* Posts by AndrueC

3010 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

'Leave EU means...' WHAT?! Britons ask Google after results declared

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: So how long before ...

The selling price of the first thing I bought is not affected buy the buying price of the second.

It is if it's fungible ;)

A litre of petrol bought a year ago and stored in a can is worth the same as a litre of petrol just drawn from a pump. It takes several years for petrol to go off and until that happens a litre of petrol costs what a litre of petrol costs regardless of where it comes from.

You could be honest and have the price vary minute by minute but capitalism isn't a fundamentally honest economic system. Prices tend to go up faster than they tend to go down.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: So how long before ...

So why should fuel at the pump rise?

Because it's bought (mainly) in Dollars and the Pound is falling against the Dollar.

Sorry for injecting a sensible comment on Friday evening. Maybe I do need that fourth glass of wine.

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Zuck covers up mic and cam pickup because sharing isn't always good

AndrueC
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Re: I actually spy on my camera and mic

Nope, no Bluetooth. It does have an Ethernet socket but it's not enabled on my model.

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Zuckerberg is running Thunderbird

I'm clinging on to TheBat. It has a good macro language. I just wish they'd fix a couple of issues with IMAP. One of them means it can't read some emails in text only mode.

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: I actually spy on my camera and mic

I have to say I was quite taken aback when I found the anti virus update settings on it and suddenly realised I had bought a really thin wall mounted computer, with a microphone built in.

I was a bit taken aback when I discovered that the one of the hidden menu items on my TV enabled a CLI. Mind you I couldn't do much with it as it doesn't have a USB socket so no way for me to attach a keyboard. I can only assume that either there's a hidden USB socket inside or perhaps someone makes keyboards that use an HDMI cable.

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AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Taping over the mic has no effect at all, it's just another membrane.

Sellotape won't do much, but Duck tape will have quite an effect.

Sounds quackers to me.

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Holy Crap! Bloke finishes hand-built CPU project!

AndrueC
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Will it run Windows 10?

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Professor slams digital efforts of 'website-obsessed' government

AndrueC
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Meh

A professor of digital governance

A what now?

Weerakkdody is not the first government IT watcher to observe that many digital transformation efforts over the last 20 years have effectively reinvented and rediscovered the same things.

He gets paid to watch and comment on government IT? That must be a boring job. How many different ways can you say 'badly planned', 'badly implemented', 'too expensive' and 'waste of money'?

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DARPA demands brand-new command … IN SPAAACE!

AndrueC
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Alert

A direct link to the brain is probably the ultimate command centre.

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London Mayor election day bug forced staff to query vote DB by hand

AndrueC
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Joke

SELECT winner FROM candidates;

Simples.

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Password reset: 45 million creds leak from popular .com forums

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Hi, it's 18atcskd2w here...

..especially when it doesn't contain any symbols.

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Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Does it start with

Don't forget Asterix, he held out against the Romans

Something they found very gaulling.

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TalkTalk scam-scammers still scam-scamming

AndrueC
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Childcatcher

Re: I think you should have a warning here.

Something about never giving unexpected callers access to your computer.

Or best of all: Never give unexpected callers the time of day.

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Would YOU start a fire? TRAPPED in a new-build server farm

AndrueC
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Stop

Re: I trust that

Some things that sound funny really aren't. Being trapped in a cupboard at home while doing some cleaning sounds funny. But it isn't.

As I live alone I'm now very concious of the need to always have a telephone handy.

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King Tut's iron dagger of extraterrestrial origin

AndrueC
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It probably belonged to his father, like a lot of his treasure is assumed to. Tut wasn't around long enough to acquire much personal wealth. 'Luckily' for him his father seems to have been universally despised after his death so Tut's treasure probably comes from there (and/or his mother's tomb).

It's always struck me as amusing that one of Egypt's least important and possibly least powerful rulers is the one everyone knows today. So much of his treasure probably survived because his tomb was forgotten along with him. If the Egyptian afterlife exists he'll be laughing his arse off since being remembered is how they achieved immortality.

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Smartwatches: I hate to say ‘I told you so’. But I told you so.

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: There is *something* somewhere ...

I wonder if it would work best on a chain attached to the waist. Or perhaps on a person's wrist with a band to anchor it.

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Intel's new plan: A circle that starts in your hand and ends in the cloud

AndrueC
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WTF?

The phrase 'Jack of all trades' springs to mind for some reason.

And of course the gateway itself becomes far more easily upgradable, a nice change from the mostly dumb broadband boxes sold today.

So they can guarantee that the box will have the CPU and storage resources required to meet forthcoming protocols? Let's look at this through the filter of IT history.

Are they really suggesting that such a generic box that was originally used to process ADSL 1 and to distribute IPv4 packets around could be upgraded to support G.FAST and IPv6?

Or that a box that originally rendered SD video in the early 00s by offloading decoding to the cloud would still be capable of rendering 4k video this year? Would they have had the foresight to fit it with an HDMI socket? Would it have enough grunt to throw that many more pixels around?

These would have been either a miracle of engineering or an expensively over engineered solutions. I'd be very interested to know how they implement a DAC in a way that can be upgraded.

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Surface Book nightmare: Microsoft won't fix 'Sleep of Death' bug

AndrueC
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Meh

Eventually I contacted Microsoft again by online chat

Did you buy it from Microsoft? In the UK at least your contract is with the retailer and they should be the people you contact. Also at less than six months since purchase the assumption is that it's a manufacturing defect. Not sure how it works in the US but over here I'd just take the item back to the shop and demand a refund. It's not a slam dunk after more than 30 days but with something like a laptop it's unlikely they could refuse. They'd find it difficult to prove otherwise and most would just cave in and pay you to go away.

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Dropbox gets all up in your kernel with Project Infinite. Cue uproar

AndrueC
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Facepalm

Reminds of many (many, many) years ago when there was a series of letters published in Amstrad User I think it was asking what 'CPC' stood for as in 'CPC464' and 'CPC6128'. It took three more publications (three months I guess) before someone wrote in to say that in one corner of the main unit/keyboard were the words 'Colour Personal Computer'.

Sad to say I'd missed that as well despite being a proud owner of a CPC6128 nearly two years.

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AndrueC
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Stop

Sounds like a lot of risk for too little gain. And..surely they mean they are now using IFS not Copy Hook handlers? Did they try CHH then fall back to IFS? I struggle to see how anything going on on the local machine can be a performance bottleneck if you are getting data over the internet.

Edit: Ah! I get it. With Windows they can use COM, but under Linux they have to hook into the kernel.

Anyway it all sounds too hairy for my tastes. I'd rather they not do it.

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In-flight movies via BYOD? Just what I always wan... argh no we’re all going to die!

AndrueC
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Meh

Pre-flight checks?

Back in January I and a few other people sat on the apron at Birmingham for an hour and a half while engineers tried to fix a fault in the cockpit. Eventually they left and we were told that although they hadn't been able to fix the problem it wasn't an important instrument so they'd cleared us to take off.

So..important enough to spend an hour and a half trying to fix but not important enough to cancel the flight.

I see :-/

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German boffins smash records with 37km wireless spurt at 6Gbps

AndrueC
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Joke

Raining on their parade a little bit.

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Shakes on a plane: How dangerous is turbulence?

AndrueC
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Meh

I find it a bit unnerving but not usually hugely so. But there was one time when it scared me. We were just leaving Manchester and entering the cloud layer. It felt like a significant drop and the engines that had been throttled back a little ramped back up again. Definitely a bit sphincter tightening for a moment :-/

But the worst turbulence was in the approach to Chicago back in '04. The flight out of San Jose had already been delayed because of storms in the area so I think we might have been amongst the first going in. That was up, down, left, right. Engines up, engines back for almost the entire approach. That didn't bother me as much presumably because I was expecting it.

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Google Chrome deletes Backspace

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Don't care about backspace

Ok! Who took Neil's delete key?

No-one. It's a delete key. He pressed it and it deleted itself.

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AndrueC
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Thank you Google! This has affected me a fair few times. On some sites it's just an annoyance because you can go forward again but on some sites you lose the information entered. El Reg seems particularly irritating because when you go forward again your comment text is still in the edit box. But as soon as you click on it the text is taken away.

You guys once never got to see an excellent response I tried to post because of this problem. I just couldn't face having to type that fifty line response a second time. Your loss, I guess :D

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Mads Torgersen and Dustin Campbell on the future of C#

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Null pointers

And (as with so many of these simplifications) you end up with code that is less readable to someone not expert in C#

Yup, what goes around comes around. I've been programming since the 80s and when I started brevity was key because of scarce resources. Then verbosity gained the upper hand because resources were relatively plentiful and it made maintenance easier. Now it seems we're going back to brevity apparently in order to hide complexity from people (at least I assume that's what's behind it).

But obv. YMMV, what is "readable" is a very different matter if a big C# only dev team

Very true. LINQ can produce code that's only readable if you understand LINQ (or possible SQL). But a C# programmer who isn't familiar with LINQ is arguably not a very good C# programmer.

Plus some shorts bypass useful control. I still don't like the use of {}s for class construction in C#. I'd rather have multiple ctors are ctors with optional parameters.

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AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Null pointers

without having to test whether dictionary exists, then whether helper exists, then whether getAdaptor returns non-null, then whether getProperty returns non-null.

That already exists. It's called the null propagator. It's quite handy actually but feels a little lazy :)

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AndrueC
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Re: Null pointers

Actually, yes, similar to references. It's been a few years so they'd slipped my mind. But C# pointers are not quite the same because it's a garbage collecting language. They are more akin to smart pointers. We do instantiate a class via new:

var fred=new Person();

but when we pass an object to a method:

kill(fred);

We don't think of it as passing a pointer to fred, we just think of it as passing fred.

And if Kill() wants to take its own copy:

void kill(Person aPerson)

{

_myListOfKilledPeople.Add(aPerson);

...do the actual killing.

}

It's not a problem. Dear old fred will hang around for at least as long as he's needed. The only downside is that we won't know exactly when he finally pops his clogs. On the occasions where that matters using() is the closest we have to RAII, though most people seem to use try/finally instead :(

Pointers generally only crop up in unsafe code eg; talking to the Windows API. But even there p/invoke does a pretty good job of hiding pointers as well:

// C++ (NativeLib.dll)

void print_line(const char* str);

// C#

[DllImport("NativeLib.dll")]

private static extern void print_line(string str);

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AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Null pointers

This isn't about the underlying value. In C# NULL (actually 'null') is a keyword. It has a very specific meaning of 'doesn't point to anything'. It's underlying numeric value is already irrelevant. A C# pointer isn't just an integer that the compiler lets you dereference. A pointer is a specific thing and has dedicated semantics. This means it can be tracked through the code using analysis. In

C#/.NET allows for better analysis so the compiler (and the IDE thanks to Roslyn) can understand the concept. What they seem to be suggesting is allowing a variable to have a '?' suffix to indicate that NULL values are permissable. So with this change any code that currently issues the warning 'Possible System.NulReference Exception' wouldn't compile unless the variable had a '?' suffix. That coupled with static analysis would ensure that pointers which should never be null will, in fact, never be null.

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World goes SIM-free, leaving Sony and HTC trailing behind

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: IPhone Redesign

You could definitely add better battery life to smartphones...

Back when it was normal to be able to replace the battery that was easy. My S3 Neo now has a 4.3AH battery and I only need to charge it once a week normally (admittedly aside from streaming music over bluetooth for an hour every lunch time it has a fairly quiet life).

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5% of drivers want Nigel Farage to be their in-car robo butler

AndrueC
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Joke

TT>"I'm lost, I give up."

Driver>"You can't do that!"

TT>"Oh all right, I'll take you a bit further then if you insist."

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Vodafone posts uptick in Europe but UK still a challenge

AndrueC
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Mushroom

They might have more if their customer service wasn't so crap.

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UK needs comp sci grads, so why isn't it hiring them?

AndrueC
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Meh

3. Coding isn't hard

Coding well is. Or at least requires knowledge that can only be built up over time. There's a lot more to good coding than simply understanding a programming language and knowing how to string logical steps together.

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Walmart sues Visa for being too lax with protecting chip cards

AndrueC
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Re: Zip code for non-US cards

Lol. It appears that I may have accidentally entered a valid zip code. I mean, obviously not valid for me but I'm guessing it was enough to pass the UI validation to let the transaction proceed. Deeper into the system the code was presumably ignored because it had no way to check against a foreign issuer.

The advantage of being a software developer I reckon. I assumed that all zeros wouldn't be valid :)

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AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Zip code for non-US cards

And that means that they do not accept foreign credit cards.

I've never had any problems when I've visited the US. I only ever keep $50 in my wallet for emergencies and never needed it. I've paid for taxis, food, car rentals and some general purchases with my card. I was asked for a zip code at a couple of petrol stations in California but I just typed '111111' and the transaction went ahead.

There's a discussion here.

But it is odd how the US does sometimes lags behind in certain areas. Chip & PIN has been standard in the UK for a decade now. And of course there's still a lot of check (sic) transactions over there. I wonder if it's related to the fragmented nature of their banking system?

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Label your cables: A cautionary tale from the server room

AndrueC
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Facepalm

Labelling everything is a good idea. Including command line prompts for multi-user systems.

I remember many years back when I was working with Sco Xenix. We had several servers (386 PCs) and from time to time they'd get a bit sluggish then fall over. So us admins were expected to shut them them down cleanly at the first sign of trouble rather than having to rely on fsck. One of the problems though was actually getting logged in because sometimes they didn't even have the resources left to do that.

So this one time we all noticed a problem with one of the servers so I shot off my chair, and dived into the server room. As luck would have it I discovered that the offending machine already had a root prompt sat waiting. So I quickly typed the shutdown command and breathed a sigh of relief. It was short lived though because the next thing I saw was a message 'Connection terminated by remote host' and from the machine behind me came the unmistakable sounds of a a server winding down..

After that day we made sure that every root user included the machine name in its prompt.

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A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

AndrueC
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Re: it amazes me..

Most people don't. Most people barely get 5Mb over copper.

Not true.

My first citation.

My second citation.

Almost everyone living in a town or city in the UK has access to FTTC and double-digit speeds. The number of people with nothing better than 5Mb/s available to them is going to be small. Probably less than 10% by now. Maybe less than 5%.

You might also want to read this.

A more accurate statement would be: 'A small number of people continue to struggle with single digit speeds'. Note the change from 'most' to 'a small number'. It's still an issue but we're more likely to get a resolution if we approach it from the right direction and don't completely ignore the progress that has been made over the last few years.

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London NHS trust fined £180,000 after second bcc fail on HIV email list

AndrueC
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Meh

Whilst I wouldn't say that Outlook is awful - I'd actually agree that it's one of the better clients - it does have a few annoying foibles.

The searching is poor. It starts off badly by not using the de-facto standard Ctrl+F as the shortcut for search and goes downhill after that.

The difficulty of changing the font size on the folder pane is also a nuisance to those of us with ageing eyes.

As for CC - I hate it with a passion. I rely on DEA for my spam protection and I do not want my custom addresses sent to everyone.

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Sic transit Mercury Monday

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: By the way...

Slide a bit of paper under it instead. I'm not kidding

How do you slide a bit of paper under the sun?

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Small broadband firms aren't fussed about getting access to BT's ducts and poles

AndrueC
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Stop

Re: "Former" is a slightly misleading description

we were actually much better off when the network we paid (and are still paying) for lay entirely under our control

The hell we were.

Nice R&D department, naff all chance of funding from government to actually deploy anything. Party lines abounded. You could have any telephone you wanted as long as you rented it from the GPO and didn't mind the limited range of choice. You could get an engaged tone as soon as you finished dialling the area code. Call costs were painful. Calls were unreliable. Call quality was often poor.

I don't want to be accused of being a BT 'fanboi' but I don't see how anyone old enough to remember the network before BT took over could possibly advocate going back to that way of running things.

And even if you aren't old enough to remember the GPO shambles - why would anyone think that handing control of the UK's telecommunications network to a government organisation would be a good idea? Is there any large IT project that they have managed successfully? And do we really want Theresa May and her ilk getting their hands even more firmly stuck into things?

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Google, Honeywell put away Nest patent knives

AndrueC
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WTF?

Re: Nah

there's an option for remote access, but it's just that - an option.

Lol, according to the original brochure the CM67 has:

Telephone Interface (optional) can be fitted to the CM67 to allow switching between programmed mode (slider position) and fixed set-point of 21 oC.

Whatever the hell that means. The mind boggles :D

Edit: Even more LOL - you can still buy them!

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AndrueC
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Re: Nah

I have a Honeywell CM67. It does almost everything the 'smart' ones do (including optimum start) but is not a security risk, hasn't ever missed a leap year and thanks to its RC module the clock never needs adjusting.

Learning ability is not necessary because like most people my life is fairly predictable and it's easy enough to program times into the unit.

It cost me about £50 ten years ago plus two replaced AA batteries two or three years ago.

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Windows 10 free upgrade offer ends on July 29th

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: They're going to remove May?

Hopefully Theresa.

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You can always rely on the Ancient Ones to cock things up

AndrueC
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Happy

Re: Oh so true (the water feature)

whilst asking how the heck the cable got so tangled when you installed the setup all so neatly last time.

It's cos of Entropy, apparently.

Disclaimer: I am not a scientist.

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AndrueC
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Unhappy

They are simply doing it on purpose to piss us off.

I defy any reader to tell me they don’t experience this on a regular basis at work

Oh, yes. A month ago I needed to communicate with HMRC. So right from the off you can guess that I wasn't starting from a 'happy place'. So I follow my normal procedure of grabbing my credentials from the fire safe (I can't remember the random numbers and letters they gave me for my password and user name). Click login and..whut?..passport number? FFS. Is this really the HMRC site? Yes. Bah. Go back to fire safe. Get passport. Type bloody number. Click.

Bloody mobile bloody phone bloody number?

Typitty type. Click.

<five minutes later>. This is pathetic. HMRC can't even send a 2FA SMS. Pick mobile phone up to share a whinge with friend.

'Not registered on network'.

Eh? Bloody worked half an hour ago. Reboot phone 'cos sometimes it does this.

'No signal'.

Stomp over to Vodafone Sure Signal. Note slow paced disco simulation from second LED.

Stomp out into garden then do the 'how high can I hold the phone' dance. Text arrives from HMRC. Go back inside expecting round of applause from neighbours.

Turns out the important message from HMRC was that they hadn't managed to progress my query yet. Vodafone eventually fixed the problem with Sure Signal five days later.

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BT to splash £550m integrating EE. Firm shrugs: Cheap!

AndrueC
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Joke

You forgot to point out that BT is a former state owned monopoly ;)

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Skygazers: Brace yourselves for a kick in the Aquarids

AndrueC
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Joke

Wow. That bull will be really moo-ving when it hits the atmosphere.

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Flinging Slack at them won't get team talking – senior Etsy engineer

AndrueC
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Happy

Slack certainly doesn't help me. For some unfathomable reason the Windows client just will not display alerts for me. My colleagues get them but despite our best efforts I seem to be in some kind of 'alert black spot'. It's a bit annoying sometimes when the CI server bleats but to be honest when it's an operational issue it's quite handy :)

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