* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

4840 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

You shrunk the database into a .gz and the app won't work? Sigh

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Backup tapes...

I had a safe by my desk in a previous job. It used to be the finance manager's office - but he'd changed. Turns out the reason is that the safe door broke, so rather than remove the safe, he simply ordered a new one to be delieved to a different office, and swapped...

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My headset is reading my mind and talking behind my back

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Re: sunnies after dark ?

Surely the solution to the nighttime oncoming beams of Hades - or BMW Laser Lights [TM], as I believe they're better known - is obvious.

Just get yourself a pair of Joo Janta peril sensitive sunglasses. You too can look as cool as President Zaphod Beeblebrox - and will also be spared the retina-burning sight of your impending death by Beemer.

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Re: Fat-Burning Hats

this particular nugget of wisdom comes from arctic enviroment studies where the outside tempreture is in negative numbers and the person is wearing an inch thick insulation everywhere else on the body other than the head.

He suggested that this might not be quite so correct in the UK.

Well... Except Skegness...

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Tech support scammers mess with hacker's mother, so he retaliated with ransomware

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Re: lol the reg should send him some quality rewards

No, the BofH would only be pleased. There were no cattle prods, or rolled up carpets and quicklime. So probably only a B+.

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Re: I got my virus scammer into a furious antisemitic raving...

My brother, quite an RP / BBC english voice, managed to wind one of them up into a screaming rage too. After he'd realised he'd been had our Indian friend screamed, "fuck off you fucking paki" at him. Much to my brother's credit he managed to avoid laughing, and replied, "no you fuck off, you phoned me."

At which point they got into a bizarre 2 minute exchange consisting of the Indian guy saying, "fuck off!" but not hanging up, and my brother saying, "no, you fuck off first." By which point I was in pain from laughing.

You'd have thought the guy would just want to get onto the next call, which might make some money, but I guess he was too pissed off.

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Yeah, my Mum got the call from "TalkTalk" when she was expecting a real one. And their call centres are also in India, so it was hard to tell. Fortunately all they did with Team Viewer was to take her to the Western Union transfer website, at which point her scam alarms went off, and she called me to detoxify the computer.

I recently read that not only had they lost all their users records, but their enineering database has also been hacked, so I'm not sure if this was just dumb luck or good planning from the scumbags.

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Penetration tech: BAE Systems' new ammo for Our Boys and Girls

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I presume because they also made the round longer. After all, it is supposed to achieve greater penetration to please the customer...

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Happy Anniversary: What’s new, what’s missing in Microsoft’s giant mobile update

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Re: Skype on Winphone 8.1

That's actaully the problem with Android. Too many toys. Obviously great for geeks to play with, but I want a nice simple phone that doesn't need too much maintenance. Obviously, I'm happy to spend a bit of time getting it set-up just right.

My Mum is my guide to hardware complication. It took her about 3 months to get comfortable with her iPad (she was never a happy PC user even after 20 years). She's got my brother's old MacBook nowadays - and I still get the odd question on that.

But after half an hour to show her how to use her Windows phone, I've had only 2 calls for help in a year! She's happy about that - and I'm ecstatic...

To be fair, there's a lack of apps (so also less need for help), but she's got an iPad for those, and we discussed her needs when we chose it.

My next phone will probably be a 'droid, just because I dsilike the iPhone addressbook and phone controls, and my phone is a work telephone first - and everything else is secondary.

For me a phone is about simplicity and getting stuff done in a hurry. A tablet is for play and a PC for a bit of both.

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Re: Ahh makes sense now

So, is it time to finally upgrade? Got a Lumia 735, still happily on 8.1. Is it worth taking the plunge to upgrade? Or should I just stick with what I've got? I quite like the OS, even though there's too many apps missing. It's got the benefit of being easy to use, and having big buttons (and big writing). Very useful for stabbing at it when walking, and not wearing reading glasses.

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Gun-jumping French pols demand rapid end to English in EU

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Re: DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?

When I lived in Belgium I found myself dreaming in french, after a month or two. The annoying thing was not only did I speak better french while asleep, but I was much better at remembering specific vocabulary while dreaming - and it just isn't practical to take your bed with you to the pub...

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Late night smartphone use makes women go blind

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Re: Haar!

Interesting, as British bombers were only expected to have a one way journey with their airfield having been destroyed by the mutual destruction going the other way!

As I understand it, they planned their own missions - and they had a nice bunker to do it in, full of all the latest intel, maps of the Soviet Union etc. So all they were issued with was their targets.

Once they'd done that, they got to use whatever fuel they had left to plan their escape. It was rather unlikely that there'd be anything to come home to - and other than maybe those bombing Leningrad, not many of them would have had the fuel anyway. I get the impression from the odd interview I've seen and read that none of them took this part of the mission planning terribly seriously. I guess if you were near a neutral border, you could try to cross, land and hope for the best. On the other hand, as the rather obvious agents of the nuclear destruction of large parts of civilisation - you might not be terribly popular.

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Major Tim Peake comes home to a gastronaut's Sunday roast

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Re: Ethnocentric reporting

Chris Hadfield got a lot of coverage. Because of that song he, well seemingly his son, released - plus all his excellent (and popular) YouTubery. He got more coverage than anybody on the ISS that I can remember. Even more than Luca Parmitano trying to be the first man to drown in space.

Whether the UK press' appetite had been whetted by the announcement that Tim Peake was up soon, or whether it was just the right time, I'm not sure. But there seems to have been more mainstream media coverage of space of late - the Mars rovers, a little of SpaceX, Hadfield and Peake. Philae doing it's comety bouncy thing.

I suspect that some of it is good communications, but also the sense that different things are happening. Perhaps even interesting things. And that gets the news people interested And if you can get publicity, you're that much closer to getting funding. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.

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2.5kg of roasties and 46 Yorkshire puddings, 2.5kg of meat and one litre of gravy.

Please tell me that this stuff got eaten, after the photo was taken. And quickly too! Surely they can't have allowed all that cruncy yorkshire and roastie delicousness to go to waste?

Oh and some vegetables too...

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Re: Misread this...

Well you have to eat with special utensils in space - because liquids behave all funny, and you don't want them spread all round the station, and in the air filters.

So he's been leading a gravy-less (as well as almost gravityless) exisitence for the last 6 months. And now has to master the delicate task of getting foods such as cabbage or yorkshires into his mouth, without dribbling gravy down his chin / shirt.

Hopefully this is part of the vital space medicine research that he is undertaking.

Obviously radiation exposure and loss of bone density are a massive problem to be overcome on any trip to Mars. But it's a concept too horrible to contemplate, that returning astronauts might find themselves medically unable to eat yorkshire puddings again!

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Strawberry moon tonight

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But nobody would want to look at an asparagus moon.

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SpaceX winning streak meets explosive end

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Re: The Alternative Solution

A rocket landing on its own plume can land on pretty much any solid body in the solar system.

Not marshmallow...

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Re: 3 engines good, 2 engines bad..

All they need to do is introduce a PAUSE button into the control system. Then just hit that, sort the problems out, get another coffee, and continue with the landing.

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Re: The Alternative Solution

This is a lot harder than it looks. And we're currently short of several technologies to do it.

You need to be doing 17,500 mph to get into orbit. That's quite quick. As well as being a long way to go up. And there are various technical challenges to overcome in a working spaceship.

Wings are extremely attactive, as they cover the going up bit rather efficiently, and a lot of the weight of the rocket is stupid amounts of rocket fuel needed purely to lift the other stupid amounts of rocket fuel the first few thousand feet. But there's a big problem with wings. Once you're in the upper atmosphere and space they stop doing you any good, and are now just added weight. But even worse, when you try to bring your spaceship back down to earth, they become incredibly dangerous. because now, in order to get down from insanely fast orbital velocities to sensible lower atmosphere aeroplane ones, you have to aerobrake. Using friction with the atmosphere to slow you down. And this is hot. Hence the shuttle being covered in ceramic tiles, which are quite heavy. And if enough break off means you kill everyone. You could of course do more braking in space, but that means carrying the fuel up there, which means less payload, which means you can't do the stuff you went up there for.

Going for a lifting-body, rather than wings, might help a lot here though. The Shuttle's wings were apparently an Air Force idea, to do sneaky moves back down from orbits no-one was expecting.

The next problem is engines. Jets are great in the lower atmosphere, but even ramjets need air to work. Once you've gone too high for that, you still have to carry your own oxidisers - and you get more whoosh-for-your-weight with rocket fuel than jet fuel. If you have two engines, then that's extra weight to take up there and bring back down - we don't yet have a hybrid engine to do both. Though Reaction Engines are working on something to do this job. But their design only gets a few passegers or a small satellite up there, it doesn't do heavy lift.

One thing that helps might be to split the craft. You have a chunky old Jumbo Jet type thing (or Virgin's White Knight) to do the runway take off, carrying the actual spaceship up to 40-50,000 feet. Then releasing it and coming back down to land. That's your superflous jets and big wings. You then only need to design something to start at 500mph at 45,000ft - but that still needs a dirty great rocket strapped on the back, or to have some hybrid air-breathing/rocket engine we've not yet designed.

Which is why we're still using rockets. And SpaceX decided to try the hard problem of landing one, rather than the even harder wings/lifting-body thing.

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Apple and Android wearables: What iceberg? It’s full steam ahead!

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Re: A broken watch tells the right time twice a day?

what new functionality do they bring to the table, what problem do they solve?

Smartphones? Well compared with green screen multi-day batter life phones you get sat-nav, decent email clients, the internet, bus and train timetable apps, mobile banking (if you trust it), music playback, podcasts, games. Yup they're definitely worth the extra hassle of daily charging. Particularly as the batteries prefer to be kept above 50% nowadays, so even though mine easily lasts two days I charge it overnight anyway.

As for smart watches? I don't get it myself. Once you're doing something on the watch, you may as well pull the phone out, and have a bigger screen.

But then I hate the internet on my 5" phone screen. And so if I'm doing anything more than looking up an address or timetable I'll just tether the phone to my tablet, and use that.

It's horses for courses and each to their own. What works for one person, doesn't for another.

On the other hand, £400 watches that only last for a year or two before needing to be replaced seem awfully expensive. Particularly given how nice a phone you can get for under £200 now, the top-end phones are a rip-off to be avoided in my book. But if you've got a bit of money spare and fancy some techno-bling, who am I to argue.

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Re: A broken watch tells the right time twice a day?

I'm not sure I agree that charging a watch every night is all that hard. I leave mine on, but most people I know take their watch off when they go to bed. If the charging cable / pad is already on the bedside table - why's that so hard to do? Not that I have a smart watch, given I'd have to take my reading glasses out of my bag to be able to do anything other than telling the time on that small a screen, whereas I can get my phone out of my pocket one-handed and the text is set large enough to squint at without glasses.

It's the same with phones though. They need a daily charge, and you just get used to it. It goes on the table by the bed, with the alarm set to wake me up, so it ain't hard to plug it in. This one has a coil in the back, so I could get a charging pad if I liked, but £25 seems like too much money to save the oh so onerous task of picking up the end of the lead from the table-top and shoving it in the phone as I put it down.

Admittedly it's a bit harder when you travel, and you've got phone and tablet chargers to remember. And if it's for longer cords for shaver and toothbrush too. So adding an extra phone charger and possibly another adapter is more of an annoyance.

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Fly to Africa. Survive helicopter death flight to oil rig. Do no work for three weeks. Repeat

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Re: Take a dip

I had a teacher who took snuff. He smoked a foul pipe in his own classroom, and we just had to put up with it. But other teachers wouldn't allow him to smoke in there's, so he resorted to the snuff.

We had a game, which was to ask him questions that required him to write on the blackboard, just as he took the snuffbox out. Thus he'd put it away and get busy with the chalk. We once managed to get his hands shaking so much from lack of nicotine, that he dropped his snuffbox.

I've just realised, that I might sound a bit old. Chalk, blackboard, smoking in class, snuff. Does it help that he was my latin teacher? No?

He subsequently wrote a not bad comic novel about a latin professor unappreciated by his not very bright students. It's just possible that I may have helped inspire that...

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Mum went to visit friends in Khartoum. Her luggage consisted of two suitcases barely containing the lightest Summer clothing she had. A couple of books. A bunch of cauliflower, leeks and apples packed amongst the clothes, them being the fresh veg her friends desperately wanted to eat. Marmite, chocolate and peanut butter. A 20kg container of tools for a car mechanic. Her luggage came to 80kg (about 15kg of it hers) - and her excess baggage charge came to nothing. People flying to Africa travel heavy. Those same friends subsequently moved to Nigeria - and on one trip took a washing machine as luggage - Ian managed to talk his way out of the excess baggage charge - as usual.

Watching him pack was amazing. He had scales and various pilles of stuff for family and friends to be whittled down. Then each case would be packed in priority order, so he knew what to give up when the airline finally decided he was taking the piss. Those items would go back with whoever gave him a lift to the airport, and taken on subsequent trips, or by visitors.

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When Capita job ads go BAD

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Re: more common than you might think...

Don't! If you do that, the disembodied voice of Geoffrey Boycott then plays on your speakers, threatening to brain you with a cricket bat!

Say his name 5 times and he will appear.

Many innocent teenagers have been bored to death with ball-by-ball descriptions of 3 day hundreds.

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Re: Hertfordshite?!?

My mobile phone punishes me for swearing in texts. Because I have dared to use a few strong words at times, it now tries to select them in predictive text, whenever I'm not looking too closely.

Actually I've noticed that a lot with predictive text. When I've got my reading glasses on, it's as good as gold. When I'm in a hurry, and just trying to get a message out like "does 7 o'clock suit you?", it goes all sweary on me. I'd hope that 7 o'clock doesn't shit anyone, but sadly it's a question I've accidentally asked...

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Friends with benefits: A taxing problem for Ireland in a post-Brexit world

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ERM didn't fail. The pound's membership of it failed, because Thatcher/Lawson insisted on entering at a level which was much too high to be sustainable.

Erm... You do realise Italy went out on the same day as us? And yes, the ERM failed. Because it was unsustainable. We also probably went in at the wrong level, but then it wasn't just us that set the level. Germany tried to get everyone's currencies into both the ERM and the Euro at the highest level possible against the DM, to help with exports.

France was also in the ERM at too high an exchange rate. That's why they barely/never got their unemployment rate below 10% in the 90s - and because that rate continued into the Euro, they've had high unemployment ever since.

But actually, the level you enter at is irrelevant. What happens when your economy changes? This is the great thing about currencies. Sure you get volatility, and this causes economic uncertainty. But it also separates your domestic economy from the interantional one. So internal prices and output are less affected by external shocks. The exchange rate change acts as a cushion. It also acts as a way of bringing the sytem back to equilibrium. If you have a trade deficit, like us, your currency naturally falls (less demand for sterling as we're using more foreign currency to buy our imports than foreigners are using sterling to buy ours). That drop in the value of sterling then makes our exports "cheaper" and what we import more expensive. Thus helping to correct the trade imbalance, as domestic production becomes cheaper than imports, and exporting becomes easier or more profitable.

The Euro have foregone this cushion. And so must adjust demand for imports by wage compression. People really, really don't like wage cuts. So this is harder, and more economically painful. And takes longer. And causes political crises. Also if you share your currency with untrustworthy folk, it gets worse. So when Germany broke the rules of the Euro by artificially pushing down wages in the 2004 Harts IV reforms that was equivalent to devaluing the currency. And that reversed Italy's old trade surplus with Germany - which is one reason why Italy's economy is now smaller than when it joined the Euro. And one reason why Germany now has a trade surplus of 7% within the Eurozone, when the rules of the club state that if it goes over 5% the government must take action to dampen exports or inflate internal demand.

Also see the Greek government fiddling the figures. But then also see the Northern states creating onen of the biggest disasters in peacetime economic history by fucking up the Greek bail-out - and then when their policies that everyone sensible said were bound to fail failed, then continued with them as they failed again. Then in the latest bail-out continued with them some more. The IMF debt-sustainabiliy forecast for Greece is that unemployment will fall from its current 25% to 12% (still bad recession level) by 2040!

Finally, I give you Finland. The ultimate argument for why the Euro sucks. Their economic growth has been pretty much the same as Sweden's for the last few decades. Although I can't find the graph for that at the moment. But in searching I found this article, which will do: Telegraph linky. The short version being Finland being unable to devalue has not been able to get out of the recession that started in 2008. Sweden has.

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Just saying that the two are completely different doesn't make it a fact.

Yes it does. It's a fact that the ERM was a system of exchange rate pegs which needed continuous active market intervention to maintain, once they became disconnected from the underlying economics. There are only limited ways to hold onto an exchange rate peg, and they have their own economic consequences. Even the Swiss had to give up on their's (and allow the franc to rise) which was actually allowing them to print free money and sell it to foreigners, they were so desperate to exchange their Euros for Swiss francs. Whereas we were trying to keep sterling from falling, which is the much more expensive way. They were forced out against their will, because of the cost in limited reserves and required interest rates.

The EU is a political construct. After losing a referendum the government has the option to stall and try to renegotiate, offering another referendum. But if it ignores the result, then it's ignoring democracy. That would create the biggest constitutional crisis since 1911 and destroy the Conservative Party. It's simply not a feasible option.

Also, you can't have a Remain campaign that warns of economic disaster and then say, "we're surpirsed by the economic disaster so we're annulling the result". Voters were warned and still went ahead. You're living in fantasy-land if you think otherwise. The ERM was not a choice, it was an event the government was force to respond to, the EU membership is a political choice.

" There's a clear majority of voters in polls who'd like to stay in a reformed EU."

Really? How do you know that since we don't even know what a "reformed EU" would look like?

Because I've read the polls perhaps?

The polls do not state what people mean by reform. But the point is that there are many people who have no strong opinions either way, or strong opinions both ways, who can probably be swayed by the right reforms. It's pretty clear that one of those is a limit on migration. I saw a poll the other day that said 60% of voters believed leaving the EU would be bad for the economy, but only 29% thought the economy was the top issue in the referendum. With 45% saying the top issue is immigration. If Remain lose, the EU's inflexibility on immigration will be the reason. Plus a pretty poor campaign.

If sterling drops by 10% it will have a limited effect on ordinary people. Even 20%. In 2008 sterling fell by 20%, and inflation only hit 4%. The point about exchange rate movements is that they cushion shocks to the internal economy. That's the whole reason why the Euro has been such a disaster. Well that and astonishing levels of incompetence.

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Voyna i Mor,

If Sterling drops by 10% overnight, we just ignore it. And it'll probably bounce back to a normal-ish level once the panic is over.

Although given our currently growing trade deficit (with the EU - we have a trade surplus with the rest of the world) sterling is naturally going to drop at some point anyway - and this may be the trigger as much as anything else.

As to a crisis in government debt pricing, our average debt maturity is incredibly long, so the immidiate needs of re-financing are relatively low. We are however running a government deficit. So there's a funding need, but the Bank of England can always launch QE.

Anyway fears of a market panic on government debt are massively overblown. We keep hearing it, but in the current economic climate the markets have to put their money somewhere. Given that Italy can borrow almost as cheaply as Germany, and even Greece can get short term paper sold - I see no likelihood of a long term problem here. When we got downgraded it had pretty much zero effect. If the worst happens, the Bank of England will just have to launch more QE.

As for leaving the ERM vs ignoring a referendum, the two are completely different. If the government says stuff's bad so we're ignoring you, it won't last the week, before a vote of no confidence and general election. Whereas we were forced out of the ERM because it wasn't possible to stay in. Leaving the EU may cost us more, but is a possibility.

On the other hand a renegotiation and second referendum is possible. Unlikely though. But the rest of the EU governments are starting to worry now. The logical thing to do is for a bit of consulting before launching article 50 of the treaty (to start the formal 2 year leave negotiations). And in that process it may be that a deal on immigration curbs could be offered? The 4 freedoms aren't so inviolable that they stopped the Eurozone imposing supposedly illegal Capital Controls on Greece last year, and Cyprus in 2014. Several of the Eurozone bailouts were illegal before they were done, and the ECB has broken the treaties several times in it's various gyrations. If there's the political will, something could be negotiated that Cameron felt was worth re-running the referendum with a good chance of winning. There's a clear majority of voters in polls who'd like to stay in a reformed EU. Myself I don't think the politicians can dance fast enough to come up with a deal before political pressure kicks in, and they may not even want to anyway.

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Smut shaming: Anonymous fights Islamic State... with porn

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The most searched for term in Pakistan is animal porn.

That's really upset me. Until now he was my favourite muppet...

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Lester Haines: RIP

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Unhappy

How many stupid discussions have we had in the comments over Lester's articles? It's much more fun reading about how to make the perfect cuppa and bacon sarnie if you can then go on and call some other innocent commentard a heathen afterwards. With Lester usually joining in the fun too.

But of course we were all joining in the fun that he, and El Reg, created. And it's a pretty good epitaph to have made lots of peoples' lives more fun. Which should not be a minor part of anyone's life achievements. As well as the more "real" stuff of raising a family and all the relationships with friends and colleagues.

I'm genuinely sad at the death of someone I didn't even know. And I feel for all you guys at El Reg towers who did. I hope you have a drink in his honour and a bloody good laugh about him.

RIP Lester. You'll be missed.

...although the person that admitted to drinking the abomination that is cofftea genuinely is a heathen...

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Man dies after UK police Taser shooting

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Re: ...behaviour and welfare of a man. A man subsequently died.

Oops. A man hasn't watched Game of Thrones.

I know nothing John Snow. I come from Barcelona. I learn eeenglish from a book.

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Re: Although Tasers were introduced as non-lethal weapons.....

Indeed, tasers should only be used as a last resort to protect the officers/public from a dangerous criminal who is likely to inflict harm.

Pepper spray, TASERs, choke holds, generally grappling with people or just hitting them with big sticks are all alternatives to firearms. But they're all dangerous, to both the person in question and the police. For pepper spray you've got to get close, and I believe people have died after inhaling that as well.

So in a lot of cases there is no "safe" method of dealing with people, and the police on the spot get to choose their poison. Hopefully they do a good job. The downside of giving them something like a TASER is that they're obviously going to be tempted to use it rather than risking getting bruised, or worse. But then the upside is the same thing, fewer police injuries. And you can bet than in a physical fight serious enough to injure an officer, there's also a risk to the other guy. So even they might be better off getting tasered, even if they do also miss out on the pleasure of punching a copper...

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Re: ...behaviour and welfare of a man. A man subsequently died.

A man gets a name once there's been a chance to tell his relatives.

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Patent trolls, innovation and Brexit: What the FT won't tell you

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Paul Shirley,

I've done a quick check around and it's hard to find decent figures, but as I suspected it looks like nobody is quite telling the truth here. Norway probably pays in about half as much as we do, but doesn't get anything back. Whereas we're full participants in the EU, so obviously receive CAP payments, regional funding and other stuff. Thus their net contribution is about 90% of ours.

I've seen Remain people argue that they pay 90% of what we pay and don't get our rebate - which is a huge distortion of the facts as that figure is being compared to our net contribution (payments less receipts).

Links:

http://infacts.org - a remain site

Their analysis probably slightly understates Norway's net contribution and overstates ours, but it's bugger-all difference in the grand scheme of things.

Norway's EU Mission site

The calcs are done on GDP per head on a pro-rata basis for each are of funding you choose to join in on. Net of whatever cash you get back.

There's an argument that we could negotiated to pay in less and still get Single Market access. But a lot of this money is cash we want to be spending. Regional funding to help boost the economies of Greece and Eastern Europe is something we'd have done anyway, after the Cold War. It was us that were one of the strongest voices calling for the EU to allow the ex Warsaw Pact countries in. And for the accession process with Turkey too, and there's a good argument that Turkey has only taken a turn to the authoritarian because it was clear that France and Germany (and others) weren't going to let them in. So they've been busily reversing all the rule-of-law reforms that they'd been implementing under EU pressure for the last 2 decades. I'd say the EU's great success is that the Eastern European countires have managed to integrate into the system and build working democracies. Compared to the appalling state of politics in the ex-Soviet countries that didn't get to join.

Anyway we'd be well out of the Common Agricultural Policy if we left, which makes up about a third of the EU budget, and our contribution. And is partly the reason for our rebate, in that our farmers in general get fewer subsidies from it.

But we'd want to continue infrastucture funding in Eastern Europe, I imagine we'd stay in the EU science and space programmes so contribute and receive from both. So I'd expect our net contribution to drop a bit, but not a huge amount. We'd lose the rebate, but then also lose the reason for it, and since Blair gave away a chunk of that in exchange for promised reform of the CAP that never happened, plus our lower GDP per head than Norway, I'd expect our net contrubution to drop a bit below theirs.

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Re: @I ain't Spartacus

Vines,

That depends on the area of policy. Short of armed force or economic pressure, no government can enforce its voters' demands on another. The difference with being in the EU is that it interferes with our legal system as well. Something we're quite vulnerable to, having no written constitution and a different legal system to the rest of the continent. Also Norway has to comply with "only" about 1,700 pieces of EU primary and secondary legislation. For us it's over 11,000. They're only involved in trade and free movement matters - we also have CAP, fisheries, foreign policy, energy, environment, justice, economic, tax etc.

Now the Swiss have democracy. They told their government to negotiate, it's tried, and looks to have failed. So the voters know what's on offer, and can choose the policy they want, knowing the cost.

If our government fails in EU negotiations, we have to lump it. Except in this one specific case. You can only do the referendum once a generation. Even there, we got the bare minimum it was thought might work, rather than a sensible discussion on desperately needed reform. That contempt for the voters may have destroyed the EU. Just like telling the Swiss voters to fuck off may destroy that trade deal. And ignoring the Italian, Greek and Spanish voters may eventually destroy the Euro. Actually and the German voters. They were also lied to when they joined the Euro - and their government are still lying now. Claiming Greece can pay them back. It can't. They could have bailed Greece out in 2010 for €10 billion. The cost now is at least 10 times that, plus much German and EU credibility, and also shame. They claim to be the moral ones now, but history will not be kind to Merkel.

I was a reluctant in voter until the day last year the ECB broke all treaty law and common sense to deliberately destroy the Greek banking system and democracy. Under heavy pressure from Germany. They also brought down the Greek government in 2012, destroying the Pasok party, and forced Spain and Italy to change policies under threat of destroying the credibility of their government bonds. Which also brought down the Italian government. Not a sad loss admittedly, it was Berlusconi's last. But democracy is important - and those actions crossed a line. Hubris may soon meet Nemesis. I'd have preferred reform though, it's safer.

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Hard to know for sure but countries that already have a trade deal with the EU are bound by EU laws and have signed up to the EU freedom of movement agreement

Disclaimer: I don't believe we'd be likely to get a free trade deal with the EU without allowing freedom of movement. Though it might just be possible after a decade or two of negotiation?

But, Canada have a trade deal without. Most of the EU's trade deals don't involve freedom of movement. It's a political decision to insist on it around here, which I'd say is unlikely to change. Though there's talk of a free trade deal with North Africa, and I bet there won't be freedom of movement on offer there But then Norway and Switzerland are both in Schengen and the Single Market (well only partially for Switzerland). Which is different to a free trade deal.

Although Norway and Switzerland are agreed to free movement (or disagreed in the Swiss case), they don't have to harmonise access to benefits in the same way. So were we to leave we could refuse to pay in-work, unemployment and child benefits to people we don't choose to, and I assume the same might be true for the NHS, we could make people pay an insurance for that too, until granted "permanent residence status" of some kind. There are many options, which we might use to reduce low-skilled migration. Although one of the best ways to cut the migration numbers to the UK would be if the fucking Eurogroup would sort their shit out, and actually fix the Eurozone! But there's not much sign of that happening any time soon. The latest IMF prediction in the bail-out debt sustainability analysis, is that Greek unemployment will fall from it's current 1930s Depression level of 25% to about 12% by 2040! Now that's how to run an economy! And quite a lot of that fall is expected to be achieved by emigration. Well with youth unemployment at 50%, wouldn't you?

Also, Switzerland and Norway are only signed up to something like 20% of EU rules by being in the Single Market. That still leaves them the ability to sign their own trade deals, and out of the Common Fisheries and Agriculture Policies. As well as safely out of the Euro, and the Foreign Policy and tax harmonisation stuff.

Any country that exports into the Single Market is subject to large chunks of the same regulations, in order to make their products compliant. In the same way that you have to comply with lots of US laws in order to trade in the US.

The upside of being in the EU is that you can influence the rules. Subject to getting outvoted. The downside is that you're subject to a lot more of those rules than any flavour of leaving (either EEA or even fully out).

In my opinion the only sane option on Brexit is the Norway option. Nothing else can be negotiated in a sensible time. But done as a temporary deal with more negotiations to slowly follow. That means we pay in a bit less cash and get a bit less inward migration, in the short term and that gives everyone time to calm down and come up with a sensible agreement.

Either that or the other governments accept a 2 speed Europe, which is what we actually have anyway with some countries unwilling to join the Euro. If they'd done that, then Cameron would have won the referendum easily, but they only gave the minimum concessions that looked likely to work - and that may now backfire spectacularly. To be honest I still think it's more likely than not that the Euro will implode when the next recession comes (not that Souther Europe have ever really got out of recession) - and quite possibly take the EU with it. But the Italian economy is now smaller than when it joined the Euro, with deflation, youth unemployment of 40%, extremely low growth and a huge government debt which it can only service with some growth or inflation. Plus a half-collapsed banking system that the new Eurozone banking rules make it impossible to restructure. That's the quiet crisis currently going on. Spain, Cyprus and Ireland are doing OK-ish, Portugal is too small to matter if/when it goes wrong again, and Greece is a shameful stain on the reputations of the governments that have fucked it up for short-term political gain.

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It's possible certain that the UK government will pass all sorts of rubbish laws in the future. As will the EU. The difference is that we can get rid of UK governments at regular intervals, and replace them with ones that will fix some of those laws. It is admittedly true that democracy is a blunt instrument, unless you go for the Swiss referenda-on-everything model, so only a few bad laws are going to get enough public focus to be changed.

But that's still better than the EU model. Where once the hugely complex rigmarole of passing EU laws has happened, there's not only no political will to fix the problem, but there's active resistaance from teh system to go back and look at stuff again. And there's no democratic pressure that reaches that level. Youth unemployment in Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain has been over 40% for more than 5 years now, and there's still no serious moves underway to solve the Eurozone crisis. And that's despite massive political turmoil in those countries. What chance anything like patent law problems getting any political attention?

Not that there aren't many good reasons to stay in the EU, and shape policy. But if you can't at least see the huge democratic deficit then you're just not looking properly.

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Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

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Linux

Re: But, seriously...

Rubbish! Until they can get it to run Linux, it's no sale.

Actually Antikythera is quite a good name for a distro. Or when Ubuntu go past Zebra, they can go for oscure pieces of technology. So Awesome Antikythera, Brilliant Beam Engine, etc.

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Gizmo, obviously.

Or if you want a word that's a bit more old fashioned, gewgaw.

Greek geeks grok great gyrating gewgaw.

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Fresh hell for TalkTalk customers: TeamView trap unleashed

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Re: Blame the customer

TalkTalk are not good value for money. They're cheap. There's a huge difference. I've not looked into it for a while, so don't know how much more you'd have to pay to get something better - and obviously if they're the cheapest, and money is tight, then you may be stuck with them.

But as well as costing less, they're also much less reliable. Certainly given the number of times I've had to go over to Mum's house and sort things out, and she's had engineers out 3 times in the last year or so - including a new router and YouView box. Their routers seem to be worse than the usual ISP crap, and their YouView box seems to have a 386 processor. Or possibly an abacus...

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Unhappy

I thought TeamViewer generated a new password each time, even if TalkTalk had saved the ID number (that doesn't change). Certainly that's how it's worked when I've used it, even when you have to reboot it (unless you use a particular setting) it restarts with a new password.

I'm pretty sure it is from a data leak on TalkTalk though. As my Mum got a call on her mobile, from people who knew her address and that she was with TalkTalk. In their case it was to fix her YouView box, which really was playing up at the time. There was a story that their call-out engineer database had also been breached.

Caller had a strong Indian accent, but then TalkTalk themselves use call centres out there - and many of their own staff don't have the finest english skills. This person manage to persuade her to download TeamViewer, but only in order to take her to the Western Union website to do a money transfer. I spent a while checking the PC, and that seemed to be all they did when in control of it, and she turned it off and called me when that came up, because nobody legitimate uses Western Union transfers and TalkTalk obviously already have her bank account details.

She's since been getting several calls a day to her mobile - so she used TalkTalk's withheld number blocking service. Which promptly blocked all the NHS calls to sort out her sister's cancer treatment, because the NHS annoyingly blocks caller ID. So the fuckers have done real harm - although I'd say that's equally the fault of the NHS (for that policy) and TalkTalk for not warning of the obvious consequence of their blocking. Also for not even allowing withheld numbers to go to voicemail - given that scammers and spammers rarely leave messages. What a fucking mess!

I'm a dutiful son. I did warn her not to use TalkTalk. But it was a couple of quid cheaper. I have quietly suggested she move away, but I think that was interpreted as an "I told you so", even though I was very careful to not even imply that I had.

Oh and I think TalkTalk must have got hold of some old 386 processors for their YouView boxes. The software's not actually that bad, but the fucking thing takes 60 seconds to boot, and sometimes 15 seconds just to load the EPG. Utterly crap company.

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Re: Still, look on the bright side.

Personally I prefer to drink white spirit, as it's much more effective. But each to their own...

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Sweden decides Julian Assange™ 'remains detained in absentia'

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Do remember not to run the escape tunnel too deep either. Unless you want to wind up fried on the underground tracks. Or squashed. Or both...

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ISS 'nauts to inflate pump-up space podule

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In Space, No-one Can Hear You Fart!

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Happy

Re: Not very inflaty

Yeah, but you've got to go outside and put the thing in a giant bowl of water, so you can find where the leak is first...

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Re: Not very inflaty

The skin is multi-layered, and therefore quite thick. And this is only a test module. Bigelow Space have got either one or two (can't remember) already in orbit themselves, for testing purposes. But this is only a little one to go on the ISS. Remember it was only a portion of the cargo in a normal Dragon re-supply launch, where as the full-sized beastie will want a launch all to itself.

Weight is the issue. You can't make the walls of a metal spacecraft thicker without dramatically increasing the weight. So everything in space is pretty bloody flimsy. At which point, you're going to be working with composite materials anyway, so why not use something flexible and expandable. That means you can get something the right size to stick on the top of a rocket that'll expand a bit in space. The gains might not be huge, but you're still doing better than you otherwise would have been - and your living space is no longer limited to the diameter of your rockets.

Inflating your walls - and them thus being thicker (even if now less dense) is also an advantage in improving both radiation and impact protection. There are also gels that can be applied that expand on exposure to air - so if you apply these in the right place, punctures below a certain size will be self-healing. Maybe not enough to save the habitat, but enough to save the astronauts inside it, who can seal the airlock and bugger off to a different bit of the station. They can then either write the habitat off (and replace it), or fetch the puncture repair kit and go space walking.

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Elmer Phud,

And what is wrong with astronauts having a nice play on a bouncy castle... IN SPAAAAAAACE!

I for one would love a go on a spouncy castle. Particularly if I can have space icecream. Talking of which, do NASA also produce space candyfloss?

In fact, I propose a piece of important scientific research. I wish to investigate the effects of a huge sugar-rush on humans exposed to microgravity. I suggest myself as the first guineapig. I propose that I be sent to the ISS with an entire Dragon or Progress capsule full of fizzy cola bottles, foam bananas, christmas cake, space dust, wine gums, jelly babies etc. Better include a few sick bags as well...

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Hulk Hogan's sex tape, a Silicon Valley billionaire, and a $10m revenge plot to destroy Gawker

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Happy

I'm gay, and so is my wife...

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Re: These 10 Reasons Are Why Your Clickbait Site Might Be F**&ed

Surely the headline should be: 140 Million Reasons Not to Act Like Total Bellends

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90 days of Android sales almost beat 9 months' worth for all flavours of Win 10

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Re: provide Nokia with the basis for some excellent phones

But shippable & good/desirable aren't the same and you need willing buyers as well as a shipping product.

I think Microsoft have managed "good" twice in the world of mobiles. Desirable not so much...

Windows Mobile 5 was good, back in 2004. It wasn't wonderful and you mostly needed a stylus, though you could peck through making phonecalls with your finger. You had barely acceptable emaill, OKish satnav and a reasonable phone, in one package with reasonable battery life. I seem to remember they were up to 50% smartphone share, as a disappointed Sony Ericsson P800 owner (UIQ Symbian that was imcompatible with Nokia's Series 60 Symbian) I'd played with both sides a bit. We had some O2 XDAs (or similar) for work.

MS just failed to update it. Was it crap management, disinterest, or the desperate attempt to get Vista to market consuming all their programming and management resources? Or a combination? Or had Gates been pushing mobile, and Ballmer didn't care as much, so it died in the transition? Anyway, they were singularly unprepared for the dawn of the iPhone and the arrival of lots of devices with capacitative screens. No sylus any longer, and a much, much nicer UI required. It took 2 YEARS for Windows Mobile 6, which was a no-man's land that they'd already announced was a quick-and-dirty update to be replaced by the incompatible Win Pho 7.

That was nice, but incomplete. I bought it, because I got an OK smartphone for £120, when the cheapest usable Android was about £200 for last year's model that was no longer receiving updates. And my HTC Wildfire was a shit slow processor and crap memory in a beautifully designed case, and required reboots a couple of times a week, and Android 2.2 was sometimes quite flakey.

Work foisted an iPhone on me, which was OK. But I've got an iPad for apps, and so when that died (our batch of 5s had all failed within 30 months - 2 with 2 years - and 2 were replaced under warranty before that!), I tried Win Pho 8.

So MS scrambled, rather painfully slowly to Win Pho 8, a year late, which was pretty damned good. A bit of polish and some apps were all it needed. But two years later Win Pho 10 still isn't ready.

They got to 10% marketshare in Europe. There was potential for improvement. But not enough resoureces, either marketing or OS programming, have ever been committed. Management seem to care just enough to waste billions, without doing enough to actually succeed. And this has been consistent now for over a decade. Androids at the £100 are now fine to excellent, and Nokia/MS only had one top-of-the-line phone that was truly outstanding, with a super camera, and barely marketed it. Plus MS were too cheapskate to license or buy the tech off Nokia, and so lost any chance of a unique top-of-the-range phone, so no obscene profits for them. While Apple and Samsung can happily charge £500 for flagship phones that probably make them twice as much profit as tablets, where prices have actually fallen, using identical parts.

It's a shame. At least, when I go back to Android, I'll be able to customise it. I resent having to work to get a decent phone UI, but on the plus side I'll have the use of a decent App Store. Sadly the advantage of a company that cares about keeping the software up to date is wasted, as Google commit the resources, but then fail to force the manufacturers to actually distribute the updates.

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Want a better password? Pretend you eat kale. We won't tell anyone

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Happy

Re: How crackable are alien languages?

No one's ever hacked my accounts:

User: mouseorgan@bagpuss.com

Password: weeewillmenditweeewillfixit

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