* Posts by Phil W

772 posts • joined 10 Mar 2010

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Suck on this: White hats replace Locky malware payload with dummy

Phil W
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Practicalities

"If this happens it’s normally impractical to recover scrambled files without paying crooks a fee"

Unless, you know, you take regular back ups of your valuable and irreplaceable data like a sensible person. Unfortunately when it comes to the security of their data far too many people are not sensible, but in an ideal world the only data lost should be that created between the last backup and the time the ransomware hit.

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I am Craig Wright, inventor of Craig Wright

Phil W
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I am Satoshi Nakamoto and so is my wife.

Alternatively for the older generation...

You are Satoshi Nakamto and I claim my five pounds.

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A perfect marriage: YOU and Ubuntu 16.04

Phil W
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Re: UnUnified

"While it's true that a simple package install from a fully configured desktop gives you a new desktop manager option on the login screen, you could also simply download and install from a choice of..."

Well yes, that was my point, installing the distro with your preferred GUI in the first place is massively easier than adding it afterwards (especially as adding afterwards often leaves you lacking themes etc). Personally I rather enjoy the installers for Fedora and similar that give you a choice of desktop environment as part of the install process. Maybe that's something canonical should do?

"If you are knowledgeable enough to already know this or know what you want, ignore the advice, it is often advanced in the spirit of trying to be helpful."

Quite true, and the Ubuntu forums themselves are actually quite friendly in terms of advice, unfortunately other places are not so much. I've actually encountered people who insist, regardless of others opinions, that the only real way to install Ubuntu is to install a server/mini install and add all the relevant packages for your chosen GUI from there.

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Phil W
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UnUnified

I enjoy Ubuntu (or rather the various spin offs), but I despise the Unity desktop, as well as GNOME from 3 onwards. The shiney new launcher bar and loss of the old Applications, Places, System menus in the traditional drop down style were absolute deal breakers for me. Simple things seem much harder to find and do in both Unity and GNOME 3.x

Mate on the other hand is wonderful, and now that there is a pre-spun Ubuntu with Mate as the desktop, that may well be my distro of choice. It may even be enough for me to stop picking Mint by default.

N.B. Also, yes for you Linux/Ubuntu zealots who feel the need to point it out, I am fully aware that I could install Mate on vanilla Ubuntu or any other spin off, I just don't like having to go to that much effort immediately after install to get to a GUI I feel is usable.

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Edward Snowden sues Norway to prevent extradition

Phil W
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Freedom

Perhaps the Principality of Sealand would grant him asylum?

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Phil W
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"He's a young man with many years to live"

Only if he's very lucky....

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How IT are you? Find out now in our HILARIOUS quiz!

Phil W
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Re: How IT are you?

Ignorant T*/!

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No story today on Netflix blocking VPNs?

Phil W
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Re: No story today on Netflix blocking VPNs?

Could it just be that it's not that exciting?

Shock horror, major media company is making reasonable efforts to enforce it's copyright responsibilities.

I'm sure Netflix would love to make all their content available in all the countries they operate in, but if the copyright holders don't agree then Netflix are pretty much obliged to a) not make content available outside the areas they have been licensed to provide it in b) make reasonable effort to prevent users circumventing these limitations. If they didn't do a or b then the copyright holders would simply refuse to license content to them anymore.

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Anyone dealt with icann before?

Phil W
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"Make the minimum renewal price £20 per year, and your problem with name squatters is solved."

Not really, a lot of domains like described by the OP where the domain is owned but is being used for absolutely nothing and has no working services are owned by businesses, in some cases very large businesses. Perhaps for a now defunct brand, or a company they've previously bought out.

Even if they are not intentionally holding on to it in case they want to use it again, a £20 (or realistically anything less than a few hundred pounds, which rules out personal users having domains really) isn't going to solve the problem.

In a very large business the person responsible for arranging the domain won't care much about the cost anyway regardless of how high it is assuming they even still work there, and the finance department getting regular invoices for £20 if it's been previously authorised is not likely to be sufficient to raise any questions.

What it really needs is a method for claiming domains like this. It would be a bit long winded but a system where you can pay a fee to put in a claim on a domain, something substantial to deter abuse but not totally unaffordable, the registrar then contacts the current owner using their registered contact information say 4 times over 12 months to ask them to confirm they are still using it. Should they fail to responded after all those attempts then the domain can be transferred to the claimant.

Seems fair enough to me? If you can't respond to 4 requests in 12 months or haven't updated you domain registration details in over 12 months you don't deserve to keep your domain anyway.

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Video folk, you'll love the 96TB, 2.6GB/sec LaCie 12big HDD

Phil W
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Joke

Leap into failure

"The Seagate drives are built for 24/7 operation; 8,760 hours a year"

Are they ok with running for 8,784 hours a year as well?

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FOUR Avatar sequels

Phil W
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Re: Terminator 6

Terminator vs Aliens

Aliens come to invade the world and Skynet's robotic horde and humanity must team up to save the world from the aliens.

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Phil W
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Re: One word.(answer)

Avatar 6 - The Search for More Money*

*Because if you're going to shamelessly rip someone off, why not steal from the best.

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BOFH: If you liked it then you should've put the internet in it

Phil W
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Joke

Re: Tracking

I have to say it's nice of them to be so concerned about your digestive health.

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Misco: We're moving to the cloud after yesterday's bit barn meltdown

Phil W
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Re: From bad to worse?

Absolutely! The Cloud* is brilliant and totally resilient and definitely never has any down time, and if our office loses it's Internet connection we definitely won't have any problem continuing to take orders over the phone using the order system that we can no longer access....

Personally I have one very important first rule for externally hosted cloud solutions. Can your business, or the business segment that relies on that solution, continue to function without it?

If the answer is no then you should keep it in house, and do proper redundancy and data recovery. With the right infrastructure your solution can be just as reliable as the cloud, and if you lose net access you can still see it even if your customers can't. Also just as importantly, if it does go wrong you have full control over fixing it instead of twiddling your thumbs waiting for an explanation and/or estimated fix time.

*WTF does that really mean anyway?!? The Cloud? So there's just one right? AWS, Azure etc are all just one big service. Arrgh, don't get me started on that part.

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Flying Spaghetti Monster is not God, rules mortal judge

Phil W
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Yes but more importantly, through the bringing of this case, have we found the best and most competent judge in the entirety of the USA? Make that man President, immediately.

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Bug hype haters gonna hate hate hate: Badlock flaw more like Sadlock

Phil W
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Re: Not quite right

"The "sniffing the traffic" bit isn't required. Just get the client to connect to you and bobs-yer-uncle ! :-)."

While that's probably true, unless you're already familiar with the target environment and know everything required about the client and servers involved, I'm not sure that you'd have anywhere to start without sniffing some traffic to identify your targets.

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There's oil in that thar … Chinese space probe?

Phil W
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Re: Small particiles don't drop

"Not Civil I Hope"

Oh I don't know, it's probably better than uncivil engineering.

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Cheap Android heart rate monitor

Phil W
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Cheap Android heart rate monitor

I thought I would share this little gem for anyone here who might be interested.

I was recently looking into a cheap way to get heart rate monitoring in Android for use in Endomondo and other apps and the options seem to rather limited. I have a Sony Smartwatch 3, which is lovely Android wear device but lacking a heart rate monitor.

There are plenty of expensive options, but these are either chest straps, which I don't like anyway, or more fully featured devices i.e. other Android wear watches with HRM or FitBit and FitBitesque devices which provide features I already have/don't need.

I then came across the Xiaomi Mi Band 1s (aka the Xiaomi Mi Band Pulse). It's a fairly small wrist band device that uses Bluetooth LE to connect, and at time of writing can be had for around £20 on eBay. In theory it only works with the Xiaomi Mi Band app, however it can be used with Endomondo and other apps with a small work around, you simply need to trigger continous heart rate monitoring on the Mi Band, before using Endomondo (or other app).

This can be done by either starting a running session in the Mi Band app, or using a third party app that has the ability to trigger the continuous monitoring, there is a paid but relatively cheap app available called MiBand Tools which adds a persistant notifcation to the notification bar with a toggle for the continuous monitoring which is sufficient to enable use in Endomondo.

One small note of caution, the supplied rubber wrist band into which the device itself fits is not especially large so if you have thick wrists you may need to look into an alternate strap.

Hope this is of use to someone who is looking for the same solution I was.

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How do you build a cheap iPhone? Use a lot of old parts

Phil W
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"I'd almost be tempted back but I like my BB Classic's keyboard & scrollpad too much. Plus, I get the sense BB phones are gonna be collector items soon :("

BlackBerry OS phones maybe, but hardware wise hopefully not. I've just bought a Priv, and it's frankly fantastic. Coming from Samsung Note 2 and 3 previously I'm not at all disappointed in the Priv and hopefully plenty of other people won't be either and we'll see some more decent Android handsets from them in future.

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Blighty's nuclear deterrent will get a software upgrade amid cyber-war fears

Phil W
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To be fair the first sentence did not explicitly state that the 48 warheads were evenly distributed between the 16 missiles and there is no information provided as to the maximum number of warheads each missiles can carry.

48 warheads across 16 missiles could be 15 missiles with 1 warhead each plus 1 missile with 33 warheads, for those occasions when you want to blow up one target a lot and 15 targets only a bit.

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Bash on Windows. Repeat, Microsoft demos Bash on Windows

Phil W
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"The last thing I'll be doing is tapping into my Linux servers from a Windows NSA Spyware box."

Interesting statement. Do you use SELinux at all?

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Amazon WorkSpaces two years on: Are we ready for cloud-hosted Windows desktops?

Phil W
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Re: How does it not have Linux?

Probably because of some proprietary development that Amazon/Google/Whoever made it are unwilling to licence (at a reasonable rate) or open source.

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$17 smartwatch sends something to random Chinese IP address

Phil W
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"Who wouldn't trust "an IP address scrawled on a piece of paper" ?"

Apparently not most of the people who actually use one of those watches, which I guess is not an insignificant number of people. (Though who knows how many buy them, see the scrawled URL and immediately return/bin the watch).

I'd be extremely dubious about downloading an app that could only be acquired from a URL and not via any of the major Android appstores, especially if said URL did not belong to a major known company.

I wouldn't even consider one that gave a URL in the form of an IP address rather than an actual domain name.

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Airwave drops lawsuit against Home Office over EE contract win

Phil W
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Re: Just wait and see

"EE are now owned by BT. We all know that company's reputation for providing services in out of the way places."

You mean exceptionally good? For broadband there are problems sure, but BT do a surprisingly good job of maintaining the ageing copper voice network in some extremely remote locations.

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Samsung now pushing Marshmallows into the Galaxy S6, Edge

Phil W
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Re: And tablets?

The reason you haven't got the update is that Samsung have regional teams for ROM development and release. So before the UK version is made available it will have to be polished and customised for the UK by the UK team, then thoroughly tested. The UK team always seem to be a bit behind other regions.

It gets even more frustrating with phones because although the same process applies to the generic direct from Samsung ROMs for phones that were purchased SIM free from a retailer, it doesn't apply to the customised ROMs for networks. Samsung only perform limited testing on operator customised ROMs and leave final testing and approval for release up to the operator, which in the case of many Samsung models results in the operator ROMs being released long before the Samung generic UK ROM is.

In the case of the Note 3 there was a good 4 or 5 months between the first operator branded ROM for Android 5.0 being released and the eventual release of the Samsung generic ROM.

The slight upside to this is that the Samsung generic ROMs tend to require less updates for bug fixes and stability problems due to more rigorous testing.

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Virgin posts increase in profits and sales amid 900 jobs chop

Phil W
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Re: Mobile

All major networks (and large MVNOs) are like that now.

I used to be with T-Mobile and now EE, but intend to leave once my contract is up.

In the good old days a few weeks before I was due an upgrade I'd go into Carphone warehouse, pick the phone and tariff I wanted only for the CPW staff to say, the computer says your upgrade credit isn't enough and you'll have to pay £xx toward the phone, but we'll call T-Mobile and see what they say. On at least 3 occasions the phone call to T-Mobile effectively went "Oh yeah, he's been a customer for years, we'll bump up the upgrade credit to match the price of the phone no problem!"

Since EE took over CPW can only offer what the computer says and there's no longer anyone for them to call.

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Ex-TalkTalker TalkTalks: Records portal had shared password. It was 4 years old

Phil W
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Re: Memo

Obligatory response:

That's the kind of password an idiot would have on his luggage.

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When customers try to be programmers: 'I want this CHANGED TO A ZERO ASAP'

Phil W
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I used to program there

Is it just me that noticed the guy saying "Maybe you should employ some decent developers for once." is implying in saying that that they do not and have never employed any decent developers, immediately after saying he used to be one the developers?

So what he effectively ends up saying is, "This is what I want, I know what I'm talking about! Actually I'm an idiot!"

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Rooting your Android phone? Google’s rumbled you again

Phil W
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Re: No problem here - but there is...

"So I am forced to switch to CM, and that involves rooting the 'phone."

Installing a custom ROM on Samsung devices doesn't necessarily require root. Odin lets you flash custom ROMs on most Samsung Galaxy devices without root (although it does have here there be dragons warnings when you attempt it). Even if root were required to gain access to flash a custom ROM, there's no reason the ROM you flash should have root.

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Phil W
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Re: No problem here

"open yourself to hacking or starve yourself of practically your entire clientele."

Are you trying to say the pratically everyone who has an Android phone and/or uses Android Pay has a rooted device? I admit that a great many people have rooted Android devices, but as a percentage of total Android and/or Android Pay users I think the number that are rooted is relatively small.

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Phil W
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No problem here

I really don't see a problem here. Removing access to apps that process financial transactions on rooted phones seems perfectly reasonable as a security measure to me.

Sure for those "enthusiasts" who insist on having their devices rooted it might be an inconvenience, but surely restricting this potential attack vector for financial fraud is slightly more important? Even if you yourself are not going to abuse root access to do anything untoward with financial apps, that doesn't mean someone else isn't and that as a result they may end up compromising the security of others.

Not to mention, despite having been a user of rooted Android devices and custom roms in the past. I feel an ever decreasing need for either of those things with modern phones. Back in the days when a single core ~800Mhz was not uncommon in a phone, then yes I felt the need to root so that I could overclock and otherwise optimize the device to make it usable.

But these days with 4 cores being pretty much the minimum in any mid level, or higher, device I see very little need (other than fairly weak ideological "I want full control of my device that I paid for" arguments) for rooting.

Not allowing you to use a particular app on your device after you've performed an unsupported modification of the OS doesn't really seem like a discriminatory act to me anyway. It is comparable to the idea of expecting Microsoft to support the installation of Office on a Surface tablet after you disable secure boot and install some flavour of Linux.

Fundamentally, yes it is your device and you can do what you like with it. Just don't expect things to allowed or supported on it if you do something unsupported to modify it.

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Server retired after 18 years and ten months – beat that, readers!

Phil W
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Re: The drive's a Seagate...

Impossible to know for sure, I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure that even disks/controllers of that age support spin down when idle.

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One's Aspire One. Is it done?

Phil W
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How about Edubuntu? It's a little out of date since it's based spun from Ubuntu 14.04 but for the purpose you intend it shouldn't really be an issue.

Is it one of the Aspire One's with the bloody awful SSDs in rather than a 2.5" SATA drive though?

If so it might be worth looking to replacing the storage before you do anything. Even a decent low profile USB flash drive would be an improvement, though compatible PATA IDE ZIF cards should still be available that are faster than the original? memoryc.com sell them, I'm sure others do to.

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UK ISP Sky to make smut an opt-in service from 2016

Phil W
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Re: Whats the problem

"some politician, puritan lobby group or someone else in a position of power will assume it confirms they view pornography."

Even that isn't actually the problem.

The problem is that people, particularly those kinds of people, consider pornography to be 100% bad, morally reprehensible and degrading to women, a terrible evil thing that shouldn't be allowed to exist.

Which clearly means that if you have chosen to have access to it then you are also 100% bad, morally reprehensible person who degrades women and shouldn't be allowed to live.

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T'was the night before Christmas, and an industrial control system needed an upgrade

Phil W
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Re: > Instead my old manager processed

Quite so.

Someone who is not your boss anymore calls you out of hours about something that is not your job anymore, you willingly choose to answer, then choose to offer some limited information and the next day try to claim a large, not previously agreed, over time payment for a brief phone call that you weren't obliged to deal with anyway. Not a professional way to behave in my opinion.

If I get called out of hours, and am not on call or in any way obliged to answer, then I either:

a. don't answer because I'm not being paid to work, this is my time.

b. answer, and help out voluntarily, especially if it is a quick fix or just passing on info

c. answer, find out how big the problem is, then offer to help only if I'm getting paid for my team (N.B. unless you trust the person in question, make sure they email you their agreement to pay)

Whether it turns out to be a,b or c depends on my mood, where I am and what I'm doing.

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Hapless Virgin Media customers face ongoing email block woes

Phil W
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Re: Hard SPF Policy

Indeed, unfortunately having SPF enforced in your filtering system means that if you're receiving mail from a source that doesn't include an SPF list in their headers it will most likely also get rejected as spam.

Not everyone actually bothers to configure SPF, which you could say is the fault of the sender, but in reality using strict SPF enforcement in a world where not everyone uses it is just over zealous especially when providing a service to customers.

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Phil W
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"not sure what testing they did but it wasn't adequate."

They sent one email to an external address and replied to it successfully, therefore system is working fine. Simples.

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Dixons Carphone CEO dances on rivals’ graves, swipes share from survivors

Phil W
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Re: Comet

Unfortunately this was always Comet's problem, horrendously over priced, even compared to other over priced retailers.

Dixons group stores seem to be becoming slightly more realistic in some areas at least. I wanted a USB 2.5" SATA caddy the other day, got one at PC World for £5, not far off eBay prices!

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Windows XP spotted on Royal Navy's spanking new aircraft carrier

Phil W
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"you'll be working with technology so advanced in age that most people don't even know it still exists"

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Google favicon bot

Phil W
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Re: I did not

Yes you did.

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Windowes Update 4 of them and

Phil W
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Re: Skype on Smart 'phones

Working for me on my Galaxy Note 3, just signed in.

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Booming Ballmer bellows 'bulls**t' over Microsoft's cloud revenue run rate

Phil W
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I can does grammar

"Microsoft uses this run rate figures for its cloud business, as does rivals in that market, such as IBM."

This sentence makes my brain hurt, is it just me?

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Microsoft Windows: The Next 30 Years

Phil W
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Re: Sorry Nadella looks more like Erdogan...

@GrumpenKraut

I would like to state for the record that I've never worked in marketing or PR.....perhaps I should.

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Phil W
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Re: Sorry Nadella looks more like Erdogan...

Have an upvote for the best possible reply to my post!

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Phil W
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Re: Sorry Nadella looks more like Erdogan...

"Look at how he decided Windows *must* collect as much data as it can about users, and upgrade itself even on machine of users who didn't approved it."

If only this were true, you'd have a point.

Much/all of the data collection that is new to Windows 10 can be turned off, yes it's on by default (even in Enterprise edition which is not so good) but for home users this is probably a good thing. You'll find the average home user (i.e. not a someone like you or I) is far more interested in having an enhanced and personalised experience than they are in their privacy, and for those of us that do care it's not extraordinarily difficult to turn this stuff off.

Bearing in mind for the most part we're talking about people who would much rather their predictive text learning on their phone/tablet/laptop were all synced up and are not at all bothered if that means their typing patterns get sent off to Microsoft (which is what the input collection feature in Windows 10 is for).

I have yet to see a case of a Windows 7/8/8.1 user having their machine forceably updated to Windows 10 without their consent. There may well be cases where a user says they haven't clicked anything to do the upgrade but if you believe everything a non-techy user tells you then you've either been working in IT too long or not long enough.

Sure for those who aren't interested in upgrading having Windows Update remind you about it and/or automatically pre-download the OS installation files is annoying and waste of time and resources. But again this is aimed at streamlining and optimising the experience for the majority of users who want the new shiny thing, especially because it's free.

In almost all cases, those who are genuinely not interested can in one way or another prevent this upgrade prompt from bothering them.

What Microsoft are really guilty of if anything is over reaching in their efforts to streamline the experience for the less tech-savvy user, rather than forcing their will on you and giving you no choice.

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Randall Munroe spoke to The Reg again. We're habit-forming that way

Phil W
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Biannual

Isn't biannual when you like both normal years and leap years?

I'm surprised it took Randall much time or discussion on the difference and correct usage of biannual and semi-annual for meetings that occur twice a year, though.

Bi is a Latin derived prefix meaning two.

Biannual means twice a year, this could be a meeting in January and a meeting in Jube or a meeting in February and a meeting in December. The gap between them is unimportant, if there's two a year it's biannual

Semi is a Latin derived prefix meaning half.

Semi-annual means half a year, this is a meeting every six months. While there will of course still always be two meetings in a year, they will always be 6 months apart if it is Semi-annual.

If you're bilingual you speak to languages, you're semi-lingual yo spe ha a lang.

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Fancy flying to Mars? NASA's hiring

Phil W
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Re: No sireee

"No, but there is a Mars Bar."

The Bounty of your comedic repertoire is an absolute Picnic and very on Topic.

I applaud your wit, if only we could all be Smarties like you.

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BlackBerry makes Android security patch promises

Phil W
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Shut up and take my money!

I'm desperately awaiting my contact being up so I can get this as my next upgrade.

I have had a great many phones with QWERTY keyboards over the years and hate to be without one, but after my HTC Desire Z there weren't any Android QWERTY devices available and have been through a couple of generations of Samsung Notes now, and since it looks like the Note 5 won't be coming to the UK the Priv is looking extremely likely to be my next phone.

The only thing the priv is missing for me is a tab key on the keyboard, this is would make it perfect for me (command completion in terminal sessions is even more useful when working from a phone).

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DDoS, botnet, and fiber cut fail to stop Twitchers crowd-installing Linux

Phil W
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Re: ffs

Your argument is spurious.

Both spellings were in fact in common usage on both sides of the pond for centuries. Fibre is French, derived from Latin, and only became the preferred spelling in British English the last century or so and only because of academic preference for using the Latin origin of words more strictly while contrarily in the US there was a preference for more phonetic spellings and to some degree to shed ties to Britain and it's old fashioned ways of doing things.

Both spellings could quite legitimately be considered to be part of British and American English.

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UK's super-cyber-snoop shopping list: Internet data, bulk spying, covert equipment tapping

Phil W
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Re: Cautiously optimistic

Five days? I'm pretty sure that the Home Secretary should be able to get hold of a judge in five days.

I'd say more like five hours, or 24 at the most. Though don't the courts have judges on call for emergency warrants etc?

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