* Posts by AndrueC

2705 posts • joined 6 Aug 2009

BACS Bank Holiday BALLS UP borks 275,000 payments

AndrueC
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Joke

Alternative headlines: BACS to the wall. Payroll BACS up.

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Boffins promise file system that will NEVER lose data

AndrueC
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Joke

Re: Could work

I once came up with a fantastic compression algorithm. Ratios of 100:1 on random data.

Sadly the decryption algorithm never worked.

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AndrueC
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Meh

No file system can guarantee to protect you against hardware failure though. Always take frequent backups and regularly test them by restoring to a blank system.

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Wileyfox smartphones: SD card, no bloatware, Cyanogen, big battery – yes to all!

AndrueC
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Re: Nice one .....

"You have to ask if Samsung et al are losing it, or just plainly ripping us off."

Just ripping us off...

Hang on a minute. Why can't it be both?

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Twenty years since Windows 95, and we still love our Start buttons

AndrueC
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Re: Nostalgia...

Turning off the hiding of known extensions is still one of the first things I do with a new installation. Bloody stupid idea. Mind you I also always turn on single-click and accelerator underscores :)

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AndrueC
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Happy

Win95 was the only Windows version I never used. The reason was OS/2 Warp. Back when everyone else was crashing and struggling to do two things at once I was enjoying the benefits of a proper protected mode OS. Playing Crammond's Formula One GP while downloading from CompuServe at 9600bps (good old Golden Compass - multi threading genius for the time).

But as we all know OS/2 failed in the home market so I eventually put Win98 on my home machine until WinXP came along.

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Embracing the life-changing qualities of USB power packs and battery extenders

AndrueC
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Re: No substitute for a big battery

I have one for my old S3

Me too. The 4400maH kept my S3 going for three days with fairly light use (one hour of music playback over bluetooth+regular email checks is about all most days). Earlier this year(*) I dropped my S3 and replaced it with an S3 Neo. Now that same 4400maH battery is lasting a week between charges. Or was. The last couple of charges have only lasted six days so after two years it might finally be on the way out. Still - they are only £20 on Amazon.

(*)A memorable day. Had two job interviews. First was in Banbury. Second was Milton Keynes. Thankfully I dropped the phone after the second one otherwise getting to that might have been tricky without sat nav. But then I had to work out how to get into MK centre and find a phone shop. And I normally use an app to pay parking charges but found 40p in the centre console which was the minimum I needed. And half way between my car and the shops it started snowing. Perfect weather for man in suit and posh shoes with no grip :-/

I got the first job anyway so it all worked out well :)

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The Ashley Madison files – are people really this stupid?

AndrueC
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one address for a senior member of the British civil service in a position that would make him a ripe target for blackmail.

They have pictures?

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Another root hole in OS X. We know it, you know it, the bad people know it – and no patch exists

AndrueC
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Boffin

In C/C++, NULL is an address like any other, it's 0. What usually happens is that you can't dereference a NULL pointer (read the value at address 0) because that address is not mapped to any RAM so the CPU throws a segmentation fault and the OS stops the program.

If only it was that simple :)

The reasons and mechanism for getting an exception varies by machine, by OS and whether or not you're talking about virtual address space, kernel address space or physical RAM address. I think you can read from address zero from user mode code on Windows, but not write to it. NB: I could be wrong there. I'm a C# developer these days so can't easily do a test.

Also NULL is not always 0. The standard for modern C++ says it should be but in older systems it can be something else.

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2960496/why-is-null-0-an-illegal-memory-location-for-an-object

The whole thing is rather murky and nutty. Thankfully with languages like C# and Java it's a lot less important than it used to be.

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Ofcom coverage map: 7/10 – must try harder next time

AndrueC
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4/10 as far as I'm concerned. It reckons all of Brackley should be fine indoors for all types of service from EE whereas in truth in my part (Brackley West, near A422) you'll be lucky to make a voice call on EE from indoors let alone get any data.

But they get points for trying :-/

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175 MILLION websites still powered by Windows Server 2003

AndrueC
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Re: Oh come on..

They really should be ashamed of themselves for not having a current/supported operating system.

I worked in the financial industry for a while. That left me with even less faith in their IT abilities than I had before. As outside contractors we tried to do the job properly and we mostly succeeded but it was a struggle at times. Even when replacing an old, creaking and badly implemented system they were reluctant to accept our suggestions.

I can understand 'sticking with what you know' in the financial sector but when 'what you know' is a pile of crap you ought to at least consider something new.

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AndrueC
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Re: Oh come on..

If you are a bank and have a server that is for online banking and is running an OS that is no longer supported and obsolete you really should be ashamed of yourself as you are putting your users/clients entirely at risk of fraud.

There's a lot that banks should be ashamed of. They so rarely are though.

Their solution to fraud is two fold. First they implement systems (eg Chip and Pin) where the objective is to be able to 'prove' that the customer was at fault and therefore they aren't liable. If those kind of tricks fail they cover the cost by increasing charges or adjusting the interest they charge or pay.

Their basic goal is to just transfer the cost onto their customers. Shame..is not a factor :-/

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Flying Spaghetti Monster spotted off Angolan coast

AndrueC
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Re: Heretics!

Is that the one who rules the depths of the underworld? Where the sole's go?

My soles go on my feet :D

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It's 2015, and someone can pwn Windows PCs by inserting a USB stick

AndrueC
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WTF?

Re: Can I please go back to PC-DOS?

Questions that make you go..hmmm?

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AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Can I please go back to PC-DOS?

Or CPM?

Maybe not browser bugs but I did once write a virus for CP/M when I was at polytechnic in the mid 80s. Purely as an intellectual exercise of course. Plus I wrote it on an Amstrad CPC 6128 which used 3" floppy discs so it didn't really have much opportunity to infect the wider world :)

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Monster Scalextric Formula 1 circuit to go under the hammer

AndrueC
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Spinning off into a gravel pit? What's one of them then - some kind of primitive run-off area?

<sad smile>

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Labour Party website DDoS'd by ruly democratic mob

AndrueC
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I would save that in a few hours if voting for Corbyn keeps Labour out of government...

Nationalisation and a government spending spree. What's not to like?

:D

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Cloud computing’s refuseniks: How long can they hold out?

AndrueC
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Re: A wager?

my fiver says that by then you'll see proper quality-of-service guarantees over the Internet as if it were a private WAN

Considering that almost all internet traffic goes via one or more contended links owned by more than one company at some point I also will take that bet. Even a leased line is no guarantee of successful data transmission. You might get an SLA as far as your ISP's servers but if your data leaves your ISP's network you'll struggle to enforce any particular performance.

The only way you're going to come close to a guarantee is on a true end to end dedicated link and there ain't many companies can afford that.

The public internet is one giant game of 'pass the parcel' and the fact it works at all is part of why I find it fascinating. But also why I don't see transmissions guarantees coming any time soon.

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All hail Ikabai-Sital! Destroyer of worlds and mender of toilets

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: Plumbing's easy.

Not when they're plastic pipes & the mice have chewed through one of them. They then move it inappropriately all over the floor.

Or when the drain under the kitchen sink keeps dropping out of its connection. I've fixed that now though. I wrapped an old mains cable around it and the pipe above.

BTW: I'm a computer programmer, not a qualified plumber :)

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Want to download free AV software? Don't have a Muslim name

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Big fail, by Sophos. Fail for even trying to block by name. Even bigger fail for then asking for personal details. Will they even provide a secure channel to get those details to them? Nah - they'll probably just ask you to email them.

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AndrueC
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No wonder alien life hasn't contacted us.

Maybe it has tried but the communication was blocked because the name sounded odd and 'Alpha Centauri' is clearly not a valid nationality. And imagine if they tried to visit in person. They'd do okay at an airport right up until they were asked for their passport..

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Blighty a 'smartphone society' amid rise of 4G middle class

AndrueC
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The slowdown is your phone rendering the webpage, not the connection.

I don't think so. I just tried it at home where it has wifi and it seems fine.

For what it's worth It's not actually an S3. I dropped that phone early this year. It's an S3 Neo although granted I don't think there's a great deal of difference between them. Anyway the laptop I use at home is over five years old and it renders web pages absolutely fine ;)

It could be my connection provider of course. I use Virgin Mobile and at one point in the distant past the connection speed appeared throttled. That's no longer the case though. This evening on my golf course I tried to get to a web page to remind myself how to fix my fade. It took ages for Google to display search results and I gave up waiting for web pages to finish loading. Piqued by this discussion I ran a speed test and got a very dodgy looking graph that claimed an average of 2.4Mb/s with a peak of 4Mb/s. That should be plenty for browsing.

So I think the problem is inconsistency in the throughput and/or latency. Either way despite having an 'H+' connection on the golf course I never did manage to get to any useful web pages. I couldn't afford to stand around in everyone's way for long enough.

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AndrueC
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Meh

I wonder if they took age into consideration? I doubt that many over 40s consider their phone to be their primary portal onto the web. Eyes and possibly fingers just won't be up to the job.

Personally I'm surprised anyone sees it as a primary device. I've travelled fairly widely around the UK and even in areas like central Birmingham where my phone said it had H+ the experience was irritating with lots of stops and starts and fairly slow loading. Pretty much felt like using an analogue modem.

I don't think I've ever had a browsing experience with my S3 that was even close to what I get from a computer linked to a wired connection.

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

AndrueC
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Meh

Re: Bluetooth can be a temperamental bugger..

I use BT headphones with my Galaxy S3 and they are a bit odd. For one thing they let me walk around most of the downstairs of my house while leaving the phone by my settee. At work they let me walk down a flight of stairs and into the kitchen which has a thick (converted barn) stone wall and part of the floor between.

But often just turning my head when I'm out walking can block the signal briefly.

Still - they mostly do a good job. Good enough for open air listening anyway.

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Telcos' revenge is coming as SDN brings a way to build smart pipes

AndrueC
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Re: 625 lines

Wasn't there a survey a while back that reckoned less than a third of UK households sat close enough to their TV to benefit from even HD?

And anyway I know quite a few people (most actually) who don't care enough to even ensure they have selected the HD version of a simulcast channel.

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OFFICIAL SCIENCE: Men are freezing women out of the workplace

AndrueC
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Re: re: I blame the fact that they are the marketing department.

Sadly not. I work with programmers who don't understand that opening windows lets in more hot air and stops the air-con working.

That reminds me of a discussion I had once on a forum. In the UK even in summer the temperature outside usually drops a lot at night. Even if it's been in the mid 20s during the day it's likely down to the mid-teens by 10pm and often a lot colder than the upstairs rooms of a house. So - does that mean that if you're using a portable air-conditioner to cool your bedroom it's better to leave windows open so that most of the replacement(*) air comes from outside rather than coming from the rest of the house?

I think it does but one chap in that discussion was adamant that you should never allow outside air back in when cooling. He never explained why.

(*)Because a portable AC has a hose that blows hot air out of the room. That causes negative pressure which will suck air back in from somewhere.

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AndrueC
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Facepalm

Regulations on building temperatures are responsible for 30 per cent of global carbon-dioxide emissions worldwide, and so getting this right is important.

Advising companies to turn up the thermostat is unlikely to reduce global carbon-dioxide emissions worldwide ;)

And you can always add clothes if you're cold. It's not always possible to remove them if you're hot.

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Slippery, slimy find: LEGGY, WRIGGLY fossil shows SNAKES weren't legless. Or ARMLESS

AndrueC
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Happy

bone-bothering boffins

I like it. We need something for programmers. My first thought was silicon ticklers but that sounds a bit too hardware oriented. Compiler jockeys perhaps? Visual Studio often acts like a bucking bronco.

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Now car hackers can bust in through your motor's DAB RADIO

AndrueC
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Unhappy

Re: WTF?

I assume it's down to the use of a universal communications bus. In some cars the infotainment 'has' to have some communication with the critical components so that it can do things like adjust the volume according to engine RPM. For a given value of 'has' perhaps :)

Ideally they wouldn't be on the same bus. It ought to be possible to retrieve that information using a dedicated communication link that only returns a number. But of course that's an extra bit of dedicated electronic gubbins. It's likely cheaper just to stick everything on the bus and let components talk amongst themselves. Car manufacturers will do anything to shave pennies of build cost.

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Microsoft has RECORD quarter, in a BAD way - Sad Nad slashes phone biz

AndrueC
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So unless someone can come up with a better reason then HAY ITS NEW! HAY DID WE TELL YOU ITS ALSO FREE?! I

Indeed. That's a straw man argument if ever I've heard one ;)

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Google dumps ISP email support. Virgin Media takes ball, stomps home

AndrueC
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Boffin

Re: ISP email!

I run my own email server. a Fit-PC, Windows 7 and VPOP3. It sits quietly on a shelf in my study pretty much doing it's thing without involving me. In truth it seems to spend most of its time telling spotty hacker oiks to bugger off. Legitimate email traffic is pretty rare in comparison to the flood of failed log on attempts and bounced emails.

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Here's why Whittingdale kicked a subscription BBC into the future

AndrueC
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Re: I'd like to retain a set of commercial-free TV stations

I've never got my head around the fact that you pay for subscription TV and STILL have to watch adverts!

It's because the subscription is not enough on its own. If you want advert free TV (legally) you'd be paying higher subscriptions. The industry has determined(*) what price point best suits their business model and they make up the difference through adverts.

Another way to look at it is to see the subscription as being a subsidy.

And if you don't want to watch adverts get a DVR, stop watching live TV and use the fast forward button ;)

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AndrueC
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Facepalm

Other access devices don’t have anything CI, including the BBC’s YouView box. Why would it? The designers conveniently (for the BBC) assumed everything terrestrial would always be unencrypted.

Freesat boxes don't have a CI either (or it only works if the receiver is flipped into 'manual mode'). That was a requirement of the original spec I believe.

"The BBC intends to launch a national free-to-view satellite proposition as an additional means of access for licence fee payers to access digital services, including the BBC's digital television channels and radio services. This access route will be offered on the basis of a one-off initial payment [b]with a guarantee of no ongoing subscription charges[/b]."

I wonder what the legal position would be in that case if all the Freesat boxes became useless due to a change of heart by the BBC?

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BT circles wagons round Openreach as Ofcom mulls forced split-up

AndrueC
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If it's to provide world-class broadband to the entire UK - you're havin' a larf, aincha?

Depends. How funny is it that we are the 14th highest per capita internet users in the world, and that all our major economic competitors are below us?

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AndrueC
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Re: Huh?

Who the hell are they kidding?

Ask ofcom.

or the EU.

or indeed The Daily Telegraph.

"Britain’s take-up of superfast broadband, capable of providing speeds equal to or greater than 30Mbps, stands at nine per cent, ahead of Spain’s six per cent, and the highest in the big European nations."

"Overall, Britain has the highest broadband take-up at 83 per cent of all households,"

So actually, yes, in terms of superfast broadband the UK is in fact doing quite well. In terms of 'bums on seats' it continues to be a world leader as it has been for many years. Whenever anyone claims that UK broadband is crap it amuses me a little because it doesn't seem to be preventing us from using the internet. We have pretty much always been in the top ten (often the top five) per capita internet users.

Although this suggests we are down to number 14 now at 89%.

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AndrueC
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It comes from retained profits or from additional equity investors.

Hopefully, yes. It's just that networks need large investments and the profit margins and/or RoI don't make them hugely attractive. Look at what happened to the cable operators in the UK. But to counter my Network Rail example there is of course National Grid which seems to do okay. But NG doesn't have the same issues as OR would. Most of NG's construction is just putting more of the same in the ground or on a pylon(*). OR's issues are that various parts of its network keep needing replacing or major upgrading.

But yeah. I cautiously supportive of the idea of splitting OR off :)

(*)Yeah, I know they have also rolled out various clever bits of monitoring kit resulting in the UK having a very advanced power grid but still. It's not like customers are suddenly clamouring for 400v to be supplied to their homes to support the latest technology :)

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AndrueC
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I've often said that OR should be split off but that comes with caveats.

My main concern is where the investment would come from for continued improvements. And I don't actually think Openreach has done a particularly bad job. It (or its descendant) could certainly have done a lot worse. Truth is for all the whining the UK's per capita internet use is amongst the highest in the world and has been for a long time. Whatever you might think about connection speeds they are clearly very fit for purpose. Whatever comes after it needs to be at least as good and looking at other such 'breakouts' (Network Rail, anyone?) that's far from a given.

Better the devil you know, perhaps.

The main areas I think need addressing are: End-user accountability. The current game of secret squirrels (User->ISP->[Wholesale->]Openreach often causes problems. It'd be far better if we could report faults direct to Openreach. Timescales is the other issue but again if customers could talk to OR direct it'd be that bit harder for them to faff around.

As for Pay-TV: That ones tricky. It'd be nice if we had more flexibility but if that means a true 'a la carte' system then smaller channels will lose out. A lot of them can only survive by being part of a bundle.

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Asimov's ghost! Oil and gas rigs could be taken over by robots

AndrueC
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Ah but how do you square the first and zeroeth laws of Robotics with the AGW 'debate'? The zeroeth seems particularly troublesome :)

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Mathematician: SUNSPOT DROUGHT will mean mini ICE AGE from 2030

AndrueC
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Happy

Yeah the weather in winter can be a bit unpleasant occasionally but most of the time it's no worse than anywhere else. But I'm not trying to sell you the entire town as a place to live. I was addressing the idea that it was a bad place to go for a conference in summer.

You have excellent transport links (two train stations, and the A55 can get you to Manchester airport in less than 90 minutes). You have a large and modern conference centre. During breaks you can go outside and enjoy a very nice promenade. In the evenings more night life than you can shake a stick at and you can extend your stay by a day or two and have access to the gorgeous Conwy valley and all parts south.

Okay so you've had some kind of bad experience of the area. I feel the same way about Colwyn Bay because that was my local benefit office during the mid 80s when we lived in Rhos on Sea(*). But you should get over yourself. I wouldn't choose to live there myself (not enough employment opportunities for a programmer and as a golfer I wouldn't appreciate the winter weather) but as a venue for a conference in summer it's a very good choice.

(*)Now there's a retirement town.

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AndrueC
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It's a dilapidated toilet, the North Wales coast doesn't start to improve until you get past Penmenmawer

Well of course if you want to enjoy the beauty of North Wales you won't want to be stuck in any town. But we're actually talking here about places to go for a conference. Conferences held on estuary flood plains, tops of mountains or in a field are rarely successful.

Anyway you clearly have some kind of hang-up about the place (or maybe haven't seen how much it's changed over the last couple of decades) so I don't think anyone's going to have a sensible discussion with you about it.

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AndrueC
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Summit in Llandudno (urghh) it's only a slightly above Rhyl on the North Wales shitola resorts trail

I can tell you've never been there then. Llandudno is one of the UK's premier seaside resorts. It's also a vibrant shopping centre in its own right. Go there in the depths of winter on a rainy afternoon and it will still be heaving with people. In summer it would be a great place to hold a conference especially as it has a very nice conference centre.

I don't live there (I did many, many years ago) but my Dad does so I get to visit a few times a year. I've never known it be anything other than busy and a walk along the promenade in the (very frequent) sunshine is always worth it.

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BT issues formal whinge to Ofcom over Sky dominance in pay telly

AndrueC
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Happy

So the sort of careful, thoughtful, well informed work that begot DAB, Openreach, and the UK's pathetic mobile and broadband markets?

I have no comment at this time.

:)

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AndrueC
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Sky don't own or operate the satellites as far as I'm aware - Astra do

Some Sky channels channels listed on the Sky EPG used to be carried on a Eutelsat bird (Eurobird 28 as it was called then) but according to Wikipedia that satellite isn't carrying anything any longer.

I think Sky also hold the rights to the uplink software/equipment that most channels use and the standard encryption software but I could be wrong there. Either way as you say it comes down to whether being the owner of an EPG makes you a monopoly. They aren't the only such EPG available since FreeSat has one (that's much more feature rich at that) and a lot of channels are listed on both EPGs. The only really unique thing about Sky's EPG is that it supports encryption whereas Freesat deliberately chose not to.

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AndrueC
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Whilst I agree that it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black, BT do have a point and Ofcom did ask for input for it's next major review. This is going to be a major review by Ofcom so by all means lets get all the dirty laundry aired.

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Ditch crappy landlines and start reading Twitter, 999 call centres told

AndrueC
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Unhappy

it is not something that feels natural to anyone. ITS AN EMERGENCY ffs.

I've always thought that the standard 'which service do you require?' doesn't help. If you in a vehicle crash and can see bodies and people trapped in wrecks and someone asks you what service you need which are you going to pick?

I know that they coordinate so 'pick any of the ones you want' ought to be enough but still, in the heat of the moment it's a somewhat confusing question.

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US senate committee wants Twitter, Facebook to report 'terrorist' posts

AndrueC
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Re: Facebook and Twitter must raise a red flag on terror activity

The assumption of course is that all terrorists are extremely stupid and will talk openly about their intentions

"The dirty man will carry the noisy dog to the park tonight."

No, seriously, he will. His name is Bob and the dog has a bad leg.

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Bing Maps seen wearing creepy mask that makes it look a bit like ...

AndrueC
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Meh

Also updated is the map view: Bing Maps now take up the entire browser window, meaning the left-hand information column which had previously obscured maps has gone.

Really - they thought that was an improvement in Google maps? I still don't like that feature.

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Kobo Glo HD vs Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Which one's best?

AndrueC
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Sad to see that physical buttons for turning the page seem to have lost favour.

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