* Posts by Nick Gisburne

48 posts • joined 23 May 2010

SUPER-JAMMY Philae comet probe got down WITHOUT harpoons

Nick Gisburne

FSM for the win

Intelligent falling is thus proven and is no longer 'just a theory'

6
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Psst: Heard the one about the National Pupil Database? Thought not

Nick Gisburne

Actually...

Actually the legal obligation is that a child must be provided with an education. There is no legal requirement that the education must be provided by sending the child to a school. Education is compulsory. School is optional.

http://www.educationotherwise.net/

1
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35 US states petition for secession – on White House website

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Children, children!

We lost so we don't want to play any more. Boo hoo.

14
3

Gay porn burglar must pay $150k for each grumble flick

Nick Gisburne
Coat

That's got to be painful

And the fine will hurt too.

3
1

Virgin Media spanked for 'we've already cabled up your house' mailshot

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Pointless slap on the wrist

How many times have we seen the statement "The ISP was told that the advert must not appear again in its current form"? Since this invariably comes *after* the company's ad campaign has already ended, why bother at all? It's just a licence for anyone to start a short-term deceptive campaign, one which will already be over before they are criticised for it. Until financial penalties are imposed, this kind of warning will continue to be ignored. An ad with Usain Bolt and Richard Branson sat on the naughty step is what we want, at the very least :o)

1
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Amazon accused of remotely wiping punter's Kindle

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

So the only option is...

So now that she is no longer allowed to buy e-books from Amazon, presumably the only option is to find 'alternative' sources for these books. Alternatives which are not going to add any money to Amazon's coffers, or indeed to the pockets of the author. Spectacular fail there guys, you just sent a paying customer over towards the dark side.

Can she at least get a refund for the purchase price of her now-useless Kindle, and for the books which she can no longer access legally? I suspect not.

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Mmmm, delicious new sugar batteries keep gadgets up all night

Nick Gisburne
Coat

From Li-ion batteries to Lion bars

What next, Wispa Drives?

1
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Did Mitt Romney really get 117,000 REAL Twitter followers in ONE DAY?

Nick Gisburne
WTF?

What's the point?

What's the point of having a million 'followers' if none of them are real? Isn't one of the basic ideas of Twitter supposed to be that you send out information to people who are interested in what you have to say? Then why buy a list of people who aren't actually people but fake accounts who will therefore never read your tweets? You might as well be delivering newspapers to empty houses. I don't get it.

1
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Did your iPhone 'just stop working' - or did you drop it in your BEER?

Nick Gisburne
Go

What if the water isn't the problem?

Let's say you have a minor spill on your phone and some liquid gets into the detection area but doesn't cause any damage. Phone gets wet, still works. Weeks later the phone fails for a completely unrelated reason. You take it back, they check for water ingress, and immediately reject it, without investigating any other possibility. Fair? No.

What is needed is an app to tell you the status of the phone's water detection device. If it's been activated but the phone is still working, maybe you can pay a small fee to have the device serviced and reset - has to be cheaper than getting a new phone if your warranty is invalidated, right?

So the patent needs a slight mod to allow the phone itself to tell the user the state of the liquid detection device.

Can I patent that? I'll keep it secret just in case.

1
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Smoke-belching flash drive self-destructs on command

Nick Gisburne
Meh

Problem scenario

Can anyone spot a problem with this scenario...

TSA: Excuse me sir, please come with us, and we'll take your computer

You: Before you take it, can I just power it up and press the shiny red button?

TSA: That sounds very reasonable, please continue

A destructive mechanism is surely more useful if the owner needs to DE-activate it every time it's switched on. How often are you likely to be just about to fall into enemy hands and yet also have enough time to power up the system and press the red button? I would have thought that a more common scenario is this: the equipment is taken (surprise attack / theft / seizure) before you can destroy the data - you may in fact not even realise it's gone. In which case you need to be sure that if the correct password isn't entered at boot-up the thing will self-destruct.

1
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Fasthosts officially not the best in UK for virtual servers

Nick Gisburne

Re: worst hosting company I ever had the misfortune to deal with

I'll second that. Mine was a short, sharp shock and I struggled to get my company's domain name and hosting out of their clutches when I realised how bad they were. Later, when I put up a page about my troubled dealings with Fasthosts, they threatened to sue me for defamation, until I pointed out that I was simply listing every bad experience they had subjected me to.

2
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Russian upstart claims BitTorrent-killer

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

They assume a lot

They seem to assume that once this 'service' starts to become a problem people will continue to use the same, unmodified BitTorrent clients which no longer work, and won't instead download new, improved clients which have been upgraded to be attack-resistant. Because that's how the internet works, right?

Perhaps they should try to sell the government a device for shooting down bi-planes. I'm sure it would be just as effective.

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Cameron hardens stance on UK web filth block

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Why just porn? Let's have an opt-in for the whole thing

If we are 'protecting the children' why is it always porn which faces the censor's wrath? Surely ALL content suitable for adults only should be opt-in. Do you like video games which are 18-rated? Sorry, you'll have to opt in if you want to see reviews, clips, etc. Horror, violence, any movie with an 18-rating - opt in or you don't get to see it.

What if a 10-year-old clicks on a trailer for 'The Hunger Games' (rated 12A)? Opt in only! What if the household has kids under 5? Shouldn't parents have to opt in to receive content which isn't suitable for pre-schoolers? Think of the damage those TV shows for 8-year-olds might do to a toddler. Think of the children!

Here's an idea. Assume that the default setting is 'no Internet at all'. Then use an opt-in method for the whole thing. All of it. Give this opt-in a special name, something like, oh I dunno, 'service contract' and pay for this opt-in 'service' month by month using an adult-only payment method - a credit card for example. That person could then take responsibility for the viewing habits of the household, because of course what's suitable for Dad might not be okay for little Jimmy.

What? We do that already? Who knew?

Which of these would the average person most like to take part in: sex, violence, torture, death? And yet the portrayal of which one of these is the only one the opt-in will cover?

It's not really about stopping children viewing content which is not age appropriate is it? It's just porn. Bad old corrupting old porn. Bad old LEGAL old porn (because the illegal stuff is ALREADY blocked). Sorry, if porn is bad and must be kept away from children, then so must all other adult-rated content. Cover it all with an opt-in or cover none of it, but don't just pick on porn because... well, why DO they just pick on porn?

2
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Virgin Media cuts Pirate Bay access for millions of punters

Nick Gisburne
Holmes

Lots of deleted posts here

I'm assuming the large number of deleted posts are all 'this is what to do to get round the block', in fact I've just spotted the El Reg comment confirming that. Suffice to say, then, that if someone censors a part of the Internet, there will be ways around it and people will find them.

The block won't even stop people who don't have much technical know-how - they just have to find someone on the web to tell them what to do.

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GCSE, A-level science exams ARE dumbed down - watchdog

Nick Gisburne

Why not tell them the actual percentage?

Here's a radical idea: instead of A,B,C why not just tell students how many marks they got out of 100? Universities could immediately decide which percentile they want their applicants to fall into - for Oxbridge you might need 90%, for Scuzzo Uni it could be 65%.

If different exam boards set less challenging questions, perhaps the universities could take that into account when making their offers. Board A - you'll need 80%, Board B you'll only need 75% (because they have higher standards).

If they introduced A* to identify elite students, giving out the actual percentages surely does that job much better.

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Basic instinct: how we used to code

Nick Gisburne
Thumb Up

I like BASIC

I like BASIC. And I REALLY like VB6. The money I earned from it paid for 95% of my house, so I don't really care if it's a 'good' language. It just works for me. It lets (present tense - I'm still using it well after the expiry date) me code things quickly and easily and just works for the things I need to create. I've been coding since the ZX81 days and using BASIC hasn't stopped me structuring my code, properly commenting it, etc - even though I'm the only one who sees the source. I don't allow myself to write sloppy code - sloppy coders do that, don't blame it on the language.

I also used to love assembler, and in fact developed my own dialect of BASIC in 6502 assembly code for the Atari 400 and 800. I miss the days when you knew what, where and why every single byte of your code was going/doing. I still have the assembler cartridge somewhere... but sadly no longer own the old computers!

2
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Use the holy word of God to stay secure online, says bishop

Nick Gisburne
Alien

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

You will need all 24 tentacles to type that one phonetically.

10
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Geeks seek cubits for Battlestar flight sim

Nick Gisburne
Go

Nice project, but...

You'd only need the equipment to roll upside down if you were simulating a flight where gravity is a factor, presumably in the atmosphere of a planet. In space, all you need are visuals which tell you where everything is, plus some kind of mechanism to convince your body that it is experiencing acceleration/deceleration. Simulating something like a tight loop or roll is going to be extremely difficult - how are they going to force the pilot into his seat with some extra G forces? The cage can spin, yes, but it will need some serious forward motion if you want to simulate acceleration in a straight line. Even if all this is possible, it's going to take some heavy-duty physics number-crunching to produce something anywhere near realistic.

On the plus side, it's a high school project so perhaps their expectations aren't for 100% realism.

They can certainly expect to produce something capable of delivering a fun experience, so good luck to them. So say we all!

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High Court confirms 'cheap DVD' tax loophole will close

Nick Gisburne
Meh

Rarely buy it new

Old school alert: I prefer discs in boxes, and books made from paper.

I stopped using the likes of Play.com long ago when I realised that I could buy near-perfect products from Amazon's third party sellers for pennies plus postage. So long as I don't want the latest releases (I can wait a year or so for used copies - nothing is THAT urgent) I can get something which has probably been played (DVDs) or read (books) only once or twice, and so isn't in any worse condition than it ends up being once I've used it myself.

I make an exception for boxed sets, which don't usually end up much cheaper from third party sellers, but those are usually priced above the £15 limit so presumably include VAT anyway.

0
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Ageing Mario blamed for Nintendo's woes

Nick Gisburne
Pint

Re: Re: Analogue Mario?

My ancestors grew up using the Tally Stick version, but when tablets came out they switched to the ClayPad. Akkadian games for the win!

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Sky flaunts F1 app with split-screen functions

Nick Gisburne

Or you can watch RTL online

Just like to add to that: if you don't even want to fork out for a satellite dish you can watch RTL live online for qualifying and the race. Of course it's in German, but Radio 5 Live is broadcasting live commentary for every race, so use one tab for video, one for sound in your browser. I tested it last year and it worked fine, though obviously I switched back to TV once I knew it was all working. I'll have no other option in 2012 for half the races - RTL it is.

7
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Germany stalls over ACTA treaty ratification

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Boffins out earbuds that sound right when inserted wrong

Nick Gisburne

Simpler even than colour coding

Pete 2 suggests colour coding, but that might add a penny or two to the unit cost (different materials/coating), so why not have a physical difference between the two sides which can be detected by touch (so the blind could also make use of it). Left bud has a groove/depression/bump, right one doesn't?

Or if it's that important to have the things in the correct ears, just put another option on the MP3 player to switch the channels over, or to mono. That solution works whatever is attached to the player.

As for sharing your earbuds, this does seem like an awful lot of trouble to go to for the opportunity to give your ear wax to someone else.

0
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NASA halts 'naut flogging Apollo 13 notebook

Nick Gisburne
Thumb Down

This is nothing more than petty spite on NASA's part. The notebook has presumably been in Lovell's possession since 1970, so why did they not try to get it back before now? I imagine he's selling it so that he can enjoy his remaining years with some extra comfort, so to yank that from him for no real reason is reprehensible. It's not that NASA really wants it, they just don't want anyone else to have it.

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Boffins demo time-warp cloaking device

Nick Gisburne
Mushroom

Same problem...

"their current scheme would have to be 18,600 miles long"

They had the same problem when they invented the nuclear hand grenade and realised that the instructions for use were 'pull pin and throw 17 miles'.

5
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Stephen Hawking seeks geek to maintain his unique wheelchair

Nick Gisburne

Give him the voice of Keith Lemon

Big Bang Tidy!

1
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Apple's TV killer 'on shelves by summer 2012'

Nick Gisburne

Nobody believes me now when I tell them about coin-operated black and white TVs, so thanks for confirming it! I was born in 1966 so they presumably lasted into the early 70s too.

2
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Nick Gisburne
FAIL

iTV? Er, maybe you haven't heard...

I'm not sure that name will pass unnoticed in the UK, given that ITV has been producing TV programming for over half a century. It's not like the name is used in an entirely different industry is it?

Perhaps Apple imagine that using a lower case 'i' gives them special powers... in which case if that's all it takes, who's up for releasing IPOds, IPAds and IPhOnEs?

15
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Seagate matches and raises WD disk warranty cuts

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Deals behind closed doors

Could the HD companies not at least try to make it look like they haven't all got together and agreed this between them? Normal competition sees companies try to offer better service, products and value, so as to out-market the other companies in the field. Diving to lower levels of service, and announcing those low levels on practically the same day, smacks of shady back-room deals. Long warranties cost money, so it appears that they've all collectively decided to claw back some of that money. It's the same kind of dodgy operating as price fixing, and they couldn't even be bothered to stagger the announcements by a few weeks - the WD warranty reductions were reported only 24 hours ago.

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Ebooks must stay fat with VAT, blame the EU, MPs told

Nick Gisburne

You'll never buy a used e-book

I'd rather buy a used, dog-eared copy for a few quid from an Amazon reseller than pay full price for a book, and certainly wouldn't cough up for an e-book under any circumstances. The extra VAT just adds one more barrier I won't cross.

For some reason I really don't feel the need to carry around hundreds of books in one device - my reading habits are simple: I read a novel until I'm done, then I find another one and read that. Not being able to share, lend or sell my books also doesn't sit well with me. Books are just nice to have, even when (especially when?) they're second hand, so forgive me for my one concession to Luddite tendencies.

PS Books make good Christmas presents. E-books do not.

4
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Facebook 'acq-hires' Gowalla brains, shuts service down

Nick Gisburne
Mushroom

What he didn't say was...

Without so much as a by-your-leave we've sold your data for wads of cash and there's nothing you can do about it, and now that we're rich we really don't need to be bothered.

0
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Threesome ends in arrest as wife struck by pair of TVs

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

His next threesome

...will presumably be a little different, if he's put away in prison for a year or two.

1
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'Puzzling structures on surface' of YU55 spaceball

Nick Gisburne
Alien

It's a potato

Keith Lemon can presumably confirm it.

0
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BBC iPlayer to require TV licence

Nick Gisburne
Big Brother

Just make it a tax

If you have broadband you already have the capability of watching live broadcasts. You're excluded at the moment unless you actually DO watch live broadcasts, but it seems to be heading towards 'if you've got the internet, you have the ability to watch TV programmes, so you need a licence'.

Surely this is going to make it such that absolutely every household is required to have TV licence, except those which have no TV and no Internet - a tiny number. So if we all have to have one, why isn't it simpler to scrap the licence and pay for the BBC through general taxation? All the malarky about avoiding paying, hiding behind the curtains, detector vans, etc, would be gone. It would be as fair as any other tax - some of your tax money goes to things you personally never use, so the small number with no TV/Internet would have to suck it up.

Fair enough, if we want the BBC, we pay for it, but the point of the licence seems now to be about making people into criminals. If it became a tax, you couldn't avoid paying. No complicated solutions required, no 'you're in our database' 1984-style ads, no inspecting your devices to see what's on them. No problem.

0
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Jobs: 'I'll spend my dying breath destroying Android'

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Epic fail on that then

Dying breath duly spent. Android not destroyed.

Bugger.

8
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This Dianamania is a slur on Jobs

Nick Gisburne
Meh

I've got a Mac but...

I use a Mac Mini, but only because the one piece of software I wanted above all others (Scrivener) only runs on a Mac. Nice box - small and quiet, but it's just a means to an end, and I permanently run Windows XP in a VMWare Fusion window because all the other good software I use is Windows-only. Never had any desire to own an iPhone (my mobile's top feature is an LED torch - it doesn't even have a camera and cost me a tenner, new). My desire to accumulate gadgets ended at the introduction of the DVD player and I prefer single-function devices.

In all this I suspect that I am not a typical Reg reader.

Steve Jobs' visions are wasted on me. I can't say I'll miss him, but I'll eat a Braeburn or two as a mark of respect... as I watch the world pass me by from my Luddite sanctuary.

2
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Boffins invent miracle pill that counteracts effects of booze

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Noooooooo!

Now ugly people will no longer get laid, or at least not above their own league. This is not progress. At least not for ugly people.

10
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'Find My Car' iPhone app finds anyone’s car

Nick Gisburne

Pay per view

A much more low tech solution would be this: charge people a pound (as per text message charging) to see the result of the search. You'll then stop all the casual use of the service and would also make a bit of extra money for the car park - if you're daft enough to lose your car, spending a quid to find it isn't so bad.

Alternatively, for a free version, don't use the phone method at all. If it's a pay-to-exit system, modify the payment machine so that as soon as you've paid you can type in your reg number and the location (floor, bay number) is printed out. Again, no casual use - you have to have the ticket the barrier system gave to you as you came in.

If it's pay-and-display, type in your reg number as you're paying, and a second ticket is printed out which you keep in your wallet, with the location on it. Or the money-making method again: lost your car? Insert coin and we'll tell you where it is.

Basically, tying the system to the handing over of cash will probably drastically reduce abuse of the system.

1
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Man City boss quits over cancer email

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Not buying it

Worse than being diagnosed with cancer? And yet she took 10 whole months before mentioning to... The Sun, presumably because she wanted to unburden her troubles to their trained counsellors. No wait, it was for a big wad of cash. I can't even see what got her so upset, unless there's more detail in the email we haven't seen.

"Ravaged with it!! … I don't know how you sleep at night. You used to be such a nice man when I worked with you at Nike. G."

Exactly which bit of that is offensive, or more to the point 'worse than being diagnosed with cancer?'

3
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PETA to launch .xxx smut site 'to help animals'

Nick Gisburne
Paris Hilton

Expect reaction videos of people on YouTube watching...

Two Birds, One Pup

0
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UK will obey barmy Euro unisex-insurance rules from 2013

Nick Gisburne
Go

Sheila's Wheels kaput

Sheila's Wheels and their annoying ads may be toast, but we need to press the EU on legislation condemning the exploitation of chubby, wavy-moustached opera singers in advertising. Surely we all agree that the man from Go Compare must die?

5
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Nick Gisburne

Age equality next?

Age discrimination is now illegal in this country too. Will this be next on the list of equalities to be factored into insurance? Will a newly-qualified 30-year-old be asked the pay the same as a newly-qualified 17-year-old? It may be that if age discrimination is also outlawed, the insurance companies would simply use the no-claims bonus to determine the premium.

0
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US Supremes dump violent video game ban

Nick Gisburne
FAIL

Movie ratings

So it's now okay for a US minor to buy an adult rated violent video game? Why then are minors not allowed into cinemas to watch violent movies? Surely the 'Grimm's Fairy Tale' argument applies for those too. 5 year-olds should (if this warped logic applies) be able to both listen to 'Little Red Riding Hood' at bedtime (in which a wolf eats an old woman and is eventually hacked to death) and then go to see 'Red Riding Hood' at the cinema, which is actually rated 12 and has far LESS violence (as you'd expect from a 12 rating).

Or perhaps children should be protected from visual imagery not appropriate to their age and the US courts again show the stupidity of dogmatically applying 'freedom of speech' to everything and everyone in every circumstance.

2
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Got a website? Pay attention, Cookie Law will come

Nick Gisburne

Endless questions?

Do we have your permission to use cookies? You say no. How then do you save this information (without using a cookie) so that the next page you visit knows that you were already asked the question and doesn't need to ask again? <== Ignore this way of working, obviously - I was just daydreaming.

Surely to get permission to use cookies you'd simply disable the whole site and leave a homepage which says 'click here to use cookies and to gain access to the site'. No big re-engineering job necessary - once you're in it will work exactly as before.

0
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Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

Nick Gisburne
Childcatcher

This may be a good thing

70 years of ice age may buy us the time we need. In the 70 or so years it takes the planet to go in and out of a mini ice age, fossil fuels will be severely depleted (not least by us having to use far more energy to keep warm), and in addition to that perhaps China's thorium reactor projects will have taught us all that this is the way forward - when we do come out at the other end we won't then be so reliant on CO2-making solutions. Meanwhile I'll be holding off on investing in solar panels for a while.

2
1
Nick Gisburne
Linux

Good news for...

Good news for polar bears and penguins. Perhaps we should pray to the Norse gods, who in their wrath have brought this ice age upon us. Only Thor can help us now.

4
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The New C++: Lay down your guns, knives, and clubs

Nick Gisburne
Facepalm

I'd think again about that working name

C++0x = C0x = Cocks. The future world will be built on Cocks, eh? If you include the 'P' sounds in ++ you've got some kind of stutterer's pox (cowpox or seapox). You're not even going to get away with its fully pronounced name - see plus plus 0x = see plus plus socks.

As it's one step up from C++, I'd go for C3P, and then you might as well add the 0 on the end just for Star Wars lulz.

7
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'Draw Mohammed' page removed from Facebook

Nick Gisburne
Go

It's back

This from the re-activated page:

"This page was removed two days ago, after one of our moderators had his email and skype hacked. His personal data was revealed. He then got scared and deleted the page, the blog and the emails. The rest of us, are now back without him after he backed out. This is another scare tactic from the Islamic extremists. We won't fall."

Not then a Facebook-led reaction, but an understandably anxious page owner fearing for his own personal safety.

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