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* Posts by Pete 2

2262 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

NASA: Beam me up some power, Scotty

Pete 2
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going back in time

Consider the american manned space programme.

Nothing now, the scuttle in the 80s, the moon landings in the 60's

They ARE travelling backwards in time.

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Pete 2
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The Sun

Using light beamed from earth to power spaceships .... OK, but isn't there already quite a large source of light available for free.

However, if you wanted to develop a realllllllly power laser for other purposes, such as burning holes in other countries, this would be a great cover story.

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Smut domain scores big bucks for not handling smut

Pete 2
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First of many

So this should increase the value of the ".sucks" TLD nicely.

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Feds probe naked Scarlett Johansson outrage

Pete 2
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People who live in the "glass houses" of celebrity

shouldn't do yoga in the nude.

Don't want photos of yourself plastered all over the place? Simple: don't take them in the first place. Why is that so difficult to understand?

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Pete 2
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why are all these celebs different?

Because when you (and yuor OH) were in the queue for a standard issue of common sense, they had gone back for an extra helping of narcissism.

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Hunt: Online file-sharing is a 'direct assault on freedoms'

Pete 2
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A fair reward?

> " ... rights of creators of content to be rewarded fairly".

So a musician produces a track, plays it to a friend in the biz. Friend likes it and uses his/her contacts to get it played on radio. It becomes a hit and the muso makes £1M. Another musician, equally talented, produces a piece, but isn't so well connected. He/she/it goes on the road playing clubs, pubs, underground stations and anywhere until they get moved on. Over the years they sell a handful of CDs for £5 each.

Where's the fairness?

Films, TV, music, any of the creative arts is essentially a lottery. Some artists strike it lucky, other equally deserving and talented ones die in poverty. I would suggest that this initiative (like all the ones before it) has nothing to do with the content creators - who have a long tradition of getting screwed by all and sundry - but has everything to do with the fat-cats at the top of the pile.

I'm all for making sure the creators get their dues - and anyone else who adds value, in proportion to what they contribute - and ISTM the simplest way to reduce piracy is to cut out almost all of the middle layers that get between a content creator and the content consumers (or maybe sponsors would be a better description). Make the provision and purchase of content direct and personal and I have a feeling that almost all the piracy will simply disappear - once people form a link with the authors and are asked to pay a sensible price for the entertainment they enjoy.

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Securo-boffins call for 'self-aware' defensive technologies

Pete 2
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A simpler solution

Somewhere deep in National Power (or should that be National Pwn?) there is a little RJ45 socket with the label "Internet" on it. Out of that comes a long grey cable that leads directly to the central machines that control their power generation capability. At least that's the picture painted by this report.

Why not just unplug the crucial machines from the 'net, altogether?

That doesn't mean thet have to go the whole BSG hog and be completely network free. Just that these utilities have a few bits of Cat5 that are not connected to all the other bits of Cat5 which talk to the outside world. After all, there can't be many reasons why a generator control system (or some Uranium purifying centrifuges, for that matter) should even be aware that the internet exists.

If these core computers do somehow become aware and conclude that "there is another system", then there might be trouble. But let's cross that bridged network when we come to it.

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Cloud startup's business model defies laws of physics

Pete 2
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Qute easy really

Just keep sending the data round and round "the internet". Using the cache on all the servers and routers it passes through to store it. Then when you want to retreive it, just wait until it comes round through your severs on it's next "orbit"

It's a mashup of mercury delay line memory, logistics companies using their lorries as warehouses (while they're on the road, delivering your stuff) and the standard internet/cloud marketing BS.

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Why Android houses should give Google the 'fork you'

Pete 2
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This could be all we'll ever have

The barriers to entry for creating your own operating system were traditionally low. Snarf a copy of Linux, add some drivers, GUI-fy it and with 20 person*years you'd have something that could put up a credible performance at an industry electronics show.

However, once you try to make money off that your £1M of investment becomes a £gig. and takes years. Primarily because of patents. The consequence is, that until there is a radical change in hardware - comparable to the difference between procedural and object orientated languages, the O/S's we have today are probably the only ones we'll have for a long time. Just like car engines are either petrol or diesel ... oh yes, or electric (mustn't forget the C5)

Faced with the obstacles of coming up with something new and legally acceptable, you can't blame the phone companies for adopting a "Bones-esque" attitude of "Dammit Jim, We're a phone maker, not a computer company".

Under the chilling legal circumstances, sticking with Android may be the least worst option.

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Guardian pratfall swaps homepage for US insurance firm

Pete 2
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At a guess

some webby-edity-thingy had an autocomplete set, which said gopher (Q: does anyone still use that?) just accepted by default and didn't bother to check.

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Parliament has no time for 100,000+ signature e-petitions

Pete 2
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The wrong way round?

The government has decided to spend all its time rabbiting on about thing IT wants to talk about - not things THE PEOPLE (who, incidentally put the MPs there) want discussed.

To put it in perspective, if all the 100,000 people who signed any one of the qualifying e-petitions could be bothered to get off their arses and actually vote, they'd represent the majorities of the 4 safest parlaimentary seats (or the 60 least safe: which had majorities less than 1,500 votes). You'd think that sort of political influence would gain some respect. But I guess that since there's no possibility of another election for several years - where these e-petitioners could register their displeasure at being ignored, the people in charge can afford to ignore them all. Isn't democracy a wonderful thing?

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Amazon solves wait-at-home-for-deliveries problem

Pete 2
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Saturday, Sunday and evenings

Why is it so impossible to get stuff delevered at times when people are actually at home?

I know that all the couriers base their delivery models around businesses and therefore only want to deliver during business hours. And apparently make so much money doing that, that none feel the need to expand the reach of their business.

But you'd have thought by now that at least one of them would have had a couple of neurons accidentally bang together and thought "most of our deliveries are to peoples' houses ... why don't we make our deliveries then? ... <head explodes>".

After all if pizza delivery companies can manage it, then you'd think a multi-billion £££ concern like Amazon could - though it might be difficult getting a 3 piece suite on the back of a moped - and it would probably arrive without the peperami.

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Three in ten Americans urge feds to read their email

Pete 2
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Survey results need a small proviso

> read their emails ... review someone’s search history ... financial records ... listen in on their phone calls ... video surveillance in public ... torture ... harsh interrogation ...

Provided these only happen to OTHER PEOPLE. Don't you know: *I* have rights!

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Does Cameron dare ditch poor-bashing green energy?

Pete 2
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Haven't we been here before?

Putting aside the benefits or not of cheap/green energy, let's look at carrots instead.

In the 80s and 90s the governments of the time were pushing home ownership for all. Stop paying rent, which is monkey down the drain - take out loans and a mortgage instead ,,,, and we've seen what the effect of that "boom" was.

So just considering what the politicians' motivations are: to stay in power and win elections (at any cost). It does seem that they're up to the same old malarkey again. Proposing cheap fiscal "tricks" to make people appear wealthier and associate that extra money with the party in power. Using the enticement of more spending money to garner favour and win votes.

That's fine, but what goes down - energy prices - inevitably seems to go back up again. So we get cheap power ... for a time ... we just start using more of it (or buying goods that need energy for their manufacture) until we're back to the same natural economic state again: spending up to the limit of our earnings. Then at some point in the future, after todays politicos are dead, emigrated or wearing the profile of their backsides into that seat on the board we find that it all goes pear shaped, just like the 90s credit boom did.

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'Satnavs are definitely not doomed', insists TomTom man

Pete 2
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It's a retrofit

The only reason to buy a discrete satnav is because your car doesn't come with one preinstalled ... yet.

The satnav market (by comparison with the smartphone market) is merely satisfying a lack of vehicle specifications. Just as if cars didn't come with windscreens, you'd expect companies like Everest to step in and fill the gap (literally, though quite how well they'd do it is another question) - but ONLY until car manufacturers realised their mistake and retooled their production lines.

So what's the future fro the satnav suppliers? Well, not too good if they want to sell to the public. Better if they make OEM products for Nissan and the others. However, just like Motorola started off making car radios, they'd better diversify pretty dam' quickly - and wisely. Otherwise they could find that they either shrivel and die or get bought by a search company - presuming they have some patents, hardware or balance sheets that makes them desirable, 'cos their suitors won't be after the satnavs.

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Everyone knew NoTW 'rogue reporter' bit was untrue

Pete 2
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Did you know ...

> they could not bury the evidence such as the For Neville email.

"For Neville email" is an anagram of "evil liar felon me".

Not accusin'. just sayin'

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Pete 2
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Got to be the dumbest ever

I mean, who'd put the title as "For Neville" in an email - isn't that apparent from the address? Though I suppose "Everyone knows about phone hacking" might be a little too obvious.

As for knowing - uhhh, sure. But as any lawyer and politician knows: it's what you can prove, and when they knew it, that matters.

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Jesus appears, acquires vast following, bitchslaps Justin Bieber

Pete 2
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Real name policy?

I'd be interested to see the registration details for Gods FB account - not just real name, but age (could throw cosmology into a bit of a spin), gender and status could start/finish a few wars, too.

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UBS tells IT contractors: Take a 10% pay cut ... or 100%

Pete 2
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Re: The Contract Market is bouyant.

> all their good contractors walk straight into other contracts

One would assume that if UBS are having a tough time, that this has already happened - maybe for several cycles of "good" contractors.

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The real reason Google bought Motorola

Pete 2
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If these guys ever wrote a compression algorithm

... you'd have to pump a few MB into it to get back to a zero length file. Thank dog the laws of physics don't work like that,

Hang on, quantum mechanics ... entanglement ,,. tunneling ..... hmmm. Maybe that's where they got the idea.

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MySociety marshals griping commuters to fix UK transport

Pete 2
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While we're at it

How about a FixMyWeather.com to complain about all the days we've had this month (and to be fair, last August, too) when the temperature's barely reached a high of 15C.

I reckon it would stand about as much chance of getting some positive outcomes as the travel version, or the street versions.

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Last ever batch of TouchPads isn't coming to Blighty

Pete 2
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Best place to sell 'em

Considering they're going for £150-£200 on the 'bay, these days - that would seem to be the best place to shift them. It might be worth HP's while to qualiifiy the sales as "legitimate stock, not looted" though.

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New UK 'leccy meters remotely run via Voda 2G

Pete 2
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Since it's there, might as well use it

> Mobile networks aren't ideal for such things,

Actually they sound like quite a decent fit for this application. It's not as if the meter HAS to send its readings only once at peak times on a weekday or it's lost forever. They can (and may well be) used overnight and send their readings every few days. If the SMS fails the first time, it'll be no worse than the meter reader trying to call when you're out.

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Schmidt bewails Blighty's boffin-v-luvvie culture clash

Pete 2
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What kind of filter?

> "Without some form of filtering, we would drown in information. So the real question is, if not personalisation, what kind of filtering should we have?

Just a wild idea here. How about a filter based on FACTS, not opinions, biases, dogma, politics, religious belief, what some "personality" thinks or wishes. Since Google already has a ranking algorithm, would it be so hard to tweak it so that actual information is presented above conjecture, gossip, and celebrity.

The problem then is that Google takes the role of "Ministry of truth" (if it hasn't already) and gets to define what we believe.

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What vegetables are best for growing in Spaaace?

Pete 2
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fresh herbs?

So would they be including "recreational herbs" in the garden, too?

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Seven lessons from the HP Touchpad fire sale

Pete 2
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rule 0.

People will buy a "bargain" even if they never use it. (Cue the Monty Python sketch.)

If this tablet had gone on sale at $99 (or equivalent in the other 95% of the world) it would have been a minor success as "the cheap iPad". However the people who bought it would soon realise it's the I.T. equivalent of a wok. Something you can think of many uses for, but after the first couple of times, never get round to using again.

However, sell it for $hundreds off list price and suddenly the horde is scrambling for it. It'll still end up in the cupboard between the wok and the USB coffee mug warmer, but people are only buying it because it's a bargain - even without the piston engine.

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Post-Jobs Apple: New research shows Cook will do fine

Pete 2
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Three lucky guesses in a row

That's the standard definition of an "expert". The same can be applied to a CEO. So far as Jobs and Apple (more specifically, Apple's success with the iPhone/Pad) his three lucky guesses were:

- Make it look pretty. Every other phone was pushing function, features, battery life, cost, size or camera-pixels. Jobs went after the "I don't what it does, but I WANT ONE" market.

- Optimise profit per unit. When the rest of the bunch were chasing market share and making pennies per device, he bucked the trend and went for the high-end. That Apple could exploit that exclusivity, helped too.

- Its not really a phone. This was the biggie. Stevie-boy called it a phone to keep it familiar, but really it was a platform to make buying apps and content easier. It also made calls.

and a bonus, to achieve true super-hero status:

- Make people feel good about owning one. That means get it associated with success, make it visible on TV and in films (but only "good" films, of course), keep the name in the spotlight and squash any and all bad publicity.

So what should Jobs' successor do? Probably as little as possible is the answer. Apple and the i<thing> won't last forever. However the best way to hasten its demse is to mess with the successful formula. Don't introduce a cheap version, don't let the competition grab a share of the "cool" reputation, don't sacrifice "shiny" for production costs, keep up the hype with new models every year and never, ever let it become a commodity item.

So long as the new guy can resist the temptation to try and "make his mark" - the downfall of most post-messianic leaders' replacements - and just keeps playing the game, Apple's probably got another 5 or 10 years left before the maggots get it.

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IDLENESS sees Brits haemorrhage cash to mobe firms

Pete 2
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People value convenience over possible small savings

It sounds like Which? would have us spending all our time scanning the internet to search out deals that were lower in cost than what we're already paying. Fine. Some people are rate-tarts and will switch providers at the drop of a hat - or a penny off a tariff.

Many more, however are apparently satisfied with the service, phone, coverage and cost of their existing mobile phone and don't feel the need to waste hours in the pursuit of a deal that may be a little cheaper, may have more "small print", may require them to learn a new handset (when all they want to do is press a button and talk to someone), may not provide such a good service where they live/work and may balls-up the switchover and leave them stuck.

Let's face it, to the majority of people a mobile is merely a device that lets them talk to people. It's not the source for their entertainment, it's not a "lifeline" to the world, it's not a crucial part of their identity and it's certainly not a status symbol - it's just a phone: a minor annoyance, but occasionally handy to have around.

Which? also seem to be missing the bigger picture. These people, who are satisfied, actually subsidise those for whom price IS the overriding factor. If everybody chased the lowest cost deal, all the time, then phone company margins would drop. When everyone was on the cheapest possible tariff, all that would hapen is the phone companies would increase the cost of those tariffs for everyone - just to get their margins back. That would hurt those individuals who really, really needed to save 50p per month (though they'd save even more by not having a mobile - it's not a necessity; like food or rent - maybe someone should have a quiet word?) on their package, to the benefit of those who don't care much if their monthly bill is £60 or £75.

Where's the benefit to Which?'s low-cost chasing horde, then?

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The Torvalds of Drupal pledges HTML5 mobile love

Pete 2
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Drupal: It's about the modules

Basically, Drupal gives you the skeleton. Whether you dress that up to produce a Jennifer Lopez or a Bella Emberg depends on which modules you base your design on - and whether they can be persuaded to work properly.

Most Drupal modules are, let's say, pieces of hobby code - written by amateurs for their own reasons. When Drupal 7 was being prepped, there was a major initiative to house-clean and "certify" some of the most popular modules, in an effort to whip the Drupal world into some sort of shape. So while the number of modules that can claim some sort of association with some version of Drupal may well be in the 6-figures, the number "blessed" by drupal.org is an order of magnitude less than that. The number that are known to work with Drupal7 is a bit over 2,000.

However, there are probably less than a couple of hundred freely available Drupal7 modules that form the core of reliable, inter-workable and documented code that website designers reach for when creating a Drupal7 site. Even then, the knowledge of HTML, XML, CSS, PHP and a whole lot more alphabetti-spaghetti that you need to know, to get them customised for a professional standard website is huge. Worse: amount of expertise necessary to work out what the hell the previous web designer did, to produce the (undocumented - for they are ALL undocumented) website you're being asked to modify is nothing short of miraculous.

One would presume that to get the next incarnation of Drupal to spit HTML5 would require these modules to change hymnsheets and go through a rewrite process similar to the ones they did to attain Drupal7 standards. It will be interesting to see how many make the grade and how much work will be needed to cut a website across from Drupal7 to Drupal8 - even with all the redesigned needed for a mobile, postage-stamp-sized screen.

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Performance monitoring is Someone Else's Problem

Pete 2
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SEP? Not forgetting it's close cousin

Bistromathics

The sort of mathematical rules that come into play when you try to divide up a restaurant bill. No matter how you do it, it never tallies with the amount on the invoice.

The problem with performance management is that no matter how you do it, it always fails. You monitor all your services. Identify a bottleneck. Spend ££££'s to fix it. Sit back in the glow of a job well done. The phone rings and it's users complaining about the NEXT bottleneck, now that the original one has been relieved.

Bottlenecks are like traffic lights: as soon as you get past one set of delays, you get a little further and the next one gets you.

So the net gain of the ££££'s spent is a small, imperceptible and soon forgotten benefit - whereas the cost is a monkey on your back forever. Each time you ask for more money to fix a performance problem, the bean counters remind your boss that the last attempt didn't work, or was only effective for a few sort weeks. Even if you have the experience to say "ah ha! we need to fix not only the prima-face problem, but all the structural issues behind it" and propose a cost-case to do it, you usually find that the problem goes so deep, the costs are so high and the upheaval so intense that you don't stand a chance of getting it approved. Certainly not for the miniscule and intangible benefits you can only _estimate_ it will bring.

Even invoking the third law of project proposals: The higher the price, the greater the chance of success.

Experience has shown that the best way to deal with performance problems is to ignore them. Leave them until they either cause something vital to crash and burn OR that they start to affect the CEO's computer. (In that case, fix his/her's machine and maybe "have a quiet word" while you're in their presence.) However, to succeed in this strategy, it's vitally important that you do not have any responsibility for systems performance, capacity planning, service quality or any of the other buzzwords that could let someone legitimately ask "Why did you let this happen?". Provided you leave it long enough, and the performance melt-down is severe enough (and can be shown to be someone-else's fault) you can get practically anything you like to fix it - except, of course, a raise.

Just as with the restaurant and settling the bill, performance is something everybody has, but nobody wants to pay for.

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99% of UK gov websites are breaking the law

Pete 2
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Q: How can you break the law if you can't be punished?

If you fine a local authority, it's the council-tax payers who have to pay it. Councils don't have any money of their own: only the money they forcibly extract from people in their region. If some of that is taken away from them in fines, the local people (who paid it) either have to pay more to make up the shortfall, or suffer from reduced services.

The council itself is never made to suffer.

So to say that a number of councils are breaking the law, and that they could be fined because they haven't done some stuff about cookies on their websites, is meaningless. They won't suffer, even if they are found to be doing something illegal. Councils are not people: you can't anthropomorphise them and apply "punishments" or "rewards" as you would to a naughty child. As an organisation, not a person, they are immune to punishment. Consequently trying to apply laws to non-people is ineffective.

The best you can do is ask nicely, "if they oh-so wouldn't mind terribly if they might (when it's convenient) please, have a little look at doing something about all the cookies their websites push out - no pressure at all. Thank you all, very much indeed." The answer, as with everything a council is asked (nicely or not) to do is that it will cost money and need more people - in a time when they have to cut costs and staff. So again: just as with paying fines, it's the tax-payers who get stuffed with the compliance costs.

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Ultra-cheap HP TouchPads to hit UK at 6pm

Pete 2
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But what does it do?

It's all very well having one of these. But apart from fondling it, using it as a frisbee or putting it on the mantlepiece as an ornament; what can you actually do with it.

It won't get any upgrades or fixes. It had hardly any apps for the webOS wotsit-thingy that it runs and nobody's going to write any new ones for it.

Now if some enterprising enterprise (or individual) was to port iOS to it, then I reckon $99+VAT would be about the right price for a slab of fondling.

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Marriage makes women get fat, divorce does same to men

Pete 2
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Think of the children

> Getting married puts women at risk of piling on the pounds

So it's got nothing to do with having children after getting married and being unable (or not incentivised) to return to a pre-childbearing weight after the sprog appears?

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LOHAN rival to inflate bulging orbs with hydrogen

Pete 2
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H2 or He makes little difference

The key is tha amount of buoyancy a given volume of gas provides, not the absolute density of the gas, itself. Air weighs about 1kg per cubic metre. He weighs a lot less (about 1/20th from memory) and Hydrogen about half of that. So the difference in buoyancy between using Helium and Hydrogen is NOT a factor of two (the difference between their densities). It's the difference between their buoyancies, which for He would be about 0.95kg/m3 and 0.98kg/m3 for H2 - that's is a difference of a few percent, or in scientific units: bugger all.

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Hardware-happy HP has swallowed a Sun death pill

Pete 2
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at the very height of its success ...

At which point the CEO turns the growth chart the right way up, mutters "oh crap" and gets on the phone to his broker ... then his lawyer ... then the first flight to anywhere

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Pete 2
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Still printing money?

Presumably their printer business (last heard of: about 25% of their value) is still raking it in. As is the printer INK biz, which weight-for-weight must be as profitable as drugs - but, strangely, still legal, for all its abuses.

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Average sozzled Brit sinks 5,800 pints during life

Pete 2
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Re: 2 pints a week

What about those (the _other_ gender/sex) who don't drink pints? Presumably they are the balance for a lot of the wine and liquor(???? do they mean liqueurs? sweet, alcoholic drinks like my granny knocks back?) and maybe even some of the cider. Swap it around a bit and you're up to a more "respectable" 4 pints a week

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Pete 2
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Sounds like money well spent

Since the alternative is having to listen to other peoples' boring stories while sober.

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Man builds gadget to silence annoying TV pundits

Pete 2
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Pah! Had one of these for ages

It's even built into the remote control. There's a little red button (obviously completely unknown to people who continuously complain about TV programmes: "I've just watched the third episode of .... and it's still rubbish") that immediately removes both sight and sound of any annoying individual from the TV. Even better, it saves electricity while doing so.

I think this device is revolutionary - it's certainly changed the way I watch TV and I'm recommending it to all my friends. There's even a handy feature on DVR's - they can be set to record programmes you don't like and play them when you're not in.

Personally, I've never watched a programme I don't like. If I don't like it, I don't watch. Why's that so hard?

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Dob in suspect blingy neighbours on Facebook, say cops

Pete 2
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@Ru

> You did know that, right?

Which is why I drew the distinction in the first place.

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Pete 2
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Are looters the new paedos?

It looks like the british people can only hate so many groups at any one time (much to the annoyance of the Daily Wail, who's sales would be much higher if there was no limit). So given the amount of venom being pointed at looters, does this mean some other group has to be bumped off the pariah's list?

Leaving aside the people (they really shouldn't be blessed with the term "rioters", that implies there was a principle at stake) who started fires and caused damage: smashed up shops, broke windows, vandalised the streets, it'll be interesting to see whether the hate being directed towrards looters can be extended to shoplifters. After all the only real difference between the two is that one steals goods when the shops are open and the other when they're closed.

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Google's Moto move spells iPhone doom

Pete 2
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Who buys Android devices?

> Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?

You jest, surely?

My (admittedly slight) experience of the market is that i<products> are bought by people who like the style and feel this is an important part, or the MOST important part of owning a phone/tablet. Those people tend to the 20-somethings, singles who have plenty of monkey, or children who have wheedled one out of their parents. For the rest, most adults just don't have the time or inclination to need, want or use most of the features of an i<thing>.

Sure, I've got a smart phone (Android). Do I use any of it's features? Not in the slightest - it makes calls and that's all I want. Why did I get one? Simply because when my last contract expired, Android phones were the same monthly price as my old phone, so all the "smart" stuff was essentially free.

Would I have have paid for any of it? No, since I don't use it, it has no value to me. I would suspect most adults who have grown out of bragging about their possessions are in the same position: offer extra features at no extra cost and they will say "what the hell, I'll take it". Call it a value-add and bump up the price and they'll leave it on the sales counter.

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Wikipedia: It's not for girls

Pete 2
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Sex? gender? What about the other two?

Yes, the *first* definition (according to my OED) of gender is a technical term used in grammar. However the next definition is the property of belonging to such a [gender] class and the colloquial third definition is "a person's sex".

Also, regarding your examples. I think a fair few people will agree that spoons (no sex at all) does often lead to sex. Which is really what I wanted to steer the post around to.

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Pete 2
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If you ever want a new job ...

> I don't care that you need a double-overhead ooja wotnot to cover my flange-vibrating baboon monkey nut wrench splurch capacitor or that a double 5 inch wotnot, thingy doodah fits into a rotary, mucsle pulsing castle-nut splat-box!

There's a senior mechanics position just waiting for you at my local "%£^&*$*($(" main dealership - they don't know the square-root of sod-all about mechanical things, either.

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Pete 2
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Doesn't exist

Well I checked Wikipedia for an article called "Male bias in articles" and got the response: "The page "Male bias in articles" does not exist"

Should we therefore assume that since Wiki doesn't have an article for it, it doesn't exist?

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Google SHOCK! Snaps up Motorola phone biz for $12.5bn

Pete 2
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A new "Oracle buys Sun"?

Software company buys hardware manufacturer - and we all saw how well that went for Sun.

By Bye Moto

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Bloody Moon stuffs the Perseids

Pete 2
Silver badge

Standard rules for astronomical spectacles

In roughly most-to-least likely order

1) It will occur during daytime

2) It won't be visible in this hemisphere/latitude

3) It'll be cloudy - as usual

4) The full moon will obscure it

5) Light pollution will render it invisible (unless you live in the wilds of Scotland/Wales, then see #3)

6) It'll be the night of your child's school play (they're in the lead role)

7) You'll be stuck underground/in a basement/in jail

8) You'll be looking in the wrong place

9) Or on the wrong night

10) You'll be struck blind just prior to the event

11) You'll forget to take your sunglasses off and miss it all

12) It coincides with Armageddon and you're too busy worrying about that.

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The IBM PC is 30

Pete 2
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Lucky they didn't quote boot times

... it would probably embarrass the majority of brand new W7 PCs being sold today.

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Google lands patent for, um, estimating shipment time

Pete 2
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A universal estimator: +/- 3 days guaranteed

Well, if we're going to award patents for silly ideas, here's one that will estimate the arrival day of anything, anywhere with a guaranteed accuracy of 3 days or better - earlier or later.

Wednesday

Every day of the week is within 3 days of Wednesday, hence anything will always be delivered (assuming it's not lost in transit) within 3 days of a Wednesday.

[This was told to me last christmas by a younger member of the Pete 2 clan: "I bet I can tell when your birthday is - oh yeah, within 3 days .... Luckily 7 year-olds don't know about intellectual property]

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Q: Why do defenders keep losing to smaller cyberwarriors?

Pete 2
Silver badge

Cyberwar: your worst enemies are your own people

They just aren't paranoid enough. They insist (despite all the education, procedures, regulations, warnings and threats of dismissal) on loading unapproved software or data onto supposedly secure computers. They take confidential information away on laptops or thumb drives - and then lose it. They don't bother to encrypt data they move around. They divulge passwords. They use company computers for personal entertainment and they leave them unattended with their work screens unsecured.

The biggest problem is that everything that goes on with computers is intangible. They never get to see the data that's so important and therefore disregard it. Even in cases where data is in physical form, such as paper, they STILL manage to treat it with such slapdash attitudes that it gets lost, left on trains or thrown away where anyone (who wanted it) could easily find it.

Hell, people don't even bother to cover their own tracks and delete emails that could land them, personally, in chokey.

I suppose the problem is that staff just aren't punished enough for their transgressions. Maybe that's because these systems aren't rigorously monitored and security protocols enforced: "Hey, Jim. I noticed you logged in to the central control machine yesterday without clearance. You know that's a sackable offence - pack your bags and this nice gentleman will escort you to the door." What we need for our secure and critical systems is the same sort of controls that banks have to prevent their staff sampling the product. It won't catch all offenders, but it should at least give us a better chance of repelling the invaders.

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