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* Posts by Phil W

535 posts • joined 10 Mar 2010

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The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?

Phil W
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Linux - more stable.

It is, and yet equally it isn't.

I'm very fond of Linux for many purposes but no distro is really well suited for end user desktop use at present, at least on the scale that Windows is.

Sometimes, with the right hardware and the right distro, Linux as a desktop just works out of the box and that's fine.

Sometimes however you have to do endless fiddling, swapping distro provided video drivers for vendor ones or vice versa, or blacklisting driver modules to get other driver modules to load so that your audio works properly. That's not so fine, and presents some very real potential problems for many typical users.

As for updates, I've known package updates from a main repository break systems before, and sometimes with Linux this can be harder to fix as removing the package doesn't put it back as it was and stops the previous version working again.

The real problem is Linux grew from being aimed at and used by computer experts and sysadmins, and has had a large portion of it's development aimed towards servers and specific applications. This means it's not ideal for more general purposes or more general users, and developing it to be so is hard and slow.

Windows was developed right back from Windows 3.1 and it's predecessors to be a system for the average end user and to be easy to use and designed in such a way as to bread familiarity. This makes it a good general purpose OS usable and easily taken to by any user, but makes developing it as a reliable server or specific application platform harder.

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Spin doctors crack 'impossible' asteroid hurtling towards Earth

Phil W
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Re: Prof. Hubert J. Farnsworth

Or push the Earth into a slightly wider orbit, fixing global warming and taking us out of the asteroid's path.

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EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder

Phil W
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Rare problem

I've been with EE about a year (on T-mobile for about 7 years prior to that) and this is the first problem there's been that has affected me.

No pop-ups or authentication messages for me though (Galaxy Note 3) just not data for an hour or 2. Wasn't a big deal for me though as I'm at work, so I was just briefly without data as I walked between buildings, WiFi everywhere else.

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What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?

Phil W
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Re: What exactly is the point?

Two points most likely

1. Basic one-upmanship between Vodafone and Telefonica's Marketing/PR departments.

2. Telefonica attempting to generate bad publicity toward Vodafone, it may only be minor and most people will forget it, certainly the details of it. But if they happen to remember in the future "Hey, don't I remember Vodafone getting in trouble with lying in their ads" then it might get O2 some customers. For all the effort it takes to lodge the complaint why wouldn't O2 complain on that basis.

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£100m DMI omnifail: BBC managers' emails trawled by employment tribunal

Phil W
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Re: At least it's not my money these buffoons are burning

Indeed, as above, a TV licence is only required to watch TV as it is broadcast (or record it yourself). Watching them on iPlayer post broadcast doesn't require a TV licence, though using iPlayer to watch the few things they show live on there does.

If you own a TV but dont have it connected to receive live broadcasts then the TV licencing agency will send you a letter acknowledging that if you write to them about it.

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New Forum Wishlist - but read roadmap first

Phil W
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Re: Concerted and Determined Campaign to educate the masses about British Telecom

I don't see that petition going anywhere, for one thing it's poorly written and doesn't even make sense for instance wtf is "superset broadband"? It seems that you (and whoever started the petition if different) need to be educated about BT as much as the general public

BT has for some time been composed of a number of separate companies, these are not divisions of one company but separate registered businesses (albeit owned by a parent group) that interact with each other at an operational level just like they do with any company not called "BT <something>".

Lodging a complaint about one that is the responsibility of another is daft, like complaining to Volkswagen that your Skoda is crap or complaining to Virgin Trains that your flight on Virgin Atlantic was rubbish.

BT Openreach look after the infrastructure, BT Broadband provide your ADSL/FTTC connection, but they get this done just like any other ISP by requesting it as a BT Openreach customer. In general BT Openreach's only customers are ISPs and other Telcos, and maybe some businesses. If you are a home broadband user, you are not a BT Openreach customer.

BT Openreach won the contracts for the BDUK money, and are actually meeting the obligations of rolling out rural broadband. Somewhat slower than some people would like but they are getting there. The moderately sized rural village where my parents live was recently upgraded to Infinity.

BT Broadband are a business and residential ISP, who provide broadband connections to users. It is them who you can be a customer of. They are not responsible for the installation of copper of fibre cabling, upgrading your exchanges or cabinets.

They have no requirement to provide good customer service as such, apart from certain regulatory requirements, their motivation to provide good customer service is largely to maintain market share and stay in business. The BDUK money has nothing to do with the customer service that BT Broadband provide.

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Top Ten 802.11ac routers: Time for a Wi-Fi makeover?

Phil W
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Re: Shoot marketing!

@Dan 55

Some places will help in this regard if you ask, I've been into PC World and explained I was after a particular revision of something and they happily cut the security seals off and opened the box to let me check.

Some smaller (relative to Amazon etc) online retailers will also be helpful. I once asked CCL what revision a motherboard they had listed was, where there were 5 revisions on the manufacturers site. They sent someone down to the warehouse to check what revision their stock was, told me and update the product on the website to include it as well.

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Ex-Apple man Sam Sung - for it is he - sticks namebadge on eBay

Phil W
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Re: Apple property

It's not stated the the article, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he sought permission before listing the stuff.

If you want to be really cynical you might even think it was Apple's PR department that came up with the idea rather than Mr Sung himself.

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HTTP-Yes! Google boosts SSL-encrypted sites in search results

Phil W
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Re: $10/yr is the tip of the iceberg

"Plus the time spent/wasted coordinating with contractors and subs, explaining arcane bullshit, getting certs purchased, installation, configuring crazy old backend stacks to work with SSL"

Much of this is true but is not due to any problem with SSL but purely down to poor management, planning and organisation.

Expired certificates won't be a problem if you put reminders on your calendar when you issue/install them.

Chasing certficates isn't an issue if you have more than one person with access to your CA account etc.

"with a certificate signed by a CA you are not assured that the person you are talking to is trustworthy, merely that they were prepared to splash the cash for that certificate."

True but once fraudulent use of a CA issued certificate is discovered the CA can revoke the certificate, keeping end users safe.

If you click past the warnings and accept a self-signed certificate it's accepted forever (unless you know how to remove it which your average user doesn't)

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Microsoft KILLS Windows 8.1 Update 2 and Patch Tuesday

Phil W
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It's not that I don't care about home users, on the contrary. It's just that I haven't yet met a home user who was excessively baffled or inconvenienced by any cosmetic or functional updates delivered to them either automatically or through them clicking to accept them.

I frequently support a number of largely computer illiterate friends and family who mostly managed to use Windows 8 (moving from Windows 7) with no great problems, just some minor grumbles about it being different, they were perfectly happy with it within a month.

Moving from 8 to 8.1, caused them even less grief, they barely noticed the Start button had been added, but they did start using it. Similarly with 8.1 Update 1, they noticed no difference and it caused them no problems.

For the type of person incapable or uninterested in managing and monitoring their updates at home, installing them all automatically will generally not cause them any problem, but may well offer them some performance or security benefits.

For non-home users their are a variety of tools and methodologies available for managing updates.

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Phil W
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"I suspect that the next step from this will be to remove the separation between feature updates and security updates"

Won't happen, simply because of the rage it would cause from Microsoft's large corporate cash cow customers, many of whom will only ever install security updates.

At worst they may remove the separation between them in the Home efitions of Windows, but I don't see it happening in Professional and Enterprise or Server editions.

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Phil W
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"effective configuration management and testing become impossible."

Are you talking in a personal and/or small business context? Then maybe, but only if you have your update settings set to automatically download and install all updates.

In an enterprise environment proper change management of software updates and testing can easily be managed. Turn off automatic updates in Windows and all your other software and deploy all your updates and patches with either a simple WSUS set up for purely MS updates or with even greater granularity and support for deploying other application updates using SCCM.

You can't complain about Microsoft's update release strategy causing chaos if you don't use the available tools to manage it. Default automatic installation of all updates is only really a suitable approach for individual and small group users who don't care about managing their environment and experience.

Don't want to check what each update does before installing? Just stick to only installing security updates, which can easily be done, as these rarely have any impact on UI/UX.

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African samba queen: Don't cut off pirates' net connections – cut off their FINGERS

Phil W
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Suffering

"making the person suffer without getting anything from all the money he invested in the works?"

Since digital piracy doesn't directly inflict suffering on artists, and only at worst deprives them of some portion of potential income, then I assume the suffering she refers to must be the actual performance work.

If you work in the performing arts where digital piracy is an issue and consider that your actual work is causing you mental or physical suffering regardless of income then it's time for a career change.

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Microsoft blasts sueball at Samsung over Android patent royalties

Phil W
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I wasn't suggesting that the court would invalidate the patent, or even invalidate the contract.

But it may well bring to light what the patents are that Android supposedly infringes.

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Phil W
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That depends what they're suing for and if the contract specifies the patent.

If they're suing for breach of contract they would be suing for a penalty for the breach.

They appear to be suing to get Samsung to continue paying the fees as per the contract, if that is the case then the court will want to see the contract most likely.

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Mars rover 2020: Oxygen generation and 6 more amazing experiments

Phil W
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Re: Aaargh 2.0

I'm looking forward to when they start struggling for catchy single word names and go for Exasperation.

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The Register is HIRING technology hacks for the WORLD

Phil W
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Re: A tabloid journalist for El Reg with Fluency in English eh

A Greater-Pedant writes..

The word tabloid was not invented for this purpose at all, but is in fact substantially older. As the OED will tell you it is from the late 19th century originally the name of a proprietary medicine and later used as a generic term for any medicine in tablet form.

Apparently "the current sense reflects the notion of ‘concentrated, easily assimilable’." which may well explain the use of tabloid in relation to size of newspapers, given their smaller size.

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Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks

Phil W
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Re: to undetectably (sic) alter or sniff your traffic

How about a hyphenated prefix of non- just like you get for non-biological washing powder.

As I pointed out previously, in the development of modern language it's whatever people like the sound of best that wins, not what scholars say is correct. Especially as the OED has taken to adding all kinds of linguistic turds to it's contents as long as someone is using them, such as "srsly", "ridics" and "whatevs".

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Phil W
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Re: to undetectably (sic) alter or sniff your traffic

If you want to really get it the correctness of it....

The rules for prefixes depend on the origin of the root word, generally is it Latin or Germanic in origin.

For Germanic origin words the prefix un- should be used where as for Latin origin words in- should be used.

The root word in this case, detect, comes from Latin meaning "uncovered". Therefore indetectable/indetectably are the correct forms.

However the correct use of un- and in- is something that has been debated and abused for centuries and the trend toward one or the other changes over time. Look at the American declaration of independence as you will see it contains the word "unalienable" but generally in the modern day the word inalienable is used and is the correct form due to the root origin or alien being Latin.

However as with most things in modern language (especially English) it is generally accepted that the version that sounds best and is most fluid to say is the version that is used.

To me personally saying "he passed undetected" is much more comfortable on the tongue than saying "he passed indetected".

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Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays

Phil W
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Re: Self service checkouts

Simple solution there of course is to use common sense. If you're buying a basket full of booze, knives and glue go to a manned checkout (and get a "what the hell are you up to this weekend?" look).

If you're buying a few pints of milk and a newspaper go self service and get out much faster.

Also it may be my imagination (combined with the fact my alcohol purchases are mostly single malt scotch, not the first choice of your average underage drinker), but I seem to get asked to prove my age less often by the staff at the self service checkout.

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Phil W
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Re: Self service checkouts

Indeed you still need a member of staff to approve the purchase, but my point was that the person who actually comes to do that is always of sufficient age to do so. You don't hear the automated checkout say "approval needed" then have a member of staff come over who then has to run off and find yet another member of staff to approve it.

What's the point in having a checkout operator who isn't able to sell you a number of items in the store because of their age. Leave them stacking shelves until they're 18.

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Phil W
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Re: Self service checkouts

Personally in the shops where I use them (Sainsburys, Tesco, Boots, B&Q) I've never had one fail on me during use. I've only ever had to interact with staff for one of two reasons:

1. Buying an age restricted product (knives, alcohol and solvents etc)

2. I've bought something that is either too light/heavy for the scale. Light items, as suggested above can be whacked down onto the scale with some force which usually convinces it that the item is there.

However the B&Q self service checkout kept telling me to "Please put the item on the scale" when buying a number of 20+KG bags of sand and cement.

However that was still a human error, as someone had obviously flagged the product incorrectly on the system as needing to be put on the scale. Other heavy items I've bought there prompt a "please leave it in the trolley" announcement.

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Phil W
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Self service checkouts

Call me crazy if you must but personally I am rather fond of them, they eliminate so many annoying encounters with obnoxious, nosey, stupid or otherwise difficult to deal with retail staff.

You don't get the checkout operator looking over your purchases, giving you funny looks or making "witty" comments because you happen to purchasing certain items together.

You don't have to wait for the checkout operator to scan each individual item instead of scanning the same one repeatedly or pressing the multiply button, when you have 10 of the same thing and they won't just take your word for it.

You don't have to wait for the checkout operator to get on with doing their job instead of chatting to their colleague on the next till.

You don't have to wait for an older staff member to come over and allow the person actually serving you to sell you alcohol because the spotty oik on the checkout isn't 18 themselves yet.

You don't have to wait for the checkout operator to press the button to fire up the card machine for your contactless transaction, after explaining to them that no infact you don't want to put your card in the machine before they press the button, defeating the whole point of the speed and ease of NFC payments.

Maybe it's just me? Maybe it's because in former employment lives I've worked both in retail as a checkout operator and in IT installing EPOS systems? Maybe it's just because I don't like people?

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Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?

Phil W
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Re: Realism

@John Smith 19

"And so far the Scots are saying about 58% No, 47% Yes, so it looks like logic is ruling emotion."

If the actual results come out at those percentages then a recount will be in order.

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Phil W
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Re: Realistic percentages

@The First Dave

"In what way does the exact percentage alter logic and fairness?"

If you ever get divorced I hope your wife's lawyers read this.

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Phil W
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Re: BBC "propping up" Scotland

Not sure if it was my phrasing or your reading ability but I was suggesting that the BBC funding would be used to prop up the SBC not the entirity of Scotland. Baring in mind it would likely need it given the population of Scotland and the number paying TV licence fees assuming Scotland keeps that model.

Also the rest of what you wrote is drivel as it is based on the premise that the BBC is a private corporation which it isn't really. It is primarily state fund through the TV licence fee which is essentially a tax, and heavily state regulated in both it's broadcast and financial operations. Any comparison to Amazon, Starbucks or any other multi-national is inherently flawed.

Besides if you want to pursue the corporate analogy, why should the BBC operations change at all? I'm sure Amazon UK won't both splitting it's operations into a separate Amazon Scotland

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Phil W
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Re: Promises

"Now where's the equivalent UK vote on whether we'd like Scotland to stay or go? "

Quite. Something I have often wondered during this whole independence kerfuffle is what the legal basis is for Scotland becoming independent.

Again I have no particular inclination for or against Scottish independence, as long as it is properly planned, but....

As far as I'm aware the Act of Union sets no terms and makes no allowance for Scotland becoming independent again in the future, and there has been no amendment to that act or any new law made to legislate for it.

IANAL but to the best of my understanding, regardless of the political or moral implications, in order for Scotland to actually become independent one or both of the following would have to happen:

1. The UK government and Head of State (old Lizzy if she's still alive by then) would have to sign into law an act acknowledging Scotland's departure from the Union and recognising it as a sovereign nation.

2. Scotland would have to openly declare independence and have that declaration acknowledged by the majority of UN members (as Crimea attempted but failed to do, before being annexed by Russia).

Without one or both of the above happening, in legal terms and practical international political terms, Scotland will not be an independent nation.

Point 1 certainly raises the question of whether a referendum on Scottish independence should actually be UK wide.

Also what about those born in Scotland and may even have lived 99% of their lives in Scotland but currently live south of the border, should they not get a say? As long as they are still UK resident citizens and not living overseas why shouldn't they got a vote.

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Phil W
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Re: Realism

"Like it or not, Scottish licence fee payers have financially contributed to the BBC"

Yes ok, I'll give you that. But an arrangement where a portion of ongoing profits for an indefinite future period go to the SBS would equally be theft. What about in x number of years time, when any content produced during the period funded by money from the Scots is no longer sold by BBC Worldwide or broadcast at all. For BBC Worldwide to continue to fund the SBS at that point would equally be theft.

Either as you say a lump sum should be paid, or simply the past contributions should be written off as having paid for content received at the time and/or be considered as part of the cost of independence.

After all, although you don't need a TV licence to watch pre-recorded content on iPlayer and such, previously having paid for a TV licence doesn't have any bearing on your entitlement to watch content produced during the period that you did pay for in the future.

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Phil W
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Re: Realism

"BBC Worldwide partially funds and then sells BBC programming worldwide"

Indeed, but does this mean that SBS is going to produce content and give it to BBC Worldwide, and receive profit share in return? Plausible I suppose but does that mean they still get profit share even if no-one outside Scotland or the rest of the UK wants the content they product?

Would it not make more sense for the SBS to sell their content to the BBC like they would (and the BBC do already) to any other third party television network, and reap the profits that way, assuming they product anything that people want.

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Phil W
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Realism

I'm not fundamentally against Scottish independence nor am I particularly in favour of it (though personally if there has to be change I'm more in favour of greater national devolution and a more federalist UK). However the nut jobs in Scottish parliament seem to have no grasp of reality especially when it comes to their future economy.

"The SBS would also inherit a proportionate share of the BBC’s commercial ventures, including BBC Worldwide Ltd, and their associated ongoing profits."

So you want to separate yourselves from Britain and its government and public institutions such as the BBC but you want to keep your own replacement propped up with profits from BBC. Sure, that seems a totally fair and completely independent plan.

What next? An independent Scotland should get a portion of UK licence payers money because those in Northern England can receive broadcasts from the newly formed SBS?

Combine that with other wonderful plans such as a pinning your national economic future to a currency union with the rest of the UK, which the UK government has already said they won't agree to, and you have the picture of an independent future of economic ruin and chaos.

Proper planning prevents p*** poor performance and all that.

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Indian techies-in-training face down MAN-EATING LEOPARD - and WIN

Phil W
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Coat

Re: Still running Leopard?

Witch wardrobe?

Get my coat while you're there.

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Phil W
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Re: Did you see the leopard? Are you still alive? Get in touch and let us know. ®

If you have been affected by any issues of lose predatory wild animals in your work place the following organisations may be able to provide help and advice...

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Phil W
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Re: Still running Leopard?

To make matters worse it may be done as a rolling upgrade so you'll have an assortment of Leopards, Snow Leopards, Lions and Mountain Lions all over the place.

There may also be some Cheetahs, Jaguars, Panthers and Tigers stuffed in the back of a cupboard that everyone has forgotten about.

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Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network

Phil W
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First question:

a,b and c because they're all the same thing don't you know.

Also since movie piracy clearly they're also guilty of e by proxy.

To to the second question:

Since the only purpose of the internet is to illegally download films, and arrange terrorist acts it must be a and e.

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Phil W
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Re: I have to defend the police here...

Khaptain

Your ideas are totally unworkable I'm afraid.

Due to privacy and confidentiality laws an ISP, in this country at least, would not or should not provide the police with information about the type of activity coming from your connection without a warrant/court order. Plus given what I pointed out previously about the number of ISPs, the police wouldn't be able to get warrants for that information because they wouldn't know which ISPs to get warrants issued to.

Unfortunately the police won't know how many ISPs there are they need to contact, the only way to find out would be for BT to tell them which properties lines are routed to which ISP, which they won't do without a warrant (assuming they could even do it without getting an engineer to check locally, which knowing BT is unlikely).

That's an awful lot of work and expense to simply check if there happens to have been any suspicious network activity. Assuming they could even get a warrant issued in the first place, which I would think unlikely without some decent cause beyond a nosey neighbour's speculation.

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Phil W
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Re: I have to defend the police here...

Khaptain, not sure if you're in the UK or not? If not ignorance is an excuse I suppose.

With the exception of the town of Kingston, there really is no such thing as a "local" ISP in the UK. Your options are Cable from Virgin Media in areas they operate, or ADSL/FTTC from any number of other ISPs. BT operate pretty much all of the last mile infrastructure for ADSL/FTTC sure, but it is then wholesaled off to countless other ISPs, literally dozens, who all operate nationwide.

Perhaps all the people in that street are with 1 or 2 ISPs, but it's equally possible that every single house is with a different provider.

Also as for your point of checking if the locals use the Fon network, that makes no sense. The whole point of Fon is that you can legitmately piggy back on someone's home broadband connection when you're not near your home.

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Phil W
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Re: I have to defend the police here...

Policing is like disciplining a class of children sometimes. Especially when it comes to areas some people are not well educated in such as technology.

Child A says that he saw Child B with a sweet that belonged to Child C, Child C has not complained and is not aware of any problem. Child A doesn't actually know who Child B is or where he is now.

Do you:

A: Do Nothing.

B: Interrogate Child A and Child C, and any other children in the class to try and establish what happened and who Child B is.

C: B + search everyone for sweet wrappers to see who did it.

D: Decide that there appears to be no evidence that anything was actually taken, and the supposed victim has not complained, so just remind everyone to take care of their things and that stealing is wrong.

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June Whitfield and EE to old folk: Would you like a nice cup of tea and some internet, dear?

Phil W
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Organised by an idiot

Hey you!

Yes you, you old technophobic fart!

Do you want to sign up for a session on learning how to connect to the Internet?

You do? Great!

Just go online to our website and sign up!

What do you mean you don't know how?! What are you? Some kind of old technophobic fart?

*Yes I realise that's not the only way to sign up, and that they do drop-in sessions, but frankly it doesn't even need to be an option. In the majority of cases if they're tech savvy enough to register for the session online (regardless of the poor design of the web form) then they probably don't need any tech help from EE anyway.

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Say goodbye to landfill Android: Top 10 cheap 'n' cheerful smartphones

Phil W
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Re: 75 bucks? WTF?

surely if he looks more like Jabba the Hutt you in fact get a lot more Buck?

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Phil W
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Re: 75 bucks? WTF?

"I think you meant "accept"."

Unless of course he meant that they don't accept them, in which case it would be correct to say they except them as a form of payment.

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Phil W
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Re: 75 bucks? WTF?

Or 75 Gil Gerards

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Gust catches Amazon's skirt, reveals glimpse of 'Netflix for books'

Phil W
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Re: So...

"A large number of libraries are being deliberately run down..."

Either this is true or there is some serious regional variation in library usage.

The library where I live has recently been heavily invested in, both cosmetically and with new RFID book check in/out and shelf checking systems and self service terminals.

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

Phil W
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Re: At least you can tell what he's saying

I've always got through to UK operators when calling VM I think it relates to time of day and load at the UK centres. I'd suggest approximately 10:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 16:00 on weekdays are best as most customers are in work and can't call.

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Phil W
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I dont know, in this case I think the guy would of just tried to offer parental controls be turned on or something.

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Gartner: To the right, to the right – biz sync firms who've won in a box to the right...

Phil W
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Please see article headline

So everyone should be Crazy In Love with EMC and help them Run The World?

I like to keep all my Irreplaceable data such as Halo saved games in a backup Partition for save keeping until the End of time

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ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

Phil W
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I may be wrong here, but won't they already have the infrastructure in place now in order for them to have been complying with the recently abolished Data Retention Directive.

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New Doctor Who episode leaks online as proper trailer debuts

Phil W
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Re: Omnishambles

Yes he f***ing would!

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Phil W
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I believe you'll find he was referencing Peter Capaldi's some what expletive filled lines in The Think Of It.

Search YouTube for "Malcolm Tucker - A Tribute to Brilliant Swearing" for prime examples.

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Murdoch calls for ISPs to be liable for users' activities

Phil W
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Re: FIRST AGAINST THE WALL

Not really, in the tradition of developers and sysadmins if the product/system we like is bought by a company we don't like or who intend to abuse it, we'll simply build our own fork of it.

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