* Posts by Tom 38

2519 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

Julian Assange: I'm quite happy to sleep on Ecuador's sofa FOREVER

Tom 38
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Re: Bah

What worries me more is the evident level of corruption and manipulation of our own governments. That is frightening.

Evidence for your "evident corruption and manipulation"? Thought so.

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UK telcos chuck another £1m at online child abuse watchdog

Tom 38
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The one positive thing that is coming out of this is that the IWF will no longer be allowed to silently block content any more. If a resource is blocked, your ISP should now insert an error page indicating the IWF have restricted the content, instead of just giving a 404.

PS: I have Blind Faith on my spotify playlists, does this make me a paedo? When I play the album, some geezer in Sweden sends a picture banned by IWF (on wikipedia) to my phone.

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Latest NASA ASTRONAUT class is HALF FEMALE

Tom 38
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There should be more women in space. Since the average woman weigh significantly less than the average man, it makes much more logical sense to send a female astronaut than a male, unless there are tasks that physically a fit woman cannot do. They will also use less food and oxygen than your typical "Right Stuff" candidate.

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STEVE JOBS hits back at ebook ruckus FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE

Tom 38
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Re: Difficult enough to believe Apple on any legal claim!

In any case, these days can't people self-publish ebooks, and take all the wholesale price, assuming they can sort out things like editing for themselves?

Yes, they can, however..

The biggest market for ebooks is Amazon, and unless you are a publishing house or best selling author, self publishing on Amazon means that Amazon can set your price and determine your cut. If Amazon decide to give your book away for free - and they can - then you get nothing.

This isn't necessarily a problem, you can sell your books wherever you like, however .... Amazon are slowly destroying all other market places by systematically undercutting competitors on bestsellers - and only on bestsellers - using a cross-subsidy from their other departments in order to destroy competition. Is it cool to just have one market place, that entices you in with one hand and gouges you with the other?

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Tom 38
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Re: So

(*unless people think that the legal system is scared to go up against Big Business Amazon while simultaneously keen to go after Apple.)

Yes. Lots of people think this. DoJ was extremely happy with Amazon fucking over businesses and consumers left, right and centre. See this article, which came out when DoJ initiated this storm.

http://www.ilsr.org/dojs-lawsuit/

The authors of this report are no Apple fans, but they really dislike what Amazon were allowed to do.

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Tom 38
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Re: So

The point of having 'competition' isn't to provide money for uncompetitive competing companies, it is to provide better value for end users

In fact, it isn't. The purpose of competition is that it promotes healthy markets, where everyone from producer to distributor to consumer is getting a fair deal. Since Amazon launched the kindle, they have been massively manipulating the ebook market, using predatory pricing to pick up users and forcing the producers (authors) to bear the cost.

At the point the agency pricing model in around 2010, Amazon had 90% of the ebook market, and were buying bestsellers for around $12-14 and retailing them at $9.99, subsidizing the sales with profits from everything else Amazon does. The purpose of this undercutting was to drive B&N out of the ebook market, and seriously damage their book market. By offering predatory pricing only on the bestsellers, and only on their device, they were hooking the end user into a kindle world, with all your books coming from Amazon.

That's just the 'prime' books from major publishers. The smaller publishers have an even rawer deal with Amazon, Amazon tell them how much they get for a sale. If you've priced your book at $5, and Amazon decide to sell it for $1, you get a cut of that dollar, that's all.

Whilst all that was going on, consumers were getting a great deal on bestsellers. In fact, when iBooks launched - with the agency model - most people were distinctly unimpressed with Apple's prices. Apple refused to sell books for less than they paid for them, whilst Amazon was perfectly happy to do so.

The DoJ lawsuit against Apple simply confirms Amazon's book monopoly.

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Swedish watchdog: Google's chocolate cloud? Nej, not private

Tom 38
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Trollface

Re: LolCat training camps

Are they training the cats or the people taking the photos?

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MPs demand UK rates revamp after Google's 'extraordinary tax mismatch'

Tom 38
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Re: Slight EU problem

The trick is hiring "customer support staff" in the UK, who do everything that an account manager used to do apart from receiving the signed P.O., which goes to the 'sales' staff in Ireland, who do everything that accounts used to do.

When the papers say "the service industry rebounded this quarter", that's what they are talking about.

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We want to put a KILL SWITCH into your PHONE, say Feds

Tom 38
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First a kill switch in your phone

Then in your brain.

How long till TSA fit all foreigners with one on entry?

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Jailed LulzSec hacker Cleary coughs to child porn images, will be freed soon

Tom 38
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Re: The Asperger's Syndrome sufferer

The thing is, the story goes like this:

Hacker picked up for shenanigans (DDoS, botnets, dodgy friends).

Hacker's kit confiscated by plod.

Oh my, plod find such a small quantity of CP that it could fit on a novelty sized CD.

Hacker reputation ruined, already in jail for shenanigans, pleads guilty to CP in order to reduce eventual sentence and not be placed in gen pop.

I'm not saying in this case that Cleary was set up, just that each time a hacker gets double slammed with CP after they tried everything else, it just seems strange.

PS: I'm a hacker, although not like Mr Cleary, I write my own software and investigate my own hardware. I don't have any CP, and have no intention of getting any.

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Probe into Autonomy allegations could take years - report

Tom 38
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Re: "of high profile law firm Steptoe & Johnson"

For US readers, Steptoe & Son is the UK show Sanford & Son was based on.

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Facebook, Microsoft beg Feds: Let us tell users what YOU asked for...

Tom 38
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Re: Don't get too excited

So, it's a trade-off - higher taxes or more dead civilians...or making use of the resources that are sitting right there for the reading.

How long do you think people will continue to give their data to US companies if the US government treats it like it's own data store?

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Asus FonePad: You may feel a bit of a spanner

Tom 38
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If you go with a real 3G network like 3, they have considerably more 3G coverage than other providers. You can actually use it out and about, rather than providers like O2 or Vodafone, where 3G really does just drop out as soon as you leave the town.

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Tom 38
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This phone supports HSPA+, which is a 3G technology. I think in the US, you are told this is a 4G technology and pay more for it.

HSPA+ UL:5.76 Mbps/DL:21 Mbps

3G :

WCDMA :

850/900/1900/2100

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PM Cameron calls for modern, programmable computers! (We think)

Tom 38
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And I don't know of a single employer who would care what your answers would be to the EdExel GCSE ICT exams that I (and others, independently) have linked above, from 2011.

You're still quoting from the C-G range exam.

This exam is designed for idiots. If you do astonishingly well in the idiot exam, you can just scrape a passing grade of C. If you do less than astonishingly well in the idiot exam, then you fail - D or less. Most people who take the idiot exam fail.

The vast majority of pupils do not take the idiot exam, since who wants to take an exam where even if you do brilliantly, you're still an idiot. Instead, they take the A-C exam.

Still, it is funny to WATCH YOU get all DAILY MAIL AND SHOUTY.

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Tom 38
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Re: Making web pages...

HTML is a computer language for describing how to layout elements on a canvas. It's not a Turing complete language, but it is still a language with specific syntax and grammar, and writing something in that language is an activity I would describe as coding.

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Cold, dead hands of Steve Jobs slip from iPhones: The Cult of Ive is upon us

Tom 38
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You're so perturbed by all this Apple talk that you came on to the register, read a story on it, read the comments, and then replied to someone about it. Frothy.

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Chewbacca held up by TSA stormtroopers for having light sabre

Tom 38
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Last time I came back in to the UK, I didn't even have to interact with UK border agency personnel, just one of their robotic friends.

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Boffins hide cute kitty behind invisibility shield

Tom 38
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Re: Whatever. @Kake

I dunno, I was expecting jake to come on and tell us this is nothing new, he made the first ones of these back in the 80s and can make his ranch disappear.

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Author Iain (M) Banks falls to cancer at 59

Tom 38
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Re: Oh god.

He's not dead, but he's pretty gone now, which is very very sad. Diseases which affect the mind are the most horrific of all.

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NSA PRISM-gate: Relax, GCHQ spooks 'keep us safe', says Cameron

Tom 38
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Re: Nothing to fear?

I doubt it. The law is extremely clear hear, it does not depend upon interpretation or who is doing the collecting, if (UK) intelligence agencies need to see the data for a (UK) resident, they must have ministerial approval.

I'd imagine that in most scenarios the approval would be forthcoming though.

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Windows NT grandaddy OpenVMS taken out back, single gunshot heard

Tom 38
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Re: Sad day

I remember when your programs came on listings you typed in from the magazine. I think the new way is better.

Users want features. We give them features. This makes the programs bigger.

The easiest way to make features is to build re-usable layers of components. This makes all the programs much bigger.

The way to make the programs smaller with all the features that the users still want is to remove all the encapsulation from all layers of the program. This makes the program buggier.

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Google accused of hypocrisy over Glass ban at shareholder shindig

Tom 38
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Try that argument with parents you know and see how they react then try again

Most breeders become insanely illogical when it comes to their precious little booboo.

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Students outraged: Computer refuses to do any work for entire week

Tom 38
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Re: The real problem is...

40%-50%... ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE???

I pulled the stats out of my arse. Tony Blair's target was 100% in FE/HE, so I halved that.

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Tom 38
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Re: The real problem is...

The problem is too many people go to university. It should be just the top, brightest 40-50% who go to university, regardless of wealth or ability to pay. This is skewed by the richer parents paying the way for their less able spawn, which leads to a mis-representation of the classes at universities.

This mis-representation is seen by certain types as an outrage to equality. Tony Blair definitely saw it like that, and made it his aim to have every one go to university (whilst simultaneously crippling them in debt - hmm...)

A much better system would be to make university fees solely dependent upon academic success or lack thereof. If you're smart enough, full ride. If you're actually quite thick and still want to go, £50,000 a year please. Of course, this could never happen, as the traditional leftist view is that the rich can buy an education for their children, and therefore the grades achieved by them are not comparable to more 'worthy' candidates.

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Tom 38
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Re: Load of bollocks

Did you miss the part where A level exam results come out on 15th of August (7th in Scotland)?

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Tom 38
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Load of bollocks

It's not like you even need to use a computer to use UCAS, everything can be handled by mail. It's not even (yet) peak time for UCAS, so downtime to a non essential computer system in the slow period is not news worthy, people don't need to lose jobs.

The level of entitlement people feel towards IT systems is astonishing, this is not a mission critical system that must be available 24x7x52, and saying that people should be sacked for not making it such, or that we should spend even more money on it is just crazy.

If the system is still down on August 1st, then sure, maybe a problem. Until then, it's just blah, you can confirm your firm/insurance offers in several ways.

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CIA-funded upstart: THE TRUTH about Prism and NSA's web snooping

Tom 38
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FAIL

It's hard to verify what "you" said at any point, hiding as you are behind your lovely cloak of anonymity. Going solely from this post, positing a massive bunch of kook like conspiracy theories and then jumping up and down when one of them is validated.

You: P, Q, R!

USA: P...

You: Therefore Q, R!

It's an obvious logical fallacy, and since you don't spot it, it makes it hard to trust your logic.

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Spotify and Pandora to FACE THE MUSIC as iRadio inks Sony deal

Tom 38
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Re: Apple lockdown

On the other hand, I only use Spotify from my phone and tablet, and the Spotify ios clients are "not great". I have absolutely no loyalty to Spotify, they don't have some of my favourite artists, if a competing service can offer me the same features with any of a) a better interface, b) more of my artists or c) cheaper monthly costs, then bye bye Spotify.

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Police 'stumped' by car thefts using electronic skeleton key

Tom 38
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Re: About a billion years ago ...

jake, its a big bad world out there, and, despite what your politicians tell you, different countries around the world have different laws to you.

For instance, walking around with a set of lock picks, and not being a locksmith, is called "Going equipped for stealing" and is an offence in most common law countries.

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Forget phones, PRISM plan shows internet firms give NSA everything

Tom 38
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Re: Any terrorist not a total retard will use a VPN

Any right minded terrorist would also get their maths right and make bombs that worked properly, rather than go 'PFFFT' and run away with Chapati flour dribbling down the legs, or turn your underpants on fire.

Any right minded terrorist would use a VPN, and 512 bit AES encrpytion, rather than using a substitution cipher in Excel.

Turns out, being a terrorist is an occupation that doesn't appeal to many right minded people, and as such, they often do stupid ass daft stuff.

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Gourmet chemists sniff out ultimate cheese on toast

Tom 38
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Re: You dodged the issue of where you're from nicely there..

You can get real meat kebabs in the UK, used to go to a place in Sheffield that did amazing lamb kebabs with big chunks of lamb, mmmmmm.

You can get quality meat kebabs in almost every single kebab house in the UK, just stop ordering doner, get yourself a nice shish kebab.

The Greek gyros is good, but is commonly pork, where as in the UK most kebab shops are run by Muslims and so tend to offer lamb/chicken instead of pork/chicken. If anyone knows a good greek gyros place in London...

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Tom 38
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Put two slices of bread into one slice of the toaster to toast the underside.

Crack two eggs in a bowl and beat until mixed

Add:

lots of Lee & Perrins

grated cheese

ketchup

black pepper.

Mix ingredients well in bowl

Spread thin layer of whole grain mustard on the untoasted side of the toast

Cover liberally with the cheese

Grill until bubbly

More black pepper

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Leaks point to new mystery Macs 'with Jony Ive's fingerprints on'

Tom 38
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FAIL

Phoronix is the open source equivalent of News of the World, they couldn't put together a competent benchmark to save their lives. If you believe 30% of what you read on that site, you're trusting them too much.

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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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