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* Posts by Return To Sender

123 posts • joined 27 Jul 2009

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Xenon: Bitmap Brothers' (mega)blast from the past

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Re: Namco Xevious

You're welcome. I did have the Xevious ROMs hanging around some time ago, worked nicely on MAME. Sadly I should have been paying more attention to backups *before* the disk failed, learnt that one the hard way.

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Namco Xevious

First arcade vertical scroller I got hooked on, about 1983/4ish? It was responsible more than a few over-extended lunch breaks down the amusement arcades. Seem to recall one of the impressive bits was the tall screen compared with most other games at the time.

Never played Xenon, but reading the article I have a sneaking suspicion where some of the influences came from... :)

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Blighty goes retro with 12-sided pound coin

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Re: Brings back memories

I've got several thruppeny bits hanging around, along with ha'pennies, pennies, farthings, tanners, a few two-bob bits, think I've got a half-crown somewhere...

The missus uses 'em at school to freak out the smart-arse kids who have got their decimal maths down pat. I love one of Terry Pratchett's footnotes which concludes something like 'the British resisted decimalisation as they thought it would be too complicated'...

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Satisfy my scroll: El Reg gets claws on Windows 8.1 spring update

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Re: Having used every desktop version of Windows since 3.11,

Ditto. Win8 (or rather, Server 2012) has been a PITA for me. Try driving a touch-oriented interface over a slightly iffy shared remote desktop session not actually having used said interface before. And then trying to work out where the hell everything's gone.

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AT&T waves its magic wand, turns that $30,000 Audi into a Wi-Fi hotspot

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Stupid data limits again...

Yet again, a mobile operator setting pointlessly low data limits on fast mobile. On the basis the most likely use for a high-speed link is going to be streaming (for the kids in the back on the journey), how long exactly is 1GB/month (average, ok) going to last? I'm amazed Audi can't see it, either.

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Plusnet shunts blame for dodgy DNS traffic onto customers' routers

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Re: For me there is a basic question

I swapped the router PN supplied what I started with 'em years ago, for something more capable. They've never tried to update me since, so I've stuck with my own routers, ta. And I don't set DNS at all on the routers, I run my own server in-house which very definitely doesn't have dodgy passwords. In the interests of greening the household's IT infrastructure, it's currently running on a RaspberryPi.

And incidentally, although there does seem to be a bit of opportunistic PN bashing going on here, my own experience over the last few years is that their standards are dropping, more so recently. My last couple of line issues have taken days to sort out, with me doing most of the legwork.

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Projector on a smartphone? There's a chip for that

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Only two questions

Assuming they can scale it;

1) What sort of power does it need and 2) can it produce a sensibly bright image, i.e. that could be used in a room with 'normal' lighting.

If the answer to 1) is 'about the same or less as your display', and to 2) is 'yes' then they've got something potentially useful. If it drains the battery faster than a squirrel on caffeine or needs near-blackout conditions, then it remains a gimmick in a 'phone, no matter how clever it is.

Personally I hope they can get it to work, 'cos I've had occasions where an impromptu wall projection would have been dead handy. Of course, there would be the problem of how to prop your device stably at the right angle (think you've got a steady hand? try magnifying by a factor of 15-20 and see if you can still read the screen :) ), but I'm sure somebody would make a case for that...

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Why can’t I walk past Maplin without buying stuff I don’t need?

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Re: Fatal attraction

Hadn't heard of that one either... hang on...

Ooh - right on the front page; the bench PSU I've been telling myself for *years* it'd be a good idea to have. And slotted aluminium extrusions; just wow!

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Steve Jobs statue: Ones and ohs and OH NOES – it's POINTING at us

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RDF

The reality distortion field still hard at work, I see, if they really think think that's the best of the bunch.

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Another climate change myth DEBUNKED by proper climate scientists

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"It's shoving it into a shredder and standing on the lid."

Err, no. No it isn't. All it's saying is that the current data isn't sufficient to show a pattern. It's not saying that the pattern won't appear (or will for that matter).

One of the reasons I generally pay little attention to populist media on this topic is that they have to present to an audience which struggles to think in long timescales and non-absolutes. The mass media have to be over-simplistic or they'll lose their audience. Big storms? - global warming. Summer droughts? - global warming. Makes a quick & easy headline, and guarantees a few more day's worth of stories as protagonists on both sides pitch in to ya-boo the others.

Have we as a species made climate variation more extreme? Well, right now, nobody actually knows. Lots of data about, lots of theories in lots of directions, but no hard and fast evidence in either direction. I personally feel you can't go around dumping loads of energy in to the system without something happening, but that's a feeling, not a fact.

It could be that the Hollow-Earthers were in fact correct, and Shamballa is now heated by a sophisticated system of heat exchangers drawing energy in at the holes in the poles; this is why we don't have tropical summers in Yorkshire or whatever global warming was supposed to produce according to earlier ideas. Of course, there will be excess heat, which has to go somewhere. I suggest that Shamballa is actually located somewhere under Yellowstone Park and is directly responsible for the so-called super volcano the geologists love to talk about. See - global warming will get you in the end...!

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Elon Musk plans GIGAFACTORY to feed his thirsty Tesla motors

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Re: Danger Will Robinson

So partnering with existing entrenched makers is a good idea, no? This is about stability of supply (if I've got big cash in the plant, I get first dibs on the output) and presumably increasing supply. Seems sensible to me...

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Enterprising French chap cranks up €100k 'flying car'

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Tyres?

And those skinny, presumably weight-saving, tyres would be how useful exactly on soft or dodgy terrain? Just curious, I have no experience to bring to bear, but it seems a bit daft to fly yourself into somewhere only to end up hub-deep in the sand...

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Yes! New company smartphones! ... But I don't WANT one

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Battery and storage

I'm now at pretty much the same stage. The only bits that really matter to me are decent battery life and storage (i.e. microSD slot). I carry a ton of different manuals, image files and software around with me - the smartphone's a productivity tool as much as anything else - with different subsets on separate microSD cards. I also carry a USB-equipped battery pack for those occasions when I can't get to a mains supply. Oh - and I sometimes use the device as a 'phone, too.

My next (and probably last for some considerable time) upgrade is likely to be the Sammy Note III, primarily for the big battery although the extra screen res might actually come in handy. The stylus is a must for that much res in such a small space though (and no, a stylus is *not* an anachronism, it's a tool like any other, I use whatever gets the job done best).

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How NOT to evaluate hard disk reliability: Backblaze vs world+dog

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Re: Shurely Shome Mishtake?

Momentary performance hit? To rebuild a 4TB drive in an array that sod's law says will be almost fully allocated when it goes bang? That's going to be a long moment... although I'd be more concerned about a second drive failing before the array's rebuilt, personally. You can make yer systems robust, but you've got to pay for it *somewhere*.

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Hands up if you have one good reason to port enterprise apps to ARM

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An ARM world would be nice, but...

Remember that porting on any scale would only happen if there's a strong economic reason to do so. We can have all the debates we like about the difficulty or otherwise of porting, but these days money wins.

Now, demonstrate a toolset that makes it equally easy (as in just a compiler option) to build on ARM as x86 and you might get the software houses on board. Persuade them to make their licensing platform agnostic, and you've got a non-argument for corporates when choosing their hardware. Demonstrate that the cost of acquisition is the same or lower as x86, that's another barrier down. Show that you can knock percentage points off of your operating costs, that's the money men on board.

And of course you'll do all of this on the sort of timescale that prevents Intel finally working out how to make the x86 run at really low power (not sure personally that's possible), thus removing your competitive advantage.

Don't have to like it, but you can't stick your fingers in your ears and go 'la-la-la' either...

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Pervy TOILET CAMERA disguised as 'flash drive' sparks BOMB SCARE on Boeing 767

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Joke

Re: NSA

Eh? You mean some people blow whistles when they, err, go? Or is there a strange anatomical condition I wasn't aware of?

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Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ten tech treats from yesteryear

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Re: I had the Sharp PC-1500 in 1992

Found my old PC-1500 in the bottom of one of those 'sort it out when everything else is settled' house-moving boxes a couple of weeks back when rummaging in the garage. Haven't tried to power it up yet (power block was there). Myself & a mate made a few quid programming them up for a company that wanted to send its salesmen out with a rudimentary estimator, they bunged us one each (with the bog roll printer) as part of the deal. Not bad considering we were basically schoolkids :)

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Can't wait for 4G? Take heart, 5G is on the way

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What's the point of more mobile bandwidth...

... if it costs you at least 10x more than non-mobile data. Most of the stuff I want to do out & about gets done by finding WiFi hotspots first where possible, as I'd rather not blow my month's allowance in a couple of hours.

Maybe Ofcom should have some pointed words with the networks before letting 'em anywhere near new spectrum.

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Microsoft touts SCROOGLE merch: Hopes YOU'LL PAY to dump on rival

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Hi pot, kettle calling...

Of course, Microsoft have never done anything dodgy that folks might want to whinge about on a mug, t-shirt, water bottle etc. Bah, a pox on all their houses...

Could get fun if somebody goes for the retaliation, think I'll give my popcorn supplier a heads-up.

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Personal web and mail server for Raspberry Pi seeks cash

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Re: Been there, done that

Yup, me too, no big deal. As you say, the biggest headache is the dynamic IP address, or more accurately how it's treated by other mail servers. Hanging on to my static IP address partly for that reason and also 'cos I run DNS for a couple of domains.

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Apple wins patent for entrance to retail store

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Re: I'm curious?

They don't take any old 'a' piss, they take fully patented 'the' piss. It's a high-end piss, as you can tell from the golden colour.

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DEAD STEVE JOBS kills Apple bounce patent from BEYOND THE GRAVE

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Re: Regardless of the merits of the Apple patent

I think it just means that if you have a good idea, make sure you've got the patent application well and truly lodged *before* you show it off to world + dog; presumably if you don't you're considered to have made it public domain. Just guessing, though.

No idea how you managed to get downvoted just for asking the question, btw.

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OpenSUSE uncorks a fine Ruby-red Bottle: Beta 13.1 didn't give me a hangover

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Re: Wonder what they've broken this time

@AC 15:17

Right with you there. If I'm running "community" versions of a distro, I kind of expect to hit problems during upgrades and am pleasantly surprised when I don't get any. For critical servers, I'll run a commercial version and make damn sure I've checked the compatibility matrix before I start, although some vendors habit of changing chipsets without changing their model/type numbers can still catch you out. Mind you, given the budget I'll still put in IBM Power servers and AIX, damn near bulletproof upgrades across generations of servers and a piece of piss to admin...

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BOOGIE BALLMER: Steve Dirty Dances at tearful Microsoft leaving do

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Go

A song for Steve?

Surely it's got to be Wrecking Ball(mer) (apologies to Neil Young...)

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Tape's NOT dead. WHOMP: This 8.5TB Oracle drive proves it

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Re: Error in LTO6 capacity

Yup. The article suggests Oracle are positioning this against the IBM TS1140; a 3592 JC cartridge is 4TB native, but the LTO6 cartridges are indeed 2.5TB

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ATTACK of the ROBOT BANKERS brings stock market to its knees

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Trading arms race...

So, the race is to get your better / faster system trading before the other guys beat you to it. So how long (even if it's not already the case) before the test regimes get pared back so far that a cockup is almost inevitable? After all, when did 'if I test for this, it might avoid a catastrophe' ever trump 'if you put this out now instead of next week, I'll make a shitload of dosh'?

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WTF is … Routing Protocol for Low-Power and Lossy Networks?

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Re: Neat idea BUT

Agreed, the IP6 gateway (DODAG root) is a SPoF. But then it's a logical entity; presumably all the usual tricks apply to make the platform as robust as possible physically (redundant hardware, diverse path etc), but then we all know that guys with big yellow diggers and back hoes are ingenious when it comes to cutting off buildings.

A *very* quick scan (I have a short attention span) of the RFC suggests that the DODAGID is based on the IP6 address of the root, so maybe the root node can be changed by just moving the address to a different location? I'm no expert, so that could be complete bollocks of course. Hopefully somebody with curiosity and more expertise can comment.

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We've cracked riddle of ANTIGRAVITY mountains on Saturn's Titan - boffins

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Re: Inward pointing spikes..

"So it's liquid under the icy crust"

Umm, if I've read it properly, then exactly not. Rather the supposition is that it's bloody great big chunks of ice (the roots) being held down by a seriously thick & rigid ice crust - rather than rising as would usually be the case. That leads to the lower density, thence to the gravitic anomaly; although personally, I think there's just a sodding great ice cave with a monolith in it causing the blip.

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HTTP 2.0 interop tests slated for August

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Stop

Hmm.

"This web site works only with HTTP 2.0. Please upgrade your browser."

Whoa there, calm down. You do realise that HTTP is only the delivery mechanism? Most web site developers never go anywhere near HTTP, in fact I'd be surprised if many of them even realise it exists. So, how will this play out?

First up, the likes of Apache et al will start including HTTP 2 support in their web servers. Mozilla etc. will start building libraries for it in their browsers. And guess what, there will be a negotiation as part of the initial handshake between client and server as to who supports what, just like there is now for things like HTTP 1.0 / HTTP 1.1 support, compressed data and so on. So, faced with a client only supporting HTTP 1, the server will simply deliver over that, but would take advantage of HTTP 2 if it were present. This approach is far from unique to HTTP, of course

By the time it gets to the point where a connection fails due to lack of support, it'll likely be for one of two basic reasons; 1) you're using a truly ancient browser / library, or 2) some fuckwit admin has managed to configure his server to only use HTTP 2 before the majority of the world can support it. Either case is easily remedied with a length of 4 x 2 with six-inch nails knocked through it

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Samsung Galaxy S3 explodes, turns young woman into 'burnt pig'

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Mushroom

Re: Increased energy density leads to increased risk

"...on par with a hand grenade as it is"

Exactly my thought when going through Heathrow security recently with a colleague who was carrying a USB powerpack (i.e. big battery with USB connectors) in his kit. I was sure he'd get stopped, and he was - although not 'cos of the pack, as it turns out.

Checking the present regs, you can actually carry on batteries up to 100Wh. My colleague's pack was about 40Wh, and comfortably hand sized. Strikes me you can take quite a lot of energy in a small space; I'd be more bothered about these letting loose in the overhead lockers. Don't know if there's any sort of knock-on possible, but I think I'll be keeping my devices as separate as possible in-flight.

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Sony Xperia Tablet Z: Our new top Android ten-incher

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Meh

Re: TN Screen? That's not at all premium..

Curiously, Sony's online documents don't seem to state anything beyond the fact it's a TFT, despite providing mind-numbing levels of trivia on just about everything else (http://www-support-downloads.sonymobile.com/sgp311/whitepaper_EN_sgp311_sgp312_1.pdf). To an old cynic like me, that suggests it probably is a TN 'cos otherwise the marketing droids would be yelling it from the rooftops, rather than appearing to be slightly embarrassed about it.

That said, I'd have a look at it first. TN doesn't automatically mean crap - who cares what the technology is if it's actually good enough for how you actually use it? If I expected to have lots of folks trying to see the screen at the same time, or was constantly looking at it off-axis then yes I'd probably want an IPS-type panel. But most of the time? Not a lot in it...

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Fines 4 U: Mobe insurer cops £3m penalty for grumble dumping

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@John Riddoch

Yup, from the bank account here too. Better still, it actually works; we claimed to replace my son's phone (Galaxy Note), no problem, brand new replacement. Mind you, he had fallen thirty-odd feet into a shallow river with a rocky bed, spent about 90 minutes in the water before being airlifted to hospital and another two weeks stabilising two crushed vertebrae and a cracked pelvis, so the insurance company couldn't really argue that it wasn't accidental damage...

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Users rage as Fasthosts virtual servers go titsup... again

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Holmes

Or rather this is what happens when you (or rather the bean counters) think you can safely outsource your data centre to a bunch (and I don't just mean FH here) whose strategy seems to be to say 'Look at us, we're really big, isn't all this stuff impressive,much bigger than you'd ever have so it must be much better. Oh, and have you seen how cheap it is? Think how much money you'd save. No, really cheap. Ever so cheap. You'd be a mug not to want to save this much money. Of course it's safe, how could it not be? And it's really cheap.'

So you outsource, things go titsup, and guess what? Instead of being able to escalate (to a single director if it gets bad), re-prioritise your recovery and so forth, you're now just one voice amongst lots, all clamouring to get those critical systems back on line, and you're probably nowhere near the biggest customer so how much influence do you really think you've got?

Economies of scale (for the provider) exist mainly when everything's going smoothly. Scaling your recovery so that you can get away with fewer bods requires investment in tools, techniques, developing robust procedures, testing... all those things, in fact, that cost. When the market's in its usual race to the bottom pricing mode, guess where the corners get cut (clue; it's not the director's bonuses). So, for those screaming at FH for not being perfect, I'd have to ask: what planning did you put in to make sure that when a big outage in your (now outsourced) data centre happens, your business didn't take a disproportionate hit? Or did you actually believe the salesman when he/she trotted out the usual soothing words? And how were the unicorns?

I'm not against outsourcing per se, despite the impression you might have got from the above. I'm against the school of thought that seems to believe that because you've outsourced, you can abdicate all responsibility as well. It's your business, not theirs.

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AMD announces 'world's first commercially available 5GHz CPU'

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Re: "the world's first commercially available 5GHz CPU,"

Actually, bunging a full POWER chip in to a desktop wouldn't be difficult - remember IBM will cheerfully sell you POWER blades, so that's roughly ATX sized. The footprint's similar to Intel chippery - in other words most of the space has to be given over to heatsinks. They're still air-cooled, but it's fair to say the fan noise wouldn't be living-room friendly...

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Can lightning strike twice? Intel has another crack at Thunderbolt

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Facepalm

Petabytes in minutes?

> '...allow petabytes of data to be backed up in "minutes, not hours".'

Oh, dear, who fired up the marketing hyperbole machine? Petabytes, only if you've got a *shedload* of interfaces. And presumably are backing up to the bit bucket.

By coincidence I've just done the sums for backing up 125TB in 8 hours; a tad over 32Gb/s sustained. So, assuming I could sustain 16Gb/s and I'm backing up 2 petabytes (their plural, so it's got to be at least 2!), play fast 'n loose with decimal/binary PBs to keep the sums simple and that's what, 32 ports give or take a couple?

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Hitchhikers' Guide was WRONG, Earth is not in a galactic backwater

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Alien

Re: I think this calls for a recital of Vogon Poetry !!!

Hmm, X-Factor. More like a rectal of Vogon Poetry...

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George Soros pumps £50m into fibre-gobbling ISP Hyperoptic

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> "Why somebody would want such large bandwidth is beyond my understanding"...

Actually, despite more years in the industry than I really care to admit, I still find myself asking the same question, and it inevitably turns out that something appears to provide the answer "ah, that's why". LAN to the desktop? Why? 10Mb switched to the desktop? Why? 100Mb... you get the picture.

It seems to be a genuine case of if you build it, they will come. I still recall when putting video conferencing on the general (not dedicated) company LAN was considered A Big Thing, now it's pretty much taken for granted even on mobile.Yes, techniques have improved, but it's mainly the higher bandwidth at cheaper cost that drives these things. So big bandwidth - bring it on!

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Look behind you, NetApp: Angry investor is coming for YOU

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Re: Activist Shareholders

Agreed. Although sometimes you need shareholders to stand up and hold a board to account, if the board's not acting in the best interests of the company and its longevity. Except that's the kind of shareholders that are a) knowledgeable and b) interested in a *fair* return on their investment over a period, not a maximum return in as short a period as possible.

An awful lot of 'investors' seem to have forgotten that the idea is to help a company survive and grow, to mutual benefit, rather than to trouser as much as possible then move on just before the train wreck to the next opportunity.

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Coke? Windows 8 is Microsoft's 'Vista moment'. Again

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Joke

Re: "...It's just you really have to work at it."

Right, here's my bit of tin-foil hattery:

So, Linux desktops have never really taken off 'cos it's so difficult to get it to be 'nice', like the Microsoft Windows environment (other excuses may be available). So, Microsoft, in a far-sighted attempt to avoid accusations of anti-competitive niceness, decide to level the playing field by producing a system that you have to put effort in to if you want to avoid those pesky WTF moments. But if I've got to do that, then...

What we have here, people, is simply MS's way of trying to persuade the great unwashed that there might just be another way. Which will, naturally, lead to increased competition in the marketplace, to the betterment of mankind and happiness all around. So in fact Microsoft's introduction of a bit of a dog's breakfast of an OS is simply an altruistic attempt to make us all happier.

Yup, reckon that's it!

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Huge erections - or lots of small ones. Checkmate, mast NIMBYs

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Joke

Re: So much infrastructure for so little reception...

Disguise 'em as Leylandii; seriously tall, just as likely to piss off the neighbours.

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Headmaster

Vociferous?

"Britons are vociferous adopters of new technology..."

I presume ms. Gill meant 'voracious'. Don't remember hoards of folk taking to the streets yelling and screaming about their new tech, 'leastways around here. Maybe near a fruity store around Oxford St occasionally?

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Why next iPhone screen could be made of SAPPHIRE - and a steal...

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Happy

Re: Have a gorilla...

Try one of my Monkeys, they're milder...

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Plusnet's 'Everyone's a winner' claim is a plus-sized whopper

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Meh

Re: Deliberately misleading nonsense.

"... you get through to a Yorkshire call centre"

Yes, granted, but it doesn't mean your problem actually gets fixed. As it happens I have both VM and PlusNet (work reasons, also the static IP from PN). The one and only time I had a real problem with PN - total disconnection - it took them the thick end of six days to work out they'd cocked up a configuration. Oh, and they actually closed the original call I made after two days, something I only found out two days after that when I called to find out why I hadn't heard anything.

Bit of a shame really, 'cos otherwise I've been pleased with PN for years (since before they got borg'd by BT), it's just when it really mattered they screwed up. At least you *expect* VM to be a bunch of chocolate teapots, although I have to say the actual engineers that get sent out have been pretty damn good.

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One of the world's oldest experiments crawls towards a fall

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Joke

One can only hope that your doctorate was subject to better proof reading than your post! It may have been a literary nothing, but presumably you worked out where the exit was eventually?

Muphry is real...

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Ten pi-fect projects for your new Raspberry Pi

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Re: Wife acceptable

That answers a question I was going ask - the OBi110 with RasPBX. I have a, errmm, window of opportunity to muck around with this (couple of knackered DECT phones in the house). 35 quid for the OBi rather than 56 for the Cisco (on amazon at least) makes it easier to put the cost case to the CFO (wife...). Have an upvote, squire.

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LOHAN teases with quick flash of spaceplane

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Go

Re: Nice

In the light of recent, errmm, misdaventures, possibly something anti-shipping would be appropriate?

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So: 6,500 Win 8 laptops later, how are BT's field engineers coping?

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Re: Very good indeed

Yup, real-life case beats uninformed opinion every time. But am I the only one that interpreted this mainly as the engineers benefitting from getting decent kit, rather than getting W8 as such? If developers are taking the opportunity to put better and more relevant/functional frontends on their applications (mobile or otherwise), does the underlying OS actually matter these days? Just asking...

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Hard Glass Spinner Technology: HGST's new 2.5-incher

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Re: Glass platter

For 'glass' don't think in terms of the stuff that's held up by your window frames. Can't give you the physics / chemistry behind it, but glass is a state rather than a specific substance per se. I would imagine it's pretty damn robust, whatever they're using.

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Who ate all the Pis?

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Happy

Re: ssh @caption veg

IIRC, there was a recognised problem with the HDMI config in some combinations. Especially cheapo Chinese TVs... Can't say I've seen a problem with feeding my BenQ monitor. Once I remembered to plug the other end of the HDMI cable in, that is :-)

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Boffin

Re: The vi thing

@Pirate Dave "so was EDLIN on MSDOS boxes..."

<pedant "mode=strictish">

Yup, and eventually it got supplemented with EDIT, a full-screen editor as opposed to the line-mode EDLIN. Equally, vi is a full-screen character mode interface for ex, the line editor that came before it, which helps to explain some of the more err, quirky, corners of vi. So your reference isn't quite on the mark - har har, have at ye, matey!

</pedant >

Bear in mind these editors appeared before the world of GUIs, and in some cases before terminals with cursor keys, and some things make more sense. Doesn't make them obsolete, necessarily; surely one of the lessons we learn as *nix admins is you use whatever tool does the job best for you. Nano, Pico, Kate etc. are excellent tools, but give me an AIX image that I've had to take to a minimal maintenance shell 'cos some daft bugger's fubar'd the OS without a backup, and I'm bloody glad I can navigate vi!

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