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* Posts by Tom 38

2335 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

Snappers binned, mobe-armed hacks drafted at Chicago paper

Tom 38
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Re: Cue Content Infringement lawsuits from Apple?

2008 called, they want their gag back.

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EMC inks deal to take Brit F1 racer Lotus to the clouds

Tom 38
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Re: Lotus in name only

I still call em Renault

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Fancy some mobile filth? New logo tells you when not to bother

Tom 38
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Re: So we're decided then

No, we can't burn down all the hedges, but the police do need to know when you visit hedges. Therefore, in future, all visits to hedges will be recorded in a big diary hanging at the end by the hawthorne. You don't have to write down what you were doing, just who you were talking to and for how long.

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Tom 38
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Stop

Re: One way to tell that a political position is clueless about how the internet works?

Simple fact of the matter is that all the porn in the world was available in the nation's hedges when we were kids, where as for today's kids they can get access to porn in the safety of their own home.

Restricting the flow of porn to kids will only drive porn back out to the hedge row. Won't someone think of the kids and stop sending them out in to the cold wet night to find pages of "Readers Wives".

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Never mind your little brother - happy 10th birthday, H.264

Tom 38
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Re: I miss the dayxs when I could flip between 3 programs simultaneosuly.

I wonder how frequently they send those re-synch frames in the data stream?

This was talked about briefly in the article, the stream is arranged into GOP, Groups Of Pictures, a list of frames. Each frame can be of I, P, B. I-frames are the entire picture, P-frames are forward predictive and B-frames are bi-directionally predictive frames, ie they add to the previous/next frame. If you haven't decoded the previous frame, then it can only show the difference, and the video looks "corrupted".

Obviously, I-frames take the most space, P-frames, being one way predictive, take up less space, and B-frames take even less space, so for optimum quality at a given bandwidth, you want as few as possible I-frames, less P-frames and more B-frames. However, as you point out, you need as many I-frames as possible to make seeking/scrubbing not appear corrupted.

A typical GOP may have something like this structure "IBBPBBPBBPBBI". The next I-frame is 12 frames after the first I-frame, and this is the GOP length (N). The maximum distance between 2 reference frames (like an I or P frame) in the GOP is 3, which is the GOP size (M), so this GOP would be described as N=12 M=3. The GOP length is also called the Intra Period.

Anyway, all of these things are configurable by the encoder. So the answer to your question is, "as infrequently as the encoder thought they could get away with". You want enough I-frames that you can seek easily, you want as many P/B-frames as possible to keep the bitrate down. Pay your dollar, make your choice.

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Tom 38
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Re: MPEG is a patent cartel

No it isn't. The license fees payable are only necessary if commercially distributing video, and even then they are trivial, and having the best technology disseminated by all parties is the best possible outcome.

Going back to each platform having its own proprietary-yet-massively-identical-to-h264 codec would be a fucking nightmare. Do you want a world where Sorensen Spark is still relevant?

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Tom 38
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Re: I wonder who that could be?

No, the blockiness will be down to the bitrate used for iplayer being quite low. The 'HD' iplayer streams are around 832x468 in size, and a bitrate of around 1400 Kbit/s.

For blockiness, CPU doesn't come in to it at all, internet download speed only matters if you cannot download the file fast enough, which would present as pausing/buffering and not blockiness - although if your download speed is not sufficient, iplayer could switch you to an even lower bitrate stream, which would of course appear blocky more often.

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Tom 38
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Re: MPEG-3, .mp3 ?

MP3 is actually short for "MPEG-1/2 Audio Layer 3", and a ".mp3" file describes both the codec the audio has been encoded with and the file format.

".mp4" on the other hand is simply a generic container as described by the MPEG-4 Part 14. It's a container format that can contain all kinds of data, audio data, video data, subtitles, pictures - all kinds of things, all kinds of codecs. The file suffix may be ".mp4", but there are lots of other file suffixes used for the same format (m4a, m4v, m4b...). The audio is typically AAC, or some variant like HE-AAC, but can be almost anything, including things like Apple Lossless, or even MP3.

.

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Tom 38
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Re: I wonder who that could be?

Broadcasters lowering bitrates is not always the issue it is made out to be.

The BBC were accused of this, but they were simply using an encoder tuned for a particular Constant Rate Factor (CRF), which attempts to encode at a particular quality level, not a particular bitrate. The encoder was replaced, and similar scenes were encoded much more efficiently with the new encoder, which reduced the required bit rate for a particular quality factor. The new stream had a lower bitrate (9Mb/s) than the old stream (17Mb/s), but (allegedly¹) the same quality.

Course, its not always like this. ITV are notorious for cramming in their channels in to any bandwidth (I know its MPEG-2, but look at ITV-4 on Freeview, the bitrate is so low you can almost see artefacts on every frame).

¹ Lots of people disagreed, there was lots of arguing, eventually the encoders were replaced again, this time with VBR encoders that used, on average, 9 Mb/s, but could be bursty in high action segments and use up to 17 Mb/s briefly.

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Microsoft tops list of software piracy nailed in UK by FAST

Tom 38
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Re: You mean...

Yeah, £5 to that chinese guy down the market. Thanks to him I have Windo's 8 and a copy of Office 364 and it cost me next to nothing, mwah ha ha.

You want to pop back down the market, they've released Office 365 now.

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World's richest hobo (Apple) has worked 'tax-free' in Ireland since '80s

Tom 38
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Re: Why do people get upset at Apple for this?

Obviously not, but I do pay the amount that's due unlike Apple, Google et al who by creative application of corporate residency and dodgy cross-border sales manage to pay a fraction of the tax money the law says they should owe.

No, by creative application of corporate residency they pay exactly the taxes the laws say they should. If you don't like how the tax laws are set up, you shouldn't have voted in the clowns that set them up.

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Curse you, old person, for inventing computers!

Tom 38
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Re: Of course there are old people who understand computers out there

You can tell how good someone will be with computers by going back 25 years or so to the late 80s. At this point, pretty much every household has a VHS player. Every VHS player can tell the time, and can be programmed to record TV shows.

The 30-something who back then couldn't even set the time on his VHS player, let alone set it up to record, these people are the targets for the "PCs anyone can use" ads. Think back, try to remember - they were everywhere.

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Woolwich beheading sparks call to REVIVE UK Snoopers' Charter

Tom 38
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Re: The guys were already known to the authorities

More importantly if just ONE of the civillians who was near was armed & trained, they could have intervened, taken out the criminals and rendered first aid before the police even turn up...

More importantly if just ONE of the civilians who was near was armed & trained, they could have intervened, killed the criminals before they could be interrogated and shot a couple of by-standers by accident.

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Tom 38
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Re: Here we go again...

Terrorism is violent crimes committed for the purpose of intimidating people to achieve political purposes. These people had political aims, they committed a violent crime for no other purpose than to further promote their purposes, they even hung around to make sure their message was heard.

You can say it is inept terrorism, you can say it is ineffective terrorism, you can say it is lone wolf terrorism - it's still terrorism.

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Tom 38
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Joke

Re: Here we go again...

First off, the nutters who carried out the Woolwich attack are just that: barking mad, eye-rolling, loony, nutters

Steady on, I don't think it's been confirmed they were members of UKIP.

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'Leccy car biz baron Elon Musk: Thanks for the $500m, taxpayers...

Tom 38
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Re: Note that difference *loan* (with interest) versus old car maker (2nd or 3rd) bailout.

Yes, because that's what we want, governments chasing profitable investments..

Do you not see something hypocritical about the home of capitalism giving state aid to private enterprises that do not benefit the common good? Yes, this was a loan that they have paid back (in part) and not a subsidy, but it was a loan that banks would not give.

Why does this company, which is only making toys for rich people, and has no publicized aims of producing energy efficient electric cars for the masses, deserve state aid? Should the criteria for giving state aid, "will we make our money back"?

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Ed Miliband brands Google's UK tax avoidance 'WRONG'

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: Pot and kettle

Please, commentards, remember there is a difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

Tax avoidance is entirely legal, moral, natural and a human response to being asked to pay taxes. We all do it - when VAT went up, did you not buy large ticket items in advance before it went up? I know I saved about £50 buying my season ticket in December rather than January.

I dislike Ed Miliband's policys (or lack thereof), but I don't think more or less of him knowing he has sensibly arranged his affairs to minimise inheritance tax*. If he is doing things by the book, he is/will be paying the right amount of tax for his circumstances, he has just structured his circumstances to minimise how much the revenue can take away.

Lord Clyde said it best, that's why he got the big bucks:

No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow, and quite rightly, to take every advantage which is open to it under the Taxing Statutes for the purposes of depleting the taxpayer's pocket. And the taxpayer is in like manner entitled to be astute to prevent, so far as he honestly can, the depletion of his means by the Inland Revenue

The biggest issue affecting us in the UK is that the rules of the EU allow commercial activity to seep out of our country and be registered in another one for tax purposes. I've no problem with google claiming chargebacks for the cost of providing systems to the UK sales teams, or funnelling all the profits after tax to some holding company in the Caymans, but fuck it, revenue and profit from UK sales should result in UK taxes. I don't think we should leave the EU, but some rules have to change.

* TBH, I reckon David set it all up

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Yahoo 'won't screw Tumblr'? Then Tumblr will screw its balance sheet

Tom 38
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FAIL

Doomed to fail

In the article it says:

... it's [Yahoo!] paying roughly 20 per cent of what it earned for an asset estimated to have made a mere $13m. At Tumblr’s estimated earnings, it would take about 10 years before Tumblr pays off.

Tumblr’s CEO might have a gift of spotting a budding social networking opportunity, but he’s not been able to turn his skill at attracting short-form bloggers into the ability to make money from them. Yet - we're being lead to believe - Tumblr's CEO will remain in charge and independent of Yahoo!.

so it is making money at the moment, just not enough for your liking, and presumably, not enough for someone who spent over a beeeeelion dollars on it.

The reason for its current success is also the reason it will fail, it is currently managed by someone who monetizes the site as little as possible while still making a reasonable profit. In this manner, users are encouraged to use the site because it does not have invasive monetisation of the user.

Yahoo have said they are going to keep a hands off approach, and yet at the same time massively increase revenue because of the acquisition. If they do the former, they won't make any more money from it than they are now, if they do the latter all the users will leave and they still won't make any money from it. Of all the things you could spend a beeeeeeelion dollars on, this is not the one I would choose.

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James Bond inspires US bill to require smart guns for all

Tom 38
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Re: Back to the Drawing Board

you have forgotten how the U.S.A. was won from England, which was very much poor people with guns.

Ahaha, no. The US revolution was run by a bunch of rich white slave owners who no longer wanted to pay their taxes. The rest is sentimental bullshit.

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'Lab-smashing' Stuxnet HELPED Iran's nuke effort, says brainiac

Tom 38
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Joke

Re: Stupid Israelis

Eadon, you're logged in to the wrong account

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

Tom 38
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Missing the point

I live in Stratford, and work in the City. The entire purpose of Shoreditch is that it is cheap, and close enough to the City that you can easily meet people in real companies. Stratford is cheap, but it's way too far away from the City for anyone to come see you. It might as well be Slough.

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Half of youngsters would swap PRIVACY for... cheaper insurance

Tom 38
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Re: Understandable

Until you're 25, car insurance is prohibitively expensive, and yet at the same time completely necessary. When you're a young adult, the one thing you don't have much of is money, and so any way you can get or save money, any money, is a huge draw. 20% of £2000 is £400, a significant sum.

Being tracked is of secondary importance compared to saving some money.

When you're older, car insurance is not so expensive anymore. Plus, there's a good chance you will be earning more money too. At this point, saving 20% of your insurance might net you £60, not inconsiderable, but not going to change your year.

I'd prefer a simpler system for younger drivers. It seems unfair that many of them are penalized, or potentially spied on, simply because a minority of this class of driver cost insurance companies the most. Insurance should cost more for them, but it should be rebated or rolled-over each year to the same as an over-25 if they have no claims.

Eg, £2k for fully comp for a year for a 19 yr old, same car/town might be £400 for a 30 yr old. After a year of no claims, the 19 yr old's renewal is only £400, or £2k if they made a claim. This may be unmanageable, doing the sums may make the 19 yr old's 1st year costs too high, since subsequent ones are not as high..

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Microsoft conceals job ad in Bing homepage

Tom 38
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Re: I may add...

fairly silly remark, not sure what land you live in but i've worked with many talented developers who only use IE

Me too. Well, at first they only used IE anyway. Then they come to me with questions - "How do I see the request and response headers?", "How do I choose a different proxy based upon destination website?", "How do I single step my javascript code?", "What does 'Object expected' mean?"

It may be different now, IE actually has some developer tools to speak of, but anyone developing websites in the past 5 years ago who wasn't doing most of their work in Firefox or (eventually) Chrome was totally wasting their time, since the debug features just aren't there.

Even now, for doing certain debug tasks in IE you are better off using Fiddler, rather than the simplicity of chrome's approach.

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Murdoch hate sparks mass bitchin', rapid evacuation from O2, BE

Tom 38
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Re: I'm going

Infinity is a brand name of BT's for the Retail Fibre service they offer.

FTTC (the fibre most people have that can get it) is a wholesale product many ISPs offer.

Please don't help BT in making everyone believe Infinity IS fibre and thus they're the only game in town, they've already nabbed the majority of the business.

It's all FTTC from BT though, isn't it, regardless of what the badge says? It's a BT line from you to the cabinet, it's BT from the cabinet to the exchange, and it's BT from the exchange to your ISPs POP.

BT make most of their money in broadband charging by the GB for backhaul from exchange to POP, I don't want to be exploited that way.

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Tom 38
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Re: BAIL OUT!

Funny, Goscomb offer broadband based either on BT, TTB or O2/Be, and recommend using O2/Be as their preferred supplier.

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Tom 38
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Go

Staying

I'm staying. Sky have said they will keep existing agreements and add features that I currently have (static IP). My preference would be to stay with Be as a separate ISP, ie not merged with the rest of the riff raff on Sky, which is what we had with O2, but it is not to Be :/

I can't get fibre in my central London location, and there is no way I'd move to a BT provisioned ADSL product, so my choices are BeSky, Sky, C&W (ADSL24 or other resellers), TalkTalk, PipexTalkTalk or TiscaliTalkTalk. Given that list, I'll take Sky.

The problem with these sorts of surveys is that the majority of people staying on Be are not on the forums moaning about leaving, and therefore the survey is of an unrepresentative sample. It does show that lots of people are leaving though, perhaps not in the percentages inferred though.

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British LulzSec hackers hear jail doors slam shut for years

Tom 38
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Re: Got off lightly

Oh I see Lulzsec were just doing them a favour! It all makes sense now.

And if I kick in your door, smear faeces all over your bed and walls, and steal your home sex tapes and bank account records and release them on the web I'd be doing you a favour too for not having a stronger door. You'd thank me for it. Right?

Er, no - that isn't what I said at all. Tone down the "Righteous of Romford", this isn't the Daily Mail.

My point is that part of the "loss" to Sony is Sony having to do what they should have done in the first place. You can't attribute the totality of the costs to LulsZec, Sony are also to blame.

Sony made the choice to ignore industry standards and just hashed passwords instead of hashing combined with a salt. It was this failure that meant that passwords were readily decipherable by use of rainbow tables.

The $20m cost of the intrusion was largely related to having to provide ID theft monitoring services to all US users, which would not have been necessary had the appropriate measures already been taken.

You can tell from Sony's actions that they are partly culpable. They have a duty of care to protect their users personal information using industry standards. They failed to do so, and so have had to pay for ID theft protection, credit card fraud monitoring and protection, and so on.

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Tom 38
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Stop

Re: Got off lightly

Just Sony alone claimed they lost $20 million which is not unreasonable given how long PSN was down, the loss of reputation, the loss of revenues and the theft of 24 million account details.

LulzSec hacked Sony, which required Sony to bring down PSN, and fix PSN's codebase so that it was fit for purpose. What proportion of the $20m total cost are you assigning to Sony for being incompetent, and to LulzSec for exposing their incompetence in a criminal manner?

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Google 'DOES DO EVIL', thunders British politician

Tom 38
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Of course, we could just leave the EU

Then all these schemes, the Double Irish, the Dutch Sandwich, the Luxembourgian Book Bonanza¹ and the Swiss Bean Swindle¹ all become impossible. Yay! We'd get all this lovely increased tax revenue that these multinationals are just ripping out of our country at the moment.

However, we would also lose all the lovely money that we rip out of the rest of the world. I'm no macro-economist, but I bet if you got 100 of them in a room and said "UK leaves the EU, does tax revenue go up or down", you wouldn't get a quorum.

Personally, I think the EU is a good thing, but there shouldn't be areas like Luxembourg for vast multinationals to take the piss with their tax rates. It may be easier just to leave.

¹ This is not a real thing

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My god, what's that STENCH belching from your iPhone?

Tom 38
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Re: Oh dear..

I plan to get a 3D TV when I replace my current TV, if 3D is still around in 2020.

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Wannabe hacker, you're hired: Brit bosses mull cyber-apprenticeships

Tom 38
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Re: Has it not occured to them...

Please don't denigrate LOGO, my first programming language.

repeat 8 [repeat 4 [rt 90 fd 100] bk 100 lt 45]

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Currant Bun erects £2 paywall: Wraps digi-paper around free footie

Tom 38
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Re: "The Daily Telegraph introduced a subscription last month, with the first 20 articles free"

It only needs to be as technically competent as their readership. Most Telegraph readers I know are "of a certain age", this would (and does) flummox them to the extent that it does work.

It only has to work for a certain percentage of the readership, and then you don't worry about the others. It's like piracy, as long as it is extremely hard and on the fringes of the internet, nae bother, if it is easy enough that Jammie Thomas can do it, plenty bother.

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Judge orders redacted Aaron Swartz prosecution docs to be revealed

Tom 38
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Re: It's something.

Protecting "Witnesses"?? What witnesses?

This is solely about blocking out the names of anyone who thought they could fuck up someone's life for political gain, and is now terrified of the political loss if their names are released.

Cretins, the lot of them.

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'Liberator': Proof that you CAN'T make a working gun in a 3D printer

Tom 38
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Re: Way to miss the point...

Obsidian. It'll take an edge so sharp it's smooth even on nano-scale. Puts metal blades to shame. Tricky to work, but it'll cut someone with much less effort than a metal blade. Put a bit of mass behind it and you could probably lop someone's head off without too much effort.

Plus it will work on White Walkers.

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Løvefïlm signs hit beards’n’berserkers series Vikings

Tom 38
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Re: Game of Thrones

They've toned done the nudity quite a lot since the first season - which wasn't overly prurient, it was simply reflecting the nudity described in the books for the most part. In fact, lots of it was trimmed, for instance Dany in the book has one breast bared (the left, iirc) from the time she arrives in [spoiler redacted] until [spoiler redacted].

Compared to something like Spartacus, which is proper Sandal Porn without any real story, well, the nudity is incidental rather than the purpose of the show.

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Apple asked me for my BANK statements, says outraged reader

Tom 38
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Not just Apple

I've had this kind of response from standard UK based etailers before. I once ordered a whole bunch of kit from overclockers.co.uk on a Wednesday evening, paid by card, they took payment from my account

Thursday arrives, I'm in work and then the retailer insisted that at that point they could go no further without me emailing me them scans of utility bills or bank statements, because this was an address they had never shipped to before,

I can't do that from work, so they won't ship the goods I've already paid for in time to arrive for the weekend, so I told them where they could stick their request, got a refund and bought everything that evening on the TCR.

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How smart does your desk phone need to be?

Tom 38
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WTF?

Re: Pick up handset, dial number, speak...

You had hot desking and call logs/directories on the handsets in the 90s without posh handsets? Clever.

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Tom 38
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Re: Pick up handset, dial number, speak...

I disagree. Here's a short list of the things that I find extremely useful from our VOIP handsets and PBX, which is Asterisk iirc:

1) a searchable directory of all internal users

2) log in/out, so I can use any phone in the building

3) being able to conference people in

4) follow me, so I can easily work from any location*

5) call logs

6) do not disturb

7) voicemail indicators and browsing

8) easily hooked in to our video conferencing suites

9) "internal users" now mean "anyone worldwide who works for us"

* Like right now, I'm sat in my front room, but my home phone will ring. If I don't answer that, my mobile rings. And when I'm done for the day, changing a single flag on my profile stops anything coming to me.

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Tesla earns first profit, Model S wins '99% perfect' rating

Tom 38
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I only have two problems with the Tesla, namely that 1) I'm highly unlikely to ever be able to afford it, and 2) the range is just too low to have only this as your primary car (in which case, see 1 again, since I definitely won't be able to afford 2 cars).

EVs may be unquestionably better for the environment than petrol, but they will never be a serious replacement until battery tech can be made significantly cheaper. At the moment it's only a rich man's toy - lets hope by making enough rich men's toys they can work out a way to make car for regular people too.

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Retro-tech fan seeks cash for Commodore 64 clones

Tom 38
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Trollface

Re: I would support this if:

I'm confused, is Swindon not an 80's theme park?

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Tom 38
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WTF?

He wants $150k?! Never going to happen, there just aren't that many people who give a fuck about a C64, and those that do already have one, why spend $75+ on a "new" one.

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NEW ITV Player app IS HERE ... for Samsung fandroids only. Ha ha

Tom 38
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Or simply tell world + dog where their IP locked down video streams can be found and enumerated, slap an API on it, and let someone else write and support the app. Stick the adverts right in the video stream, you won't even lose any revenue.

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M&S shoppers make quarter of a million NFC payments a WEEK

Tom 38
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Re: Don't confuse NFC and EMV !!!!

My problem is that my oyster card, my company id card and my bank card all seem to use the same frequency, and therefore each one has to be in a separate wallet or pocket if I want to go on the tube (and have my wallet accepted by the gate).

Since we moved to NFC/RFID ID cards, the number of times I've forgotten my ID card has exploded. Before, I never used to forget it, as it was always in my wallet and never moved.

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Stealthy, malware-spewing server attack not limited to Apache

Tom 38
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Re: Surprise

Sometimes, even Eadon is too ashamed to put their name to a post.

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Adobe kills Creative Suite – all future features online only

Tom 38
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Re: @powerpoint monkey

"GIMP is no use for the professional Adobe Addict, because GIMP is no use for the professional Adobe Addict."

Until people start using it as a replacement for PS, it will never be a replacement for PS. If it doesn't do what you want, don't smugly tell all your hipster friends that GIMP is a useless POS, tell the GIMP developers what you need, maybe even contract someone to add the missing feature.

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EC: Motorola abused its patents in Apple iPhone spat

Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: Good

Motorola were obliged to offer SEP patents under FRAND terms, which the EC (and you) are saying they didn't do. The EC say this is bad, you say it is fine...

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So long, Hotmail: Remaining users migrated to Outlook.com

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: Hotmail

MS purchased Hotmail for $400M, this sort of thing is the intended end game for many tech companies. The fact that it's now called "Outlook" and not "Hotmail" doesn't change the fact that it's basically an evolution of the same system.

Well, not really, since the original hotmail.com ran on Solaris and FreeBSD and used tools like sendmail and Apache httpd.

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US Ambassador plays Game of Thrones with pirates

Tom 38
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Re: @JTMILLER

I wonder how many people are like me, have a Sky sub and Sky+ it, but still download each episode for their library anyway?

I don't bother Sky+'ing it. I have a Sky sub so that (as far as I care) it is all above board, but Sky+ is no archive.

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FONDLESLAB market DEATH STRUGGLE: Latest rankings in

Tom 38
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FAIL

Re: As I predicted

Eadon, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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Tom 38
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Holmes

Telling who tells what

MS tell you their shipping numbers, all the others tell you their sales numbers.

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