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* Posts by Matt 21

431 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009

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Computer misuse: Brits could face LIFE IN PRISON for serious hacking offences

Matt 21
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Re: Am I a criminal?

While a silly example it does lead me to think about what hacking is.

Imagine I go to my local electricity supplier's shop and distractedly try and enter by the wrong door, which causes the local grid to go off line. It would be the electricity supplier who was in trouble, not me and rightly so as they shouldn't be stupid enough to make simply trying the wrong door take the grid off line.

So why should typing a wrong URL be a crime just because of the consequences?

If I ssh to the wrong IP address and login with a default password, why should that be a crime? It's rare but possible I didn't notice I was on the wrong server.

Anyway, you see the sort of thing I mean. It seems to me that at the very least there needs to be proof that there was a deliberate attempt to cause serious damage and that a reasonable attempt had been made to mitigate the risk (no default passwords for example).

In the 1970s my mum, sorry my friend's mum, walked into a car park, opened a blue ford Cortina and started to drive away before she realised it was the wrong one. Not really her fault Ford key security wasn't up to much and while begin a dozy moo is not to be encouraged, I don't think life in prison is an appropriate response....... well perhaps...... no, I'll stand by my first response.

As for overseas "attacks". Why would anyone allow overseas access to their sensitive infrastructure? You'd have to be exceptionally stupid to do that at a time we're all being told there are evil terrorists queuing up to attack us.

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FedEx helps deliver THOUSANDS of spam messages DIRECT to its Blighty customers

Matt 21
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Re: Past time.

I was a bit surprised that they don't use the "undisclosed recipients" trick. Why would you give all your subscribers each others e-mail addresses?

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Ploppr: The #VultureTRENDING App of the Now

Matt 21
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Re: Please no...

I'm in two minds: Part of me wants this to be picked up by, for example, the Daily Mail or the BBC and published as fact and part of me wants to point out that human excrement doesn't actually help with growing veggies.

Wasn't there a project in the 19th century to pump poo out of London for fertilizing the fields of Essex which showed how much it doesn't help?

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America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft

Matt 21
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Ideally

...it should be something which is difficult to link to the presence of the new "space plane" with the destruction o disabling of the satellite. Space "debris" left for the satellite's solar panels to hit many hours later.

Another idea would be to change tactic. How about a large spaceship which could literally eat the satellites? You could launch it from, oh I don't know, a false bottomed volcano in Japan, for example. It would be untraceable except to the very best of British spies.

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Martha Lane Fox: YEUCH! The Internet is MADE by MEN?!?

Matt 21
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Re: That explains it...

Bertrand Russell always struck me as someone who was very adept at hiding his ignorance behind an impossibly complex veneer of logic.

Made me wonder about Wittgenstein too.

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Revenge smut bullies who send 'grossly offensive' messages WILL be prosecuted

Matt 21
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Re: Um...

...but does know how to make the most out of a "high profile problem" which only effects a tiny proportion of the population while completely failing to do anything to help the majority.

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£150m, three years... TWO base stations. Gov.uk? You guessed it

Matt 21
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Confused

I'm a little confused. On the one hand some people are saying it's not possible to live without 3G (in lieu of any other Internet connection) while others are saying that there are lots of places no connection is available.

So surly it must be possible to survive without or are all these places with no internet access ghost towns full of the dead an dying?

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EU's super-commish for tech: Geo-blocks on cat vids, music – NOT FAIR

Matt 21
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Re: Pot - kettle

...or perhaps he's just a sensible chap who realises you can't just go into a new job and announce cuts with a timetable before you've even had the chance to look at the detail of what they do.

It seems fair enough to propose some ideas but I'm prepared to give him six months to come up with more details.

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Want the EU to work on making cloud snoop-proof? Speak up, my good 'stakeholder'

Matt 21
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Re: am I just paranoid ?

While I agree with you I wondered if voting in Australia was also considered a duty, just as it is in Belgium.

Personally I like the idea but I would like to see more decisions put to the vote in a similar way to Switzerland. The combination of the two might bring us closer to something we can realistically call democracy.

It might finally put an end to the anarchist saying 'doesn't matter who you vote for the government always wins'.

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Hiss-hiss! GIGANTIC SOLAR FILAMENT snakes around Sun

Matt 21
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@Phil

"we like share", isn't that Facebook and to be honest I don't think it's nearly as important as you imagine.

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It's official: EU chiefs WILL probe Apple's Irish tax deal

Matt 21
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Re: For the sakes of Apple and the Irish Government....

My understanding of the rules is that if this is deemed to be state aid then Apple will have to pay it back.

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Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city

Matt 21
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Re: oops...

According to Belgian media the pipe will run by the canal so you'd probably need to set-up a floating bar.... but it could work :-)

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Matt 21
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Well

it's our language so we can do what we want... I suppose. You could then go on to ask why the Flemish insist on using their own strange names for Wallonian towns.

More interesting yet is that we use the French language version for Bruges but we call the near by related Zeebrugge (Bruges-on-sea) by the Flemish name.

Still no hills though but yes, plenty of bridges and cobbled streets in the old part of the town.

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

Matt 21
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Re: Geneva Convention

I would have thought that if Scotland decides to leave the UK and then applies to join the EU then once EU membership is granted (opinions vary but it looks like it won't be automatic) then they can live and work in the UK like any other EU citizen.

The problem occurs if Scotland votes to leave the UK and hasn't yet got EU membership (should it choose to try to join). I don't think there's any legal certainty at this point and everything is up for negotiation. British passports held by Scottish citizens could arguably be deemed invalid, both sides may wish to quickly move to new passports. The practicalities of voiding so many passports might prove tricky... or not.

On the other hand it's also likely that both sides will agree to honor existing UK passports and allow freedom of movement across the border for a period of time.

On the other, other hand the Tories really like border patrols so who knows :-)

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This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...

Matt 21
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Re: maybe

I think there's an app for rooted Androids which lets you fake contact lists etc. That way the app works but doesn't steal your data.

I haven't done it but I've got sympathy for those that do. As things stand I can't store anything private on my phone as I know it the data can be nicked. Not the end of the world but it does limit what I might get out of having a smart phone.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Matt 21
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Re: Irrelevant

I can't see how you'd save even 2%. Most people aren't bothered so won't do anything different and those who are, already turn off the lights when they're not in the room etc.

It just seems one massive waste of money and rather than helping the environment is going to harm it.

There seems to be the bizarre idea that we all leave the electric oven on each day and that smart meters will mean we're suddenly aware of it.

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Net neutrality protestors slam the brakes on their OWN websites

Matt 21
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Re: "Just imagine if ISPs had to stand in line..."

It does appear to be a bit of FUD. Claim they'll have to stand in line for things which wouldn't be effected by net neutrality.

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NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine

Matt 21
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Top marks

....for going Open Source but they really should have looked at Postgress. They probably could have saved more by simply migrating to Intel/AMD and keeping Oracle instead of re-writing everything, unless it's a fairly trivial system in which case it was over specified to start with.

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Who us, SHARE infrastructure? Networks reject gov proposal

Matt 21
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Or a share of the cost of construction.

I've seen it work in other countries. It seems better for the environment and better for the subscriber... so of course the big companies don't want it.

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Video: Dyson unveils ROBOTIC TANK that hoovers while you're out

Matt 21
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Re: Can it deal with cat poo?

Not a bad point.

I also can't see how it will pull the settee out, pick up my sons dirty socks, shut the door behind it so it can vacuum behind the door, pick the DVDs up off the floor and put them back on the shelf, do the dusting first or shout at the kids to tidy their rooms.

Mind you, on the other hand it probably won't whinge about how it's the only one who does anything in this house..... unless it's called Marvin.

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BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

Matt 21
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Re: Budgetary crazyness

Sadly, it's quite common everywhere. There's also a lot of lack of vision beyond an immediate desire to save money and an obsession with small amounts the people at the coal face could really use and the massive amounts wasted in other areas.

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Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality

Matt 21
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Re: Smack on the wrist then!

Surly their reply to the question "How did the programming go wrong", will be "well, it's a kind of magic"..

Mind you they must be under pressure at the moment. Perhaps they'll look to fat bottomed girls, after all, if they can make the rocking world go round what can they do for a satellite?

So, there you go, proof positive that El Reg headline writers have more skill than me!

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Sony DENIES PlayStation Network WOBBLES despite gamer GRIPES

Matt 21
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Re: Yep, it's buggered

It didn't effect me but I've heard it hit Xbox too. Wasn't one of the Sony execs airplane diverted due to a fake bomb threat too?

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Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?

Matt 21
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Re: Data and its problems

Yes, and have an up vote.

I was a bit confused by the data for breast cancer. If operating on pre-menopausal women tends to lead to the cancer coming back is that not still better than not operating at all? Not screening because it only buys some women an extra few years is not an argument to stop screening. On the other hand if it only buys an extra few weeks, fair does.

I was also surprised about the ant-inflammatory. I thought it was well known that steroids reduced the effectiveness of the immune system. I've got a friend who's had more than 25 operations and they've never been treated with this kind of ant-inflammatory, is it specific to cancer operations? Or is it given before the patient comes back to the ward so they may not know they've had it?

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Carbon tetrachloride releases still too high, says NASA

Matt 21
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Re: hooray for carbon capture

Not sure about that.

What stands out to me is that at the time we were told these emissions had to stop or we would quickly be in a lot of trouble. Now it turns out that these emissions, while lower, are still fairly high and the predicted catastrophe hasn't happened.

Now, I'm not saying that we shouldn't have worked to reduce CO4 but we were given false information about what would happen if we didn't. The case for stopping was exaggerated and the problem with that is that it makes people less likely to believe calls to stop other activity even if this time it's true.

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Boffins propose security shim for Android

Matt 21
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Re: It's the humans, stupid, and boy, are they stupid

Fair enough but it only works on some versions, mine's too old and the other phone I've got is too new.

It also breaks some programs. If you root the phone there's a program which will provide fake data so all programs keep working. However, this again needs you to root the phone.

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Matt 21
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Re: It's the humans, stupid, and boy, are they stupid

I think we're also coming back to the permission problem where apps ask for ridiculous amounts of access and Google seem to go along with this making it harder to see what's going on.

The only way to get this to work is to root the phone and remove these silly access privileges. Even then I'm not convinced of the security.

I have to say it made me laugh when I read yesterday that the police are sating criminals nick phones to get personal information. A lot of people give away that information on Facebook and even if they don't most apps have such sweeping access that they'll have got it anyway.

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The Register to boldly go where no Vulture has gone before: The WEEKEND

Matt 21
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Re: Thumbs up...

I, personalty, would like fewer articles on cars. There are loads of car reviewing web sites out there and most of them do the job better.

Articles about car hacking on the other hand......

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Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!

Matt 21
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Re: Disad-van-van-van-tage of shopping tanked

For you or the cat?

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Edward Snowden's not a one-off: US.gov hunts new secret doc leaker

Matt 21
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Re: Whoot!

Another way would be to keep to the law so there's nothing to expose.

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Evidence during FOI disputes can be provided in SECRET

Matt 21
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Re: If the public knew the truth about Company X...

They could either make their case anonymously or if that's too difficult the FOI requester could be given an edited version of Company X's testimony. This should be enough to give the requester the possibility of challenging the evidence.

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Ad biz now has one less excuse to sponsor freetards and filth

Matt 21
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Re: and returns 96 data points every time an ad is served,

My only hope is that this leads to a better understanding of advertising and thus businesses will realise that every €1000 they spend on advertising only gets them €10 in return.

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Brit balloon bod Bodnar circumnavigates planet

Matt 21
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Re: Stealth Baloon

Assuming that it is in fact invisible to radar, is there any chance of it causing problems for choppers or jet planes? I would have thought it would make a mess of a jet engine iof it got sucked in.

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The Register is HIRING technology hacks for the WORLD

Matt 21
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Re: ahhhh

I think you'll be all right. As as far as I've seen there's no evidence that either grammar or spelling are a prerequisite for writing for The Register.

A slightly odd sense of humour does help and I see you meet that requirement. Have you got any experience with Playmobile charters?

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Elite Systems promises to order ZX Spectrum revival in two weeks

Matt 21
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Re: Elite's Steve Wilcox later promised to set things right.

Bit strange to post AC and then sign off with your name :-)

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Matt 21
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Re: Can't beat the original

I'm curious. There's a Javascript emulator for the Beeb (thanks El Reg for the article about that). It even had a long list of games you could play.

Does such a thing exist for the Speccy?

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REGULAR FISTING is GOOD for your HEALTH, says respected surveyor

Matt 21
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Re: Hmmm...

I was somewhat mislead as well........

Coming back to the health aspect: I can't see that it can make that much difference. I'm currently working in a country where a kiss ion the cheek (or two or three) is a standard greeting and yet there's no evidence to show that there's a higher level of sickness here, in fact there's some evidence to the contrary.

It reminds me of the survey which said that people from Newcastle are less likely to wash their hands after they go to the loo. I haven't seen any evidence that they're sicker (well physically) than the rest of us.

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Sony tries to make PlayStation Network hack row go away with $15m in cash and games

Matt 21
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Re: On the other hand

Perhaps we're talking at crossed purposes or I haven't understood the article......

My understanding is that criminals broke into Sony's database and stole personal data on its users. I don't think it's the case that some employee left the disc on a train.

So, I'm not saying they should be let off because they're a corporation. I'm saying that unless they were grossly incompetent with their security they shouldn't be given a beating. Same rule for you and me.

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Matt 21
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On the other hand

If they'd kept the details on paper and someone had broken into their offices then the police would be looking for the culprit and nothing would have been said.

If they'd kept the details on a standalone computer in their office and it had been stolen it would probably amount to the same as above.

In my opinion the deal on offer is more than fair unless it can be proved that Sony were grossly incompetent. While they may have been in other areas it seems to me that in this are they were no worse than hundreds of others.

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Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage

Matt 21
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Makes sense

An up-vote from me. However, I'm surprised the load is that high that it can't be server by 10 DB servers. Even if each request required a write I'd expect 10 DB server to manage between 10000 and 30000 requests a second (the ones I'm working on here certainly can). and even more if it was only reading.

So, if we take the higher write count, assuming they transactions aren't that large we're looking at 1.8 million requests a minute. I find it hard to believe that the British public could put that kind of load on the system for hour after hour (Wiki says that around 70% of access is from the UK and very little at all if we only look at iPlayer)..

I believe the all time peak for hits on the BBC was 1 billion in one day after the 7th of July bombings. So at the rate of transactions/queries outlined above it should only take 9.3 hours of processing time even without caches.

I'm sure it's more complicated than that as some pages require more than one lookup but I'm still unsure why removal of the cache knocked the site out for so long.

PS. The numbers are just rough figures to play with.

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

Matt 21
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@I ain't Spartacus

Good thinking, you've obviously thought this through better than me.

It did however, occur to me that cunning criminals may decide to deploy mice against the elephants. We all know from film that elephants are terrified by mice so that might be a problem.

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Matt 21
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Re: ... a mammoth 2,000 olfactory receptor genes, ..."

Good point.

It also seems strange that A Beagle can sniff a rat in a field and go straight to it. Yet the rat, with a supposedly superior sense of smell, doesn't seem to notice the Beagle coming.

Does having more olfactory receptor genes mean that you can locate the source of smells better? All the cats I've had can smell when there's fish but they don't really know where it is. Whereas my dos know where food on the table is even when they can't see it.

Either way I imagine blood hounds and their ilk are fairly safe as even if we can train elephants it seems likely that it's impractical to use them for tracking or in airports for drug searches.

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Watching smut at work is bad but emailing it is just fine, says Oz court

Matt 21
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Re: Not about Smut

Isn't the point that not only was the rule not being enforced there were only a couple of scapegoats fired.

So, to take the first example; Me and half the office have been working from home on a Friday despite company policy saying that it's not allowed. Then one day four of us are fired for it despite there being another dozen or so who've been doing the same thing, including a couple of the managers.

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Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax

Matt 21
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Re: Tax????

Can't say I agree. I've lived and worked in several other European countries and found the health care streets ahead of what we get in the UK.

I could give loads of examples but here's just one. My uncle was diagnosed with skin cancer in the UK, I was abroad at the time and had a cyst. I was operated on within a week as a non-urgent case. My uncle in the UK had to wait three months.

I could mention that in the UK I've had to wait a week or two to see my GP before now, whereas abroad I can always see my doctor the same day if I don't mind waiting.

I can't comment on commonwealth countries as I've never used health service there.

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Matt 21
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Re: Tax????

I take your point and fully agree but I'm not sure I'd want to call the NHS a proper health care system. I suppose it is compared to the US though.

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Fujitsu and Capgemini's giga-quid HMRC lashup given drubbing by govt auditors

Matt 21
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Re: let's remember some history

Also interesting to note:

In house government civil servant IT projects were often late or over budget or delivered the wrong thing.

Outsourced government IT projects are often late or over budget or delivered the wrong thing.

So it seems the fault isn't with the in house staff as using the private sector has produced the same, if not, worse results.

It's almost as if the problem is with the government...................

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Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them

Matt 21
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Re: Getting facts right puts things in proportion

While it may be true that 30% of households conatin children I don't think it's true that 70% of the remainder have got an internet connection, so the uptake rate is probably not representative. Another factor to take into account is that we don't know if TalkTalk's customers match the proportion of childless households. It could be that they attract more households with children.

Finally I don't think it's true that only households with children will take this up. Anecdotal evidence suggests Granny will probably do it either because she considers herself not a pervert or because she thinks it's "protecting" her in some unspecified way.

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Lawyer reviewing terror laws and special powers: Definition of 'terrorism' is too broad

Matt 21
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Re: Lobbyists

Indeed. It should probably be "influencing or coercing the government through illegal means which cause widespread fear."

So, setting a bomb off is illegal and causes widespread fear, Fathers for Justice climbing Nelson's Column (don't know if they have), may be illegal but isn't causing widespread fear, hence they are not terrorists.

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SAP: It was our Big Data software wot won it for Germany

Matt 21
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Re: Software didn't change a thing

Apart from score seven goals against Brazil and win the competition..... useless idiots!

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Matt 21
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To be fair

I don't think all of them are that bad, just enough to make ti difficult for the others.

It probably doesn't help that players don't see playing for England something to aspire to. There also doesn't seem to be any coordinated plan to bring kids through to the top levels. Perhaps there is and I haven't noticed!

I wonder whether they'd have been better off just playing basic football with people in their usual positions and not worrying about what the opposition would do and not worrying about saving players for later.... especially as it turned out there was no later.

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