* Posts by batfastad

551 posts • joined 1 Aug 2009

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The coming of DAB+: Stereo eluded the radio star

batfastad
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The same kbps as a potato

Every single time I have tried DAB it has ended up sounding no better than a potato. Underwater.

The only time I ever listen to radio is TMS on LW, or 5 live MW in the car, which are both equally as capable of sounding like a potato underwater at times. But I accept potato sound quality because it's old tech that's universal, and my portable radio easily fits in a pocket and can do an entire winter test match series on a single pair of AAAs.

I expect much much better from DAB radios that are typically larger, heavier, more expensive and either require mains power or a daily feed of batteries/charging.

Happy to be proven wrong though if anyone can find me a DAB radio that has a mass equal to or less than 150g, dimensions equal to or less than 7cm x 10cm x 3cm, and can run for a week non-stop on a pair of AAAs. Or that works when not driving in perfect concentric circles around the nearest transmitter.

Digital TV works because its consumption happens through a stationary receiver/aerial. Radio on the other hand, less so, alot less.

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Silent server monitoring: A neat little cure that doesn't kill the patient

batfastad
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Nagios

Zabbix, munin, icinga, zenoss... yet everyone always ends up back at Nagios.

Pretty happy with Graphite for metrics though, with Grafana for fancy dashboards.

We all know Nagios sucks. But it's the de-facto standard of sucking.

Having said that, I have been impressed by Zabbix but adding a new Nagios check for anything is so simple. Using Puppet makes it even easier to deploy custom checks en-masse.

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Millions of voters are missing: It’s another #GovtDigiShambles

batfastad
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Re: Irrelevant

I should follow up by adding that despite my attitude towards politics in this country and politicians in general, I will still toddle down to the ballot box and make the mark of the illiterate in a box on the form. I will get a warm feeling of enfranchisement in a happy utopia for all of about 30 seconds. Before stepping back out onto a street covered with vomit and chicken bones*.

*Said in jest of course. I realise that by living in the UK I have truly won the lottery of life compared to the hell that most of the world's population have to get through. If I'm really lucky maybe there'll be a pigeon eating the chicken bone, that is a sight to behold!

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Delving into Office 2016: Microsoft goes public with new preview

batfastad
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Speed

Does it load faster than the Office XP that I'm still rocking?

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Vince Cable opens hipster-friendly London tech creche

batfastad
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Phew!

Thank god. More money for London will fix the rest of the country in no time!

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Not in the Budget: Spooks beg UK.gov for £111m brown envelope

batfastad
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Hmmm

Itemised invoice please.

Yours faithfully

The Electorate

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Cisco posts kit to empty houses to dodge NSA chop shops

batfastad
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Support

It's largely irrelevant anyway. Many sites I visit have Cisco gear that hasn't been updated since it was originally installed and the support has lapsed meaning you can't get the newer code anyway. Open season because of the unique way Cisco stuff seems to leave the factory full of bugs.

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Hackable media box based on the Raspberry Pi compute module: Five Ninjas Slice

batfastad
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Re: Ethernet

Have a look at the Beaglebone Black

EDIT: Actually don't... that's not what I was looking for

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batfastad
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Re: An alternative

Nice tip on the plusberry!

I've been looking for a decent Pi case for ages. The way the wires sprout out of all sides is a bit annoying and having one with an integrated iR receiver would be decent. Like you I've fudged it with lego for now.

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UK says comms metadata can kill personal privacy

batfastad
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Hello old friend

Ah yes, the default HTML table styling, how I have missed thee!

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Ark scoops £700m to host ALL UK.gov's data centre needs

batfastad
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GovCloud

Sounds like "Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5)" has got the hang of that GovCloud procurement framework perfectly!

Remember GovCloud has the word "cloud" in it. A new-fangled word... same old sh*t.

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batfastad
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Re: Well

Was thinking the same. Until I got to "Non-executive directors on the firm's board include Baroness Manningham-Buller, DCB, life peer in the House of Lords and former director general of the Security Service (MI5)".

So it seems the best way of winning Gov business still is to have a "Baroness Manningham-Buller" on your board. Anyone aware of any channel suppliers for those and how are they deployed?

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MPs 'alarmed' by millions of mugshots on Brit cops' databases

batfastad
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Meh

alarmed

Here's my alarmed face... http://goo.gl/5Exw0G

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

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Want to deploy virtual machines in a hurry? PowerShell is your friend

batfastad
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PowersHELL!

PowerShell is no doubt a step on from the abysmal effort at command line that MS had been peddling since the mid-90s. Admittedly I've only looked at it briefly but the implementation and syntax of commands that I've used seems so inconsistent and appears to vary massively depending on the Windows team/product (Exchange vs IIS vs SQL Server etc).

It's useful as a way of exposing a programmatic API to what is usually point-n-click Windows interfaces and wizards.

But you still need a decent wrapper language to bind it all together. And that's where cygwin comes in for me ;)

Not hatin', just sayin'.

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Price slashed on Reg-branded Swiss Army Knife

batfastad
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Leatherman

Leatherman Micra is the boss of portable knives. I've had one (a few) for years and they are truly portable. Sometimes a little bit too portable... to the point of no return at airports where I have ended up having to bin it and buy another.

And that concludes the story of my ownership of the Leatherman Micra. You're welcome.

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Bad movie: Hackers can raid networks with burnt Blu-Rays

batfastad
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Stop

Blue Ray?

Is this some sort of physical media format?

Joking aside, I just don't have the space or desire to store a crate of discs for someone. If the publishers/studio wants me to store a copy of their latest "re-make of a prequel to a re-make of a book" for them then that's fine. Storage prices start at £20 per year for long-term archival. Though contracts might be terminated without notice when I decide to dump them at a charity shop.

If they want me to give up my time to actually watch their latest "re-make of a prequel to a re-make of a book" then that will cost them $£$$£. Prices on application.

Their business model is all wrong :)

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SIM hack scandal biz Gemalto: Everything's fine ... Security industry: No, it's really not

batfastad
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Black Helicopters

Move along, nothing to see here

If the secret police want to be all up in you sh*t, they don't need to hack.

Carry on as you were everyone... says the secret warrant issued by a secret court.

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Apache finally signs off Hadoop database... after 7 years of development

batfastad
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I heart commas

"Facebook Pintrest"?

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Gemalto: NSA, GCHQ hacked us – but didn't snatch crucial SIM keys

batfastad
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Prison

I, me, you, we would all be banged up if for industrial espionage on this scale.

As ever, the rules are different for those that make the rules.

I'm not condoning terrierislamopedoismists or whoever the threat to national insecurity is this week. But there's defence and there's offence. This is most definitely offence.

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BT fixes home hub drop-out glitch ONE YEAR after denying flaw existed

batfastad
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Re: Wow BT is getting faster at responding to user problems

Yep. You don't think they have access to anywhere near the bandwidth they actually sell to their customers do you? I'm fine with the principle of overselling, I totally get it. But there's overselling to make sure users have a fair service, then there's BT's overselling to maximise profit while being able to trumpet "X number of properties have access to super-fast broadband*"

* but only at off-peak times. In a vacuum. At close to 0K at which point the home hub is transformed into a Bose-Einstein Condensate and only then able to shift packets at the advertised speed.

You've probably guessed... I wouldn't p*ss on BT even if it was on fire.

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IT knowledge is as important as Maths, says UK.gov

batfastad
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Baron(ess)?\?

And when Baroness Morgan talks, you better listen. Because she knows her sh*t on this stuff.

Wait... who?

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M0n0wall comes tumbling down as dev throws in the trowel

batfastad
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Times changed

Used it for a number of years at a few small offices and worked well. IPCop also. But as embedded router boxes increased in power and features our need for the use of commodity hardware and dedicated firewall distros has gone away.

Used a few Microtik RouterOS devices in the last 5 years which do a good job but with fewer moving parts.

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Virgin Media to splurge BEELLIONS on UK network infrastructure expansion

batfastad
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Coat

Peppa

In the immortal words of Mr Bull... "We're digging up the road!"

An in-joke for Peppa Pig afficionados/sufferers there. Please don't hate me.

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batfastad
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Agree with this.

Worked at a small business on a business park for a number of years and being on the ar$e end of town the ADSL was terrible. All the residential cabinets along the main road had been deployed in the first wave of FTTC rollout. But absolutely no effort to provide anything more than ADSL to businesses on the business park. The only option was leased line/ethernet connections which started off at £1k+ per month, they just didn't have the budget for that.

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Free WiFi coming to UK trains ... in two years

batfastad
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Priorities

Well that sounds like it will make fares cheaper so a +1 from me. Waiddaminute!

Since public transport is clearly aimed at the luxury travel market these days, I would expect very decent connection speeds.

When East Coast GNER National Express (or whatever they're called this week) say on-board wifi what they mean is a bunch of 3G/4G dongles bonded together across the length of the train. Not that it matters. I'd rather use my own bandwidth from my phone/whatever device, than a connection shared amongst a carriage or 12.

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At the third beep, the Atomic Clock will be 60 ... imprecisely

batfastad
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Re: Another DAB "put-down" !!

My DAB radio sounds like a potato. Underwater. And needs a dedicated landfill site for the batteries it eats. And has a mass of at least 500g.

Until it doesn't, DAB is dead to me.

Whereas my long wave portable Roberts radio can achieve similar potato-like sound quality for a whole winter cricket test match series, all on a single pair of AAAs.

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Brit Linux distro CrunchBang calls it quits

batfastad
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Almost

The few times I tried #! over the years I liked it but just couldn't use it medium-term. Unfortunately openbox just didn't fit for the way I prefer to work... not being able to use the desktop annoys me and unfortunately seems to be trendy and like so hot right now. Also Debian always has Iceweasel instead of Firefox, which I realise is basically the same thing, but it's just something else I had to faff with on a re-install. For some reason my Lenovo ThinkPad (with a nasty AMD Neo X2 CPU/chipset) was pretty unstable... wifi sporadically not working, random freezes and failing to boot etc. I know I know, ask for a refund, fix it yourself etc.

I switched to Mint+XFCE a few years ago (now running Xubuntu for a couple of small reasons (Mint totally munging my Firefox profile with gubbins)) and XFCE does the job perfectly. No flair, no needless tinkering every 6 months by some UI committee, massively customisable, and the desktop and UI just stay out of your way... exactly how a desktop environment should be.

Overall it is a shame but there's no reason why the project couldn't live on as an openbox theme or something on Debian. I have massive respect for anyone willing to put so much free time into a project like that and so completely understand when they need to pay some bills or generally get on with life.

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vSphere 6.0 is BADASS. Not that I've played with it or anything. Ahem

batfastad
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2004

I have been transported back to 2004, where web admin interfaces need Flash/ActiveX/Java/Silverlight to function properly. Or have some spectacularly rubbish JavaScript that will only let you in if running Internet Explorer 6.

Cross platform my ar$€. Must do better.

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'Tech' City hasn't got proper broadband and it's like BT doesn't CARE

batfastad
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FAIL

Infrastructure

Considering the tax-payer is giving BT a decent amount of dosh for the FTTC roll-out (apparently ASA rules they can call this "fibre") I presume the tax-payer will then own all this infrastructure and will charge BT Openreach Whoever PLC for using it in the future to recoup the investment. Wait, what?

However in this case I sort of agree with BT. Decent commercial business-grade connections are available throughout central London from many suppliers. If you're a hip startup with no cash, no product to speak of, no sales to speak of and shopping in the residential market, then you have to wait your turn like any other residents. What, hardly any residents in your area?

There are lots of other small businesses and humans you know, outside of lucky lucky London. I live in London with sh*t ADSL and sh*t ADSL is all I need.

I would make the same argument I made about the 'lympics. If anywhere needs the cash spending on infrastructure it's definitely not London. Regardless of what some oik London politician says, in London.

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'Boutique' ISPs: Snub the Big 4 AND get great service

batfastad
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Re: Xilo is hard to beat

+1 for Xilo

Went there for their O2 Wholesale connections after my Be connection was about to be migrated to Sky. Unfortunately O2 Wholesale were sold off so had to migrate to a TT wholesale connection. Not actually noticed any difference and Xilo handled the whole thing really well.

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Scary code of the week: Valve Steam CLEANS Linux PCs (if you're not careful)

batfastad
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Bumblebee

Reminds me of this epic thread on a commit... https://github.com/MrMEEE/bumblebee-Old-and-abbandoned/commit/a047be85247755cdbe0acce6f1dafc8beb84f2ac

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GDS builds UNICORN HERDER, plays with Puppets

batfastad
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rvm use build gem bundle install... ARRRGH!!!

There is some good stuff in there, just a shame so much of it is wow, so hip, much Ruby, amaze! Nothing against the language. But from an operations point of view all my experiences of Ruby have been a complete pain in the backend. Probably different if you run Ubuntu Server Tepid Teabag etc in your enterprise though.

Some more stuff here too https://github.com/alphagov but don't expect it to actually, well, work at all ever.

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ONE in A HUNDRED reported bugs exploited, says Cisco

batfastad
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My Annual Report on Cisco

Well my annual report on Cisco goes something like this... Sell kit that's always full of bugs, so you keep paying for support to get software updates to fix the things that supposedly should have worked in the first place. It's the same report as last year, and the last 10 years before that.

Not that I'm bitter at having wasted most of this week dealing with an interoperability issue between minor release versions of iOS.

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Firefox 35 stamps out critical bugs

batfastad
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Re: Firefox stability problems?

The half and half trick, fondly remembered from days spent fixing peoples' Quark XPress.

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batfastad
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Unrelated

Unrelated but I just wish they'd stop tinkering with the UI, then trumpeting as if it's a great revolution in web browser UI, when usually it just looks like Chrome from 3 versions ago.

There's no shame in just saying, "you know what, we absolutely nailed it with Firefox 4, so we're just gonna keep that if it's ok with you?". Don't like it? Change the theme or install some addons to add/remove bits.

Also it seems loads of work goes into the integrated developer tools. I ditched Firebug after Australis arrived because it started to take about 10s to load each time. The FF developer tools are pretty good to be fair. But are they actually needed by 90% of users, probably not. In which case they should still be an addon.

And talking of bloat, a built-in PDF viewer? Written in JS? Give me a break. It's bad enough when Adobe Reader tries to pump itself into your browser. Let alone having JavaScript trying to decode a 50MB 1000+ page PDF without even asking. The answer... pdfjs.disabled;true

The next thing they're going to break in the name of becoming Chrome, is the separate search box. You might need this pref... browser.search.showOneOffButtons

I noticed that a default changed around v32/33 that stopped the DNS suffix being appended to URLs that don't have a domain extension. So if your users find that typing support or intranet into the URL bar ("awesome bar" apparently) thinking that they are going to a web address when it actually ends up googling for it, then you'll need this pref... keyword.enabled;false

I've built up quite a library of these preferences and addons since it started becoming Chrome. Still miles better than Chrome though for power users IMO.

</ramble>

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Samsung's 850 EVO 1TB SSD appears live ... in 3D

batfastad
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SSD

An SSD has got to be the single best upgrade spend I have ever made. Look out for deals though. I doubt most people need higher performance SSDs like the Samsung Pros. The biggest benefit to me is just eliminating the thrashing you invariably get under Windows and even the cheapest SSD improves that massively.

I had a OCZ refurb 100GB which I picked up for £40 a year or so ago. It was SATA II but made such a huge difference, I doubt I was ever near the max of the SATA II interface. Bought a new machine which came with a newer Kingston so the OCZ went into my lab.

Just buy one, any one.

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US and UK declare red-team CYBER WAR – on EACH OTHER

batfastad
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Isn't this sort of thing going to be made illegal? http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/04/life-sentence-cybercrime-queens-speech

Oh yeah, law enforcement and surveillance agencies are above the law.

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PlayStation-processor-powered plutonium probe prepares Pluto pics

batfastad
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Line profile?

700bps at a distance from the exchange of 3bn miles is impressive compared to our 4Mbps at only 3 miles. Mind you, our latency is better than 4hrs.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

batfastad
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Re: We do not negotiate with terrorists

Also I presume our employees, the chubby blazer-wearing eunuchs in parliament, will still be protected by the Wilson Doctrine? Lucky lucky them who make the rules.

It would be preferable if my communications were public to all nations, not restricted to a particular host state that has legal jurisdiction over me.

Our only hope is that the concepts of nation states, national governments and border restrictions continue to become increasingly irrelevant over the next century. Unrestricted movement of people, money and information throughout the world. Sound good?

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batfastad
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We do not negotiate with terrorists

No, we just bend over. And over time, we become them.

I'll leave my front door open, take all my money in a bag to the treasury and collect my new national workslave number and uniform.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

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2015 will be the Year of Linux on the, no wait, of the dot-word domain EXPLOSION

batfastad
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Irrelevant

Most people just search for stuff on dogpile, lycos etc now anyway.

The new domains that describe the vague function/activity of the site is not a bad idea though. I've always thought that having the top-level of domains categorised by country, on an internationally connected network that spans borders and governments, was a little strange. ISO language codes may have made a bit more sense.

One thing I do think though is that anyone applying to become a registrar of a new .tld would have to make domains publicly available. Want .google, then you must offer registrations under it. That would ensure that new domains were mainly function/activity/category based rather than corporate brand holding.

I appreciate a good money-making scheme as much as anyone, so I'm not going to blame ICANN for wanting moar. But I would like to know where all the dosh from the non-refundable application fees will go/is going/has gone. I'm guessing that's a substantial windfall over their previous funding.

I presume ICANN were hoping that any mega-globo-corp would panic and buy their .brand. Typically though these things work the other way, since tehre's a high barrier to entry for a .brand it's unlikely squatters will ever buy it. And if they did the mega-globo-corp could just sue the squatters into oblivion. So actually no real point in registering. You see the same with ltd.uk .plc.uk etc, noone bothers to register them because noone else can register them.

</ramble>

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Lollipop licked: KitKat still king in Android land

batfastad
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Re: Anonymous fandroid coward

I bet 90+% of laptops purchased with Windows run the original version they shipped with. There'll certainly be some re-formatting and re-installing the original version. But I don't know many who would bother to buy and install an upgrade to a newer version. Most would just buy a new laptop running the newer version.

With phones it's even more likely people will just buy a new one, typical contract length is what 1.5-2 years. When you've got operator's foot on the upgrade hosepipe that already has the manufacturer's foot on it further up, then it's usually easier to just wait and buy it new. Also, new version of Android with some different eye-candy, would anyone non-technical actually care enough to bother upgrading?

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Pastebin: The remote backdoor server for the cheap and lazy

batfastad
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Re: wp_nonce_once

Part of Wordpress, it's full of dodgy code.

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Google casts about for wireless audio

batfastad
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Lol. The NEET adaptor I bought supports APTX but my phone (Moto G original (which is excellent btw)) doesn't. Still sounds really good without IMO.

When buying new laptops I always format and re-install everything manually. The bluetooth driver package was always the biggest of the lot, often in the 150MB+ range.

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batfastad
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Bluetooth

Bought a bluetooth to optical dongle about a year ago to plug in to my receiver. Works great and sounds great. I'd always totally written bluetooth off as having the sound quality of an underwater potato but things have moved on.

Streaming local media, spotify, google play music etc from phones, tablets and laptop is really good. So much so, the missus actually uses it, consistently and deliberately!

Have never had to re-pair the bluetooth connections to phones/tablets either which means it's really quick to connect and go.

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The weirdly-synched life of the Google Nest household

batfastad
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Solutions

Looking for problems. With some "cloud" marketing guff spaffed on top.

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Revealed: This year's STUDENT RACK WARS winner

batfastad
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Pics or it didn't happen.

Pics or it didn't happen.

And splitting the article over 3 pages with about 4 paragraphs per page is annoying. Bumps up yer ad impressions though I spose.

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GCHQ: We can't track crims any more thanks to Snowden

batfastad
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Megaphone

Suspected

So what they mean is they can't track *suspected* criminals anymore. Suspected should mean nothing. Anyone could suspect anyone of anything, and say it loudly enough it can become true. I want evidence not presumption and if there's enough evidence of a crime having been committed then it should be trivial to obtain a warrant and poke that under the noses of communications providers.

They overstepped the limits of the legal framework, just like the baddies. And they know it.

Normal law-abiding peons and suspected criminals/transvestites/activists/terrorists/ghosts/aliens/jobsworth civil servants have got themselves their very own technological equivalent of the Wilson Doctrine. Seems only fair to me, even if I don't like the fact that bad people do bad things. Hurrah for normal law-abiding peons and suspected criminals/transvestites/activists/terrorists/ghosts/aliens/jobsworth civil servants everywhere!

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STAY AWAY: Popular Tor exit relays look raided

batfastad
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Re: If you've nothing to hide ...

Yep, I use Tor every so often for mundanely pointless browsing.

But remember kids, please don't pull your t0rrents of "Miss Congeniality Cruise Control 2 Return Of The King" or any other generic Holywood tripe down through it.

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Staples comes clean: 1+ million bank cards at risk after hack

batfastad
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Norks

Staples CIO: "It's dem pesky North Koreuns again. There are genwine US lives at risk if we can't sell stationary to US citizens. So Obama, can u nuke them for us plz? Thx"

Seriously though, how is the US so backward when it comes to buying things in shops?

I've never been a huge fan of chip and pin because it's easier to give someone a kicking to get their pin and withdraw a bunch cash. At least forging a signature in a shop requires a vague amount of practice. The only reason I can think of is to place the burden of security (and blame for fraud) onto the account holder. Also pin codes, only 4 digits!?

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