* Posts by Pete 2

2424 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

'Why don't you buy from foreign sites?' asks Commish, snapping on the gloves

Pete 2
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> 13% of people can comfortably understand foreign languages.

13% of people know about Google translate AND have the nous to find the same product described in their native language AND manage to get a decent price for inter-country delivery charges AND trust "foreign" postal / courier services.

Sounds like a pretty high percentage, to me.

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A Quid A Day for NOSH? Luxury!

Pete 2
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Re: True poverty still exists in the UK

> If you want to fix the world, then economics is the way to do it.

I would humbly suggest that economics describes the problem - though that is the crucial first step before it can possibly be fixed. In order to fix it, the world needs education (foremost for Guardian journalists opinion-scribblers).

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Cyanogen finds $80m in collecting tin after busking session

Pete 2
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Testing times

> The company will use the funding to recruit more developers and help build the alternative Android ecosystem.

And hopefully some (professional) testers, Q&A-ers and documenters, too.

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PIRATES and THIEVES to get Windows 10 as BOOTY

Pete 2
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Killing the competition

MS have finally realised that they were their own biggest competitor.

People didn't feel the need to upgrade from XP to something newer, as what they already had was good enough. This isn't so much a compliment to XP: that it's stood the text of time. It's more a criticism of everything that's come since as failing in innovation, backwards compatibility, or being too expensive in terms of what you got, and not providing anything sufficiently "must have" that people were willing - or able - to ditch it and invest in a newer product.

It's still unclear that W10 has addressed these failings. But I think we can expect MS to have built something into W10 to force its adopters out of their "bad" habits.

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Watching porn makes men BETTER in bed, say trick-cyclists

Pete 2
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Re: Data or hearsay?

> they should collect data by strapping cables to them connected to machines that go ping

And yet cosmologists and astrophysicists manage to collect volumes of science-standard quality data from other planets, stars and places they couldn't hope to visit (or attach wires to) by making observations and fitting them to their understanding and theoretical models - and then refining their knowledge and testing the predictions that result.

Maybe psychologists (or is it psychiatrists? who knows - who cares? ) could learn a thing or two from watching proper science as it's done by those who know how.

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Pete 2
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Data or hearsay?

From the article:

"were asked" ... "completed a "questionnaire that measures levels of sexual desire"" ... "rate their experience" ... "self-reported their level of sexual arousal"

So basically not a single objective, quantifiable, piece of information in the whole performance.

But, on balance can anyone substantiate the opposing view claim that "watching erotica makes men unable to respond sexually to ‘normal’ sexual situations".

It would seem that we - or rather: the trick cyclists - are still at the myths and legends level of their subject and have a long way to go before anything that a scientist would recognise as repeatable, verifiable data would appear in any pieces of research.

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Zuck: Get your FULLY EXPOSED BUTTOCKS off my Facebook

Pete 2
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Bum, beach-bum or *hole

> focusing in on fully exposed buttocks

Given that "arsehole" can describe both a part of the body and a person who displays ignorance, it's a shame that exposing a buttock isn't construed by FB as pointing out the failures or views of such a person.

There would then be much less need to unfriend or block peoples' posts.

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Attack of the Digital People: The BBC goes fully Bong

Pete 2
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Re: bbc + digital = fail

> It works with web browsers. You should try it.

Correction. It works occasionally with web browsers (I use, or used, this for Radio 2, straight off the website). However, it frequently drops the stream or halts with the message "this content is no longer available".

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Pete 2
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Omit the remit, dammit

> So expansive and vague is the BBC's current Royal Charter, that BeebWash would actually tick all its boxes (not only the "mission to inform, educate and entertain", obviously, but also "sustaining citizenship and civil society") and happily sit within the corporation's remit.

I have the sneaking suspicion that whoever wrote the BBC charter naturally assumed that the phrase " ... by making programmes and broadcasting them " was such a blindingly obvious limit to the scope of the British Broadcasting Corporation's charter that it simply did not need to be explicitly stated.

However, the BBC has always had a penchant for jumping on trendy bandwagons (sometimes even creating them, then jumping on). When it involves something that few of their "customers" understand, then it allows them to go into full patronising mode, too. As well as collecting "charter" brownie points to make up for all the crap they push out, which clearly has no (positive) charter content, at all.

But it is just that: a bandwagon. The BBC has many more influential ways to promote "digital" stuff. The most effective, cheapest and least popular with its management and programme makers would be to present "techies" in a positive light. Have someone on Eastenders who does more than argue in cliches with the other characters and (say) gives them advice on how to fix their PC, or load apps onto their phone, or scan for viruses. They could even have programmes (gasp!) that don't ghettoise "geeks" by either assuming a set of interests, being banished to obscure channels and times (e.g. Click), talking to people as if they were 8 years old and limiting each "segment" to a sound-bite friendly couple of minutes - with all the annoying electronic background music that is used to inform us that this is a technical subject, and the worn-old theme of a literal "journey" of discovery.

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BBC: We'll give FREE subpar-Raspberry-Pis to a million Brit schoolkids

Pete 2
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Re: why does every small computer get compared to the Raspberry Pi?

Because it wouldn't make sense to compare it to an olympic sized swimming pool or a double decker bus.

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Pete 2
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What can you do with a 74HC00?

> a springboard for more advanced products such as the Arduino

If an Arduino counts as "more advanced" than this jobbie, it's difficult to imagine just how basic this Micro-bit device will be.

[ Edit: though since you could make an S-R flip-flop out of a 7400, I think you'd already be bordering on the limit of understanding of most 11 y/o's ]

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Never escape the boss again: Salesforce tracks down your best people any time, any place

Pete 2
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An interesting proposition

> the intelligence will be added on as a paid-for upgrade

Please can we (the callers) have this, too?

Most of the time calling the "support" desk is a screening process to weed out those callers who aren't absolutely desperate to get help, assistance or support. The trial-by-patience means that while you are on hold you will either be flipping through the (badly worded, inaccurate and out-of-date) instruction manual, or searching out solutions on the web, or scanning through Amazon for an alternative product that will have different and hopefully not show-stopping faults. If you succeed in finding a fix of your own, then you ring-off before you get connected to the (non-flying) drone who's only suggestion, after taking all your personal details for the Nth time. is to "turn it off and on again".

If only there was a way of getting through to the "right sales or support staffer for a particular task no matter where they are". Something along the lines of "Press 1 if you're an idiot. Press 2 if you've already turned it off and on again. Press 3 if you think there's a race condition in the interrupt routine. Press 4 if you're prepared to pay £10 to get in front of the other 23 people in the queue and talk to our 1 single qualified techy RIGHT NOW".

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Super SSD tech: Fancy a bonkers 8TB all-flash PC?

Pete 2
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Re: 'ow do you do that, then?

> writing the same chunk of memory over and over is common

Quite so. And when the marketing people stick their oar in, "10 full drive writes/day for 5 years" sounds a whole lot more impressive than a single block life of less than 20,000 write operations.

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Pete 2
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'ow do you do that, then?

> Endurance of five years at 10 full drive writes/day

OK, I admit I needed my fingers and my toes to work this one out.

But 10 "full drive writes" per day seems to me to be 80TB of data.

A day contains 86,400 seconds. So to write 80TB (80,000 GB) in that number of seconds requires a write-rate of:

80,000 / 86400 or about 0.9 GByte/sec.

But the drive spec says it can write less than 560MB/sec.

</confused>

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£280k Kickstarter camera trigger campaign crashes and burns

Pete 2
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The evils of having too much money

This project seems to be an extension of a Sound Triggered Flash. This was a staple in hobbyist electronics magazines, going right back to the 1970's. It's popularity was that it only needed a handful of easily sourced components.

How can something so simple cost so much and go so wrong?

I suspect the answer is that the project creators fell foul of the problem of a lot of software (free as well as commercial) projects and tried to do too much, add too many features, make the thing too flexible and (ultimately) didn't really have much idea what their goal was. As more cash poured in from the "corrrr, that's so kewl!" brigade - desperate for a new toy that would probably only be used a few times before something even "kewler" grabbed what little attention they had - the project used that as an opportunity to extend, expand and "improve" the original project.

It's just a shame they hadn't heard of the Arduino - which seems to have all of the functions and features they wanted and can be made to do all the stuff they were after (possibly without a UI - but really .... what the hell is that all about?) - for a small fraction of the £300 £250 they were asking for a production Triggertrap.

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I, ROBOT ~ YOU, MORON. How else will automated news work?

Pete 2
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To inform or to entertain?

What do people want from their "news"?

If we watch TV news, it's pretty clear that the primary goal is simply to keep viewers watching. This is done by a combination of vivid (lurid?) images - sometimes inserted more for their shock value than to convey information (though in factual programmes almost NO information comes from the video stream: just turn away from the picture and you STILL get the whole, errr, "picture" - the same cannot be said for turning the sound off). And to keep viewers from switching over with promises of stories about loss (since fear of loss is probably the greatest motivator of all), hints about celebs and other small furry animals and SPORT. Just keep watching the boring stuff about bad things happening in far away countries, and we'll get to the juicy stuff ... after the break.

For newspapers, the intention seems to be to push a point of view (and also to get them to watch the advertisements). Since the article uses The Guardian's Comment is Free monicker (it's not BTW. It's very heavily censored, as any commentard who even suggests that their angry-women columnists might only be using a selected version of the facts) we can use their text as examples. The Gruaniad''s pieces appear to be (very carefully) crafted to encourage clickage, attract eyeballs and generally maximise advertisement revenue. They do this by putting their own political slant on their pieces - which one wouldn't really call "journalism".

If you want "information" from the news media, then the simple way is simply to skim the headlines. In most cases this tells you all that is known about a breaking story. The rest of the piece being merely guesswork, conjecture or a rehash of what people on twitter are saying about it. Google News does this very well - and it's so quick to use. It also seems that journo's are writing their stories to be GN friendly, with all the facts in the first sentence or 2.

Understanding and background can be found. But that usually requires the "expert" to arrive. So for depth regarding stories, one generally has to wait a day or two. But by then it's all been forgotten and the next set of 140-character news-bites has washed away any important but dull stores and we're back to cats playing with celebs (or what colour is a dress) again.

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NO ONE is making money from YouTube, even Google – report

Pete 2
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Kitty litter

> So what is the idiot-viewing platform actually for?

Cats and their lonely owners.

Am I the only person who habitually adds "-youtube" to their Google searches?

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Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Pete 2
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Re: A great little kit.

> I think this is a great kit for someone who just wants to get the end result achieved.

The difficulty is that it doesn't work.

I experienced a number of IO errors, all related to I²C communications, during the time I spent with the Kit. Dexter Industries Forum posts relating to the GrovePI+’s predecessor suggest this is not uncommon but at least can be caught and managed in the core Python code.

If the kit has a buggy I²C implementation (or the software running on the Pi does) then it's of little use to non-technical people who's abilities limit them to "plug and play" components. Not only would those people not be able to produce a working outcome, but they wouldn't have the skills to diagnose or fix the problems, themselves.

And for the more advanced user: would the time needed to work through or around those bugs, or to work within the limitations imposed by them, be worth the convenience of buying this kit - especially when there are debugged hardware alternatives with known quality software available from other sources? Or even (perish the thought) Arduino solutions that have a proven track record.

Maybe it would be better to wait for version 2.0

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How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

Pete 2
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On competence

One simple way for IT admin people to gauge their competence is this 2-stage process:

Tot up the number of *ckups you have fixed, avoided or alerted your employers to. Assign a realistic financial value to them - remembering to include fractional values where it wasn't just you who contributed to the fix (or fault). Subtract the value of the ones you have caused.

If the total amount saved is greater than the cost of them employing you (not just what you get paid, but the cost of your employment, including overheads) then voilà you can count yourself among those competent to do your job.

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The Interview? Kim Jong-Un, you really shouldn’t have bothered

Pete 2
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Cut! or hack?

> North Korea really didn’t need to go to the trouble of hacking Sony Pictures over The Interview

But they didn't! A far more likely possibility is that S.P. was hacked by film lovers in an attempt to stop them making any more dross like this.

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National Lottery website goes TITSUP again

Pete 2
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Winning at work

> “Why is it down all the time, get some proper staff,” said one

Maybe the "proper" staff won the lottery and b*ggrd off?

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Brightstar deal means Post Office mobile network could be a thing

Pete 2
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Stamp it out

> The Post Office is ramping up its plans to become a virtual mobile phone network

So it'll take 3 days for them to connect your call (or 2 weeks at christmas) - which might go to someone else if they can't reach the person you wanted to speak to. And then, if they fail to connect your incoming calls, you'll get a TXT saying you have to go to the Sorting Office to collect your voicemail?

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Doomsday Clock says 3 MINUTES to MIDNIGHT. Again

Pete 2
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Re: All those nukes...

> They're still out there.

In theory, yes.

However, it's 50 years since anyone's put a nuke on a rocket, lit the blue touchpaper and had a successful "boom" - rather than a <phut>, ooops or "oh crap it's heading back in our direction". That means that the last people who did it (assuming they were in their 20's and 30's) are now retired and the people they trained and passed on the "tricks of the trade" to are now getting on and have (presumably) passed on all the folklore to a new generation.

So would a system that was last end-to-end tested half a century ago, with all the subsequent innovation, upgrades, redesigns, changes and cost-cutting have any realistic chance of working? I can't see much hope for it - but I hope nobody reads this and decides to try it out.

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2015: The year of MAD TV science, but who can keep up?

Pete 2
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That sound you can hear ...

> TV technology was obvious a big talking point

.. is the world saying "Meh!".

Nobody cares about TV tech. Nobody, that is, apart from individuals who use the size of their equipment as a measure of, well, the size of their equipment and those locked in development labs producing ever-denser, more responsive, brighter, bigger, bendier displays - that will still be showing the same repeats (some in B&W, witness True Ents screening The Avengers, right back from 1965) that were not even new a generation ago.

Let's face it: we have enough TV. There's such a large back catalog that there is little need for anyone to make any more telly (apart from filling the gap left by expunging 1970's "non-persons" from ToTP repeats, and updating the few true science documentaries as better information becomes available) - as all the channels of 100% repeats show us, all too successfully with their ability to compete with the big-4 channels for audience share.

So if there's no need for more content, and we can easily satisfy the current generation and ones to come with the existing, already paid-for, known to be popular programmes - why would anyone need a bigger, better, bendier telly to watch it. It's not as if the medium has any affect on the message.

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Wizard of Oz OFFICIALLY 'most significant movie' EVER, says PNAS

Pete 2
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Facebookification

> what really sets a film apart is the number of times it's later referenced in other moving pictures.

So basically, all they are doing is counting the number of "likes" a movie gets from other film-makers.

And as for "a good measure of scientific citations", haven't the journals been counting and indexing citations since, well, forever? Though it may be that Google's indexing algorithm (giving more weight to references from well-referenced papers) is a better plan - rather than just tallying up the totals.

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SO. Which IS more important to humanity: Facebook, or Portugal?

Pete 2
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Keep looking in the mirror

It's very handy when you're backpedalling.

(and so far as FB's value goes, considering the massive number of "workers" - maybe "employees" would be a better word - who seem to spend all their time on it, shouldn't FB's global economic value be negative $227Bn?)

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Firefox 35 stamps out critical bugs

Pete 2
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newtabpage still borked

With older versions of FF (e.g. 31) when you opened a new tab you could configure the browser to show you a grid of "favourite" website thumbnails to click on. By default this was set to a 3x3 matrix - but could be changed to show more sites in more rows and/or columns, albeit with smaller thumbnails of each one.

In FF34 this feature was "improved" to fix the grid to 3x3, no matter what about:config parameter the user set. In FF35 Mozilla have applied their infinite wisdom and decided that users should want LARGE thumbnails, rather than to allow the users to choose smaller ones but more of them. So now it *is* possible to have more columns (maybe even more rows, too - but I don't have a screen large enough) but the size of each thumbnail is fixed, irrespective of the size or resolution of the screen I have.

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TERROR in SPACE: ISS 'NAUTS FLEE 'gas leak' to Russian module

Pete 2
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You can't get to there from here

> The station is split into two sectors: the Russian segment and the United States segment

So, which segment has access to the escape pod?

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

Pete 2
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Consumption is not the same as production

The basic fallacy behind comparing PC use to oil consumption is that the model IS fundamentally different; PCs were (are?) subject to the "law" of mass-production: the more things that are made, the cheaper they become. Whereas oil production - from whatever source - is subject to supply and demand: the more something is consumed, the higher it's price becomes.

Now it might be convenient, as a prop for the "Rise of the ManufRacturers" to assume that:

> There's simply no shortage at all of shales to exploit around the world

However, that statement is clearly bollocks. Even if there was a (practically, if not physically) infinite supply of fossil fuel there is still geopolitical issues that limits its distribution: someone can turn off the tap - just ask Mr. Putin. There is also the factor of what to do with the emissions from burning this stuff: even if climate change is "questionable" now, once a proportion of this "no shortage" oil shale disappears into our air it will alter that questionability and/or lead to air pollution of unacceptable levels.

We could also discuss the effect of transportation costs (oil, being sucked out of the ground is, essentially, free. But the cost of getting it to the end user is high. Whereas PCs have substantial production / software costs and transport adds little to that) on the different markets. Also that PCs are not in themselves a desirable "good" - they are merely a platform for the software we wish to run on them and unlike oil don't have any viable alternatives for their use.

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Preserve the concinnity of English, caterwauls American university

Pete 2
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Don't shoot the messenger

> but I have yet to see anyone write "she should'f been shot".

Ahhh, that's because the correct shortening is: "she shoulda been shot" <g>

The problem with should / would / could of is that id doesn't conjugate very well. You can mispronounce "should of" in the present tense but "should of had" makes no sense.

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Pete 2
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Liff's too short

My preference is to use words with the fewest least letters. So while a lot of obscure words do carry suitable meanings if there are shorter words (or abbreviations) that mean the same I try to use those, instead. Or as the list would suggest: avoid prolix wordy writing.

Of course, if we want to talk about excellent sources of words for describing common (or not so common) situations and feelings, Douglas Adam's "other" masterpiece has always been a good choice.

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Android users are massive wan … er … smut consumers

Pete 2
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Making a splash

> 11 videos viewed for every person on the planet

Remind me never, ever to buy a second-hand mobile device!

(or to borrow anyone's phone)

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It's 4K-ing big right now, but it's NOT going to save TV

Pete 2
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The 4K elephant in the room

Modern houses are small - modern flats are tiny.

While you can fit a normal sized HDTV in a room, once you get to the size of screen needed to gain any benefit from 4K: with double the number of pixels in each direction, there aren't that many places in yer average sitting room where you can put it. And if you want to sit at a comfortable viewing distance (which increases with screen size) - fewer still.

A 4-foot wide 55 inch telly dominates a modern living room. Given that you have one wall taken up with windows, an adjacent one with a door slapped somewhere near the middle and need to have your seats opposite the TV - there aren't that many layout options available. Put in a 60-incher and you find that the TV dominates the room. Go larger and the whole thing looks like a caricature. Stick with a 4K TV that's the same size as your existing HD kit and what have you gained for all the extra cost?

(and they still only show the same old crappy programmes)

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Norks: FBI's Sony Pictures' hacking allegations are 'groundless slander'

Pete 2
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truth or ...

> "Grave consequences" have been threatened by North Korea

Would one of those "consequences" be that if the US don't let NK in on the investigation, one of their film companies will get hacked?

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Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama

Pete 2
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Apple gets the pip

So since the BBC has "unmasked" Apple as not an ethical employer, should we expect all the trendy BBC staff to eschew their Macs, iPads and iPhones either as a matter of corporate policy or simply as individual choices made on humanitarian grounds?

Or is it more likely that there is a wide gap between the principles and standards promoted in an investigative entertainment programme and the reality of what should not get between right-on media luvvies and their status symbols.

Who fancies organising a mass iBurning outside Media City? It might even make the ITV news.

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UK air traffic bods deny they 'skimped' on IT investment after server mega-fail

Pete 2
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Re: Know it all politicians get a chance to gob off.

> Perhaps the politicians would like to have a go at running NATS?

TBF, early in its development I was asked if I would like to do some work at Swanwick - NERC (as it was known then). I spent a day with the management team and politely declined. Even then it seemed to be a shambolic mess and was regularly being slated in the computer press.

Having said that, the basic problem is one of capacity and efficiency. The closer you get to running any system at 100% of its capacity, the less margin you have to deal with unexpected events as there is less "slack" that can be taken up to lessen their impact. It's the same reason that busy motorways jam up due to minor RTAs. If you want a resilient motorway / airspace / factory that can quickly recover from downtime, breakdowns or jams you really shouldn't run it near to it's limit. However, if you do hold back a margin for error then you get accused of "waste". It's a lose-lose situation and the only remarkable thing is that there are so few cockups.

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EU VAT law could kill THOUSANDS of online businesses

Pete 2
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Re: This is entirely UNreasonable

> My wife sells knitting patterns on line. Global Turnover less than £2000.

So all that this rule will do is introduce large administrative overheads to EU based small businesses that sell to customers inside the EU.

The simple fix to this would be for small businesses within the EU simply to say "we will not sell or ship to addresses inside the EU". That still allows access to large proportion of the world - even a large proportion of the english-speaking world.

As a side-effect, it also reduces the EU's tax take - but we have to assume that the clever people who drafted this rule saw that coming and decided that was a desirable outcome </sarcasm>

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The future looks bright: Prepare to be dazzled by HDR telly tech

Pete 2
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Re: The fad now leaving from platform 4 ...

> the whole idea is that the TV would better represent the range of light levels we see around us in the real world.

The problem is that the human eye has quite a restricted range of acceptable intensity levels. Look at something bright and you're dazzled and can have after-images for several seconds. Look at something dim just afterwards and you can't see it in detail until your iris expands out to let in enough light. So HDR images that contain both very bright and dimly lit portions won't be seen very well as our eyes will adapt quickly.

Once your TV picture has a dynamic range that exceeds that of our eyes, without them dilating all the excess DR is wasted. Current TVs are already able to display an image that is too bright to allow our eyes to see both the bright portions and the dim ones simultaneously.

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Pete 2
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The fad now leaving from platform 4 ...

> any improvement in brightness and contrast is easier to appreciate

Groan,

Except that most people watch their TV in a well lit room. So whatever black level the TV is capable of, under laboratory conditions, is completely negated by the reflections (direct or indirect) from the high-gloss screens. Even matt screens reflect some light - or you wouldn't be able to see them when the OLED or backlight was off. So trying to convince people that brightness / contrast is some wizzy new wonder-technology is flawed right from the start.

It's made even more pointless by the crap content of the programmes on offer, too. Apart from most of them being repeats made anytime between yesterday and 1970, does it really matter if a news broadcast, football match, comedy or documentary can split the difference between 1-bit of brightness - or not? The content is still the same, the score won't change and the laughs will (or won't) be just as good. Most people watch TV for the content, not the delivery. So maybe the route to more TV uptake is to start making better programmes?

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The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

Pete 2
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How about ...

> Imagine the Revolution¹ guys being able to react to the 4p porridge story and getting something out on the day

Here's a better idea: Imagine the BBC guys being able to research the 4p porridge story [ whatever that is/was ] and getting an authoritative, credible, accurate and structured story out, assuming the story had relevance to the TV audience

Then the channel might actually be worth watching and could support a viewership that made its funding cost effective.

[1] what or whoever TF they are.

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Satyam Computing Services founder jailed over $1.4 BILLION fraud

Pete 2
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Crims today - no forward thinking.

Personally, if I was ever to defraud a company of $1.4 Bil, I'd make sure I kept enough cash squirreled away to buy the best lawyers, accountants and judges possible to keep me out of jail if the dastardly deed was ever discovered.

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'I don't NEED to pay' to watch football, thunders EU digi-czar

Pete 2
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> Europe’s new digital chief’s passion for ending geo-blocking has been explained: he’s missing out on his beloved Estonian football. ... I find it’s blocked, blocked, blocked!

Well, yes. That's the thing about other countries. Why does he assume that doing this is "stealing", when he reckons that paying his (Estonian) licence / taxes should entitle him to watch the programmes he wants to?

BTW, there are more ways than setting up a VPN.

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Buy Your Own Device: No more shiny-shiny work mobe for you

Pete 2
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Quids pro me

> it costs companies over £30 a month to maintain an employee’s phone

So could one reasonably expect (say) £25 a month for relieving the company of this expensive burden and using my own phone?

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This Christmas, demand the right to a silent night

Pete 2
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More for the spam filter

> I found an angry set of demands for my time and attention. Nothing serious, certainly nothing that could qualify as an emergency

Sounds like you have some more people to cut ties with. Either can them or throw together an autoresponder that says: "Have you tried switching it off and on again?".

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MP caught playing Candy Crush at committee meeting: I'll ‘try’ not to do it again

Pete 2
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> What do they play when their in a COBRA meeting

Snakes and Ladders?

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Pete 2
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Re: Actions speak loader than words

> you never had to attend meetings where some parts had nothing to do with your work

Yup, frequently

> You never sat doodling or planning your dinner until it was your turn to present something?

I've never shown open disrespect for the people who *are* presenting or engaging in those parts of the meeting. ISTM you can either play little games (or as happens more often in my world: log onto the servers and spend the time futzing about, doing "work") or you can expand your sphere of knowledge or you can simply "sleep with your eyes open".

But since most of the meetings I attend that aren't relevant to me, are at the behest of the people who are paying my consultancy rates, I feel I owe it to them to at least feign interest and project a professional image of my employers.

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Pete 2
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Actions speak loader than words

> “It was a long meeting on pension reforms, which is an important issue that I take very seriously,”

Not as seriously, it would appear, as moving little shapes around on an electronic toy. I'm torn between being annoyed at his lack of responsibility or being relieved that at least while he's wasting his days playing inconsequential little games, he's not doing what most politicians do: devising bad laws that neither achieve their intended purpose nor are tight enough to stop their loopholes being exploited.

Maybe we should encourage all Home Office staff to stop devising new regulations and spend all their time playing Candy Crush instead. That way we might just get to retain a modicum of our civil liberties?

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CIOs: Want to get onto the Board? Just 'running' IT isn't enough

Pete 2
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Director of gubbins

The role of the directors is twofold.

First, to have a plan for the future of the business (which could include fixing any existing problems) and to be able to communicate that plan to the senior managers who's job it is to execute the plan. Directors aren't the "do-ers", they express a wish and others are resonsible for carrying it out. If you ever see a director of IT doing a technical job, something has gone terribly wrong.

Second, to be responsible both to the shareholders and the law for the operations of the company. As it turns out, large companies have many IT related legal obligations (security and protection of data being just one). However, it's not the job of an IT director to specify the "how" - that's too low-level - they specify the "what" and leave the "how" up to the minions, but with final say over all and any proposed solutions.

As such, it makes complete sense for an IT director to be only partially IT-savvy. Just as you don't expect a Network Manager to know about the header fields in an Ethernet packet. An IT director needs to work at the "block" level of infrastructure: a computer centre here, a D.R. site there. And to be aware of which directions the industry is moving in, in order to increase the IT value to the company: do we stick with our own operations, or do we outsource? do we put everything in the cloud?

However, since practically everything in a commercial organisation is money-driven, it's not unreasonable for an IT director to be better at doing spreadsheets than installing Linux.

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Boffins unearth the ultimate antique art - 500,000 years old

Pete 2
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Join the dots

A series of connected straight lines?

Not so much art as a diagram. Maybe this isn't the earliest form of art, but the earliest form of a diagram. Homo erectus could have been an engineer.

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