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* Posts by Richard 12

1428 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

Steady Antarctic ice growth 'limits confidence in climate predictions'

Richard 12
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Re: limiting confidence in [the models'] predictions

Unfortunately, the earth moves. Hence any locally apparent rise in sea level is just as likely to be the earth going down as the sea coming up.

Building too many heavy buildings, draining aquifers and natural crustal movement can all explain it.

The same goes for a local sea level fall, of course.

Take a mean all over the world, then get back to us.

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EU mobe warning system for imminent disasters won't work on iPhone

Richard 12
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Re: No better "expert" available??

And why an "expert" who is in fact, almost completely wrong?

For a start, SMS is not guaranteed delivery, it's best-effort and even has settings for how long to keep trying - between one hour and a week or so.

I think this marketeer has confused "has a delivery receipt" with "always delivers", an easy mistake for the hard-of-thinking.

SMS is fundamentally not much different to email.

Cell Broadcast was designed with this purpose in mind (at least, according to the gnarled O2 engineers at the Airwave conference a few years back).

Mandate that all handsets must support it, and even the idiot USians will push out a firmware update within six months. The towers all support it already anyway - even if a lot of them have nothing to say right now.

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Google hit with $AUD200k defamation damages

Richard 12
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Re: leech

Why grow some balls when you can get upwards of £300k by making a fuss?

Ok, his legal bills are probably 2/3 of that, but still...

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FOlA judges: Secret 28 who made the BBC Green will not be named

Richard 12
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Re: Compulsary tax

Wrong, it's needed for a household using any devices to receive live television broadcasts.

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A bitter spill to swallow, or 'how to smeg up your keyboard'

Richard 12
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Sealed membrane keyboards do exist

We buy Kensington "keyboards for life" that claim to be thoroughly spill proof, and they'll replace the keyboard if it turns out it wasn't.

They seem pretty much up to it, I don't know of any failures in the last five years. Pretty cheap as well!

We buy a *lot* of those keyboards for most of our customers, and we'll keep doing so because they last.

So far the worst I know of was red wine, spilt over keyboard and machine. They sent the machine in for repair (how we know about it) and simply rinsed the keyboard.

Luckily the wine mostly splashed up the unvented side of the machine, and the tiny puddle inside missed all the expensive bits.

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UK prosecutors, cops ponder new probe into NASA hacker McKinnon

Richard 12
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Re: Criminal prosecution still required ...

To use the door analogy:

If your job was to lock and guard the door to a military installation, but you left it open and unguarded for weeks (if not longer) and somebody wandered inside, you'd be court-martialled for dereliction.

Even if it was just a civilian office block you were supposed to guard you'd get fired.

Finally, in the UK the ones wandering in would probably have squatters' rights by now!

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Are you an IT pro? It's no longer safe to bet your career on Microsoft

Richard 12
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Re: Surface is not the same as Windows 8

IE isn't a desktop app in Win8RT.

It is under Win8 (x86)

Also you're an astroturfer, so I hope you got paid for that post.

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Richard 12
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Surface is not the same as Windows 8

Heck, the orderable Surface hardware being advertised doesn't even run Windows 8, it runs Windows 8 RT instead, the almost-but-not-quite* TIFKAM-only, Windows App Store front end.

Win8RT is to Win8 what iOS is to OSX, except that you can run Win8RT apps under Win8.

Those ads are for Microsoft's iPad/Nexus/Note, and just like those there's almost no mention of the OS.

* Its stripped-down version of Office uses the desktop, nothing else is allowed to. Presumably a tacit admission that TIFKAM simply isn't suitable for non-trivial applications.

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Richard 12
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Re: Microsoft mindset article

Sourcesafe is probably why those Windows guys don't use source control.

Worst piece of frack I've ever had the misfortune to use, as it punishes you for trying to use it - and we've even had an RC broken by Sourcesafe. So we threw it away.

I now use GIT for "unofficial" projects, as you can make a repo anywhere that you have read/write access to and it does 90% of what's useful.

No reason why everyone shouldn't use it for their "personal" projects, even if you never upload the repo to anywhere it can still save your bacon.

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Firm-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's tax dodge profit shift? Totally legit

Richard 12
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Re: Self-employed Milkmen, eh?

No, it's not vague bullshit.

If you work for a single company, cannot replace yourself at will with someone else (and are the entity responsible for finding that replacement if you can't do the work in the end), don't choose your hours, don't use your own tools, and only work under the direct supervision and direction of your "client" etc, then you're clearly not really self-employed, you're an employee who's rights have been taken away by an unscrupulous employer.

It's usually very obvious where the "client" has decided to do things this way to avoid employers' NI.

Someone who is truly self employed is contracted to provide a particular service, not a "warm body" for them to direct at will - "other duties as assigned" is an employee contract, not a business-to-business contract.

- The only real exceptions to the "replace yourself with another" are actors, presenters and designers etc, where part of the contracted service is a particular artiste.

Put it this way - if your current (or most recent) PAYE employer suddenly declared to you that you're self-employed now, but nothing else about your relationship with the company changed, it'd be pretty bloody obvious that it was simply to evade tax.

That happened to a metric shitload of building tradesmen until HMRC started cracking down on them.

There are grey areas of course, and you do have the right to challenge an HMRC decision on this.

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Richard 12
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Self-employed Milkmen, eh?

The weird thing is that this is almost certainly illegal already, as HMRC are allowed to apply the "looks like an employee, smells like an employee, therefore *is* an employee" test.

It hit a lot of people in my industry - a lot of so-called freelancers suddenly became PAYE.

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Credit card-sized mobile simplified for oldies

Richard 12
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I just bought a pair of slider phones for mine

Physically slide open to answer, slide closed to hang up.

That or flip phones are probably the best bit of UI ever developed, and far, far better for the nearly-blind* or stiff-fingered than any touchscreen or even physical answer-buttoned phone could be.

Along with physical buttons to dial numbers, that makes them perfect for my grandparents.

Whereas this, with the limit of a fixed set of numbers, is for children or Alzheimer's who can't remember the current phone number for X, and not for your average OAP who can probably remember more phone numbers than me!

A contract phone is an odd choice for children and mentally incapable customers.

* Drunk?

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Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Souse versus scrapple

Richard 12
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Re: Yukk

Cat food smells really nice when fresh out of the steam oven, it only gets that "cat food" smell when they add the gravy - or jelly as you'd probably call it.

Tastes quite good as well - it's all the chicken heads and feet that give it such a wondrous flavour.

Yes, Whiskas do a "product appreciation" course where you make - and taste - a little of it.

Was a very interesting summer placement, glad I did it.

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Sony KD-84X9005 84in ultra-HD TV review

Richard 12
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The right hardware is GPGPU

I'm surprised anyone even tries to do good up scaling using classic CPUs, they're completely the wrong architecture.

You need the massively-parallel nature of a GPU to do it in a sane amount of time.

It's also a pretty obvious usage anyway - you're making a series of images from another series of images, that's what GPUs were designed to do!

I suspect you could do a pretty good job of upscaling to 1080p using a Raspberry Pi.

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Asteroid belts could be key to finding intelligent life

Richard 12
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Happy

Re: Spiral?

Indeed, crashing into asteroids or simply going close to them will affect the orbit greatly, acting to shed KE any time an asteroid is impact or slingshotted.

Aside from that the solar wind and photon pressure alters any non-circular orbit in a non-linear way - it's one of the methods being seriously considered for preventing a catastrophic asteroid impact.

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Richard 12
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Mushroom

Re: Pay attention to the axis of time...

Essentially:

Without a planet like Jupiter that reduces the rate of major impacts, planets inside the "Goldilocks zone" that have the right temperature and composition for life will get twatted by asteroid impacts far too often for any complex life to evolve.

Our Earth hasn't been hit by anything big for 65 million years, and prior to that it was probably another 200 million years or so.

Very early on the Earth got properly pasted though, being hit by something the size of Mars has gotta hurt!

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USS Enterprise sets out on its final mission

Richard 12
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Pirate

@Heathroi - No, that's Privateers

Privateers were the ones given a licence to plunder certain ships, eg those flying the flag of another country. In most cases they were given a ship and a crew to go and do this with.

Essentially they were a deniable part of the military, rather like modern espionage.

Pirates did not, and still do not operate under a licence from anyone, they just board a ship and steal and/or ransom the cargo, crew and passengers.

Back then they'd probably ransom the officers and passengers, using the ship and the money to fund their lifestyle. The crew were probably killed or forced to join the pirate crew.

These days the full ship and crew are ransomed.

This is why the British have a standing policy of never, ever paying a ransom. All it does is fund the next act of piracy. We send in the SAS or SBS instead.

In theory, once they know that boarding a British-flagged vessel will cost them dearly and won't get them any money, they won't bother with ours and will go for other flags.

Finally, some privateers did break the terms of their licence, becoming pirates. Those were the ones who were really hunted down, "por encouragement los autres".

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Apple must apologise for its surly apology on its website on Saturday

Richard 12
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Re: @ Mike Moyle

A Registered Design is the EU equivalent of a US Design Patent.

The cases were on the same thing, the appeal court judgement makes that quite clear and has some very strong language regarding the German court - almost as close to "You bunch of ****ing morons, you on crack or something?" as it's possible to get.

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British judge: Say you're sorry Apple... this time like you MEAN it

Richard 12
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Re: No sense

No, they'd lose.

Actually, I'm wrong, such an appeal wouldn't even be considered because there is no European court that does that.

You'll notice that Apple haven't appealed and they've had a long time to do so, because their lawyers also know this.

Samsung did not infringe the design in question. It's the end of the line. And no, it wasn't because the Apple product was "cooler", it was simply because Samsung's devices don't look like the registered design. Different shape, different buttons etc.

There is still other IP that they are each accused of infringing, but this one is proven and closed.

Let it lie or we are all f***ed, to put it mildly.

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Telefonica fails in bid to claw back 'flip-flop' 2010 termination charges

Richard 12
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Re: Who Pays

They can still offer incentives to get all your friends on the same network.

For example, some providers still offer unlimited free calls within their network, while external calls come from the inclusive minutes.

Number portability means that you have to know that your friend is on the same network instead of guessing from the number, which further encourages you to tell your friends which network you're on - thus more word-of-mouth advertising.

So it still works.

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If you measure IT with PCs, you're doing it wrong

Richard 12
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The data set looks artificially flawed to me

"When Canalys finished its sums for all PCs, tablets and smartphones, Brazier said the firm found just 32% of devices run Windows"

I wonder what they would find if they included the rest of home and business computing?

It seems odd to include tablets and smartphones yet exclude games consoles, STBs (and "Smart" TVs), and the home and business "network appliances" (NAS, hardware firewalls etc).

On a per-device count, my guess is that less than 20% run Windows, and I'd be interested to know how accurate that is.

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Ballmer bets 'all in' on Phone 8 and Windows

Richard 12
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Re: "All Windows 8 devices share the same iconic look and feel."

I don't want my tablet to look like a PC, or my PC to look like a tablet!

Tablets and PCs are different, and require different interfaces.

Trying to make them the same is fundamentally doomed to failure - you either get a tablet you can barely use because the UI expects accurate pointing and a keyboard, or a PC that you can barely use because it expects you to have a touchscreen (extremely tiring for long-term use), only one or two applications running and only one monitor.

Microsoft made the first mistake before - now they are making both mistakes at the same time.

Which is a shame - as a phone or tablet UI, TIFKAM looks like it is actually a pretty good idea. It's Android's live widgets but with sharper corners, and Samsung's Android multi-tasking.

Where Surface fails is the jarring change to the desktop, where Windows 8 fails is the jarring change to TIFKAM.

Windows Phone 8 doesn't have either of those, so might succeed - the risk is that Surface and Windows 8 break it by annoying and confusing customers.

Apple should be worried about WP8 - iOS still has zero info on the home screen, and they desperately need to fix that.

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Yahoo! will! ignore! 'Do! Not! Track!' from! IE10!

Richard 12
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Re: Yahoo! will! ignore! 'Do! Not! Track!' from! IE10!

There are laws that apply to this within the EU, so it will be interesting to see how long this stance lasts once somebody (maybe the French) bring a suit.

Yes, the cookie law does apply - a website cannot ignore a clear instruction from the browser saying "I reject this".

The more general privacy laws probably also apply, but those are likely to be more complex to argue.

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Richard 12
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Re: More Microsoft "doing favors no one asked for"

That's exactly what they did - during setup of your user profile, the question "Do you want evil advertisers to follow your every move on the Internet?" is asked*.

Oddly enough, the vast majority of users pick "No, I don't."

* Example only, actual question received may vary. Not to scale.

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EDF: We'll raise bills 11% - but only 2% is due to energy costs!

Richard 12
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Ho hum - Dinorwig doesn't scale

Well, it could, but we'd need to flood most of the Scottish highlands to cover wind doldrums.

While you might find some people in favour of that, oddly enough the locals don't like the idea.

Although Salmond might as it's one way the Scottish could afford independence, rather like Labour and the ConDems on wind and PV - hell bent on it regardless of cost or feasibility.

Presumably it's a political thing - get into politics and your brain is surgically removed, making you incapable of considering consequences beyond the next election.

The next Parliament is going to be seriously ****ed though, as that seems to be when the lack of energy security is likely to come home to roost.

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Chinese e-cars to turn London cabs green

Richard 12
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186 miles?

I'm pretty sure even London cabbies go further than that every day, so I'm confused. How can this possibly work?

Or are they saying they all need two

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Microsoft's 'official' Windows 8 Survival Guide leaks

Richard 12
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Ctrl + C for Charms?

Does Win 8 not have a copy function anymore?

Why in Dante's 8 pits of Hell did they decide to arbitrarily change common keyboard shortcuts just when users need them the most?

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Windows 8: Is Microsoft's new OS too odd to handle?

Richard 12
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WTF?

Re: ah the knees, methinks they doth jerk too much

Here, I have a crock of shit to sell you. The crock is really good after you clean out the shit.

No, I'm not going to take the shit out of the crock. It's critical to my strategy that everyone gets the shit as well as the crock.

What do you mean, you don't want it? The crock is great! Everyone says so!

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Richard 12
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FAIL

Re: Who moved my cheese?

I've been pressing the Off button to shut down my machine since XP SP2, and possibly longer.

It's even the default functionality under Windows 7 - Vista was the one with the broken default (Sleep!)

My keyboard doesn't have a Start button. It's got a "Windows Logo" button that looks just like the Windows Logo used in the Windows 7 menu that it opens.

So clearly, the Windows 8 version of the keyboard should have a blank, unlabelled key to open the Start Screen.

And GET YOUR ****ING HANDS OFF MY CHEESE. It's pretty clear that you've never actually read that book, as the key point it makes is that change for the sake of change is stupid, as all change causes a loss of productivity in the short term. Change has to have clear reasons, and offer clear benefits to all users or it will create resentment, be passively fought, and even actively sabotaged.

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New Mac mini: Business in the front, party at the back

Richard 12
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FAIL

Where is the front media slot?

The originals had a front DVD slot, and given that USB sticks are the official replacement why oh why is there no front USB port?

The front ports on my desktop and the side ports on my laptop are the ones I use the most. (Ok, there's a pack of things plugged into the rear ports but they are the things that are never unplugged.)

Why do Apple think I should clutter my desk with USB hubs?

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Apple's skinny new iMac line: Farewell, optical drives

Richard 12
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@ Monkeigh

Ouch, thanks. I didn't realise that, I thought the previous generation had screen-edge USB ports.

- I've only got a Mac Mini for test purposes at work.

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Richard 12
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@ Mr Client with the optical disk

Mr Designer, I'll just drop the DVD-R through your letterbox. Don't bother posting them back (5p ea.)

Or Mr Designer, I'll just drop the USB stick through your letterbox, please return them. (£5 - £20 ea.)

Also, never underestimate the bandwidth of a box of DVDs. Even today, posting a few DVDs next-day is often faster than uploading and downloading.

These days clients tend to bring source data on either DVD-R or external hard disk, depending on the amount.

Which raises another annoyance - it look like that new iMac doesn't have any front or edge USB ports. So how do you plug in the client's USB stick or USB HDD without looking like a class berk?

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Windows RT OEMs unveil pricing for Surface wannabes

Richard 12
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Re: "Brand New Operating System"

"Brand new" in the sense that none of the software you currently have will run on it, there is very little software you can buy to run on it and you can't even recompile your own software because it uses a different API (WinRT, no unmanaged code and not .net, silverlight etc).

Which rather feeds into the second issue, of course.

Windows 8 desktop doesn't have those issues outside of the TIFKAM environment so is less doomed, but has other oddities.

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New Oz road rules forbid touching mobes

Richard 12
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Re: Good.

None of them ask for confirmation unless there are multiple "matches".

What I find irritating is that Siri is shit about half of the time that it's working at all, while the voice commands it replaces are quite good - and don't need a data connection.

Seriously - "call such-and-such" "Siri isn't available right now"

WTF Apple!!?

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Apple banishes Java from Mac browsers

Richard 12
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Translated: "This update breaks your Mac...

To fix it, go somewhere else."

That's what most Mac users will actually experience, assuming they are using Java at all.

Given that the whole USP of Mac OS is supposed to be "It just works", this strikes me as a very odd thing to do.

Why exactly didn't Apple just ask Oracle for permission to redistribute their Java installer (saving the hit on Oracle servers), and install the Oracle Java themselves?

At least that way this "upgrade" would have left Apple users with a working computer.

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Calxeda plots server dominance with ARM SoCs

Richard 12
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Re: What they need to work on...

True, that is of course why x86 became so popular in the first place - it was nothing to do with absolute performance, and everything to do with being able to run common binaries.

Unless and until a common "ARM Server" platform exists allowing binary compatibility, it'll stay rather niche.

I say ARM Server because the majority of other manufacturers of ARM kit won't benefit much from common platform - STBs, mobiles, and tablets are (mostly) deliberately incompatible with each other, and the majority of users don't have any reason to care.

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'No cutting off people's internet based on secret evidence'

Richard 12
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Re: Probably not enforceable

And then no hotel, coffee shop, place of work or public area will be able to offer Internet access at all, as the risk would be too great.

This would last until the Palace at Westminster got accused of infringement - which it would.

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Windows 8 and the ‘Dad test’ stunts

Richard 12
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Re: Bollocks

Yes, they are dumped in front of the computer and expected to get on with it!

You even see this with specialised equipment - as long as the machine isn't directly dangerous (and worryingly, sometimes even when it is!)

Just ask anybody who works in technical support!

The only exceptions tend to be CRM systems, presumably because 100% of CRM systems are impenetrable crap that nobody truly understands.

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Microsoft Surface: Designed to win, priced to fail

Richard 12
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Re: Being as good isn't going to cut any ice in market share

The trouble is that Windows 8 RT is Microsoft's attempt at copying Apple iOS control freakery.

Same kind of walled garden, same kind of inter-application sandboxing.

So anybody who dislikes Apple iOS for these things will also hate Windows 8 RT.

The inverse is also true, but less relevant.

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NURSES' natural DESIRES to be SATISFIED, by technology

Richard 12
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Absolutely right

I've been on some jobs where these digi-pens were used.

And they were used in special circumstances for exactly one purpose - partial or even complete sign-off of expensive wares.

Like ships.

Getting out the special paper and digi-pen was a sign that Something Big was about to happen, and some part of a contract was about to be completed.

Every single digi-pen event represented a lot of money changing hands, and that's why they used them - multiply redundant copies of "Yes, pay the supplier a few million pounds"

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Engineer designs glass slipper on Quora

Richard 12
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I also thought she had two feet

Thus when standing still there would be ~250N on the slipper.

When walking this would increase to well above 500N, as there are impact forces to consider, as well as a failure mode that didn't amputate the wearer's foot, so toughened glass would clearly be a minimum requirement.

Perhaps he made the hidden starting assumption that she'd already had a terrible accident with a previous design of glass slipper?

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Swiss photographer sues Apple for pilfering her eyeball

Richard 12
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Re: I know the photographers won't see it this way

There is no difference between taking a photo and creating a work of software.

If your contract assigns the copyright to another entity, then you'll get nothing further than what the contract said.

Most photographers accept both kinds of contract - maybe employed by a studio, then the studio owns the copyright on the photos, maybe they pay the studio for the time and own the photo copyright themselves.

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Richard 12
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Re: Three strikes law

Not really, there's a difference between "hosting user-provided content" that breaches copyright, and using infringing material in products and an advertising campaign.

The former has a valid defence, while the latter doesn't.

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Take away bad drivers' mobile phones, they still crash their cars

Richard 12
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Re: Bananas

To be more serious, smoking.

Smoking while driving is seriously dangerous (and not just because of accidents, they cause wildfires as well) yet it's ignored.

It's even already usually illegal in vans (place of work), yet I've never heard of anybody being cautioned or prosecuted.

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British Library tracks rise and fall of file formats

Richard 12
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Re: Ask someone working in any field

The difficult formats are the proprietary binaries other than word processing. Word processing formats usually have the raw text inside in ASCII or similar well-known representation, so reverse-engineered conversion utils are usually available - even if they only get the text, it's still worthwhile.

However, once you look at other fields you will find many obsolete and difficult formats.

For example: Strand SSF - have to convert to Ascii, using an unsupported and difficult to find Win 95 application called Showport. As far as I know the source code for that program is long gone.

If Strand hadn't written that before going bankrupt then a lot of people would have lost a lot of data.

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Richard 12
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Ask someone working in any field

They'll all be able to tell you of formats that are obsolete, and in some cases impossible to open.

I deal with several completely obsolete formats in my day job - we have several special tools to (mostly) convert them into text-based formats that the modern systems will open with varying degrees of success.

Assuming you have a working floppy disk drive, serial port and Windows XP emulation that can use them.

However, while they can extract the really important info, none of them get 100% of the data - usually 95-99% or so.

Unfortunately there are also some formats with no tools at all, and they are less than 20 years old - with the hardware still in use.

Because of this, all our current systems have ASCII export built-in from day one - oddly, most of our competitors do not.

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Kernel crimps make Windows 8 a hacker hassle

Richard 12
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All very well until someone gets the keys to the castle

Then every Windows 8 machine will get "owned", without anybody being able to do anything about it.

Specially trusted drivers guaranteed to load before anything else? Root kit paradise.

The TIFKAM sandboxes sound even more fun - are they seriously saying that I can't open a particular data file with two different TIFKAM applications?

What kind of user never needs to use a different application to open a given file?

What happens when you want to open that old Word 2012 document with Word 2014? Or even OpenOffice 50?

How do you edit a photo? Add an image to a document? Do all those things which are necessary for content creation?

This seems to be saying that you instantly lose all your data if you want to try out a different TIFKAM application for X.

They've put the nails in Windows 8's coffin before it's even born!

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That horrendous iPhone empurplement - you're holding it wrong

Richard 12
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Devil

Re: Next iPhone accessory?

You mean black paint, ribbed for (her) pleasure?

That'll be in there already, Apple buy the whole lens assy and sensor from others.

A built-in lens hood is highly unlikely - the geometry simply won't fit the aesthetic. A stick-on one would be trivial though.

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Bing is the most heavily poisoned search engine, study says

Richard 12
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Why nudge the spammers under rocks?

Better to drop really big rocks on them.

Find the C&C servers, follow the chain of where the Sara comes from and then either smash them with local law enforcement (if applicable) or drop them off the Internet.

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Don't panic, but UK faces BLACKOUTS BY 2015

Richard 12
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Unhappy

I would really like one

Trouble is they cost far too much.

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