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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

2742 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Badges for Commentards

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Your theory is correct.. but not sure about slow

Drew,

From earlier comments, and badges then being issued, I was under the impression your badge script wasn't running all that often. Assuming you do it with a script... You've obviously now fixed that, if it's only taking 6 hours.

I was impressed that your system coped with me reaching 2,000 upvotes, and didn't downgrade me from gold to silver, assuming I was on bronze.

Talking of gold badges, shouldn't you be changing your gold one to an El Reg red one? Surely being on the staff is a far greater honour than being a mere scummy commentard with delusions of adequacy?

I think your option 1 is the best. It seems a bit odd to take someone's badge away, because they've only posted 95 times in the last calendar year. Unless you only want to reward continuous regular posters. But I presume the badges are just a bit of fun, and aren't meant to have any real purpose. So it's sad to take them away.

I suppose it could be considered a just punishment, by an angry Vulture-God, for abandoning the regular worship on the El Reg forums...

Even if you go for option 2, and have a badge page, people will probably still complain if they feel insufficiently badged. Even if it's only to ask when they're due their gold one. Plus option 2 seems like a lot more effort than just making the things permanent. You could make the badges a hyperlink though, that takes you to the badges bit of the forum rules.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: Purple Vulture

With an up:down ration of about 18:1, I heartily endorse this idea! :)

stuartnz,

You didn't want to say that. Now you've put the evil idea into my head that I can quickly change that... Just pop through a few pages of your posts and vote. Of course, it could be in a positive direction, I could see if I could boost you into the stratospheric 20-1 range.

But we all know that as an embittered old lag of an El Reg Commentard, it's going to be downvotes.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: What happened?

I have a theory. If you look at your posting history, you've got nearly 200 posts, spread over 4 pages, since you joined last March. However you seem to have slowed down in your posting, because your first 2 pages of posts all happened in the 3 months from April 2012 to July 2012. So my suspicion is that you haven't posted 100 posts in the last calendar year (I'm not going to count them manually, I'm too lazy). But something like 90-odd.

Weirdly their badge-giving seems to be quite slow and inefficient. People keep posting a couple of weeks after they should have one, saying "where my badge?". But you have been efficiently de-frocked. One test would be to post a few quick replies on this thread, and see if Mr badge comes back? It's probably only 5-10.

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ARTICLES without comment boxes - Climate, CO2, Anything authored by L. Page...

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Solar Panels

There's always air-source heat pumps. They go inside.

Although even in conservation areas, I thought you could use solar panels if they were less than 25mm above the roof level. As for ground-source heat pumps, do you even need planning permission for those?

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Android MasterKey found buried in kiddie cake game on Google Play - report

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: @I ain't Spartacus

Anon,

Yup. If you want to put it like that, I'll go for it.

What does a downvote mean? How does it enhance the discussion? I don't think anything I've said here is unreasonable. You're entirely welcome to disagree. If it makes you happy, downvote away. But as I have no idea why I'm getting downvoted, I can't draw any useful information from it.

Whereas, if you disagree with something anyone's said, please fire up a post. Hopefully this can then be discussed, and we may all reach enlightenment.

It's all pretty straightforward really.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: @I ain't Spartacus

So because you think it is a reasonable point, no one can disagree. Maybe that's your issue - you don't think you can be disagreed with?

Nope. I don't expect to get downvoted for making reasonable points. I expect to get disagreed with for that. A post in response to mine saying, 'you are wrong because a', or 'I think b', is entirely welcome. It's the basis for a reasonable discussion.

There's no point debating with trolls, it's a waste of time. So correct procedure is a quick downvote (if you can be arsed) and move on. If someone posts something that you think is factually inaccurate, or you don't agree with, then the whole point of a discussion thread is to discuss it, so do so. Politely and respectfully would be nice. Then everyone can learn something.

For example, I've not owned an Android phone for a couple of years, though I've set a couple up for friends, and played with them in shops. So my knowledge is good but rusty, and I've got a couple of things wrong, and been corrected - and hopefully learnt from same. Overall though, I believe I have a good basis for my opinions, having lived with 3 of the 4 main systems.

However, you didn't bother to disagree with anything I actually said about Android - so can I presume you agreed with it?

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: @I ain't Spartacus

I see you got a downvote for that, for some peculiar reason, so have an upvote to redress the balance.

Alister,

I see that you got a downvote too. Ooops.

'Tis no surprise. Some of the Android fanbois, make their Apple equivalents look sane. I try my best not to troll, but I get most of my downvotes through making reasonable points about the flaws of Android. And I get loads if I ever dare to suggest that Windows Phone has some good points. Well it does. I've had one, it was fine for a cheap smartphone. No actually, it was bloody excellent for a £100 smartphone, for a full-price £500 job, WP7 would have been severely disappointing though.

I replaced my Nokia Lumia 710 with a work iPhone 5. Which is also fine. The Lumia was a replacement for the work HTC Wildfire, which was also fine - if under-powered and horribly under-updated. I know that's HTC's fault, not Google's. But it'll be Google that the public and press will blame if/when the malware shit hits the fan.

I try to be positive, and upvote the good posts, and only downvote total idiots and trolls. Disagreement is fine. I find the fanbois hard to understand. There are no vendors who are perfect, and they're always tempted to put profits ahead of security/updates/customer services.

I try to be an adult about my tech choices, and practise sensible paranoia, without prejudice for vendors' past misdeeds. Or excessive trust or hero-worship. Which are equally bad. I'll take the tool that does the job, at the right price and required effort.

In the last couple of months I've recommended an Android tablet to a couple of people, an iPad to at least one, helped a friend choose and set-up the (excellent) Galaxy Note II, and recommended Windows Phone to a couple of people as well. Plus said avoid a tablet and get a laptop to someone else. Horses for courses. But not in lasagne - I'll take my horse casseroled in red wine, with veg, tatties and dumplings thank you.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Anonymouse,

There's malware on Android, sure. But if you're not doing anything unusual, like using other app stores, or side-loading, you're pretty unlikely to pick up any nasties. It's not like Windows XP in 2002 for example.

Although it could theoretically get that way - and with no sensible update mechanism built-in Google would then seriously struggle to fix the problem. The potential for damage to their reputation is enormous, particularly as I don't think their user lock-in is anything like as solid as Microsoft's was/in on the PC market. iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone are all serious alternatives, given that for most users a phone is just an appliance, and many don't even know what OS they're running.

I struggled to get 2 ordinary users to understand last week that the iPad/iPhone run the same OS, or that Google's nexus tablets and Samsung's tablets/phones were all running the same OS. Many users still don't think of smart-phones as computers, with similar power to desktops. Many don't even realise (because they've never thought about it) that phones are the same as tablets, but with smaller screens.

Malware on their phone would come as a rude shock to them. They have an ongoing financial relationship with the carriers, who probably sold them the handset, and they're going to expect more customer service than they get through a PC they picked up from Dixons. Plus journalists love smartphones, and talking about smartphones. It makes them feel relevant and in-touch with da yoof. It will be big news, if it happens. And Google really don't seem to understand customer service. They are riding for a big fall, if they're not careful. In major part, because most smartphone users aren't well informed about the risk of malware on 'Droid.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
FAIL

Now don't I remember a story from one of Google's security Oompa-Loompas just a month or so ago? Oh yes, that's right. If nasty vendors don't patch vulnerabilities we find in under 7 days, then we'll publicly reveal them to the world, and it won't be our fault if there are exploits. It'll be their fault for not patching quickly enough.

Hmmmm. I thought that statement was a bit of a hostage to fortune, given the piss-poor method that Google decided on for Android patching. They really need to sort that out. I've been saying it (and getting downvotes) on and off since I got my first Droid a couple of years ago. It's a great OS, but with some obvious, and quite fucking ludicrous, flaws. Patching and updating being the biggest and obvious-est.

I wonder if this will prompt them to look at sorting things out? Or are they just going to stick their fingers in their ears and sing "la la la la la".

There's going to be a big outbreak of something soon, that makes the papers. It only takes that one high-profile story, then they'll start reporting every single problem, and Android's reputation may get trashed incredibly quickly. Like the papers reporting every Dreamliner that turns back and makes an un-scheduled landing, as if that's not something that happens to airliners every day, just because of the one catching fire at Heathrow. It won't take much to knock people's confidence in it, and send them scrurrying back to Apple, or even to Windows Phone/Blackberry, all of which are perfectly fine OSes.

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Articles with no comments

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: @Drewc - Oh look... @diodesign

TeeCee,

The problem with that though, is that the wannabe commentard clicks on the link in the article to the thread on the forums, and comments away. But there's nothing to take them further into the other user forums. So all they've done is to create an article-linked thread, not directly linked to an article. Which doesn't take things any further really.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: @Drewc - Oh look... @diodesign

Drew,

I agree with you. I don't think this has been a success.

To be brutally honest, I don't think your non-article forums have been much of a success either. You get the odd 100 post thread, but I suspect most of those are linked to/from articles. Or have been going over months, like the wishlist/bugs ones for example.

It's a bit of a vicious circle. You post something, get no reply for a while, then stop bothering to look back, so when your reply turns up, 3 days later, you don't even notice.

I don't know what the cause of that is, although I could hazard a few guesses. Personally I think it's the unwieldy forums you use, which make it harder to follow conversations, and hard to see whether/when you've had a reply. It may also be down to the users only wanting to comment on articles, and not have discussions, but I do think there's a subset of your commentards who would post on non-article forums regularly.

I presume this was an experiment to try and drive more users to the forums, given that you've tried before by having a link from an article to a discussion thread, but that's not then attracted people to other threads.

I must say though, although your staff do make an appearance on them, it's pretty rare. And when people ask questions about badges for example in the Reg Matters boards, you guys don't often come along to answer. So even replies from you guys can take days/weeks. Then you'll do several at once. So if you're not even checking out your own forums all that regularly, why would you be surprised if your users aren't?

I know what a pain in the arse this can be. My company have just appointed me chief-spokesman on Twitter, to try and build up our Google ranking via social-bollocks, and maybe get some marketing value out of it. I'm sceptical, though I can see ways that we could use Twitter and Linked-in. But I can also see that it's going to be at least half an hour a day's work for me, to get any value out of it for us.

You could probably read all the posts to the non-article forums for one day in ten minutes at the moment...

Anyway, well done for coming on here and admitting it hadn't worked. It must be annoying when people post as if they have some sort of God-given human right to spout their opinions on every article, and it must be some sort of conspiracy or major character flaw on the part of the author if they are denied. I hope when I criticise El Reg, that I'm a bit more constructive than that. And hopefully a bit less up my own arse as well... Keep up the good work!

Toodle-pip.

P.S. - Please put an article on the front page about the Ashes, even if only to annoy your Aussie office, when they wake up.

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Rotten hackers feast on mouldy Java flaws

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: I've removed all trace of Java from my home machines.

I remember when Sun first gave Java a 'proper' update mechanism, and being pleased - and hoping Flash would soon follow suit. Only to look at my PC one day, and realise that I currently had about 10 versions of Java all installed at once. What a shit updater that was.

Now my machines are all Java-free, after two drive-by downloads that I was amazed my virus checker actually stopped without dying. Although paranoia still forced me to waste ages scanning the system with proper tools to make sure. I now uninstall it wherever I find it.

Sadly Flash now have an auto-updater. But it only ever did it without manual intervention once. I think it must be because they're so desperate to make you download that shitty McAfee toolbar/scanner thingy, so they make you do a fresh download each time, with an extra bonus chance to forget to untick that fucking box. I wonder if I installed it, whether Flash would then update properly like it's supposed to?

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New Forum Wishlist - but read roadmap first

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Reasons for reporting abuse

Good point. I reported a spammer the other day. Well I think it was. 3 posts in 2 days from signing up the account, all plugging one app.

But just reporting the one post, that was almost in context, wouldn't have made much sense. So I reported all 3, in the absence of an ability to comment.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Zap withdrawn posts?

It's what I'd recommend - if there's no other reason not to. People have always complained about it. And even more so since some people now have the ability, and others don't.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Zap withdrawn posts?

Drewc,

Rather than do extra work, why not just extend the edit function to all users?

Is there a reason that only gold and silver badgers have it? As it's only a five minute edit window - it's only open to very limited abuse. Unless it creates too much server-load of course.

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UK investigators finger emergency beacon for 787 Heathrow fire

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Pint

Re: If it ain't Boeing...

I suspect that when the enquiries are all finished, we'll find out that Boeing bought all the flammable bendy-buses dumped by London, stuck wings on them, painted them white and is selling them on as Dreamliners.

Now I've resolved this complex engineering problem for the world, I'm off to the pub.

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Paypal makes man 1000x as rich as the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Are you telling me...

>Rugby which is popular in NZ, Australia, Italy, France, Ireland, S. Africa.

Four of those are countries which were owned by the UK.

I see you stayed anonymous, you disgusting traitor! Five of those countries once belonged to England.

France was, as all should know, an English possession! In fact if memory serves (and online checking confirms) George III was the last English king to also be King of France.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Happy

Re: If it were Baldrick

Only if it had grown into a rude and amusing shape...

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The facts on Trident 'cuts': What the Lib Dems want is disarmament

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Why on earth didn't the review cost up silos?

brain_flakes,

Who knows what threat the UK faces? Or to be more precise, will face in 2030, when the new system comes on stream. The whole point is that you have to plan for a world you know very little about, as it's still over 15 years away. This is the problem with planning military capabilities. If you're serious about it, you need to over-spend, because you need to be able to respond to potential threats, or at least have enough capability to tide you over while you upgrade something that almost does the job, or build something new.

Can you tell me who'll be governing Russia in 2030? Given they've got a few thousand nukes on ICBMs. Of course it may be that Putin is still President, in which case he's probably quite predictable...

And even that's assuming we trust the French! Well I suppose they haven't attacked us in a few years now, so maybe it's safe to turn our backs...

As for NATO guaranteeing mutual defence, do you even know if that will exist by 2030? Also it's less of a guarantee when you're talking about nukes. As no-one else will fancy a dose of the same. As was mentioned in the article. Once you're paranoid enough to feel you need nukes, you're going to be too paranoid to trust anyone else's.

Finally:

All in all it seems to me the report has been created simply to "prove" that we should keep Trident rather than actually look at all alternatives.

You are aware that the report was chaired by Danny Alexander of the Lib Dems, who wanted not to replace Trident. What he's found is that the alternatives are Trident, a bit less Trident or nothing. Anything else costs more for a less effective weapons system. Although 3 squadrons of F35s could obviously do other duties as well as nuclear ones, so would cost lots for lots of capability. But they're too short range to be a fully effective deterrent.

I suppose you could argue that land based missiles might be cheaper, if we could buy the US Minuteman system. Assuming they'd be willing to sell. And assuming the warheads were compatible, and didn't need a re-design. But the report doesn't, so I'd imagine they looked into that rather obvious idea. Plus land-based missiles are less effective at the stated job.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Still don't really see the point in Trident.

In the event of a nuclear attack on Britian there'd really be nothing left and the current scale of any British nuclear response is a rounding error in the scheme of MAD policies between gigantic nations.

16 missiles per boat x 3 warheads per missile = 48 cities with large holes in the middle. Which country has 48 cities that it wouldn't mind missing?

That's assuming an attack with no warning. And that a second boat isn't out on exercise with another lot of 48 warheads.

If a threat builds up over time, that number of warheads can also be increased. You can't build new boats in just a couple of years, but Trident can carry more warheads. I think we used to put 6 on them, but took 3 off each after the cold war. There are probably still warheads in storage, and we've plenty of plutonium to make more. So we could probably double the striking power of each boat pretty quickly.

Most nuclear policy tended to expect some warning of attack as well. After all, you've got to really piss someone off for them to want to nuke you. Even if plans were designed to cover the surprise attack. So Trident would expect to get at least 2, if not 3, boats to sea at any time of serious crisis. One will always be in repairs. So that could easily be quite a lot of nukes.

It's a rounding error in terms of the ten thousand warheads on ICBMs each side had at the height of the Cold War. But that was truly a silly number of warheads. Even accounting for the size of force needed to make a first strike even slightly, vaguely plausible.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Only £50m a year for a nuclear sub?

Well assuming that figure is accurate £50m x 20 years = £1bn. So it's a pretty big amount of cash. That'll probably be a non-inflation billion as well.

You'd have to have pretty much the same infrastructure, training and maintenance regimes whatever you do, so the difference is the cost of 1 boat, plus crew costs. As you say, the boats probably cost a lot less than the price tag, as cutting one will put the price of all the others up.

2 crews of 100 at an average of £50k per year each is £10m. Leaving £40m for the boat. So even if wrong, the figure isn't totally unreasonable.

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I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: US involvement

The UK build the warheads.

I'm not sure how it works with the missiles. As I understand it, they're drawn from a central pool of operational missiles. I don't know if after each Trident patrol they're taken out and sent back to the US to be overhauled, or if the UK do the local servicing but full regular overhauls are done in some Central facility. However given that the US also used the base at Faslane, it wouldn't surprise me if there wasn't some kind of joint facility there. The Navy are going to have a lot of experience of use and general maintenance on the missiles though, boats have to be able to fix them at sea - so they're going to know quite a lot about them.

Obviously the missiles are US designed/built. UK is responsible for its own warheads, boats and communications.

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Can we loose the annoying "auto expanding" ads?

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

I have to agree. I've no objection to adverts, I recognise that poor El Reg Hacktards have to eat, and therefore us commentards have to stare at ads.

However I do object to starting to read an article, and then having it suddenly scroll zoomingly past my eyes at supersonic speed, as some advert up top has decided to go walkabouts.

The ones that really piss me off, are the ones that come down like a curtain over everything you're reading, and force you to click on a close button. They were fashionable a while back, and should that ever come back, my patience will snap and I'll use an ad-blocker. Which I currently don't. At which point it'll probably be too much hassle to train it for which sites deserver to go un-blocked.

I've done a quick bit of research. I'm running Vista on this office PC. In IE10 the ad doesn't randomly expand all over the page, it sits in its box like a good little Toshiba. In both Chrome and Firefox (latest versions), it loads up normally, has a little think, waits until you're not expecting it, and are reading the article. Then: Boo! Zoom! Whoosh! Bugger!

There seems to be a distressing tendency at the moment for web pages to jump around like epileptic fleas as they load. I don't know if this is a change in the way that browsers work or just the number of elements and bits of media from different servers that web-designers are trying to throw out. It used to be that you could load a page, and start reading the article, then other stuff would gradually turn up around the page. Now the whole thing seems to want to jump to whichever element has just loaded. This is something I particularly notice on the iPad browser. Some pages are unreadable for a whole minute, as they bounce around madly.

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JPL wants to fire a laser at MARS!

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge
Alien

No! Mars is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can't possibly...

I can't believe that El Reg are peddling this blatant propaganda!. Why even now, as reported and photographed in several of your own articles no less, there is a laser armed robot tank roaming round the surface of Mars!

Clearly these people are dangerous and must be dealt with forthwith! I say that lasers are too good for them. We should nuke them from orbit! it's the only way to be sure.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Coat

Re: It'll never work

How are they going to get the shark to Mars?

It's dead easy! First mount your laser on your shark. Then as your shark can't walk on the surface of Mars,, mount it on a donkey. Then you simply:

Get your ass to Mars.

Coat? You think I ought to? OK, getting it now...

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Poor iPhone sales mean Verizon could owe Apple $14bn

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Velv,

It's not anti-competitive. It's all about the discount. Ask anyone in sales. If you pre-commit to buy 1,000 of our gubbins, I'll give you a bigger discount than if you only order 1.

If on the other hand you order 1, and promise to order 1,000 later, honest - then I may trust you, but you still won't get the juiciest discount that they guy who signs a commitment to order the whole lot will get.

For a contract of that size, I'd image there are build in penalty clauses. It would be silly to force Verizon to buy the lot, unless Apple have changed their manufacturing amounts based on pre-orders. Although if they have, then Verizon may have to eat a lot of the difference. However, it's equally likely that Apple will just claw back a few percentage points of discount on previously made sales. Or even reduce their agreed marketing assistance payments, which are often based on those negotiated discounts.

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Asperger's and IT

I ain't Spartacus
Gold badge

Re: Good article

Current thinking within the disability sector is that people aren't disabled. Society is disabled to the extent that it fails to accommodate the needs of some people.

That's a dangerous line to take. Often bordering on the delusional, or sometimes a genuine case of 'PC-gone-mad'. For example, there have been cases of deaf parents trying to argue that the they shouldn't teach language to their non-deaf child, because deafness isn't really a disability, the problems are caused by an uncaring society.

Similarly the whole differently-abled thing.

If you can't walk, and need a wheelchair to get around, then you have a disability. No mealy-mouthed use of language gets around that. It shouldn't define you, nor does it make you any less valuable as a person, but you have a physical impairment meaning that you can't do the same things as most other people.

In my case, I can't read the top letter on the eye-chart. My eyesight is so poor that technically I count as blind, or at least used to (they've changed the way these things are defined in the last ten years - so I don't know). I have somewhere between 5-10% of average vision, I understand it's not possible to be more precise than that with current measuring methods. By any sensible measure, that's a disability.

Society could do more to help, like making things clearer, not using brown text on a brown background, not writing menus and train timetables in tiny letters 20 feet up on walls, etc. But it's my problem as well as societies. I have to deal with the fact that I can't drive - which isn't society's fault. You could argue that it is equally society's problem, and so I should be given massive amounts of cash for free taxis or something, but then that's nice for me - but arguably rather unfair on other tax-payers.

Equally with other disabilities, compromise is needed. Society needs to improve, and is improving somewhat. Prejudice needs a lot more squashing, and facilities need to improve (and are, slowly). But should we hack historic buildings up in order to get wheelchair access? Or should disability rights take second place to heritage? Similarly people with Aspergers need understanding from society, but also need to learn (and make the effort) to integrate as much as they can. It's not going to be easy for either.

This is an area where compromise and discussion are needed. But woolly and wishful thinking doesn't get us very far in doing it.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Happy

Re: I don't think I'm on the spectrum

Watch the iris size. If it shrinks, shut up.

Denarius,

Interesting. Sadly my eye problem isn't fixable. Mind if I give you a kiss? If I wanted to check your iris size, I'd need to be that close. I suspect at which point I'd be getting much more visible body-language signals to warn me off...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Details.

If you can find someone who likes the selling, but not the techy stuff, then maybe you can do IT for a small company. There's a lot of really useful IT out there now, and a lot of small companies who know they should be using it, but can't understand it. So there are good opportunities out there dealing with the small companies, for a techy (however socially inept) and a hybrid techy/salesy type.

Finding the people to work with is the problem of course.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: I don't think I'm on the spectrum

I've got incredibly bad eyesight. So I can recognise faces, mostly, but it takes a good while. And most of it I suspect is from clothing (I've a great memory) and posture and clues. I'm good with voices too.

I've had complaints from people that I acknowledged you and you ignored me. Well yes, you made eye contact from across a room - but since I probably didn't notice you, and I certainly can't see your eyes from any further than a couple of feet - so nope, I wasn't ignoring you. I've read and heard about eye contact (all that subtle muscle movement), but I've not the faintest idea what it means, because I've never seen it. In fact i'ts one of the way that visual problems get diagnosed. Parents see the developmental bods because their babies aren't smiling, and the reason is they're not seeing parents expressions, and so not learning them.

But it can make social situations awkward. I've no idea how much body language I'm giving off, as I haven't learnt much of it naturally from observation. And I can't see much of anyone's anyway. Which can make for similar issues. I don't do eye contact, but as an adult I've realised that I need to look at people's faces when talking to them. Which for some reason I find slightly uncomfortable, but it should make them feel better - and costs nothing to me really. Also when to interrupt and jump into a conversation is a subtle art I can't get, and I suspect people cue each other with body language I'm not seeing. Cheating bastards! It's all a conspiracy I tell 'ee!

At least I've got the advantage of getting the social cues from tone of voice, and being able to respond in kind. Which means I'm likely to do a lot better on first meeting with someone I've talked to on the phone - where I've already made my first impression.

One of the things I've thought recently is that education didn't really bother to do a great job of equipping me for life. Particularly the special needs folks. Sure getting the tech right was important, so I've got all the gizmos to be able to read, and cope with school blackboards and train departure boards. But no-one ever talked to me about how to cope with bullying or a world that communicates in some sort of bizarre code by waggling the muscles surrounding their eyes. I saw many an educational psychologist, and did lots of tests, answered questions and jumped through hoops. But none of them every said anything to me that wasn't part of their assessment. So I'm not sure how much use all of it was. I think they should have sent me to acting classes. I'm sure I could have picked up a bit of facial expressions for dummies, and learnt to fake a convincing smile. If it's really true that first impressions count for so much, then this would have been far more use than anything else I got from the special needs mob.

As it happens I've just made it up as I went along. As we all do with growing up of course. And developed a thick hide. I reckon I could even take the number of downvotes Eadon regularly got without it affecting me at all. Hmmm, thinks, perhaps I should step into his shoes and test this out...? Although I admit I do still take it personally when a web designer / magazine designer decides that dark brown text on a light brown background is readable.

As someone who does run the IT for a small business, I think there fewer hurdles to jump here, than in the corporate world. We don't have the skills, or the time to shop around. If we can get good word-of-mouth, and the price is reasonable, we're quite likely to go with someone, whatever first-impression they might make. So long as we think they've got an idea what they're talking about. Also there are fewer people competing for our trade, whereas big business can't move for salesmen eager to take their wonga.

I do wonder though how much of that first-impressions stuff that the trick-cyclists give us is true. It's not my impression of life that almost everyone judges all the people they meet within 10 seconds. Or that this judgement isn't reviewed every few minutes for a good long while.

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Re: Asperger's and IT

I find the Aspergers discussion difficult. Because I've dealt with 'Rain Main', but don't know anyone who's diagnosed as having Aspergers, although several who might be there-or-there-abouts - depending on how widely you draw the net.

But it makes it hard for me to comprehend, because it's supposed to be a spectrum. But when you've dealt a lot with someone who's profoundly autistic, it's hard to see much cross-over. Rain Man had the courage not to have a happy ending, but still had that hope of improvement running through the story. That hope is depressing by it's absence when you're dealing with autism every day. Also you're liable to find yourself getting punched/kicked/bitten/scratched a lot more than that film, and in my experience playing a lot more piano...

I guess I need to read up on it more. It's hard to deal with these graduations on a scale. Rather like ADHD and just not having much of an attention span. For lack of any physical/chemical means of diagnosis we're stuck with trusting the head-pshrinkers to get it right.

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Jokes of no more than 2 lines

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What's 2 foot tall and can't turn corners?

...

...

A baby with a spear through it's head.

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Samsung asks for retrial on rubber-band

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Devil

You can't say this lawsuit is going to overtake SCO vs IBM because that one's still going on.

SCO will never die! The now re-launched Hammer will be making films about them for the next few decades. SCO, SCO Returns, The Bride of SCO, Son of SCO, SCO's Revenge, SCO vs Predator...

We don't appear to have a Dracula icon.

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BlackBerry's retro-look QWERTY Q5 mobe: Resentment by design

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I just persuaded a friend to buy a Galaxy Note 2. For the ability to sketch dimensions on site photos mainly. But as an input method the handwriting recognition on that thing absolutely blazes along. It beats anything you can do with an on-screen keyboard. I've never got on with the physical qwerty keys on phones myself, so I can't compare to them for speed.

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Anti-PRISM Trojan explodes over Jay-Z fans

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Happy

Re: Fabulous

Who the fuck is Jay Z anyway?

M'lud, I believe that Jay-Z is a popular beat combo. In the style of, what I believe is called, crap music.

We really need a lawyer icon, what with all the patent trolling, and SCO coming back from the dead. Again.

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Upturned boat sails to Shed of the Year title

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Flame

Re: For goodness sakes..

One that hasn't been burnt down yet...

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Unhappy

Re: Always be suspicious...

Sob. Sniff, sniff. I live in a flat. I have nowhere for a shed.

I do have one room that I can barely get into, with lots of tools and boxes in. Along with a slightly embarrassing collection of bottles, that I keep forgetting to take to the recycling centre. But I'm not sure if that's enough to remove me from the list of suspicious characters. Does this mean I'm on some NSA watch-list?

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Coat

Re: Nothing to contribute

He didn't build that shed. He bought it in a sail.

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Happy

Re: Jealous

So you dance in your shed, while sticking out your frankly enormous tongue. Bet you're popular...

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Pint

Re: Where's the magazine rack

Curtains! Pah! Curtains? Are you some kind of metrosexual - with neither beard nor pipe? I spit on you, with your soft namby-pamby ways, with your magazines and your moisturiser...

A real man has a face crinkled by exposure to the sun (not blocked by curtains), and rough as a badger's arse. Heaven alone knows what metaphor that leaves for the roughness of his arse... With a beard that you could loose a ferret in.

Although I'm a bit concerned by him refrigerating his beer and cider. Proper rough scrumpy, which is what one should drink in a shed, ought to be drunk warm and cloudy, and slowly eating its way through the glass. And real beer shouldn't be drunk cold.

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Germans brew up a right Sh*tstorm

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A lot of American TV uses English swears to get round their own network's guidelines. So you'll often hear "wanker" in a show where they aren't even allowed to say "damn".

I find this amusing, because surely the people who complain about swearing have access to dictionaries or the internet, and are able to work this stuff out. Even if they're not the brightest brasseca in the patch...

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The French have pretty much accepted le weekend, which is far better than la fin de la semaine. Not sure how those ended up being opposite genders though...

However if you go to Calais, they also have the frankly horrible le ferry-boat. Which would be fair enough on a children's program, but really sounds crap said in a sing-song french voice.

But there's nout like french for making ordinary things sound all posh like. A baker called Pain Quotidien just sounds so philosophical and everything. You just need the packet of Gallouises and to stare out of the window panes of a woman's bedroom into the pouring rain, to appreciate it...

I don't know why everyone gets so stressed about it. The dominant global language is absolutely full of foreign words, and it doesn't worry us. As a French friend used to tell me, english is just a local french patois... We speak a mongrel tongue of pidgin-french, cod-latin and dodgy german. Surely the way to protect your language is to get the english-speakers to adopt your word for something before it gets big - a sort of pre-emptive strike.

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Hanslope Park: Home of Britain’s ‘real-life Q division’

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Coat

No Mr Bond. I don't expect you to talk. I expect you to CLI.

*ahem* I know. Coat. I'm getting it...

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Americans attempt to throw off oppressive, unresponsive rulers on 4th of July

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Re: WTF...

Not exactly. At the point NATO invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban were the legitimate government.

Matthew 25,

Interesting. What election had they won to make that true?

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Happy

Re: WTF...

Most importantly, a disgusting waste of tea.

Today ought to be a global day of mourning, to commemorate the loss of so much delicious, life-giving, life-affirming, civilisation preserving, beautiful tea - so wantonly destroyed. In the afternoon Bostonians ought to hang their heads in shame, while watching ceremonial cricket matches, drinking tea and eating cucumber sandwiches. Before moving on to fireworks hot-dogs and burgers in the evening to celebrate independence. The rest of the world should do the same, but without the ceremonial penance for tea-wasting.

We've just installed a coffee percolator in the office, within arms reach of my desk. So I now need to walk downstairs to the kitchen, and show my righteous love of tea by making a cup. Practising what I preach and all that.

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Apple back in court as Shanghai firm takes offence at Siri

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Devil

Re: The whole case stinks

Not sure which horse to back here, but they're in court so maybe they'll both lose.

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but:

Cheer for the lawyers!

When the lawyers win, everybody loses. Now I feel dirty...

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Fines 4 U: Mobe insurer cops £3m penalty for grumble dumping

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Re: It's always a scam

It doesn't matter if you don't take the mobile phone insurance at time of purchase, or not. You'll get it anyway. Well that used to be the case when I temped for a mobile phone insurance company for a month, after redundancy. They had the temp (i.e. me) operate the credit card terminal totally unsupervised (nice security!) - and I also dealt with the customer complaints. And pretty much everything else come to think of it. That place was run on a shoe-string. They must have been raking the cash in, as they were an established insurance company who'd branched out into doing outsourced insurance for a big chain of mobile shops. I think they had one 'manager' and 2-3 temps.

On investigating direct debits, I'd come across many forms where the phone insurance bit was filled out in different pens, and different handwriting, to the sales form. Nothing suspicious here then. But I'm sure a few sales guys never missed their targets on insurance sign-ups...

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Eww! What have you done to the layout?

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Re: Indeed it does,

Ah the Big Book of User Interface Design. It's so big that many designers don't appear to be able to fit it through their doors - as few seem to have bothered reading it...

I made the same complaint to El Reg that you've just done, on their old design. It turned out that there was a # hidden somewhere around the post, and that was the link that took you back to it in the thread.

My favourite though was a band's website. It had a nicely done hand-drawn sketch of a tree as a landing page. But no link through to the site. I guess I should have just changed the URL, but I had to figure it out. So I moved the mouse over the screen in a methodical fashion - looking for the pointer to change.

And blow me if it wasn't all down to my own stupidity. Amongst the several hundred near-identical drawings of leaves in the picture, one of them, at the end of a branch was waving slightly. Click on that, and enter the site. How could I have been so stupid as not to see it!?!? There was no text at all on this landing-page, not even copyright. That beats any of the 90s Geo-cities horrors, or even mid-brown cursive text on a light-brown background illegibility, as the worst website I've ever used.

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Neil,

That's what the "Posted Wednesday 3rd July 2013 11:45 GMT" link does at the top right of every one of your posts.

Personally I think they should have a way of posts telling you how many replies they've got, or a page that shows it or something, rather than having to go through your recent post history and check. But the functionality you describe already exists.

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Bolivian president's jet grounded so officials can look for Snowden

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GCHQ didn't plant that bug in the Ecuadorian embassy

It was Julian Assange. How else do you think he got their consul's password so he could knock up a travel document for Snowden without the government's permission?

Well OK, he'd probably just hack the computers for that. So maybe it is our bug. Or an imaginary one. This story really could run-and-run. The great thing about spying, once it gets onto the news agenda, is that no-one believes denials, which are rarely issued anyway, and so you can pretty much say anything. Happy days for journalists with column inches to fill, at least.

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