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* Posts by Richard 12

1589 posts • joined 16 Jun 2009

NSA data centre launch delayed as power surges 'melt metal, zap racks'

Richard 12
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Crossed phases don't do that.

Confusing a live for neutral, a wild leg for a normal one or an actual phase-to-phase short can destroy things, merely connecting incoming phase A to equipment B, in B to C and in C to A would have no effect at all, and getting them in the wrong order just makes the motor spin backwards.

Electricity does not work that way!

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Richard 12
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Re: Lightning in a 2 foot box

Nope, it'll be a flashover between busbars about 1-2" apart.

There are many possible causes of that, from "somebody left/dropped a spanner/ring/washer/screw in there" to "circuit overloaded and breaker didn't contain the disconnection arc"

In many cases there's basically no evidence left as once started, the arc vaporises everything nearby.

The six months will have been the blamestorming of "it's the designer's fault", "it's the contractors fault", "it's the downstream equipment" (impossible), "bad breaker", "bad busbars", "customer overloaded it" (which actually means bad breaker or shoddy design/build) etc.

My wild guess would be a screw in the chamber.

But this is the USA, where electrical standards are generally poor and different everywhere. It's only recently that live working has become frowned upon!

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UK bankers prep for cyberwar: Will simulate ATTACK on system

Richard 12
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Announced tests like this are useless

"Ok guys, nobody answer any emails today, that way we won't get caught out"

The day after this 'test' is what worries me, because they'll be rushing through everything to catch up, thus ripe for social engineering attacks.

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GitHub wipes hand across bloodied face, stumbles from brutal DDoS beating

Richard 12
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Re: One question not covered

I just use Git GUI.

Almost everything I need to do is a click on a button or menu option, and when I've needed to do something more esoteric I just Google it and add it to the "custom tools" menu so it becomes just another menu option.

There are annoyances with it - the tags list gets too long & can't easily edit a custom tool (have to open config file), but overall it's much easier than VSS or ClearCase so I'm happy.

Mercurial may well be better but I've not used it.

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Down with Unicode! Why 16 bits per character is a right pain in the ASCII

Richard 12
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Re: Java

I hate the datatype "char" and refuse point blank to use it.

I use quint8/qint8 or uint8/int8 for an 8-bit unsigned/signed value (depending on whether I'm Cute at the time).

"char" should be banned. It's confused.

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Icahn to Cook: 'Buy back $150bn of Apple's stock, or tell me why you won't'

Richard 12
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Devil

Absolutely right

Cook's big mistake was talking to the guy in the first place. I think we can safely say that Jobs would not have done.

Icahn should be ignored under all circumstances, nothing good ever comes from talking to him.

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EU move to standardise phone chargers is bad news for Apple

Richard 12
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Re: Sorry to sound like a Yank

You're sounding very foolish now.

Are you trolling or is English or Americanese not your native language?

The word "Most" was used because Apple, and Apple alone, do not comply.

Thus I could not say "All" without also claiming that iPhone 5/5S/5C are not modern phones.

We can discuss the merits of that argument another time.

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Richard 12
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Re: Sorry to sound like a Yank

You are aware that left to themselves they will never standardise?

Every single phone manufacturer will deliberately use a different charger connector purely and simply so they can price-gouge you for replacement chargers/cables, and have some brand lock-in for your next phone.

They'll also patent their connector and do other dirty tricks to ensure cheap clones of their cable are much more difficult to make and can't be imported.

You have the EU to thanks for the fact that most modern phones are chargeable via the same micro-USB cable, with Apple being the only one that isn't.

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WHY didn't Microsoft buy RIM? Us business blokes would have queued for THAT phone

Richard 12
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Nope, MS definitely shouldn't have bought BlackBerry

BlackBerry's key strengths are their email, messaging and OS.

Microsoft didn't want any of those because they already have Exchange and Windows Phone 8, both of which are clearly considered core to their business plan.

Nokia's only remaining asset was hardware. They already threw away all their software.

Thus, what do you buy?

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APPLE is the new COCA-COLA: Bubble-beverage globocorp beaten by Foxconn rebrander

Richard 12
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GE makes no sense on this list

I only know they exist because I buy their lamps if I can't get Ushio - a brand it's pretty likely none of you commentards have heard of.

As a consumer brand they simply don't exist, unlike say Philips.

As an industrial manufacturer GE are huge.

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Global execs name Apple 'most innovative company' – again

Richard 12
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Re: Depends what you mean by innovation

But they haven't done any of that in the last few years.

Their business innovation and technical innovations all happened years ago, and their recent success is due to "surfing the wave".

The only innovation this year was adding a fingerprint scanner to a phone. That's it - no business innovations at all. Everything else is simple incremental steps made obvious, nay necessary, by the innovations of other companies.

Both Samsung and Nokia were more innovative with their new phones - especially Nokia, rest in peace.

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Richard 12
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More obviously, where is ARM?

Given that almost everything the top few have was made possible by ARM's innovations, it's clearly not about innovation and all about market visibility.

Not surprising though, surveys like this always were popularity contests that are very easy for the surveyor to influence.

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Apple iOS 7 makes some users literally SICK. As in puking, not upset

Richard 12
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Re: IOS7.0.2 email issues

I've found iOS Exchange email sync to be half broken from the beginning, no real change there at all.

The new layout feels a little better, except you still cannot close a folder or change the order in any way.

I have folders that I never care about on my phone, but the only possible way to get then out of the way was to prefix them with "z" to push them to the bottom of the sort order.

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Richard 12
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Re: How much do you have to use your phone to get seasick from it?

Boats always move, so entirely possible.

Especially a small boat, which will have moved under his foot as he stepped on board.

I don't know anyone that bad, but I can well believe it.

Obviously not a guy who's going to enjoy sailing.

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Richard 12
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How does one do that then?

The publicity photos (and even videos) can only show you what it looks like, not what it feels like.

The only way you can tell if the upgrade is going to make you sick is to try it for a few hours.

- A brief poke in the pub won't help unless your symptoms are acute.

The only way you can try it for a few hours is to upgrade, unless you've got a friend happy to give you their phone for a day.

So the only way to know if it's going to make you sick is to upgrade it and try it.

Once you find that it's awful, then what?

All other smartphones and computers can be rolled back at will - not always easily but it is possible without preparation prior to upgrade.

iOS devices cannot be rolled back once the public release occurs, unless you take specific steps to keep the old keys before upgrading.

These people are not developers, they are not programmers or hackers, they just want their phone to work without making then sick.

Excessive animations are well-known to cause nausea in some people, which is why every single other OS allows you to turn them off.

Except Apple.

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US House Republicans: 'End net neutrality or no debt ceiling deal' – report

Richard 12
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Re: Will Google change sides?

Pretty sure that's Google advertising to show it's not evil - or hedging it's bets by diversifying.

Google still make nearly all of their money through online advertising, which means it most definitely needs as many consumers as possible to see them.

What would happen if an ISP could charge more for ad traffic from some ad brokers than others, or even block adverts altogether?

Now swap "adverts" for something your employer makes their money from.

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Richard 12
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Re: @Chad

Hey, Central and South America don't want your idiots, they have enough of their own.

Catapult them towards Hawaii, just make sure it only goes halfway.

Or dump them in central Greenland, let the Danish polar bears deal with them.

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Highways Agency tracks Brits' every move by their mobes: THE TRUTH

Richard 12
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If every journey had a unique ID with nothing to link it then there would be little to worry about.

- still possible to identify where people living at addresses in/near the covered areas work, but that route is part of the point.

The problem is that we don't know.

We didn't know they were doing this, and we don't know what the anonymisation method is.

If the method is "each phone has a random GUID" then it's not actually anonymous at all, because it becomes trivial to track an individual all over and then link everything together if they go somewhere "interesting".

So how is it done?

Without knowing the method, it's impossible to know whether the data is actually anonymous, or just "We changed everybody's name but you can still see their faces"

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Richard 12
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Re: I am screwing up the results!

That explains the M4 bus lane!

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Chaos Computer Club: iPhone 5S finger-sniffer COMPROMISED

Richard 12
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Re: This is the most assine article ever....

You are aware that Flight Mode is available by default when the phone is locked?

Thus trivially defeating Find My Phone by default.

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Sofas with a roof and Star Trek seating: The future of office furniture?

Richard 12
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@Gavin King Re: Hotdesking is just evil

Hotdesking means having to carry all your paperwork around, it can't be left on the desk or locked in the desk drawer.

When that paperwork is a set of annotated building drawings, that's easily more than a kg of paper for just one project.

When you're working on multiple projects at the same time, it rapidly becomes impossible.

A notepad is a like a book but without any words inside it. You use a pen or pencil to put your own words and diagrams inside. Thoroughly recommended, they work almost everywhere even without electrical power or batteries, and some models are even waterproof!

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Richard 12
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That circular pod is just insane.

Perfect for wasting tens of expensive square footage by making them utterly unusable.

Circular is BAD. It does not nest, it doesn't fit in with anything else - and often makes a large space claustrophobic, because you're always close to a wall.

What is it with these "design" people anyway? Most of those would be dangerous in a fire as hard to evacuate (and check), claustrophobic and unusable by anyone not the exact size and shape of the designer.

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Richard 12
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Hotdesking is just evil

I hate hotdesking, it makes it impossible to personalise your space and worse, makes your notepads and printed copy a hindrance instead of the help it should be.

And yes, printed copy is necessary if you have fewer than four monitors or if your monitors are only 1080p or smaller.

Notepads are simply fundamental - you can sketch a thing faster on a bit of paper than it could ever be drawn on a computer, and it's compatible with all software and fully multi-tasked.

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Richard 12
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Re: Loosing

One does not "fire" an arrow - unless you mean the action shortly before shooting a burning one.

An arrow is shot, loosed or released.

Although I suppose loosing an arrow tends to happen just before losing it!

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Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

Richard 12
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Creation of "life" is easier than it sounds

Because it's only got to happen once on the entire planet.

Think about it - if one molecule exists that automatically makes copies of itself, it will make copies until it runs out of material.

Allow for the occasional non-fatal error, and we have bootstrapped evolution that only needs time and energy input.

Panspermia simply expands the possible volume to encompass more worlds, as it says it's only got to have happened once within a possible-to-travel spacetime cone.

And doesn't necessarily require any more than one arrival on a pristine planet, either.

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Microsoft: Surface a failure? No, it made us STRONGER

Richard 12
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Re: they must be doing something wrong....

Most of that is "automatic", like the banks "borrow at 0.5%, lend at 6-20%".

In other words, if you do nothing at all you continue to make large profits, and you have to try really hard to lose money.

Eg by writing off multiple billions on failed projects.

Like Mr B has done several times.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it ... Win Phone 8? No, it's APPLE'S iOS 7

Richard 12
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Re: Non Retina

Thanks for that, I'd never have found it otherwise.

Two things rather surprised me though:

Why does making the font bold force a reboot?

And why didn't it change the text on the onscreen keyboard?

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Korean stealth-scraper plans will turn 450 metre tower INVISIBLE

Richard 12
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What will it do the rest of the time?

The invisibility trick is the same as that thing Richard Hammond's team did with a van.

It needs a fairly high resolution display up the entire side of the building, perhaps around one pixel per metre. The technology is simple, just expensive - we've done higher pixel counts before (along a bridge)

The "Flame towers" in Azerbaijan are basically the same thing in fact, just different media source.

At night one could do rather a lot with that - here's hoping we get the job, could be fun!

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City of Munich throws Ubuntu lifeline to Windows XP holdouts

Richard 12
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Or they don't want to spend money on their PC

Believe it or not, there are plenty of people to whom their computer is just a tool for writing & printing the odd document and visiting a couple of sites on the Internet.

An upgrade to Win7 or 8, or a new PC would cost them quite a bit of cash, which they either can't afford or simply don't want to spend, as they have other priorities.

A free upgrade to Linux may well give them with a faster computer capable of opening the latest document formats and visiting their favourite websites (possibly better with HTML5 and all that jazz), for zero money.

This would be something relevant to their interests, unlike shelling out more cash on "the grey box under the computer"

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In MASSIVE surprise, world+dog discovers Nokia checked out Android

Richard 12
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Re: Who "finessed" who?

You are aware that Elop bought high, sold low?

He presided over (and probably directly caused) the biggest crash in shareholder value Nokia has ever had.

Perhaps it would have fallen anyway, but it probably wouldn't have been as fast or as far, though alternate futures are hard to predict.

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Richard 12
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Re: Who "finessed" who?

That only works if you care exclusively about the continued existence of the Nokia parent company, and don't care about the public brand, the staff or the shareholders.

Sounds pathological to me.

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ISPs set to install network-level smut filters despite Lib Dem opposition

Richard 12
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I wouldn't mind except they are lying

"The decision to turn on filters is then put into the hands of parents and carers who know best what is appropriate for their children."

(My emphasis)

By pre-ticking "turn on filter" they are in fact pushing you to have the filter, and it's actually "the decision to turn OFF filters".

Not to mention that a website owner can't get their site unblocked or compensation for wrongful blocking, this is an all-or-nothing concept, with no granularity (why can't I see porn on my login to the home WiFi, even though my kids can't?), is trivially bypassed by accident (connect to next-doors WiFi) and rightfully would need to block most of the "Red-top" news sites, Mumsnet, half of YouTube...

Basically, it's a bit of knee-jerk twattery that not only won't work, fundamentally can't possibly "work" in the way that its been claimed, will do a lot of damage and then get quietly (or perhaps loudly) dropped.

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How to get a Raspberry Pi to take over your Robot House

Richard 12
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Re: *Off Topic Feature Request*

You'll need to specify the hardware for the wireless RS232. If its transparently a serial port to Linux then this is easy.

Plus a link to the spec for ASCOMM, I couldn't find one in a quick search from my phone in a train station.

Either way, the Raspberry PI forums are probably a better place for you to put the request. Somebody might have already done it!

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Microsoft mocks Apple and new iPhones in vids it quickly pulls

Richard 12
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Re: Interview? An Hilarious....

That rather depends upon ones accent.

It's an 'ilarious video, isn't it Private?

Or rather, it's not.

Clearly an internal video that somebody posted onto the general intertubes without thinking about it, then got a telling off and pulled it.

Rather like that infamous Rainbow recording...

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Windows 8.1: Microsoft's reluctant upgrade has a split-screen personality

Richard 12
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That's rubbish and you know it.

Most users already know which mode they want as default.

And if the option wasn't buried away in an near-impossible to find, illogical place, they could easily change their mind as they begin to use the device in their real world.

Even better, the convertibles *know* their hardware configuration so auto-selecting "users tablet/users laptop" mode at boot would be trivial MS they cared about user preferences.

It's this way because Microsoft know damn well that TIFKAM is despised by the majority, and their current strategy requires that it be rammed down all our throats.

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Richard 12
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@mmeier

Given that quite a few programs (i.e Firefox) stack the "start new instance" and "running instances" icons

That's done by the Windows Taskbar from Vista/7 onwards, it's nothing to do with the application.

It is possible to force Windows not to stack, but it's difficult and Microsoft strongly discourage it, going so far as to bury the API. I don't get why, as many non-trivial programs have items of different "types" which probably should not stack.

Also, some older windowing toolkits (eg Delphi 6) avoid it because of the way they work, introducing different and highly annoying oddities.

Of course, in TIFKAM it's simply impossible to have more than one instance of an App running so you don't actually care about this at all.

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Bin half-baked Raspberry Pi hubs, says Pimoroni: Try our upper-crust kit

Richard 12
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Re: You can get the AC adaptor with either UK or European power pins

Ring mains solve quite a few problems compared to radials or spurs in a domestic environment.

Much higher current available at a double (or triple) socket (kettle plus microwave at the same double socket), and no marshalling or junction boxes needed to join any number of sockets to a single fuse/RCBO/MCB at the fuse box/DB, as there will only ever be two cables at each join.

Construction is the same really, just pull the cable along the route and back, with a loop of spare at each socket, and if a run is hard, just cut at a socket and pull that run direct, same as for radials and spurs.

Not sure what you mean by "shrouded", but sleeved L&N pins have been a requirement on both BS1363 and BS546 since 1984, making it safe to slide child fingers behind the plug while it's being inserted and removed.

I've also not seen a BS1363 socket damaged by overload except when a fake (or wrong/no) fuse had been fitted.

That said, the "stackabilty" of the NZ/AUS plugs is rather nice and avoids a problem faced elsewhere.

Many UK multi-way adapters are actually rated at 6A or 10A total, making them annoying and sometimes dangerous as people may refit the wrong fuse after overloading them.

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Richard 12
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Re: You can get the AC adaptor with either UK or European power pins

But standing on a UK plug won't break it. You have to drop them quite a long way onto a hard surface to damage them.

Standing on any of the myriad of EU plugs may break it, standing on a NZ/AUS plug will probably break it, and looking vaguely in the direction of a US Edison plug will shatter it into a myriad of pieces.

And no, there's no such thing as a standard EU mainland plug anyway. The only thing that's common across most of the EU is the approximate location and rough size of the two Live/Neutral pins.

Spain and France (CEE 7/5) are round and have a female PE off-centre, Germany (CEE 7/4) are round and use clips at the top/bottom, Denmark has a half-round PE, Switzerland (not EU but close) are roughly diamon-shaped with a round PE off-center, while Italian plugs (CEI 23-16) put the PE exactly in the middle and come in two nearly-identical but incompatible sizes, neither of which quite match anything else. Multi-standard sockets that meet CEE 7/4 as well as CEI 23-16 are getting common the Italy.

It's only physically possible to get a CEE 7/7 plug that correctly fits German and French (CEE 7/4 and 7/5) sockets. All the others are incompatible due to the impossibility of getting the Protective Earth.

The closest thing to an "EU mainland plug" is the un-earthed CEE 7/16 - which isn't a safe way of powering anything other than Class II equipment, and doesn't work in Italy.

In summary - everybody should use either B1363 or BS546 plugs and sockets, because those are by far the best ever invented.

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Corel re-animates zombie brand for patent case

Richard 12
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Dear Google

Fight this. Fight it and kill it stone dead.

For the love of software, you need to do it to prevent the next piece of patent hostage taking.

Don't settle. Paying ransom money just funds the next patent attack or hostage taking and encourages other firms to try it on.

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'Beat the lie detectors' trainer sentenced to 8 months in jail

Richard 12
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Re: Took a test once, never again

You're making the fundamental error of assuming they actually work, when they don't.

The only way they do work is when the testee thinks they work - much like Napier's soot-stained cock.

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Microsoft's VDI deals make Windows Server cheapest desktop OS

Richard 12
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Buying in Virtual Windows Desktops is dangerous then

So, right now you can do it with Windows Server, how long before MS notice and change the licensing rules?

Then what happens?

The hosting costs suddenly multiply by however many customers were sharing the Windows hardware. So the customer gets a x3 - x10 monthly bill increase, and/or the host goes bankrupt and the customers are screwed because all their computers stop working.

So quite simply, it's too dangerous to contemplate outsourcing a virtual Windows desktop.

And that's what MS wants, they don't want people being able to buy-in virtual desktop machines, they want thick clients running full-fat desktop Windows.

If a company wants to outsource their virtual desktop and actually save money rather than paying more, they must use Linux desktops - that's the only way to be sure that your contract costs won't suddenly multiply in the future.

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Virgin Galactic spaceship goes supersonic in second test flight

Richard 12
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Re: Virgin penetrates void

Yes, but out at the moon doing a urine dump or two can put you into a stable orbit from sub-orbital.

The point is that it doesn't have the delta-v for an orbit, which makes it considerably simpler.

For starters, no need to decelerate or aerobrake to get home safe. Just stay oriented and there you go...

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Richard 12
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Just make sure there's a dog on board

Don't want the pilot touching the controls...

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Sysadmins hail Windows Server 2012 R2's killer ... clipboard?

Richard 12
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"No-one's asked"

Translation - the ones who want it already know that it doesn't do it and bought something else that does.

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Windows 8.1 to freeze out small business apps

Richard 12
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Developers developers? Screw the developers!

This is probably the biggest reason Win8's TIFKAM is already dead.

It's hard to develop for, the rules mean no non-trivial applications, it's impossible to test...

Is it any wonder end users don't like it? All it ever manages is to get in the way of their "normal" Windows experience, which is where all their software actually lives.

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Xbox One launch date REVEALED - and it's on the 360's birthday

Richard 12
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Or Option 3:

Make the smallest number you can get away with, in case an important hardware design issue is found - or it's a flop.

Then you have far fewer that have to be repaired/replaced, and even more importantly, aren't left with a massive stock you can't sell because they're either flawed and need parts replacing, or nobody wants them.

Both of these scenarios have hit MS in the past - RRoD, Surface RT...

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Happy 50th birthday, Compact Cassette: How it struck a chord for millions

Richard 12
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*Ahem*

Windows and Linux recording software can use the live audio output of the PC as the recording source, no cables required. Still digital all the way as it's a function of the audio CODEC chipset.

Macs probably do the same but I don't have one.

(Yes, I am saying that all DRM ever applied to music is completely and utterly incapable of doing what it's designed to. When Bob, Eve and Mallory are the same entity, what does one expect?)

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Microsoft cans three 'pinnacle' certifications, sparking user fury

Richard 12
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Re: Certification devalued

I'd agree if it was the bottom end they were scrapping.

However, that bottom end of "You turned up, have a cert." is staying.

It's the top end that's being killed - the ones who are few in number and peer-reviewed, so they have to be convincing (if not actually good) enough for their competitors to acknowledge that they should be in the club.

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Hey, Bill Gates! We've found 14 IT HOTSHOTS to be the next Steve Ballmer

Richard 12
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Re: Money men

If they get one of those financial-manipulators, MS will have ceased to be within a decade.

They have a pretty big cash pile, but without compelling product they'll burn it very quickly.

That's been Ballmers problem - he's burnt a few billion in the last few years, and you simply can't keep doing that.

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Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Getting pop stars wired for 30 years

Richard 12
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Boffin

Re: One really cool feature...

The ANSI E1.11 - DMX512A standard requires the receiving circuit to be electrically isolated, and has done since 1990. IIRC, only the original 1986 version of the standard didn't require it, but did recommend it.

See sections 4.6, 5.7 and Figure 3. (There may be an RF bypass capacitor to Chassis, but nothing else.)

There is some very old (pre-1990) reputable kit without it, but nothing reputable designed since 1990.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of cheapskate pieces of **** which use an explicitly disallowed receiver circuit which breaks that isolation, either to save ~5p on 5V-ISO and opto or because they have never actually read any of the standard. I'm guessing the latter, as there's been a lot of inaccurate or outright wrong info on the Internet over the years. (Including some app notes with firmware (PIC) that get it wrong.)

This kind of equipment can usually be identified by the 3-pin XLR connector labelled "DMX", which is also specifically prohibited by the standard.

The standard is currently available for free from PLASA Technical Standards Program.

The reason MIDI uses current loop and DMX512A doesn't is that MIDI is a point-to-point (daisychaining is not recommended, but works for very short runs), while DMX512A is 31-receiver multidrop over very long (500m) runs where the devices could be a long distance from each other.

Current loop doesn't work for a long multidrop run as the resistance of the cable means the current vanishes into the first couple of receivers.

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