* Posts by sandman

522 posts • joined 8 Jul 2009

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Oculus Rift will reach UK in September – and will cost more than two PS4s

sandman

Classic

"Virtual reality: Because one meaningless and uncaring universe isn't enough". Ah, what a lovely misanthropic article. You could reuse the strapline for any articles about the concept of the multiverse. :-)

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300 million pelicans? Pah. What 6 billion plastic bags really weigh

sandman

Re: Niche scenario - but annoying regardless

Had a similar problem with a trashed knee. I used a rucksack for the heavy stuff (bottles mostly ;-) and a "bag for life" for stuff that didn't want squashing. Worked fine with a stick. I still use the same system now, although without the stick.

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UK govt to launch a tech creche for military-focused startups

sandman

Re: Giant Airships!

and shark tanks!

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Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

sandman

Impressive

There is a certain existential beauty in getting everything so wrong simultaneously. Either that or they were asking to be put n the Darwin Award shortlist courtesy of the editorial team.

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Los Desaparecidos di Disruption: The Final Days of Conservative 2.0

sandman

Nyerlathotep should have been there already but sadly he's travelling by Southern Rail.

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One in five consumers upgraded to Win10 for free instead of buying a PC

sandman

Nice Microsoft

No, for once, really! Two PCs and a laptop. The old laptop upgraded from Vista through to Win 10 (OK, it's dog slow, but I did it just because). One desktop from Win 7 through to Win 10 and one from Win 8 to 10. No new hardware required apart from a scanner as the manufacturers decided that new drivers would be superfluous - bastards.

Until anything goes terminally wrong with the PCs I don't see the need to upgrade for, well, ever really.

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Wannabe Prime Minister Andrea Leadsom thinks all websites should be rated – just like movies

sandman

Re: The obvious problem with this

Ah, I have some .eu domain names, will I have to leave them (or just offer to host "adult" content for deprived Brits)? ;-)

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Idiot brings gun-shaped iPhone to airport

sandman

Re: Stanstead?

Oi, leave Rainham Marshes alone. Go bury the bodies somewhere that's not an RSPB reserve. ;-)

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Behold the ROBOT RECTUM... medics' relief

sandman

Truly dreadful

"The medics trialling the robo butt gave it a thumbs up." Possibly one of the most appalling puns of all time - I'm annoyed I didn't think of it.

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Blighty's EU science funding will remain unchanged until new PM triggers Article 50

sandman

Not listening

Sorry, apparently we're fed-up with experts telling us what to do, even if they are rocket scientists (other brands of scientist are available).

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Bank tech boss: Where we're going, we don't need mainframes

sandman

What could possibly go wrong?

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Apple and Android wearables: What iceberg? It’s full steam ahead!

sandman

Apple Genius

My ex-boss had been contemplating buying an Apple watch for ages (he likes visible status symbols) but even he couldn't find a use-case for one. He was finally sold one by, in this case, an aptly named Apple Genius. His line of patter was simple yet effective. "Of course you don't need one, nobody NEEDS one."

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Lester Haines: RIP

sandman

Sincere condolences to his family and colleagues. We'll all miss him as ell.

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HR botches redundancy so chap scores year-long paid holiday

sandman

The Real Ale Defence

I'm not sure this method is replicable, but...

I once worked for a part of a large company UK that was "restructuring". A goodly number of us IT bods were facing the chop. For various reasons our head of IT worked in the New York branch and she was flown over to select the victims. We were asked who wanted to see her first - cue deadly hush - so I volunteered.

On arrival she was whisked away into a meeting, which overran, so she sent me a message saying we could postpone, have our chat in the office after the meeting, or meet in the pub afterwards. Well, duh. My boss happens to be a fan of real ale, so after a couple of pints, my job was saved. Those who hesitated meeting her had to face the music next day when jetlag and a mild hangover had set in. My line manager was one of those chopped, thereby leaving a vacancy, which I was promoted to fill. I've been fond of Old Speckled Hen* ever since ;-)

* a decent real ale for those of you who haven't heard of it.

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Google-backed solar electricity facility sets itself on fire

sandman

Correction

"At the time, the plant's owner BrightSource claimed the facility had already hit 180 per cent of capacity".

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India roasts as mercury hits 51°C

sandman

Re: Geography check

Well, yes, but when I was there last week the hardy desert dwellers were complaining about the extreme heat. If they found it unusual it probably is.

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The Sons of Kahn and the Witch of Wookey

sandman

Made my Friday

Must be a follower of the grey ones - I used to use Sidekick. Another excellent addition to the gospels.

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Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

sandman

Re: Meanwhile....

Hmmm, I've often sedated myself FOR the flight (particularly when some airlines used to provide free booze non-stop) but would like to be awake to ensure I got to the right destination. It's bad enough when your baggage ends up in Banff...

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5% of drivers want Nigel Farage to be their in-car robo butler

sandman

Soothing

I'd like HAL 9000, so soothing and controlled. ;-) I suppose Farage or Trump would be easier to shout at though, particularly when they insisted that you always turn right.

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This headline will, in part, cost pepper-spraying University of California, Davis $175k

sandman

Re: Just wrong

True - that's the society bit I was thinking about. There doesn't seem any particularly good reason why students should be allowed guns on campus, but then you'd need a police force to disarm them I suppose.... If we'd had guns at university, the student union would have turned into a bloodbath on Saturday nights ;-)

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sandman

Just wrong

Surely the question should be "Why in hell's good name does a university need its own police force?" Any society that thinks this even approximates to a good idea needs to take a long hard look at itself.

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Google tried to be funny, cocked it up, everyone thought it was a bug

sandman

"At least this foul up didn't introduce any security issues like the "backwards text" one did". That's what they want you to think.... ;-)

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Furious English villagers force council climbdown over Satan's stone booty

sandman

Re: Rock? That's not a rock.

Rename the road "Highway to Hell"? Or "Highway to a small bit of Hell's boss"? Or "Look, we know it's just a rock, but we can all pretend, can't we?"

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Woz: World-changers to Apple Watches, why pay for an overpriced band?

sandman

Re: Who actually wears a watch anymore, and why?

When travelling in some of the world's more "interesting" places I find a watch a far better solution. There I use the cheapest waterproof Casio available. Apart from being waterproof, dustproof, more shockproof than me (withstands falling down gorges better, actually, much better) and utterly undesirable to people who'd mug you for a phone or chop your hand off for a Rolex. It's also totally reliable, lasts years, lets you tell the time day or night and doesn't want to connect with anything else. As a final advantage, work can't contact you on it.

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Storks bin migration for junk food diet

sandman

Rubbish nests too

I noticed in Marrakech that the Storks use a lot of waste in their nests, fabric, rope, whatever. They were all defending their nests in early February. Guess they have a good junk food diet in Morocco as well.

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Easter Islanders didn't commit 'ecocide' after all, says archaeologist

sandman

Books, film promotion equals controversy

Actually it's not an either or situation. The archaeological* evidence strongly indicates both ecological collapse and a population crash. There is also strong evidence for a population recovery until the introduction of disease and slavery by Europeans. Essentially both Diamond and Lipo are correct, but controversy helps sell stuff.

* Disclaimer. Before getting into computery stuff I spent 20+ years being an archaeologist and did read the odd bit or two about Easter Island.

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Europe's ExoMars mission enjoys orchestral fanfare

sandman

Epic, man, epic

Pretty good overture, now extend it to cover the time period for the actual trip (note, that's the voyage from a to b, not a recreational pharmaceutical interlude).

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The paperless office? Don’t talk sheet

sandman

In an alternative world

I sit in my paperless office administering my fusion powerplant - using the world's dominant desktop OS, Linux, naturally.

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When asked 'What's a .CNT file?' there's a polite way to answer

sandman

Everyone's a User

Unless you have a complete understanding of all the software you use and how it interacts with everything else, ditto with all your hardware, and the ability to put right any problem, you too are a "user" to someone else... I've just had to contact support because I've found a bug in our own software and I'm pleased to say they were very good about it ;-) Having done the same job, I'm always very polite to any poor bastard support person - having been on the end of some foaming-mouthed moron's rants once or twice.

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Microsoft hits the gas in drive to recruit autistic techies

sandman

It's a broad spectrum

I was once asked by the father of an autistic university student if I could assist him with some work. The lad was very bright, cynical and had an evil sense of humour. His explanations of the social awkwardness, desire for routine and exactitude were fascinating. I felt almost flattered, albeit slightly worried, when he said to me. "I like you, you think like one of us". Well, as I said, it's a broad spectrum ;-)

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Ballmer schools SatNad on Microsoft's mobile strategy: You need one

sandman

Thanks!

I now have a vile mental image of Ballmer having a massage. I think I'll go and scrub my brain clean with bleach and wire wool!

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Brit boffins get green light to edit human genome

sandman

Re: Progress

Eradicating various genetic diseases really will save a lot of heartache - although the regulators will need to keep on eye out for potential abuses, e.g.... More volts Igor, more volts!

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Why the Sun is setting on the Boeing 747

sandman

Awe inspiring

I was quite young when I first saw one. I was lying in the grass just beyond the runway boundary fence at Düsseldorf airport and one took off right over me - wow! When I flew into Heathrow I saw one parked next to a Concord, which looked like the plane equivalent of a lifeboat in comparison. After the 707 it became my favourite plane to fly on (various dodgy Ilyushins operated by equally dodgy airlines being my least favourite)!

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Sorry slacktivists: The Man is shredding your robo responses

sandman

Sliding Scale

If you really want to change things here's a scale of effectiveness:

1. All out revolution - pretty effective, although may have undesired consequences.

2. Strikes - may work, may result in long-term unemployment.

3. Voting - for or against, your choice, it might even work.

4. Demonstrating - may be ineffective - see Iraq War demo.

# unknown: Sitting on your arse pressing a button. (Unless button is red, in which case 1. and then some).

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Europe: Go on. Ask us to probe the £130m 'sweetheart' deal HMRC made with Google

sandman

He's been "chillaxed" for all those years ;-)

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Apple growth flatlines ... Tim Cook thinks, hey, $80bn is still $80bn

sandman

It's not about "real" business - it's all about the expectations of the various stock markets. You can do as well as you like, but if there is no expectation of continuous growth your share value will decline. There's a good book on the subject - The City: Inside the Great Expectation Machine, by Tony Golding. It's well worth reading if you have any interest about how the financial markets actually work.

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Gov must hire 'thousands' of techies to rescue failing projects

sandman

Re: Nope

Agreed. I used to work with a small group of very experienced contractors who basically went from company to company to get projects working that one (or more) of the big consultancies had screwed up. In the end there isn't a substitute for experience, the problem is that it costs more.

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Full of fear at work: Blame the boss, or yourself?

sandman

Corporate Culture

I've worked in several companies where failure was simply never admitted to or discussed. I happily remember one meeting where I realised I'd made an error and said "Oops, I've screwed up". The effect was something like I imagine farting loudly in church would be like, I've never seen so many shocked faces. :-)

I also had the "pleasure" of working in one organisation where the predominant corporate culture was one of fear. Everybody, apart from a couple of people at the top, were terrified of losing their jobs and the whole atmosphere was poisonous, a foetid mix of blame, recrimination and denial of responsibility. I was very glad I was contracting there and could just ignore the internal strife.

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Foetuses offered vaginal music streaming service

sandman

Re: Musical vibrator?

THAT'S what Ace of Spades is for ;-)

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UK digital minister asks for input on strategy, lauds 'sharing economy' biz success

sandman

I have plenty of ideas

Lot's, blue sky thinking, purple prose, you name it I'll provide it. My normal consultancy rates (not jacked up at all, honest) apply.

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Death Stars are a waste of time – here's the best way to take over the galaxy

sandman

Ships building ships

Pretty much the way that the large Culture ships produce other ships/drones/knife missiles for all occasions. ((Ian M Banks books for those who're thinking "What the hell is he talking about). I've never understood why you would want to destroy perfectly inhabitable planets though. If I was Emperor I would want to add them to my ever-expanding domains, BWAHAHAHA!

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There's an epidemic of idiots who can't find power switches

sandman

More than one plug

My favourite was being called over by an irate user with the classic "My computer doesn't work"! We know the next step, inquire if it was turned on and get abusive confirmation ending in "do you think I'm stupid?" (DO NOT ANSWER, really, just don't). Machine is whirring and lights are blinking, but no picture. Diffidently enquire if they have turned the thing that looks like a TV on at the mains. Relish sight of scarlet-faced user and confirm opinion (silently, obviously) that they are indeed a bear of little brain.

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Skilled workers, not cost, lured Apple to China says Tim Cook

sandman

Small World Problem

After all the tech companies have set up in South Sudan or refugee camps in Jordan (because of their tool and die skills of course) where will be left for them to go. Oooh, just had a thought, the US of course, there'll be plenty of low paid or unemployed people there by then. (I'd put a joke alert icon on this, but on second thoughts it's not really a joke, is it)?

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Grim-faced cosmonaut in ISS manual docking nail-biter

sandman

Commuting

Look, this guy has done it all before - he's just taking a risky commute to work. How many of you smile like a loon on the way to work? Particularly when work makes a 6 month contract in Luton with cheap hotel accommodation look comfortable ;-)

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Revealed: Mystery 7-year cyberspy campaign in Latin America

sandman

You know where your enemies stand, it's your friends you can't be sure of. Paranoia: a game for everybody. ;)

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If it still works six months from now, count yourself lucky

sandman

Hmm, I must be lucky. I've been buying PCs, laptops and Macbooks for, well, just about ever and none of them has broken. It's not that I treat them well either - particularly the laptops. It's quite annoying really, because if I see a new shiny that I lust after I'm firmly told by herself that I don't need it (true). I have to wait until they become so obsolete that there's no other choice.

To be fair the machines are usually from manufacturers people have actually heard of - as are their internal bits, which possibly helps.

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Report fingers China for assault on Australian weather supercomputer

sandman

Re: And yet

That's a really unfair way to describe Australians ;-)

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IT pros are a bunch of wedding and funeral-dodging sickos

sandman

Funeral dodging

There's only one funeral I'd want to miss for work reasons.....

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Oracle confesses to quietly axing its UK software support centre

sandman

Re: The reason?

I'm sorry, it's against policy to send unsterilised bacteria to Mars.

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Short weekend break: Skegness or exoplanet HD 189733b?

sandman

Re: Viz had it right

Ken Holland, Mayor of Skegness, also leapt to the town's defence, saying: "There are not many better places than Skegness, and I've travelled all over the world."

Where the hell has he been? I'm guessing North Korea, Somalia, the Central African Republic and the shittier parts of Philadelphia (you need a smaller UN Peacekeeping force in the first three).

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