* Posts by Pete 2

2390 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Register SPB hacks mull chopping off feet

Pete 2
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Converting to old fashioned units

If you do decide to keep the old, imperial units, could you at least stop converting to (or even bothering with) multiple decimal places. For example in the article, does it matter that the dude in question reached a speed of 586.92 km/hr or that 1,315kg is 2,899 pounds.

Although I appreciate a bit more than "in a pressurised rather heavy capsule", I doubt it matters to anyone reading whether the capsule's weight is given to 4 digits of accuracy when 1.3 tonnes (or tons, the difference is slight and immaterial - just please god: not metric tonnes) would tell us all we need to know. Though informing us what that is in olympic swimming pools-full of linguini is obviously a definite requirement.

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Skydiver Baumgartner's 120,000ft spacesuit leap delayed by bad wind

Pete 2
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First rule of spaceflight

> spacesuit leap delayed by bad wind

Don't fart in your spacesuit

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Amazon to buy its Seattle HQ from Paul Allen for over $1bn

Pete 2
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Just the start

Wait until the Amazonians see the "customers who bought office blocks also bought ... " list and start getting spammed daily with emails telling them about all the other office blocks they could buy, too.

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Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

Pete 2
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Diligently obeying the law

> legislation forcing the early closure of coal and oil-fired power stations

Somehow I can envisage the rest of the EU, while being subjected to the same laws and restrictions will somehow just give a good old gallic shrug and carry on as before. It does appear that, unique amongst the EU signatories, the UK politicians and civil servants have a view that these "laws" are absolute and immediate - and must be obeyed to the letter, irrespective of the consequences to the proles who ultimately get stiffed with the consequences.

While it's probably a good idea to reduce emissions where we can, it makes no sense to do so when we're plainly not in a position to fill the gap with alternate energy sources.

It may give some UK politicians an extra bit of swagger, when dealing with their european counterparts (who would still have their lights on), but rather than praising them for obeying the rules, we should be holding them to account for not seeing this coming and getting their arses into gear and do the jobs they are paid to do.

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The tips stop here: Starbucks to take Square Wallet payments

Pete 2
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Original uses for the accelerometer

> no tipping until 2013

Shame, I'd really like to see the Fivebucks shop assistant be slaved to the phone app. The further I tilt the phone, the greater the degree of tipping they are subject to. I wonder if it's possible to get one past 45° and still stay on their feet? I'd pay extra to see that

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Experts troll 'biggest security mag in the world' with DICKish submission

Pete 2
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How to tell a security specialist

> these security specialists are regularly spammed with requests to submit articles

Surely any self-respecting (or even slightly competent) security "specialist" would never do anything as naive as giving out a real email address to an online publication?

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BYOD cheers up staff, boosts productivity - and IT bosses hate it

Pete 2
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Re: Please Speak English

I claim no originality for it. Check out the Dilbert cartoons and books.

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Pete 2
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Re: I call shenanigans

Maybe she's not being productive per se. But at least she's not stopping other, actually useful, employees from working. It may be that the best you can hope for with some co-irkers is that the less they do, the less they screw up for others to fix.

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Google Wallet: Rub our button, cough 15p for quick read

Pete 2
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Re: Well, it worked for songs on iTunes

The big difference is that you listen to songs more than once.

There may, just, be a few websites that hosted material which was relevant enough and refreshed frequently enough that I'd be willing to pay 15p once as a subscription to access that content for a long time, across a whole raft of devices. But so far as stumping that much to access a single article on only one occasion? It would have to be a dam' good article: interesting, relevant, insightful - all the things that most web pages (El Reg excepted, 'natch!) couldn't even dream of being.

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'It is absolute b*ll*cks that contractors aren't committed'

Pete 2
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Alternate headline

Paid for study produces expected results

> The study ... was conducted by Monash University ... at the behest of Entity Solutions, a company that puts freelancers on its payroll ... for employers to hire them.

So a freelancer agency pays for a study and remarkably, it shows that freelancers are at least as good as permies. Who'd have thought it?

Of course contractors are just as committed. They're people, just like (most) permies are, too. Human nature doesn't change just because you switch employers every few months and get paid extra as a result. In fact it's often observed that the most enthusiastic staff are the new, fresh ones - keen to make an impression (esp. when they can be canned with zero notice) and please their new boss. Before the realisation sets in of just how big a numpty that new boss is, and how lacking in leadership, skill, talent and personality they are.

Though it's unclear whether the study tried or was even capable of distinguishing between "commitment" and motivation. It seems entirely reasonable that (lifestyle choices being equal) contractors who have decided to take their future in their own hands are more highly motivated than individuals who are happy to plow the same furrow for 5, 10 or 30 years - day in, day out.

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Thank Freeview for UK 4G by mid-2013 - NOT the iPhone 5 nor EE

Pete 2
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So: broadcasting == bad, streaming == good?

The bandwidth that was previously used to broadcast TV content to millions is now being sold for 4G use ... so that it can be used to stream TV (amongst other uses - minor uses?) to ... who, exactly?

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Ubuntu 12.10: More to Um Bongo Linux than Amazon ads

Pete 2
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Man in the muddle

> if you click the link and buy the item Ubuntu-maker Canonical gets a small percentage of the income,

That's all very well and I have no problem with someone making a bit of money for their efforts, but ...

How can this prevent someone downloading the "proper" Ubuntu <obligatory cutesy name omitted for reasons of professionalism> 12.10 and fixing it so that instead of using Canonical's referrals to Amazon it uses their own, instead?

Obviously the simply answer is to never download from anywhere except the approved repository and to always check the checksum matches the validated version. But I can see there is a lot of scope here for scammers to stick their oar into what has always been positioned as a Linux for the non-technical users who wouldn't be au fait with the reasons for taking these extra steps.

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'Replace crypto-couple Alice and Bob with Sita and Rama'

Pete 2
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Longer is better

We're told that long passwords are easier to forget better than short ones. And that longer crypto keys are better than short ones.

So it follows that Alice and Bob should be replaced with better, or at least longer, name. to promote this philosophy. I would suggest that in the spirit of pointless changes the following are adopted henceforth:

Anglithorpianositachinquate and Hatmaguptafratarinagarosterlous

and possibly Opfogjrbskfeepnepnkaseyoinnbretn for the interloper

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New I-hate-my-neighbour stickers to protect Brits' packages

Pete 2
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Re: Blocks of flats?

I foresee the ground floor flat getting an awful lot of post

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Pete 2
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PO's been doing this for years

> other delivery companies, with whom it is required to compete these days, already have the right to leave stuff with the house next door, while it has been bound to wait for the householder or keep the parcel at the post office for collection

I must say, round here this has been normal practice since the post orifice was invented. Posties always seem to leave anything larger than a letter either with a random neighbour (with or without a card through the door, depending on how hard it's raining) or at an undisclosed location around the property - including inside the wheelie-bin/recycling container of their choice. In that respect, they're no different from any of the couriers - except they tend not to toss it at the house from yards out, or from parcelfarce who play the same games of hide-and-seek.

Personally, I'm very pleased they do this, as the local PO office is only open from 9 - 1pm, which makes it impossible for Mon-Fri workers to pick up anything, until Saturday.

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Blazing new comet may OUTSHINE THE MOON in 2013

Pete 2
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Just another streetlight

Predicting the "spectacular-lessness" of comets, meteor showers, eclipses, transits (of the non-Ford variety) and planetary conjunctions is prone to hype. Not so much because of what the astronomers, in their enthusiasm, say but in the way the inexperienced media go completely doolally when they have something extra-terrestrial to report.

So yes, hopefully this comet will be bright. Hopefully if won't be obscured by clouds for months on end. Hopefully it won't be washed out by the full moon or by being too close to the sun in the sky. However, for the vast majority of people even the moon at its brightest has to compete with thousands of streetlights - all pouring wasted light into our skies and turning what should be a spectacular night-time view into a dull orange glow.

Luckily the Normans, in their conquest, didn't have to worry about such things or their tapestry wouldn't have featured a comet at all.

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Tech budgets in schools heading north again

Pete 2
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All the gear

... but no career.

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NZ bloke gets eel stuck up jacksie

Pete 2
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Hug an eel

Maybe the eel just wanted to be friends - that's a-moray

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Google, Microsoft butt heads in browser benchmark battle

Pete 2
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Re: Say goodbye to those advertising accounts

No kidding? there's no pulling the wool over your wotsit, is there?

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Pete 2
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Say goodbye to those advertising accounts

Note to El reg. Calling Google and Microsoft "butt heads" won't win you any favours, adverts, or help with your search rankings.

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Guardian's Robin Hood plan: Steal from everyone to give to us

Pete 2
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A radical new idea

I doubt it will catch on, but maybe - just maybe, if The Guardian and all its other "worthy" bedfellows started printing stuff that was interesting, popular, relevant, unbiased and informative then they'd be able to actually pay their way.

They possibly do produce one or two stories a year (between the lot of them: WMDs, expenses, etc.) that make their existence worthwhile. But not to the extent that they ALL deserve to be propped and subsidised by the whole country. Who do they think they are? the BBC?

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NYPD: iPhone thefts rising ten times rate of other crimes

Pete 2
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Acceptable losses?

> "thefts of Apple products increased this year as the theft of electronics by other manufacturers declined."

So does the number of "thefts" bear any relationship to the release of new models? Given that a phone is so easy to brick once nicked, as the reduction in thefts of "other manufacturers" goods indicates, you've got to wonder what's really going on.

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Brave copper single-handedly chases 'suspicious' Moon

Pete 2
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The real question is

... did the Moon call him a pleb?

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Made for each other: liquid nitrogen and 1,500 ping-pong balls

Pete 2
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Good training opportunity

... after all, someone has to clear up those PP balls

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Verizon CFO: 'Unlimited' data is just a word

Pete 2
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Malice in Blunderland

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

So Humpty Dumpty runs a mobile phone company now.

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Climate sceptic? You're probably a 'Birther', don't vaccinate your kids

Pete 2
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There's misinformation, lack of information and false information

> misinformation is particularly damaging if it concerns complex real-world issues ...

There's also the possibility that sometimes the general public is deliberately misled (WMDs, dodgy dossiers etc.) to gain acceptance for a policy. There's a wide range of circumstances where the information is considered "too hard" for ordinary people to understand - especially if they are victims of the british educational system - and has to be "simplified" for their poor little brains to comprehend, On top of that there's situations where information is conflicting and incomplete - that leads to religious and factional side-taking, based more on what people want to believe, rather than on actual information.

And finally there's "we simply don't know", which would be the mature response to conflicting/incomplete information, if only there wasn't so much benefit to be had from "proving" your side was right.

Climate change has far too much invested by both sides for any truth to ever come out. Simple observation tells me that the weather I experience in my little corner of the world is hotter/colder/wetter/drier than it used to be (depending when and over what period you care to form an opinion). However, the causes are far from clear and therefore any remediation that may, or may not, be necessary is impossible to propose as we don't have any hard information regarding the cause.

Our trick-cycling hack definitely falls into the "there's money & fame to be made here" and is positioning himself to exploit that. As such he's just adding to the overall noise without contributing anything useful: ignore.

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Sky ruled OK to hold broadcast licence without Murdoch at helm

Pete 2
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Watchdog - watches

> However Murdoch's son James ... was savaged was briefly sniffed by the watchdog ...

who lazily opened one eye, had a quick snuffle, farted and then went back to its slumbers.

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'People will give you their data if you don't do nobbish things with it!'

Pete 2
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Personal data is like naked photos

You might give some to people you trust, but really, you should know that sooner or later someone will leak them.

Companies may well start off with high ideals, principles and promises, but there's nothing enforcable to back these up and once given, personal information can't be withdrawn. So as soon as that naive, idealistic company that you once trusted goes bust and its assets are sold, or it gets taken over by a more successful, predatory outfit, all the assurances and guarantees become void. Just like your ex. going to the tabloids with those photos.

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'Stuff must be FREE, except when it's MINE! Yarr!' - top German pirate

Pete 2
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Re: Genuinely confused

Yes, that's where I cam across the concept. One sandwich shop I used to frequent sliced their ham so thin you could see through it. I presume the place was run by the sorts who believe in homeopathy - so the thinner the ham, the tastier it would be. Though the question then has to be asked: why didn't my ham sandwich have an overwhelming taste of tuna?

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Pete 2
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Genuinely confused

> describes Schramm as ... post-gender feminist

Okaaaaay, feminist I get, post-gender I sort-of understand - but both together? it sounds a bit like the conflicts you'd get with a "vegetarian" ham sandwich.

If this description was merely meant as a collection of right-on buzzwords to press the buttons of the terminally trendy ("I live on the internet" - good grief), I could see the point of it. Maybe she's just having a laugh at everyone's expense, but it's lost something in translation.

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Gigantic Roman bathtime-fun mosaic found under Turkish field

Pete 2
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Re: Umm wheres the IT Angle?

Dot matrix printer? No, but some of them look suspiciously like QR codes

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Pete 2
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There goes the neighbourhood

> The city held all the typical wonders of the ancient Roman world: temples, baths, markets

I wonder if the natives from that part of Turkey viewed the ubiquitous architecture of the roman empire in the same way that people today view the encroachment of "western" culture: McDonalds, shopping malls and multi-storey car-parks.

Did they welcome it as a civilising influence and added amenities, or just as more bloody commercialisation that was pushing out the local influences?

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Juries: The only reason ANYONE understands patent law AT ALL

Pete 2
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Behind closed doors

Juries always make their decisions (or choose which side they like best) behind closed doors - though in some countries they're allowed, or even urged, to blab about it afterwards. So the process is already shielded from scrutiny.

As well as these highly publicised patent trials (really? is a legal process the best way to adjudicate on a spat between two sets of geeks?), fraud trials come under criticism for exactly the same reasons - they're too complicated for the man on the Clapham omnibus to understand.

For both these sets of disputes, it does seem sensible for some sort of tribunal of experts to form a coherent opinion, rather than for the great unwashed to randomly spit out legal precedents. "Ordinary people" are great for "ordinary" crimes against the person: burglary, hitting people, etc. , but for plumbing the depths of arcane points of dubious laws, nothing beats the considered opinion of people who know what they're talking about.

Now, how to find 12 techies who can agree amongst themselves about *anything*

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UK.gov squatting on £1bn IPv4 motherlode

Pete 2
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The tip of the iceberg

This is hardly news - or newsworthy.

When you look at the list, it's plain that huge tracts of IP addresses were given to all and sundry when the internet was new, empty and ran on modems. Apart from the easily-kicked target of the british govt. there are loads of companies that are also sitting on /8's. Ford Motors, Eli Lilly (who?), the long-defunct DEC. Hell: even Apple have a slice of the pie.

If there's any policy worth pursuing here it would be a "use it or lose it" across the whole 32-bit address range. Not just picking on the usual suspects.

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'How I CRASHED my bank, stole PINs with a touch-tone phone'

Pete 2
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So, purely hypothetically ...

When I get a cold caller, who assures me his name is "Simon", what are the chances of sending the right tones/commands to his voice-recognition system such that his computer's mouse will rise up and strangle him?

I'm sure that whoever created these autodiallers and VR systems will have programmed in such a back-door (at least, just as soon as they became it's targets - maybe in the v1.1 release). I guess they're keeping that information to themselves.

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Reg hack uncovers perfect antidote to internet

Pete 2
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Re: Building regs!

Not just building regs that get ignored. Anti-smoking regs, tax regs, speeding regs - all get treated with the same degree of respect. There does appear to be a correlation between the length of time since a country was last under autocratic rule and it's native population's willingness to go by the rule book.

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HTML5 isn't Facebook's 'biggest mistake'

Pete 2
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" ... the IPO debacle."

For FB, the IPO certainly wasn't a "debacle" - unless they're forced to reimburse the people who did make a mistake and paid too much for the over-valued shares.

Even the "HTML5 mistake" isn't a showstopper. The crucial point about mistakes is not their making, but how soon you identify a cockup and how quickly you fix it. I've worked in organisations where everyone was frozen into inaction for fear of getting something wrong - nothing ever got done.

The only real mistake in the high-tech world is a repeated mistake, although shagging the MD's spouse might be a close second.

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New monkey species with massive blue arse found in Africa

Pete 2
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The hazards of monkey parties

> The blue perineum, buttocks and scrotum displayed by adult males

Good to know it's not just humans that take advantage of passed-out drunk partygoers.

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Yahoo! to! guzzle! £4.7bn! in! Alibaba! stake! sale! 'next! week!'

Pete 2
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Beware the Pac-Man

> If Yahoo! ... is doing that poorly, what are the odds that some other company will just buy it out?

One company that could be in a position to, and knows a bit about Yahoo is Alibaba! All they have to do is sit and wait for Yahoo's acquisition strategy to go badly and then jump in. The question that remains is: why would they want to?

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Apple: Thanks for the iPhone 5s, China, now get to the BACK of the queue

Pete 2
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And they wonder why piracy is rife?

> Chinese fanbois will now have to wait ... a week after that, or, as usual, months

So the country that churns out all these shiny new toys is unable to buy them, legitimately?

That does NOT sound like a particularly well thought-out policy, as all it would take for the chinese workers to "solve" the problem is to adopt a "one for you - one for me" attitude. Where most of the production does get shipped to the right place, but a few crates happen to get "lost", or don't appear on the computer's inventory.

What did LBJ say about "better to have you enemies inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in?"

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iPhone 5: skinny li'l fella with better display, camera, software

Pete 2
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Re: And?

> I cannot see a need to upgrade my 4S

Surely thre reason to upgrade is that now there's a new model out, the days of the "old" one will be strictly limited.

This does seem more like a X.1 release than being worthy of a whole 1 digit increment. I wonder if the reason for there being so little difference (a few percent here, a couple of millimetres there) is because Apple have run out of ideas, or because the iPhone is so near to perfection already?

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Who'll save the 100 most endangered species? Microsoft, apparently

Pete 2
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Best marketing ever!

> Microsoft ... to save the world's most endangered species (over edited for mischievous reasons)

So it comes down to "Buy Windows 8 or the Giant Panda gets it".

How can Apple respond to that?

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Viewsonic 22in Android 'tablet' hands-on review

Pete 2
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So, basically ...

> We believe the future will be display plus cloud"

... we're back to a thin client, for about the third time. Though this time it really is _thin_

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Broadband minister's fibre cabinet gripe snub sparks revolt

Pete 2
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Complaining is their greatest pleasure

Presumably the same (sorts of) people got used to streetlights, TV aerials and motor vehicles when they started to appear. They'll get used to broadband cabinets too.

To paraphrase Robert Kennedy: Twenty percent of the people will be against anything

Let 'em moan.

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Google's stats show few Android tablets in use

Pete 2
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The curse of the free

> Next: lack of USP.

That's exactly the reason (well, one of the reasons) why Linux never really grabbed the world by the nuts and dominated the desktop. Any app that becomes successful on a "free" platform will inevitably follow the money and be ported to the mass-appeal systems. However, apps, or real big-boys software, that becomes popular (i.e. profitable) on mainstream, proprietary systems like Windows or iOS have little incentive to dilute the brand, and increase the support overheads by releasing a version that only a small percentage of users will buy or download at zero cost on Linux or Android.

Unless there's some unique feature in Android that can't be ported or replicated on the majority platforms, there will never be a USP for it. However the unique features on closed platforms will ensure that some killer apps they can run will be impossible for the free systems to replicate.

But in reality Windows and Apple's real USP was their marketing, packaging and "it just works" integration. Things that the fragmented Linux and Android app. spaces can never achieve.

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It's time to burn the schedules and seize control of OUR TVs

Pete 2
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Re: Watching "live" by PAYG

> would rather it stuck to its remit ...

I certainly would. The problem with the remit is that since the Beeb get financed by government with our money, they have an obligation to show programmes that people want to watch, not ones that people should watch because it's good for them. Hence they will always have one eye on the ratings, in order to justify the billions that's dropped in their laps every year. But also, making popular programmes helps them fulfill their unofficial remit - which is sticking it to the commercial channels.

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Pete 2
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Watching "live" by PAYG

> The only thing is, ...

Yes, the gap is that there's no mechanism for a subscription service to take a payment from a viewer for a live programme and then pass that on to the government to bung to the BBC in lieu of having a TV licence. I also suspect that the very last thing the BBC wants is to have their income linked to ratings.

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Pete 2
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You can lead a viewer to VoD

... but you can't make them watch it.

ISTM there's a vast proportion of the TV audience (across all age groups) who's TV watching style is simply to vegetate in front of the goggle box and watch the least-worst programme on the 2 or 3 prime channels. Where "prime" is a movable feast depending on whether they're a habitual BBC watcher or an ITV fan.

For the rest of us, possibly the minority of the population - maybe even a small minority, the main feature of a PVR is to skip advertisements. If I had to give up every feature of mine, except for FF I wouldn't be that concerned. The explosion in new channels hasn't really increased the breadth of programming available - it's main function has been to increase the number of repeats and +1's thereby obviating the other main function of a PVR: to prevent missing a programme due to schedule clashes (though obviously, the abillity to watch stuff according to one's personal timetable is nice, but see above: re. vegetating).

If I had the choice, I'd dump broadcast TV in an instant (and the licence fee that goes with it). I'd much prefer an Amazon style of consumption where I paid the going rate for the programmes (ad-free 'natch) I like and received a set of suggestions of "other people who watched .... also liked ....". With a bit of forethought, that feature could even be automated by monitoring which programmes were watched from beginning to end, rather than cancelled mid-stream. Just so long as I don't get promotional on-screen inserts when I'd trying to watch the footy.

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Toothbrush fixes ISS’ stuck bolt

Pete 2
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Lack of tools?

C'mon guys, if you can't fix it with an angle grinder or a lump hammer it's time to abandon ship.

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