access to - and all those rules come down from head office.

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Brits need chutzpah to copy Israeli cyberspies' tech creche – ex-spooks

Alan Brown
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Re: It's a shit-hole

"To be fair, they're rude as fuck, but they're quite happy to take as good as they give out."

From other israelis perhaps. If you have to deal with one in another country and you point out the chuntzpah, you're likely to see a song and dance routine about "poor picked upon me".

A good chunk of israeli chuntzpah stems from the national indoctrination that they're God's Chosen People returned to God's Chosen Land and everyone else is inferior.

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Alan Brown
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Re: The trouble is...

"Spooks have a tendency to stay spooky."

The thing about working for such organisations is that they can be (and are) recalled to service without notice or the ability to say no.

Once they have their hooks into you, you're stuck with them for life.

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'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly?

Alan Brown
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"The thing is, dickishness is zero sum"

Linus may get abusive, but I've never seen him do it when it wasn't utterly deserved.

People need to be called out and shamed. he's just as quick to praise stuff.

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Alan Brown
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Re: @Henry Wertz 1

"His view was that at the end of the day, when nothing else has worked, and the thing to be achieved is important, sometimes the only way to get the desired result is to threaten physical violence."

If only that could be done more often. I get the urge to slam UI designers' faces into a desk at least 20 times per day.

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Alan Brown
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Re: How bad is Torvalds?

"Even with Valve's recent push, 8 or 9 out of every 10 games that comes out ignores Linux. About half are Windows-only."

If you look across all the markets, most games are Android only, or at best Android + ios

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Alan Brown
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Re: How bad is Torvalds?

"Certainly in my office he'd have been shown the door years ago"

And your company would have been that much less competitive for doing it - presumably you'll be travelling in the B Ark.

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Chunky Swedish ice maiden: Volvo XC60 D4 Manual EE Lux Nav

Alan Brown
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"The more complex the electronics, the more likely it is to go wrong, and the more expensive it will be."

With the rejoinder that complex electronics are far more reliable and longlived than complex mechanical bits, so given the choice, take the 'leccy.

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YOU. Your women are mine. Give them to me. I want to sell them

Alan Brown
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Re: "In no way am I suggesting that INgrooves is an evil bunch of bastards"

A DMCA claim is uttered under penalty of perjury.

Unfortunately there have been precisely ZERO actions for perjury resulting from bogus DMCA claims.

A few examples being made of egarious offenders wouldn't go amiss - and most judges won't think much of the argument that handing things off to bots which often get it wrong is "accidental"

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Thailand: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

Alan Brown
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Re: 'The nail that sticks up gets hammered down'

> I always thought "the grass that grows tall gets mowed"

AKA "Tall poppy syndrome"

Happens in a lot of countries, even "western" ones.

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Mobe not-spots 'landmark deal'? We ain't thick, Javid

Alan Brown
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"In New Zealand the original public (now private) telecom company has about 97% population coverage and the nearest competitor has about the same."

And for 20 years they used incompatible standards ((D)AMPS vs GSM, then CDMA vs GSM/3G, etc) and different bands. Things have only started converging in the last few years.

An outfit like the National Grid could do quite well out of leasing out spots on its masts, but that comes with its own set of politics.

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Then there were 3: Another UK mobile network borged ...

Alan Brown
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Re: O3 then?

Ozone is toxic at ground level. The new company may be too.

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Telefónica to offload O2 to Three daddy Hutchison for £10.25bn

Alan Brown
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Re: Last of the thoroughbreeds

"Vodafone will be the UK's last thoroughbred mobile network, operating as GSM was intended."

$orkplace has a contract with Vodafone. It's a pity they have the worst coverage of any of the companies and are completely unusable around here. (Helldesk response amounts to "we have your money and your contracts, ha haaaa")

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Alan Brown
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Re: Possible problems

"not sure how that fits in with o2's lump"

O2's lump is mostly exactly where needed - at 900MHz (better rural and indoor coverage).

This is an important asset for any company concerned about customer service. It's just a pity there's the old 450MHz NMTS band can't be pressed into service too.

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