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* Posts by Intractable Potsherd

2350 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Smartphone and tablet displays: Reg readers weigh in

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: 5.5" phone screen

I recently had to use my old Nokia 5230 touchscreen phone that I keep in the car for the satnav (free maps and low battery drain) instead of my Galaxy Note (I'd left it in in the house whilst I popped out to the garage, not intending to need to go out). I had exactly the same thoughts as you, but the other way around - the tiny phone was just soooooo unwieldy. The buttons were hard to find and use, and it just didn't sit comfortably in my hand like the Note does.

This thing about "one-handed-use" in the article - is that really such a big thing? I certainly never use a phone one-handed, regardless of size. Firmly grip with one hand, press buttons with fingers on the other hand - sensible, no?

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Google's Euro antitrust offer: Fine! We'll link to our search rivals

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Will they also force... @JDX

I can sort of see where you are coming from, but that isn't happening in reality. Google aren't "buying al the showrooms", nor are they "preventing any builders buying new ones". At this moment in time, they have an excellent product that many people want to use. No-one else has yet produced a similarly efficient search tool with easy connection to lots of other useful tools (maps, calendars etc). If anyone did, they would no doubt announce it in relevant media (here, for instance), and lots of techies would go and look at it. If it was found to be good, people would report it on various blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Its credibility would go up, its Google (and other search engine) ranking would go up, and word would spread rapidly. Google is not preventing any of that happening - what we need is the next useful innovation, assuming there is one (some things are right and the only changes are incremental).

Not liking Google because they collect data on users (just like the majority of other big brands) should not cloud your judgement on the actual realities of the situation.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Another dodgy practice...

"Sure. Use startpage.com." Welllllllllll, no. I just had a look. I did a search for something I've been using recently - the top of the page has three clearly sponsored adverts for things tenuously linked to the search term.

I won't be swapping just yet.

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Guess who PC-slaying tablets are killing next? Keyboard biz Logitech

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Logitech's crap products are hurting sales

Agreed - I use a Logitech wireless setup on my desktop (what I actually wanted was a laptop-style keyboard to get rid of the mouse, but I couldn't find one) five or six years ago. The only niggle is the spacebar on the keyboard - it seems to have the microswitch positioned off-centre, and so it needs a good tap with the left-hand to make it work. I recently looked around to see what is on the market these days, and I was really disappointed with Logitech's quality. Even if they produced a trackpad/nipple-mouse keyboard, I doubt I'd buy it from them ...

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Student falsely IDed by Reddit as Boston bomber found dead

Intractable Potsherd
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If Sunil *was* dead before the date of the bombing, then the Reddit mob identified the wrong person ... a major discrediting of the whole effort either way.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: This is why …

However, the police (with some justification) and the court system (with some lesser justification) have become so untrustworthy in the minds of the masses that due process, Rule of Law, and presumption of innocence beyond all reasonable doubt are simply euphemisms for "cover-up" to many people. Allegations are all that is needed to ruin a life* - that isn't new, but the effect propagates more easily through the use of modern communications.

*I'm not referring to Sunil here - however, it could just as easily have been a total innocent that was fingered by the mob (literal meaning, not Mafia).

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Intractable Potsherd
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My thoughts go out to his family. Their statement is calm and loving, so unlike the usual vengeful outpourings we often hear. The world would be better with more people like them.

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Apple beats revenue estimates but margins are falling

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Plenty of cash...

Leaving aside the clear dig at Samsung, that its the price of success. Build something that makes money, and sometime else will produce something similar very quickly. Sometimes it will even be better (for certain values of "better").

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Ex-LulzSec bloke to spend a YEAR in the cooler for Sony hack

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: $600,000? Er....

It's always an imaginary figure plucked from the air and then doubled just to make things seem worse.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Actually, you are right - it *is* broken. Both situations you mention should be non-custodial sentences.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: This is a bad decision @BornToWin

It seems your opinion is out of step with most people here.

I have no sympathy with Sony. $600k is an amount their corporates could easily spend in white powder a year, so they lost nothing. They would have done better holding up their hands, doing the coporate equivalent of a wry shrug and saying "Well, we got pwned! It probably serves us right for the whole rootkit thing!" Their reputation would have gone up no end. But no, they have to be vindictive, and ensure that they are about as popular as fart in a space-suit for years to come.

Silly, but that is the world these lunatic corporations have created - no-one should be surprised when people kick back, and really the kickers should be supported by the rest of us.

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British bookworms deem Amazon 'evil'

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Tablets

I use the Aldiko reader on my Galaxy Note. I cannot get the screen dim enough to be comfortable. I have inverted the colours (black background, white text), but it is still too bright, especially when reading in the car down a dark lane* and don't want my night-vision ruined. My experience with other backlit screens is the same - there is a market for an app that will allow the screen to dim waaaay down.

* Not what you are all thinking! Marshalling on road rallies means waiting a long time in the dark sometimes.

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Boffins build ant-sized battery, claim it's tough enough to start a car

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Meh...

James, they wouldn't be using flaming torches - someone would have had to experiment with them, and that would have been a waste of time. Far better to just cower in the dark.

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Gov.uk named THE BEST THING Britain has made all year

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: WHAT. THE. FUCK.

I think I can tell what the next Steve Bong episode is going to include. The bloke wittering on about the GOV.UK even sounds like him ...

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Samsung vs Apple: which smartphone do Reg readers prefer?

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: What's on the market

Downvoted for not making sense. As far as I can tell, your friend changed all his Android kit (which Android PC was it he was using, exactly?) to splash a fortune on Apple kit because of Windows 8. Even allowing for a little latitude (lets assume that the PC had Win8 which he didn't like), why the wholesale switch to Apple, including Android kit that has nothing to do with Windows? Why didn't he install a different version of Windows? Why does he come across as a spoilt brat with more money than sense? Does he know anything about the tech he owns?

Nothing in your post actually makes the point you seem to think it does, so it isn't a documentary.

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Kobo strikes new match against Kindle: The Aura HD e-reader

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: 32GB of books?

For me it isn't the size of the card ot will take, but the fact that there is cpapcity for one so I can keep my books on the SD card, and not the reader itself. Factory resets have cost me lots of time and effort when annotations were lost.

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Google's 'power to switch off the lights in Europe' has 'chilling effect' - rivals

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: A point?

You are correct - there is a valid question to be answered about if Google are monopolistic. Lots of people have taken up postions that assume one side or the other. Certainly, if it can be objectively found that Google (or anyone else) is acting monopolistically, then it doesn't matter who the complainants are.

My particular point of view is that Google are not monopolistic, just ver successful, and cannot be compared with Microsoft in the desktop OS market. Going to a different search engine requires nothing more than typing in a url or clicking a link. It is easy, and requires no expenditure of time, money, or training. Breaking away from Microsoft to go to one of the other OSes requires all of those, and therefore does create an effective monopoly for many users.

Any search engine wanting a new market can use traditional advertising (TV, radio, newspapers), and word of mouth - every time I hear about a new search engine, I try it out. That's how I became a Google user in the first place, and found it better than the search method I had been using before, which involved using a metasearch aggregator to simultaneously (and slowly) do what Google did quickly and efficiently.

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Wales slams Amazon over lack of Kindle support

Intractable Potsherd
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@Norman Hartnell

My anger comes from the sheer inefficiency of supporting more languages than are really needed in the world, and resuscitating ones that are dying just beggars belief. We need to move towards fewer languages to improve communication, not more. (I have this argument with my wife, whose native language is even less useful than Welsh, but not often - have you ever tried telling a Czech that the country's founders would have been better off sticking with German* instead of forcibly re-introducing a language that few people other than the nationalist academics spoke?)

However, I am honest enough to admit to myself that part of it is that many of these zombie languages are a) politically motivated, and when it comes to Welsh especially I don't see any justification for it, and b) they are often totally lacking in aesthetic appeal (Czech is awful, and Welsh and the other Gaelic languages aren't much better). Someone else used the term "spittle-flecked", and it sums it up nicely for me - if a language sounds like you are hawking up a mouthful of spit, then I hear someone doing just that, and it is offensive to me.

*Remember the modern Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia derives from the Austro-Hungarian empire, and the official language was German until about 1922, so I'm not referring to WW2.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Consistency would be appreciated @ skelband

Yes, because Oscar Wilde was soooooo ignorant ...

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: The welsh lobby

The world needs fewer languages, not more. By all means have a dead language if you want it (and this applies to any minority language, not just Welsh), but don't expect it to be supported by anyone else. It was a bleak day for improved communication when the Welsh got road-signs in their dead language, and I was appalled that it is the same in the west of Scotland ...

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Movie review: Oblivion

Intractable Potsherd
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Woody Allen.

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Intractable Potsherd
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I've only seen the trailer, and couldn't see how it is different from "The Matrix" - strange things happen, people in life-support pods, and a black man wearing shades in a dark room promising to reveal the truth.

I'll probably go to see it, but only to tide me over until Iron Man 3, and then Star Trek.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: "Tom Cruise" - Hollywoods permier scientology creepozoid

I don't think the major problem is corporatisation of the industry - it is the fact that actors and directors have too much power. In fact, too often they are the same thing, or wearing one of those hats plus being the producer. This is, in my experience, almost always a bad start. A good movie is a team effort, and one person having more than one important role is usually a sign that the team is diluted. Another problem is that, somewhere along the line, film-makers forgot that we need to have some empathy with the characters if the movie is to work and have any lasting impression. No excellent movie has an entire cast of characters you don't actually give a flying toss about. Look at "Pulp Fiction", for instance, when all of the characters are actually really nasty pieces of work, but there is something to engage with, and compare it with, say, "Mission Impossible III".

Of my recent sci-fi viewing, "Moon" was quite good with some reasonable ideas, good acting, and a clear vision from the director; "Dredd" was fair, with excellent camera-work but too lacking in scope and characterisation; "Prometheus" is okay, but doesn't go far enough, and doesn't have a single character to empathise with (compare that with the real "Alien" franchise); and "Robot and Frank", which nearly got it right, though I had more empathy with the robot than any of the humans.

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Anons torn over naming 'n' shaming of 17yo's gang-rape suspects

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Rape IS a hard crime to prove... BULLSH*T! @Black Betty

The law in common law countries requires guilt to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. When the evidence is coming from one person, and being refuted by the other, there is always reasonable doubt. The truth is that, without further evidence, which, by the nature of the offence is going to be hard to find, it *should* be hard to prosecute a rapist if the rule of law means anything at all. Feminist jurisprudence cannot insist on a change to that principle for rape and other crimes againt women and claimat the same time that it has anything to do with equality.

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'You can keep it' - Brit's nicked laptop turns up on Iranians' sofa

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: They bought a stolen laptop.

As usual, the idiot legal positivists crawl out from beneath their stones, not giving a damn about facts or context. I suggest they try living under a *really* legal positivist regime, such as Sharia - the bleatings might change very quickly.

On the other hand, I've got some more examples of the complete lunacy of the legal positivist mindset for my students ...

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FAA: 'No, you CAN'T hijack a plane with an Android app'

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Every article ... @ Sonny Jim

"Still, the headline "Phone + expensive transmitter can be used to hack planes" doesn't have the same ring to it ..." But how does the headline "Phone + trivially-inexpensive-to-bad-guys transmitter can be used to hack planes" sound? "Expensive" is a function of many things, not just financial cost.

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Geolocation tech to save 60 Londoners from being run over next year

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: @Nuke - @Graham Marsden

You have hit the nail on the head. Up here around the land of "Jam, Jute and Journalism" there seem to be three types of driver - the ones that completely ignore the indicator stalk, the ones that use the indicator stalk as a "curry hook", and people that don't come from here originally - with the former in the majority. I don't know what the locals are taught, but it isn't the same Highway Code I know ... even (some) driving instructors omit the use of indicators!

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Remember Streetmap? It's suing Google in a UK court

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Plenty of competition out there

Thanks for the tip about fotpathmaps.com, but just visted it: got, "Sorry, we've run out of our allocation of data for today. The problem with a free service is we cannot afford to buy more data. Some tiles may appear blank.

Please try again later/tomorrow." It looks as if you may have Slashdotted the site!

I'll stick with Google Maps and the OS site, thanks.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: This is getting silly

I was a big Multimap fan - IIRC it also used to have OS mapping when the OS site was an absolute pain to use. I was seduced away to Google maps by the fact that it was better to use and had extra information - Streetview, I think, was the thing that weaned me away completely.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: I remember streetmap... @ J.G. Harston

"... Streetmap provide proper Ordnance Survey mapping ..." Yes, and if I want that level of information, I'll go to the OS website and find it. It isn't difficult, and allows me to have the two sites open at the same time for comparison.

The OS site used to be really poor unless you knew the grid ref, but now it is more friendly once you know roughly where you need to be. It could still do with some work, though.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: @JetSetJim - I remember streetmap...@ Graham Marsden again

I just saw your reply further down the page - I see you do favour the BBC solution ...

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: @JetSetJim - I remember streetmap... @ Graham Marsden

So Google should not give people the information they have searched for easily at the top of the page for reasons of ... well, what? What is your solution to this - that Google randomly select a map provider site to put in that position? If so, why? Or do you want Google to adopt the same sort of required statement as the BBC used to have regarding their publications - "Other map providers are available"?

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Researcher hacks aircraft controls with Android smartphone

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: This should make a point

What are the others? I've not seen one yet.

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Review: Kobo Arc Android tablet

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Unless I'm missing something:

No expansion means no sale to me. I want my books and notations on removable media.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Kobo has already been where the smart shoppers have ended up.

The usual copyright troll showed up, I see.

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Maggie Thatcher: The Iron Lady who saved us from drab Post Office mobes

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Prime time viewing

"... try not to celebrate and rejoice in the fact that another human being has died, regardless of what you think of that person..."

Why? I hated her when she was alive - I'm not a hypocrite like so many others to change my views just because she doesn't breathe any more. I will, however, not state my opinions regarding how she died for fear of being mderated off the board.

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Scottish SF master Iain M Banks reveals he has less than a year to live

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Bugger!

For those who haven't seen the link from the BBC website or elsewhere, you can leave messages for Iain at http://friends.banksophilia.com/guestbook/. There are some great ones already (though I only got to about page 15 this afternoon).

Let's hope this is one of those situations where the doctors have got it wrong - or that there is an SC vessel being diverted our way with an important mission.

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Animal Liberation drone surveillance plan draws fire

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Privacy? @ Robert Carnegie

Are you trying to funny? If so, it failed.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: "<group> with nothing to hide have nothing to fear"

I've been doing that for years. Good to have you aboard!

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Small farms

That makes it alright, then ...

Oh, wait ...

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Good on 'em @ Tom 7

"Check up on reports of people communicating with severed heads at executions if you dont believe me."

I don't, because there isn't a single reliable source of people "communicating with severed heads". All the ones I've seen fall into the homeopathy category of reliability

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Federal lawyers, MIT threatened following Aaron Swartz' death

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: They make... @AC

By your definition, anyone that fought for the end of the Soviet Union from within is a criminal that made bad life decisions. They should not have hated those that enforced the laws, because it was a distorted view of reality. They will hopefully be found, prosecuted, and shipped off to prison to live with other folks in serious denial.

In other words, you are a total moron who does not understand that laws can be bad, and even good laws can be applied badly by those with a vested interest in doing so. Those who do so should have a little "skin in the game" to keep them closer to "honest".

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Brits, Germans, French, Dutch, Spanish and Italians ALL to probe Google

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Country club for psychotic socialist control freaks

The benefits of the EU are not what you think they are. The EU for many years did exactly what it was supposed to do by ensuring that no single country can get so far ahead of its neighbours that war is a possibility. It also wrapped up the leaders of individual countries so closely that they fight through bureaucracy and diplomacy, rather than belligerance and military. It also made the governments of Europe have common economic enemies - the USA being the biggest at the beginning, China coming up on the rails.

The Euro fucked all this up, of course, because it didn't allow countries with weaker economies to do what was necessary to keep afloat. War in Europe is closer now than it has been since 1939.*

*Not that I'm expecting it to happen, but without the EU the instability in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Spain etc would be extremely worrisome ...

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: No one escapes the EU Inquisition...... @ Dan Paul

Dan, until you understand the differences between EU Regulations and EU Directives, you are unqualified to comment on this topic.

A Regulation is, in effect, the same as Federal law - it exists and is applicable in every state without any action required on the part of the government of each or any individual state. They are used very, very rarely.

A Directive sets out a set of priciples and goals that need to be addressed by every state. However, how these are addressed is up to each state. In essence, they set a minimum level of compliance in order to level the playing field for commerce. However, some countries (e.g. UK, Germany, Sweden) tend to take it as a minimum and then tack some extra on. Other countries (e.g. Italy, Spain, Greece, the newer member states) tend to treat them as a ceiling and try to do the bare minimum to comply.

And, until you actually know what "socialist" means, you aren't fit to speak at all ...

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Public cloud will grow when experienced IT folks DIE

Intractable Potsherd
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And " those [organisations] where regulation mandates it." They are going to be stuffed if there aren't people with proper skills to keep the servers up and running.

Of course, they can always lobby for the regulations to change ... backed up by the cloud-cuckoo merchants, of course!

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Wealthy London NIMBYs grit teeth, welcome 'ugly' fibre cabinets

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Which is a real problem if some pillock has parked their car on the kerb as well.

"... give the side mirror a good hard smack with something solid on the way past. I do."

Criminal damage for minor disadvantage? Such a nice person ...

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Printed electronics firm prints more money in quest for safer poultry

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Eh?

Okay, jake - apart from the fact you did something similar years ago, what is your point?

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After Leveson: The UK gets an Orwellian Ministry of Truth for real

Intractable Potsherd
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@ P. Lee

"So, let me get this straight, hysterical newspaper reporting is bad, but the state over-riding parental responsibility and forcing children to be injected with arbitrary substances is ok?"

Yes, hysterical newspaper reporting is bad.

No, the State overriding parental responsibility where it is unwarranted is not ok.

Yes, the State overriding parental responsibility when it comes to clear public health goals is okay.

Unless you are going to claim that we were better off with polio, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella etc, then you are clearly barking up the wrong tree.

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Intractable Potsherd
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Re: There sure as hell is a need for press regulation

Committing suicide is just about the most selfish thing a person can do.* This person proved Littlejohn correct - and is therefore stupid.

*My past career as a psychiatric nurse, and being someone who has been close to killing myself, give me the insight to say this.

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Torygraph and Currant Bun stand by to repel freeloaders

Intractable Potsherd
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Re: Er, that photo - fondleslab fees

I was going to pick up on that - why is there a bigger subscription for tablet users? I don't care - I don't have a tablet and I won't pay for a subscription to a news-service*, but it would be interesting to know why one method of reading downloaded material merits a significant price differential over another.

*I can't remember the last time I looked at any UK newspaper's website, or print edition, for that matter. Like many others, I get Private Eye every couple of weeks, read BBC and Al Jazeera websites for general news, and El Reg for most of the rest.

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