* Posts by Neil Barnes

2749 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

What wedding cake would an engineer make? A LEGO one

Neil Barnes
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Re: Hmm

Saw an advert, in the days of post-cards in the newsagents' windows: For sale, wedding cake, unused at the last minute. Two tiers...

Never did work out whether the pun was intentional.

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Kindle Paperwhites turn Windows 10 PCs into paperweights: Plugging one in 'triggers a BSOD'

Neil Barnes
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Re: Drivers everywhere

You have moved the mouse. Windows must now restart.

There's a reason I'm friends with the penguin.

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DVLA misses out on £400m in tax after scrapping paper discs

Neil Barnes
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Re: Easy to account.

Indeed. I do the same with my classic car.

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My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Re: Actually, Dabbsey hasn't lost a bit of weight

Subtle...

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Adblock Plus chalk talk takes stock: Facebook's gonna block our block of their block of our block? Let's rock

Neil Barnes
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Re: Not in the least bit surprised...

It's not an ad-supported business model. It's an ad-selling business model. The social networky bits are merely the mechanism Zuckerberg has chosen to get rich. It's no different from soap companies making TV soap opera in the forties and fifties.

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Robo-buses join the traffic in Helsinki

Neil Barnes
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Coat

I'm guessing these need a crew of two plus a dog?

One driver to push the big red button in case of a (very slow) emergency; one dog to bite the driver if he tries to do anything else; and one man to feed the dog.

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Ad-blocking ‘plateaus’, claims hopeful ad industry

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Re: Ad-blocking 'plateaus'

IT may be a legitimate feature, but none-the-less, verbing wierds nouns.

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We're going to bring an asteroid fragment into Lunar orbit

Neil Barnes
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Re: Giving Skynet an Asteroid to Drop on Us?

@ Trevor - They're taking them to the moon, right? And the moon is, of course, a harsh mistress?

"Mike: But we can throw rocks at Earth, Man. We will."

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Adblock Plus blocks Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook ads

Neil Barnes
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The part that says 'but then we'd have no money, and Zuckerberg would have to eat bread and jam like the rest of us."

Somehow, the advertisers have brainwashed huge chunks of the internet industry into the weird idea that the only way to fund anything is through advertising. They manage to peddle this bizarre concept *even though* what they are selling is end users who, on the whole, actually make things, and sell them. Y'know, for cash.

The argument might be made that people won't pay for services - to which the response is: the service is either not good enough, or too expensive.

Isn't it curious that the vast majority of adverts come from clickbait sites? You don't see adverts on the retailer's sites (apart from 'people who bought this also bought); they're up front and they want to sell you *stuff* - their stuff. Not random tat...

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Adblock Plus blocks Facebook's ad-blocker buster: It's a block party!

Neil Barnes
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Re: Blunt Instrument

It's not that FB *needs* money. It's just that they've decided the way to *get* money is by selling advertising space (and your viewing habits). They're not in the business of enabling communication between people; they're in the business of making money and enabling communication is the way they've decided to do it.

A moment's googling reveals FB has 1.7 billion users and a profit last year of 15 billion dollars - a user is worth, on average, just under ten bucks to FB.

Is an advert-free FB worth ten bucks a year to you? Then hassle FB to pay for it directly.

Much as I dislike advertising (and I'm not an FB user; it's not worth ten bucks to me) I can't criticise FB for using it to fund themselves. I *can* criticise the way the advertisers in general behave... but the thing to remember is that FB is a way to make Zuckerberg rich, not a way to let granny know what you're up to. If he finds a better way, he'll use it. Using advertising blockers is a good way to suggest to him that he might want to start looking.

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Idiot flies drone alongside Flybe jet landing at Newquay Airport

Neil Barnes
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Black Helicopters

Re: Risk?

Bloody painful, too, if it (a) gets you in the chest and (b) you happen to be flying a paraglider at the time.

Been there, done that, got the bruises. But I'd rather meet a pheasant than a drone.

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Funny story, this. UK.gov's 'open banking app revolution'. Security experts not a fan of it

Neil Barnes
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Windows

Re: I'm all for online banking...

I'm still waiting for them to explain how changing banks - where I've been for over forty years - will save me money. Given that I don't borrow money from the bank, don't run overdrafts, or take any other paid service.

I give them money once a month, they give it back to me a bit at a time. On rare occasions they may even add a few pennies to the account, but that's about all I expect.

There will be a letter written to the bank shortly, saying basically, don't do it with my account.

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Jeep hackers: How we swerved past Chrysler's car security patches

Neil Barnes
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Pirate

Mine uses...

a connection at 430THz, and all it does is unlock the doors... good luck with that one guys.

Remind me again why it's a good idea to have things telling the steering which way to turn?

(Although to be fair, hardening the external connectivity is at least a step in the right direction.)

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Windows 10: Happy with Anniversary Update?

Neil Barnes
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Re: Then the "experienced" W10 user showed me the path to power-down

But why would you ever want to shut down an OS? At best, put it to sleep. I like to start where I left off last night, and there's no need to turn it off - irrespective of how quickly it wakes up, it wakes up to an empty desktop. Unless W10 now has this behaviour?

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Firefox to banish hidden Flash files – and kill off sneaky ad snoopers

Neil Barnes
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Re: BBC video still Flash here

So... changed the user agent to iphone and suddenly both BBC news video and pre-recorded radio worked. Couldn't make live radio work, nor TV iplayer...

This is bloody ridiculous.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Re BBC

I worked for the firm for thirty-odd years, *and* I did some (project, not code) work on the radio iplayer six years ago. I'm going to be bloody furious if they don't get their act together sometime soon.

I wonder if its because of all these 'smart' TVs whose browsers can't be updated and are restricted to flash?

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Neil Barnes
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Holmes

Re: BBC

Same here; linux box with no flash installed. "Install Flash Player" for any news video, same for three random iplayer things from last night - complaining that they can't be played on the html5 beta - and the the same on a random thing from Radio 4. Listen live just sits there loading for ever and ever...

C'mon guys, it's not *that* difficult. If Youtube can do it, I'm sure you can.

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What will laws on self-driving cars look like? Think black boxes and 'minimum attention'

Neil Barnes
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I suspect there is something to be said

given the requirement for an alert driver, for a control system which steps in if and only if the driver is driving like an utter dickhead...

I'm not at all sure how this might be phased in; it seems that you need either full control or pretty much none. A cruise control saves my ankle, but I still need to steer and brake, and as a result to be alert and aware of what's going on around me. When it does, say, steering and lane control and emergency action and even something as simple as adaptive cruise control, what is left to keep me alert? Electric shocks through the seat?

For a long distance journey where you don't want to drive, take a train or a plane, or even an airship. For the two minute jaunt to the shops, why would you even *want* this sort of automation?

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UK's climate change dept abolished, but 'smart meters and all our policies strong as ever'

Neil Barnes
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Re: Smart meter, as in Smart TV !!

On the other hand, from an engineer's point of view - a truly smart meter should be able to locate and negotiate the best rate from suppliers on a minute to minute basis...

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Neil Barnes
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Re: 3% energy saving

I just got around to replacing some halogen bulbs in the living room - seven of them at 70W each - with seven 5.5W LED bulbs (they've finally got bright enough in the form factor we can live with) and at the same time four 50W halogens in the kitchen with four 4W bulbs... ok, there's still the fridge, oven, and washing machine, but I reckon I'm over 3% right there.

The person who manages my demand is *me*. The job of the power company is to calculate an average price for me which works for both them and me. This is called 'budgeting' and it seems to be a foreign concept to economists, who really ought to know better - they seem to work on the basis that price is the only driver when selecting whether and how much to use a service. I won't choose to sit in the dark because the power is expensive, or stop baking a loaf of bread half-way through, nor let the fridge warm up.

If the power companies aren't able to manage a peak demand, they need to get their act together and build some bloody nuclear power stations. I'll pay - over time.

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New Mars rover is GO for 2020 says NASA

Neil Barnes
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Obviously the first sounds will be...

"Where is the earth-shattering KABOOM? I wanted an earth-shattering KABOOM!"

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Africa's MeerKAT looks at the sky, surprises boffins with 1,300 galaxies

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Re: Universe, life and everything

Quite right, and accordingly upvoted.

But also: Imagine that you're standing...

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Computers vs Ebola: Scientists use big data to predict future disease hotspots

Neil Barnes
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Headmaster

Bats have pups?

I thought they had bittens.

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Pokemon Go oh no no no, we're not reading your email, says gamemaker

Neil Barnes
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Re: How long

Think of it as evolution in action.

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Bloke 'lobbed molotov cocktails' at Street View car because Google was 'watching him'

Neil Barnes
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Re: Paranoia is when you think they're watching you...

Yeah, missed that. Sorry.

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Neil Barnes
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Paranoia is when you think they're watching you...

Alan Nelson... https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=8XmFCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=narapoia+alan+nelson&source=bl&ots=A7_N_ZKVto&sig=3NYtRjz8zuEXu0Mx0lyg-A8JK6Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-obXb0uDNAhUBqxoKHWZzAP4Q6AEIUjAJ#v=onepage&q=narapoia%20alan%20nelson&f=false

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UK.gov wants to fine websites £250,000 if teens watch porn vids

Neil Barnes
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And of course the funny thing is...

Each and every one of us - even members of parliament - is the descendent of a long line of ancestors, each and every one of whom chose to follow an interest in sex instead of denying it.

Had they not, we would not be.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware goes FULL SCREEN in final push

Neil Barnes
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Linux

It's those nasty penguin people

They've *ruined* it for MS, telling folk they can have good stuff FOR FREE!

And then when MS try and give it away, people still don't want it.

(Checks, ah yes, Mint 17.)

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Countdown to Jupiter: Juno just seven days from orbit

Neil Barnes
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Alien

...when it will get dropped onto the planet.

Poor thing. All that effort... at least it won't suffer like Spirit did on Mars. "Did I do a good job? Do I get to come home? Guys?"

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Medicos could be world's best security bypassers, study finds

Neil Barnes
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For Pete's sake

Every cash register in pretty much every pub in the country has a token login based on a physical widget attached to the operator with a bit of string.

It's not a difficult concept.

Make the same widget responsible for opening doors and doctors won't be able to lend theirs to others.

Of *course* doctors aren't going to sit down and remember passwords for a dozen different systems; they're busy doing doctor things. Security per se is something that gets in their way and like any other human they'll do their best to avoid it. But an ID card in a slot not only provides access to systems but provides an automatic logout. Sure, it's not as secure as a widget *and* a password, but how secure is it now? The primary driver here is access to the records of the patient the doctor is treating *now*.

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I want to learn about gamification but all I see is same-ification

Neil Barnes
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I just bought Snakes and Ladders for granddaughter.

On a proper cardboard board, with genuine 3-d effects.

Does that count?

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Patriotic Brits rush into streets to celebrate… National Cream Tea Day

Neil Barnes
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Unhappy

Re: “tea before milk”.

Sob: no more Lester to chastise me for my degenerate Lapsang Souchong ways.

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Holy Crap! Bloke finishes hand-built CPU project!

Neil Barnes
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Pint

Re: 16 bits? Nicely done!

Indeed. I built a couple of 8-bitters, but (a) I used gates in little boxes with legs on, instead of those tripod thingies, and (b) 16 bits looked like a step too far (though it *would* have simplified some things!)

A pint, sir.

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Late night smartphone use makes women go blind

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Wait a minute...

You're temporarily blind, in one eye, when you're in bed and *in the dark*.

Why do you care?

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Cloudian clobbers car drivers with targeted ads

Neil Barnes
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Flame

So how long

before we can purchase targeted ad-blockers?

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Bees with numberplates will soon be buzzing around London. Why?

Neil Barnes
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Thumb Up

Re: An old Tom Digby song comes to mind...

Damnit, you beat me to it. Though I know it from its inclusion in a Larry Niven novel - A World Out Of Time.

Have an upvote!

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You lucky creatures! Mammals only JUUUST survived asteroid that killed dinosaurs

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Re: Yep, there's a huge difference between ''wiped out" and "nearly wiped out".

But, but, surely the big dinosaurs went extinct because they were too heavy for the trees? When they climbed the trees to lay their eggs in their nests, the trees fell over and broke the eggs, no?

This whole meteorite tale is just a theory.

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Lester Haines: RIP

Neil Barnes
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Malaria No More

Tara Sherjan, of Malaria No More, has asked me to express her sympathies to Lester's family and friends, and to say that her thoughts are with them at this very sad time.

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Neil Barnes
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Pint

Damn, that was not good news.

Tonight, a pint.

In the morning, bacon.

And perhaps a quid a day for the rest of the week.

RIP me old mate, and condolences to Katerina, Sean, and the rest of the family.

p.s. it might lighten things a little if I report that our last emails were on the subject of computer controlled catflaps...

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Dad of student slain in Paris terror massacre sues Google, Twitter, Facebook for their 'material support' of ISIS

Neil Barnes
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Re: What a wanker

Logically, the people whom he should be suing are the terrorists.

I seem to remember that terrorist groups have managed perfectly well *without* the internet: its absence doesn't seem to have slowed down, for example, the IRA, the Mau-mau, the Stern Gang, or any number of other folk with a grievance and an attitude throughout history.

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BOFH: Follow the paper trail

Neil Barnes
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Re: Pens...

Dilbert interviewing a baby engineer: "I have thirty-five pens and pencils here. How many are really required to do your job?"

"All of them."

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The Microsoft-LinkedIn hookup will be the END of DAYS, I tell you

Neil Barnes
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Stop

Re: HR rejoice! Now y'all can just ask Cortana who to hire ... good luck with THAT one!

Already done.

You have to change to the 'old' config page to find the 'account' section indicated in the first google 'how to' hit.

Now I wait to see whether the data did actually go away. Ah well, there wasn't a lot there anyway.

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Oooooklahoma! Where the cops can stop and empty your bank cards – on just a hunch

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

Re: wait....... what?

>> And that's before you look at overdrafts and the like.

Hmm. I wonder if you could put your overdraft on a card, buy a cheap car, and take a motoring holiday in Oklahoma?

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Redmond adds malware, phish warnings to Bing

Neil Barnes
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And what does it show

For a Windows 10 update page?

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TeamViewer beefs up account security after rash of PC, Mac hijacks

Neil Barnes
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Re: So for v10?

Thanks - as you can tell I don't use Windows much.

Now I need to work out how to talk the old man through it while I can't see his screen... Hmm.

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Neil Barnes
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So for v10?

Did some experimentation last night: me with a linux box and my father's machine on W7, with the 'use as required' executable. Neither of us have an account at TV.

1/ until the remote end is executed, my end advises me that the remote is unavailable (I have the remote user number from previous sessions)

2/ when the far end wakes up, I get the request for his passcode, delivered by phone

3/ at this point, I can drive his machine

4/ while connected, there are three TV services running in the windows running program list (I forget what it's called)

5/ after disconnecting and closing the remote end, there is still one TV service running.

6/ trying to kill that service appears to re-spawn it

So what's going on here then? It looks as if there's something running (though my father may well be misreporting!) which isn't announcing availability but doesn't want to go away.

On my linux box, once the program is stopped, there's nothing left showing in ps -ax

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Unicode serves up bacon emoji

Neil Barnes
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Re: What's wrong with ASCII?

Thee and me both. If you're going to give me bacon, bloody tell me; don't expect me to recognise the same symbol that has been printed on hand driers for years.

Emojis have no place in the writings of civilised people.

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Computerised stock management? Nah, let’s use walkie-talkies

Neil Barnes
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Re: Stock Control

How does that work then? The gap between passing the place where the bananas ought to be and getting to the checkout sans bananas can be at least a quarter hour, and if the missus is being particularly inquisitive at the shelves I get bored at, maybe a half hour.

Unless I've just gone in for bananas, of course, but usually I visit once a week and want everything.

#Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today!

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

Neil Barnes
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Re: how to make it useful

Blood sugar. Pulse rate. Blood pressure.

In order of importance (to me).

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TeamViewer denies hack after PCs hijacked, PayPal accounts drained

Neil Barnes
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Re: But... TeamViewer doesn't *require* an account, does it?

I had the same kind of query: my parents have a teamviewer executable on their windows boxes which is fired up only when they are (by phone) talking to me, theoretically. Neither of us have a TV account, so every time it's used it's necessary for them to tell me the pass number.

I'm assuming that when TV is closed, it's leaving nothing behind running?

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