* Posts by big_D

1785 posts • joined 27 Nov 2009

UberPop granted temporary reprieve in France

big_D
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Re: Funny isn't it?

That is my point exactly. No money changed hands.

Yes, I get debited elsewhere. But the "no money at the point of service" is the difference. In a normal taxi you pay the guy and he pays the firm (or some calculation thereof). In an Uber some guy drives you and you pay Uber, and they pay the guy. You do see the ordering is different?

But both parties go into the transaction knowing that the passenger is being charged for the journey (more than the cost of the fuel) and that the driver will get recompensed. It is irrelevant if that is direct or over a third party, the driver is "PLYING FOR HIRE" and that is illegal in Germany without the proper driving licence.

Let's say Uber charges their drivers 50 euros a litre, so no license needed? (Hire car firms do this all the time, BTW)

Can't do that. Uber would first need a network of petrol stations charging 50€ a litre, who in their right mind would refuel their vehicle there? And what is the incentive for the driver? IF they are being charged 50€ a litre? They still aren't earning anything!

The regulators would also frown upon it.

There are already several of "car sharing" services in Germany, where you can book a journey from A to B and you are matched with a driver who has registered the same journey, you pay half of the fuel costs for that journey. That is legal and doesn't require a professional licence, because the driver isn't making the journey as a professional driver for profit.

Yes, Uber are being knobs. They have come into a market where there are clear LEGAL requirements for a driver to carry paying passengers. They completely ignore those rules, don't ensure their drivers are within those laws and let them drive with invalid insurance, putting the driver, passengers and third parties at risk - if the Uber driver has an accident, then he has to pay for the damage to all parties involved and any personal injury to himself, passengers and others involved out of his own pocket - and will probably end up with a prison sentence for driving without insurance and lose his licence for several months or a year.

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big_D
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Re: Funny isn't it?

If I meet a bloke in the pub on Thursday morning and get talking for a few minutes, and he adds me to Facebook and then turns on geolocation, and I then ask him for a ride when he is near on Thursday evening. Could someone explain if the few minutes I talk to him makes this any different than Uber?

You are getting a lift from a private citizen in the first instance, in the second instance money changes hands and it is a professional service.

In Germany Uber drivers can carry passengers, as long as they don't charge more than the petrol used. Any more and they need a professional driving licence.

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big_D
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Re: Funny isn't it?

Nothing to do with insurance companies, it is a legal requirement.

If Uber want their drivers to drive without a professional licence, then they need to first get the legislation changed.

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big_D
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Re: Funny isn't it?

It isn't forbidden. In Germany Uber just has to ensure their drivers obtain a professional driving licence in order to get insurance.

As they don't do this and all of their drivers are driving illegally, with no valid insurance, they are banned.

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Microsoft update mayhem delays German basketball game, costs team dear

big_D
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@Electron Shepherd

Yes, the updates had been installed, but the machine not restarted.

But for any mission critical machine you don't have automatic updates in place. You manually download and then reboot, when you have time! You don't let it update before a match and then not reboot it well before tip off!

We have it as a standard procedure, for example, that the PCs in the meeting rooms are manually patched and rebooted after Patch Tuesday, when the rooms are required, so that we don't have any embarrassment when visitors come and the PC takes 20 minutes to boot.

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Encryption is the REAL threat – Head Europlod

big_D
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Re: So, in translation...

And lack of encryption is the biggest threat to normal Internet users... Get used to it.

If the big companies make it easy for cops and spies to get at unencrypted data, they have also made it easy for crooks, hackers and pretty much anybody else to get at as well.

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Microsoft's Windows 10 build list snowballs for Lumia mobes

big_D
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The upgrade is always offered, it never installs without your okay. At the moment it is a preview build, so it won't even be offered, unless you sign up for the preview programme.

Nokia / Microsoft have rollback tools available. I ran the 8.1 and 8.1.1 dev builds on one of my phone, but it wasn't getting Denim, so I reset set it back to 8.1 using the Nokia tool and got Denim after the reboot.

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big_D
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Facepalm

It is a beta after all, that means by its very nature that it will be unstable. It is there for public testing. If you don't have a test machine / device and are not willing to report bugs, you should avoid it at the current time.

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Apple's Tim Cook and Salesforce's Marc Benioff DECLARE WAR on anti-gay Indiana

big_D
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Re: It's never black or white.

@Craigness don't companies already have the right to not serve? In most countries shops can refuse to sell to a customer, it is after all a voluntary contract between both parties. They usually don't have to give a reason and, if they do give a reason, it cannot be for racial prejudice etc. otherwise they can end up getting prosecuted or sued.

"I'm not serving this guy," or "I'm not serving this guy because I don't like him," are generally legal.

"I'm not serving this guy, because he is black / gay," is illegal.

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big_D
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Re: It's never black or white.

@SuccessCase I don't really want to divert the conversation, but... Apple are releasing bonds to get cash on credit, instead of repatriating the cash they already have.

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Europe could be drowned in 'worthless pop culture' thanks to EU copyright plans

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@Purple-Stater I would say German radio is already probably 70+% foreign language songs. There are a lot of German bands and artists, but they often sing in English (so they can get into the international markets). What is interesting is that we get a lot of other language songs being popular over here, Eros Ramazotti was very popular over here, when I move here, even though very few people could understand Italian.

It is the same for English music, a lot of English music gets high up in the charts, but you ask the average person about what the song is about, they have no idea, they like the melody.

American series, like NCIS, CSI, Bones, Breaking Bad etc. get a cult following among the younger generations, but the Germans make some damned good television that is qualitative, especially from the story, better than a lot of the imported guff, but has the disadvantage of not having been made in "Hollywood", so is not as popular among the younger generation.

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big_D
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Exactly @skekband, for Polish people living in other countries, it is great news, they can get to see new Polish films and TV shows at the same time as their family back home.

Or in my case, I can watch new British TV shows here in Germany, without having to wait 4 or 5 years for somebody to get around buying them up and syncing them into German.

It will open the markets up to more competition from other countries within the EU (i.e. the opposite of what Poland said, that Polish films will have more competition from films from the rest of Europe, so it should drive the quality up.

The other thing is, "same time" in the whole of Europe can only be in the OV (original voice), so a Spanish film launched all over Europe on Day 1 will probably be only available in Spanish at that time, so it will only be of interest to ex-pat Spanish people and the few that speak Spanish in other countries.

Music is a different matter, but watching a foreign language film in OV without subtitles isn't going to generate much of an audience.

For later release on DVD etc. it won't make much difference, because the dubs and subtitles are already available.

Books are another thing. It is often hard to get new English titles over here and the translated versions can take months to appear.

If the titles appear in original language quicker, I'm all for that.

And I see it as positive, that it should drive the quality of local productions up.

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Surface Pro 3 update has so much new stuff for sysadmins, we can't fit it all in one headline

big_D
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Our users have been swapping from iPads + laptops to Surface Pro 3s...

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big_D
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2 of ours

wouldn't restart this morning.

My SP3 was fine, but two other users claimed the SP3 wouldn't restart (hard reset worked).

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'Why don't you buy from foreign sites?' asks Commish, snapping on the gloves

big_D
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Re: Interflora

Yeah, I used to use Interflora / Fleurop a lot when I was in the UK and had a girlfriend in Germany.

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I helped Amazon.com find an XSS hole and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

big_D
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Re: @Bill

@Unicornpiss exactly, the question is, did he approach Amazon and they told him to get lost / they don't have a bounty programme or did he not find any mention of it and just published it openly?

Either way, publishing it openly is the wrong thing to do. EoS.

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Ford: Our latest car gizmo will CHOKE OFF your FUEL if you're speeding

big_D
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Re: You misread the continental speed limit

@Voland's right hand

Yep,

"80

Lärmschutz

18 - 06"

You also have the limits for trailers and HGVs etc.

But any such system will need to be thoroughly tested in such conditions, before it can be released to the public.

It will probably also work with the nav system, which usually has the "last" set of posted limits for a stretch of road - getting the updates is the usual problem.

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big_D
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@Ralph B well, duh! Of course they speak other languages. Do you think that current road sign reading technologies, such as those in Mercedes, BMW, VAG etc. are only English as well?

GM and Ford have a lot of production facilities and sales in non-English speaking countries as well. Most of their current vehicles allow you to switch between MPH/MPG and KMH/L per 100KM and to change the language within the cars infotainment system (my 2004 Mondeo certainly did, useful when I came back to Blighty to visit the family).

The systems are also, generally, supported by a GPS and nav system, so the vehicle knows it is in a foreign country and can automatically adjust the recognition to MPH or KMH as required.

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big_D
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Re: Is this a lost in translation

@Sir Alien

just after I passed my test in 87, I went down a hill at Swanwick and there was a 30mph sign buried in a bush, with a speed trap the other side of the bridge. I got a ticket (and 3 points) for doing 42 in a 30mph zone.

When I went back the next day to take a photograph, the council had just finished cutting away the bushes around the sign!

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Tennessee sues FCC: Giving cities free rein to provide their own broadband is 'unlawful'

big_D
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Also the FCC has only said that municipalities can run their own Wi-Fi networks, it hasn't said that they must.

Then it is up to the local municipality and the whatever bureaucratic overlords they have to work out the fine print.

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This is what happens when a judge in New York orders an e-hit on a Chinese software biz

big_D
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Re: Good

But they have worldwide subsidiaries that are processing payments that are legal in those other countries, they are only not legal in the US, therefore they can only block sales in the USA, otherwise they could face stiff fines by financial authorities where they are refusing to process legal payments.

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big_D
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Re: Good

Yeah, I was wondering when America had invaded Germany and taken over its legal system, or Japan's for that matter.

The same for payment processing, the best they could hope for is to get the processing companies to refuse US credit cards. If the software has not yet been banned in other countries, then payment using cards from those countries would still be legal and the payment processing companies could find themselves in hot water.

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Amazon fires rocket up FAA for dithering on drone approval

big_D
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Welcome to the real world...

Protoyping a web site or server software and making rapid iterations until the product is released is one thing.

Air safety is something else. Airborne vehicles generally have to be submitted to hundreds or thousands of hours of test flights, before they can be used commercially.

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Apple is picking off iOS antivirus apps one by one: Who'll be spared?

big_D
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Re: Doesn't have to be 100%

@Shane, on the other hand there are still an awful lot of iOS devices out there and surveys regularly show that iOS owners are more willing to part with their money for apps and services.

If you are after syphoning off money as quickly as possible, then iOS is a more alluring target than Android.

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EU creative collection agencies want YouTube et al to pay their wages

big_D
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Why the hell should a private individual not be able to post a video backed by a piece of music?

Unless you have a release from the copyright holder, you cannot use their music in your videos. That is why a huge number of videos in Germany are actually blocked by YouTube, because they have recognised that the music is copyrighted and they haven't received a waiver from GEMA for that video.

In my view, this is no different to burning the video to disc, with the backing track, and distributing it to your friends.

Depending on where you are, you have paid for that CD or DVD and part of the price is a sop to the RIAA/MPAA/GEMA/PRS so that you can do that. You also have a much more limited audience with a single DVD. For personal use, it is fine, posting it online for everyone to see is usually breaking copyright.

For example, here in Germany, you pay your sop to GEMA in the price of the CD / DVD and you can make your own copies. You can also give copes as presents to friends. You can make a "reasonable" number of copies to give away - when pressed, a government minister said "about 10" was reasonable.

But you can share songs online, because you cannot guarantee that less than 10 people will see them, if you post on something like YouTube.

It is the same for telephone systems, we have background music on our system when you are in the queue. We bought that music "GEMA" free - i.e. there are no royalties to collect, we paid a one-time fee to get the rights to use the music for our telephone system.

In addition to this, asking the hosting companies to vet every single upload... Are you living in cloud cuckoo land?!

No I am not, and I do see it as not really being practicable. I was pointing it out as a way in which such services could, theoretically, avoid this headache.

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big_D
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This is different from the snippets, which was a totally stupid diversion from the real problems.

Some sites have wholesale copies of articles, which they "stole" and often don't even credit the original authors.

But we are talking about audio / visual here. Things like YouTube hosting complete tunes / pop videos, TV shows and films and don't pay the authors any compensation. Often new copies are being put up quicker than the copyright holders can get them taken down.

If Google and co. vetted the content and ensured only personal-copyright material could be uploaded by private accounts (i.e. stuff they had filmed themselves, no background music from commercial bands etc.) and that the copyright owners could upload their content and earn from the views. But there are hundreds or thousands of illegitimate copies of many songs and videos up there and YT doesn't care, as long as they get their cut of the advertising and the copyright holders don't make too much fuss.

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ROBOT INVASION has already STARTED in HIPSTERLAND

big_D
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Mushroom

You are part of the Cocteau Plan

Who'd a thunk it, Marco Brambilla, Wesley Snipes and Sly Stallone were right about the future!

I feel a Dennis Leary rant coming on.

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First figures in and it doesn't look good for new internet dot-words

big_D
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Re: In other news

I must admit, I don't think I've visited any site on any of the new gTLDs.

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Windows 10 apps to rule them all – phones, slabs and PCs: Microsoft pulls out 'universal' tool

big_D
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Re: The folly of a single user interface

@WP7Mango agreed (and there is a username that brings back memories). The "one Windows" is the underlying core being brought closer together. The interface will still be optimized for the form factor in question.

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Mature mainframe madness prints Mandlebrot fractal in TWELVE MINUTES

big_D
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Re: Zzzzzzzzzt!

I used to play Star Trek on the VAX 11/750.

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big_D
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Re: Still using dot matrix here

We still regularly buy dot matrix printers for our customers.

In the slaughter industry, the scales and Fat-o-Meters are often connected to a DMP in order to print the legal protocol. They are slowly being phased out by tamper-proof memory in the devices, but I guess we order a few dozen Epson FX890s every year. But they are getting darned expensive, because they are made in relatively small batches, due to lack of demand.

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German court slaps down Uber's ride-sharing app

big_D
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Re: Uber arrogance again

If a person has a hammer or tools, they are allowed to register a business, with no regard to how many other people there are out there doing the same thing.

Re-reading that... Actually, no, you can't. In order to register a business as a carpenter, for example, you need to be a Schreinergesseler, until you have this qualification, you can't start a carpentry business.

Likewise, if you want to open a car repair workshop, you need to have completed both your apprenticeship as an auto mechanic and also studied for your "Meisterbreif" (Master Craftsman's Diploma). Without the Meisterbrief you cannot run a business in that profession - this goes for most professions. Some modern professions, such as computer programmer don't have the equivalent of a Meisterbrief.

Even if somebody dies and leaves you a business, you cannot run that business without a Meisterbrief - for example, if your father ran a butcher's shop and died, unless you had a Butcher's Meisterbrief, you could not run the family business - you would have to hire a Meister until such time as you have completed your Meisterbrief - depending on whether you have already completed the apprenticeship, that could be between 3 and 6 years.

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big_D
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Re: Uber arrogance again

I wrote a long reply yesterday, but it seems to have disappeared (doesn't appear in my posts, no message that it was deleted by a mod... So I'll try again.

If a person has a hammer or tools, they are allowed to register a business, with no regard to how many other pis eople there are out there doing the same thing. Taxi licenses are finite, however.

We are talking about professional driving licences in the first order. Looking at the law, they don't need a taxi licence - after all, you have limo services as well, they aren't registered taxis.

In order to legally carry paying passengers (and thereby be able to insure the vehicle) the driver needs to have a professional driving licence. This is just a higher form of the normal driving licence and is controlled by the equivalent of the DVLA, not the local council (which is responsible for the taxi licences).

If the driver has not taken this additional driving test, they cannot legally carry paying passengers and therefore cannot get commercial insurance for their vehicles.

That means that if they do carry paying passengers, their insurance is null and void (a criminal offence - driving without insurance). If the insurance company finds out, they will send somebody round to remove the licence plates from the vehicle. If the police catch them, then they will face heavy fines and lose their licence for a period. of time.

As to taxi licences, there seem to be plenty to go around - there have been 4 new taxi companies and a few dozen new taxis pop up around here in the last 18 months (small town and has pretty much doubled the number of taxis in the area).

If they are running a taxi service (i.e. charging per journey) as opposed to a limo service (price per hour or per day), then driver needs a taxi licence and the vehicles have to be fitted with a calibrated meter to ensure that the passenger is not being ripped off. The price is set by the local council and the meters are calibrated by the German equivalent of the Weights and Measures office.

If the driver doesn't have a meter he will face heavy fines. If the meter is fitted but not calibrated, he will face a smaller fine and be banned from carrying passengers until he has had the meter calibrated and sealed.

There is nothing to stop Uber from operating legally. They just need to ensure their drivers have the professional driving licence and that they have valid insurance and a taxi licence and calibrated meter.

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big_D
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Re: Uber arrogance again

Nobody is stopping them doing business. They just have to make sure their drivers are properly licensed. If the aren't properly licensed, they cannot get insurance for their vehicles to transport paying passengers.

It is as simple as that, for Uber. Ensure you get your drivers professional licenses and they can get insurance, so they can drive their cars with paying passengers on board. Given the number of taxi businesses popping up lately, it doesn't seem that there are too many restrictions to getting drivers licensed.

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Audi TT: It's NOT a hairdresser-mobile, the dash is too flash

big_D
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Re: Infotainment?

I think social media in a car is a fundamentally bad idea,

For once a tech reviewer that talks sense.

My old Ford had an infotainment system and once the vehicle started moving, it locked all advanced functionality, you could change the radio station, change the temperature in the cabin and follow the nab system.

You couldn't change destinations in the navigation system, for example, which was annoying when I had a passenger in the car and we needed to make an unplanned stop on the way to a destination, I'd still have to stop, but it wouldn't let me do something stupid, like trying to type in a new destination whilst moving.

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AUTOPILOT: Musk promises Tesla owners a HANDS-OFF hands-on

big_D
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KITT, come quick!

My 80s dreams might still come true...

Now all Musk needs to do is put all of that in an 80's Firebird and retro modern cockpit... Sod the touch panels, I want all those funky buttons, Turbo Boost, Ski Mode, Super Pursuit, Laser Braking...

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Amazon issued with licence for delivery drone madness

big_D
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Re-read

It is an experimental licence. That means that it the FAA don't think the technology has been proven enough to fly "solo" with just a camera, so during the test period they have to remain in VLOS. I don't think that is too much to ask for the experimental phase.

Once Amazon can prove they are reliably, they can probably move on to another level and drop the VLOS requirement.

I do think the pilot's licence and medical are good though.

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We need copyright reform so Belgians can watch cricket, says MEP

big_D
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I don't think so, their voices are higher pitched on DVD releases as well. I've just gotten used to the deeper voices they use in the lipsyncing.

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big_D
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The organisation also said that “licensing on a territory-by-territory basis is an essential element in the mix for raising finance for audiovisual productions. It is also a means for optimal distribution of works, adapted to local audiences”.

And the territory should be the EU!

Local audiences, fine. I accept that, but what about international audiences? I am English and live in Germany, that means that I don't get much in the way of English content on TV or streaming services (over 90% of what Amazon Prime Video is currently delivering is German language only, even for English language films and TV series).

I'd love the option of getting films, TV series and books streamed in English. For the most part, English language books on Kindle tend to turn up months or even years after they appear in the UK store, so I mainly read German language these days.

That said, I'm so used to the German voices for certain actors that watching films and series in English is often funny. For example, I was watching NCIS LA on Prime and noticed about half way through the first season, that it was also available in English, I switched and the actors' voices were so high pitched and squeaky, compared to their German voice overs, they suddenly didn't sound half so tough!

Worf in Star Trek TNG is also much better in German, his voice passes much better to his character and his looks. No offence to Michael Dorn intended.

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Apple orders white box servers from Taiwan for data centre refresh

big_D
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Trollface

But, but...

they can't do that. You can only run OS X on genuine Apple hardware...

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Fatally flawed RC4 should just die, shout angry securobods

big_D
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Re: Other reasons it has not been dropped

And that is often a problem Vincent, many web servers are set up and left running and nobody gives a damn about security or what cyphers are in use - in fact I would guess a majority of those configuring web sites don't have a clue about crypto suites and which protocols are good or bad.

It is a very complex subject and one that most admins have never bothered to inform themselves about.

"SSL is on," is about all I can get out of most. Start asking about which ciphers are enabled and how they are ordered and you often get a blank stare, as if you are talking gibberish...

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Sit back and let someone else manage your telephony

big_D
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We are currently installing a Swyx system, that is fairly straight forward, no training course needed for the setting up of the server, but the hardware, especially the Mediant which takes the VOIP signals and converts them into analogue for legacy devices, like fax machines, and BRIs for connecting to the ISDN trunk, is not so simple, although it still doesn't need a 2 week training course.

But to know the system inside and out, in the case that there are problems that are not so straight forward, that is why you need some training. We are doing on-the-job training, the telecoms engineers are making the initial install and we are ghosting them. Seems to be working so far and should be sufficient for maintaining the system afterwards.

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'What don't we want? Robots. When don't we want them? Ever.' Anti-droid hipsters hit SXSW

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Childcatcher

I think we should all sit back, relax and re-watch the "Infection" episode of Babylon 5. Probably the weak spot of Season 1, but the fate of the Ikaarens is awaits us. ;-)

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big_D
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Mushroom

Butler's Jihad is coming, you can't stop it.

"Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."

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Gaffe-prone EU digi chief: We still want our single digital market

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They don't, they can't even decide internally on a lot of matters.

The agriculture minister wants to pass the buck on the GM crops to the states, the argi ministers of the states are all saying they want a country wide ban on GM crops - they are worried that if one state goes GM, then it means a large buffer zone around the state, where nothing can be grown, in case it gets contaminated with GMed seeds or pollen.

The agriculture minister says he doesn't have the right to do that, the states' agri ministers and the Envionment Minister say he has...

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Leaked Windows 10 build hints at peer-to-peer patching

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Which is why there should be a "driving" licence for computers. But they'll soon notice that the Internet is "slow" and ask their tech friend, who will sort it out for them - although such people would probably never find the option for sharing in the first place.

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big_D
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Re: Could be useful... if under control

@Kanhef, businesses have not had that problem since around 2003. They just set up a Microsoft WSUS server or an alternative. They only ever download the patches once.

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big_D
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Re: Could be useful... if under control

It seems to have worked well enough for Linux distributions over the last decade or so.

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big_D
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I would guess, if you don't decide to use the sharing to download patches from others, they won't be able to use your PC as a source either. If you opt in to sharing, then you are sharing as well, like a Torrent.

That said, for small businesses and families with more than 1 PC, it makes a lot of sense. If you have 4 PCs at home, you have to download each patch 4 times, unless you set up a WSUS server, but how many small businesses or families have a Windows Server running WSUS? Make one PC the master and it downloads directly from MS, the others on the network then slave off of that one.

That saves you a lot of bandwidth / data volume.

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Musk: 'Tesla's electric Model S cars will be less crap soon. I PROMISE'

big_D
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@ecofeco is American car build quality so poor?

I've only driven European and Japanese cars over the last 30 and I've never had one with a dodgy fuel guage, even my 18 year old BMW M535i or my old rust bucket Mini Metro.

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