* Posts by Tom 38

2627 posts • joined 21 Jul 2009

Is your kid ADDICTED to web porn? Twitter? Hint: Don't blame the internet

Tom 38
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Re: I think my reading comprehension is going downhill

No, you're not. I'll re-word what the article said:

In the population of all sampled parents, 43% felt the negatives of social networks outweighed the positives, 26% felt that social networks provide more benefits than harms, and 31% answered "something else".

In the population of sampled parents who allow their children on to social networks, 26% felt the negatives outweighed the positives.

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Yorkshire man NICKS 1,000 Orange customer records. Court issues TINY FINE

Tom 38
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Re: What's with the Yorkshire thing?

I've never ever been barracked by someone shouting "BERKSHIRE! BERKSHIRE! BERKSHIRE!" though

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Shuddit, Obama! Here in Blighty, we ISPs have net neutrality nailed

Tom 38
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Re: BT

The bit that gives it away that they are the same company is that the same company owns all those sub-entities.

The rest is just window dressing and frippery.

The problem the UK faced was that if they did nothing, basically no-one would be able to compete with BT. So they made up a system that produces a market that allows companies to "compete" against each other, selling bits that BT proffer up to them. This is better than nothing.

The unintended consequence is that BT (wholesale, but as I mentioned, irrelevant) get lots of revenue from all ISPs using their services, which enables them to profitably (they aren't doing it for free) build out a new last mile FTTx network.

When BT was privatised, one of the chief assets that BT shareholders bought from the government was the POTS network. With the advent of FTTx, BT no longer had that monopoly; they needed to fund a FTTx rollout, or risk someone else doing it.

Somehow, BT have managed to convince us that it is right that we pay them to profitably build a fibre monopoly. In ten years, BT will therefore have acquired everything to keep a telecoms monopoly in the UK in perpetuity, we're paying them to do it, and apparently most people think that is super.

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Tom 38
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Re: UK isn't so brilliant

What choice here, here, here or here?

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Tom 38
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UK isn't so brilliant

There is very little real competition, since the largest proportion of users are all sold BT. Sure, there's an ISP in there somewhere, but most likely the ISP is BT, owned by BT, or buying bandwidth from BT, all whilst we pay BT to build and own all the new infrastructure. Phony choices are not choices.

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FALL of the MACHINES: How to KILL the Google KARATE BOT, by our expert

Tom 38
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I watched too much "Fringe"

Whenever I see "Boston Dynamics" I read "Massive Dynamic".

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Hacker Hammond's laptop protected by pet password

Tom 38
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Re: Password fail?

It's quite hard to not expose yourself when one of your gang has turned police informant.

This is why hanging out in a "gang" of hackers is a bad idea; eventually someone gets caught and throws everyone else under the bus.

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Obama HURLS FCC under train, GUTPUNCHES ISPs in net neut battle

Tom 38
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Re: Fear...

the first to deliver universally-not-so-crappy bandwidth at decent rates is going to attract attention...and steal customers.

Steal customers? But that would require competing against each other.

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MoD releases code to GitHub: Our Ideaworks... sort of

Tom 38
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TrelloForWargames

I found it interesting that they find python + wsgi + centos + ansible "painful".

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Reg mobile man: National roaming plan? Oh UK.gov, you've GOT to be joking

Tom 38
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Competition drives build-out

There are three rings in the Venn diagram of mobile network development: Coverage, Price and Service.

Only because that makes you a pretty diagram that demonstrates your flawed point. With inter network roaming, there is also a cost associated with having your subscribers on someone else's AP.

The absolute biggest driver of commercial change is cost. We can set the cost that the free-loading network has to pay if their users roam onto a different network at whatever level we like. Since this cost is arbitrary, we would have implicit control of the market.

So, the article posits that roaming would lead to not enough base stations being built. By raising the roaming cost to networks, we would be able to introduce stimulus to those freeloading networks to build/share APs.

The author would have you believe that the only market is a free market, but there is no such thing as a free market - all markets have regulation and levers to control them.

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Oracle gives HR tool to track your fitness

Tom 38
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If any employer tried this on me in the UK, I would very quickly tell them where they can stick it. This is my personal data, you aren't entitled to one byte of it.

No, its not because I'm porky (BMI 24 kthxbai), it just falls outside of anything my employer should be interested in.

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Virgin Media CUTS OFF weekend 'net surfers after embarrassing smut-filtering snafu

Tom 38
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Re: "Essential Maintenance"

Curious - when the NHS Blood Transfusion Service went tits-up, did you consider the maintenance work they did in order to rectify it non-essential?

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Boxing clever? Amazon Fire TV is SO CLOSE to being excellent

Tom 38
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Re: Obsolete?

My 50" telly cost £500 a couple of years ago. Panasonic. Dumb as a brick. The Panasonic smarties, with as far as I can tell the same panels, were about £800.

Sure, the same panels. Not the same electronics.

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Why solid-state disks are winning the argument

Tom 38
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Re: The exception that proved the rule

Right before OCZ went bust and were bought by Toshiba, and after they garnered the worst reputation in the business, they started flogging off factory refurbs of their most problematic drives - Vertex 3 and 4 - for basically nothing. I think I paid £30 for a 128GB Vertex 3 and £60 for a 240GB Vertex 4.

The Vertex 3 I use as an adaptive read cache for a ZFS array - if it fails, the system doesn't care one jot; I can even un-plug it and plug it back in without applications noticing. This one has never failed.

The Vertex 4 I used as the OS drive on my desktop. It worked fine for three months, and then the firmware wedged if you tried to do random access - sequential access was fine, so I could move all my data off there with a simple "dd". By this point, OCZ no longer existed, and besides which, the 3 month warranty was up. I asked Toshiba if I could RMA it, they said yes, and they sent me a brand new Tosiba branded Vertex 460, which thankfully has not failed even once.

SSDs are much more complex beasties than mechanical disks, their firmware does a lot more work than the firmware in a HDD. I have no evidence, but I think the OCZ problems were mainly down to crappy firmware. Hopefully now Toshiba are on board, things are a little better.

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UK superfast broadband? Not in my backyard – MP

Tom 38
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Re: He cited a computer programmer who had reported that it took three days to download a program

Sorry @AndrueC, I thoroughly respect your opinions on internettery, but BT's delivery of FTTC is shoddy. To not show up all their other products, and to constrain what you can do with the service, they artificially constrain your upload. Consequently, all it is good for is sucking down more consumer content from BT. Don't you ever want to be able to do more with your internet connection than just suck down media?

On cable and DSL, upload restrictions are there as technical necessities; in order to achieve the most optimal distribution of bandwidth on the connection, most is allocated to download. There is no such technical limitation with FTTC that requires this asymmetry, BT install a box in your property that connects to the exchange at 1.2GB/s, up and down. BT then apply artificial limitations later on in order to define who you are and what you can do with it.

BT FTTP - 300 Mbit down, 30Mbit up, £70 pcm

Non BT FTTP - 1000 Mbit down 1000 Mbit up, £50 pcm.

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Tom 38
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Re: He cited a computer programmer who had reported that it took three days to download a program

BT's FTTP program is expensive consumer shite. If we end up with everyone having FTTP supplied by BT, we'll be in a very bad place.

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Microsoft's TV product placement horror: CNN mistakes Surface tabs for iPAD STANDS

Tom 38
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Re: Apple NEVER pays for product placement...

I remember many episodes of Chuck with a wall of Dell servers in the background of one of the sets.

Chuck was mainly sponsored by Subway I think.

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iBail: American Psycho actor Christian Bale rejects Steve Jobs role

Tom 38
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Re: didn't we have a Steve Jobs biopic already?

With Ashton Kutcher?

Noah Wyle, surely.

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How's the great dot-thing gold rush going? Well, coffee.club just sold for $100,000

Tom 38
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.london broke our intranet (sort of)

We use levels in our hostnames to indicate location, eg foo.london.wibble.com is in the London DC. Our previous DNS config was search wibble.com, so that you could type ssh foo.london to go to foo.london.wibble.com.

When .london went active, this broke all these short host lookups. We had to change our DNS config to search london.wibble.com newyork.wibble.com (+8 others) wibble.com, which means 8 DNS requests instead of 1, and change everything everywhere to use either FQDN or very short names, and remove any duplicated host names across sites.

I still don't see the purpose of them. It's never going to be 'transport.gov.london' or 'tower.london' is it?

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Microsoft: How to run Internet Explorer 11 on ANDROID, iOS, OS X

Tom 38
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Re: IE5?

Closer, no cigar. IE 5.5 was a windows version of IE.

You are thinking of IE 5.1 (OS 7/8/9) and IE 5.2 (OS X). 5.1 often didn't render things at all like windows, the spec or even common sense. 5.2 was slightly better in terms of rendering, but both were dog slow at any kind of JS.

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Japan tells operators: Put a SIM lock in a new mobe? You'd better UNLOCK it for FREE

Tom 38
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Headmaster

Re: "...hard to wean off of it." Seriously? "off of"?

Yes, seriously.

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Tom 38
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WTF?

Re: Same here

Be prepared to pay likely $700+ in Early Termination Fees if you try that move. Even if you try to weasel out with an early-out clause, all of them stipulate you turn in the phone as a condition of using that early-out clause. Even T-Mobile isn't stupid. If you cancel one of their un-plans, they bill you for the balance of the phone you were paying in installments.

Gee, thanks for clarifying that! I thought, like everyone else, that if you cancelled your subsidized phone contract that you just got to fuck over the phone company. Who would have thought that they could use legal means to try and get you to pay for the goods you have received.

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Pixel mania: Apple 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display

Tom 38
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Re: Maximum viewing distances

Funnily enough, a computer is not a home theatre.. with a "theatre" system, you need to sit far enough away to not see the pixels, with a computer seeing the individual pixels is often the point...

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Tom 38
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One question and a comment

First up, the Q: the reviewer here had his display set to "scaling", so that his 5k screen appears the same resolution as his current 2560x1440 screen. He then says that the advantage of a 5k screen is that your 4k content can be displayed pixel for pixel. If you are scaling the screen, doesn't that mean that your 4k content is scaled down and then up again?

Secondly, the comment: the only reason why this is "value for money" is that 5k screens only exist for Apple. 4k screens on the other hand are fairly common, and you can choose whether you can accept TN (<£500) or must have IPS (<£1000). On that basis, a 5k screen isn't that value for money - for me, I'd rather have a 4k screen for content, a second 1080p screen for controls, and an extra £1000 in my pocket.

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Netflix and other OTT giants use 'net neutrality' rules to clobber EU rivals

Tom 38
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Re: There are many myths.

If your ISP doesn't peer with Level3, they have to pay Level3 for transit to get to Netflix or Amazon.

I pay my ISP to make peering arrangements so that I can access the internet. This is the purpose and reason for being for an ISP, I do not need them for anything else. If the ISP chooses to not make peering arrangements with the main internet peers to save costs, that is their problem.

I don't want my ISP to charge the sites that I want to visit for me to visit them because that is what I am paying the ISP to provide to me - access to those sites. If they can't provide that without charging the other site, what am I paying the ISP for?

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Tom 38
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Cable giant Netflix This is some new definition of "cable giant" you have come up with? The first "cable giant" that runs no cables.

Norway’s biggest ISP, Telenor, was keen to improve the quality of its OTT video service, and offered a commercial rates direct connection…

“Telenor said ‘send it direct to us and customers will get a better experience’, but the US company said it preferred direct connection,”

Wow that's jolly nice of Telenor, offering to take all of Netflix's content and stick it into Telenor's OTT service. What possibly could be Netflix's issue with their content being sucked up by whatever system has been chucked together by Telenor.

Now it should be remembered that "sender pays" is a founding principle of internet video — video providers can’t use reciprocal free peering swaps to deliver low latency, high bandwidth traffic.

So I pay my ISP and my supplier pays my ISP? Good times to be an ISP.

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Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST

Tom 38
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All this talk of faulty Russian engines is just a cover up I reckon. Much more likely one of Mr Musk's henchmen with an RPG.

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Forget WHITE BOX, it's time for JUNK BOX NETWORKING

Tom 38
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My media server is largely ebay sourced, at least for all the interesting bits. The "server" itself was not, its a stock i5 that I bought from components.

For the drive enclosures, I found an ebay store selling Rackable SE 3016, which is a 3U half-depth enclosure with 16 hot swap SAS/SATA drive bays, a SAS 1 expander, a PSU and a SFF-8088 cable for $100 each (+insane shipping - I bought two, total cost was ~£500).

To hook this up to the server, I got a Dell branded "SAS 6GB 8e" controller, with two external SFF-8088 ports, again from ebay, £70 (free shipping!). The trick with this one is knowing that this is in fact an LSI SAS 2008 card, after some fiddling with flashing various BIOSes I soon had it behaving as an LSI-9211-8e in IT (infrastructure) node - meaning each drive connected appears as a drive to the OS, no RAID.

To house the enclosures, I use an IKEA LACK side table, which is exactly 19" wide, and has ~6.25U of storage. The servers sits on top of the side table, the enclosures inside it. I took the backs off the enclosures, and replaced the noisy data centre PSUs with consumer silent ones, and then put a fake back on the LACK table, with cutouts for the PSUs, and 2 huge 200mm extractor fans. This makes the entire thing silent, whilst still pulling through the same CFM that the original (Delta) fans did, but without the 80db whine.

I run FreeBSD on the server, using ZFS to manage storage. The current configuration is 8 x 3 TB + 8 x 1.5 TB, for about 31 TB of usable storage. Sequential read speed from the array is around 800MB/s, most writes are async, and there is an SSD for an adaptive read cache.

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IT JOB OUTSOURCING: Will it ever END?

Tom 38
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Re: Perhaps sooner for IT.

Those same companies who have outsourced to cheaper locations are now the ones bleating about a skills shortage in the UK

There is not a skills shortage in IT - this is the biggest load of bollocks ever sent up the flagpole. That article asked a bunch of C-levels whether they had problems attracting and retaining staff of sufficient skills, and they all said they did.

This does not mean there is a "skills shortage". They can't attract people of the requisite skill because they don't pay enough, and whenever they hire someone incompetent and make them competent, they aren't paying enough for that competency and so the employee goes somewhere else where they are valued.

There is no problem with finding people with the right skills, you just have to pay them appropriately.

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Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY

Tom 38
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Re: Thanks Apple...

The cloud, use local storage as a MFU cache.

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Fanboi-and-fanfare-free fondleslabs fail to fire imagination

Tom 38
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Its a tablet

in various different shapes and sizes. What were you expecting it to do?

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Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email

Tom 38
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Re: Bloody hell!

In order to go back to using pine, I'd have had to have stopped using at some point..

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Tom 38
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Er, the industry don't need pushing, we've already standardized:

https://www.campaignmonitor.com/css/

It's not an "official" standard, just what works in what clients, and is plenty sufficient to develop HTML emails. The problem comes when someone tests their emails in web browsers and get surprised when things like <style> tags don't work; check the chart before you start designing.

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Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING

Tom 38
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Re: survive harsh winters & global warming?

Chamois live in the high alps in summer, normally above 1500m, and descend to lower wooded slopes (800m-100m) during the winter. If the winter is too fierce, then it is too cold even in the woods, and they either starve or are forced even lower in to the valleys.

I don't know about this climate angle; I would have thought that the systematic encroachment of man in to the Alps year round in the past 30 years is probably more to blame. Chamois are extremely easily disturbed by people, they don't like it when you get within a couple of kms.

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Chipmaker FTDI bricking counterfeit kit

Tom 38
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It is effectively bricked, for the average person's level of skill.

If the "average user" used serial ports then you would still find them on the backs of computers. The average user has no use for a serial port, so if this bricks someone's USB-serial adapter, they aren't an average user.

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Tom 38
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Re: The elephant in the room is...

Do you really think that Microsoft keeps a stash of knock-off parts just on the off-chance that a driver causes it to fail in some way?

Not just. They keep stacks and stacks of hardware that they verify all windows updates (and subsequently user software) on for all sorts of reasons. Microsoft's dedication to keeping their software running on a wide variety of machines and OS is legendary, even to an OSS fanboy like me. Did you think "WHQL" was some badge they just stick on after looking at the code?

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WAITER! There's a Flappy Bird in my Lollipop!

Tom 38
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Re: So it scrolls from right-to-left ...

Candy Crush clones? The clone is now the original because they sue anyone who uses "Candy" or "Saga" in their title, but they are just another bejewelled clone.

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HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'

Tom 38
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Re: I can handle a couple more subscriptions @Tom 38

Something strikes me as illogical. In your own words, the cost of provisioning the line is the same, so what does it matter if the user does voice or voice + data, or data only? It should cost the same.

A voice line has the potential for extra revenue (voice calls). A data line has no potential for extra revenue, because the data portion is rented by BT to your ISP, they can make no money from it.

I think what you want to say is that voice subsidizes data by sharing a part of the line cost. In that case, a fair pricing structure would show copper maintenance as a line item, and voice and data as add-ons, as they are.

That is exactly what is happening. Made up numbers - a line costs £15/month. If you take data, BT make no revenue from you and do not subsidize the line. If you take voice, BT do make revenue from you, and subsidize the line by £3 a month.

Data line: £15 + £0 = £15

Voice line: £15 + -£3 = £12

This is hardly rocket science.

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Tom 38
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Re: I can handle a couple more subscriptions.

like having to still pay for a 'voice line' and calls for ADSL when I don't use the voice/calls part.

I just need a data only line!

You can get a data only line if you ask your ISP to ask BT very nicely. It costs a few quid more than having a voice line.

The cost of providing and maintaining a copper phone line does not change because you are not using it for voice does not lower the cost of provisioning and maintaining the line. Therefore, a data only line must cost at least as much as a voice+data line.

A phone line used only as a data line will never provide any revenue from calls. Revenue from calls offsets the provisioning and maintenance costs - if you receive £2-3 extra per month per line, part of that pays for maintenance. Therefore, a data only line must cost more than a voice+data line, because there is no on-going call revenue.

So, how much do you really really want that data only copper wire? Wouldn't you rather have a free phone service to go with it?

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Routine WHAT NOW? Bank of England’s CHAPS payment system goes TITSUP

Tom 38
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Apparently they added a new institution over the weekend, which is what caused this kerfuffle.

1/5 - it bust the bounds of a fixed sized array

2/1 - unicode decode error

7/1 - File Not Found

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Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)

Tom 38
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Get an EdgeRouter-Lite, use your current router as a wifi AP.

My ISP supplied router "only" gets up to around 700Mbit/s up or down, with the EdgeRouter its more like 950Mbit.

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Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'

Tom 38
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Re: Development

Most old school hackers believe the internet should be a meritocracy, like it was in the 90s. In a meritocracy, you don't need to have respect for others, only respect for better ideas. In a meritocracy if your ideas and knowledge are rubbish, then I do not need to have respect for you.

These days we have to be "forward thinking" and "inclusive", and make sure that no-one feels that they cannot contribute because their feelings may get hurt. For instance, the Django project changed their documentation on database replication to remove the terms "master server" and "slave server".

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Radiohead(ache): BBC wants dead duck tech in sexy new mobes

Tom 38
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£15 might be the world on a stick to some people, I don't get what that has to do with mobile phone tariffs. This is about how can we have decent radio on modern mobiles, not how do we enable poor people to listen to the radio.

If you are spending less than 50p a day on your mobile, you have a really basic deal, probably PAYG, or an extremely limited contract. If you are on such a deal, why would you expect to be able to consume as much of a limited resource as you like? How would that be fair to other users of the resource?

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Tom 38
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Cost? I pay £15 a month for unlimited data, unlimited texts and 900 minutes of calls. Switch contract.

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Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says

Tom 38
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Re: Kitkats and Jelly Beans are not desserts

Desserts are anything that you eat after you've eaten your main meal, at the same table. If you eat liquorice after a meal, it's a dessert. "Dessert" is derived from the french meaning "clear the table" (or the opposite of "serve the table").

I'm hoping for Android Lardy Cake

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Tom 38
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Joke

Re: 64 bit ARM CPU in a tablet?

Welcome to 2013 Android owners.

Think it will be a damn sight more than 2,013 tbh.

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Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!

Tom 38
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Re: As a parent I frankly disapprove

Freezing eggs for career (not medical, such as chemo) reasons means mother age 40+ and more likely 45+.

Conjecture? Many women in their 30s have difficulty conceiving, both my sisters waited until they were early 30s to try and have kids, then found out it wasn't that straight-forward and it took multiple miscarriages before I met my first nephew. If they had had eggs saved in their 20s, it would have been easier to conceive, and they would probably have had children earlier rather than later.

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Tom 38
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Re: @Robin Get the butter

Ace Rimmer is cool though... It would have worked better as a gag if you'd said it was his Gordon Brittas get-up.

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Coughing for 4G, getting 2G... Networks' penny-pinching SECRETS REVEALED

Tom 38
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Population density

The problem with stations - well, pretty much the whole of Central London tbh - is that there are just too many people with too many smartphones trying to do things all at the same time.

If you leave work at 5:30, you might get 5 bars of 3G/4G signal, but try and use it to stream music or video and it will be slow as hell.

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Lies, damn pies and obesity statistics: We're NOT a nation of fatties

Tom 38
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Re: Always more questions

which means it's OK as a 'rough and ready' calculation for large populations, but not OK if, for example, health insurance is using BMI as a parameter in calculating premiums.

Sorry, what? This is exactly what it is useful for. Take a large population, segment it by BMI. The health of people within each segment is pretty consistent, statistically, and so the cost of providing insurance to people in that segment is pretty consistent, and you can use it to set premiums. At no point has someone said "Oh that James, his BMI is high so lets jack his premiums".

I doubt any provider goes solely off BMI..

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