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* Posts by Pete 2

2313 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

BBC iPlayer to require TV licence

Pete 2
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How will they catch people?

It's difficult to see who is the "criminal" here. If I was suitably fondled-up and lent my slab to "a friend" who happened not to have a TV licence, am I at fault? If so, then by extension does that mean the friend wouldn't be allowed round to my house to watch my TV, too? If it's their fault, then any licence-less passer-by who happens to look over the shoulder of a slab-watcher becomes a crim? Or (worse) does the mere act of owning a mobile-content capable device, but no TV licence, now make you a suspect - irrespective of if you ever wanted to watch mobile TV.

Either way, given that a lot of iplayer content is watched on the hoof, will we have to have iplayer-police stationed on every street corner, checking the credentials of anyone who happens to be staring at their mobile device while going about their business.

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ASUS: 'We run out of hard disks at the end of the month'

Pete 2
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Is this when SSDs take over?

With the end-user price of HDDs getting close to double what it was a couple of weeks ago, presumably a lot more people are viewing SSDs more favourably. Whether for cost reasons or simply 'cos HD lead-times are increasing (as will SSDs as demand ramps up).

Hopefully the increased demand for SSDs will drop the price as more suppliers increase production - or accelerate their plans for expansion - which will make them even more attractive, and HDs less so.

So when the HD makers do get round to drying out their factories, they could find that a lot of their lower-end devices have lost the market and that the only people wanting HDs in the future will be after the BIGGUNS: 1TB and up - even though it's a hard task to fill one of those puppies, unless you have an impressively sized "video" collection.

Although people scoff at small HDs it could be that they find the sizes of SSDs are more than adequate for their lappies, fondlies and desktops and when they get used to the speed of SSDs they'll be unwilling to go back to "slow old" spinning storage.

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Boss leaves robot in charge of office

Pete 2
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What's robots for the goose are robots for the gander

> after buying the robot ... he could use it to spend time with his wife in New York,

Presuming of course that his wife doesn't buy a robot to take his place.

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We like zombies… because we are zombies

Pete 2
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Alternatively ...

And here was me thinking that all of todays fashionable monsters (vampires, zombies, ghosts, ghouls and all the other various forms of the undead) were simply the result of needing a form of non-specific baddie that didn't offend any particular race, religion, gender, physical or mental disability group. But most of all were cheap and quick to slap together, didn't qualify for the extra pay of spoken parts, needed next to no theatrical skills nor any special film set adaptations as THEY'RE JUST ACTORS IN RAGS AND MAKEUP.

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‘Want to be more secure? Don’t be stupid’ redux

Pete 2
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IT needs to get away from quick wins

> someone administering security to actually keep their job

It's not down to the "someone" to ensure this happens. It's down to whoever controls that "someone"'s work schedule. The person who says to the project manager "No, we can't build your test environments this week, we have pressing security updates that MUST be installed". Or who says to the CFO "Cutting the headcount is not an option as we then can't keep our security measures up to date in a timely manner."

The point being that too many non-IT people are allowed to put too much pressure on the "someone" to do IMMEDIATE work rather than IMPORTANT work for their narrow goals. Once you can resolve that conflict there is the possibility that "someone" will be able to keep their IT security tight. Though there's nothing they can do to prevent all the other security lapses in the organisation

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Job-seeking university bods panic over incriminating online info

Pete 2
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Simple solution

Change your name.

on a not unrelated point:

> ... redirection of all their important post to their current ...

Roughly translates as "didn't want the debt collectors / psycho ex-partners to know where they lived now.

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BT gets 14 days to block Newzbin2

Pete 2
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Spycatcher

> Websites and IP addresses will become unreachable for the first time in the UK for copyright reasons.

There have been other sites blocked from the tender eyes of UK surfers for other reasons. ISTR the New York Times (or somesuch) was blocked so that we couldn't read all the secret information that the above book revealed - although it was perfectly alright for the rest of the world to know it. I also seem to recall that the workarounds to let people read the blocked content were published and widely circulated within hours of the measures coming into effect.

I am in little doubt that this judgment will be enforced with the same level of efficacy.

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Tweens would miss web and mobes more than TV

Pete 2
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Not just children

I'd never move to a location that didn't have an internet service (mobile signal? Hmmm, that's a tricky one), but I'd move to a TV dead zone in an instance - and save the licence fee into the bargain.

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Web czar: 'Drag your nan online'

Pete 2
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When the clocks change ?

> help the ... in the free hour when the clocks change.

So we're supposed to get them out of bed at 02:00 and teach them how to use Google?

Apart from them still being asleep - and just incorporating the whole miserable experience into a bad dream, it's more than likely that a lot of the people being targeted here have no desire whatsoever to use the internet. Despite what the celebrity zealots may want to beliieve.

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Top general warns of cyberspy menace to UK biz

Pete 2
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Old problem, new look

Industrial espionage is as old as, well, industry. The fact that a lot of it is now done via the internet instead of the old-fashioned way doesn't make this a brand new threat (or one that could be countered simply by improving internet security). If companies tightened up their electronic systems that would provide some benefit - but isn't it likely that the baddies would just go back to their old ways: bribing employees, blackmailing staff, sneaking in dressed as cleaners or just employing some disaffected brainiacs who carry all the relevant knowledge in their heads?

Anyhow, stealing other peoples' secrets is a two-way affair. It would surprise no-one to discover that british (or any other country's) firms were also engaging in such pursuits and reaping the benefits of their work, too.

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Linehan turns IT Crowd off but NOT on again

Pete 2
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Re: Overblown sense of entitlement, much?

Au contraire

I watched an episode once and didn't care for it - though I appreciate other people do like it. My beef is not with that particular show coming to an end - I don't care one way or another. It just bugs me that writers like this can turn away work that affects not only themselves, but fans, actors and all the other people involved in making the show. Even stranger, that the production company doesn't just say "OK, cheerio then. *Ding* will the next writer please assume the position and carry on where the last one *(what was his name?) left off."

Apropos creativity: Hmmm, *if* each episode was new, original, thoughtful and/or funny I may well have become a fan. As it is, there didn't seem like much creativity needed, just the ability to knock out a screenplay at roughly one page per minute of run-time. The guy's not exactly Douglas Adams, is he?

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Pete 2
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Sounds more like a hobby than a job

> I just wasn't looking forward to it the way I used to.

Oh the poor dear, diddums! Having to work on things he doesn't want to. It must be such an imposition to get paid for doing things you "have run out of enthusiasm" for. If the show is still making money and people are prepared to finance future series, anyone with any professional integrity would feel honour bound to give it their best shot, not say "but I'm bored .... I wanna do something else" <sound of rattle being banged on high-chair's tray>

That does seem to be an issue with the television industry and particularly british TV production. The creative types don't seem to have the discipline to approach things as if they were a job: do work, get paid. Instead, it all seems to have to be "fun".

Bloody artists.

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Too much information

Pete 2
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Raise the drawbridge, get stuff done!

The best way to deal with email is to ignore it.

Maybe read the ones from your boss, provided they weren't sent to everyone (and your boss's boss with the same proviso). Apart from that, if it's important the emailer will phone you, or come to see you to ask why you never pick up your voicemail - which brings me on to the next stage.

There are only two times of the day to read email: soon after you've got in (and had your beverage du matin) and some point shortly after lunch. Never, ever open your email within an hour of knocking-off time or you may be staying at the orifice later than you expected. It's been my observation that people who are continually glued to their email don't really have anything better to do with their days - and spend most of them sending emails to others in the same situation. Don't get drawn in to this sticky web.

Unless your job description specifically says that you are employed to deal with emailed inquiries it's a reasonable bet that most of anything you get from outside your chain of command is either irrelevant or asking you to do something that you won't get recognition (or a cost code) for. So you'll end up doing someone else's job but on your own time.

So far as sending email goes: don't. The only two reasons for emailing someone is as a CYA or to avoid phoning them. If you email someone, they're quite likely to reply. If they reply, they'll almost certainly require you to do some extra work that is not in your interest or immediate set of goals.

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Can the iPad save newspapers?

Pete 2
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Felt tip marker and a bottle of tippex?

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Pete 2
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Can't go soon enough

Hopefully when physical newspapers do die, their political clout will die with them. While the online "name" will still provide an outlet for foreign owners to rant on about how they think our country should be run, a little iPad screen doesn't have anything like the gravitas of a broadsheet.

Plus, you can't swat flies with a fondleslab. (Is there an app for that?)

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Groupon IPO could be as soon as Monday

Pete 2
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Groupon is as Groupon does

So will they offer their shares at a discount if lots of people organise to buy them together?

Or is that sort of thing reserved for products that nobody really wants .... errr ...

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BSkyB earns more dosh out of fewer new punters

Pete 2
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Good plan

> greater average number of products taken by our customers

Show crappier programmes and more repeats on the basic package. Put all the "good"[1] content on the premium services. Persuade people that they really should be paying to watch BBC and ITV in HD - instead of getting it for free via terrestrial broadcasts. Finally push 3D TV like it's going out of fashion .... oh hang on, it is.

[1] Here "good" means slightly less awful, with not quite so many repeats

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Connected TV watched in 42m homes

Pete 2
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This is what happened to "Linux on the desktop"

It became Linux on the TV.

You have a box at home. Connected to it is a screen, internet connection, plug-in external storage and a plug-in disk (or disc) reader. It contains an operating system and takes forever (OK, 15 seconds - about as long as a valve'd TV, plus ca change!) to start up. If you like you can download patches and upgrades for it.

So what is it? It says "TV" on the box, but nmap -O reports it's running Linux 2.6.X

Maybe we should stop worrying too much about labels and realise that very soon the house TV will be capable of hosting your word-processing apps, maybe even talking to a printer and giving you video Skype when you least expect it. Then, if things go according to plan your granny's worst nightmare can at last come true: that since she can see the presenters on TV programmes, they'll be able to see her, too.

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US military debated hacking Libyan air defenses

Pete 2
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Re: Failing?

> You mean they couldn't hack the systems they sold ka-daffy-duck all those years ago????

Maybe those sneaky Libyans went and changed the root password - who'd a'thought?

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Pete 2
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Alternative alternative

... or to say "we thought about it but decided not to" after trying, but failing.

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Survey: '4 million' Brits stung by ID theft

Pete 2
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Not really a crime

If ID theft is such a big concern that the cops need to spend a week trying to prevent it, why won't they ever issue a crime number when you try to report it? Shrugging their metaphorical shoulders and fobbing you off with the line that you should report it to your bank instead.

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If the name’s not on the whitelist it can’t come in

Pete 2
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Companies have implicit whitelists

Since this is about corporate behaviour, not home users, the whole thing about users downloading stuff onto the company's machines should be moot. Users simply shouldn't be installing anything and anything that does get installed should come by way of the IT dept (isn't that one of their primary functions? or am I being old-fashioned?) and be on their list of approved applications and be sourced from themselves and ONLY from them.

So for companies, they already have a list of apps they are happy for users to use. Ones they can support, that they know will play nice with the other apps and that have been properly acquired through a legal channel.

Again, we're not talking about home users here so "drive-by download sites" simply should not be an issue (and aren't that hard for the compliance people to spot - you DO scan machines for unlicensed softs, don't you?). So I'd expect that any company that is doing their IT even half-right already operates a white-list, although they probably don't call it that. Not after the political officer has had a word, anyway.

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WHSmith launches e-book reader rivals to Amazon Kindle

Pete 2
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Tiny, tiny, tiny screen

Take a sheet of A4 and fold it in half twice - so it's down to A6 size. The 6-inch screen on this thing is smaller than that! It's basically the size of a a Post-It note and a little over half the area of an average paperback.

While it "fits in your pocket easily" it sounds like it's much more likely to slide down the crack in the sofa and be lost forever. Personally, I'll hold out for a tablet/reader/thingy that's A4 sized and preferably flexible. Tthough I will probably be waiting a long time, I don't mind, it's not really that important.

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Dutch ISP calls the cops after Spamhaus blacklists it

Pete 2
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Comparing Spamhaus to credit scoring agencies

While both can (disingenuously) claim "we don't block your email/credit" they are both responsible for sourcing the information that does. With credit rating companies, we all have a right to access the information they hold about us and have it corrected if it's wrong. With Spamhous we have no rights, no means of getting incorrect information put right and we aren't even judged on our own behaviour.

In human rights terms collective punishments are illegal. You cannot punish a group of people for the wrongdoings of one, whom you suspect of being in that group. Yet this is precisely what happens with Spamhous. What's worse is that you, as an individual, have no rights to have information that Spamhous publish about the IP address you are using updated. While you could argue that with dynamic IP allocation it's not practical, that doesn't excuse the behaviour, which is simply a poor implementation which addresses the wrong problem.

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One in 10 Brits leaves web passwords in their will

Pete 2
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And we're told to not write down our passwords ???

Surely a far more practical solution (rather than going through the rigmarole of updating legal documents) is to simply have a postit stuck to the side of your screen with your passwords on it. Or for the ultra-security paranoid: stuck on its back!

The question then becomes, who is responsible for keeping up the subscriptions on all these wonderful, valuable e-assets? The ones who's hosting company's Ts & Cs you'd be breaking by either: giving your account details to someone else, or: accessing someone else's account.

That's even if you share the same musical/film tastes as your dear-departed. Or if all the stuff in their accounts would end up in the equivalent of a house-clearer's skip. Though would you really want to stumble across your grandparents' pr0n collection?

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Valve chief says Apple will own your living room

Pete 2
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Good

> Apple will own your living room

The wallpaper's getting a bit tired and it could use a new carpet.

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Seattle superhero arrested for assault

Pete 2
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So he crashes a party ...

The video was shown as the outro on Newsnight last night. The guy came across as being somewhat pathetic. He barged in to a group of people "hanging" and started attacking them. Then he was shown being chased off by a girl in heels (the girl was wearing the heels, not the guy fantasizing about being a superhero, just to be clear)

Rather than being some sort of public benefactor, he appeared to be someone who needed therapy and treatment rather than an award.

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ISPs end PM's web smut block dream

Pete 2
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ISPs to parents ...

... looking after your children is your responsibility, not ours.

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Ten... Freeview HD recorders

Pete 2
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The hackers choice

Yes, a starling omission, given its reputation as the platform of choice for people who like to tinker with their STBs.

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US rocketeer thunders to 121,000ft

Pete 2
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Anybody else find this slightly worrying?

There's no doubt that this is a marvellous achievement, when used for good (or at least: when used for personal goals and to feed wow! onto the internet). But let's fast-forward and consider what happens when a private individual has the means to add a guidance system to this - say a heat-seeking system. When does a home-project (albeit a piggin' expensive and very sophisticated one) become a Mach-3 missile - and if this guy can build one, who else could?

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Brit boffins' bendy bamboo bike breakthrough

Pete 2
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Additional benefit

... and nobody would ever nick one. Though you might have to be a bit careful leaving it near goats.

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Biker gang plunders Covent Garden Apple Store

Pete 2
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Shouldn't that be ...

> after the "smash and grab" raid

smash and fondle?

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Here come hypervisors you can trust

Pete 2
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A box without users

> Yet by and large, we tend to neglect the hypervisor, trusting it to just work.

That's not an unreasonable assumption, since hypervisors don't have idiot users surfing to pr0n sites on them, reading their bug-infested email, or trying to plug in some dubious thumb-drive/peripheral/phone

When you rid your IT of all of those points of weakness, it's surprising how little effort is needed to keep a box secure, bug-free and reliable.

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BBC One and bureaucracy spared in Auntie cuts

Pete 2
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Little or no change, then

> BBC2 will be all repeats now during the day

A swift perusal of their schedule shows BBC2 is only planning on showing 6 new programmes today. There were 2 this morning (seemed to be for children) and 4 later on today, starting at 17:15. As it is, that's only a little worse than BBC1 which has 10 (count em! TEN) new programmes on today. Two in peak time (20:00 and 21:00) and the rest scattered about throughout the day.

There is one, called "Pointless" that seems to sum up their programming policy quite nicely.

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Ten reasons why you shouldn't buy an iPhone 5

Pete 2
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Like water off a duck's back

I'm sure all those reasons are perfectly lovely. However if you're not planning to buy a '5 then they are meaningless (or just preaching to the choir). If you are planning to get one, none of them will persuade you otherwise.

All these reasons are far too rational. They fail to recognise the way the product is being marketed and therefore won't have any traction with the people being courted. If you can find a potential buyer who is willing and able to give you an honest answer, it probably won't be any more substantial than "BECAUSE I WANT ONE". You simply can't argue against that level of primal, unthinking desire.

If you really wanted to deter people from buying one - your best strategy would be simply to lie about it. How about starting a rumour that every '5 was tested on poor, blind, orphan, pregnant, bunny-wunnies with big sad eyes and a cute little bobble-tail?

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iPhones 'excellent for doing experiments on their owners'

Pete 2
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Nowt so queer as folk

> there are well over 100million iPhones in the world so there must be some variety in the group.

No, not really. What you have is a group who have all reacted in exactly the same way to exactly the same stimulus, i.e. they bought the product after seeing the advertisement. Even if you could conduct an experiment on all the smartphone users in all the world ("she walks into mine") you'd still only be analysing the responses of a self-selecting group.

It's not much different from all the "research" that was done on subjects during the 50s and 60s. Most of that research was applied to people who had answered "experimental subjects wanted, pays $10" advertisements posted on college notice boards. That resulted in whole fields of trick-cyclery that tried to generalise ordinary peoples' behaviour from observing 19 year-old middle-class american students.

You'd think they'd have learned from that, but apparently not ...

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UK punters happy to pay £3 to top up e-wallets

Pete 2
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Ask a londoner

A lot of people already have what is in effect an e-wallet. It's the oyster card that they use to keep the cost of travelling round the metropolis at a level somewhere between obscene and merely extortionate. If you want to know what people who actually use an electronic card to pay for goods and services would be willing to pay simply to keep money in their account, just ask anyone touching in or out. Try suggesting tho them that they should pay three quid just to top-up and then duck, sharpish, as a fist shaped reply tells you the answer.

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Ellison brandishes 'speed of thought' Exalytics appliance

Pete 2
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For all its wonderful speed

... it still relies on the person in front of the screen to ask sensible questions.

"Before you finish asking a question, it can guess and give you the answer." I wonder how often that answer is either: correct, relevant or answers the question you had in mind. Any little computer can reply "42", but the key is to know why that is the right answer.

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Computer sim explains why hippies became extinct

Pete 2
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Wanting more

So many people seem to be motivated by greed: wanting more than other people, rather than by the actual amount of stuff that everybody has. Contrary-wise, people generally tend not to be so unhappy with having nothing, provided everyone they know is in a similar predicament.

It's only when the advertisers start pointing out "you could have .... " that people start to become dissatisfied with their lot.

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Man who blasted five million text spams gets wrist slap

Pete 2
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Let the punishment fit the crime

Release him after he's personally texted an apology to each spam recipient

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Boffins prove Queen ballad 'world's most catchy song'

Pete 2
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One missing attribute

... the people judging the singers and songs must have actually heard (of) them.

Who's to say that these, all english/american-language songs contain the _world's_ most catchiest tunes? Other cultures have completely different musical scales and would presumably therefore be attuned to different musical attributes to stir their loins into battle - or football.

Given that this is just an attempt to appear "down wiv' da kidz" to try and convince them that science is "cool" I can see why they've skewed their results in such a startling manner. However, as a piece of science it does appear lacking (in the whole history of music - all the entries, ALL of them are from the past 50 years) in any sort of rigour and I really can't see how this could possibly be worthy of a PhD.

Maybe I should write up my list of top 10 favourite power ballads and submit that, so I can be known as Dr. Pete 2 - I'm sure I could come up with enough random psychobabble to convince whoever dished out this degree.

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Chocolate weighed in Schwarzeneggers: Official

Pete 2
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Begging for it

What this really needs is an online conversion tool

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Should your system offer Mr, Ms ... and Mx?

Pete 2
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ISO5218

Every SQL programmer knows there are 4 gender codes:

- don't know

- male

- female

- not applicable

which seem to cover most of the cases where knowledge of gender is needed to facilitate a decision.

Given that we're all supposed to be equal these days, the number of cases where such information is crucial is probably smaller than most people think and questions about possession of X and/or Y chromosomes (and maybe some others, too) might be more pertinent.

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NASA to trial laser-powered space broadband

Pete 2
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Call me waldo

Forget communicating with interplanetary craft. This sort of bandwidth sounds ideal for multiple remote controlled robots in orbit. What you'd need to make that practical is a set of "eyes" on the robot(s) (preferably stereoscopic vision) and a real-time video link back to the ground control centre. Plus of course the less data intensive uplink to tell the robot where to wave its arms.

It's hard to see this being a go-er for much further than lunar operations, due to the latency involved, but it does sound like the first step in doing something constructive in space.

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MPs label police IT 'not fit for purpose'

Pete 2
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Deja vu, all over again

> the 43 forces in England and Wales use a multiplicity of different IT systems

Sounds like they need to take a leaf out of the NHS book and centralise and consolidate all their computer systems. That way they will get the benefits of a single, standard system and reduce the cost .... sorry. I can't go on, I'm laughing too much.

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Rogue toilet takes out Norfolk server

Pete 2
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OK, I admit - I'm bored

so here goes:

failed flush fries fuse,

server severs system,

monitor militates meltdown,

pipes purged - poo probably precipitated problem

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Yoof survey: 'Internet as vital as air'

Pete 2
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Term inflation

> do these kids know what 'vital' means??

I think these days you have to prefix a phrase with "literally" :) before anyone starts to take it seriously. Otherwise deduct at least two steps of urgency to get back to the real meaning. Thus:

vital -> important -> convenient

need -> want -> impulsive desire (that will soon fade)

literally hate -> hate -> dislike

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US military satellite to get attack-warning equipment

Pete 2
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Mars attacks

> to establish clearly who is behind them

and if the threat is found to be extraterrestrial (either in reality, or due to faulty software/sensors) we'll no doubt have our first interplanetary war. I expect the people behind the pork are just itching for an enemy that will let them open up such a lucrative source of everlasting FUD. Especially if the only evidence of the "threat" comes from their own systems.

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Lancs shale to yield '15 years' of gas for UK

Pete 2
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Green with envy

Presumably this is the worst possible discovery for those who have decided for us that what we need are renewable forms of energy, not cheap ones. Maybe the answer is to redefine the "scouse" as an endangered species, who's natural habitat should not be disturbed?

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1-in-3,200 chance* that a fiery satellite chunk will hit someone on Friday

Pete 2
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Heavens above

... and if you want to track it, heavens-above.com have a nice, real-time view of who's under the flight path.

The irony is that if it does actually come down on top of some unfortunate person, they will be one of the few, verifiable, casualties of climate change. Though not from its earthly effects, but our efforts to do something about it.

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