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* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

2743 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Motorola to kick off comeback with US-made Moto X

I ain't Spartacus
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In the same sentence you ask why should Samsung be pissed-off and that they just need to lower their profit margins. I think you'll find those two statements are in conflict.

Google are walking a tightrope. No one knows why they bought Motorola. If it was just for the patents, to help defend Android, then the OEMs will be very pleased that they 'took one for the team'. An $11 billion one at that! However that gratitude doesn't extend to wanting to lose any of their profits, so Google can make that cash back. So as soon as Google look to try and turn a profit from Motorola, and make it more competitive, the other Android OEMs are going to get grumpy. But if Google don't, their own shareholders will also get grumpy. Moto lose about $1bn a year, so this is quite an annoying problem.

Samsung are in a position to fork Android, they've certainly got the cash to do it. It would be a hassle, and surely part of the Android appeal is the integration with Google's services. But there are plenty of people out there like Amazon or Microsoft, with cloudy offerings, who'd be willing to buddy up with someone with as many customers as Samsung. Especially with all that lovely data that smartphones generate. The other OEMs aren't in as good a position, but if the Chinese market can be dominated by forked Android phones, with the Google stuff stripped out, there's no reason why others can't be. Samsung are responsible for something like 40% of Android sales, and over 90% of the profits. Google better not piss them off too much. Probably Samsung can't steal all that lot, but I strongly suspect they could trash the Android brand pretty effectively, and there's still Blackberry, WinPho or just forked Android as options (plus Tizen, Sailfish, Mozilla, even Symbian).

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Re: no advantage

Tom 35,

The more cynical part of me suspects that LG see people like you as the problem. With your disgusting tendency to try and delete the 'wonderful' software they've so bounteously pre-installed onto your handset, your refusal to use the app store they've given you as an alternative to Google's nasty one (which is so overcrowded with software, and not an exclusive boutique like theirs). And finally your constant whining about how they only take a few extra quarters to get your Android updates to you, and just what is the fuss about all that anyway, when they're generously willing to sell you a new handset at any time, with all the latest shinies on it...

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Replying to myself. LG just came out and said that they wouldn't be doing another Nexus phone, because there was no advantage to them doing Android without their own skin/apps/crapware. And I just read that Motorola may be killing off Motoblur and going pure 'Droid, which makes sense given who owns them.

Maybe their way to get an advantage out of Google is to write special apps that only they get, but in reality they'll be Google apps. That might give their phones an advantage. But the downside of that is Google would want all their apps to be on as many devices as possible. Especially the clever ones that supposedly predict what settings you want on the phone, depending on where you are, time of day and whether you're working or not. Lots of lovely data to mine there.

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There was a piece on this I saw somewhere else, that suggested Motorola had been talking about the margins on smartphones being too high. And that they could be cheaper, while still being premium, and accept less than 50% margins.

If true, that might well really piss off Samsung. I'm sure they're delighted with the huge margins they undoubtedly make on the S4, and would be sad to see it stop. It's a problem for Google. If they go cheap with Motorola to try and build back market share, then the other hardware players will be annoyed. If they allow them special features, then the others will cry favouritism. And yet if they continue to do nothing, then the shareholders will become increasingly grumpy about the $11bn they just spent on Motorola.

Hey Google! You did have a plan when you bought them didn't you?

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CRUNCH: 'Drunk' chap cuffed in high-speed car nookie prang rumpus

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Happy

Re: Who had the wheels?

I don't remember that particular episode of Chorlton and the Wheelies. But I'm sure with enough Googling I should be able to turn up something...

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Google on advertising-funded cesspools: We don't like them either

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What part of finance isn't complex?

Large parts of finance are extremely simple, so long as you understand a few basic concepts - and the terminology. If you do it every day, and still don't understand some transaction then it's entirely possible that there's something wrong with the offer. But it's embarrassing to say "I don't understand" when everyone else is busily pretending that they do. This is the root of quite a lot of the recent financial crisis.

If risk-management can't understand it, then they can't manage it, or price it. Like selling interest rate swaps to small businesses, the offer was too complex for them to understand because the banks were hiding the fact that there was virtually no upside in the deal for the small businesses concerned. Whichever way interest rates went, the banks did OK. But they were sold as a way of avoiding volatility.

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An interesting article. Thanks.

There's also a problem the other way. With dodgy adverts appearing on legitimate sites. Which leads me to wonder how much of the blame to put at the door of the ad networks.

I've noticed that quite a few web cartoons take the scummiest, dodgiest adverts for diet-pills and work-from-home-scams. This includes something as big as Dilbert, which surely could manage to get financed by better adverts than that?

I've always been amazed by the piss-poor quality of Facebook ads as well. Maybe it's because I log in every 6 weeks or so, and post even less frequently - plus my personal information is only partly true. But surely it's not in Facebook's interest to be running ads that are obvious scams - it's truly amazing just how many Eastern European and Asian women want to marry me, and how many competitions I've won with prizes of free iPads. I've even won a few Lexuseseseseseses! Or is it Lexii?

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Living with a 41-megapixel 808 PureView: Symbian's heroic last stand

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Re: Love the thing

I still keep thinking I'd like to dump my smartphone. Give me a 7" tablet and a dumb phone that can give it a WiFi hotspot. Which could work equally well with something like this, so I can dump my cheapy camera, and if it's got enough memory (or SD card slot) also my mp3 player.

I'm still not happy with the compromises in any smartphone I've used. I'm sure one day they'll all do phone, email, sat-nav, internet, camera and music player well with enough battery to cope with multiple uses. But that still looks to be some time away, so I'm still carrying several bits of kit.

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Re: Theory why it's Symbian only

I saw a comment on here from someone claiming to have worked on the Pureview project. He said that Windows Phone simply couldn't handle the huge data throughput to the processor. So they had to go for a cut-down version on WP8. It sounds believable, as MS wouldn't have had it in mind when doing their design, but I've obviously go no way of knowing.

However, surely you could easily bolt the system on to any phone. You simply put enough processing power into the camera that it doesn't need the external OS for anything, and just hands over the finished pictures. Then it's just a case of writing a camera driver for the phone OS. Obviously that would be less efficient. I don't know whether you'd then end up having to re-write all the code, or whether you'd run/emulate Symbian on the camera. It might end-up cheaper to have an expensive chip running cut-down Symbian than to re-do the Pureview software. Hardware's forever getting cheaper, good coders aren't.

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Re: And why are Samsung setting up a Finnish R&D centre?

Jess,

All the N8 was lacking was polish on the OS.

But the problem with your argument is that Nokia had already had years of putting out Symbian phones. Even now, Belle is apparently a massive improvement, but still lacks polish. Now admittedly you could put a lot of that down to the fact they were dumping Symbian as it was being finished.

But at some point Nokia needed to get an OS that wasn't nearly-but-not-quite. So your comment:

The whole NoWin fiasco is a demonstration of how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Is wishful thinking at best. Nokia have some amazing engineers, and have made some brilliant stuff. And they've had stuff half-finished on their drawing board for a decade that other companies would kill for. But in most cases they've failed to settle on one thing and damned well get it completed and out to market. From what I've read that's down to management. But there was no victory. You can claim there would have been, with just one more Symbian or Meego or Hanrattan or whatever updated. But frankly, I don't believe you. The evidence is very much against you. Clearly Elop and the board took the same attitude. They decided it was easier to buy in an OS from MS (even despite their mixed record in mobile) because they didn't trust themselves to sort out their own management processes. Something shown by the fact they hired an outsider to sort them out, and not an internal candidate. I wonder if that's because it was easier to abandon all projects and go outside, than for all the other competing factions at board level to surrender, and let one of their many OS projects win?

It's a crying shame - and a huge waste of engineering talent.

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Anonymous 'plonks' names, addresses of far-right EDL types on web

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Re: Its war Jim, but not as we know it...

The 'hack' of the BNP members was no such thing. It was leaked by some internal people being annoyed, for some reason. Now we could go all 'conspiracy nut' here, and say they were sleeper agents. But I think I'll go with the most likely hypothesis. Which is the BNP has had internal troubles for a while. Some of it over party funds - who knows about the rest. Extremist parties tend to be prone to this kind of internal fun-and-games, so in the absence of evidence to the contrary, I'll go with that.

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Happy

Re: Ignorance is bliss...

That can't be true. Or the EDL would be happy all the time...

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Going under the knife? Avoid Fridays. Trust us, we asked a doctor

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Re: No surprise

Andre Carneiro,

Senior doctors can end-up working pretty much any hours they choose, depending on what speciality they go for, and how much private work they take on. And the pay is very good. The same for GPs, once they get to be partners in a practise. The hours before you get their can be horrible. Although again, this depends somewhat on speciality and department.

Even in departments that do much less non-emergency work, such as neurology, it's very much the 'B Team' on at evenings and weekends. Admittedly they're still above average, as those kinds of departments are harder to get into. But while the best doctors are working normal 9-to-5s, the nurses are working shifts, because they've still got the same number of patients at 3am as 3pm.

Personally I'm in favour of something more like the systems in France, Germany and Belgium - which are more of a mix of public and private. They also tend to be set up a bit more for the convenience and well-being of the patients and a little less for those of the staff. The trick is to try and get the best of public sector commitment, and combine it with the best of private sector flexibility. Not to end up with a system with the worst of public sector bloody-mindedness with the worst of private sector price-gouging...

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OKPay suspends payment processing to all Bitcoin exchanges

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Re: Mining indeed

Interesting point. Seeing as how the people who push Bitcoin in forums sound incredibly similar to the "gold-bugs" that also regularly occur on them, it seems kind of appropriate.

I don't know which is worse. The complete, pig-headed inability to confront evidence or the simultaneous belief that there is no volatility in their blessed gold/Bitcoin and when there is massive volatility this is all down to a conspiracy of Goldman Sachs / Governments / The World Banking Cartel / The Bildeberg Group / The Illuminati / whoever...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Where is Bitcoin?

I wonder if Bitcoin will find it's the opposite to normal internet businesses, where you can pick your legal jurisdiction? This is just a thought, I claim no legal knowledge.

But could the US courts not decide that some portion of all Bitcoin transactions take place in the USA because of the block-chain mechanism where all transactions are processed by the whole pool of computers that are busily mining away? In which case all countries could take the same attitude. Thus Bitcoin would be subject to regulation by everyone, rather than just picking somewhere with friendlier regulation and being sited there.

Although that may not matter, given there is no single person in charge - but you could have the bizarre situation where anyone in the world making Bitcoin transactions would be subject to the financial oversight of whichever governments chose to take an interest, and suddenly international travel could become quite complicated, without getting arrested every five minutes.

Otherwise the US government would have to resort to chasing the payment processors used by the Bitcoin exchanges, if they choose to try to have a go at it. Which is a bit like playing whack-a-mole.

My personal suspicion is that none of this will happen. Bitcoin will likely go back to being a tiny niche activity pursued only by enthusiasts, and most people will forget about it. Even if it was the best idea in the world, there's a lot of competition out there from other currencies, which are backed by inertia, governments, economies of scale, tradition, and expectation. As I think it's a pretty bad idea, subject to many problems, I suspect that a few more public oopses will destroy any credibility - now that the media are likely to notice them.

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Tim Cook: Wearable tech's nice, but Google Glass will NEVER BE COOL

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Happy

Re: Cook says:-

"Nothing that will convince a kid that's never worn glasses or a band to wear one*

He's also never heard of sunglasses...

You're obviously less cynical than I am. Because what I thought was: He's obviously never heard of product placement.

If you give celebs enough money, they'll wear anything. Often you just need to give them the product for free. They do seem to love a freebie...

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The Tomorrow People jaunt back to the airwaves

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Happy

Re: Will they keep the funky theme tune?...

David Given,

Well if you're going to remind me of that, which I'd almost totally forgotten, I think I'll have to return the favour with some funky 70s sci-fi of my own: Battle of the Planets via YouTube.

Although for cartoon themes that stick in your head forever, despite your best efforts to purge them from memory, I think I'll have to go to YouTube for this.

I feel a bit ashamed now, I'd forgotten just how awful that was.

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Daft tweet by Speaker Bercow's loquacious wife DID libel lord

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Re: Britain is pathetic

gary27,

Your post is so full of crap, that I can't be bothered to wear out my fingers typing rebuttals to the whole of it. However I will just point out that one injustice still existing does not negate the rectifying of another.

Bercow could have apologised and settled. She chose not to. McAlpine got his day in court, and justice was done. Which is what the courts are supposed to be for, and one of many reasons one can feel proud to be British, if one so chooses. He (now I guess she) paid for the costs of it, thus having little impact on the education, health, transport, telecoms or any other sectors you may feel need improvement.

I certainly don't feel it's pathetic to support the rights of a man not to be accused of horrible crimes without justification. I find it more embarrassing to share a society with people who think that spreading that kind of rumour should just be a consequence-free bit of fun. But I'm an optimist about human nature. I look at the apology by George Monbiot, and a few comments from people who thought a bit more deeply about what happened, and I hope that we have improved as a society at least slightly, and maybe some people will be a bit less thoughtless in future. If so, then that could be another reason to be proud of the society in which I live.

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I ain't Spartacus
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The Non-Apology Apology

SuccessCase,

An excellent post. Allow me to do a compare and contrast for you. Firstly we have Sally Bercow, after losing her libel case, which she contested even though it was fucking obvious to any gibbon with access to the internet precisely what point her tweet was trying to make:

"Today's ruling should be seen as a warning to all social media users," she added. "Things can be held to be seriously defamatory, even when you do not intend them to be defamatory and do not make any express accusation. On this I have learned my lesson the hard way.

So we start with the "it wasn't just me Mum, Tommy did it too" defence. Then there's the "I didn't do it Mum" defence, even though I've just lost the court case my comments weren't really defamatory. Well love, yes they fucking were. You lost. Deal with it. And then she's apparently "learned her lesson." I suppose as an apology it's not quite 'the full New Labour' because she did say she apologies, and it was "I've learned my lesson" NOT "lessons have been learned", in the weasely passive.

However... We now compare and contrast to George Monbiot:

I have done a few stupid things in my life, but nothing as stupid as this. The tweets I sent which hinted – as I assumed to be the case – that Lord McAlpine was the person the child abuse victim Steve Messham was talking about were so idiotic that, looking back on them today, I cannot believe that I wrote them.

But I did, and they are unforgiveable. I helped to stoke an atmosphere of febrile innuendo around an innocent man, and I am desperately sorry for the harm I have done him. I have set out, throughout my adult life, to try to do good; instead I have now played a part in inflicting a terrible hurt upon someone who had done none of the harm of which he was wrongly accused. I apologise abjectly and unreservedly to Lord McAlpine.

Now that is a proper apology. Which he's headlined on his website, "I have helped to malign an innocent man"

Which of these two reactions is the more mature, or reflects better upon the character of the person involved?

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Stand back, everyone! Dragons' Den ace HAS FOUND THE CLOUD

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Devil

Re: aaarrrgggghhhhh.......

So what that boils down to is you think they're a 'maybe' then?

Come on, get off the fence and tell us what you really think...

[Has flashbacks to the days when he had to deal with Computer 2000 and Ingram Micro - YOU WEREN'T THERE MAN!!!!!]

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I ain't Spartacus
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Facepalm

Re: "to realise capitalised loans"

Perhaps they need the money to buy a van with a baseball bat rack, plus pay a few largish chaps to fill it - and then send it round to the people they've lent money to?

However I suspect they mean we're taking the million ourselves. We've given ourself non-performance bonuses for the startling ability to lose 300% of our total year's turnover, and put them on the books as directors' loans. We now need to get the cash out quick before our 'growth' means that losses now soar to 500% of turnover, and our entire share investment gets spent in under a year.

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Spam and the Byzantine Empire: How Bitcoin tech REALLY works

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Re: What it's for

[flameproof trousers on - I'm about to say something that genuinely isn't trolling but won't go down well]

I know it's fashionable to be rude about politicians. And there's a lot to be rude about.

But few governments are actually evil. And most are trying their best to do the right thing, incompetence permitting. For a given value of right, in that people do tend to forget that their own interest is different to their voters' interests, and end up doing stuff to suit themselves. Putting this caveat in to say I'm not a naive idiot, and realise politicians screw-up and both politicians and civil servants sometimes conspire against the voters.

But the UK government (for an example) isn't trying to rob us with inflation. Firstly 2.4% inflation isn't desperately high. In fact it's low by recent historical standards. What they're trying to do is to keep the economy from melting down, and a bit of inflation is a perfectly acceptable price to pay for that.

One of the problems of deflation, is what it does to debt dynamics. This is a major reason why there likely won't be a proper banking system in BItcoin. If economic growth/slump + inflation is lower than zero, then the value of an economy's debts compared to the size of the economy grows. This is what's happening to Greece, and is the reason that Japanese government debt has hit 250% of GDP. It's a disaster. Because eventually you have to default. So even when the economy isn't growing, a bit of inflation stops your debts getting bigger than your income. If on the other hand you have deflation money is getting more valuable than the things it can buy, so debt becomes harder to pay off. This would rewards savers, but not in the normal way. Because you don't need to lend your savings to get interest, you can stuff them under the mattress (or digital equivalent in the case of Bitcoin). Which is all well and good for you, but means the economy can't use that money in the meantime, and so can't do stuff with it. Like invest. Therefore you won't be able to take out a mortgage in Bitcoins, and as that's the largest transaction any of us is likely to make, that'll keep us trading in our own national currencies. Plus no investment = no R&D.

Finally, don't be so rude about taxes. Sure I'd like to pay as little tax as possible. But if we don't pay any tax, then when we have that heart attack, there'll be no nice ambulancemen to come along and jump up and down on our chests until it's going again. Just like bailing out the banks was the best of a bunch of bad options, a bit of inflation 'taxing us all' to save the borrowers is also better than writing that debt off and having to bail out the banks again. Or not bailing out the banks and losing our savings. The trick is to have higher interest rates in the boom, and governments not to spend more than they raise in tax - for which politicians are surely at fault, but so are voters.

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The bunker at the end of the world - in Essex

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Happy

Re: yes

since officially the Bundeswehr was ready to defend against enemies on all borders.

Well, you can't trust those French you know!

And clearly Germany trembles before the might of Luxembourg...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: yes

In one way, preservation is guaranteed. As with the German coastal fortifications in France from WWII, they're almost impossible to destroy. So much reinforced concrete was used, that these things just won't blow up. So I guess it's a case of finding a use for them, or making them into interesting museums.

It's interesting just how little effort the government put into civil defence. In the end they just decided that nuclear war would be so terminal, that there was little point in doing too much about it. This is a relatively small country, with a high density of targets.

I was reminded of all this yesterday, as there was a piece on the radio about 'Protect and Survive'. Not a particularly cheerful memento of the Cold War either. I remember watching 'Threads' in the 80s, and there was one shot in Sheffield as well was it called 'The War Game' or something?

I certainly remember having conversations in the 80s, once I was old enough to understand what it meant. Living under a mile from RAF Strike Command, in High Wycombe, surviving a nuclear war wasn't really an issue I had to worry about.

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FLABBER-JASTED: It's 'jif', NOT '.gif', says man who should know

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Re: It was always 'jif'

Just tell that to the French who still will insist on saying le weekend. Just because they're too lazy to say fin de la semaine like good little boys like they're supposed to.

Although I was a fan of the officially approved click for online. Many websites label their buttons with cliquez, which is a bit icky. Whereas the non-stolen-from-english option is tirez. Which means fire/shoot (as in gun).

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Re: Tumblr's DOOMED (more so than they think...)

Tumblr haven't even got a pronounceable name. And should be sued for cruelty to consonants or not paying for their allotted number of vowels first.

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Linux

Re: nah mate

Just call it Finux and then no-one needs to worry.

Although even there, to pronounce it like that, surely it needs a double 'n' in the middle?

PS - conjratulations to all the El Rej commentards for the quality of the gagsjajs in this thread.

I suppose at least El Reg don't have to care, as Register = Rejister anyway.

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EU boffins in plan for 'more nutritious' horsemeat ice cream

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Happy

Re-labelling 99's as 69's.

Slogan: This ice cream is the dog's bollocks.

There's some horrible mental images spring into my brain when I try to come up with stuff for this. So I'm going to stop now, and sluice some mind bleach round my head.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Coat

Re: Using as much of the slaughtered animal as possible,

on a good day a kebab is foreskins, lips and arseholes

I've heard that accusation. Personally I think it's just bollocks.

[gets coat, makes run for it]

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WW II U-boat attacks prompt new US response

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Re: Fun fact

Could this not be The Register Special Project Bureau's next project?

While the Iberian department conquer space, Lewis Page can pop down the Thames, defuse the bombs in the wreck, and be home in time for tea and medals. Alternatively a really, really, really huge explosion could be entertaining.

As a bonus, it should make a nice flat space for the new airport to replace Heathrow. Which is probably much better on reclaiming some land to build an island, building an expensive airport, and then having a plane fall on this wreck and flattening the whole thing again.

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MYSTERY Nokia Lumia with gazillion-pixel camera 'spotted'

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Re: @ I ain't Spartacus - NOW will you try Windows Phone 8?

I HATE OS/2 WARP!!!!!!

Better?

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Re: NOW will you try Windows Phone 8?

To be 1,000 times better than iOS it would need to make me tea and a bacon sandwich on request, bring my slippers and paper to my armchair, and get those damned kids off my lawn.

Actually that's probably only 100 times better. So I guess we're talking bringing me smoked salmon and vintage champagne on request, with beef and claret to follow, then fruitcake and sauternes, cheese and port and whisky to follow.

I could be perfectly happy with iOS, Android, WinPho or Blackberry phones at the moment. Each would annoy me with something they can't do, but would have some advantage over the other OSes to make up for it.

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I ain't Spartacus
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FAIL

Re: Whatever you do, don't show the Win 8 scrreen!

Oh Eadon,

Time to use your favourite fail icon, because your comment fails on so many levels.

Once again the Nokia PR guys show a Lumia without showing the Win 8 i/face

Now let's correct your comment:

Once again the Register sub-editors show a Pureview 808 without showing the Symbian i/face.

Oops! So just like the last time you used this comment, it wasn't Nokia's PR flacks who picked the piccies, it was the Register. Unless you're accusing El Reg of taking Nokia's cash to only show the pictures they want shown. And then for extra comedy gold, you failed to notice the that picture shown was an illustration of the size of the camera on the Pureview - as explained in both the text of the article and the caption of the photo.

Perhaps you could try engaging brain before keyboard once in a while?

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Syrian hacktivists hijack Telegraph's Facebook, Twitter accounts

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What a waste of time

By some accounts these aren't 'patriotic hackers' like you get in spats between Russia and its neighbours or Japan and China. There was a story that they'd started working from Syrian IP addresses and then the group had moved to one of the Gulf states to avoid internet disruption at home. Sure they're getting a bit of PR, but I doubt any of it is good PR.

Also the message, "look we're so scary we can repeatedly hack Twitter", doesn't really have anyone impressed, or quaking in their boots. I guess the advantage of no long being in Syria (if true) is that the Onion is wrong, and they won't get strung up from lamposts, after the regime's inevitable collapse.

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Review: Sony Xperia SP

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Re: Nexus 4

As above, SD card and a huge battery are surely worth that.

Although with the Nexus you do get Android updates. Can anyone tell me what they think of Sony's Android skin/launcher/whatever? I'm helping a friend sort out his phone/email/computer and he's been offered one of these. So it was perfect to see this review. The battery life looks especially nice.

I'll probably steer him to the Galaxy Note I or II for the S-Pen - for sketching dimensions on site photos. But it's worth looking at what else is around.

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Crack Army pilot to be first PROPER British astronaut IN SPAAAACE

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Happy

Re: The reason a non-RAF pilot got the gig

Tee Hee.

You are Lewis Page in disguise, and I claim my £5...

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'Untidy' Shoreditch just CONFUSES American techies - Olympic hub team

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Facepalm

Re: I can feel the holistic synergy

ITYM 'leveraged' ;-)

I thought exactly the same thing before I'd scrolled down and read your comment.

PLEASE KILL ME NOW!!!!!! My life has no meaning any more, and I am merely an empty shell operated by management consultants. I guess it's time to start listening to Andrew Mason's moronic management musical motivational mashup to top me up with business wisdom as I slowly tick away the hours until the end of my worthless existence...

[...wanders off sobbing quietly...]

Still, on the bright side, at least my time working for a US multi-national appears not to have been totally wasted.

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Breaking news, LITERALLY: Financial Times vandalized by hackers

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Happy

Re: wow

No. I'm not Spartacus. And neither is my wife...

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I ain't Spartacus
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David 164,

The posts were removed for the very obvious reason that they were put up there illegally.

As to the rest of your comment, you're completely wrong. There has been heavy coverage of the rebels' crimes in the UK press. I can't speak for the FT, because I don't think I've read a single piece from them on Syria. But there's been extensive coverage on the BBC (both domestic and World Service), the Telegraph, the Independent and the Guardian - which are the only places I can remember going to get news about Syria. There was a story covered by everyone 2 days ago of some Jihadist loony putting up a video of him cutting out the heart of one soldier they'd killed and eating a bit.

The reason that the West haven't decided to arm the rebels is because of the fact that some of them are jihadis. Although others would argue that not many of them were jihadis at the beginning, and perhaps if we'd armed the more sensible rebels, they wouldn't have needed to accept help from the jihadis - who already had guns. The Gulf states are arming the rebels (possibly with help from the CIA / SIS so the rumours say), and I don't know which groups they're arming.

However the regime are also partly responsible for the jihadis in their midst. It was they who welcomed Al Qaeda in - when they were fighting the sectarian war in Iraq. They were smuggling arms, fighters and suicide bombers into the Sunni area, over the Syrian border. I'm sure the Assad regime thought this was very convenient.

Unfortunately as the Iraqi Sunnis found, along with many before and since (including Assad), you can't trust Al Qaeda. They may offer help, but they're don't give a fuck about the people they claim to support, they're only interested in whatever it is their ideology actually seems to call for. Something they're never all that clear about. Other than the Caliphate, the end of Israel, and death to everyone who they don't like the look of with particular emphasis on death to the West of course.

They killed more Sunnis in Iraq than they managed to kill Americans and Shia, and the Sunnis ended up having to kick them out. They turned against the Syrian regime who'd sheltered them, which is probably why the Syrian government lost control of the whole area round the Iraqi border pretty early on in the conflict.

Anyway, as always, it's complicated. The West aren't giving the rebels 100% backing without criticism. As even a cursory following of the news for the last 2 years would tell you.

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NASA signs off on sampling mission to Earth-threatening asteroid

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Re: Let's hope LM get the accelerometer the right way up this time.

...and it reduces confusion: Too many white pieces of paper has more than once led to expensive rework. With the blueprints you get a higher level of confidence that you're working with the correct plans.

Oh how I wish that were standard practise in the construction industry nowadays! The number of times I'm talking to someone on a job and they've got no idea which version of the drawings they're looking at, and the spec and the drawings disagree... GRRRRRRRRRRAAAAARRRGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! It's just a big old folder full of badly-organised and badly-named files, so no-one can find anything.

I dread to think what that must be like with plans for complicated things like aeroplanes or spaceships - as opposed to simple things like buildings.

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Happy

Acronyms

It's obvious! Asteroid Return Sampling Explorer.

Or for the Americans, Asteroid Sampling Spacecraft.

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This week I have reading...

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Re: Rereading...

I didn't really like that one. Although I'm a big fan of Niven, and Niven + Pournelle. I did really like Dream Park though, which is Barnes too isn't it?

Co-incidentally I'm re-reading The Burning Road, having just finished The Burning Tower. Which is just Niven and Pournelle. Very much enjoying it. Although it's not one of their best.

I should have written on this topic before. I moved before Christmas, and I've got all my boxes of books out of storage (after ten years). I built up a new collection in that time (oops), although I wasn't reading as much as before, until recently. But now it's like having bought several hundred new books, because I've got all this stuff that I can re-read. In the case of the Burning Road I couldn't remember reading it before, until I was about 100 pages in.

I don't consider a book any good until I've read it through a second time. If it won't bear a re-reading then I think it's lacking something important, even if I enjoyed it the first time.

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Tablet? Laptop? HP does the splits with Tegra-based SlateBook x2

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Re: Now we might have a comparison

Different chips, different motherboards, different configuration. It'll be the battery and case that's similar. Unless you're talking about Windows RT which runs on ARM.

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Re: Nice resolution.....

I'd imagine it's because they're building down to a cost. You've got to pay MS for Windows of course, and then you've got to have an Atom and motherboard, as opposed to an ARM SOC on the 'Droid one.

So going for a nicer panel will cost more, but also might mean needing a beefier graphics card/chip. You can get Win 8 tablets/convertibles with nicer displays, but they're going to have Core chips, rather than atoms, and cost more.

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Pint

Re: and what are you supposed to do with the keyboard once you've unplugged it

are you going to carry it around with you? then you're better off buying a laptop

are you going to leave it at home? buy an iPad instead

What kind of ridiculous comment is that? The answer is very simply. If you don't need it, leave it at home. If you do, take it. If you're not sure, take it (it's not that much heavier) and then you've got either tablet or laptop, whichever is most convenient.

If Android isn't up to the lap-toppy stuff you need, then get the full Windows 8 one - which is heavier and more expensive but does more.

Or if you only ever need tablet or laptop, just get that.

Fail indeed! What is it with people who seem to be too thick to get it through their skulls that other people have different requirements to them? Aaaarrggghhh!

I need beer to wash away this pet peeve. It's 5:10 on Friday, and soon I shall satisfy that requirement.

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Nvidia opens pre-orders for handheld Shield console three days early

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Re: Hmmm

It's Android. Does that mean it can run apps from the Play Store? Or would you have to side load that on first, and then perform various bits of hackery to get anything working?

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TOO GOOD! Groupon ex-boss to drop, er, 'motivational business album'

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Devil

An Open Letter to The Register

Deal El Reg,

I love you very much, and am a big fan of your snarky, yet informative, take on IT News. However, if you ever play any of these 'songs' on your website, I shall betake myself to your offices in London and fill them full of shark infested custard until you're really sorry.

All the best,

I ain't Spartacus

P.S. can we have an icon for someone covering their ears in anticipatory horror please?

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Re: '...releases an album of "motivational business music".'

Is that this (link to YouTube)?

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Nine-year-old Opportunity Mars rover sets NASA distance record

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Honest Ron's Motors Here

Come down to Honest Ron's Motors for our deals that are simply OUT OF THIS WORLD!

[cue jingle] Honest Ron's, Honest Ron's, The others are a con.

Yes sir, this is an excellent vehicle! Only one careful owner. It's been lovingly maintained and looked after beautifully. Oh yes sir, it is a little dusty, but I'm sure you won't mind cleaning your new pride and joy once you've bought it.

What do you mean you don't believe me that a 9 year old vehicle only has 22.22 miles on the clock? Are you accusing me of tampering with this vehicle? How dare you!

I'll grant you she's a bit slow, but steady and extremely low fuel bills.

I'm not asking £5,000, I'm not even asking £4,000! This excellent vehicle can be yours today for a steal, at just £3,000.

Ah yes, delivery. That'll be £28,000,000,000 please.

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Things that cost the same as coffee with Tim Cook - and are WAY more fun

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They forgot the vodka. Which I understand to be an important component of any successful sauna...

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