17 posts • joined Tuesday 20th October 2009 11:56 GMT
Rowan Atkinson/Zak the Alien
He uses the word podule to refer to his translating device in this skit from the his live show in the late 80s. Of course, the word lends itself to his delivery.
If you haven't seen it, it is highly recommended
How can anybody believe that this is useful. It can't possibly be in the interest of consumers having to remember different gestures to achieve the same result on different manufacturers' kit.
Say I have a certain brand of TV, and I've carefully learnt all the gestures required to control it. Maybe manufacturers will now see that I am locked in as I am less likely to want to relearn these skills if I switch to a different brand of TV. But the truth is that I (and vast numbers of people with less interest in learning arcane hand movements) will just not bother using these features, and will probably be more inclined to choose a brand that doesn't waste our time with them. All in all an own goal.
Imagine cars, if in the early days someone had patented 'using little sticks on the control column to operate the indicators' or 'moving the gear lever in an H pattern to move through a sequence of gears'. Nobody would have a clue what they were doing. Standardisation helps everybody, and rushing to patent obvious things just blocks the development of usable standards.
*looks up the title on amazon.co.uk*
There the cheapest second hand copy is £80, and there is an additional copy at an astonishing £1,336.29 (plus £2.80 P&P). That must be a hell of a book
Re: Academics don't get anything from the existing system
I believe that are more careful reading will reveal that the comment was actually aimed at academics whose field of expertise is copyright law, rather than those who publish other material.
Read first, understand, then comment...
Why not split the charging, like with phone calls? Your monthly charge would then have two components.
First, the 'line rental' equivalent, i.e. your payment for the ISP making a connection available. It would be not unreasonable for this to be based on speed. When I signed up with BT I was told what speed to expect (6Mb vs advertised 8Mb) and this has proved a good estimate. Other posted above have clearly had similar experiences. So, this part could be based on a reasonable (and periodically reviewable in case of significant changes in infrastructure, contention levels etc) assessment of expected speed.
Second would be a usage-based fee, presumably charged in arrears, representing a fair share of the backhaul capcaity etc.
The balance between the two would be an additional area of differentation between ISPs. No doubt in practice most would offer a bundle including a certain amount of data, as now, but for fair pricing there would ideally be much less bundling.
After all, who should pay more: the rural-dweller with a 1Mb connection that keeps it busy 24/7 (monthly throughput 300GB+ unless my maths are out) or the urbanite with a 200Mb connection whose only use is checking email and a bit of shopping. I don't know the answer to that, as they're paying for different things: one is primarily paying for the exchange to premises connection and the other primarily for backhaul.
And all she originally said was
that this halibut was good enough for Jehovah
Set the limits right for more respect
As has been pointed out, speed limits would be respected more if they showed more evidence of having been set carefully and with the aim of increasing road safety rather than, for example, satisfying some political objective or of saving effort for the person setting them.
Here is a fine example of illogic: http://maps.google.co.uk/?ll=52.997323,-1.524943
The main road - the B5023 - has a 50mph limit, as do all the main roads within a radius of several miles. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with this, incidentally: it is a lovely road but does have a number of field entrances and agricultural traffic, so perhaps it makes sense (at least for some stretches). The limit was reduced a few years ago (5ish).
But look at the short stretch of road that resembles a layby. It's about 150m long and serves three houses and a pub. No traffic will use that road unless to access one of those four destinations. Yet the limit there is 60mph (you can confirm that with Streetview)! Admittedly I'm not sure how fast a car would need to be to reach that speed in the space, but you may still ask why. Presumably it made the paperwork easier (only one road for which the limit was being changed), although it did mean that more signs had to be installed.
While we're at it, look at side the road opposite. Again, this carefully tells drivers that they may now drive at 60mph. But Streetview will also confirm that (a) this is a much smaller road than the main road, with a poorer surface; and (b) a few feet after the national speed limit sign are two warning signs indicating that the road narrows and is bumpy, because there are bridges over the river and railway.
Some limits should be higher. Some should be lower. But either way they should be properly thought out and relevant, so that 'my judgement was that I could safely drive above the limit' ceases to become a valid statement. Then, and only then, we can talk about proper enforcement (e.g. using GPS).
Final point: much though I hate them, I respect average speed cameras much more than spot ones. You still get numpties braking for them, but at least they mean that if, for instance, it becomes necessary to exceed the speed limit temporarily (e.g. because it is the quickest, and therefore safest, way of overtaking a slow-moving vehicle) then it can be done without necessarily falling foul of the machine.
Artillery or cavalry?
So, which of these is it that raises matters above the vulgar brawl level? I thought it was artillery (blame Civilisation 4!) and Google supports this (214k hits for 'artillery "what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl"' vs 22k for 'cavalry "what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl"'. Does anyone happen to know the real story?
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