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* Posts by Tanuki

316 posts • joined 8 Sep 2006

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

Tanuki
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They moved to this in the Swindon branch a few months back. Allegedly.

It must be about a year since I went into a physical bank-branch of any flavour. IMHO the whole idea of high-street-type bank branches is today dead on its feet - they're never open when you need them for a start. Let them - along with post-offices - go the same way as yellow-pages, fax-machines and red telephone-kiosks: quaint reminders of slower, kinder, gentler times but totally irrelevant to the current millennium.

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Beer in SPAAAACE! London Pride soars to 28,000m

Tanuki
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Ferrets In Spaaaaaace!

There's a part of me who's now pondering the extent to which the reduced-atmospheric-pressure-induced 'boiling' would have selectively distilled-off the alcohol from the beer, and what effect the lower temperature would have had on the relative vapour-pressures of alcohol vs water.

Hmmmm.. I would suugest that your research-team seeks liquid sponsorship from breweries for a future re-run or twenty, if only to ensure that the experimental results are repeatable and statistically-significant.

My suggestion would be to send aloft some Fursty Ferret or maybe some Dog's Bollocks.

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Say goodbye to the noughties: Yesterday’s hi-fi biz is BUSTED, bro

Tanuki
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They sell this as an improvement?

I think I'll be sticking with my late-1970s homebrewed four push-pull ultralinear KT66s feeding similar-era battered-but-heavy homebrewed speakers made from inch-thick MDF [I hand-wound the coils in the crossovers, measuring and matching the resultant inductances and capacitances to within 0.1% in the University physics lab], and my mid-1990s Philips CD-player, if you don't mind.

No "oxygen-free copper, directioonal" speaker-cables for me either - I find 4mm twin&earth mains-cable works just fine.

[Now, if someone could find me a pair of Quad electrostatics at a sane price....]

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Home automation while it's hot: Winter warmth for lazy technophiles

Tanuki

I wonder how these things will deal with a "call-for-heat" being issued somewhere but the stove's already consumed all the last fill of logs?

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Who needs a ride-on mower when a ROBOT will cut your grass

Tanuki
Devil

What we need is for someone to develop a Robotic Allen-Scythe!

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Tanuki
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Sheep?

It sounds horribly expensive and over-complicated: I have a vision of it toppling over and rolling down one of my 45-degree grassy slopes, to lie distressed at the bottom like an upturned turtle - or it fighting a losing battle with a coil of garden hose, or drowning itself in the pond.

Far better (and cheaper) to get an orphan spring lamb from the local farmer to crop your grass - this also has the advantage that at the end of the season you have something to go in the freezer.

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Internet of Things fridges? Pfft. So how does my milk carton know when it's empty?

Tanuki
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Tags?

So, this "Smart Fridge" will expect me to attach a food-specific tag to the unused bits of the lettuce I plucked from the kitchen-garden, the fresh haunch of Venison acquired from a friend, the wedge of Stilton or the Gloucester-Old-Spots-and-Bramley-Apple Sausages from the farmer's market before I put them in the aforementioned sapient appliance?

Sounds a hell of a lot of trouble to go to if you ask me.

And even if said fridge were to become conscious of the fact that I'm running dangerously low on Cucumbers, how will it know whether there are any available in the market (whether for ready money or not)? I guess I'll just have to risk offending Lady Bracknell.

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Remember Control Data? The Living Computer Museum wants YOU

Tanuki

Memories...

First serious computer I ever programmed (batch FORTRAN) was the UMRCC CDC7600, with an ICL1906 (under GEORGE3) as the RJE terminal. As others have mentioned, it used 60-bit words - meaning if you used BCD encoding you could store ten characters per word and then do some evil masking/bit-shuffling.

I developed a hate/hate relationship with the method the thing used to request tape-mounts: often it took rather longer for the ops to retrieve and mount a tape than the OS was prepared to wait before timing out and killing the requesting job. I got used to programming save/restore points throughout large runs.

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I am NOT a PC repair man. I will NOT get your iPad working

Tanuki
FAIL

I find it useful to deploy phrases like:

"Tell me the contract details of your support-partner and I'll raise a service-call with them for you"

or

"You need to speak to one of my consultants - let me have your phone number and I'll get them to call you to arrange an appointment. You *are* VAT-registered, aren't you?"

or

"Would you ask the chief-executive of British Aerospace to book you a package-holiday? No - so why are you asking me about your iToy?"

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Readers' choice: What every small-business sysadmin needs

Tanuki

Cattle-prods, rubber hoses and Etherkillers are occasionally useful but when called in to do things at short notice I also like the magic piece of paper bearing the text which reads:

" I [legal owner of business X] hereby absolve [Y] from all legal liability for actions he/she undertakes while working on computer hardware/software located at premises [Z] and operated or owned by business [X]".

You get the business-owner to sign this before you start work, in order to prevent subsequent nastiness.

Only once have I needed to use my other line: "If we do this the way you want and we're caught then both of us could go to jail; do it my way and if caught only you go to jail. I think we're going to do it my way".

There is, alas, no convenient piece of paper that can get a small [or large for that matter] business out of an Anton Piller order at short notice.

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BuzzGasm: Cloud Internet Of Stuff As-A-Service!

Tanuki
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I think you need a "Made from Badger's Paws and Silly String" in there somewhere.

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Urinating teen polluted 57 Olympic-sized swimming pools - cops

Tanuki
Go

W.C.Fields.

W.C. Fields got it right:

"I never drink water: Fish fornicate in it".

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Feature-phones aren't dead, Moto – oldsters still need them

Tanuki
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It's not just the oldies who like this sort of thing.

A feature-phone with seriously-long battery-life coupled with buttons that are large enough to still let you use the thing while wearing gloves is just what some of us outdoorsy-types like.

Ever tried using a touchscreen outdoors in the middle of a hailstorm, or while riding a horse?

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The weird and wonderful mind of H.R Giger is no more

Tanuki

Re: So sad.

Sad indeed.

Thankfully we still have Jan Švankmajer.

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Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements

Tanuki
Devil

Re: Delicately put

What happens with "Directional" speaker cables if you wire them *the wrong way round* ??

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Tanuki
Happy

Re: I am sticking with Sennheiser and Walkman

You will only get your hands on my Clement-Clarke Airlite-62s over my cold, dead body.

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Tanuki
Meh

A fool and his money are easily parted.

You only have to look at some of the rank stupidities sold to the audiophool community - gold-plated 13-amp mains plugs, oxygen-free-copper 'directional' speaker-cables, cryogenically-treated valves - to understand the gullibility of that sector.

Looks like Apple have been taken for the fools in this case, just as they've been taking their customers for fools for a while.

<sarcasm>

I wonder how much Apple would have to pay to buy Bose?

</sarcasm>

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Traffic light vulns leave doors wide open to Italian Job-style hacks

Tanuki
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Re: Traffic lights should be *more* vulnerable as the system benefits from central control.

In some parts of South Africa, the traffic-lights are remotely managed using embedded cellphone-data terminals: thieves targeted them for the SIM-cards and then ran up large bills !

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/06/joburg_traffic_light_theft/

So long as they only use this to report faults to "head office" it seems OK, but if these things can also be reprogrammed over a 3G data-link it becomes more interesting.

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Tanuki
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Hmmm

I wonder how long it'll be before someone works out how to display their Twitter timeline onthe big motorway matrix-signs?

Speaking of which, I recall the first appearance of the rear-window-mounted LED message-panels in police-cars a couple of decdes back. Though issued with the messages pre-programmed from 'head office' it wasn't long before the local DTELS guys discovered that these things had essentially no security and the text could be reprogrammed via a 9-pin RS232 cable and a suitably-equipped Psion organiser.

Which led to at least one big white Vauxhall Senator patrolling the motorways where instead of the message panel displaying "STOP POLICE" when activated, it flashed up "HELLO SAILOR".

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A real pot-boiler kicks off Reg man's quid-a-day nosh challenge

Tanuki

Re: Free food...

Ther urban types will just have to eat each-other then. Perhaps we could rekindle the idea behind "A Modest Proposal" ?

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Tanuki
Happy

Free food...

Learn to scavenge: on my drive to/from work each day there's always casserole-tastic roadkill pheasants and rabbits on offer - sometimes a Hare or even a Deer. [I draw the line at stopping for Badgers].

The River Cottage website has recipes for Grey Tree-Rats: it's entirely legal to trap them.. There's also wild garlic available in the woods right now; soon the riverbanks will be bursting with watercress, and a few weeks back I harvested a good crop of "Jew's Ear" fungi which though looking - well, like a withered human ear - do add body and flavour to a stew.

It's also the season for harvesting both dandelion-flowers and nettle-tops: flash fry them in a pan with a bit of oil and they make an excellent, nutritious Spinach-substitute.

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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?

Tanuki
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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

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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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