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* Posts by Greg J Preece

2288 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Chumps stump up $1 MEELLLION for watch that doesn't exist

Greg J Preece
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It's obscure reference time!

If you turn the bracelet around, does it project a countdown on your forearm...?

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Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit

Greg J Preece
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The opening article states there's no bounce in other operating systems, but Win 8.1 has gone from 0% to over 8% in a year, with Win8 only dipping by a single percent point. Wouldn't that indicate that the Windows 8 family is on the rise?

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MEN WANTED to satisfy town full of yearning BRAZILIAN HOTNESS

Greg J Preece
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Men are shit.

Men are shit.

Men are shit.

Men are shit.

Men are shit.

Hey men, wanna come live with us? Why not?

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

Greg J Preece
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What, every time??!!

Yes, Winston. Every time.

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Greg J Preece
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It wasn't meant to be a cliché factory either....

New rule: if you're going to constantly compare X government action to 1984 in the usual tiring Daily Mail way, you have to have read it first.

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The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?

Greg J Preece
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Re: platform independant hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha

That's what you do all the time with your PC. New gfx card this year, oh a new PSU because the last one wasn't meaty enough, oh more memory, oh new CPU is out so new mobo and...

Actually, it isn't. I can get PC components that will outclass console gear for not a lot of money, and sit on them for years at a time. Last PC was 7 years old when I ditched it, and that was because I moved. This new scratch-build didn't cost me all that much, and it can blitz anything currently on the market without blinking. I imagine I'll sit on this for quite some time too.

BUT

If I do decide that I want to upgrade a part of it, I can. And with a console?

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Greg J Preece
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Were you expecting that games would miraculously work for Linux overnight? Valve doesn't have a $make_linux_worky_time_now variable in their code, you know.

I find it interesting that we didn't have this same kind of FUD and blah-blah about it being completely pointless when the OSX version came out. Perhaps - and this is just my defective brain at work - more games will appear on Linux over the course of time? Most indie games I look at now seem to release for all three platforms.

I was in the Steam for Linux beta. Back then I had around 30 games available to play, mostly Valve. Now I have 130, so perhaps a better way of looking at it is that the number of available games for the platform has more than quadrupled since release. I'll bet money it's got more games available than any of the new consoles, but no-one calls them pointless for being new.

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What's in your toolbox? Why the browser wars are so last decade

Greg J Preece
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Re: Browser emulator

Eventually they condescendingly acceded to that... in version 24 I think?

Right, and before that downloads were in a separate window, which I thought was irritating so I installed a plugin that moved it to a tab. Still had full progress reporting though. I can't recall ever using a version of firefox that didn't show me download progress.

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Greg J Preece
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Re: Browser emulator

Development tools aside, we were told we couldn't get a download progress bar "because that belonged in a plug-in", yet the sorry shit's got Twatter, Farcebook, and ObscureSocialThingMeToo integration right in the core.

Sorry, what? This is Firefox? I'm in it right now and downloads are under an icon to the right of the URL bar, with progress displayed just fine. And I haven't seen Facebook or Twitter any time other than when I request them as URLs. What are you on about?

Incidentally, KDE Linux here also, as well as Win8.1 and OSX Lion. Never seen what you're talking about in any Firefox version. Personally, I just removed three more add-ons from Firefox because their functionality had been built into core, so the trend for me is in the opposite direction to what you describe.

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Americans to be guinea pigs in vast chip-and-PIN security experiment

Greg J Preece
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Re: Not such a big change

Er, this is the same with your basic debit card, the only difference is you swipe the stripe and then key in the pin. You can do this in the same 100s of places on the same terminal that could be compromised in the same way.

I've been tapping a lot recently, especially at the local 7-11. I have no idea what my tap limit is, but it seems to be ludicrously high - I put $200 through it a month ago and the reader just said "yep, sure" and processed the payment!

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Greg J Preece
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Re: PIN lengths here are variable... 4 digits is pathetic.

So what do you do when you travel outside of the enlightened Canada and are presented with a prompt for a 4 digit PIN? Will the first 4 digits work?

When I travel to the states and am lucky enough to get a chip machine, the longer pins work just fine. I believe the restriction is in the card, not the reader.

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Greg J Preece
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The part I never got with chip & pin was the 4-digit limit on PINs. Then I moved to Canada, and was both pleasantly surprised and frustrated to find that PIN lengths here are variable between 4 and 12 digits, according to user preference. I have a PIN at the higher end of that range as a result. 4 digits is pathetic.

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Microsoft throws old versions of Internet Explorer under the bus

Greg J Preece
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IE isn't a bad browser any more. It hasn't been in a long time. That comment about web devs hating IE9 in the article - I sure as shit didn't. It wasn't exactly bleeding edge but it was far superior to all of its predecessors. IE in Win8.1 is a perfectly fast, stable browser, burdened with the reputation of some versions ago.

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Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle

Greg J Preece
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Re: They need to step up their game

Sluggish is right. Remember that patch earlier this year that brought the U's boot time "under 30 seconds". Thirty bloody seconds? My PC boots in seven! What the hell was the boot time before that?

As one user put it when the patch was announced:

Well shoot, this is usually time I spend doing laundry. Or building a car. Or learning to speak a new language. Or creating a new color in the spectrum (I think I'll call it "tulra").

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Greg J Preece
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Re: They need to drop the gimmicks.

Quite the reverse. The Wii was a stroke of genius, it brought Nintendo a whole demographic that was more or less completely ignored by Sony and Microsoft.

The problem with focusing previously on the "party market" is that they're very fickle. Just ask the guys that made Guitar Hero. The Wii was a trend, not a console, and the U is a pretty crap follow-up to that if you're going to try and keep the momentum. It doesn't hit the price point, it doesn't have the right games, and Nintendo's attitude to online play is absolutely lousy.

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POW! Apple smites Macbook Air EFI firmware update borkage

Greg J Preece
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Re: Anecdote, anecdote, anecdote

The only oddity was that all of them kept presenting the update as available even after it had been installed.

That happens to me all the time on my Macbook Pro. The update will just reinstall itself over and over every time I run updates, if I let it.

Kudos to Apple for getting a fix out quickly (though I really wish they'd talk to people more before turning up whenever they feel like and handing down a fix from on high). Thing is: if Airs really were bricked by the previous update, how do they go about getting this one?

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ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

Greg J Preece
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Re: Another hitchhikers quote might have been more appropiate...

"Ever thought of going into advertising?"

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You are ALL Americans now: Europeans offered same rights as US folks in data slurp leaks

Greg J Preece
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Re: Noooo! Noooo! Run away! Save yourself!

I don't see Holder offering you a couple of seats in our Senate.

No legislation without representation, eh? Maybe it's time we broke away from the overlords across the Atlantic...

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Apple: We'll tailor Swift to be a fast new programming language

Greg J Preece
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Re: Just what the world needs

MS have gained traction with C# but that's really the stand-out counter-example in terms of a new "next best thing" language that has been adopted into the mainstream.

And let's be honest, while C# is a good language, that's also partly down to what came before it being so hideous.

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Apple's steamy OS XXX picture leak riddle: Blurry snaps deleted

Greg J Preece
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The look of the Dock has been modified to look a bit like iOS, whilst the whole design looks a bit more Flat, which was the name for the beefed-up design of iOS 7, for those who remember.

So will the iFans ever come close to admitting that super-trendy Apple are now taking design cues from Microsoft? Because they totally are.

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Still watching DVDs? You're a PLANET-KILLING CARBON HOG!

Greg J Preece
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Re: I do both

My wife has a Netflix subscription, but she uses it far more often than I do; I've seen their selection, and there's not a whole lot there I'm interested in

Which country are you viewing it from? Netflix's catalogue varies wildly by territory. Its anime section in the UK, last time I checked, was a whopping eight titles.

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Greg J Preece
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Re: All well and fine, but...

Of course, as always, YMMV

It certainly might. As a re-telling of Kelly's Heroes with somewhat blacker humour, I thought Three Kings was great. :-D

But the tunnel thing doesn't bother me so much. I guess I'm so used to jumping through hoops to get around region issues with any gaming service that isn't Steam or Origin. I have a second browser permanently set to talk to a local SOCKS proxy, and firing up that tunnel is the work of seconds when I need it.

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Greg J Preece
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Re: All well and fine, but...

Every streaming service I've tried do NOT provide subtitling for the feature, and some have no intetion to ever provide subtitling, hiding behind clauses such as "the licence holder prevents.."

Netflix *definitely* has this, at least in NA. Grab yourself an SSH tunnel and enjoy.

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Greg J Preece
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I do both

I've long been an advocate of disc ownership, because you can watch what you like, when you like, and no one can control it or take it from you. That said, I now also have streaming subscriptions, because now that I live in Canada and Netflix doesn't suck, it's totally worth it. (Plus, I have the obligatory US connection to get the "proper" versions of Netflix and Hulu, which are both awesome.)

Being able to check out series I've heard of on a whim, legally, instantly, and with a surprisingly good indexing system is great. The recommendation system might be useless but most of my recommendations come from friends. Hulu's anime section is unbelievably good for a free service, and Netflix is well worth the $8 a month I pay for it.

That said, I do still buy discs, in two cases:

1) Something isn't available on streaming.

2) The content in question is something I really enjoy and want to have permanently available, especially as blu-ray.

So the library on my shelf is becoming a list of favourites in the highest available quality, and general watching is done via Netflix or Hulu. Honestly, I don't actually know anyone in Vancouver that even watches traditional TV any more.

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Greg J Preece
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Re: So, how do I stream when

Turn those devices off, unplug everything and basically, get a life!

Said the man on the online forum.

Is this now an obligatory thing here? The old-man moaning post about how online interactions somehow aren't real, the world was better when I was a kid, sweets were half a farthing, etc, etc? It's getting as tedious as the Opera fanboys invading anything to do with browsers. (Though they've quietened down since it became a Chrome clone, harf harf.)

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Watch Dogs: Eat, sleep, hack, repeat

Greg J Preece
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I thought the optimisation was terrible, uPlay was its usual piece-of-shit self, the main storyline was garbage, and the hacking gameplay elements were pathetically shallow. Nice NPC AI though. Overall, thoroughly disappointed.

But then I've long since ignored El Reg opinions on games.

I guess I'm in a minority when I prefer the vehicle control scheme of Borderlands, which uses analogue input from the mouse to steer instead of digital input from the A and D keys.

Yeah, definitely in the minority there. I can get why you'd like analogue input for steering, but with the mouse? Halo on PC had that control scheme and it was bloody awful (but then Halo was bloody awful anyway).

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Microsoft throws Kinect under a bus, slashes Xbox One to $399

Greg J Preece
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Re: Popular commands...

Yes, but only to the extent that everything you do in Chrome is tracked. Or possibly less.

Have a guess why I don't use Chrome.

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Greg J Preece
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Re: Popular commands...

It's the same as when they were reporting how many enemies had been killed in games, how many combos had been done, etc. Microsoft's willingness to use these figures in their marketing demonstrates that everything you do on an Xbox 180 is tracked.

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Greg J Preece
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It really is the Xbox 180, isn't it?

Remember when Microsoft said this would never happen?

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/08/22/microsoft-xbox-one-will-never-come-without-kinect

So now we have two consoles at the same price, with the same general capabilities, but one is getting PS Now, wasn't locked down, has better games (though naturally that's subjective), and is more powerful to start with.

Making your product more like the PS4 to stop people buying the PS4 isn't gonna work, just like making your game more like Call of Duty to take down Call of Duty does jack shit.

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WTF is NET NEUTRALITY, anyway? And how can we make everything better?

Greg J Preece
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Neither did I, until they all responded to the article going "oh wow, Fluffle Puff!" ;-)

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Ninten-DON'T: Wii U bomb blows Mario Kart giant off track – but new console promised

Greg J Preece
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I realise that makes me sound cynical, but it's the truth.

No, it makes you sound like a fanboy.

"They're comparing the U's user experience to other consoles, those bastards! They should favourably compensate for the U's inferiority, but they don't, so it must be bribery."

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Top tip, power users – upgrading Ubuntu may knacker your Linux PC

Greg J Preece
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Worked OK here upgrading Kubuntu on my desktop. Given that the laptop is a tri-boot hybrid-partition bootloader mess (thanks, Apple!) I might hold off on doing that one for now...

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Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...

Greg J Preece
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Being a developer, I do organize my data, my folders and my disks. I know where I put things and I must be sure of what copy of a given program I am launching in order to properly interpret the results.

I'm also a developer, and my projects folders are meticulously organised. But am I going to click into a file explorer, then down through level after level to get to the right spot, or am I going to type a few letters of the filename and select the right version from the results? KDE will show me the version or path of what I'm about to hit, so it works pretty well.

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Greg J Preece
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Re: The fixation with 'serarch' for everything

Why search for everything? Because it fits well with a keyboard-centric way of working. Unity is pretty meh unless you're a keyboard freak, then it effortlessly outstrips everything else out there.

Amen. If your work is keyboard-intensive (I'm a programmer, myself) as opposed to mouse/tablet/other arty things, then quick-search is the very best. I used to be that guy that slavishly organised all his menus, back in the XP days, but since the advent of first KDE 4 and then Windows 7, I've started using quick-search for everything. Hit ALT+F2 or the Windows key (depending on system), type what I want, hit enter. All the programs I use that have different versions are tagged as such at installation, so it works really well for me. It's also why the Windows 8 Start Screen on my desktop and laptop doesn't even remotely bother me any more - if you're a keyboard user then it works pretty much identically to the Win7 menu, so who cares?

Horses for courses, naturally, but that's what's great about Linux. If the way Unity does something isn't for you, install something else.

Lastly, I definitely agree with the person above who said that a lot of small changes over time make a big difference. Even without comparing KDE 4.0 to its current state, I have to use XP from time to time, and going back to it now feels like using a dinosaur. I guess it depends how static your working methods are over time, but using XP now just pisses me off. Its reputation is far in excess of what it deserves.

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Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE

Greg J Preece
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Re: Still beats the alternaives

I started learning C# / .NET 4 in earnest recently so I can leap across to another project, and I quite like some of the stuff in there. The concepts behind the CLR, CTS, etc seem sound enough, and as an experiment I wrote an interface in Visual Studio to control an LED sign over a serial connection - 6 lines of code! Seemed pretty nice to me.

What about it drove you potty? Advance warning is always appreciated. ;-)

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Greg J Preece
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No idea at all, I'm afraid. I read a blog post or two that alluded to some security settings getting flipped in the bowels of the system, far beyond the GUI, and Fiddler being required to re-enable access, but the fix looked a little dodgy to me. Fortunately it seems to be OK now.

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Greg J Preece
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Re: Still beats the alternaives

endlessly installing iterations of C++ / C# / PERL libraries in polar fish-eating land.

.NET Framework never updates? You never get C++ runtime updates in Windows? That's news to me.

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Greg J Preece
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Sod's law that shortly after posting that, I started my laptop up to find that my TIFKAM apps have net access again. (Don't care what anyone says, I like some of the TIFKAM stuff.) Haven't got the most radical UI changes yet, but I now have close/minimise icons for Metro apps now, which is welcome. Couldn't care less about getting the Start Menu back to be honest.

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Greg J Preece
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I installed it on my laptop on release day, and the bugger killed all net access from TIFKAM. Still not been able to restore it, so I'm sure as shit not installing the update on my desktop.

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Rumour: Next Apple iThing to feature 65-inch screen. Four-limb multitouch, anyone?

Greg J Preece
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Wow, thank you, advertising guy! I had best run out and purchase this groundbreaking innovation immediately! With 32 point precise multitouch recognition, it's bound to be the product that makes my life worth living.

....You know, when you only register to make one post, and you do it with that username, and you copypasta advert-speak into the comment, you become a really obvious shill. 0/10, ask EA how it's done.

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Greg J Preece
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Hang on a sec. So Apple (according to rumour) want to make a 65" OLED, and make it multitouch, and add all their usual Apple proprietary nonsense to it, and their infamous markups?

I know that Cupertino like to make expensive kit, but...who the fuck would the target audience be? A TV like that is going to cost mega-money, even now. And I don't just mean Apple's usual 50% more expensive than the competition stance, I mean the point at which you could buy a nice car for less.

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BOYCOTT FIREFOX, rage gay devs as Mozilla appoints JavaScript daddy as CEO

Greg J Preece
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Wait, WHAT? You...you know that it's not supposed to support another vendor's pre-ratification prefix, right? Please tell me that you get the point of those prefixes.

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Greg J Preece
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Re: The witch hunt continues

the militant homosexual lobby

I wasn't aware it was possible for me to be militantly gay.

DROP AND GIVE ME A BACK RUB!

As for the "witch hunt" remark, you're coming dangerously close to IYLISMWDYGLT territory. Yes, everyone is free to their own opinion, which is what Catlin is expressing in a way that obligates no-one else. He's also not trying to do anything like legislate against his opponents - who I will refer to as the "militant homophobic lobby" just to be a twat - unlike Eich, who supported an effort to deny them equal rights.

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Greg J Preece
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I take it the down vote was by somebody who believes democracy shouldn't exist then, and everyone should somehow think the same as everything they personally think. Someone caught the dictator fever here?

Are you under the impression that a company is a democracy?

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Greg J Preece
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Re: right

so, if I happen to be opponent of gay marriage, it is OK for me to be discriminated against and prevented from taking up a role.

Did I get this right?

No, you didn't. He's got the role, so he's clearly not prevented from getting it. He has the right to his opinion, however idiotic, and others have the right to protest in response. That they are protesting is not discrimination, FFS - it's an opinion. Far as I can tell, they haven't been abusive, and they sure as shit haven't tried to enact legislation preventing him from having the same freedoms as everyone else. Mozilla are under no obligation to listen to them. For me, the best outcome would be for Eich to realise his previous mistake and apologise, but hey, I'm a dreamer.

Personally, I'm going to separate the CEO from the software. Just as a lot of my favourite bands are fronted by dicks, I'm absolutely certain there are arseholes working on some of the software I enjoy. Mozilla is not Eich, and it contains enough good people doing good things that I'm going to keep supporting the cause and using the tools that make my job easier.

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The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7

Greg J Preece
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Re: What the hell did they expect?

Well... the problem is STILL that Microsoft makes it difficult to use "legacy software" (read, software that isn't dumbed down for the tiled, "Metro" environment and the Microsoft store). That "start menu" is still dysfunctional.

I understand that some folk don't like Metro, but in my experience this claim simply isn't true. I can't think of a single item beyond Ext2Fsd that hasn't worked flawlessly when moving from Win7 to Win8, and even with the ext2 drivers I just had to run the installer in Windows 7 mode.

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Mozilla takes a page from Google with sync-friendly Firefox Accounts

Greg J Preece
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Mozilla has long offered Firefox Sync as a way for Firefox users to share their browser history, bookmarks, and recent tabs among several computers. But it was clunky, requiring users to explicitly pair each new device by generating a code on one machine and entering it into another.

Clunky? Push button in one browser, enter code into other, done. Oh yeah, it's a real nightmare to use.

And yeah, given that Firefox Sync is encrypted (and they give you the key as part of your master credentials), will the new one be?

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HARD ONES: Three new PC games that are BLOODY DIFFICULT

Greg J Preece
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Re: Less than generous respawn points ... rehashing whole swathes of levels again and again

Why not? Redo the level. If you can't beat it stop crying to your Mum that you can't. Man (or girl) up and actually get better at the game.

Gotta love digital tough guys.

Checkpoints in general piss me off - I'd rather just have a save button like we've had on PC for decades. But replaying an entire level over and over for the one beardy bugger near the end who knocks you into a pit? No, that's not "grrr I'm a tough guy", that's wasting your time. And this is coming from an arcade light-gun gamer!

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HOT AIR-FILLED Apple fanbois SHUNNED iPad 2 at Xmas

Greg J Preece
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Re: Motorola Atrix

The Atrix had a swipe scanner on the side. By placing the fingerprint sensor in the home button you use to wake up the phone, it doesn't require anything extra to get the added security (which isn't close to foolproof, but is probably more resistant to snoopy spouses than a PIN that can be shoulder surfed by anyone who spends much time with you)

Actually, the Atrix's scanner was at the top back, and doubled up as the power/lock button. So yes, Atrix did do this first.

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