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* Posts by Dr. Mouse

1116 posts • joined 22 May 2007

Stallman: Android evil, Apple and Microsoft worse

Dr. Mouse
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No, you can't mix & match the licenses for the same piece of code. The code which is under the GPL must be kept under the GPL (unless the copyright holder agrees to relicense). This code must then be distributed once the binaries are distibuted to comply with the license. Strictly speaking, this includes the point when Google send it to their partners.

But the parts licensed under ASF do not have this requirement. So as long as they are distributing the code to the GPL-licensed components on distribution, there is no breach of the license.

I am not defending Google's (and the handset developers') actions, but this is how the licensing works.

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PayPal's 'delightful' intrusion into meatspace: You wish

Dr. Mouse
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"OMFG - don't let any of the big retailers even think about that! Hotel California Tesco style, you can pay (and pay, and pay...) but you can never leave"

I had an incident recently where that nearly happened. Went to the local supermarket just before closing. When I was leaving, they had locked the doors and had a guy standing there to open it for people to leave. Unfortunately, the key didn't work, and it took him 5 mins of jiggling to let me out!

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PayPal to move into the shop - without cards or NFC

Dr. Mouse
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About time!

Although I am naturally wary (Paypal seeming to be one of the most hackable transaction systems out there) it's about time they did this. If it's done right, and there's enough takeup (especially the scan&pay bit) this could seriously improve (i.e. speed up, the worst part of any shopping is the time it takes!) shopping.

I'll reserve judgement until I see it in action, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

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Hunt: We'll slightly inconvenience pirate sites

Dr. Mouse
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"Piracy can never be stopped, there will always be new innovations and ways to illegally distribute content. Why? Because there will always be demand for something for nothing... Politicians know better than to take piracy prevention seriously; they know there is no way to ever stop piracy."

Hasn't stopped them trying in other circumstances. For example, "drugs".

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Does Cameron dare ditch poor-bashing green energy?

Dr. Mouse
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Ideal vs. Real World

The problem is that, in an ideal world, we should be moving towards renewable sources of energy. They are the future, and will (when technology advances far enough) be cheaper than the alternatives. I think even the greens accept there will need to be something to augment them due to the variability of the most readily available renewable sources in this country, whether something to generate a base power requirement of an effective energy storage scheme, but I think most people accept they will be a big part of future energy production (hate that phrase, "energy conversion" is better but everyone seems to think we "make" energy...)

In the real world, however, I think most people realise that technology still isn't there. I have had conversations with those on low incomes. Fuel bills are crippling them, and have meant they can't afford to have the heating on. Instead the entire family huddles under a blanket on the couch of an evening. Surely this is unacceptable in this day and age!

Yes, I believe we should be partly subsidising the "renewable" industry at the moment, as we need it to advance to a commercially viable state. I do not, however, believe we should be deploying half as much as we are, nor should we be subsidising by increasing fuel costs. If the govt wants them subsidised, let them do so, from government coffers. They can increase income tax to cover it, if they must. At least then it is those who can afford to pay who caver the cost. As things stand, the poor are sufferring more than those who are better off.

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Apple ejects FT app from iTunes

Dr. Mouse
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"as HTML5 becomes the new, FREE app store"

And don't forget cross-platform. Suddenly, all these "Apps" become web pages, accessible from practically any device, rather than iPhone-exclusive and locked-in.

Seems like this will simplify things for developers...

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French letter shock: Tax us more, demand rich people

Dr. Mouse
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Flame

Or even...

you still feel the need to read it.

If you don't like what's written on the site, there are other publications you can read.

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CERN: 'Climate models will need to be substantially revised'

Dr. Mouse
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Just one point.

"are we supposed to believe that a rise in volcanism AND cloud-inducing cosmic rays has somehow caused global climate change at the same time as a massive rise in the human output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, along with a sharp reduction in global forest cover?"

Correllation does not prove Causation.

I am still on the fence WRT CC, but saying things like this does not aid a logical argument.

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Google SHOCK! Snaps up Motorola phone biz for $12.5bn

Dr. Mouse
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Agree

I have only one problem with the Defy, that's the locked bootloader. However this gripe is from my geek side, for a consumer this would not matter.

Aside from that the Defy is well built and a solid all-round performer, with a great screen and enough oompf for most tasks. Add in the waterproof* element, and it's a fantastic phone.

* I have not tested the waterproofness of my phone, as I bought it "refurbished". It may not be after that, so I won't be dropping it in the bath on purpose, but I have handled it with wet hands and it has had a pint spilled over it with no consequences (for the phone... I had to buy another pint).

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Grow up, Google: You're threatening IT growth

Dr. Mouse
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Not so

"Patents are the death of growth. Not Google."

Nope.

Patents, when the system works as it was originally designed, promote growth and innovation.

The current patent system is the death of innovation. As pointed out in the article, it is failing. Patents are being actively used by large corporations to stifle innovation. This is the system's fault, and is not in keeping with the original purpose of patents. This was to get those who innovate and invent to publish what they have done while providing them protection from those who would copy their ideas.

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RFID drives the self-service pub

Dr. Mouse
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When is a title not a title?

"Pulling a pint of proper beer is, of course, more complicated. British beer doesn't lend itself to electronic measuring or pumping"

Actually, I could see an electronically measured hand-pump system being more simple to implement.

AFAIK most hand pumps draw 1/3 or 1/2 a pint per "pull". My own at home does half a pint, perfect for me considering it's just a short walk to the kitchen for a top up and I end up with less chance of wasting my delicious homebrew.

Therefore to measure the quantity, you just count the number of pulls. For a more accurate system, you could count the displacement, which should be proportional to the quantity dispensed. Much more simple than measuring lager flowing through a pipe (and more tasty).

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Vote now for the juiciest LOHAN backronym

Dr. Mouse
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WTF?

Why?!

Why are the most popular so far the 3 starting with "Low Orbit"? I doubt it will be entering orbit. If it's anything like PARIS it'll get very high, but not into orbit!

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PayPal teaches Androids to swap cash

Dr. Mouse
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Hmm

I've never had any problems giving my bank details (SC & Account#) to a friend for them to send me money. They are friends for a reason, plus you need a lot more than that to withdraw moneys...

And it's 419ers, not 409!

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Heat sink breakthrough threatens ventblockers

Dr. Mouse
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Very clever

I was sceptical at first, but reading comments above this looks to be an ingenius idea.

WRT "Several thousand RPM is going to sound like a jet engine"... Most PC fans I have come accross, at full speed, run at over a thousand RPM. Many of those on budget coolers or those which bundled come with CPUs run at 2-3k (I may be a little behind the times, but they did with the last one which came with a CPU I bought). I suspect that it will be able to be slowed, just like a standard fan, although probably not to the same extent (to maintain the air cushion). I guess it's something which would need investigating.

I can't beleive, though, the number of people who just seem to automatically poo-poo ideas like this. Whether they will work well in real life, or suit your specific needs, or will be economical to produce, they are interesting to read about.

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Dr. Mouse
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See the posts above...

about the thermal conductivity of the air gap.

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'Indestructible' rootkit enslaves 4.5m PCs in 3 months

Dr. Mouse
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More importantly...

...how does one go about DETECTING such an infection?

I you know it's there, you can always do something about it (even if it means reinstalling every single machine from scratch in a controlled manner). If you don't know there's a problem, you won't fix it.

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Galileo 'can deploy 24 satellites with existing funding'

Dr. Mouse
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Profits?

"Now build a spaceplane, lads, on the profits. (You are going to charge a licence fee, right?)"

I think with the amount of money spent on it so far, it will take many years before it returns a profit

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BOFH: CSI Haxploitation Cube Farm Apocalypse

Dr. Mouse
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Yes, suspend disbelief

But appart from that an accurate post.

I have to say, in spite of the obvious inaccuracies, I love CSI (Vegas, not the spin offs). Grissom is a great character, his integrity and dedication to scientific process is an example to all of us. I know they "spice it up" but it's a great programme.

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Dr. Mouse
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That's not as bad as...

when they print on an inkjet and it just spits the page straight out. Highly irritating!

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X-51A hydrocarb scramjet flames out in second test

Dr. Mouse
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Joke

Weapons are like socks.

You can NEVER have too many.

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Brit censor stamps on The Human Centipede

Dr. Mouse
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Yes

So THAT's where they got the idea for that.

Gotta love Cartman's line in it:

"It's a phone, it's and iPad, AND it craps in Kyle's mouth?!"

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Smart Fortwo Electric Drive e-car

Dr. Mouse
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QOTD

"That near silence can be a bit of an issue in car parks and built-up areas - the number of idiot pedestrians who stepped out in front of me over the course of a week beggared belief. Forget fitting electric cars with an audible means of approach, we need to start running these buffoons over in the interests of Darwinian selection."

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Antimatter hangs around at CERN

Dr. Mouse
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IIRC

One theory is that an anti-proton is actually a proton travelling backwards through time. When the two collide, it is actually the proton being "reflected" in the time dimension by collision with a photon, so it looks like the 2 are converted to photons.

I didn't read too much about it, so the details are fuzzy... and this was only one theory about them.

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Tesco pricing cock-up provokes beer stampede

Dr. Mouse
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Pun intended?

See title

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Oracle drops OpenOffice on Apache, shuns forkers

Dr. Mouse
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Up to a point

I agree that the majority of human kind is selfish, and will ultimately do things in their own interests. This is why capitalism "works", at least better than the implementations of the alternatives we have had so far.

However, the point of FOSS is not always altruism. In many case it is because it works, at least for the developers involved.

Let us say you need/want a specific feature in your office suite. Using a proprietry suite, you would have to request that feature from the supplier and hope they see enough commercial interest in developing it. Go to FOSS, and you can add it yourself, then make that feature available to the community. It is, in this case, a selfish motivation: you want it, so you make it. You get the benefit, but you also get the benefit of everyone elses contributions, and probably help from the community to ensure your contribution is up to the job (stable and works as expected). They will help improve it: not for altruistic reasons, but for their own benefit (even if it is just for their own ego).

And WRT votes: I'm not going to down vote you on the grounds that you WANT to be downvoted. See above resonse about sadist and masochist.

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Linguists use sounds to bypass Skype crypto

Dr. Mouse
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But with the constraint...

that it must be done and transmitted/received in near real time, which affects the possibilities quite drastically.

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Dr. Mouse
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"The human ear is good at separating that sort of thing out"

Maybe YOUR human ear... put background music in and I find hearing VERY difficult. (I am still unsure if this is to do with my hearing or my attention span...)

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Zuckerberg: Give me your children

Dr. Mouse
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True...

My cousin has just turned 13, and she's been on FB for at least a couple of years

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BOFH: Attack of the Global Corporate Overlords

Dr. Mouse
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Yes, people use it.

We were recently take over by a large, US-based multinational. They use Notes, we use Exhange. We have been fighting since the takeover NOT to use the damn thing, and even harder since our Exchange licenses came up for renewal. Much as I hate MS, anything is better than Notes!

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Reg ed rattles the Red-Headed League

Dr. Mouse
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Know your audience

"How 'bout not being nasty to anyone for anything unless they really deserve it?"

What about "know your audience" combined with "don't be so easily offended"?

I am a polite person, and I rarely upset anyone. I do, however, take the piss out of friends and aquaintances when I think they can take it.

I have, on occasion, got it wrong and offended someone. Often this is because I didn't realise something was a touchy subject for the person involved. Mostly, they laugh it off, realising there was no malice in what I said, and then let me know later (at which point I feel very guilty and appologise profusely). I have also been on the other end, and try to do the same.

When someone is doing it out of malice, it is a completely different story. Fortunately I have found that this rarely happens (except at school, of course). My response is still the same however: treat it as a joke if you can, no matter how hurtful, or ignore it if you can't laugh it off.

I am not a strong person, and know how hurtfull things can be. But friends will avoid touchy subjects when taking the piss, and why do you care about the others?

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Dr. Mouse
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Ginger's

"Ginger kids are born with a disease which causes very light skin, red hair, and freckles... This disease is called Gingervitus, and it occurs because ginger kids have no souls."

(South Park, great episode :D )

I also remember when one of my girlfriends mates dyed her hair ginger... my girlfriends response: "Why would you dye your hair ginger? It's like purposely making yourself ugly!"

Seriously, though, everyone takes the mick out of everyone else (at least here in the UK). It is banter. If you are offended, it shows more about your own insecurities than the oppinions of others.

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Welshman attempts to board train with pony

Dr. Mouse
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Captured on CCTV...

... which is probably computerised.

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Google won't open source fondleslab Android before 'year end'

Dr. Mouse
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"how does Mac use OSX which is based on Linux without opening the code?"

AFAIK OSX is loosely based on FreeBSD (correct me if I am wrong). The FreeBSD license is open to the point where you can just wholescale copy it into a comercial system and sell it, without telling anyone or openning the code.

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Elite coder readies £15 programming gadget for schools

Dr. Mouse
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True

I'm guilty of it myself, cobbling together a mishmash of bash & perl to get a job done rather than writing an efficient C program.

I did enjoy my microcontroller programming course at Uni though, done ALL in assembler. It really taught you how things were structured at an underlying level, and gave me a sense of efficiency in code.

Unfortunately, I kinda missed out on the ZX81/C64 etc. age. My first computer was an Amiga (incidentally, a cousing got me interested in both Maths and Programming on that, writing a BASIC programme which drew spirograph-type pictures), and I played with my fathers x86 AutoCAD station*, but I think that uC course did a lot to help me understand efficient programming.

* Untill I stopped it working and cost him a days work.

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Dr. Mouse
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Completely agree

"The problem is that office skills aren't education, they're training. And one problem with training over education is that it narrows the mind. If all you give kids about computers is Powerpoint, a lot of them aren't going to grasp the full potential, or be able to adapt to when we drop Powerpoint for something else.

"It's like teaching kids French by giving them a phrase book, or giving a ready-filled iPod and calling it a music lesson."

Taking this back to cars: I learned basic maintenance and repairs on my car from the beginning (BTW I'm not even 30 yet). I then learned more when I bought a Mini and became friends with a mechanic. Eventually I learned about the theory behind them in my degree course.

When learning to drive, you get taught what you need to pass the test (I have a big problem with this, at least motorcycle lessons are better, with most instructors teaching beyond that). However, understanding what is happening, and why you do this in this situation, is better than learning by rote.

Understanding why you change gear, why you need (in an older car) to release the brakes when the wheels lock, why a hole in the exhaust (or a horribly mismatched "loud" exhaust) hurts performance and economy, and why tyre pressures need to be correct (just as a few examples) has helped me immensely in driving. Understanding the Otto & Deisel cycles and other in-depth topics has not helped as much, but still adds more information with which to make descisions.

Back to computing, if someone learns about "what's under the hood" (in abstaract terms, at least) they are more likely to be better able to opperate the machine. If they just learn how to use MS Office, their skills are non-transferable and they will have a much harder time adapting to other tools they must use later.

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Oz boffins in quantum computing breakthrough

Dr. Mouse
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Love it

@Destroy All Monsters

Great post.

It's not easy to understand (just like most quantum physics), but it's still a good post :)

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End of the tether: Google plays nice with carriers

Dr. Mouse
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RE: Giffgaff

"I believe the GG limitation is due to thier resale of the O2 service. I very much doubt they would have added thsi limit themselves as they do NOT offer any option to enable tethering or use a GG sim in a dongle."

I'm on GG myself, and I also have no problem with the tethering restriction.

However, AFAIK the reason for "no tethering" has been because they do not charge for data. Granted, this is changing, but on bundles they allow unlimitted data for phone use. This is not unlimitted but limitted, as with most providers. It means that, from my phone, I can use as much data as I wish and not be charged.

It is much easier to consume a large amount of data from a real computer than from a phone. Granted, you could use, say, a bittorrent app on your phone and download a lot, but restrictive storage and other limitations makes things difficult.

I don't think this is an unreasonable condition.

PS I beleive they are currently looking into tethering goodybags.

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Books biz talks up Kindle effect

Dr. Mouse
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Twice the price

Yep, that's it exactly.

My personal belief is that the eBook ex. VAT price should be no more than the cheapest paper copy currently available. So, for a new release, set it at (at most) the cost of the Hardback+VAT, when the paperback comes out drop it to a max of the cost of the paperback +VAT.

I also agree that VAT on eBooks is rediculous, but that's how it is. I can accept that (for now...) although it should change.

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Dr. Mouse
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FAIL

It would be better...

The major publishing houses are to blame for these slaes not being better.

I have a Kindle. It was bought for me by my girlfriend, even though I told her I prefered real books. Her reasoning was she didn't want all my book cluttering up the house (along with all the computer bits, bike & car parts, tools and assorted junk).

It has changed my mind. It is convenient, easy to use and easy to read. There are only 2 small problems.

The first is that I already own a lot of books. There is no way I am going to buy these books again on the Kindle. Unlike CDs (and tapes, videos, DVDs etc) there is no easy way to format shift. I feel I would be morally justified in trying to locate and download these books from the "less legitimate" sources, although others would probably disagree (including lawyers).

The other problem is price. For new releases, the eBook on Amazon is normally priced higher than the Hardback (with a note saying the price was set by the publisher). Even older realeases are often more expensive as eBooks than paperbacks. Once again, I feel I would be morally justified buying the "real" book and downloading the eBook.

The problem with that is it becomes very tempting to skip the "buying" part. They are effectively encouraging piracy with the current model. As the music industry knows all too well, once this has started, it is very difficult to stop. Basically, they are not learning from previous mistakes, and I will have no sympathy when book sales plummet and they start loosing money. I foresee it happenning rather soon if they don't get their arses in gear.

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Save the planet: Stop the Greens

Dr. Mouse
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Typical...

"the difference between subsidising nuclear power and subsidising solar power is that nuclear is a mature technology and solar is not. In that case, I asked, would she support research into thorium reactors, which could provide a much safer and cheaper means of producing nuclear power? No, she told me, because thorium reactors are not a proven technology."

Love this quote. It is the typical logic-defying argument of someone with an agenda to push.

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Red Dwarf to blast off on new adventure

Dr. Mouse
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I hope...

"The new series will air on freeview channel Dave, which had a big hit with its 2009 four-episode Red Dwarf: Back to Earth special."

That "special" sucked balls. I hope the series is good. Although I doubt it, they were already going down hill fast by the end of the last series.

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Facebook's open hardware: Does it compute?

Dr. Mouse
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title

I was wondering the same...

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Penguin chief: Linux patent and copyright FUD 'not relevant'

Dr. Mouse
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Use it or loose it!

"It's the kind of suit we're becoming too familiar with: a previously unknown company with no product, lassoing a bunch of fat tech companies and a couple of big-name end users, claiming damages plus injunction against sale of the companies products or services in the US."

The only way I can see to stop things like this happening with patents is a "Use it or Loose it" clause: If the holder of a patent makes no effort to use said patent, they loose it and the patented material is released public domain.

Noone should be allowed to hold back human advances by patenting something they never have any intention of using. Give them a reasonable amount of time, but if they sue down the line and cannot prove that they have been actively seeking to utilise the patent (whether by developing it, developing a product around it, or something similar), throw it out of court, invalidating the patent.

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Online car-buying firm agrees to more transparent pricing

Dr. Mouse
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Not quite...

I am not defending them. I am sure that they have been dodgy. I am only passing on what he told me, the opinion of one former employee (who I suspect was too honest, which is why he wasn't with them very long)

As for my assertion that it's for lazy people, I stand by that. I consider selling to a dealer even more so in most instances, but sites such as webuy are a very quick method of getting shut of a motor, where they (or more precisely the dealers they sell the car on to) take on the hassle of trying to get a good price for your car. Yes, you must fill in details about your car and drive it to them. But if you were to sell privately, you will likely have to spend more time putting several adverts out there, showing potential buyers your car, haggling, and generally putting in effort. Selling your car privately will most often bring you the best price (eventually), but it is a much more laborious process. Webuy (or part-exing at a dealer) is a quick and easy method of getting shut, but they will never give you what the car is really worth (they need to make a profit, even the honest ones!)

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Dr. Mouse
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Six of one...

I know someone who used to work for webuyanycar.

Although I am not saying their practices are right, fair or even legal, he told me the main problem was that people failed to mention defects on the online valuation. They would not mantion the scratched bumper, dented wing, chipped windscreen etc. then complain that they weren't offered the same price. Let's be honest, if you sold your car on ebay, for instance, and you didn't mention the faults correctly, you can't expect the buyer to want to pay as much (most often they will cancel as the car is not as described).

The other point is that they are making money from people's laziness. You know they will never offer full market value, because they need to make a profit. It saves you time, so you can accept a lower price, but you will get more if you put in the effort to sell privately.

Once again, I'm not saying they are right... Just that people slag them off more than they deserve sometimes.

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Stock-trading teen hacker jailed again over 2nd scam

Dr. Mouse
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FAIL

D'oh!

"The unauthorised access was detected and traced back to an internet connection at the home Dinh shares with his mother in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania."

This is what has become of present day "hackers"?

There are now so many easy ways of disguising where an attack came from, but it looks like he wasn't even intelligent enough to use Tor. The guy deserves jail for his stupidity more than for his "hacking".

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Digital player maker 'incited consumers to break the law', says ASA

Dr. Mouse
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It depends...

If it was done to bash the company, they are twats.

If it was done to highlight the stupidity of the UK copyright law (which it has), it's rather clever really.

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Men at Work lose Down Under plagiarism appeal

Dr. Mouse
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Sorry...

I had no choice but to downvote your post...

YOU'VE GOT THAT ******* SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD!

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Vote compass unmasks Canadian political opinion

Dr. Mouse
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Quite interesting...

-1.50,-3.49

Pretty much shows what I though of myself: Quite middle-of-the-road economically but reasonably libertarian.

It's an interesting experiment, and I support the way it seems to be being used to broaden the people's political horizons (voting for those who most closely match your position, rather than "we're a Labour/Conservative family"). I doubt it will work, though, and it is an oversimplification, but interesting non-the-less.

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Stop sexing up IT and give Civil Servants Macs, says gov tech boss

Dr. Mouse
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Apple...

They should "use more Apple products" during an "efficiency drive"?!

We recently had a similar experience. One of our higher-ups decided that, for the upgraded systems we were putting in place, he wanted Macs.

Not only did they cost more than twice the price of the faster hardware we specced for him, the software *wouldn't even run natively* on Mac OSX. We would have had to either boot them into RHEL or run RHEL in a VM to make it work.

He just wanted Macs.

In the end we managed to slap him with a wet kipper (well, go over his head explaining the massive waste of resources he wanted to engage in) and he got a bunch of generic very fast workstations (the sort that starts tingly feelings in unmentionable areas) for half the cost, but he wasn't happy (I WANT A MAC WAH WAH WAH!!)

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