* Posts by M Gale

3526 posts • joined 22 Apr 2007

LIVE BLOG: Facebook News Feed revamp press conference

M Gale
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Re: Welcome to our tobacco free campus?

Yeah, I saw that one. That's why you click the button five times to turn it off before stowing it in your suitcase.

Though to have made enough smoke to billow out of the coach, with nobody sucking through it.. that must have been one hell of a vape. Possibly more like the Volcano herbal vapes than an e-liquid vape, especially since the e-cigs and vapes by the likes of VIP and Halo have a 7-10 second safety cut-off. "Health aid for smokers" indeed.. naughty boy.

Did the passengers all stop off at the nearest pizza shop afterwards?

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M Gale
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Welcome to our tobacco free campus?

I recommend Halo's "Ultra Tank" portable vape. Forty quid for a kit including two batteries and three refillable cartomisers. Add in some 24mg/ml nicotine fluid and you're done.

It's also neither tobacco, nor smoking.

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BRITAIN MUST DECLARE WAR on Cervinaean menace

M Gale
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Re: Lock and load

"Hirsch" vs "Jude".

I can see how there might have been a problem.

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M Gale
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: MUNTJAC

ew.

<--- Oh god, not again.

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M Gale
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Re: Contraceptive dart guns?

Depends on your priorities.

Kill Bambi now, and watch the population bounce right back in a few years.

Or stop Bambi reproducing for life, watch the population naturally dwindle and take quite a while longer to recover.

As a fairly committed rabbit-food-eater, I'll at least mention population control methods that don't involve blowing big holes in things. In the absence of a cervine-targetted Combine suppression field, darts are probably the best option there.

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M Gale
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Just Like Horse

<--- See that?

You bastard. Now I have to find a cloth or something, before some professor walks past and wonders why this lab machine looks pebbledashed.

(El Reg: Better than Facebook, which is what everyone else seems to be looking at)

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M Gale
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Contraceptive dart guns?

It's been done before.

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News Corp challenges iPad with $299 education tablet

M Gale
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Meanwhile, in Tesco...

Android based, though for some reason they put "Monarch OS" on the front page of the site. Looks suitable though, mostly because of the thick rubber casing. Bounce proof? Essential.

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Cruel Microsoft will drive us into arms of iOS, Android, warn resellers

M Gale
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Re: MS shills make Eadon sound right

Know what's even better?

That datacentre-edition license only covers two processors. A four-CPU machine needs two datacentre licenses. Really?

How many datacentres does anybody know that have two CPUs? Or does Microsoft count "A PC with a whacking big HDD attached to it" as "a datacentre"?

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M Gale
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Re: MS is squeezing the enterprise and channel

"The vast majority of Enterprises that use Linux use Redhat, so it's the best example. Anyway, SUSE also costs more than Windows..."

Disingenious.

You are paying for vastly different things with Windows vs Linux. Windows buys you a product and maybe some help to re-install it if you screw up.

OpenSUSE buys you anything from the basic "Windows level" of support, right up to 24x7 access with 1 hour response time for high severity cases. Costs are between a few hundred dollars and six grand depending on how much coverage you want, for a five year subscription. One year subscriptions are vastly cheaper. This is assuming you even need support and you're not some high-tech company that rolls its own software and can support itself quite nicely.

You're also probably comparing the price of OpenSUSE support with the price of a basic desktop copy of Windows 8, which is already being subsidised heavily by sales of Windows 7.

Try like for like. Windows Server datacentre-edition will probably give you similar features to your average Linux. Only a snip at $4,809 open no-level estimated retail price. Basically "as much as we can screw you for, unless you point out the price of a Linux support package, in which case we'll drop those dollars faster than a whore's knickers in the presence of a $100 bill".

And let us not forget the money Microsoft is screwing people out of for spurious unproven patent claims. That's probably driving the price of your average Novell product right up.

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M Gale
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Re: http://prezi.com

Now that does look interesting. However, from the compulsory "you must have an account", I can guess it's a cloud-based (ie: all your base are belong to us) solution.

I would like to be wrong.

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'Mainframe blowout' knackered millions of RBS, NatWest accounts

M Gale
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I thought one of the features of a mainframe...

...was umpteen levels of redundancy? One CPU "cartridge" goes pop? Fine. Rip it out of the backplane and stuff another one in, when you've got one to stuff in there.

Dual (or more) PSUs, RAID arrays.. and yet this happens. Oh well. Wonder what RBS's SLAs say about this?

They do have SLAs for those likely-hired-from-someone-probably-IBM machines, don't they?

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Gnome cofounder: Desktop Linux is a CHERNOBYL of FAIL

M Gale
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Re: The thing is, he is right

"Easy fix for devs (assuming you're not on some seldom used mirror), just add a # of times downloaded, and give the option to sort by popular. Leverage the crowd."

What would also be nice would be two flags on each package. One for "program", one for "library", and packages can be one, the other or both. Right now, searching (for instance) for games in Linux brings up a whole load of supporting libraries as well. It's a little like doing a search in the Windows 8 store and coming up with stuff like direct3d.dll all mixed up with the games themselves. If I'm developing something I might be interested in downloading lib-something-whatever-devel, but otherwise, let the end-products decide which dependencies to download and hide them from the user unless requested.

Oh my word, did I just criticize the Holy PenguinOS? How unlike me (according to some).

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M Gale
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Re: The thing is, he is right

Alternatively, start up synaptic or your favourite GUI package manager and search for "Firefox". That's if it doesn't come as the default browser for your distribution anyway.

A "new user" isn't going to be using the terminal, are they? Or does a new Windows user start to learn how to do things via cmd.exe and regedit?

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M Gale
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Re: Huh.

"No matter what you do on GNU/Linux you *ALWAYS* have to spend time trawling the 'net trying to interpret poorly written and out-of-date guides. It's why people use Windows/Mac. They may offer less choice and be dumbed down - but at least they work."

Because following these tips to make Windows more usable is the sort of thing that every Joe knows how to do, right?

This is not 1991 any more. Please, move with the times. You want to arse about under the hood of Linux? Sure you'll have to know your stuff. Same as with Windows. Same as with Mac OS X. Difference being that if the distro maintainer decides to go all GUIdiotic, it's not hard to apt-get the old interface back in.

Windows 8 on the other hand...

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M Gale
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Re: Huh.

"A normal user will panic when they have to decide what filesystem, what size of partitions, what DE, what..."

Well it's good that you don't need to do any of that on a desktop-oriented Linux. Well, not unless you want to.

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M Gale
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Re: Only windows lets you upgrade...

You haven't heard of Ubuntu then?

(or maybe Android)

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Next Windows 8 version can ditch bits of Metro

M Gale
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Not often I accuse someone of being a shill, but there are an awful lot of ACs with a nasty dismissive attitude toward anybody who fails to love the new bullshit, and a completely brainwashed attitude toward Microsoft. They don't even try to say how I'm wrong.. just throw insults out like "it's easy, you're retarded, stop complaining, get a life" and all the rest.

I guess Metro really is doubleplusgood.

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M Gale
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There is nothing difficult about using metro.

Asides the massive information overload once you install more than a few applications, of course.

Asides trying to find out which TIFKAM apps are running and which ones aren't. Oh, yeah I forgot, Metro magically manages that by deciding for you what stays in memory and what has a few seconds to save its shit before being rather unceremoniously terminated regardless of your wishes. Because that's completely failproof.

Yeesh. I know I can be a sarky bastard at times, but the snark is so thick here you could cut it with a knife. Not that Microsoft Window doesn't deserve it.

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Microsoft about-face: Office 2013 license IS transferable now

M Gale
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Re: 2013 blows almost as much as WinH8TE

"You complain about a much faster system with tons of new features because of a simple UI issue that's fixed in 30 seconds by a free download?"

I complain about the dumb, stupid way by which I am forced to interact with this new, faster system?

Why yes, yes I do.

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M Gale
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Re: 2013 blows almost as much as WinH8TE

Nobody is complaining about faster.

Everyone is complaining about the UI.

"Just install classic shell", as I have said before, is something you do on Linux when Canonical have fucked up the UI again. Linux distributions are largely designed for this sort of heterogenous layering between the UI and the OS. They are also free. Windows... isn't. On both counts.

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M Gale
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Re: Now if only...

It seems that the amount of Windows 8 machines running some 3rd party start menu is numbered in the millions. If the majority are using Metro, it's not that big a majority.

Will Microsoft pay attention to that for Windows 9 and give you the option to relegate TIFKAM to a thing used for running mobile apps on a desktop? I doubt it, but I can dream.

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M Gale
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"Quite. If this is the response they get then they may as well not have bothered with relaxing the agreement."

If they want to piss in their own well, I won't stop them.

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M Gale
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Re: Soo...

No, I think the "bastards" tag was earned several decades ago. This episode is just the latest in a long series of bastardry.

Fortunately it seems some people can still be bothered to kick up a stink about bastards.

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Japanese password protector floods screen with hoax cursors

M Gale
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Genius.

And like many genius ideas, it leaves me slapping my forehead and going "that's just so simple, WHY didn't I think of it?"

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Penguins, only YOU can turn desktop disk IO into legacy tech

M Gale
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Re: I've mentioned this before.

Well. A bunch of logic gates certainly doesn't understand anything asides its current state.

That said, you could say that a complex neural network in fact DOES understand what it has been trained to recognise, even if only in a protozoan sense of the word.

So while a computer might not "understand", software well might do. Your brain doesn't understand a damned thing either, but I'm sure your mind does.

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M Gale
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Hm.

Y'know, we already have flash-cached spinning disks.

What about DRAM-cached flash cache on a spinning disk? Add in a few 1-farad capacitors to provide emergency "dump to flash" functionality in the event of a power failure (yes, they can be made smaller than the giant tin cans you get in car audio systems).. this is either a really perverse idea or a really good one.

Or perhaps both.

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M Gale
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Re: Prior art

Yep, and so did the BBC Micro that preceded RISC machines.. and as mentioned above, so did earlier Acorn machines that the BBC evolved from. In fact many early micros relied on a ROM to contain their OS code.

Difference is, these are ROM chips. Okay, maybe some of them might have been EEPROM or UVPROM, but it's not like the machine you plugged them into had write access. The software was also vastly smaller than today's wares.

Whether a modern machine can be made with one big flat non-volatile memory space that holds everything, without being a potentially unbootable nightmare in the event of a crash, or a potential security risk... well, I think that's what the article is asking Penguinistas to have a go at finding out.

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M Gale
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Re: I've mentioned this before.

"The CPU doesn’t understand anything other than memory. It has no idea of the concept of the character 'A'."

You'll find I know more about the internal architecture of a CPU, whether scalar, superscalar, stream/vector or whatever, than you think. If I could really be bothered and had the cash I could probably design a simple CPU out of logic chips, transistors, or relay switches if you like. Maybe have a go at making a hardware Brainfuck/Turing machine. Slow as hell with ripple-adders, but it'd work.

There is still a concept of "memory" and "storage", regardless of what the CPU is doing at the gate level.

Whatever happens with regards stuffing running programs into nonvolatile memory, I just hope I retain the option to say "KILL EVERYTHING AND RESTART YOUR SHIT."

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M Gale
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Re: Palm Pilots

Also how more ancient cart based games consoles worked, where the cart essentially became part of the memory map.

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M Gale
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I've mentioned this before.

Making a computer where there is no concept of "storage" and everything is just "memory"?

No fucking thankyou. That might be nirvana to some people, but to someone who wants "yank the plug" to mean "forget everything and start again", it's awful.

That said, maybe there's some use for having a flash card in there, and having the option in the OS to have a program "run in RAM" or "run in flash". Just so long as turning it off and on again means a reboot and not just coming back up in the same broken state.

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RBS and NatWest FAIL downs services across UK

M Gale
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Again?

I've just recently been attending a lecture as part of the Mainframe Computing module, courtesy of a guy who I won't name here, but was actually quite good at giving presentations. He went into a little detail about the last RBS cock-up and how it happened.

Wonder if it's the same "let's outsource the work to someone on the other side of the world who'll do it for 50p/hour" reason as the last time? Apparently RBS started looking for more local talent after that.. how far have they gotten with that?

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Honk if the car in front is connected

M Gale
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Re: "check the status"?

"how about... tire pressure, engine and transmission oil levels, coolant levels, belt life remaining, etc... it would be nice to know my tires are outside optimal inflation range when i'm making my daily plan, so i can alot time to fix the issue and maybe diagnose why the status changed."

I'm sure that kind of tech could be hacked into a car right now with a bit of engineering skill and an Arduino or something. I don't know how it requires a complete drive-by-wire system to work properly though.

Bunch of sensors and a transmitter, surely?

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M Gale
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Coat

Re: Like Marvin

Don't tease me, bro?

Okay, I'm going.

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M Gale
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Re: Just my experience

"P.S.: I am also a commercial pilot and it's interesting how much of the approach to "managing" the flight is being adapted to the ground transportation arena."

I have to wonder what your opinion is of the fly-by-wire systems that can, have and will absolutely deny control to the pilot even when the computer is obviously sending you up the creek without a paddle? I think everyone and their dog has seen the Air France flight disappearing into the trees at the end of the runway because the dipshit onboard computer thought "oh.. I'm at a low altitude, I WILL LAND NOW." That's just the most prominent example, though I'm sure you know of enough others.

These things need a damned off switch.

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M Gale
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Re: Like Marvin

"Not all of them."

The vast majority of them, though there are some dual-carriageway A roads with motorway rules. Usually the ones marked as "A000(M)" on the map.

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M Gale
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Re: And when it all gets hacked...

"I'm not convinced how the system could ever be made secure, and even if there are new laws it it is going to be hard to prove who brought the motorway to a standstill by sending the fake message that they have just done an emergency stop."

Especially if it's some naughty sod who's buried a smartphone in the motorway embankment along with a 24v truck battery powerful enough to last for weeks.

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M Gale
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Re: Like Marvin

Yep.

It's called "a horn". And if he carries on, there is the inevitable and rather foolproof method of educating someone about the error of their ways, called the "multiple vehicle pile-up".

That said, motorways have three lanes. You could always just overtake.

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Bank whips out palm-recognition kit - and a severed hand won't work

M Gale
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I'm wondering what happens after an accident. Veins tend to re "draw" themselves, but not necessarily in the same way.

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M Gale
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Re: No real defence against live coercion ...

"There was a UL that entering your PIN backwards at an ATM did this - retrieved your money but alerted the police. AFAIK it is just that, a UL, but the principle is not beyond the bounds of possibility."

It might be false, but that's a damned good idea.

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M Gale
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So how do we subvert this system?

Well, there must be some hackers here with their devious thinking-caps on.

Personally, I'm thinking that as well as chopping the hand off, you find a blood bank and rob a bag or two. Doesn't need to be the same blood group. The blood won't coagulate in time to stop the reading.

Now, make sure your hand is at body temperature prior to placing it on the pad. Now, the main artery is plugged into a pump that pulses like a heartbeat. The pump sucks blood out of the bag, and the main vein is connected back to the bag so you don't end up with a huge pool of slippery claret on the floor.

Of course, rubber-hose cryptanalysis is also a viable attack, but that's just less fun to think up.

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M Gale
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Re: No real defence against live coercion ...

I used to work in a shop like that. The alarm system had two codes: A "disarm" code, and a "duress" code. The effect was apparently identical, except the duress code would (theoretically) result in flashing blue lights and sirens arriving minutes later.

Thankfully, never got a chance to test that one.

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Virgin Mobile coughs to choking its customers

M Gale
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Re: unlimited anything is a guaranteed fail...

The difference is that there is no finite reservoir of bits that's about to run out if everyone uses them up. This isn't like dragging a few kilowatts out of the mains grid and expecting the power station to stay fuelled forever.

The problem is, too many people seem to think that there is some kind of bit reservoir. There isn't. The only limit is the amount of data that can be transferred in any given time period. With sensible traffic management and by not oversubscribing your networks with endpoint connections that are way too high for the core network to cope with, then yes, unlimited usage of a mobile network connection is very possible. Three are managing it right now.

2mbit is a bit low, though.

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M Gale
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Re: Traffic Management in general

"160p HD works with roughly 250kb/s :-) so what are some people on about! Your eyes cant see much difference anyway! 1080p requires more 750 - 850kb/s."

160p "HD"? Whut? You sure that wasn't a typo of "720p"?

Anyway, let's assume 0.25 bits per pixel compressed video in 1080p.

1920*1080 = 2,073,600 pixels.

2,073,600 * 0.25 = 518,400, divided by 8 = 64,800 bytes per frame.

At 25 frames per second, that's 1,620,000 bytes per second. Quite a bit more than 850 kilobits. In fact several times as much. At 30fps it goes to 1,944,000 bytes per second, which doesn't really leave much of a budget out of that 2mbit/sec. None at all with a very large amount owing, actually. In fact you wouldn't get much change out of two megaBYTES per second.

Now remember that video streams are not regular, and tend to have keyframes every few seconds followed by a bunch of delta information showing how stuff has changed since the last keyframe. Suddenly, that 2mbit/sec limit seems a little... small.

Of course, not many people will play 1080p over a mobile phone... but some people have tablets, and some of us do like to tether, or plug our HDMI-port-enabled phones into TVs.

(edited because of a few schoolboy errors.. the real figures are even worse!)

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M Gale
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Re: Poor cap implementation

"Also, it took them far too long to be honest about it, and they are still lying by stating that their data is unlimited. It isn't, it is limited, by a speed cap."

Though when has "unlimited" ever meant "unlimited speed"?

I'll grant you the "unlimited" word has been truly abused by mobile ISPs, but as long as you can download as much stuff as the pipe is capable of without incurring extra fees or a cut-off.. then I'd happily call that unlimited. Unlimited use.

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M Gale
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Re: They are just a frustrating company

Well, Virgin do throttle their land-line broadband.. but only after you download a gigashitload all at once during peak hours, and only for the duration of the day.

Honestly, they're possibly the best land-line ISP out there. Just a shame the mobile offering seems a bit pants.

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Corporates! Bring in all-purpose filler for IT skills gap, thunders Steelie Neelie

M Gale
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Re: Same old

Pretty much. Hence my wish to expand my skillset to something not so easily outsourced. Not to mention I have a fair amount of warehouse and retail experience, so if someone's on a sickie and I don't have anything that desperately needs to be done that day, I can always offer myself to tip or load the 40 tonner that's just pulled up. Or maybe sit on the tills. Or perhaps do some customer service for a bit. A one-day £150-or-so refresher course later, and you now have an extra fork lift driver on your payroll. That's me.

Unfortunately, if you're working for a business that can outsource your job to India for 50p an hour.. you're screwed. Fortunately, it's not so easy to outsource "holy shit, we need someone in the warehouse right now". Even temp agencies can't do that as quickly as it'd take me to go from the office to the shop floor.

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Samsung's next smartphone to scroll by watching your eyes

M Gale
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Re: Yawn

Come now. I like to giggle at the iFlaw as much as anybody, but that antenna problem was fixed two iterations ago.

It's a little like some retard coming along and going "lol Linux, the one where you have to fuck about with some xorg.conf file before you can get out of DOS mode?!"

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US lawmaker blames bicycle breath for global warming gas

M Gale
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Re: Facepalm...

What? My car has 6 forward gears and sod all torque yet it'll happily cruise along in 6th at 30mph. If you're spending most of your time at 30 in 3rd, you need to make your way to the nearest naughty step and think about what you've done.

Not everyone has a 7 litre big-block engine under the hood. If it has 6 forward gears and comfortably cruises at 30mph in top gear, I can promise you it has a lot more than "sod all" torque.

30mph in top gear? Most cars in this country probably wouldn't make it up a 1:100 gradient like that. Think 1.3 litre Ford Fiesta. A friend's classic BMW M535 might make it like that, but that's three and a half litres of fun that sits on the spot making smoke from the tyres if you even think about twitching the accelerator too hard.

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