* Posts by paulf

589 posts • joined 25 Aug 2009

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Argos changes 150 easily guessed drop-off system passwords

paulf
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Pirate

Re: Argos data security

@ TechnicalBen

"Anyone calling me has a return number. If they do not, they are a scam centre."

CLI is stupidly easy to spoof if you're in the confidence trickster business. CLI is a handy way to know if your Auntie Val called while you were out, but not something you can rely on to verify it really IS the bank calling you.

Perfectly legitimate call centres often withhold their number so this is also no indication.

The only way to be sure you're speaking to the company the caller claims is to call them back using either a known number, or a published number (e.g. website), and from a different line/mobile.

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paulf
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Holmes

Re: Argos data security

@ Dr Paul Taylor

"They also have a policy that has been noted here for banks: phoning customers and asking for their address and other details, and insisting on this before proceeding with the business of the call."

Everyone does this, not just banks. That said, when the optician rang me a few weeks ago to say my new glasses were ready for collection they only checked it was me by name and didn't demand a plethora of personal information first. My flabber was well and truly gasted!

@ Sir Runcible Spoon

"If they ever try this - you can always compromise on the data exchange."

Already tried and failed on many occasions.

Me: "If you give me the first three characters of my postcode [the bit that relates to the town which is easiest to guess], I'll give you the last three [that relates to the street so harder to guess]."

Call centre droid: "I'm sorry, Zur, I can't give out any information until you confirm your identity. It's data protection doncha know."

The simple yet sad fact is that any company calling a customer asks all the same questions (what is your address, DoB, account number etc) that the fraudsters ask, and positively refuses to compromise while offering no means for the customer receiving the call to verify the identity of the caller. Then the industry stands around wringing its hands, wondering why people give out such personal information willingly to random callers who claim to be "From the bank".

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Bot-herders fire fake GPS co-ords at Niantic to collect Pokémon

paulf
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Terminator

Re: I saw this coming

Perhaps I've missed something here but if you leave a bot to play the game for you with minimal flesh sack interaction perhaps you weren't that interested in the game in the first place?

I don't know as I've not played the game (too much real world stuff to do!). Is it like the bots in WoW in that you can use a bot to grind for Pokémon then sell them to other players in the real word for real cash?

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O2 customer DATA GRAB: Not-a-hack creds for sale on dark web

paulf
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Re: Too much data

FTA: "The incident underlines the dangers of password reuse, particularly among consumers."

It also shows the danger of reusing the same Date of Birth and address between websites too.

Unless a website can completely justify things like DOB (e.g. Online Banking) they have no reason to demand it as it's only going to be used for things like reclaiming your account should you lose access to it. Really it's just a second password so use any suitable date as long as you can remember it.

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What's losing steam at Apple? Pretty much everything

paulf
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Unhappy

This is exactly the problem. They've taken well specified machines and removed features like the Ethernet port simply to save 1mm. The person who wants a 15"/17" laptop isn't going to be fussing about which one is 1mm thicker, they'll want plenty of ports. Also not everyone wants to have all their media/files/installs in the cloud so optical drives are still useful. This all means you have expensive machines with a rats nest of adaptors and peripherals hanging off them. If the next iPhone does have its 3.5mm jack removed it'll also need an adaptor to replicate it - all in the quest to save a fraction of 1mm so they clearly haven't learned this lesson yet!

When it comes to things like phones you can argue the toss as to whether saving a mm is worth doing, at the expense of some battery capacity, but on a machine like the MBP people are looking for features and specs. If you want something ultra small+light+thin that can't be upgraded/repaired and no ports get a MacBook Air!

PS - I have a 17" MBP still going strong with 8GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Best laptop I've ever owned.

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Zero-day hole can pwn millions of LastPass users, all that's needed is a malicious site

paulf
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Boffin

Re: Why?

As the XKCD comic explains "correcthorsebatterystaple" would be much easier to remember if it didn't have to contain an upper case letter, a lower case letter, a punctuation mark, the number you first thought of, blue, the smell of freshly cut grass, and your porn star name.

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Brit chip bods ARM quietly piling up cash. Softbank will be happy

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: Does that add up?

Well, quite. It doesn't add up unless Softbank have a dead cert cracking idea up their collective sleeves that the market hadn't already priced in. Considering the ongoing complete mess at another of their holdings (Sprint) I am rather doubtful of this!

Cringely has a theory the plan at Softbank is to compete with their customers (Apple*/Qualcomm/Samsung/etc) to increase revenues by grabbing a larger share of the cost of a micro controller. From my PoV that's the same doomed avenue as the cry often wailed by M&A analysts - "Why don't Apple buy ARM?".

The inherent value in ARM is that it's largely independent of everyone so is happy to deal with anyone, and customers will be happy that the future roadmap won't be overly influenced by one of their competitors to their own disadvantage. To put it another way if Apple had bought ARM their $32bn acquisition would drop in value like a stone as a result of other customers going elsewhere rather stay beholden to Apple's priorities. I'm sure Apple could secure a perpetual architecture license for a lot less than $32bn.

If ARM decide to compete with their customers, those customers will vanish in droves to alternative architectures and designs. Apple has shown that their desktop line can transition between architectures so I'm sure others are capable of it. I'm just a lay observer, so I could be wrong, but ARM seem to have made a pretty good business out of not overtly abusing the dominant position they find themselves in (to their credit).

As for the promises to double the workforce in Cambridge and keep everything in the UK. It's already been said it all sounds a bit like Kraft's promises with respect to Cadbury. I'll believe it, if it ever happens.

* Yes I know Apple have an architecture license then make their own processor

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Openreach to split from BT... so they'll be 'Legally Separate'

paulf
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Joke

Re: BT Structure

You forgot

*BT EE (CEO Maureen "You got an ology, you're a scientist" Lipman)

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paulf
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Facepalm

Re: What a joke

Nothing like that was mentioned in the article. Openreach don't run a retail operation and never have. You will pay line rental to your retail provider (BT/Sky/TalkTalk/whoever) as you do now which Openreach provide to them at wholesale rates. They even show you the prices on their website (GIYF) as they're regulated by OFCOM!

Current wholesale rate for a line is £86.72/year (£7.23/month). Anything above that is added by your retail provider for CS, billing, "free" calls etc. That's a gross retail margin of ~60% so there's plenty of scope for providers to compete on price if they want to but that will probably lead you to operators like TalkTalk who's cheapo approach to security has had rather a lot of coverage in this esteemed organ of late.

If you've signed up for a Broadband provider that didn't make clear the additional line rental charge then the icon applies ->

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paulf
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Facepalm

Re: Full separation

Again: "Full Structural separation" != "BT must sell off Openreach" as described here

It was always possible that another entity could bid for some or all of BT Group although BT's determination thus far to hold on to Openreach would probably thwart any such bid for it unless shareholders pressured the board to do a deal.

Really, I doubt someone like Verizon (to use your example) would want Openreach, and even if they did Openreach is heavily regulated due to its near monopoly position. It would be more appealing to Infrastructure investment funds who typically invest in things like water and electricity distribution companies as they seek relatively stable income based returns.

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paulf
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Pirate

Lets not forget that BT was handed a substantial and important national asset, arguably, on the cheap so "subsidy" rubs both ways especially when you consider much of the same last mile copper (not to mention that bloody Aluminium!) is in the ground now as it was back in November 1984.

The "Why should be subsidise our investment shy competitors?" also rubs both ways. If they wanted to play that card they'd have wired up the country with fibre for their own customers and left their competitors to the regulated copper network running ADSL.

Cherry picking universal service again rubs both ways - BT are quite happy rolling out FTTC in areas where it's easy and profitable, leaving rural areas on 2MBps ADSL (if they're lucky) while happily sucking up the HMG rural broadband subsidies. Should a community have the temerity to do it themselves and set up their own operation to provide decent broadband in their BT-neglected area, BT suddenly realise their cabinets (with no FTTC date) are suddenly worth provisioning with FTTC blowing the local DIY job business case out of the water and eliminating a competitor in one go.

I don't have any time for Sky or TalkTalk but don't play BT as the lowly victim here!

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paulf
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BT only have themselves to blame

We're only at this point because of BT's behaviour over the last 10 years, since Openreach was created as a "separate" division. As a structurally and legally separate entity Openreach's ACTUAL revenues, costs and profits can be subjected to proper scrutiny (rather than the figures management wanted to give) which should mean less gouging in the future not to mention questions about how much gouging went on in the last 10 years.

BT wouldn't be here if it hadn't taken the piss for the last 10 years and it would have been able to continue milking Openreach more than it will be able to as a separate arms length subsidiary. If they'd invested properly in last mile broadband speeds, FTTC/FTTP, attended to installations/faults/tickets equally between BT Retail and non-BT Retail customers, and not milked Openreach until the pips squeaked to cross subsidise their TV and competition crushing ambitions they'd have kept the status quo so they only have themselves to blame. As I've said before "Full Structural separation" didn't have to mean "BT must sell off Openreach" but that will be significantly easier once Openreach Ltd is created as a legally separate entity.

Oddly OFCOM have probably gone with the best option - get most of the benefits of Openreach being completely separate from BT Group without the lengthy and costly legal battle that would have come with a forced sale.

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I'm good, I'm fine, solid quarter, real well ... pants Sprint as it limps past, spilling $300m

paulf
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Unhappy

Softbank?

ISTR Sprint are owned by the same Softbank that wants to acquire ARM for $32bn.

Unless Softbank have a printing press for cash this bodes badly for ARM. If Softbank are dealing with 9-figure per quarter losses at Sprint (FTA, my emphasis: "Net loss on the **quarter** added up to $302m) there isn't going to be much money sloshing about to invest in keeping ARM technology up to date. I suspect ARM will probably just be sucked dry to prop up other parts of the Softbank group.

I did see something last week that Softbank are raising debt to pay for the ARM acquisition. Whether they're funding it with debt, cash reserves or a rights issue they'll still want an ROI from that 43% premium they're paying compared to the pre-approach price. If you're an ARM pip expect to be squeaking soon.

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Ofcom should push for fibre – Ex BT CTO

paulf
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Stop

Re: Sell off Openreach?

One thing worth noting is that

"Full Structural separation" != "BT must sell off Openreach"

At present Openreach is just another division of BT Group so the accounts it draws up can say pretty much whatever the management want them to. Structural separation would make Openreach, at first, a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group with its own Board and P+L. BT group could remain the 100% shareholder of the new Openreach Ltd but as a separate company it would have to produce a proper set of accounts removing much of the obfuscation that currently exists. In theory this would make it easier to regulate as it would be clearer what revenues and direct costs they have and what profit they make from those.

Having Openreach as a separate company would make it harder for 1. BT to hide how much profit it makes and 2. BT to use those profits to cross subsidise things like Premiership football rights.

And to debunk one myth BT [Group] keep peddling, a separate Openreach Ltd could still benefit from the buying scale of the larger group as a subsidiary as it does now as a division.

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Shock: Apple patents the phone book

paulf
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Paris Hilton

"Device size can also affect performance."

See title. I'm sure Paris is an expert in these matters.

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Dying! Yahoo! writes! off! half! of! the! $1bn! it! paid! for! Tumblr!

paulf
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Mushroom

Re: Desperation

@J 3 "So that is why damn Yahoo Mail is playing videos automatically on the page that loads after emptying the spam folder?"

I spotted the video playing about a month ago. Unintended consequence? I no longer bother to empty the spam folder, just mark things as read. If others are doing the same I suspect the storage requirement becomes significant...

I have an old Yahoo mail address which I now use as my burner account - handy for people that demand an email for click and collect just so they can spam you. For a while I had the paid for remote access but gave that up when I realised the IMAP access is free to everyone - they only charge for POP access!

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You really do want to use biometrics for payments, beam banks

paulf
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Joke

Re: Oy Vey!

Let me suggest an alternative fix:

"Two-thirds (68 per cent of those quizzed) answered the carefully crafted survey questions and gave the response required by the person paying for the survey".

Sorry for the massive cut and paste but Sir Humphrey's example is much more eloquent than mine:

Sir Humphrey: "You know what happens: nice young lady comes up to you. Obviously you want to create a good impression, you don't want to look a fool, do you? So she starts asking you some questions: Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the number of young people without jobs?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Are you worried about the rise in crime among teenagers?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Do you think there is a lack of discipline in our Comprehensive schools?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Do you think young people welcome some authority and leadership in their lives?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Do you think they respond to a challenge?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Would you be in favour of reintroducing National Service?"

Bernard Woolley: "Oh...well, I suppose I might be."

Sir Humphrey: "Yes or no?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Of course you would, Bernard. After all you told you can't say no to that. So they don't mention the first five questions and they publish the last one."

Bernard Woolley: "Is that really what they do?"

Sir Humphrey: "Well, not the reputable ones no, but there aren't many of those. So alternatively the young lady can get the opposite result."

Bernard Woolley: "How?"

Sir Humphrey: "Mr. Woolley, are you worried about the danger of war?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Are you worried about the growth of armaments?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Do you think there is a danger in giving young people guns and teaching them how to kill?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Do you think it is wrong to force people to take up arms against their will?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "Would you oppose the reintroduction of National Service?"

Bernard Woolley: "Yes"

Sir Humphrey: "There you are, you see Bernard. The perfect balanced sample."

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Lloyds personal banking hit with 'intermittent' outage

paulf
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Headmaster

Re: halifax as well

Not quite, Halifax is a brand of Bank of Scotland plc and operates under a separate banking license to Lloyds Bank. They are both part of Lloyds Banking Group and yes, both use the same back end platform. Halifax was fine for me this morning though.

As an aside, FTA: "the UK banking sector is particularly prone to outages. This is because of the overly complicated code running a number of mission-critical banking apps."

Before we get too critical about the status quo and start rabble rousing for these old system to be replaced with nice shiny spanking new systems lets look at a few case studies. The recent introduction of new billing systems at NPower, Scottish Power and Vodafone would be a good start.

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Boris Johnson 'NIGHTMARE'

paulf
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Thumb Up

Re: Cunning plot

@ Yes Me Re: Cunning Plot

I like your theory. She does seem to have made cabinet appointments on the basis of "You created this shit storm, you can clear it up your own mess or I'll have your bollocks for breakfast" hence:

Johnson (Brexit campaign figurehead/leader) as Foreign Secretary: i.e. having to deal with foreigners he's variously insulted

Davis (Brexit supporter) as Brexit minister: i.e. negotiating with the EU he made very public that he wanted to leave

Leadsom (Brexit supporter) as Environment secretary: i.e. she'll have to deal with Farmers/Fishermen that were promised so much in a Brexit withdrawl from CAP/CFP

Hunt (all round *unty Health Secretary) remains in post: i.e. get this snafu with the new Drs contract sorted out.

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Trainline.com dumps Oracle and Microsoft, gulps AWS Kool-Aid

paulf
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Facepalm

You don't have to bother with the actual driving and can do something more interesting.

You get a proportion of your ticket price refunded if your train is late. The Highways Agency runs a similar scheme for motorists who get stuck in congestion.... oh, wait!

You don't have to find somewhere at your destination to park the train; inevitably 30 minutes walk from where you wanted to go as the nearest car park is full by the time all the congestion ahead of you has found a parking space.

Anyway, potato/tomato. Different transport modes have different pros/cons.

Putting fuel in my car doesn't imply ownership of my car any more than buying a train ticket implies me having any ownership over the rolling stock.

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paulf
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Holmes

@ Velv "You'll have to ask Kohlberg Kravis Roberts what they actually expect."

There's no need to ask - as a Private Equity house they expect only one thing: $$$$

Providing the overall cost of the cloudy system is lower than the overall cost of the equivalent in house system (even after taking into account the higher in house cost against the costs to the business of cloudy downtime) then I can't see them giving even a first hoot, never mind two, about customer inconvenience or hassle to the IT dept cloudyness can cause, while they enjoy their tax efficient holiday retreats in the Cayman islands.

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PhonepayPlus to rename

paulf
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Big Brother

ICSTIS

Phone-paid Services Authority sounds a bit like like a mash up between OFCOM and the former FSA.

Perhaps they should have considered going back to ICSTIS. At least that acronym (and it's meaning, "[the] Independent Committee for the supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services") sounded like an official regulator rather than the kind of dodgy service provider they claim to regulate.

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AWS works on 'urgent' deals for UK customers as £ dips against $

paulf
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Headmaster

Re: The Pound in Your Pocket ...

@pdh "But those who have debts that are denominated in pounds are winners, are they not? They owe less in real terms than they did three weeks ago."

Nominally their debts are unchanged, excepting any payments made in the last 3 weeks, because £1 = £1!

The only people with debts in pounds who will benefit from the falling pound are those who are repaying those debts with incomes in a currency that has strengthened compared to Sterling (e.g. US$).

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1 in 20 Wendy's burger joints hacked? No, make that 1 in 3 – 1,025 in total

paulf
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Facepalm

"How can you have every customer record spewing out for that long and not have someone make the correlation?"

Someone did make the correlation but it was the banks who were alerted to the suspicious reimbursing people for fraudulent card use (those that actually bother to check their CC bills, plenty don't and probably don't even realise they're paying for fraudulent transactions on their cards).

I'd like to think that if the banks threatened a retailer like Wendy's with "If this happens again no more card transactions at all at any of your premises until you cover all our losses+costs+extra random charges as punishment)" companies would take security on corporate computers/networks/EFTPOS terminals seriously etc as they'd face the direct costs of their otherwise lackadaisical approach.

But that's not going to happen while the Banks are busy figuring out how to get muggins innocent card holder to cough up for the losses caused by the retailer cutting corners because I can't prove my innocence.

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Chilcot's IT spend: Tighter wallet than most public sector bods

paulf
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Coat

I think there is still mileage in it, for example: "Remain supporters will be hoping the newly available Sir John Chilcot will be asked by the Government to organise invoking Article 50 after the recent EU referendum".

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Celebrated eye hospital Moorfields lets Google eyeball 1 million scans

paulf
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Coat

Re: Retinal identification as a consequence?

@ Alexander J. Martin

"Please see Mark 4:39."

With respect to the OP I would politely also offer Ecclesiasticus 38:26*

* can be summarised as "How shall he find wisdom, ... who's talk is Bullocks?"

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What Brexit means for you as a motorist

paulf
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Headmaster

@ Martin Summers

"Fact is the markets and the pound are rallying after an initial spooking"

Not entirely. Right now (Mon 4 July) Sterling is about £1:$1.32690 which is lower against USD than it was on Fri 24 June after the initial fall as the result became clear.

As for the "markets" which I'll take as company share values. These are priced in Sterling (pence) but, in the case of the FTSE100 at least, they represent a load of companies that earn much of their gross revenue in foreign currencies. So perhaps the share price for $MegaGBCorp has, nominally, returned to the same level in pence that it was around 22 June but on 22 June Sterling was around £1:$1.48 whereas now £1:$1.33 or roughly 11% below the referendum value. The point is the market has inherently priced in the lower value of sterling which lifts the shares in their native devalued currency.

It's staggering how many people don't get this relationship - that the hammered currency is priced into the share price "rally" but this is a fact lost on Financial "Journalists" working at pro-leave papers too <coughs>Daily Heil</coughs>.

If a currency adjusted net drop of 11% is what you call a rally I dread to think what you'd call a crash!

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Bank tech boss: Where we're going, we don't need mainframes

paulf
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Headmaster

Re: Thank goodness for small mercies.

Its in the Eurozone - you didn't have to bail it out at any point before Brexit.

The only thing the UK authorities would be on the hook for is any problems in a UK based subsidiary (e.g. the former ING Direct - now part of Barclays) if it was operating under a British banking license as those retail deposits would be covered by the FSCS (itself funded by a levy on all savings institutions rather than from general taxation). That said covering losses at a relatively "safe" retail savings subsidiary is a bit different to stumping up for the whole damned party as we had to with RBS (and to an extent Lloyds/HBOS).

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Crooks abusing Facebook to offer credit card samples

paulf
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Pirate

Re: Just one reason

@AC

"(although I am aware of at least one shop which gets its customers to transact as CNP purchases)."

Which stores are these?

In the UK at least a retailer should be using Chip and Pin to authorise in person transactions if they are to be protected from fraudulent card use (or 3D verification like Verified by Visa/Mastercard Securecode for online purchases). If they're doing in person transactions as Cardholder Not Present that's particularly suspicious!

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Singapore Airlines 777 catches fire after engine alarm

paulf
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Coat

Penny

Do you know your check engine light is on?

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Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

paulf
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FAIL

@The Mole

"Surely the first thing someone should have done was a bit of rationalization of duplicate stores"

I think some of these chains think by maintaining multiple stores they keep competitors out. That would only work if they were a monopoly getting them unwanted govt attention. Blacks and HMV were particularly bad at this and look how it worked out for them.

At one point Blacks had four stores in Plymouth: 2xBlacks, 1xMillets, 1xFreespirit (Surf/Skate). Plymouth might be near Dartmoor but it isn't big enough business to keep three mid-sized camping stores going. Nor did it keep out competitors like Mountain Warehouse or Cotswold.

HMV had two massive full range stores in Plymouth after they acquired the former Zavvi store.

Rationalising duplicated stores should be an easy win on cutting costs.

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paulf
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Facepalm

Re: Maplin Masters of the huge markup

Last time I wanted button cells I looked in Maplin and they wanted £3 each.

I went to Amazon marketplace and got 10 for £2.50 including postage.

I only needed 2 so I would have paid £1 each as the cost to have it now from bricks+mortar but £6 for two 25p button cells? Sod that!

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paulf
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Alert

@Ledswinger

"Screwfix were doomed the moment that Bodge & Quodge bought them"

I find B&Q are the most hateful of shopping experiences - a chain that has become very lazy as the competitive pressures have waned leaving only Homebase that's been wounded by years of Argos-isation. I never have a good visit to B&Q and only go there when I have no alternative. The staff there really don't care.

I remember a time when B&Q employed lots of old guys who had spent their working life doing DIY and were happy to advise you how to do your own DIY jobs, in the hope they could sell you stuff to get it done. Now it's full of the min wage slaves that populate other retail palaces who haven't got the first clue about DIY. On my last visit to B&Q I saw one guy answer a customer question without even looking up from what he was doing. Then there is asking your address when you return an item (an unnecessary invasion of privacy) which Homebase have never done despite various returns over the years. I just hope the new incumbent at Homebase (Bunnings) gives B&Q a sorely needed hard kick up the arse with some serious competition.

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paulf
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Pirate

Re: Cheeky bastards.

@Ledswinger "My money's on WHSmith. Or Halfords."

My money is on WHS lasting a good bit longer but that will make the crash all the harder when it comes. They are adept at increasing profits despite reducing revenues - a blatant sign they're sweating the assets. My suspicion is they will sweat the high street for all its worth until the last customer vanishes with their overpriced check out chocolate and vouchers for Weightwatchers and BHS then shunt it into admin leaving them with the captive market high margin "Travel" branches (Stations/Airports/Hospitals).

Halfrauds is an unpleasant shopping experience whereas WHS make a virtue out of pissing off the customers they have left.

And if you want the gory details of how awful Smuts are these days this will amuse and horrify you in equal measures while you marvel at how the hell they stay in business check out WHS Carpet on Twitter.

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Google tribute to Jo Cox

paulf
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Headmaster

The media have to tread a careful line here - especially where there is a court case in progress as making comments like "murder" can prejudice the court case and leave that media outlet in contempt of court. There is anecdotal comment to support what you say but you'll find the media using generally neutral language like the above until the Judge and Jury in that court case establish otherwise.

IANAL

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SOHOpeless Cisco wireless kit needs critical patch

paulf
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Trollface

Patent?

FTA: "If you're patent and.."

See icon, it's what patents seem to attract.

[Apols to the Reg Hack - Can't email corrections from the office]

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Who shot JR (that great Dallas broadband)?

paulf
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Get the facts!

Bus Wankers. A reference from the the UK series The Inbetweeners. Clip sound is NSFW so use headphones!

Jay tries it a second time and it all goes wrong.

There is a US version floating around which also includes the Bus Wankers sequence but I can't find it.

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Linux devs open up universal Ubuntu Snap packages to other distros

paulf
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Gimp

Off topic but... (Bees)

When I saw that picture of Oprah, all I could think of was this.

Icon - special clothing for the apiary!

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Microsoft buys LinkedIn for the price of 36 Instagrams

paulf
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Windows

Money burning a hole in your pocket Sat Nad?

Despite this story being upgraded from News Bytes to full article I still can't believe it. $26bn? Phew. Really? Wow. My flabber is well and truly gasted! I still can't see any reason other than SatNad is trying to out Balmer, Balmer in one go by consolidating all his CEO ass hattery into one single massive value bonfire fuck up?

For those that don't recall - here's El Reg's recap of Monkey Boy's acquisition blunders. SatNad's MS is offering $26.2bn for LinkedIn yet the first three in that El Reg list of Ballmer's mistakes (Nokia, aQuantive and Online Services) come to just over $25bn by my calc. That's over a billion short of Linked In and still doesn't include the monumental near miss that was the $35bn odd Ballmer offered for Yahoo! (pre ! tilt) but Jerry Yang turned down. I'd speculate Ballmer thinks he had a lucky escape but he probably thinks it's still a compelling purchase (post ! tilt).

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Microsoft to buy LinkedIn

paulf
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Terminator

Re: Money burning a hole in your pocket Sat Nad?

While I was writing the above comment my regular Monday delivery of LinkedIn Spam arrived, right on cue. Time to sort out the disposable email address (long over due) before it gets fully borged into the MS collective.

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paulf
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Windows

Money burning a hole in your pocket Sat Nad?

$27bn? Phew. Really? Wow. That eclipses the first three in this list of Monkey boy's acquisition blunders*.

Does this mean SatNad is trying to out Balmer, Balmer in one go by consolidating all his CEO ass hattery into one single massive value bonfire fuck up?

*Nokia, aQuantive and Online Services come to just over $25bn by my calc, over a billion short of Linked In. That list doesn't include the near miss that was the $35bn odd Ballmer offered for Yahoo! (pre ! tilt) but Jerry Yang turned down.

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Fresh hell for TalkTalk customers: TeamView trap unleashed

paulf
Bronze badge
Pirate

Re: Blame the customer

And how many of them did want to leave but the TalkTalk shyster they spoke to told them it would be £200/£500/think of a number to break their contract mid term and just didn't have the energy/knowledge/gumption to tell LieLie to do one. Even if they did push on with leaving they would have risked ShitShit wrecking their credit history in revenge.

To put it another way: I agree with you but only in respect of people who've joined or renewed their contract with ShitShit since the most recent and high profile data breach (or they didn't leave as soon as their existing contract commitment ended after that breach).

I especially agree with you in respect of those who said "It didn't happen to me and they're cheap so it's a lot of fuss over nothing."

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TalkTalk scam-scammers still scam-scamming

paulf
Bronze badge
Holmes

Re: I think you should have a warning here.

"Something about never giving unexpected callers access to your computer."

True but when the legit callers do this kind of thing how are we supposed to tell the difference?

On phone calls with the bank, they want all manner of personal information to prove I am definitely who I am. That's all well and good when I call them, but when I get an incoming call I have no means to verify they are who they say they are but I'm still expected to prove my identity.

Companies all do this - call the customer and expect them to prove their identity yet they called the customer on details given by the customer. Point out how silly this is and they just mumble "Data protection, innit".

I refuse to hand out personal information on incoming calls. It causes no end of problems trying to get back to someone on a published number and running the gauntlet of call centre droids who want to know what it's about first and wondering why they can't help me with the problem but if I never give out the info there is no risk I can give it to a very well executed scammer's confidence trick. Unfortunately it's a war of attrition - I need to be lucky every time, the scammers only need to be lucky once. Until the big companies/banks realise they need a secure way of calling the customer that doesn't encourage us to hand over identifiable personal information educating people not to trust random incoming calls will be VERY difficult.

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Yahoo!'s $1bn! for! patents!

paulf
Bronze badge
Gimp

Re: About to be evicted...

Former Rocketmail.com user here also.

I now use fastmail.fm. You'll pay $20-$40/yr for it but it's damned good and they won't be pushing adverts at you, nor scanning your email to target them.

Also when you have a problem it gets fixed. In two years I've raised two tickets and when first level support were unable to resolve they were passed up to one of their senior devs (who really knew what he was talking about).

I have no connection with the company other than as an existing customer. YMMV etc.

If you want "Free" because you don't mind ads and creepy stalking GMail is pretty good and throws in Calendar and IMAP.

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Modi hints at H-1B unease

paulf
Bronze badge
Unhappy

Re: H-1B

It's not the "Plebs" that matter though. It's the CEOs, who offer ample campaign contributions to the Congress critters, knowing H1-B will help push down salaries, that matter. Note Modi was addressing Congress, not the Plebs.

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England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

paulf
Bronze badge
Happy

Re: As I see it

Considering the point you make about Tesla's home storage battery. UK Power Networks (they own the REC distribution part of the network that used to be EDF Energy Networks (London and East of England). They are trialling a massive battery in a substation near Leighton Buzzard which can charge up during usage troughs and then start supplying during demand peaks:

http://www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/internet/en/news-and-press/press-releases/Minister-welcomes-trial-of-pioneering-energy-storage-project.html

Note that the linked article flirts with alternative units:

"The building itself is approximately 760 square metres – about the size of three tennis courts -"

This moves the storage out of the consumer premises into the network, where it should be more efficient than a domestic unit.

I think Wind and Solar do have a roll to play in satisfying our energy needs but since we can't control when the wind blows and the sun shines storage becomes an inherent part of the Renewables system. If you can store electricity from wind at 3am when it's worth, say, £1/MWh and release it into the network when people are making their morning cuppa and get £10/MWh for it (example values) suddenly the economics of wind power are turned on their head. It certainly wouldn't need subsidy any more.

As we've seen with solar, more deployment drives research into improving the technology and the same should be true with storage; and this research may well feed back in battery technology in general.

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Computerised stock management? Nah, let’s use walkie-talkies

paulf
Bronze badge
Meh

Re: One thing I hate

That's one thing that annoys me for similar reasons as I often struggle to find trousers/jeans long enough for me because I'm not wide enough!

Why do they automatically assume people get taller as their waist line gets wider? Humans are a diverse bunch - you can have fat short people just like you can have thin lanky people.

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Mushroom farm PC left in the dark and fed … you know the rest

paulf
Bronze badge
Holmes

Re: Fly agaric..

@ itzman

"If you ever go picking wild mushrooms, don't."

TFIFY.

If you want to know that a mushroom is safe to eat - pick it from the shelf in the supermarket.

Some mushrooms=tasty, some=near certain (and probably very painful+lingering) death and there isn't much wiggle room between the two extremes. If, like me, you're not much of a gambling man those aren't appealing odds for a game of mushroom Russian roulette unless you're really fucking certain you know which chamber holds the live bullet.

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Apple GPU screen rumors

paulf
Bronze badge

Re: wow.....

AIUI the thunderbolt connection currently available wouldn't be fast enough to shift 5k's worth of graphics data. Apple solution? Shift the graphics card to the monitor to reduce the data bandwidth requirement between computer and monitor.

http://www.macrumors.com/2016/06/01/5k-thunderbolt-display-integrated-gpu-possible/

Downside is that if the monitor only has a thunderbolt connection (i.e. no HDMI etc) which obsoletes the monitor with the graphics card that isn't good. That said - Apple tend to flog iMacs and MacBook portables that have similar problems when it comes to a graphics card that can't be upgraded.

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Want a job that pays at least $90,000 a year? Get into ransomware

paulf
Bronze badge
Joke

$90k is all well and good...

But what are the other benefits? Health care and dental plan? Non-contributory pension scheme? Subsidised Gym membership? Generous holiday allowance plus Bank Holidays? Bouncy castle and free soft drinks in the IT office that's in the sub-volcano island lair.

I can't help thinking in that line of work a pension probably isn't much use (excepting the Mr Big) as you're not likely to live long enough to draw it. And you'll get plenty of exercise staying one step ahead of the law.

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