* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

3680 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Hmmmm

Did you go to Sight Village? I'm afraid that the current situation is a hundred times better than it used to be, even 10 years ago. Because the NHS and local government have historically dominated purchasing, we weren't getting the shiny stuff they had in the US. Of course a large single market also made it easier for small companies to trade. Whereas export is harder.

I went to one about five years ago, with the idea of starting an Internet business in this area. To try and get some of the American goodies over here. As well as to try and create an online community to talk about and review shiny tech. But a lot of that stuff had already got over here. Also, there's a lot of technology that can be repurposed to do the job. You can also pick up cheap magnifiers, binoculars, monoculars and the like. Stuff that simply wasn't affordable 10-20 years ago.

To be fair to these companies, hardware production is still relatively expensive in small runs. It's a small market. And a lot of purchasing decisions are still being made by cautious bureaucrats. None of the kit that I get from the NHS is even vaguely close to the cutting edge of what's available. And they're still buying very expensive products from the same suppliers they always used. Even though there are now much cheaper options available. Probably because the people making the decisions haven't looked at what's available in the market since they trained.

A chap in my office building was referred to a local resource centre with his wife, looking for stuff to help with her macular degeneration. I don't think any of the kit there was newer than 10 years old. Except some of the little portable CCTV's. Which are still better than trying to do the same job with a mobile phone camera. And now cost peanuts. However, all she needed to help with her reading was A4 Kindle, and help with setup. Sadly, the local library service, use Adobe Digital editions. Which is an utter pile of useless shit. It can't even enlarge text it's so primitive. It's also unable to authorise a better piece of software access content on the same device. So you'd have to authorise another laptop, in order to be able to use better software to read the content you downloaded to the first laptop. Or you just use available tools to crack the encryption. But that ended up being too much hassle, and so she stuck with the limited range of available large print books, and put up with the arthritis pain that manhandling these huge tomes causes. I guess it's still better than large print, where the Lord of the Rings runs to 13 volumes of 18 inch square and an inch thick.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Asking for help is also an issue of independence for some people. Whereas, an app which you control and pay for, is a whole different kettle of fish.

A chap I used to know, had a roving blind spot. Unpredictably so. He said one of the worst things was being helped across the road by little old ladies...

When I've asked for help, there are plenty of times when I've got a bemused reaction, and been told that the information is on that sign over there. Even at so-called information points. Not that I'm saying people aren't mostly nice, because they are. I suppose one answer to this, would be to make things more obvious with a big fuck off pair of dark glasses. Or perhaps a flashing sign?

I did confuse the bag search at Lord's, last time I was there. Then again two pairs of binoculars, monocular, reading glasses, distance glasses, and two types of sunglasses might be considered a little excessive by some.

A lot of places seem to have just about worked out what wheelchairs are for, but do far less well with visual impairment, which is ironically easier. For example, 90% of museums put the item descriptions inside the display case. Usually in about 14 point type. So not only is it far away, but it's behind a distorting and reflective layer of glass. The cost of putting 2 signs (at either end), on the outside of the case, in say 20 point type is basically bugger all. Admittedly decent audio guides are a lot harder. But then, with proper signage, wouldn't be needed by as many people.

My local council, have just replaced the orange LED signage on the bus stops, with far prettier LCD screens that show adverts. Shame no one thought that LCDs aren't readable in sunlight. Or that halving the text size might be a bit annoying…

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Blighty in SPAAAACE: Brit-built satellite films the Earth

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Happy

To all those who complained about JJ Abrams, look at all that lens-flare? Of course he also likes to have it inside his ships...

Once Lohan gets off the ground, these images will be put in their place, and SST will be shown up for the puny organisation they are, in comparison to the mighty Vultures.

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Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage

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Devil

It's amazing how fault tolerant modern sites are.

I'm astounded how good online and cloud services have become in the last 2 or 3 years. I don't think I can remember in that time a single service falling over. I've seen all the statements. And the worst that has happened is that a few customers were affected for a short time, before the dedicated engineers solved the problem, and everything in the garden was rosy again.

I put it down to marketing becoming responsible for service status updates, rather than tech. As you will all no doubt agree, marketing (with all their MBAs) are far better qualified to run complex systems than mere IT-scum. Hence this recent vast improvement in fault tolerance.

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Microsoft: Just what the world needs – a $25 Nokia dumbphone

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Lost all faith,

I'm pretty sure it's true. Part of the deal was that MS licenced Nokia's patents for 10 years or so, and the name for 2 years I think. They only get to keep the Lumia brand permanently, and so will have to change over to that.

This gives Nokia the ability to go back to producing phones in future, should they choose to. Although I can't see why they'd bother, having only just managed to dump their phone division.

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Google leaves STUPID vuln on Nest devices

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Re: I can't be the only one

I strongly disagree. The Internet of Things is the future. As all right thinking people know. We can leverage the synergies into a new paradign of strategisation.

Also once this is done, I'm going to be the thought-leader of the next big thing. The IoW - Internet of Weapons. There are so many advantages to this. Why have journalists on the ground, when all bombs can send their camera footage direct to the BBC. Why pay expensive intelligence analysts, when the wisdom of crowds can be leveraged to gain accurate targeting information. I have seen the future, and it's online voting to set the targets for Britain's nuclear deterent*

*Obviously it'll be Paris. Or depending on how September's vote goes, Edinburgh...

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Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: So basiclly,

For a moment there I thought you were having a go at French toast, which you may know as eggy bread. I've tried eggy bread with maple syrup at home and it's not to be sniffed at.

Richard 81,

My arteries now hate you. I've not had eggy-bread in ages. It's OK with ketchup, but I'd not tried it with maple syrup. Which I have in, as I was given some US breakfast pancake mixture by a relative.

To all other sceptics in my country I should point out that American/Scottish pancakes are an execllent substitute for the usual fried slice or toast option. Actually US biscuits are quite nice too. Although I'm not so sure about country gravy. The pancakes, bacon, sausage and maple syrup go very well together, with a bit of fried egg and some beans on the side. I'm not so sure about adding blueberries to the whole thing though.

Talking of US breakfasts I'm not a fan of the hash browns you can get in England. They're not the same as what you get in the US anyway. But I sometimes have some potato croquettes with my brekkie. Sauteed tatoes are good too.

To push the American thing even further, my brother introduced me to the breakfast burrito. TexMex at it's finest (or worst). Take a nice tortilla, spread some salsa on it, add a rasher or two of bacon, scrambled egg, a little grated cheese, roll up and consume. Yummy. Also works with sausage. The salsa should have a decent chilli kick, without being overpowering.

I must confess to eating a Linda McCartney veggie sausage with my fry-up recently. I had vegetarians over, and couldn't be bothered to cook two kinds. I had proper bacon of course, I'm not a pervert. Those things are truly horrible. I think veggies must eat them in order to avoid temptation - as a sort of re-inforcement to make them think that meat is horrible tasting. Bleurgh!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: @LarsG

Your arteries say Thank You!

No. I think his arteries say:

"NnnnnnnnnNNNnnngggggggrrrrrrrrrAaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! Make it stop! Yum. Yum. Nomnomnom. Aaaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh!!! Yummy. Oh dear. Make it st... Oh bugger it! Moooooooorrrreeeeee! Mmmmmmmm. Yum!

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Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM

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Happy

Re: How to cut SMS spam volumes by 90%

Yes and I'm hopping mad about it!

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Can you turn it off?

AMBxx,

I doubt you can turn text messages off. You can however turn their notifications off, and remove the link to the text app from the home page of your chosen mobile OS. Hide it in a folder somewhere. Then hey presto: No texts.

Personally I don't like texts. But my Mum does, as do several friends (with a mix of smartphones and dumbphones) At work sometimes, people are in bad coverage areas and need information like addresses, which can be sent by SMS. On a smartphone it's as easy to input as email anyway.

As with any technology it's horses for courses. You use what gets the job done most efficiently, and get on with your day. Adults don't get dogmatic about their favourite platform...

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Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?

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Are you sure you've got that right? Isn't it that every time a cat video is uploaded to the internet, an analyst has to release a report full of bollocks?

Stop uploading those cat videos now!

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China to test recoverable moon orbiter

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Re: Err... That does not fit my understanding of orbital mechanics

You say that, but it's not so easy. Sure you don't need much propellant to escape lunar gravity, but then you have to deal with the Clangers with their tractor-beams and death-rays. What did you think really happened to Apollo 13?

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Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE

I ain't Spartacus
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m0rt,

Nice post. You are correct that I go for a french press/cafetiere nowadays. I dumped my drip machine a while back, as it took up too much space and the hot plate seems to bugger up the second cup. So my nice stainless steel insulated jobbie comes and sits on the coffee table by my chair. It's so much easier.

I probably need to do some investigation. To replicate tastes from my days living in Belgium, and trips to Spain/France. To repeat a good cafe au lait / cafe con leche is one job.

At least I havve managed to copy the perfect mojito from the cuban bar I used to drink at in Brussels (they closed for a month in January to go home to Cuba, and August for a European holiday).

I had a cheap-ish espresso machine with milk frother years ago, but it was too difficult to get consistent results. And I decided that I'd prefer the money in my pocket and do without. Plus the limescale in the South kills them.

It is amazing how much you can get all trainspotter-y about food. And how far you can go, if you let yourself. My brother has started curing his own ham and bacon (and salmon). Next he wants to get into smoking. Then he'll be making sausages. That doesn't appeal to me. But I've already started making bread, and I want to do all my own cakes and biccies too. It's a question of experimenting and finding what's worth doing and what's too much trouble. I decided espresso was too much trouble. Perhaps I should try an air press though.

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I ain't Spartacus
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I can't stop myself here. I must really love downvotes (given the site I'm posting on)...

I don't get this espresso thing. Perhaps I've just not drunk the right stuff, but I've drunk quite a bit of it and there only seem to be 3 flavours of espresso. Pathetically weak and watery, rancid or strong and quite nice.

Since the beans have been roasted to buggery, I've yet to detect significant difference in the taste of different espressos. Although I've read that there's been a recent fashion for using medium roasted beans, in order to get a fruitier coffee flavour into it. Which many espresso fans don't apparently like.

So you need a decent machine. Or possibly (so I've heard) one of those aeropress thingies? But you don't need to grind freshly, so long as you're not just shoving the ground stuff in the cupboard for several weeks.

What's then truly disappointing is when you ask for coffee and get watered-down espresso. Which is Americano as I understand it. Mostly what I want to drink is coffee. Get some light/medium roasted beans, grind and place in hot water. Drink black. Savour flavour. If I can't have that, I'll take a cappucino or cafe au lait. Or black tea.

Is a flat white more like a cafe au lait? I think we suffer from the collision of American and European terminology. So a latte doesn't seem to be the same as a cafe au lait, it's more like a coffee-ish milkshake.

I'm happy to be educated about espresso, and pointed in the right direction to learn the 'error of my ways'.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: 2014

It's 2014! Doesn't everyone drink vodka now?

Drink! Drink?

It's 2014! One doesn't drink for heaven's sake. This is the future! One takes ones vodka in pill form. To do anything else would be terribly passe.

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World's only flyable WWII Lancaster bombers meet in Lincs

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My friend's Dad was a navigator on Lancasters in WWII. He was known as 'old man', as he was the oldest surviving guy in the squadron for a long time, including the CO. He was 24.

On a more cheerful note, the trans-Atlantic crossing reminds me of a documentary I caught some of - and didn't manage to track down. Don Bennett was given the job of getting US and Canadian built planes across to Blighty in the war. That flight was a dangerous and difficult passage in those days, with inexperienced crews not helping. Apparently (according to said documentary) he trained his navigators and crews so well, that he didn't lose a single plane when in charge. Although losses were rather higher once he'd left.

He then was put in charge of setting up the RAF's pathfinder force. Which he was also very good at. Again from documentary he was at an Air Ministry meeting asking for more Mosquitoes for the pathfinders, to be told they were impossible to use at night, due to the flames from the engine exhaust. To which his response was, "that's funny, I've been flying one all this week."

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Aviation geeks

I think there's only one flying Mosquito, and that was rebuilt and lives in the US. So I'd guess something else is more likely.

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Brit kids match 45-year-old fogies' tech skill level by the age of 6

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Devil

Re: I would say the average 6 year old has mastered -

So they're bang-up candidates for Management then!

The only downside being the wining and tantrums. But I'm sure the 6 year-olds will be willing to put up with that...

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Surprise! Government mega-infrastructure project cocked up

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Re: assumption - better network = less commuting

rh587,

I'm sure more people can work from home. Many more in fact. However many can't. That's not including the unwillingness of management to lose physical access to their staff. Also, having done so myself, I'd say that quite a lot of peole aren't suited to it. It can be quite a lonely life and there are two temptations to avoid. One is that seeing as the work's there you can end up burning out by doing too much. And/or the opposite, where the cricket's on and the sun's out. So get a beer, and relax... It's also (in my opinion) morally wrong to take business calls while naked. At the moment I work from the office, but we have 3 people working from home. However we've recruited two people who hated it, and left.

Personally I don't think that HS2 is all that relevant to commuting anyway. Most users won't be commuters, they'll be travelling for meetings and visits.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: assumption - better network = less commuting

An0n C0w4rd,

I'm not a coder myself, but my brother is - and he claims that if you're working in a team you often have to talk to the other members and discuss stuff. Presumably with a computer, some pads, a whiteboard, coffee and doughnuts...

I do work in a technical sales job, and there is no substitute for meeting people when it comes to building relationships. Also, when you're working through some difficult problem, you both need to be at the same table, with the drawings spread out in front of you - or sometimes onsite looking at the actual building. Usually in some smelly and dark basement plantroom, or perched on the roof, hoping not to drown or get blown over the side.

There will always have to be travel. Apart from anything else, some people like to visit friends and relatives. Whether better transport would mean more people try to fit into London, or fewer, as it's easier to get to when needed, is another matter though.

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I ain't Spartacus
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I think that if HS2 was sold as a capacity/reliability upgrade rather than a speed upgrade objections would have been far less.

I'm not sure. There's a lot of people living in the area affected who are objecting becasue of that, and will take on any objection. There are also some people looking at the vast cost and thinking it's a waste.

We've got into a bit of a rut on infrastructure. The Major government gave up on all new large road projects becasue of a combination of trying to balance the books and stop Swampy and his mates from being on telly every night. New Labour didn't really reverse that. And no-one seems to mention new roads any more. I don't think we can usefully expand the East Coast and West Coast rail lines. And we don't even have much more air capacity around London and the South East.

Also NIMBYs seem to be becoming BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything)...

And yet we're apparently going to have 75 million pepole living in this rather crowded country by 2030. So unless we can get most of those to live up North, we're in danger of tipping the South East into the sea (we're supposedly getting fatter as well remember). Don't laugh up in Scotland, we may all drown, but you'll start sliding as the country tips up, and then you'll end up being English...

Did the HS2 business case take this into account? Did it compare the environmental cost of all those people flying? The NIMBYs managed to kill the Chunnel frieght link that was going to go up via Chiltern Railways and some of the old Midlands track. Which was a shame.

I don't know if a business case is going to give any better idea of what's going on than a politician's guess. The answer that comes out is going to be just as reliant on what assumptions our economist chooses and what costs/benefits are ignored or impossible to measure.

I suspect the correct answer would be to build a new North-South motorway. Can't see that going down too well though. So I supect one of the politicians' calculations was that surely environmentalists won't object to trains, which just leaves the locals whose house-prices might fall.

So I'd say the real answer is it's all guesswork. And economists sometimes delude themselves that they're dealing with a science. But it can't be because it's impossible to have a spare economy to test theories on, and because politics and voter-perception are just as important as cold hard cash.

Also how the hell can we even know the outcome of current policy and trends over the next 30 years. Let alone whatever circumstances are going to hold in 50-100?

Although on the other hand, it's still a good thing to try to do the economics right. I just don't believe it's any more a reliable guide to the future than anything else we have.

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no commenting?

I ain't Spartacus
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You need to have posted 5 times, in order to be able to start your own thread: linky

It's in the house rules, just above the posting form. You've only posted 4 times, so you just have to reply to me saying thanks, yaboosucks, or go-stick-your-head-in-a-pig, and you'll be good to go.

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Scottish independence debate: STV player flops under weight of viewers

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Trollface

Re: Give Scotland to the US

Interesting deal. We'll happily take Texas and California off your hands. Erm, do we have to have the Texans and Californians too? Although if you're willing to take Ireland as well...

Do we collect, you deliver, or just wait for the San Andreas fault to do it for us?

Finally, I've forgotten, which one of us owns Canada again?

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Astounding: We're about to stick a probe in orbit of a COMET

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Possibly. Although they seem to have neglected to install a beak. Therefore we need to get the lander in exactly the correct spot to make up for their error.

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Hacker crew nicks '1.2 billion passwords' – but WHERE did they all come from?

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Happy

Re: Huge arctic fox

That gives me an idea for some new spam. Sod penis enlargement pills, they're old hat.

Try my new password enlargement pills. Guaranteed to work every time.

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New iGasm: Apple to unveil not one but TWO iPhone 6 models on 9 Sept

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Happy

FIP investigative journalism

A proper journo would be climbing through the toilet window with a fake badge round their neck, in order to see the great event.

Alternatively, if security is too high for that, you take a fellow journo of similar looks to the pub, cosh them and tie them up, then go in on their ID.

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Top Ten 802.11ac routers: Time for a Wi-Fi makeover?

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Re: speedy

Maybe. But it does mean you might be able to stream a video from your computer in one room to TVs in several others.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Shoot marketing!

I disagree. I'd imagine most people will buy routers on price. In Staples / PC World / Amazon / whatever. Although good experience of your last brand may mean you go that route.

Router models often seem to last quite a long time, although they seem to run several very similar ones in parallel. So I don't know why sensible names are a problem. And when I've looked for updates they've sometimes kept the same model number but had two versions. Where going up by 10 would be good.

I'm not such a pessimist. I believe that we can harness marketing people for good. With a bit of retraining, we can retain some to make the jungle of product choice a little less thick, and others can be integrated into other more useful sectors of society.

Odd though. I wasn't expecting my comment to be controversial and upset people so much they hit the downvote button. I guess there's no accounting for taste...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Shoot marketing!

Many of these are consumer or small business electronics. Therefore should be named appropriately. That means that TEU751-a/ccrk400085r is a bloody useless name. Simple range name and number would be right. However 'Nighthawk' is perhaps even worse. Is it a stealth router? Does it sneak out at night and bang the neighbour's missus? Or is it just a bit of cheap black plastic stuck in a dusty corner?

They've managed it with printers. So why not routers or TVs? You can have a Thingyjet 3100 or 3200 and then they eventually get bored of the workings of the 3000, and go up to the Thingyjet 4000 range. Easy. Understandable. Everyone can find the bloddy driver software.

At least with TV models they have an excuse, in that they're deliberately trying to obfuscate things, to keep the retailers happy, so you can't compare the prices instore with those online. And so they can stick 'smart' gubbins on the same panel, and double the price. Why anyone wants the internet on their telly is utterly beyond me, but that's another story.

Router manufacturers have no excuse. Aaaargh!

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Dumping gear in the public cloud: It's about ease of use, stupid

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It's the old pendulum

After a few years of cloud, the next big marketing thing will probably be 'hyperlocal'. Or some other such buzzword. Because the cloud will be the established thing, the kit-buying bureaucracy will probably have atrophied somewhat, and so there'll be fewer roadblocks in the way of buying hardware. instead the bureaucracy will probably have moved on to lock-in to the existing cloud provider, and resisting moves to anyone else.

Then IT will be able to say, "look how much we can save by bringing this stuff back in-house."

I still love the IT industry use of 'small' business to be anything under 1,000 people. What does that make us? We have 6 people, scattered over one office, 3 houses and whatever car or train our road-warriors happen to occupy at any given moment. For me the options are cloud or do without. I looked with envy at certain IT goodies that only 'small' companies used to be able to afford. Now we can go and rent something cloudy. Even a badly managed cloud service is better than what we can do ourselves. Obviously it's a totally different calculation for larger companies. Or should be.

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CAPTCHA challenges you to copy pointillist painter Seurat's classic

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Re: CAPTCHA doesn't work on phones.

Do these people never test stuff for usability ?

Of course. It's just the testers were unable to log on to the test system due to failing the CAPTCHAs, deadline was upon them, so they just released...

It's obvious, from all the ones I've done, that no-one's ever tested them on anyone with less than perfect vision.

Then again, I've tried a few of the audio ones, and despite having perfect hearing and only 5% of average sight, I still use the visual ones.

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METRE-LONG DINOSAUR POO going under the hammer

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Happy

Re: El Reg {rolls eyes up}!

I disagree. Playground humour is both childish and annoying. And if you say different, it's because you smell of poo.

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Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol

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Re: Tramadol or

And the short term memory loss.

The constipation's not ideal either.

Did I mention memory loss?

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Nothing works faster ...

I never even had paracetamol mentioned to me. Though my problem was neck/upper back pain. I was told to use ibuprofen, which doesn't work. Well to be fair, it seems to take a few days to work on joint problems, so with something sporadic it's hard to know when the pills have fixed it, or just the waiting.

My friend with spina bifida was prescribed 1500mg ibuprofen. At which dose he saw pink elephants.

I was on a muscle relaxant called robaxin, which seems to have disappeared now. And that worked. Didn't reduce the pain, but seemed to stop the spasms. It was rather annoying that the buggers were about an inch long, and you had to tip your head back a long way to swallow them. Which with a bad neck...

I can bear the pain if I know it'll stop. So I've only asked for painkillers once. Which was when my whole neck and upper back went into spasm, and I betook myself to casualty. I couldn't even lie down. It's the most amazingly painful thing that's ever happened to me. Or I ever hope to. It went from intense pain that could just be ignored to absolute agony if I moved my head. For which I got morphine and muscle relaxants. They worked, but can't remember what they were called. Because of the morphine. I lost a week. I remember deciding I could work, after 4 days, and I remember leaving at lunchtime, because it hurt too much. I then had the embarrassment of phoning several people the next week to apologise for not getting back to them for a week, only to be told, "you spoke to me on Thursday."

"I did? Oh. What did I say?" It appears I said the right things, I just didn't take any notes, or remember anything about it.

Exercise keeps me OK so far. Morphine sucks, and is to be avoided at all costs. Seeing as it took a week to die down, that muscle relaxant probably wasn't much cop either.

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SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans

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Facepalm

Re: ... a mammoth 2,000 olfactory receptor genes, ..."

Another policy. Helper elephants for old people. They've got to have extra-wide doorways because of wheelchair access, so the elephants will fit in your kitchen, they can pass you the stuff you need with their trunk. And help with other household tasks. They'd be great at bath-time.

I wonder how big the elephant-flap would need to be?

Abolish guide dogs, and replace them with guide-elephants. I don't know why, but it sounds fun. Elephants would surely be better than those hearing dogs for the deaf too. Much bigger ears.

I'd better stop now. I think it's looking at the accounts this morning that's done it to me. My brain hurts. Either that or this is what having a genius idea feels like...

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Happy

Re: ... a mammoth 2,000 olfactory receptor genes, ..."

it's impractical to use them for tracking or in airports for drug searches.

I disagree. Elephants are obviously larger, but then they don't actually need to go to the place where they're sniffing. If you put one between two security lanes, it can move its smelling device around, and so reach items at different angles and heights with ease.

In the case of tracking, they're even better. Why go foxhunting with a pack of hounds and a horse, when you can just take an elephant, which does both. I guess the elephant wouldn't be quite so good at jumping fences...

But then if you can't go over, you can always go through.

In fact we should replace police dogs and horses entirely with police elephants. They'd be much better for riot control, can do sniffing, as well as dealing with armed criminals. OK, they might not be able to delicately hold their knife-arm in their jaws (with the promise of more pain to come if you struggle). But on the other hand, once a few criminals have been stomped into a paste on the ground, the others will learn. Plus it cuts down on prison costs.

Also elephants wouldn't be endangered if every police force in the world had a few hundred of them.

I'm liking this more and more. Anyone want to join me in founding The Elephant Party? Our policies are elephants for the police, subsidised elephants for anyone who wants one, and replacing 50% of horse racing with elephant racing. Then we can have equal opportunities for fat jockeys, who still have a chance to win a race.

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Kickstarter tin-rattlers offer reboot of '80s Integrated Space Plan megagraphic

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Happy

Perhaps he's placed a backdoor in the system. Then when he's ready he can pay all his final bills, stock his rocket with the finest goodies and art treasures, and be off to Mars before the rozzers catch up with him.

There's no extradition treaty with Mars, so he should be dead before the bureaucracy have finished all the paperwork. Let alone built the rocket and trained the police to fly it...

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PayPal post-checkout cash slurp a FEATURE not a BUG

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Re: WTF?

I think PayPal are a bank in Europe. They have a banking license in Luxembourg. Don't know how they work in the US.

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Don't put that duffel bag full of cash in the hotel room safe

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Happy

I still reckon that a tool box, overalls and confidence will get you past 90% of security.

A friend of mine did this. He's a furniture designer, but was meeting a client at his office. In one of GEC Marconi's buildings doing defence work. He coudn't be arsed to go through the long security checks this time, so he removed his suit jacket, rolled up his sleeves and waltzed past security and reception carrying a rolled-up newspaper, his lunchbox and a pad of paper. He got in unchallenged of course.

I presume the KGB weren't equipped with lunch boxes at the time, thus our national security was safe.

Rather like our planes are safe from the hijack danger of the metal cutlery that 1st class passengers are given onboard. This is because Al Qaeda HR policy is that people have to fly economy, on pain of a disciplinary interview...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Simple social engineering would break both the door and the safe

A confident manner is all you need. 2 stories from my last company illustrate:

1. Someone walked into one of the branches. Overalls and clipboard. "Sign here please". Put £10,000 of copiers onto dolly, and wheeled them out to his van. Byeee. Wonder how much he got for them down the pub?

2. Chap walks into head office. Finds a nice side office with 3 people in. "I've lost my contact lens, can you help me find it?" Gets them all into the gents looking, then he remembers it might have fallen out in the car. Pops out, nicks their wallets, then to allay suspicion pops back into the gents, "Sorry chaps, it was in the car, thanks for all your help." Leaves. The credit card company spotted the odd transaction, and phoned one of the guys to check it, which was the first time they noticed.

As you say, I've never had trouble getting into a hotel room. At one family occasion my brother managed to go to the desk and get a duplicate key to someone else's room. Even though we'd all booked and paid separately. And the one time I've had to ask to be let back into my room, no questions were asked but the number.

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Running the Gauntlet: Atari's classic ... now and then

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Happy

Oh yes. I'd forgotten that! Running quickly down another passage, after your brother had gone through a door into a room full of nasties. If you did it fast enough, he could no longer retreat through the door and snipe at them as they came through, he ended up in the melee. Ooops.

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Happy

I had the Amstrad CPC464 version. Which I think must have been simplified. I don't remember being able to block with the shield, for example, although it was a long time ago. I don't think you could play more than 2-player either. Still, I loved it, as I don't recall seeing it in an arcade until much later. We didn't have a local one, so I didn't go to them often.

My record was to waste a whole Saturday afternoon playing a game. Play a couple of levels, load more from tape, repeat. Every so often there'd be a treasure room. I got to level 87 when it happened. I had a decent number of lives left, only a hundred levels on the tape, lots of treasure rooms done, so all stacked up with nice potions for dealing with deaths Tape error. Aaaaaarrrgggghhhh!!

I don't think I ever got much past level 30 again. I wonder if the machine overheated, it was randomness, or there just weren't 100 levels on the tape?

I want to play it again. I'm amazed no-one's released it for iOS / Android, or just as a Flash game online.

Boo, no happy wallowing in nostalgia icon. Say eating Spangles and/or Wham bars, while wearing mismatched flourescent socks and listening to rubbish music...

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About comments

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Re: About comments

Many commentards agree. See the huge feature suggestion threads. Although I've yet to come across any forum software that handles everything well. But it would certainly be nice not to miss out on conversations with people who've replied to you. And fully threaded forums would be far better.

As to your second point. There is a way of telling which post a reply is to. Not that it's by any means perfect. But if you click on the little grey swirly arrow thing on the left of the post, which is there to tell you it's a reply, it puts the post its replying to right to the top of the screen. Which I do in the most confusing cases.

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Microsoft: OK, Office 365 sellers – you can be customers' 'first contact'

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Happy

Re: So, handing over some control...

No new product until 2016. When they'll release Office366.

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Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!

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Re: Question

For those more up on the DSN than me, are NASA considering putting a satellite up to improve the network? I know that there's some capability to use some probes to relay from others - but would it be worth putting something at one of the Lagrange points?

I wonder if this could be a job for a small collection of micro sats to work as an array antenna? Then the array might be able to point in different directions at once.

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Barclays Bank counter staff to become iPad-toting 'community bankers'

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Happy

Digital eagles may soar, but digital weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

To mis-quote Scott Adams Dogbert. He didn't say anything about digital vultures I'm afraid...

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Phab-u-less: Huge MONSTER iPhone 6 not due until 2015 – claim

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Re: I for one

Lallabalalla,

There's nothing wrong horribly with the Apple mail client. It just only allows you to use one mail account at a time (the same as Android).

Whereas Win Pho gives you a shortcut to each email account, which if the live tiles now work properly means can check each one at a glance.

The other problem with the Apple client is that you have to use the same button to change accounts as to access different mail folders within the same account. And it's pretty much random as to which on you get when you press the button. So you want to look in your sent items, you often have to select the mail account again, just in order to then be allowed access to a sub-folder!

I have 2 work accounts to juggle as well. Hence I set up the gmail app to separate out my personal mail.

Oh and while we're at it, the Apple addressbook is even shittier at handling multiple accounts. I want to display my personal and key work numbers, and not mix up with the 4,000 others. And then find those by searching. But Apple don't allow that. I've got to wade through thousands or manually change address books each time.

They basically don't seem to have recognised that a phone is for both work and personal use. Win Pho has the best email and address book, although the new Blackberry seems to be pretty good at this too.

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Will GCHQ furtle this El Reg readers' poll? Team Snowden suggests: Yes

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chatroulette

Which garden shall I deposit my shit in today? Place you bets.

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Black Helicopters

Another worrying thought?

Do they have a working internet sarcasm detector?

If so, we're all buggered. And it wouldn't be the first time that GCHQ had technology vital to the health of the internet, and kept it secret.

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SpaceX FINALLY lobs six sats into orbit (don't mention the landing)

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Devil

This is just an excuse! Everything went perfectly. But he's got to pretend that they don't yet have full control of the reusable stage return, so that when he drops one on that Chinese Tesla trademark troll's head, he's got plausible deniability.

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