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* Posts by ql

305 posts • joined 22 Jul 2009

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SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn

ql
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Re: This announcement worries me

> Now I am *really* worried - does Micro Focus actually have any commitment to Linux

You have a point, and I suspect only time will tell. Poor SuSE does seem to have had a rough time with buyers not really getting what a Linux distro is and does, but on the whole it's not gone too badly. Novell started badly and ended not too badly, Attachmate realised quite early that SuSE should remain separate. MicroFocus should understand the mainframe/mini world and its specialisms, but may commit a marketing foul.

The mine canary will probably be MF's relationship with OpenSuSE. If it continues to allow autonomy for that project, but still support it, all should be well. Meanwhile, test your systems on Debian... Just a pennyworth of opinion.

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Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces

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Happy

Re: There was a Programme on this

Is that the programme where they revealed that x-ray spectroscopy found the Greek letters "ZX-81" etched into the corroded metal?

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

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Re: It will be business as usual.

Exactly so - the tl;dr of the article is "Political change is happening. Business doesn't like change not of its own choosing."

To my mind all the "issues" like the currency, oil, defence* and all the rest are current unknown in the UK let alone in an independent Scotland. So the issue comes down simply to governance, and I've not heard a single argument for why Scots should want to be governed by Westminster. To put it differently, if the referendum was for an independent Scotland /joining/ the UK, what would the aspirational reasons, not short-term political promises, be?

* - Remember when the Royal Navy wasn't able to get any surface crafts into the Moray Firth when a Russian Fleet sheltered there a few years back? It took more than 48 hours to get a ship into the area.

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Satellite weather forecast: Cloudy with a chance of p0wnage

ql
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Suomi NPP and exploitable flaws?

Brings a whole new meaning to Finnfisher....

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Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS

ql
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> Biometrics are usernames, not passwords.

No, usernames are usernames. Biometrics are a set of intrusions too far. Just last week there was an article in El Reg about how fingerprints are so yesterday. All that was said of fingerprints suddenly becomes less so when some new biometric device becomes available. I honestly can't see biometrics becoming the norm this "growth" firm seems to wish.

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Microsoft tells judge: Hold us in contempt of court, we're NOT giving user emails to US govt

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Re: Was everyone born yesterday?

> Or the original criminals for potentially having their email accounts read?

What criminals? If this is to do with a crime, then there are plenty of internationally acceptable ways of law enforcement agencies in the US to obtain these data from Ireland, many of which could be completed very quickly if time was of the essence. We do not know if criminals were involved in this or if crimes have even be committed, let alone who may have done them.

It's not unreasonable to wonder what is being staged here, as the snippets of information do appear to be about some larger issue than a criminal investigation. It's also not unreasonable for readers of a tech rag to wonder about a large tech company's motives

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Nokia Lumia 530: A Windows Phone... for under £50

ql
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Re: Genuine question

Thanks all

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ql
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Genuine question

Is it possible to use a winphone without an accompanying windows desktop? I mean fully use it, not just ignore some features.

The comment above re having to create playlists on a PC prompts the question, along with an expectation of constantly attempted lock-in from microsoft, but it is a genuine question, as I've not run a windows desktop for years. Judging by the tv ads, the assumption is that the phone is part of your windows "ecosystem" but maybe they're learning life's not like that any more.

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OwnCloud: Fiddly but secure host-from-home sync 'n' share

ql
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Server to server

Yes, this is an interesting development, especially as Owncloud runs rather sweetly on a Pi. I find that running php-pfm with lighttpd and postgresql as the database, the response is not much worse than running Owncloud on a more powerful machine. It's surely a matter of time until an SD card of Raspian with owncloud pre-installed is available, at which point the technical side of owncloud will be reduced. An ad arrived this morning for a 64G USB stick for £15 - a one-off cost of £50 for a Pi, SD card and 64G of storage seems a good deal.

But I wish they'd called in "woncloud" as that's what my fingers type more frequently than "owncloud".

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Boffins hunch over steaming cups of coffee to find HIDDEN SECRETS of caffeine

ql
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Re: That's confusing....

> African elephants or Indian elephants?

Dunno - can't see the coconuts from her.

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ql
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That's confusing....

"2.25 billion cups of the stuff are said to be consumed daily "

Can we have that in elephants per second, the correct standard in this case?

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Beer in SPAAAACE: Photographic PROOF

ql
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"Harviestoun or Caledonian"

My Christmas homebrew has just been double-dropped, an IPA. My beer is no good for space exploration though. The highest it will travel (I've measured) is 74.3cms, the distance between the table and my mouth.

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Go on, corporate drone, log in... We'd recognise your VEINS anywhere – Barclays

ql
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Wrong turn

First, fingerprint readers were the ideal of biometric verification, then iris scans, the voice prints, and now this. At hat point does some bright spark realise that biometrics are just as mcuh of an arms race as any other form of verification, but with the added advantage of an inability to withdraw or alter the factor?

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Work in the tech industry? The Ukraine WAR is coming to YOU

ql
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Re: Morals, ethics, principles...

"The Ukrainian conflict is rather complicated"

Quite. A friend in a neighbouring state was telling me last year that the protesters were paid $50 a day - dollars, not euro or roubles - to keep the protests going. The start of this was by no means spontaneous. And in the UK, great justification for more military spending. Would be good to hear one voice looking to de-escalate this complex issue.

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Tesla to add charging network in China

ql
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Go

Timing

Interesting development, as this morning, the "History in Pictures" twitter feed had a pic of an electric car being charged - in 1905.

https://twitter.com/HistoryInPics/status/506626328096149505/photo/1

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Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email

ql
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"there have been processes in place for getting this information legally for decades"

This is exactly what is particularly troubling about this case. It's almost as though the issue is US government control over technology providers and/or global data rather than a narcotics investigation. Makes you wish Groklaw was still active. I'm pretty sure PJ would have been able to find out whether MS had, in fact, pointed out in court that access to this info through the US wasn't part of the legal process that should have been followed.

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NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away

ql
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Lack of ambition...

Forget this proper technical stuff - they should watch more telly - that would tell them all they had to do was whizz over to Spirit, use the sampling arm to remove it's SSDs and magically simply slot them into place, bearing in mind that ANY component fits ANY slot in the movies. Yes, I know it's possible this may not work because at the last minute an actual human needs to take a hair pin from tasty sidekick to "create a bridge" (and why is it always "create a bridge"?) but it's got to be worth a try

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Ofcom will not probe lesbian lizard snog in new Dr Who series

ql
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Thumb Down

Six complaints

Six people with very little else on their minds... Mind you, on another topic, the Beeb reports that among the complaints regarding alleged (and hardly very likely) sabotage on a cooking show, there were demands to have the contestant arrested. There's a sparrow in the garden here with more brains and moral certitude than that.

Ref - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28964737

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Raspberry Pi B+: PHWOAR, get a load of those pins

ql
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Re: The B got a memory memory in a previous rev

"which is cheap enough to consider throwing into a later Pi."

What I find fascinating about the Pi, along with the attendant commentary in tech rags, is that it challenges the assumptions that bigger, more, whatever superlative you wish to use, is intrinsically better. Sure, sometimes, as in the above comment, it may just be a wish rather than a critique of what the Pi's founders and its foundation intended and have achieved. It's almost like the pushback that occurred at the height of the Enlightenment, when the starkness of method was balanced by the rise of Romanticism. And the creative outpouring that has accompanied the Pi bears out that assertion quite well. The Pi says it need not be all about the philosophy of Improvement, but can be about what's within your grasp and within your capability. So it's appealing to people for whom mainstream technology would hold little interest, but still really is technology.

Having said that, I'm still doing traditional tech with one of mine, safely tucked away in an Austrian data centre, thanks to the generosity of free Pi hosting companies.

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Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can

ql
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Re: And about 2 years later ...

"I don't remember paying $99 for it though!"

No - Coherent cost £99 at that time. Linux was easiest to get via a book which came with a CD, then in the UK the Linux Emporium made access to cheap CDs simple. Dial-up downloads were pretty much unworkable in the days when per minute dial-up costs were high.

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ql
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Re: And about 2 years later ...

Interesting. I first installed linux when my boss refused to let me spend £99 on Coherent, and said I would have to negotiate the use of a licence with the service guys to use the expensive Sequent. I thought a unixy future to PC-style computing was likely and wanted to examine what it would look like; I didn't necessarily want to learn Korn on an expensive mini-computer. So I slowly started wrapping me head around it all in my own at home. I still remember the feeling of helplessness when I duly got an "X" on a graphical screen but didn't know what to do next - unixy layered thinking took a while to get through to my monolithically trained brain.

Two years after that, a startup for which I worked had a linux infrastructure.

Cheers, Linus.

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Bright lights, affordable motor: Ford puts LED headlights onto Mondeo

ql
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Fun factor

In the late 70s a mate had a little mini, and managed to get hold of an aircraft landing light, with a 100w bulb. He fitted this monstrosity to the centre of the bumper. and christened the car Cyclops. But when the car was idling, the draw on the generator (pre-alternator mini!) when he switched the light on actually stopped the engine. He used to terrorise oncoming drivers who had the temerity to wait too long before before dimming. Ah, youth....

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Brit Sci-Fi author Alastair Reynolds says MS Word 'drives me to distraction'

ql
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"Word has always been poor for any form of Long Documents. "

A few years ago, a few people starting their third new company (serial entrepreneurs) wanted their IT set up from scratch. We agreed in the infrastructure services required, and I started talking to them about Windows 7, but saying they'd need to find someone to support them. One of them stopped me and said "What do you use?" I showed them my Linux laptop running LibreOffice and they said "Right, that's what we'll use." A few months later I got an email to say that they had finalised their business plans, running into hundreds of pages, including spreadsheets, graphs and all the trimmings. They said it was the first time they had had no trouble at all generating large complex documents. It was also the only time that I have ever had an unsolicited positive response to technology.

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ql
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Linux

Re: @ Khaptain (was: Personally ...)

"There is nano these days."

Or joe, which uses Wordstar commands, just as nature intended....

Actually, it's now an automatic reaction on a new install to type "aptitude (or zypper) install mc joe"

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Lenovo posts an INCREASE in desktop PC and notebook sales

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Re: Would be even better

how easily do BSD or Linux systems install on Lenovo machines?

Very easily, that's why I wanted a Lenovo.

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ql
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Would be even better

If they operated in a fully free market, or however you define success myth criteria. When I bought my Lenovo, it was available for £100 less in Germany and Austria because it was not sold with windows. Here I was told that it was not possible to buy it without windows. So the UK is still a stronghold of that intelligence-abusing "naked PC" nonsense that MS was trying on some years ago, and it seems is trying to revive. Makes you wonder what Lenovo could achieve without the millstone that MS has become.

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World's only flyable WWII Lancaster bombers meet in Lincs

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Re: Eargasm...

Here on the north west Scottish coast, I looked up when I heard an unusual-sounding plane, spotted it flying towards Lochinver, and grabbed the binoculars. It was this Lancaster, but the sound was rather different to the BoBMF one. I can only surmise that they use different engine or prop settings for distance flying in comparison with that lovely sound you get when the BoBMF flies at low level.

Interesting this, as we had a long discussion about why, as far as we knew, the only Lanc flying was so far north, but it must have been the Canadian one.

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Russia, China could ban western tech if they want to live in the PAST

ql
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Re: Good luck enforcing those rules, Vladimir

"stopped by Customs"

Mmm, customs controls and tariffs are not really the issue here, but if you want to play that game, try taking a haggis, even tinned haggis, into those united states of america.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/30/us-haggis-ban-scotland_n_5542595.html

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Who will kill power companies? TESLA, says Morgan Stanley

ql
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Re: Depends...

@Richard Jones 1

Others have answered the question, and the supposition that multiple circuits is to much hassle is spot on. So it's for convenience. But also, the 24v can vary quite markedly, and long wire runs will result in voltage drop, so you can't be sure what voltage you're dishing up. Finally, using an inverter means I can change to, say' 48v system, which I wish I had done in the first place, to reduce the amperage from the turbine and solar panels. You learn to be pragmatic getting your power this way.

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ql
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Depends...

The speculation that Morgan Stanley are talking this up may be right. The issue is the type of battery. In the same way that there is a difference between the construction of a lead-acid battery for starting a car (needs to deliver a massive amperage for a short time) and a golf-cart, milk-float , UPS or off-grid lead-acid battery., which needs to deliver a lesser amperage over a long period of time, it's not a given that an electric car style of battery is best for local energy storage. Arguably the best type of battery for such requirements is the 100+ year old Nickel-Iron battery, using an alkaline electrolyte rather than acid. Yet I understand only one company in the world, in China, still makes them.

Re AC's issue with efficiency, there are two issues. One is that there are energy losses in the grid, which arguably take the place of the inefficiencies of charging/discharging a battery bank locally. Some figures I have seen put these inefficiencies at as much as 25%, though that feels rather high. The other issue is that local energy production need not always be done for efficiency reasons, though if course any engineer would seek to maximise efficiency in design and implementation.

For anyone interested, I've written up our off-grid power supply here: http://www.tinslave.co.uk/blog/index.php?post/8/Our-off-grid-power-supply

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Factory-fresh delivery: Get your OpenSUSE fix daily

ql
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Re: So....

"Novell's dalliance with MS a few years ago may have done them no favours."

True, and it was only after SuSE* was sold that I had another look at OpenSuSE, and found that it was good. OpenSUSE remains a very Euro-centric distro, too, which helps.

* - I know that it's supposed to be fully capitalised, but I started with SuSE 5.1 and the origin of the name makes it hard to break the habit.

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ql
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So....

It sounds as though the "Factory" option is recent, which it isn't, as it's been the rolling release option for a while now. But if I understand this announcement correctly, the main development process will now start using Factory's rolling release mechanism as the format for the development of the milestone versions, which sounds good reduction in effort.

I must say I've taken to OpenSuSE again over the last couple of years. Last week's Linux Weekly News (LWN) included a discussion flowing from someone suggesting OpenSuSE has little following, and the support for it was interesting.

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Fiat Panda Cross: 'Interesting-looking' Multipla spawn hits UK

ql
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Re: My god it's ugly

Not entirely so. We have a Panda and a Land Rover. We need the landie in winter where we live, but the Panda is half the cost to run.

Re the comments about power - I used to have a Land Rover 110 with a 2.25 diesel. It struggled to get to 60mph - no - it NEVER got to 60mph, but we went playing in Salisbury Plain once, and it left modern 4x4's standing going up impossible inclines etc. The reason is torque, which is far more important than power for those purposes. In fact, thinking about it, when I was a teenager elsewhere on the planet, I had a VW Beetle-based fibreglass beach buggy. The wisdom at the time was never to use the more powerful 1600 engine, because power simply spun the wheels, while the torque of the 1300 made it much more suitable for the purpose.

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Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers

ql
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Re: US Tech Companies

@Trevor_Pott - You really do articulate the issues involved in this well. It sounds as though you have had first hand experience of the intentional law of unintended consequences America's paranoia creates. So you're in an ideal position to continue to inform us and to describe the issues. You also seem to be providing details that confirm what I suspect is an instinctive reaction in many of us to these issues.

Thanks very much.

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PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users

ql
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Tablets are neither phones nor PCs

I suspect the numbers make sense. I really don't think people use tablets to replace other devices, so the netbook analogy, as an adjunct to "proper" tech, is probably accurate. The result is that of people have a tablet, it needs to work well enough, rather than there being any compelling need to upgrade every year. Of course, fans of particular brands may well upgrade on cue, but that group is not in the majority. Yes, people buying tablets now are buying much better kit than a few years ago, but they're also doing the same job, in much the same way, as a few years ago. You can still browse, check email, stream video or audio and play the odd game on a tablet a few years old, so there's little attraction to fork out more for the same.

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Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees

ql
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Re: No Surprise

" who are we laymen supposed to believe?"

Well, you have to tread carefully. After all, according to "They Work For You," Peter Lilley also works for oil companies, with their agenda in this regard - http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10362/peter_lilley/hitchin_and_harpenden#register And Graham Strainger has been on a jolly to oil-producing Saudi Arabia - http://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10576

So while it's interesting that this committee does not appear qualified to make scientific statements based on only two members have a scientific background, as ever with something as mind-bogglingly complex as climate, there's more to this than meets the eye. Before the downvotes start, note I'm not taking sides, just pointing out other issues relevant to this debate.

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Russia: There is a SPACECRAFT full of LIZARDS in orbit above Earth and WE control it

ql
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Linux

Found this page when I opened by browser

It seems my OpenSUSE laptop automatically opens anything that has "gecko porn" Those tails don't curl by themselves, you know.

Tux, 'cos that's closest.

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UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know

ql
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Re: Of course it won't get rid of MS

Exactly so. Really, for a tech rag, this article smacks more like a Fry-based BBC analysis of the issue. I can't believe that anyone reasonably informed thinks that this is about removing Microsoft from the equation, but it is about ensuring that the tail does not wag the dog. The writer may be better advised to analyse the practical differences between OOXML and ODF in the context of the outcomes Maude was seeking to achieve rather than some tabloid non-issue.

This is to do with information interchange in document format, not about the choice of suppliers. The requirements for that go far beyond choosing Word or Writer. It may well lead to other questions about purchase strategies, but that's not the issue this announcement changes.

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Are you broke? Good with electronics? Build a better AC/DC box, get back in black with $1m

ql
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Re: All of this??

"Sounds like you need to be looking at the "marine" side of things"

Too expensive and too much hassle. This stuff is becoming off-the-shelf these days, rather than needing specialist suppliers. But yes, early learning was indeed on boats, and I have those ideas in mind when I set things up.

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Re: All of this??

"So you can convert it back to something around 12-18 volts to power the computer that is the size of a laptop."

Well, I do exactly this.actually, and the reality is that some form of conversion is required anyway. We're off grid, but in front of me is my laptop, to the right of my desk, a small mini-ITX-based debian server which is on 24 hours a day, to my left an ADSL router and access point. My laptop comes with a AC->whatever-the-laptop-wants block, which in this case is 20V. The server, router and AP want 12v. As it's summer, my solar panels feed a 24v battery bank (I wish I;d gone for 48v, but you live and learn....) and later in the year, my small wind turbine will provide more power than the solar panels. Both the panels and the turbine put out around 50v open circuit, but the size of the battery bank makes this no big deal. The 24v battery bank gets up to 29.5v during equalisation charging, though I never let it go below 24v (50% state-of-charge with my type of batteries) but quite a range.

The battery bank feeds a small sine-wave inverter of 350w. This provides power for lights, the above-mentioned stuff, my wife's laptop, tablet charging, printer, weather station, telly,. radio, mini-hifi and so on. A bigger 1.2kW inverter provides power for the fridge, occasional vacuum cleaner, washing machine and so on - note anything with a motor, which takes a thump to get it started.

Sticking with an all-DC option would mean I need to stabilise the range of voltages coming off the battery bank as it is charged and discharged. Using power directly from the sources means even more stabilisation as the open circuit voltages fluctuate wildly. We now use mostly LED lights, which I think are minuscule voltages internally but for convenience ar simple 230v devices. The tablets want 5v. The weather station wants 6v. The telly wants 230v and so on and so on. "Mains" style voltage and AC turns out ot be a convenient standard.

I do, though, run the server, router and AP off a single 12v block. That choice very nearly halved the power draw at the battery bank for those three devices in comparison with running three transformers, so the idea of reducing the number of transformers absolutely is one that would be helpful in reducing consumption.

Not that I think Google have our situation in mind ;-)

S

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Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

ql
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Re: Not wanting to defend plod, but

But there's no law that requires traceability, is there?

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UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

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Re: And so begins-

"And so begins- The Enlightenment."

Quite, and as I live in Scotland, it's a shame that as far as I can tell, the Scottish Enlightenment has not yet occurred. I have written to my MSP askig whether the Scottish Parliament is planning to follow suit.

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Re: Yay!

" For Microsoft to lose... "

But this isn't about Microsoft, it's about accessibility and restriction mandated by a government requiring that only a single (foreign) manufacturer's products be used when interacting with government, a situation which is does not appear rational. The UK gov has now corrected that situation along with the other unnecessary issues resulting from reliance on a proprietary, patent-encumbered file format. Microsoft can still play if they wish, they just can't demand that we play with their ball.

Fantastic decision, one that I never thought they actually would take, given their "roll over and tickle my tummy" attitude with most technology companies.

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Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them

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"Why filter hacking?"

You didn't think this "government initiative" was for the benefit of customers, did you?

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Banning handheld phone use by drivers had NO effect on accident rate - study

ql
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Joke

Vested interest

Surely you should have noticed that this is from Prof Kaffine, who obviously has a vested interest in his family's products being used, along with Prof Guanine. ;-)

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MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws

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Email your support/opposition

If we only make our views known behind closed doors, we can't blame them for taking the wrong decisions.

As I mentioned in a comment to the original ElReg article - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/15/uk_parliament_rubber_stamps_drip_retention_and_intercept_bill/ - the Open Rights Group page makes it easy to write to each "DRIP Hero" and thank them. The seem to appreciate this, and I have had a number of responses to my email of appreciation.

Another link to Michael Meacher's blog of his short speech, which has gone unreported, - http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2014/07/my-speech-on-the-emergency-data-protection-aka-indiscriminate-mass-surveillance-bill/

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UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill

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Re: Is their a list ?

Michael Meacher has replied to my email. His speech, on his blog, seems to me to articulate exactly the issues. He further pointed out that the cabinet reshuffle meant the press hardly took an interest in this issue.

http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2014/07/my-speech-on-the-emergency-data-protection-aka-indiscriminate-mass-surveillance-bill/

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Re: Is their a list ?

"Not too many to email to thank for holding on to principles. "

I've now done this - it didn't take long and is the one way we can participate in democracy. Received a few replies of thanks and one saying he did not vote against the measure but against the timetable.

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Re: Is their a list ?

"There's a list now on the Open Rights Group blog."

Thanks for that. Not too many to email to thank for holding on to principles. My own LibDem MP voted for it.

There are two things to worry about here. The one is the entire charade of "emergency" legislation that is so obviously open to abuse, the scope of everyone being suspect and the increasing normality of over-arching and constant surveillance. But the one that really bothers me is the way that Westminster now behaves like a one-party state when it comes to these things, with mere factions with The Party, and a handful of rebels. Indeed, they are described as rebels. When it comes to trivial issues in comparison, like altering speed limits on a section of motorway, an enormous rumpus is created in true circus style (not sure if that;s gone to parliament, but you get the idea) while when it comes to issues concerning what we regard as our rights, there's hardly any smoke, let alone fire.

Increasingly I am thinking of spoiling my voting paper at the next election as the only way I have of expressing my concerns. No-one on that paper will bring us back to where we want to be, anyway.

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What's your game, Google? Giant collared by UK civil lib minister on 'right to be forgotten'

ql
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Google Translation

Mr Hughes said "I'm about to be tossed out of government on my ear. I desperately need a cushy number maybe as a special advisor when I'm no longer in Westminster. Gis a job, google, if we give you the laws you want."

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