* Posts by AndrueC

3160 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

Londoners react with horror to Tube Chat initiative

AndrueC
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Joke

My wife attracts the crazies on public transport.

Where did you meet her?

(sorry).

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That's cold: This is how our boss told us our jobs are at risk, staffers claim

AndrueC
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Re: Dilbert

More Dilbert.

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

I've been lucky not to be made redundant very often but in my second job the process was, frankly, horrific. It occurred back in the early 90s.

We worked in a long, narrow office (basically a corridor with cubicles on either side). We were all told to go home at 3pm and come back the next day when we'd find out who was going. The next day we got to work and then everyone was called up to the manager's office in turn. After a ten minute chat they got to walk back past us all either smiling or otherwise.

I think I waited over an hour before my turn came :-/

I still don't know if it was management sadism or stupidity but it's a memory I'll never forget. I feel entirely justified in saying that it was Pegasus Software that did it when they dumped their PegIX development team.

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Pull the plug! PowerPoint may kill my conference audience

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Re: Oh Dear

* My phone uses more battery during the day than my old one did.

Actually this is no longer true. The battery is holding the second charge very well. Even though I've now white-listed several apps as 'do not sleep' it's managing 10% a day discharge. My Neo had an extended 4600maH battery and discharged at around 12% per day so the S7 Edge is a lot better in that respect.

I got the new phone on Tuesday and I've only had to charge it twice. It was last charged Saturday night and is on 84% at the moment. Can't complain about that :)

To be fair (sorta) Android Marshmallow users will only experience sync issues if they enable power saving. But it does seem pretty silly that Calendar, Contacts sync and GMail are not white listed by default :-/

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: SureSignal

Do Vodafone still make you pay for a SureSignal?

Yes. £100 officially I think but I got them to knock £50 off because I was a new customer. It also consumes 10w in use so probably about £1 a month added to your leccy bill. Data transferred over it comes out of your allowance as well, although of course most phones will be on wifi when in range so probably less of an issue.

I've ditched mine as of this weekend. SS doesn't support 4G and after all the faffing around and talking with support it turns out that's why my phone has been ignoring it. Not that their support knew. Me and another guy on their forums guessed at that explanation at the same time Sunday morning. If I disabled 4G it connected immediately. Luckily the recent mast upgrades do seem to mean that I'm now in an adequate signal area anyway. And I also now have wifi calling to fall back on.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: SureSignal

And for anyone else not getting notifications on their shiny new Android phone I can confirm the fix:

You need to exclude the app(s) from battery optimisation.

This concludes this public service announcement. Be careful out there.

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AndrueC
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Re: Ho Hum

It's like making backups: sound advice is rarely followed.

But to be fair I earned a living over fifteen years off the back of people not having adequate backups. Every cloud etc.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: SureSignal

Are you using the same number and the same SIM? I recently moved to a new phone and needed a new SIM. SureSignal didn't work with the new phone.

Yah, that's what I've now been advised but apparently it's best to leave a 24 hour gap between de-registering and re-registering.

Ironically the main reason I upgraded was to get wifi calling as an alternative to the SS because my previous phone couldn't always be bothered to switch to the SS. What I've now found is that although I have wifi calling enabled the S7 Edge considers 1 signal bar to be perfectly adequate. So either wifi calling isn't working or else it only works in total no signal areas :(

I've also found that it might be battery optimisation causing the syncing and notification issues. So I've removed a few of the affected apps from battery optimisation so maybe that will fix them. Of course that will probably increase battery drain a bit more.

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AndrueC
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Ain't technology marvellous. I upgraded my phone this week. Went from a Samsung S3 Neo to a Samsung S7 Edge. It's not been entirely smooth sailing:

* I had to wait over an hour to activate the new SIM because Vodafone's systems were down on Tuesday afternoon supposedly for maintenance.

* My SureSignal 3 still steadfastly refuses to allow my S7 Edge to connect to it.

* My phone is incapable of notifying me of anything other than SMS and calls. Email arriving? Apparently that's no longer worthy of note. In fact Google Mail won't even let me refresh it. Good job I never use gmail for anything important.

* Google Calendar can't sync. It will be back shortly(*).

Apparently the notification issue is something to do with the power saving features of Android 6.0.1. Oh I forgot another issue:

* My phone uses more battery during the day than my old one did.

(*)Don't call me Shortly.

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The Great British domain name rip-off: Overcharged .uk customers help pay for cheaper .vodka

AndrueC
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Unhappy

I've often wondered why .me.uk isn't cheaper. Looking around now it seems to be the same price as .co.uk and .org.uk. I suppose it's an improvement on when I first registered my domain. Back then (shortly after introduction) it was cheaper to register a .com :-/

Is it an attempt to avoid companies registering it? Surely the answer there is just to police it better.

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'Faceless' Liberty Global has 'sucked the very soul' out of Virgin Media

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Happy

On the plus side at least now VM is making a profit.

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Vodafone UK blocks bulk nuisance calls. Hurrah!

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To be fair to Vodafone (harrumph) I got a text today saying that Wifi calling was active on my account. The missing menu option appeared and now it's activated.

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AndrueC
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Crappy Vodafone service is still a thing though.

Today I took delivery of a new S7 Edge. First-off I had to wait over two hours this afternoon to activate the new SIM card because their systems were down for maintenance. No web site, no live chat. Got through to someone on the phone and they said they couldn't help and I'd just have to wait until their systems came back up. Secondly it turns out that you can't enable Wifi calling because a recent update has removed the menu option. Latest word is that Vodafone are hoping it will come back with the next update.

Meanwhile I'm waiting for my Sure Signal to accept the new SIM. Apparently I have little choice but to wait. Some people have had success by removing the phone from the whitelist and adding it back but I can't do that because my number is the 'owner'.

Their anti cold calling sounds good..but right now my phone is so borderline useless that I don't need special blocking technology :-/

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IPv4 apocalypse means we just can't measure the internet any more

AndrueC
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Re: And who told you I want to be measured?

Of course, the IPv4 legacy will be around for many years.

Certainly will in Blighty where all but one of our biggest ISPs do not yet fully (or at all) support IPv6. Last I heard of the 'big six' only Sky was getting close to complete with their roll out. BT might be complete in early 2017. TT I don't think has current plans. Plusnet appears not to have current plans.

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AndrueC
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Re: And who told you I want to be measured?

NAT will not prevent your ISP, or anyone who can strongarm them, from making connections to any of your LAN machines.

But even if you have a router that does that it still excludes 99% of miscreants on the WAN side and therefore still provides significant security benefits. If someone has strong-armed my ISP to that extent all bets are off anyway.

Of course NAT on its own is not enough but NAT+<firewall> is still (IMO) more secure than <firewall> on its own.

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Re: And who told you I want to be measured?

when in fact your ISP (or anyone who can strongarm them) can easily connect to your LAN machines, even with a NATing router in the path.

Rubbish. Even if you know my public IP address there's nothing you or anyone else can do to initiate an inbound connection to my PC. Even if I told you its IP address you'd still not be able to target it.

A firewall could conceivably fail to block a new incoming connection to a LAN address. It's easy to imagine how a simple bug could let that happen. It is hard to imagine how a bug in NAT could result in an incoming connection request actually getting routed to a machine on the LAN.

Now of course there are plenty of other things that NAT alone can't protect you against but NAT+<firewall> is more secure than just <firewall> alone.

And no, I've not had any problems with games consoles. A friend has had but that's down to network fragmentation and Sony. Been doing a lot of things at home over NAT for over a decade. Ain't never caused me any problems.

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AndrueC
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Re: And who told you I want to be measured?

Otherwise, bugger off.

But...but..NAT is the work of the Deviiiil! It breaks the internet. Just because every application you've ever used at home has worked just fine and just because it inherently improves your security is no excuse.

We who own the internet don't like it. You should listen to us. Most of us have beards.

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2,000 year old man found dead near 2,000 year old computer

AndrueC
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"Getting Windows ready. Don't turn off your computer"

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Brave telco giants kill threat of decent internet service in rural North Carolina

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Childcatcher

Re: The US constitution is wrong

Corporations are people too. Except they can't die or go to gaol for their crimes...

..or be taxed.

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Azure is on fire, your DNS is terrified

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Re: High availability

Two hours of downtime during the six months we've been using Azure to host our product. Seems pretty reasonable to me. We don't need perfection and I doubt a team our size could set up and maintain the system we have using our own hardware. Our IT guy can barely keep up with office needs, let alone maintain a growing server farm.

Anytime we need a new machine (to scale up or just for some devops work) it only takes ten minutes. Spin up half a dozen for a test, kill 'em off a day later.

A couple of hours downtime..meh. Our client's work got backed up for a while then went through. No biggie.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: In preview

Trouble is it seems to be affecting other services which are not in preview. Things seem to be coming back now though.

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Google tries to lure .NET devs with PowerShell cloud bait

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: I like to imagine Powershell

Get-ErrorFromTeacher -messageText "WRONG" -outputType Shouting -directInto Ear -distance TooCloseForComfort

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Phones exploding in kids' hands, shares tanking – but it's not all good news at Samsung

AndrueC
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Re: Galaxy Note 7...

You're going to get flamed over those puns.

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Excel abuse hits new heights as dev uses VBA to code spreadsheet messaging app

AndrueC
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Facepalm

Yeah, fair comment about the nomenclature, guys. Guilty as charged. I used to develop data recovery software (I was the file system expert ironically) so I do know better. I tried to stick with the program but I'm a Windows developer and no longer in the data recovery field. Just run of the mill consumer stuff. So I've had to give in. Too many meetings where people are talking about folders. Too much documentation (and code) I have to write and share with people.

Please forgive me - we all have to earn a living :)

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AndrueC
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I once wrote a Unix emulator in Amstrad BASIC. I even gave it a version of troff and email. The disk subsystem was derived from CP/M so I had to emulate folders using user areas. Luckily the CPC allowed you to select up to 255 areas so it was quite effective.

It didn't really do multi-tasking but you could set up an alarm that 'rang' at a future time.

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33 million CLEARTEXT creds for Russian IM site dumped by chap behind Last.FM mess

AndrueC
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FAIL

33 million - ouch.

Clear text - WT bloody F?

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Self-stocking internet fridge faces a delivery come down

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Hopefully this will eliminate the wrong turnings due to Google Maps’ erroneous audio guide that frequently yet inaccurately tells me to “turn left” when I should “turn right” (and vice-versa) regardless of what the street map itself indicates on-screen.

So I'm not the only one? Most of the time I use it in pedestrian mode the arrow points the wrong way.

Mind you it was weird using it around Hanwell Fields in Banbury because some of the pedestrian snickets have names. Somehow that made it seem more personal.

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Really – 80% FTTP in UK by 2026? Woah, ambitious!

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Yes to VM. And it does sound like INCA would be happy to do that. I think what we want is all infrastructure providers offering a wholesale service. Open the market up properly like the National Grid does for power.

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AndrueC
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Happy

And of course to ensure customer choice INCA members will all agree to provide a wholesale service so that other Communication Providers can compete with the fibre owner and sell alternative services over it.

Just like BT has to.

This is a serious suggestion. If INCA really intends to move out of the niche market and compete nationally (especially if it expects to get government funding) it will have to provide a wholesale product. All CPs (including BT retail) will have to be given the opportunity to sell services over the fibre on a level playing field.

I'm pretty sure that's what locked these altnets out of BDUK. It destroyed the RoI.

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Plusnet broadband outage: Customers fume as TITSUP* continues

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I must be leading a charmed life. My TBB monitor only shows a short outage at 12pm.

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BT needs to ditch its legacy to be competitive, says chief architect

AndrueC
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Re: Fibre to the premises not copper?

Your assumption is unsafe. Many appliances required physical changes to be converted from coal gas to natural gas

Well okay, yes, from a technical perspective. But what I meant was what difference did it make to the consumer? The only difference you've pointed out so far is that changing is a pain in the arse so actually I might rather you leave my supply alone.

My house would be as warm in winter on coal gas as it is on natural gas. Thus there is no pressure from me on my supplier to change and maybe even some resistance to it. However if my internet connection is out of date it damn' sure impacts my life and there would be considerable pressure from me if I was still stuck on an analogue modem.

So I don't see them as comparable roll-outs.

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AndrueC
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Re: Fibre to the premises not copper?

One difference between mains and coal gas is that gas is fungible. If I was still being piped coal gas it probably wouldn't matter (I don't know - I'm assuming that my boiler would burn either without any difference).

But if I was still using my 56k USR Robotics box while waiting for BT to finish rolling out FTTP that would definitely matter.

I found the article I talked about in my first post..

"So with an engineering team 19 times bigger at Openreach, in four years working at the same rate they would passed 855,000 premises with FTTH, or if they had started in 2009 we would have 1.5 million FTTH premises passed. Of course to scale this up to a roll-out that matches the VDSL2 footprint of 23 to 24 million premises, it is not a simple multiplier as the number busy dealing with existing copper issues will remain static, so lets assume around half the Openreach staff are involved in the FTTH roll-out and the rest are doing the usual faults and installs. Scaling this up Openreach would need an extra 130,000 staff with an annual wage bill of £2.6 billion to have kept pace (Openreach engineer starting salary is in the £19,000 to £21,000 region, and we have ignored the extra costs of training, fleet vehicles etc for this simple projection)."

Ouch.

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AndrueC
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Re: Fibre to the premises not copper?

Did you read the bit about legacy systems? It's not just software he's talking about. 90% of BT's physical telephony network is legacy. That's a helluva lot of copper that's already in place and proving to still be at least quite useful to most people.

BT can't just wave a magic wand and replace their copper with fibre overnight. It's been calculated by another web site that it would take at least ten years even if the entire country dedicated itself to the task. It's not even just about money. We simply don't have enough telecoms engineers at the moment. Not even if we could rely on immigrants. We'd have to undertake a massive training and recruitment drive. Universities would have to be on board to ensure we have enough courses. Schools would probably have to be on board to encourage students to take that career path.

During the FTTP roll-out you'd probably see no further development of BT's network. Probably even worse standards of repair and longer lead times for new installations. The site that ran some numbers implied that if BT had gone that route instead of DSL back in the late 90s they still wouldn't have finished and those of you currently unlucky enough to be on crappy ADSL would still be on analogue modems.

And you know all those telecoms engineers? I think the site reckoned on 40,000 eventually being required. That's great. But what do you do with those after the ten years are up? Fibre needs less maintenance than copper. So now you have maybe 30,000+ telecoms engineers out of work. Universities laying off hundreds of lecturers and mothballing class rooms.

I don't agree with all that BT does or has done (their proposal for G.FAST still annoys me) but you cannot just ignore the existing local loop nor the huge effort that would be required to replace it with fibre.

The biggest mistake I see is that BT wasn't forced/didn't choose to go FTTP on new builds a decade ago. A few apparently were done but in such a crappy way that copper overlays had to be added to provide the residents with ADSL. Madness!

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AndrueC
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Re: Fibre to the premises not copper?

..well the chap's name is Glass.

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UK's EE scores network reliability clean sweep, rival dwarves fume

AndrueC
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Boffin

Three wants no operator to “own more than 30 per cent of the airwaves”.

I think that what I want is an independent company controlling the transmitters. Maybe not like Openreach do with landlines but more akin to Arqiva since they seem to do a pretty good job for Freeview.

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Lose a satellite? Us? China silent on fate of Gaofen civilian/spy sat

AndrueC
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WTF?

the first stage separated correctly and crashed into Shangluo City

Ah but did it crash correctly into Shangluo City?

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'I'm sorry, your lift has had a problem and had to shut down'

AndrueC
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WTF?

WTF is with the thumbnail icon for this story? Is my browser (Chrome) broken or is it supposed to be a bloody annoying flickering image?

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HDMI hooks up with USB-C in cables that reverse, one way

AndrueC
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Re: Wonderful thing about standards....

At least with USB the connectors are standardised so there's little risk of incompatibility.

But I've been around long enough to remember IRQ and Port jumpering. And the irritations of RS232 (crossed or uncrossed always the question). So I love USB really :)

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Paint your wagon (with electric circuits) but leave my crotch alone

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:(

The chap who did mine thankfully knew what he was doing. But then he was more of a 'highly skilled handyman' than a builder. But I hate anything remotely involved with plumbing. I don't mind wiring something up to the mains but water is another matter. Electricity might kill you but at least it stays in the wires and as long as you tighten the screws is unlikely to catch you out. But water will go wherever the hell it likes and leap out at you from anywhere at any time. It can be sneaky as well as you found out. Gradually leaking out and only making its presence felt when it's done a load of damage.

I had to fit a new dishwasher(*) week before last and I'm still feeling behind the cabinet every day or so to be sure that the hose connection isn't leaking. The cooker that I replaced at the same time concerns me not one jot. It's wired. It's working. End of.

(*)Replacing one that was 17 years old so I forgave it the small puddle it made on the kitchen floor :)

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Given that my most recent experience of builders taught me that they are unaware that the waterproof silicon gel is supposed to be applied to seams inside a shower unit rather than on the outside

Not entirely true. A lot of modern shower frames are designed to leak inside so you have to seal them on the outside so that water can get out and go back into the tray. If you only seal a shower frame on the inside you may well find that it leaks.

"As mentioned, a shower should be sealed right down both wall profiles and bottom profile on the OUTSIDE and I often seal both wall channels on the inside also but the bottom profile should be left unsealed on the inside."

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Stop lights, sunsets, junctions are tough work for Google's robo-cars

AndrueC
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Unhappy

Re: Roundabouts...

The worst ones are those that have lights immediately after the exit

Yah, there's one like that on the main artery into Banbury from the M40.

It's a pedestrian crossing and quite active during rush hour. There's space for two cars to wait - the third will block one of the busiest roundabouts in the town. The council have tried to encourage people to keep it clear with road markings but honestly by the time you realise the traffic is stopped it's just too late.

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AndrueC
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Re: Roundabouts...

No fully autonomous cars have been tested at 08:30 in Birmingham, UK on a roundabout with motorway slip roads.

Or at 1630 driving through Kings Heath :(

I only commuted back that way once. After that I always just went north to get onto the M5 then round to the M42.

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AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Roundabouts...

put intelligent traffic lights on all roundabouts.

That would likely make them less efficient. Roundabouts are usually more efficient than other junctions simply because of the drivers' ability to go at 'any' time. They work really well unless overloaded in which case they fail spectacularly :-/

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Pizza delivery by drone 'trialled' in New Zealand

AndrueC
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Re: Doesn't seem very useful

What's a lazer?

A ray gun that doesn't try very hard?

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Arthur C Clarke award won by Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Re: Talking space spiders?

A Fire Upon the Deep

Is one of my favourites. It has a remarkable ability to convey the size of the galaxy. Or at least makes it feel bigger than most other books imply. The idea of it being so big that interstellar civilisations can be born and die all without ever contacting any other species. The last part of the final chapter is haunting.

"Can anyone hear me"?

:-/

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False Northern Lights alert issued to entire UK because of a lawnmower

AndrueC
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Re: Sheep

A relative of mine used to work somewhere festooned with large, low frequency aerials of the vertical type

The area involved was many acres, so they used a low tech approach for grass cutting : Magnetically inert sheep!

There might still be security concerns. I hope they were all positively vetted.

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AndrueC
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Joke

Grass can interfere with work whether you smoke it or mow it apparently :)

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Angler hooks German's todger at nudist lake

AndrueC
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Facepalm

Initially the man thought he’d caught his todger on some weeds in the lake - a popular spot for fisherman and nudists

I initially mis-read that as '..a popular sport..'.

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