* Posts by Semaj

387 posts • joined 2 Feb 2010

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Citroën C4 Cactus BlueHDi: A funky urban crossover

Semaj
Thumb Down

I've seen these driving around. They look weird and I don't like them.

That's my review :P

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Surveillance, broadband, zero hours: Tech policy in a UK hung Parliament

Semaj

Re: What about skills?

Self employed with a kid and an old car, living in the poverty trap that is London... I really feel for you.

Things are better outside the capital so if you can get the cash to move and can find work then do it.

Good luck and a pint cause you probably need it.

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Microsoft: Profit DECIMATED because you people aren't buying PCs

Semaj

Surfaces?

Surfaces are doing well? Sorry but I just don't believe it.

I've never seen anyone using one in public and I don't know anyone who knows anyone who has one. And I work in a .net dev company with a bunch of very pro-MS devs.

Maybe MS are just paying their own employees to buy them multiple times :P

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Google: Give us cash or we'll poke YouTube ads into your eyeballs

Semaj
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Who Gets It?

I would POSSIBLY consider this on the condition that the channels that I watch get a much larger cut of the money than Google do. However, given that only pewdiepie makes anything worthwhile even from ads these days, I can't imagine a sub would be different for anyone else than being (blocked) ad supported. Other than Google themselves of course.

Also, has anyone else noticed that it's really hard to find new channels to watch these days since the multiple awful layout changes?

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NERDS KICK PUPPY 'bot in brutal attack

Semaj
Terminator

Kick

Is it me or when it gets kicked does it's body language say "Just you wait till I get my automatic defense system..."

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Crackdown on eBay sellers 'failing to display' VAT numbers

Semaj
Thumb Down

Small Business Boo Hoo

Sorry small business owners but the old saying goes - if you can't beat them, join them.

Make an eBay and an Amazon shop and do most of your business through there. You'll find that if you are actually UK based and offer good customer service people will buy from you even if you charge a little bit more (not taking the piss though). Mainly cause they will get their stuff that week, not some random period of time later when the cargo ship arrives.

Or were you selling Chinese bits and bobs yourselves but adding a massive markup on top by any chance and are now just sad because the game is up? I'm looking at you Maplin.

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Teen whiz exposes WhatsApp profile pic privacy blunder bug

Semaj
Facepalm

That's Nothing

If you think that's bad you should look into the way groups work.

If you add people to a group in WhatsApp and then as group admin you leave, the group is persisted and a RANDOM participant is allocated as the new admin. So if a user does this by accident, bad things can happen. Also any users who've been in the group can see each others profile pictures and phone numbers and the messages that were sent to the group even if the admin kicks them out.

Even the fact that it's phone number rather than user name based really doesn't sit right with me.

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Hola HoloLens: Reg man gets face time with Microsoft's holographic headset

Semaj
FAIL

These things look pretty cool and all but I just can't see it taking off for mass market consumption.

Most people I know don't even use the 3D function of their 3D tellies because you have to wear "stupid glasses", hell I've never even bothered trying the option on my projector. Mainly I can't see many folks wanting to strap a massive thing to their head and lug around a pound of battery.

As a niche product for porn, theme parks, science or the DIY helper thing it could work nicely but as for mass market I just can't see anyone wanting it.

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Uber BLOCKS COPS to stop stings

Semaj

Re: Car Sharing

Interesting.

So then I wonder what the rules would be if someone used uber but only charged enough to cover half their fuel costs. So basically used it as a communal car sharing app.

The point about if you were traveling to point B anyway is interesting as well because it's common to give non-driving friends or relatives lifts to places then ask for them to pay the fuel in it's entirety.

An example might be if a friend wants to go to an airport, with their partner (who just for the sake of it let's say the driver doesn't know). The couple will each pay half of the driver's petrol so they are getting a cheap ride and the driver isn't out of pocket. The driver though has used his car to take a stranger (the partner) somewhere in exchange for money. So would that be covered by insurance or not?

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Semaj
WTF?

Car Sharing

One question about all this.

Is car sharing illegal in Australia if the passenger pays some of the petrol money plus a bit more for the effort?

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Semaj
Trollface

Re: Oh not again

If you see a cyclist about to run a red light that you are about to cross and you are big enough - cross anyway. Chances are they'll come off much worse if they fall off. Unfortunately dickheads like that are usually just as bad in their Audi as on their bike though so it might just mean another bad driver on the road while they recover or get their bike fixed instead...

Speaking of which - the most common red light running I see from drivers is at junctions where U-turns are forbidden. There's one in particular where I've nearly been ran over twice. All lights like that should have cameras fitted and automatic fines given out accordingly.

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Google+ to offer 'infinite' gender identity options

Semaj
Meh

Big Deal

How is this a big deal? On most systems I've worked on, there is an "other" option which would allow people to specify (if they want to). That goes for any dropdown box based field unless it specifically needs to be one of the provided options for business reasons.

Choosing whether or not to provide this functionality should be a no brainer. It's easy to do and if it makes someone who normally has a difficult time happy then why not?

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Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU

Semaj

UI

I always thought having to press the word "Free" was weird anyway. It took me a few seconds to actually figure out that was a button at all and not just a label when I first looked at the store.

But I guess it's offensive to have buttons that look like buttons...

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Emoticons blast three security holes in Pidgin :-(

Semaj

I use it all the time. Though many of the people I want to chat to seem to be moving onto Skype. And anyone under 25 seems to be on KiK. What's with the weird proprietary ones being popular?

You can use Pidgin to talk to Facebook friends though (well, until quite recently anyway, not sure about now). The added bonus being not having to look at stupid Facebook.

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REVEALED: Apple fanbois are 'MENTALLY UNSTABLE' - iShop staff

Semaj

The squeaky wheel gets the grease

The Japanese have a different outlook:

"The nail that sticks out gets hammered down"

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EE launches 150Mbps '4G+' in the heart of London

Semaj
Pint

Glass of Dutch wine at the Nail Gun Arms anyone?

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Semaj

Re: So your monthly allowence can now be used in seconds rather than minutes

Don't worry - they'll just mess with their content lock some more so you won't be able to get on YouTube or other notorious sites such as gov.uk from one hour to the next. That should give you at least a couple more hours of of extra "usage".

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Programming Office 365: Hands On with Microsoft's new APIs

Semaj

Another Auth System

Oh great, another hosted authentication system from Microsoft. So far I believe this is their 4th but maybe I've missed one...

To my knowledge they have:

Live Connect, which seems fairly widely used but is secreted away somewhat and not really linked up to their Azure stuff.

Azure ACS, which is now deprecated after being "best practice" for a little while.

Azure Mobile Applications, which always seemed weird as an auth point for me but they bundled scheduled tasks in with those too so who knows?

Of course there's also the good old forms auth stuff and Azure ACS was kind of linked with active directory on Azure too.

Either way - this "ecosystem" is a massive mess for anyone just getting started. Honestly if it were up to me I'd not touch Microsoft auth with a barge pole. They just don't seem to know what they want to do.

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One Windows? How does that work... and WTF is a Universal App?

Semaj

No, it's much worse than that.

You just get a project per platform and the UI for that platform goes in there.

You can handle the sizing stuff in code but its a pain and very much a manual process.

Honestly, if you want something actually cross platform - just build a website.

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80 PER CENT of app devs SUCK at securing your data, study finds

Semaj
Headmaster

Terminology

Is this about apps (as in phone apps), web applications or just applications in general?

The term "app" is so horribly varied that it's impossible to use it properly these days.

As for the fact that most devs have poor security in web applications - yes that's probably the case for the reasons mentioned about (we've all been on the receiving end of Boss: "do it later"). But for (phone) apps it's even worse, mainly because there are hoops to jump through to allow SSL and on-device encryption, which many new, indie devs simply aren't going bother with.

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Microsoft buys Minecraft for $2.5bn. Notch: I'm getting the block outta here

Semaj

"In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time"

... but in a real sense, it belongs to Microsoft now, who will fuck it up.

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'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux

Semaj

Meh

It looks like they've sorted out some of the issues of Windows 8 but frankly it's going to take more than the implementation of obvious features that should have been in the predecessor (at least) to bring me back to Windows.

I already switched to Mint on my low powered laptop (though the poor thing needs putting out to pasture tbh) and my Desktop install is starting to get a bit more unstable so it's gonna get the Linux treatment too when I can be bothered.

I'm just sick of the MS bullshit. It's going to take something special to bring me back, especially when the alternative doesn't cost anything.

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Visual Studio Online goes titsup as Microsoft wrestles with database

Semaj
FAIL

Worrying

We're very heavily invested in all things Azure so this outage caused us big headaches yesterday.

It wouldn't be so bad for TFS online to be down if Visual Studio didn't have to timeout (~3 minutes) on EVERY SINGLE FUCKING CHECKOUT...

But no, the amazing resilient cloud can't be down so no need to do some defensive coding around that.

It's exactly this kind of crap that is turning me off MS dev (and MS in general tbh) more and more. Which is a shame because I normally sing the praises of both Visual studio and TFS, especially when used together.

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AWS hell no: Can Microsoft Azure sales beat Amazon's cloud?

Semaj

Re: Embrace, extend and extinguish

"Been hit by both of these."

"I assume you mean you have been hit by service outages"

No, service outages happen, that's annoying but it happens.

The 2 services I listed were extolled as being best practice for a while before the announcement that they are being deprecated. ACS will stay around but will not be developed so it's going to just get more and more out of date and Federations are being actively canned next year (not sure of the details so existing ones might still work but I doubt if you'll be able to make new shards).

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Semaj

Re: Loong term view

Well sticking stuff on a VM would certainly work but that kind of defeats the purpose of Azure's offering IMO. We may as well (and should) have gone with AWS if we were going to do that. Besides, they've only been offering actual VMs for a couple of years and our stuff was already on Azure by then.

As for the bacpac option, they don't include the transaction log so aren't fit for purpose for most companies who would need a real backup strategy for a legal requirement to minimize risk.

And of course RDP being disabled by default is a good thing but you shouldn't have to take down your live service to enable it. And you shouldn't need to enable it because Azure should provide access to real diagnostic tools from the admin console.

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Semaj

Re: Loong term view

They do but they don't push out major version upgrades. They do deprecate them though.

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Semaj

Re: Embrace, extend and extinguish

"What history of nixing customers"

Azure Federations, Azure ACS. Been hit by both of these.

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Semaj

Re: Loong term view

"Azure is easier to use"

I use Azure every day and can confirm that it most certainly is NOT easier to use than AWS. At least from a development and deployment point of view.

I'll list a few off the top of my head examples of where Azure makes things more awkward than AWS (or an on-premises setup, which is basically the same as AWS) I'm talking from a .net perspective, which in theory should make things easier so I dread to think what it's like for non .net folks.

- Wrappers. To deploy to Azure you need to wrap your projects in a special .cloud project. These frequently become corrupt (especially when upgrading) and have lots of config XML duplication. Very awkward to merge. (You don't have to use these if all you are making is 1 website but for anything remotely interesting you have to use this mechanism)

- Deployment. Is SLOW. You can deploy from Visual Studio, which packages up your application then sends it up to Azure, which will then makes a whole new VM, installs what it needs then allows you access. This can take anything from between 5 and 45 minutes depending on the size of your application and which way the wind's blowing. Note that getting the deployment set up in the first place is a pain because you need to mess around with storage locations and other auth stuff. Oh and if you just want to make a minor CSS tweak (for example) to a wrapped website you need to do a whole new redeployment because any changes you make via RDP aren't guaranteed to remain.

- Config. With Azure, they've thrown the .settings stuff in the bin and implemented a fudge so you can store your settings in the .cloud project and access them through a proprietary MS class. This does fall back to web.config or app.config if the setting isn't found but it throws and catches an exception to do it. Also it duplicates config, meaning it's easy for stuff to get missed out. Oh and it still takes ~5 minutes to make any config change via the Azure front end (it must do a soft reboot or something).

- Waste. For every project in a .cloud wrapper Azure will create a VM, eating into your cores limit.

- Backup. Backups (of Azure SQL) are still practically impossible to get set up in a reliable, automated, on and off-site way.

- Azure SQL. Is just generally awful. Missing features (freetext search, custom CLR functions, scheduling), difficult to diagnose when things are going wrong.

- Scheduling. Is only available via creation of a mobile app and even then it's only able to call a web service so you still need a whole instance per (different) scheduled action.

- Remote access (RDP). Needs to be enabled specifically from the first deployment or you need to redeploy with the various settings enabled. Makes debugging a failing service very difficult. Oh and you can't do an in-place swap of VMs while turning on RDP because it creates another endpoint and you can't swap in that situation. That means downtime, of however long it takes it to deploy.

- Diagnostics. Aren't provided by MS at all. The best software seems to be "Azure Management Studio", which is OK if a bit flaky (I put this down to the services they are calling rather than their software). But to get anything useful you have to mess around with more settings, pepper your code with more Azure only MS classes (Azure Diagnostics), turn around 3 times and stand on your head.

...That's all that immediately spring to mind.

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Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes

Semaj
Facepalm

Re: "just charge more"

Oops, I misread "charge" as "change" ... and even quoted it. What a numpty! You get the message though.

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Semaj
Linux

"just charge more"

Well, they have certainly pushed me to change more - to Linux.

I've just moved house and we don't have a phone line yet so we're using a prepay 3g dongle. So naturally we're being conservative with bandwidth.

So last night I boot my Windows 8.1 PC for the first time since moving, turn off Windows Updates, various sync things via the "modern" UI, App Updates via the store and all the rest of the bandwidth eating stuff I could find ... and it still keeps gobbling up data. It's the final straw for me. I've had enough.

If this is the "cloud" future that everyone wants then count me out too. Once I've got time, Windows 8.1 is going and being replaced with Linux. I can always run a VM if I need Windows for gaming or Visual Studio and even then, next time I move jobs I'm intending to go somewhere less MS focused. And universal apps can fuck off too (you got WCF support yet MS? Thought not). Besides which, app dev on the Windows platform in general is dire compared to Android and Azure is a massive, slow, gold turd compared to AWS.

That's me though. Having read your articles and comments I feel your pain that you and your clients will be stuck with Windows for the foreseeable future. All I can say is good luck :/

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You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary

Semaj
Megaphone

Re: Eek!

For me it's a single portal, offering brand new content, as well as an archive of previous stuff (music, film and TV shows), including old and obscure, possibly never released on DVD stuff (cartoons etc), with the ability to take an offline copy.

At the moment, torrents offer basically this for free so I guess I'd pay maybe £5 - £10 a month for it. Maybe they could have an ad supported version too. As you say though - it's about availability, not price.

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MYSTERIOUS Siberia CRATER: ALIENS or METEOR not involved, officials insist

Semaj
Alien

Well no, obviously the spaceship didn't CRASH there - it was underground and took off.

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Hate phone games that make you buy in-app gumble? Congrats, you're a niche player

Semaj

If it means a reduction in the dumbing down of franchises on consoles then I'm all for it.

Mobile for easy, throwaway yet expensive crap. Console and (hopefully) PC for real games, which are actually challenging to play and have plenty content. Oh and some good UIs would be nice.

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Watch: Kids slam Apple as 'BORING, the whole thing is BORING'

Semaj

Old horse o.o

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Facebook adds 50+ gender options: Stalking your 'Friends' just got more LGBT-friendly

Semaj

I'm all for not discriminating against people who like to say they are whatever gender they want but this seems like a little strange way to go about it. I'd have just replaced the dropdown with a tag based textbox so it covers all bases while still remaining elegant.

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Larry Ellison: Technology has 'negatively impacted' children

Semaj

Not Black and White

Thinking back to my own childhood, I can say that in fact technology and computer games had the exact effect that Ellison describes - and it was the best thing that could have happened for me.

I grew up in a relatively poor area. Thankfully not the hell that inner city kids have to deal with but the kind of place where 8 out of 10 families (mine included) were dependent on benefits of one form or another.

As a young child I'd go outside a lot and do all the usual stuff such as making tarzan swings, camps in bushes and things like that (didn't have a bike until I was 12 as we couldn't afford one). The people I'd do these things with were not nice (I knew right from wrong) and along with the good, wholesome activities there were the games which involved setting stuff on fire and other antisocial stuff.

That all changed when I got my Sega Master System (saved up all year). Now I finally had something to do, which didn't involve hanging around with mini-chavs. Then when we could afford the Internet, that really allowed me to become the person I am today. I could talk with those with views like my own and it allowed me to see that there was a whole world out there to experience.

Fast forward a few years and now I'm doing well. I'm a software developer with a good degree from a decent uni, a good few years of experience and will soon be buying my own house. The majority of the kids I hung around with are either dead, in prison or on benefits with a horde of little bastards of their own.

It's true, computer games and other tech can prevent kids from going outside and in my opinion, that's a good thing.

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Fisher-Price in hot seat: iPad bouncy chair lets APPLE BABYSIT tots – parents

Semaj
Trollface

Old

Wow, old news today Reg - the DM covered this one weeks ago.

Hilariously inappropriate device though non the less.

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It's true, the START MENU is coming BACK to Windows 8, hiss sources

Semaj

Re: I had to Google how to find the Control Panel...

Right click the start button (bottom left hotcorner if 8.0)

You will be happy.

Very under-reported (and non-obvious) but useful feature, which should have been in Windows since XP.

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Microsoft: Don't listen to 4chan ... especially the bit about bricking Xbox Ones

Semaj
Trollface

Lol

Unfortunate and very mean, but quite funny.

This really is what 4chan [used to be] all about. Not getting people to kill themselves or the lame moral crusades.

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MPs back call to boycott low-taxed tat from Amazon over Xmas

Semaj

Z Shops

One of the things that these "boycott Amazon" lot always seem to forget is that a large amount of what we see on Amazon is actually provided through small, independent, tax paying retailers who could not even begin to survive the hideous shop rental prices if they couldn't supplement their sales through Amazon (and Ebay).

So before talking about how evil Amazon are - think about the little guys who they keep afloat.

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Nice job, technology. Now we have to work FIVE TIMES HARDER

Semaj

Re: The promise of automation

The trick is to never give overtime for free. Leave work on time (a few mins to finish off is fine), never check your emails on the evening / weekend / holidays and have a separate work and personal mobile phone if the office always rings you.

It's tough being the only one to do this in a company of spineless coworkers but it does catch on.

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RUMBLINGS: Apple pondering 'Touch Cover keyboard' for iPads

Semaj

The cover-keyboard was a good idea. It could have been a killer feature if it had been bundled with every surface for free rather than costing an extra ~£120.

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Windows 8.1: Read this BEFORE updating - especially you, IT admins

Semaj

Tip

In case anyone is wondering (as I was) if this update will remove the HEIGHT restriction for running apps, the answer is no. Only the width restriction for snap has been removed / modified.

No big loss really.

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Here comes Windows 8.1! Microsoft grits teeth, pushes upgrade to world

Semaj

Hurf Durf

I'm hoping this fixes a few of the annoyances of Windows 8 on my (crap, low res) laptop.

The start button and custom corners will be nice currently it's annoying with the rubbishy trackpad. The top right one for example causing the charms bar to appear when I'm trying to scroll something.

As for the start menu / screen debate. Honestly I (and I suspect most other advanced users) don't much use the Win7 start menu. We open it, search and press enter or we use taskbar or keyboard shortcuts. One thing that we do use is the fast access to computer management etc but that's BETTER in win8 because you can right click on the bottom left hotcorner (most useful feature in the whole thing).

The only people who will actually have their use case changed are those who enjoy scrolling through the start menu, which is a waste of time.

That said - I do think the start screen is ugly and unnecessarily large on a proper screen. A middle ground would be nice.

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Now that's real science: CYBORG MONKEYS with PROSTHETIC ARMS

Semaj
Boffin

It's definitely been tried. I attended a talk by a guy who did an experiment like that on himself (essentially inserting tiny wires directly into the nerve - an incredibly painful process apparently).

If I remember correctly he was receiving the stimuli from someone else, having it sent over wifi then into his own hand.

That was a few years back though so I don't know what happened with him or his research.

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'Safest car ever made' Tesla Model S EV crashes and burns. Car 'performed as designed'

Semaj

Video

I really wish people would stop recording videos with their phone rotated vertically.

Or the developers of the recording software should automatically transpose them. It's hardly rocket science.

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Regretful selfie-snapping vixens, lads to get shame-hiding digital burqas

Semaj

Re: Pointless

I did read the article. Did you not read the comment?

If you do something in public - people can see and photograph you and the Internet has nothing to do with it.

If you are ashamed of your behavior and don't want it photographed maybe you should just not behave that way in public?

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Semaj

Pointless

What a waste of time.

Any company with photos of someone will probably remove them if asked. The problems occur when someone's peers have downloaded their own copies. It's annoying that people in positions of power still fall for that tired old Hollywood misconception that there is only have 1 copy of anything digital.

Anything you do in public is exactly that - public. If you don't want people to know about it then do it in private and don't take photos.

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Intel touts 2-in-1s, the 'new' reincarnation of convertibles

Semaj

Flimsy

For all the improvements, I just can't get past the impression that such convertibles would be really flimsy and prone to physical failure at the pivot points.

Does anyone have one? If so, are they more robust than they look?

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The bank that likes to say... crash: TSB's online banking goes titsup on launch day

Semaj

You think that's bad...

Anyone ever tried to use Standard Life's "Customer Zone"? It's IE Only for a start so if you use any other browser, the contents of the pop-up (yes - obviously it's all in a pop-up) get rendered about 10000 pixels wide and none of the links work. The design is awful and the interaction just not thought out in the slightest.

The worst though? It's only available during business hours. They actually go to the trouble of turning their web application off after 6pm. You can use it on weekends though, which is cool.

I guess the point I'm making is that finance companies are really behind the times in many ways, their IT systems being the worst.

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