* Posts by Alister

925 posts • joined 19 May 2010

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Huawei preps to drop mobile & wearables lovebombs on U.S.

Alister
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Re: Chinese Concerns

Meanwhile, Chinese PC giant Lenovo has been shipping laptops with American spyware since last year, signed with a security certificate that impersonates Bank of America.

FTFY...

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US court rubber-stamps dragnet metadata surveillance (again)

Alister
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Re: You best hope they don't really stop any time soon

Proof, or GTFO, you fearmongering fuckpopsicle.

I always enjoy Trevor's posts, full of gentle understated humour and written in the most elegant and erudite language...

In full agreement with you, btw. Just wanted to make a silly comment...

Oh, and +1 for fuckpopsicle, definitely worthy of inclusion in my vocabulary

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Is light a wave or a particle? Beaming boffins prove it's BOTH

Alister
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But... but... did they reverse the polarity of the neutron polariton flow?

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Microsoft Swarms all over Docker Machines

Alister
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Embrace, extend, hmm, what's that last one?

Explode?

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Gemalto: NSA, GCHQ hacked us – but didn't snatch crucial SIM keys

Alister
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Re: Well they would say that

You must be Mandy Rice-Davis...

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Who's un-dot-pressure? .com overlord Verisign sues .xyz kingpin

Alister
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Maybe Verizon are hoping to establish a body of case law over what is, and isn't, acceptable practice from the new registries...

Or maybe not...

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How good a techie are you? Objective about yourself and your skills?

Alister
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I'm scared of the future. I'm scared of a world of armed drones and cybernetic implants, of self-driving cards and creepy "always on" wearable video cameras. I'm scared of a world where these products and services are designed and overseen by nerds who can't overcome brand loyalty or make objective judgments about privacy.

To sign those papers and turn them in is to implicitly imply that I have risen above all that. That I am capable of being truly objective. That I am professional, competent and able to see past my biases.

Will branding me competent or professional change me? Move me out from being the scared kid into perhaps being one of those bullies I so loathe? Will I become too self-assured and in my overconfidence miss some critical detail in my IT design and cost lives?

Trevor,

Your questions show a lot of self doubt, and I think a lot of it is unjustified. If you have any integrity (and I'm sure you have) then I think you are needlessly worrying about whether becoming a member of a professional body will turn you into someone you despise.

I would say, go for it. If you are truly worried about the future, then your best chance of influencing the changes that are coming is to be a part of them, and membership of this body can only help that.

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A truly SHOCKING tale of electrified PCs

Alister
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More melting spanners

Back in the eighties I worked in a Strowger telephone exchange in the UK. All the equipment was powered by 50V DC running in aluminium bus-bars across the top of the racks.

These bus-bars had blue plastic insulation in areas where they were considered close to other equipment, but the long straight runs were uninsulated.

The cable trays for the selector wiring ran above the bus bars, and we were carrying out some additions to the exchange which meant adding some more cable trays - which were bolted together.

You can see where this is going I'm sure, but one of my mates managed to drop his spanner square across a set of bus-bars...

The spanner glowed orange, then red, then white, and then melted slowly away, dripping down to the floor, whilst all the selectors on the rack juddered to a standstill, and then started up again.

The bus-bars were completely unmarked!!

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Why IP telephony is about more than just saving money

Alister
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BT put battery backups / external supplies into their cabinets for you.

Um, no, they don't. the line is powered from the exchange, 50V DC with 80V AC ringing current. The exchanges have nice big diesel gen packs though.

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HP's great – I prefer it on bacon rather than my printer, though

Alister
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Re: HP?

even hand-made tomato sauce doesn't work too well with bacon.

Oh come on, bacon and tomato is one of those combinations that are set in stone, like lamb and mint sauce and beef and horseradish, they just work.

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Lenovo shipped lappies with man-in-the-middle ad/mal/bloatware

Alister
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Call me paranoid but I don't buy Lenovo products just like I don't buy any Smart phones that is controlled by Chinese companies.

Just to point out that the company that writes and sells Superfish is an American / Israeli company...

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Alister
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Re: Stock install?

The problem with some laptops, (Dell, Toshiba, Asus and others) is that you can do a clean install, but then the damn thing runs like a dog, uses battery like there's a hole in the bottom for the electrons to run out, sound doesn't work properly, buttons don't work properly etc, etc.

You end up having to re-install half of the manufacturer's bloatware to get the damn thing to work properly again.

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HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

Alister
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Re: says:

Money!

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BlackBerry's money-making QNX unit touts virty dual-OS devices

Alister
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Re: That's not a llama, it's a Push-Me-Pull-You

as title.

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The Order: 1886 – Round Table gaming's all right on the knight

Alister
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yes, yes, fwow him to the fwoor, centuwion

Sorry Sir??

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Watch a hot, speeding space alien explode all over Earth's Beaver

Alister
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The American agency found that detonations in Earth's atmosphere, caused by incoming cosmic rock, are more frequent and more explosive than first thought.

And yet, you still get people going "we shouldn't waste money on space travel or exploration"

The sooner we can establish an alternative colony off this rock, the better - no, It won't save those left behind, but it might save the species.

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Hello Barbie: Hang on, this Wi-Fi doll records your child's voice?

Alister
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Re: A chill just went up and down my spine at this....

I would hope against hope that at least the "conversations" are encrypted?

The article does say the following...

"The child's replies are recorded, encoded, and sent in an encrypted form to ToyTalk's servers, CEO Oren Jacob explained to The Register"

However, it's still creepy...

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Are you ready to ditch the switchboard and move to IP telephony?

Alister
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Re: Switchboard and IP Telephony serve different but related functions!

Agreed, But all the most popular VoIP offerings, like the Cisco, 3CX and Asterix, provide functionality to act like your switchboard built in.

Our Asterix has direct dial to internal extensions where required, but we only have a single published contact number, which is answered by an automated voice menu. One extension is designated the "switchboard" which acts as a fall-through so that calls which don't match any of the menu options go there.

Restrictions on outgoing calls are also available, and are granular, so that some extensions can only make local calls, whilst others can call international or premium rate. This is easy to set up, and to administer, through a simple interface. In addition call forwarding, call answering, direct to voicemail etc are all easy to set up.

It's not proprietary, it runs on top of Linux, and it more or less just works. I can't remember the last time I had to fiddle with the configuration.

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Alister
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Interesting article.

When I was growing up, we didn't have a phone in the house, and it wasn't until I started working for the GPO in 1981 that I persuaded my parents to get one (staff discount)...

Leaping forward to 2005, I was responsible for migrating the company I worked for from a rented PBX solution to a complete VoIP system using Asterix for the PBX and a mix of Cisco and Atcom handsets.

We use a dedicated 2MB leased line just for VoIP, and have had very little trouble with call quality. We originally broke out to the PSTN using a third party provider over the internet, but we now do it through the company the leased line is terminated with, so it's a shorter path, and we have more control over it.

The only thing we have had trouble with, and which hasn't improved much in ten years, is that some of the directors wanted portable handsets.

We started with WiFi SIP Handsets, but they were awful - WiFi and SIP don't seem to play well, and so we moved on to DECT phones, trying those by Siemens, Philips, Polycomm and various other manufacturers. In all cases, the call quality was horrible, and now the directors mostly use their Smartphones anyway.

We still use Asterix, and FreePBX, and it's been pretty bomb-proof all the way through.

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Your hard drives were RIDDLED with NSA SPYWARE for YEARS

Alister
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Re: Grzegorz Brzeczyszczykiewicz

Wow, the poor bloke's got a serious vowel deficiency.

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Huawei Browne-noses UK after hiring ex-BP peer for its board

Alister
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Of course, employing ex-BP chief exec Lord Browne is bound to go down well with Americans...

<cough>Deepwater Horizon</cough>

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Violin-fiddling boffins learn that 'F-HOLES' are secret to Stradivarius' SUPERIOR sound

Alister
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Did anyone scientifically measure the effect a couple of bullet holes had on the sound qualities of the Stradivari Cello in that Bond film (Living Daylights was it)?

(Yes, I know it wasn't a real one...)

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Microsoft's patchwork falls apart … AGAIN!

Alister
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Re: Office 2010 Patches as well

I'm sorry, but UK English language settings and A4 Paper size are both considered dangerously subversive, and therefore are not encouraged. Use of our software by foreigners... is not a supported option...

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Boffins grasp Big Knob, get ready to go ALL THE WAY at the LHC proton-punisher

Alister
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hundreds of engineers and technicians have been beavering away at repairs to allow the LHC to fire with nearly twice the energy of its previous run

Curious phrasing: "repairs" suggests something was broken, whereas "upgrades" would probably be closer to the truth?

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Jaguar F-Type: A beautiful British thoroughbred

Alister
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Re: How wide is it?

This may be a transatlantic mis-understanding, or just a difference of opinion, but I have always understood the phrase deceptively small to mean that something is smaller than expected, and therefore deceptively wide would mean wider than it looks.

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Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

Alister
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Anecdotal instance

Last year we were asked to import some data to a SQL database for one of our local govenrment clients. They sent us the data on a CDRom - the sort that came as a caddy or cartridge, rather than a bare CD.

We had no hardware that was able to accept this media, and the client didn't either.

So we managed to find an old caddy drive on ebay - it was a SCSI interface, so we had to find a compatible SCSI interface card.

The only one we could find was a full length ISA card, and we hadn't got a machine anywhere with a full length ISA slot, so we had to buy an old server (I think it was a Dell PE400 or something) for it to fit into.

We could only find drivers for the SCSI card for Windows NT 3.51, so we had to dig out an old set of floppies (two sets, as it turned out, as some of the floppies were corrupt), and install the O/S.

We needed to be able to transfer the data off the machine, but we couldn't find a network card which would work with NT 3.51, until digging about in the scrap box we found an old 3Com 10Base-T card with both BNC and RJ45 connections.

Getting that to work on our gigabit LAN was umm... interesting... but we finally got everything talking - very slowly...

Then, we found the data on the CDROM was a backup from a Microsoft SQL 7 installation, which wasn't readable by any current version we owned...

We managed to find the install disks, and service packs, which would allow SQL Server to be installed on NT 3.51 (I think it was upped to SP 6 before we could do it), and finally, we were able to open the backup, export the data, and re-import it into our current database.

The whole thing took us two weeks of faffing about, just to read some data from roughly ten years ago.

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Ex-NASA boffin dreams of PREDATOR-ish tech in humble microwaves

Alister
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Given that a consumer microwave oven is essentially a powerful radio transmitter on the 2.45GHz frequency band, I can see a problem trying to add WiFi or Bluetooth to one without undesirable bleedthrough...

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Facebook bug could have ERASED the ENTIRE WORLD

Alister
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Re: And?

Do people only store pics on FB and nowhere else?

Yes, an awful lot of people do just that.

Do they think they own them?

What?

Would the servers of the world fall over when the missing cat pics and selfies are uploaded again?

No, but a lot of people don't have another copy

Good grief.

Yes...

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Proposed US law could deal knockout blow to FBI in overseas cloud privacy ding-dongs

Alister
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If it passes, President Obama would be unlikely to veto the legislation, since the sponsors include some of his closest partners in Congress.

Was there an assumption that he would try to veto this legislation then? I don't see that he would, I would have thought he'd be all in favour of it?

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You'll NEVER guess who has bought I Taught Taylor Swift How To Give Head dot-com

Alister
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To the best of my knowledge, Domain registrars mostly have a clause which states that they reserve the right to refuse or cancel a domain registration if it is judged to be inappropriate or offensive.

I don't know if this is something that individual Registrars do, or whether it comes originally from ICANN, but I'm slightly surprised that this and similar registrations are not covered by this clause.

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IBM says dating apps can give you a nasty infection DOWN THERE!

Alister
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running sex scheduling software

Hmm...

Scheduled Meeting

Subject: Sex

| Accept | Decline | Propose new time |

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

When: 12 February 2014 at 15:30

Duration: 30minutes

Location: Meeting Room 2

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alister has invited you to join this meeting

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Plane crash blamed on in-flight SELFIES

Alister
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Re: And for non-aviators

@Peter2

Personally, I tend to identify a camel by the dihedral (and shape) of the lower wing, but I guess identifying the tailplane works. :)

Yebbut, you can't see the dihedral in that photo. :)

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Alister
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Cheers, the tail is one of the few obvious differences between the Camel and the Pup, on a Camel the elevator surfaces are larger than the horizontal stabilizer, the other way round on the Pup.

The length of the fuselage between the cockpit and tail is shorter on the Camel as well, but it's hard to spot without a side-by-side comparison.

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Alister
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Thumb Up

Nice picture of a Pup...

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Legalese and coding? Yup, it's the open-source FOSDEM shindig

Alister
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Man-flu and technicolour yawning on the second day

Not in any way caused by too much Belgian beer on the first day...

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Bankrupt RadioShack to close up to 2,900 stores, share others with Sprint

Alister
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What about the Radio Shack stores in Europe? I can't see any mention of those in the article. Are they a separate franchise or something?

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'Tech' City hasn't got proper broadband and it's like BT doesn't CARE

Alister
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Re: THE INTERNET IS TUBES

I'm with BT on this one.

I'm not. BT has lots and lots more tubes, it just won't let anyone play with them.

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Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!

Alister
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Re: Not so fast @florida1920

Oh, well, that makes it all right then.

I'm not saying that it's a good thing, quite the reverse, but I don't know how you change it, given the apathy and disinterest of the majority of the clickerati...

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Alister
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Re: Not so fast

Sorry Zog, but I disagree with you, and I think Tim is correct. Those of us who have some technical background, or some other interest in IT, are aware of the extent to which the Facebooks, Googles etc use the data they are handed, and therefore value our privacy, and our data.

However, if you have any dealings with "normal" people, they really, really don't care, and will ignore anyone who tries to tell them different. Even if you try to explain to them "the extent of tracking undertaken by these Internet giants" as you put it, they just think you are paranoid or misinformed.

The vast majority of the population Do Not Care about their personal data.

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Parts for Brit proto-mainframe EDSAC show up in USA

Alister
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Even if not directly re-usable, this at least gives the restorers a real prototype to follow, which is always better than just following the engineering diagrams: it will show exactly how the original was put together in practice, where workarounds and shortcuts may have been taken to translate the plans into reality.

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Accused Silk Road boss's lawyer insists he was just a fall guy

Alister
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[Ulbricht] built it, he grew it, he operated it from start to bottom until the end

Ah, maybe he should have operated it from top to finish instead, clearly he was confused...

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National Lottery website goes TITSUP again

Alister
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Re: 502 Bad Gateway

Somebody's edited the nginx.conf file, and got it wrong...

nginx says NO!

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Enough is ENOUGH: It's time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell

Alister
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Re: Required for VMWare vCentre Web client, And Cisco

and as if it wasn't bad enough that for VMWare and Cisco you need Flash, if you use Cisco ASA, you still need Java to run the ASDM - which for somethings, you need, as you can't get to the bits from the console session.

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The joy of six: VMware ecstatic after finally emitting new vSphere

Alister
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...and vSphere 6 web client (which is compulsory) STILL USES FLASH!!!

AAAAAAAAAGH!!!

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Oracle is BETTER at cloud than everyone else so NER, shouts Hurd (no Katz)

Alister
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CHANGE the PICTURE of LARRY ELLISON

We can't do that, we're still paying Oracle's licence fees for the one we've got!

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Microsoft Outlook comes to Android, iOS: MS email now a bit less painful on mobile

Alister
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I'm curious about the sub heading, and the premise of the article, we run a couple of Exchange AD domains with a mixture of IOS and Android clients, and I haven't found them to be particularly painful to administer, and users seem happy enough? It's very rare we have problems with the built in mail clients.

The worst culprit for problems is Outlook for Mac, which needs beating with a large wet haddock at every opportunity, it's a PITA.

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Supersonic Bloodhound car techies in screaming 650mph comms test

Alister
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I think El Reg's SPB should have asked the Noble Sir if they could strap LOHAN to the car for some last minute speed testing, they're aiming for Mach-1 aren't they?

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FCC will vote to cut off 41 million broadband users this Thursday*

Alister
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Re: horse and cart

"Nobody needs 25Mb/s connections".

What the NCTA (and others who trot out this excuse) seem to forget is that maybe each individual user doesn't need 25Mb/s, but if you have an "average family household" (a couple kids, two parents) then you've probably nowadays got at least 8 and probably more devices vying for that bandwidth.

When you figure in contention, and then think of a street full of the same sort of household, then even if the headline speed of the connection is 25Mb/s, most users will only see a tenth of that in real world speed.

If you're only starting from a headline speed of 4Mb/s, then individual users are unlikely to have anything useable in real world speeds.

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EE squashes Orange UK: France Telecom's been 'destroying it for years'

Alister
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Coffee/keyboard

Kumquat may, fruits of BT merger won’t include Moss' baby

I wish to downvote this article for the use of the above...

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