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* Posts by Tanuki

294 posts • joined 8 Sep 2006

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Hackers attempt to BLACKMAIL plastic surgeons

Tanuki
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Re: I'm disappointed

I was more thinking of a quick shot of Ether followed by 'cashing in' the blackmailers' bodies at Nurse Nightingale's Body-Bank.

Does anyone remember the horror movie "The Hands of Orlac"?

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Reg LOHAN spaceplane: Punch and Judy show in comedy non-explosive climax

Tanuki
Stop

Could have been worse - it could have undergone an "Uncontrolled hyper-energetic disassembly" - better known as an 'explosion'.

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Homeopathic remedies contaminated with REAL medicine get recalled

Tanuki
WTF?

Ironic...

I always used to taunt a homeophile [is that the correct term for a devotee of homeopathy?] by asking her what the homeopathic treatment for multiple gunshot-wounds would be.

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It's EE vs Vodafone: 'How good is my signal' study descends into network bunfight

Tanuki

Re: Am I the only one when they see EE

If I could get a Lightning from EE then I'd be happy - though I think the cellular-tower-handoff issues might be a bit tricky at Mach.2

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Morrisons supermarket hit by MASSIVE staff payroll data robbery

Tanuki
WTF?

Re: A little thing that bugs me...

A semi-relative spent the summer uni-vacations working at a local store as a member of their "Out-of-Hours Ambient Replenishment team" - better known as a night-time shelf-stacker in the tinned/dried food aisles..

[Seems that in the world of food "ambient" is used as the opposite of chilled or refrigerated].

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

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Alternative electronics retailers are available.

I only ever use Maplin for 'distress purchases' - like when it's 15:00 on a Sunday, you're miles from home, and the ferret's just played tug-of-war with the TOSLink cable.

Thankfully for most things there are other proper components/goodies providers available via that new thing called "The Interwebs" - allegedly made from string and Badger's paws - that I hear talked about.

Farnell, CPC, Digi-Key, Mouser... the first two of them even do free shipping to UK addresses if your order's valued at anything more than trivial.

Alas the *proper* electronics surplus stores - A.H. Supplies, GWM Radio down in Hove, Thacker's in Cheslyn Hay - where you bought stuff by weight and needed a sack-truck to move it - are no more.

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Can you smell bacon? Yes! And it's coming from your iPhone!

Tanuki
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I live in fear of the widespread deployment of olfactorily-enabled computing/communications devices.

t's bad enough being in a closed space and so forced to overhear other peoples' phone-calls or seeing them silently mouthing their SMS/Twitbook messages as they're reading them without the overpowering and lingering aroma of... who knows what? being inflicted on you as well.

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IBM to shutter Greenock x86 line after sale to Lenovo - reports

Tanuki
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Re: Fact of the day

IBM Halt? Surely "IBM ABEND" would be a better designator?

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Cheap'n'cheerful Chinese mobesters ZTE launch Firefox phones

Tanuki

Re: Telefonica’s strategy

Or for those of us who want a cheap-n-cheerful phone because we treat the things as boring domestic appliances on a par with kettles or toasters rather than as a flamboyant extension of our personality?

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Birds Eye releases 'mashtags' social spud snacks

Tanuki
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"Then he ate the evidence"

How long before some kid gets taken to court for spelling-out something on his/her dinner-plate which a third-party finds threatening harrassing or offensive?

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'Please don't make me spend more time with my family...'

Tanuki
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The devil can be in the detail

You can get away with much obfuscation if it's expressed graphically: due to a file-naming error in a script one business I worked with used the same dataset for some trend graphs in a major part of its published quarterly financials for a year and nobody noticed. It was only failure of the script when the year rolled-over that highlighted the issue.

Disclosure rules meant that their next quarterly made glib mention of "rendering inconsistencies".

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Spam, a lot of it: Bubble tea is the Seoul of wit

Tanuki
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Thanks for the Mammaries.

The most bizarre Korean spams I ever got were a series promoting - it would appear - a range of breast-enhancement prostheses under the brand-name "Nipple-up!"

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SCRAP the TELLY TAX? Ancient BBC Time Lords mull Beeb's future

Tanuki
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Pay-by-view is the only ethical and sane way to do it.

The concepts of "TV channels" and linear-viewing are essentially alien to anyone under-40: they're all grabbing stuff to watch on their mobes and tablets and don't really care about the provider or what 'channel' it is on.

My issue with the BBC is that as a potential TV-viewer you're obliged to fund it even if you never intend to watch it: imagine the outcry if you were obliged to pay for copies of The Guardian even if you only ever read the Financial Times and Country Life?

[My house has been BBC-free for the last couple of decades. I don't have a TV licence either]

Convert rhe BBC intoi a subscription-service? Yes please! [alas, as someone else has said, the tacky "freeview" boxes don't have any kind of conditional-access/viewing-card mechanism, otherwise your annual TV-licence could have included a card to enable your box to decode the BBC channels].

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Is modern life possible without a smartphone?

Tanuki
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Notspots

Where I live, if I want 2.5G/3G/4G reception I have to go out of the house and walk some distance; even then I need to hold the phone at an odd angle or it drops out.

Hence I've never bothered to upgrade from my ancient monochrome-screen Nokia. At home we still use a landline, and have VHF walkie-talkies [on the same net as the local horse-trainers/farmers/vets/forestry-types] for ad-hoc local comms.

All this is within an hour's drive of London.

I don't want a smartphone.

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Security 101 fail: 3G/4G modems expose control panels to hackers

Tanuki
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Plus ca change...

I wonder how long it'll be before someone reinvents the old "modem hijacker" script that silently diverted your connection to a different - premium-rate - ISP?

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Elderly Bletchley Park volunteer sacked for showing Colossus exhibit to visitors

Tanuki
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Fail.

This sort of behaviour seems nothing new - they booted the Milton Keynes amateur radio society out a while back, too.

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Sweet work, fellas: Boffins build high-density battery powered by sugar

Tanuki
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Re: Fueled by sugar, but fuel is not flammable...

So your battery gets a yeast-infection and starts to ferment its electrolyte. Add a touch of hops and I can see some potential here.

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NSA: It's TRUE, we grab 200 MILLION of your text messages A DAY globally

Tanuki
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200 million texts a day?

200 million texts a day - that's about the average SMS-output of a single secondary-school's pupils.

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Even 'Your computer has a virus' cold-call gits are migrating off XP

Tanuki

Is it wrong to...

start playing along with these callers' sad spiels but after a few minutes say something like "You sound like a nice [boy|girl] - tell me - what colour bra and panties are you wearing?" and "You don't have a webcam do you?"

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Nearly 1 in 5 of UK's Xmas gifts were bought online... not that it helped

Tanuki
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Couriers.

ISTR a few years back there *was* a UK courier-business that focussed on non-business-hours delivery - it was a franchise operation where the deliverers tended to be part-timers working from home as a second job and would incorporate their delivery work with the school-run/curry-delivery or similar.

[Which is fine for small stuff but I'd like to see them get a few 42-inch TVs a dishwasher and a palletized Land-Rover R380 gearbox in the back of a Fiesta]

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I've seen the future of car radio - and DAB isn't in it

Tanuki
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*How* much?

£325 a year will buy you a good collection of USB sticks so you can take your existing music/audiobooks/language-courses with you everywhere rather than have such stuff tied to the car.

And how well does that £325-a-year service integrate with my existing Bloomberg subscription?

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Bluetooth 4 BLING: Fashion, not tech, will sell those wearables – wireless chip maker

Tanuki
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An unfortunate name

is "Vibehub". It sounds like a product targetted at the local networking of certain adult products.

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Tanuki
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RPN FTW!

I still have my H-P 33E which gets used occasionally.

Its only fault is that because of the odd way that H-P built it [some of the chips are not soldered to the flexible PCB but are kept in place using a piece of spongy foam!] sometimes you need to twist the case a bit to 'improve' the chip-to-PCB contact and get all the LED segments to light.

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Fanbois, prepare to lose your sh*t as BRUSSELS KILLS IPHONE dock

Tanuki
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Oh no! They're planning SCART 2.0 !

The last "Euro-connector* harmonisation" effort was SCART - you know, that lumpen abomination of a connector which could be wired in so many incompatible ways and which lacked any kind of positive retention mechanism so when you'd finally got a cable that implemented the right combination and direction of signals, it always worked itself loose just as you pushed your Sky-box back into the gap above the VCR.

* Largely pushed by Les Frogs.. I believe at one point it was actually illegal to sell a TV/VCR in France without it having a SCART connector.

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Mosquitoes, Comets and Vampires: The de Havilland Museum

Tanuki
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Re: DH.89 Dragon Rapide

And at IWM Duxford.

Their one is rather fun - as well as them weighing all six(!) of the passengers before boarding (so they can trim the plane by human-ballast distribution) the pilot likes to fly back along the line of a local dual-carriageway and let the passengers watch the trucks driving faster than he's flying.

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When the lights went out: My 'leccy-induced, bog floor crawling HORROR

Tanuki
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"Motion sensors"

Am I the only one who finds the whole thing about "Motion" sensors in toilets a deeply disturbing concept?

How do they work? A covert camera in the pan, aimed at the sitter's posterior, continually monitoring for the required defecatory action and plunging you into Stygian darkness if the required turds do not manifest themselves in a timely fashion?

As to electricity, well - if there _are_ power-cuts in future I just happen to have a little 3.5Kw Diesel genset and 1000 litres of fuel on standby. Meantime, the annual dividends from my investment in electricity-companies a couple of decades back easily cover their charges, leaving enough over for the obligatory bottle or two of Château d'Yquem for New Year.

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Boffins devise world's HARDEST tongue-twister

Tanuki

Re: I never saw the point of this concept.

That wouldn't have provided a copy of each person's tests for assessment by the various audiologists [at minimum the Coal Board's one and the Mineworker's union's one] back at base though, would it?

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Tanuki

Re: I never saw the point of this concept.

"Hell, most people if you play their won speech back at the with a few milliseconds delay will find it near impossible to talk".

An ex-cow-orker was some years back paid quite a bit to develop a portable machine* which allowed just this delayed-playback effect; it was used to quantify whether people trying to claim compensation from the National Coal Board for noise-induced industrial deafness were faking it or not.

*This was in the late-1960s. Think open-reel tape-decks with calibrated, continuously variable capstan speeds.

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Tanuki
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I was always told that the world's hardest tongue-twister was in the Xhosa language, and when translated came out as "The Skunk rolled down and ruptured its larynx"

See: http://www.alphadictionary.com/fun/tongue-twisters/isixhosa_tongue_twisters.html

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UK.gov to warn tweeting twits, celebs 'n' pals on court case comments

Tanuki

No doubt Private Eye will now be claiming prior-art rights to the hashtag #allegedly

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Unite: HP 'addicted to culture of job cuts' as axe raised again

Tanuki

Re: Evolve or Die.

"When big organizations are lost and have no real strategy you fire people while you're trying to figure out what to do. It usually isn't a great sign for the organization. Product offerings tend to be reduced in quantity and capabilities and become more expensive at the same time. They don't know what to do"

The smart "big organisation" that's circling the drain sells off its profitable bits/long-term-customer-contracts/intellectual-property and returns maximum value to shareholders by paying a couple of years of seriously fat dividends out of the proceeds of the sales.

Then the not-sold-off bits [which of course while essentially having zero or negative residual value still retain all the legacy-liabilities of the original business] declare bankruptcy.

Then your CEO's friendly one of the big-four accountancy-practicioners gets appointed to manage the parting-out of the toxic remains of the carcase.

Job Done.

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Tanuki
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Evolve or Die.

It always puzzles me why people get uptight when a company gets too-big-to-be-agile and then after a few years/decades begins a death-spiral. That's all part of the natural cycle of business-evolution and Schumpeterian "Creative destruction". A business doesn't have any inbuilt right to continue in business - sometimes the correct thing to do is to kill it and sell off the bits (because they're worth more separated than they are together) then move on and start something new.

Tough on the workers, but the smart ones will get out while the going's good rather than wait around for the end.

H-P today reminds me a lot of the "conglomerates" that were popular in the 1980s - Hanson, GEC/Marconi etc - which grew to a point where they had a number of fingers in so many pies they ended up not doing anything particularly well. Parting them out made economic and business sense.

Must admit though, I still like my trusty 1970s-era dual-trace oscilloscope.

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On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns

Tanuki
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I wonder who'll be the first to produce a portable version of Dr. Crow's "Unrotated Projectile" of WWII-vintage?

(Of which it was said by a high-ranking British official after witnessing an entire battery of them being test-fired "I don't know if it will scare the Luftwaffe but it certainly scares the willies out of me!")

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What's wrong with Britain's computer scientists?

Tanuki
FAIL

Do you need a degree to...

Personally, I don't think you need a degree in CompSci to cut code any more than you need a degree in Architecture to lay bricks.

A CompSci graduate should _understand_ the concepts of programming [I hate the term 'coding' since it implies that the product is something quite arcane and probably unmaintainable] but understanding business-requirement definition, budgeting, systems-analysis, project- and system-lifecycle management as well as software QA are far more important skills for a graduate to have than a detailed understanding of HDLC bit-stuffing or how to wire up CTS/RTS lines on a RS232 serial-port.

The CompSci graduate specifies what is to be programmed, how he intends to test the programs, and then makes sure the results are delivered on-time/within-budget/to-quality.

The actual programming gets done by the equivalent of a team of brickies with appropriate NVQs.

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Hey EU! Have you seen Dell's HORRID Chinese factories?

Tanuki
Devil

Dell also claims to be improving accountability and transparency in its supplier tracking including a “red flag process that tracks suppliers with priority issues”.

A "Red Flag" process is rather appropriate in the context of Chinese manufacture, no?

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Blighty promises £49m to get more British yoof into engineering careers

Tanuki
Go

The status of Engineers.

Methinks a great deal of the problem is the whole public perception of Engineering.

Too many people think that the guy who comes to fix your boiler is an Engineer, when "fitter" would be the kindest description.

We need to get back to a situation where "Engineer" is a recognised professional title only granted after a recognised period of study assessment and achievement (and followed by continuous professional development) - like Doctor or Brigadier or Professor, as it is in Germany etc.

"Herr Doktor Engineer" has some clout in the rest of the world; "Sanitary engineer" just makes the profession look incurably devalued.

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So many 'cyberspying hackers' about... and most of you are garbage

Tanuki
Devil

Channeling the spirit of Donald Rumsfeld : there are unrecognised unsuccessful attacks, recognised unsuccessful attacks, unrecognised successful attacks and recognised successful attacks.

Of course, you only ever have any kind of metrics for [2] and [4]. whereas it's really [1] and [3] you need to concern yourself the most about.

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Mac fans: You don't need Windows to get ripped off in tech support scams

Tanuki
Stop

The last Indian one of these who called me got a fruitily expletive-laden earful about why the curry I ordered on the computer half an hour ago hadn't been delivered yet and whether their call was about fixing this.

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US parents proclaim 811 'Messiahs'

Tanuki
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Nobody would ever ask me to name their child - unless they fancy a daughter called something like "Chlamydia"

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Will you strap on a Google KitKat 4.4 smartwatch this month?

Tanuki
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Hmmm...

Not being the sort of person who wears a watch, I find the whole idea of a "Smartwatch" about as exciting as that busted-flush of a couple of years back, 3D-TV.

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Oh, shoppin’ HELL: I’m in the supermarket of the DAMNED

Tanuki
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I don't see the problem.

99% of the time, the supermarket self-scan checkouts work fine for me. At least using these means you don't feel obliged to engage in vacuous smalltalk with the droid - and you also get to choose the order you scan things in so you can then put squishy stuff like eggs, bread and peaches in one bag, heavy stuff [Tonic-water, sugar, Toilet-Duck] in another.

Only thing they seem to have issues with is when you buy something that's been marked-down and the barcode on the yellow "REDUCED" sticker won't scan. This problem's not unique to the self-scan checkouts though: a crappily-printed and smudged-when-stuck-on "REDUCED" barcode has on occasions even baffled the checkout-droids.

[At least they've wised up and have stopped using heat-sensitive "REDUCED" labels on the too-hot-to-touch spit-roast chickens now].

The self-scan checkouts in B&Q, OTOH, seem to have been programmed by a team of decerebrate sloths and 'voiced' by a woman who lives in a fantasy-world and believes herself to be Rosa Klebb.

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A £30,000, 295bhp 4G MODEM?!? Must be the Audi S3 Quattro, then

Tanuki
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£30,000 and it's still only a 4-cylinder?

Forget the connected-ness nonsense: I just don't get the idea of selling a 4-pot engine into the bottom end of the executive-car segment.

There is a saying something to the effect that "A true Gentleman will not be seen driving a car unless its engine has more cylinders than the car has wheels, and it has more wheels than it has seats".

All the balance-shafts and dual-mass-flywheels in the world can't mask the boom and rattle of a 4-cylinder engine when compared to a straight-six or a V8.

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US.gov - including NASA et al - quits internet. Is the UN running it now?

Tanuki
Devil

What about the IRS?

One hopes that the Infernal Revenue Service are also suspended for the duration of this regulatory hiatus.

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Douglas Adams was RIGHT! TINY ALIENS are invading Earth, say boffins

Tanuki
WTF?

Journal of Cosmology?

Having a paper "published in the Journal of Cosmology" doesn't mean it is actually science, any more than having a reader's letter published in the Witley Scrotum Herald means you're a journalist.

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OK, forget the 3D telly fiasco: 4K is gonna blow you away - say tech giants

Tanuki
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Static display...

If they brought out a version which fitted that sort of pixel-density into something with, say, a 25-inch diagonal - and it gave decent colour-balance - it'd be great for those of us whose main interest is in editing still digital images.

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BT doles out measly 2GB to customers in Dropbox-alike BT Cloud

Tanuki
Happy

Just Do It Yourself...

Me and a friend have a neat "private cloud" approach using a pair of single-board computers (think pre-Raspberry-pi) 8-port USB hubs, and a handful of cheap 32Gb USB memory-sticks.

The two setups replicate their contents via cron-jobs and scp because it's simple. We each have rights to half the space on our own system and let the other person use the other half.

One of the systems is in Australia, the other in the UK.

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Facebook strips away a bit more of your privacy – but won't say why

Tanuki
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Profit-centre for You!

Surely this Farcebook/Zoidberg policy of wanting phone-numbers segues nicely with the guy reported yesterday who set up a premium-rate number for cold-callers to call?

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Do not adjust your eyes: This Kobo ten-incher has a 2560 x 1600 resolution

Tanuki
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This sounds good, specially for those of us who spend a lot of time reading scientific papers published in two-column format with formulae and graphs and so need decent resolution to fit a whole A4 page on-screen at once.

Trying to understand a Smith Chart when you have to enlarge everything to a point where you can only see a quarter of the chart in order to read the associated annotations is not fun.

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ISPs scramble to explain mouse-sniffing tool

Tanuki
Boffin

This sort of thing is news?

So, remind me how long has the onmouseover() element been supported?

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Bureaucrats foil Nestlé's bid to TRADEMARK KitKat's chocolatey digits

Tanuki
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Oh, Ambassador!

Part of me once wondered out loud if Ferrero Rocher could be copyrighted - then someone else muttered something about prior-art in the form of squirrel turds.

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