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* Posts by Kubla Cant

1198 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

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Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'

Kubla Cant
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Re: Documentation is beyond the capabilities of most FOSS-ers

But sadly most comments state the bleeding obvious while ignoring the obscure - "i++; // increment counter" type of thing. The best advice is to pretend your code is going to be maintained by a homicidal maniac who knows where you live .

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Mobile carriers keep the promised land on an ever-receding horizon

Kubla Cant
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I should be so lucky

25GB? I have a data allowance of 0.5GB. I mostly use my phone for data. But I still can't use the massive 0.5GB in a month. With the crap data rate I get I couldn't use 25GB in a month of continuous downloads.

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Vanmoof Electrified Bike: Crouching cyclist, hidden power

Kubla Cant
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I've ridden a recumbent for about 10 years. It doesn't attract as much attention as it used to - I had to run a gauntlet of jeering teenagers when I first used it.

It definitely isn't an alternative to this electric bike. The author of the article uses the power to help him ride up Archway Road. Most recumbents are fairly heavy, and you don't have the option of standing on the pedals when you're climbing a steep hill. The theory is that you drop down to a low gear and "spin up", but as with any reciprocating engine, your legs waste a lot more energy in low gears.

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Err....a fly in the lycra?

Err, you normally pedal bikes*. It's drugs that you peddle.

* Unless you own a bike shop.

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Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars

Kubla Cant
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Re: No alternative

I used to drive a Mazda 6 estate. Nice car, but suffered from appalling road noise. It finally met its end when the corner of an articulated trailer scraped across the bonnet while it was (legally) parked. I was rather shocked to see how flimsy it was.

As far as snow handling goes, despite FWD, the Mazda got stuck on the ramp of an underground car park in the Alps. I had to buy snow chains to get out, and even with those I spun 180 degrees at the first bend in the pass. Mind you, the AWD SUV in front of me was basically skating down.

The Mazda's replacement, a BMW 5 Touring was indeed a little difficult in snow. The worst bit is going uphill, when the weight of the engine causes the front to slide down, while the rear wheels continue up (this at about 10 mph). The car ends up straddling the road, which is embarrassing if there's anyone else there. At this point there's nothing for it but to pray you can complete the U-turn without driving into the ditch, go back down, and find another route.

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Take CTRL! Shallow minds ponder the DEEP spectre of DARK CACHE

Kubla Cant
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Cache

I know about the cache control meta tags and I know about F5 and Ctrl-F5. But I've still found plenty of occasions when IE has had to be restarted to force it to forget about a CSS or script file that it has sqirrelled away somewhere.

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Vanished blog posts? Enterprise gaps? Welcome to Windows 10

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

Windows Store

I spend an inordinate amount of time commuting by train. On the journey home, suffering from a kind of burn-out, I occasionally like to get out my Win7 laptop and play a few games of Freecell or Hearts.

The other day I tried to find these in Win8.1. The Games tile just directed me to the Windows Store (luckily I wasn't on a train, or that would have been the end of things). I found the games I wanted and installed them.

Bleah! Hideous graphics and intrusive flashing ads. Kill it!

If this is Micosoft's vision of the future, they can crank their Windows version number up to 999 for all I care - I won't be buying. Have they done this with all the applications that used to ship with Windows?

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EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers

Kubla Cant
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How do they do that?

I've been with EE for a few years, and I've never found a data connection fast enough to enable me to use more than about 60% of my allowance.

Example: I commute into London on the East Coast Main Line, and I try to read the news online. Most of the time my phone screen blanks before the page loads. Frequently I get "No data connection" messages when I can see houses, offices, and mobile phone masts out of the window.

Meanwhile, I see people on the train apparently watching movies on tablets. Are they streaming the data over the net?

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A Norsified Linux for Windows and OS X wobblers

Kubla Cant
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Alert

Re: The feel of a pig in a cage on antibiotics is kept alive by cozy words

Tea Partiers deploying Freya Desktops

In the olden days, when people used to give meaningful names to servers, our first generation of Vaxes were all named after Greek gods such as Zeus, Juno and Ares*.

When the time came to replace these, we decided to use the names of Nordic gods, so we had Odin, Thor and, yes, Freya. Whereupon people started to say the IT department was staffed by Nazis.

* This was in the days of terminal servers, which were called Melpomene, Terpsichore, Calliope, Euterpe... after the Muses.

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BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE

Kubla Cant
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Re: Newbuild

a newbuild 1 year old. why not just install FTTP?

About 5 years ago I bought a flat in a development newly built by Wimpy. You can tell how much foresight went into the building from the fact that every flat has gas that is supplied through 15mm copper tube that runs up the outside of the building*. I'm surprised that's even legal.

Inside the flat there are wall sockets for phone, TV arial and satellite dish. I can only suppose these aren't actually connected to anything. The BT installer drilled through the outside wall and ran cable along the skirting board to a surface-mounted box in the good old way. Nearly every flat has a satellite dish screwed to the outside wall.

* Like the Lloyds building, only less stylish.

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Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Psychoanalysed?

The young men, who took part in mandatory military service in Sweden between 1984 and 1997, were psychoanalysed while in the army and subjected to intelligence tests.

Are you sure about that? In Britain the military pioneered the use of intelligence tests, so that part's wholly credible.

But are you really saying that these conscripts were treated to hours of talking about their unresolved complexes and infant traumas with a psychoanalyst? Or do you really mean that they were subject to some kind of personality or cognitive profile test?

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Samsung abandons Chromebooks, laptops, PCs in Europe

Kubla Cant
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That's what I thought, too. I bought one of the Samsung 9 Series a couple of years ago, and I haven't regretted it.

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My TIGHT PANTS made my HUGE iPHONE go all BENDY!

Kubla Cant
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Pants pockets

keeping a phone in you pants is maybe going a little too far on the security front.

I expect they enjoy the vibration when somebody calls.

Why would you have pockets in your pants?

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What the 4K: High-def DisplayPort vid meets reversible USB Type C

Kubla Cant
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Re: Nirvana

The most annoying thing about SATA cables is the power connector, which for some reason is much wider and more complicated than the data connector. It all appears to be show, because you can use an adapter to connect to an old-school Molex connector.

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Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us

Kubla Cant
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Re: I read the first paragraph as "creepy football" data

"Creepy footfall" - it sounds like they are identifying criminals by the way they walk.

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Top Gear Tigers and Bingo Boilers: Farewell then, Phones4U

Kubla Cant
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Re: I briefly did marketing

@Yugguy Because people will describe themselves according to what they WISH they were like, not what they actually are.

I know the social sciences are extensively, and perhaps justifiably, derided in this forum, but market researchers aren't completely stupid. There's a bit more to survey design than just asking people to describe themselves, and a competent researcher would go to great lengths to eliminate this kind of bias.

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Forget bonking, have ONE OFF THE WRIST with Barclaycard's bPay

Kubla Cant
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Re: "the ban of cash on London’s public transport systems..."

I have this thing called a "wallet" that is really convenient because I can carry all my cards in it, but there's currently a recorded announcement on the Underground that tells you not to keep your Oyster card next to your credit card.

My view is that they should have sorted that out when they designed the Oyster card. It's not like credit cards were previously unknown.

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PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away

Kubla Cant
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Re: Black Hole belongs in Alice in Wonderland

@WalterAlter The experts are always quick to conveniently brand anyone who questions the black hole as a crackpot.

I'm not an expert, but when I read your post I could see why they might come to that conclusion.

Also, none of your "here"s seem to go anywhere. I think you're several hrefs short of a hyperlink, to coin a phrase.

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Ten years on, TEN PER CENT of retailers aren't obeying CAN-SPAM

Kubla Cant
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I can say F*CK U iilii to rayban I would never buy their products.

I wish I could say that. I was doing OK until I got to "iilii". How do you pronounce that?

FWIW, I will never buy Rayban products either. Nothing to do with spam, just that I know how much a pair of sunglasses is actually worth.

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JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!

Kubla Cant
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Re: Looks like many are missing the point

@James 51

I'm afraid you're chasing a fantasy. Any nation (and that includes the putative independant Scotland) will be governed, and have its resources allocated, in a way that leaves a lot of the voters dissatisfied.

The solution is not endless subdivision. What next? Independence for Wessex? Bring back the heptarchy? I live in Huntingdonshire, where we've been ground under the oppressive heel of Cambridgeshire for decades. Can we vote to secede?

If you're not getting your fare share, then persuade more voters to support your side of the argument, rather than changing the system. I don't think any of the flavours of PR you suggest would make much difference. It doesn't seem to have led to much harmony between the northern and southern Italians.

The answer is that membership of any political grouping involves trading individual and sectional needs for wider benefits. If don't accept this, then I presume you don't want your independant Scotland to join the EU.

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spɹɐʍʞɔɐB writing is spammers' new mail filter avoidance trick

Kubla Cant
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Re: And of course...

I'm still puzzled about the allegedly disguised filename. The story is that the text is reversed so the scanner won't pick it up, but the display presents it in such a way that it reads normally. When you click on a link or a filename it doesn't matter what it looks like, the thing that is executed is whatever is in the text, and that's what the scanner will see too.

I think the attachment/link example is made up.

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Scottish independence: Will it really TEAR the HEART from IT firms?

Kubla Cant
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Re: It will be business as usual.

Were I Scottish, I'd be far more worried about what happens after a no vote.

I think the English Rest of UK have reason to worry about what happens after a no vote. The alternative seems to be "devo-max", alias "West-Lothian-question-plus". The Scottish MPs will continue to meddle in the affairs of Rest of UK while the Westminster government that we elect has no reciprocal rights.

How about introducing a rule that 30 MSPs are elected by constituencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Seems only fair.

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

Kubla Cant
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Flame

Idiots

Not strictly about smart meters, but part of the same idiocy.

Following the highly-questionable ban on high-powered vacuum cleaners, it's been announced that there will be future power restrictions on, among other things, kettles. This seems idiotic.

The electric power required to heat a litre of water to boiling point is the same whether you use a 3 kW kettle or a 1 kW one. The energy lost during the heating process is a function of the temperature of the kettle and time. If the kettle takes twice as long to boil, then it spends twice as long at each temperature from its starting point to boiling, so it will lose twice as much energy to the surrounding air. It follows that a low-powered kettle uses more energy than a high-powered one.

No doubt the more scientifically literate will be able to tell me if I'm right or wrong.

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TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans

Kubla Cant
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What's in it for the eel? Or does it just help out of eel-truism?

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DEATH TO TCP/IP cry Cisco, Intel, US gov and boffins galore

Kubla Cant
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Re: What essentially saved TCP/IP?

Pathworks!! Now there's a stupid name I haven't heard for years. You really haven't suffered until you've set up a load of diskless workstations booting off the network from a VMS server. Not only did the protocol stack have to be shoehorned into memory, the entire thing had to fit on a 1MB disk image.

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BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: The kid I saw on the BBC News this morning...

@Ian Emery: too many people did not know that MINUS 18C is less than MINUS 16C when comparing temperatures

Minus 18 degrees Celsius may be colder than minus 16 degrees Celsius, but "less than" implies magnitude, in which case the smaller value (16) is the lesser. If the National Lottery phrased its question as vaguely as your posting, I'm not surprised it had to withdraw the scratchcards.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Foundations

we were always taught to plan all the stuff out first before going near a computer, and it generally worked much better that way than freeform typing

I'm sorry, I have to disagree. I suspect that the whole "turn off the screen and get out a pencil and paper" method was originally advocated before IDEs which allowed rapid exploration and experimentation. I'm sure most kids would find it a turn-off. What are they going to put on the paper? UML?

That's not to suggest that the paper approach isn't valid in professional development (though in 30 years' experience, I've seen little of it going on). But interest has to come first - discipline can follow.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: The kid I saw on the BBC News this morning...

...html. Maybe useful, but hardly "coding"

I know what you mean, but HTML counts as getting a computer to do stuff and trying to understand why it's not doing what you expected, which is an important first step. Declarative programming, rather than procedural, but not inadmissable on that basis.

The danger is that HTML takes over and the whole project becomes as vacuous as the MS Office based curriculum of the past.

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'I think photographers get TOO MUCH copyright for their work'

Kubla Cant
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Re: I'm already in range

@ST7 Can you point me to any evidence that patents/copyright promotes invention/artistic achievement rather than stifling it.

Prior to the introduction of copyright in the 18th century, artists such as Hogarth suffered serious diminution of earnings because their engravings were pirated almost as oon as they were published. This at a time when the copying process was far more labour-intensive than it is today.

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Virgin Media blocks 'wankers' from permissible passwords

Kubla Cant
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Re: Optimisation missing

BT Internet seems to store plaintext passwords, too, to judge from a conversation I recently had with a support drone.

@AC Thanks for that inciteful advice *facepalm*

Do you mean "insightful"? Or perhaps "incisive"? You can't have both at once. Perhaps if you took your palm away from your face you could see what you're typing.

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Finally, a practical use for 3D printing: Helping surgeons rehearse

Kubla Cant
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Re: Useful stuff

Interestingly, last night's TV showed 3d printing used to create the "scaffolding" on which body parts can be grown from stem cells. I suspect it isn't yet happening in reality, but the potential is obvious.

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Bright lights, affordable motor: Ford puts LED headlights onto Mondeo

Kubla Cant
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Mushroom

Re: Daytime running lights

@Lars the condescending twat

Jamie Jones is right, except that the mention of seatbelts is very relevant. It's fairly well known that the introduction of seatbelts reduced death and injury among car occupants, while increasing death and injury among other road users. Car drivers, feeling safer, tended to drive less carefully.

The view that making cars more visible is an important contribution to road safety is based on the view that "it's everybody else's responsibility to get out of my way if they know what's good for them" (the Toad of Toad Hall philosophy).

From the perspective of pedestrians and cyclists, being seen is at least as important as seeing motor vehicles. In a world where something has to be lit up like a Christmas tree, road users with limited or no lighting are more at risk.

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The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal

Kubla Cant
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Re: The "LAW"

"dangerous acceleration" and "not stopping at a give way sign". I'm guessing that your car has something about it that attracts attention.

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Sin COS to tan Windows? Chinese operating system to debut in autumn – report

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

Confused

China has more than a dozen mobile OS developers with no independent intellectual property rights because their research is based on Android.

I know that great operating systems are created by small teams, sometimes by individuals, but "more than a dozen" developers dosn't sound very world-changing.

Also, how is this project going to rectify the "no independent intellectual property rights" problem? If they're just building another Linux distro, then their IP will be very, very dependent. If, on the other hand, they are building a new proprietary OS (hello, 1970, nice to see you again) then the copyright in their work will almost certainly belong to their employer.

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Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report

Kubla Cant
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Re: sell by?

In my experience, the function of the expiry date on batteries is to convince you that it's now time to throw away the remaining eight batteries in the packet of ten that seemed good value in the supermarket ten years ago.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4: 4G Android tablet is easy to swallow

Kubla Cant
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Re: Storage costs aren't always commutable @ Kubla Cant

@plrndl

I dare say that my Mint system will mount my Android 4.4.4 phone too, once I've set aside the time to upgrade to the latest Mint version. But all I wanted to do was copy a few new music files to the phone, not perform major system maintenance.

@phen

No such settings - you must be imagining it (or perhaps we have different phones).

@everybody else

Yes, yes, yes. I know there are solutions. I even know what some of the solutions are. I'm just irked to encounter a further example of ill-defined indirection layers on top of well-understood computer features. The incomprehensible "Libraries" in Windows 7 are another.

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Kubla Cant
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Mushroom

Re: Storage costs aren't always commutable

I recently discovered another good reason for removable storage. Until the last Android update I could connect my phone by USB to my Linux computer and mount the storage as a disk device. Now it's something called a media device, the contents of which are inaccessible from my oldish Linux. The only solution, incredibly, seems to be to remove the memory card from the phone and mount it via a USB card adapter.

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Govt control? Hah! It's IMPOSSIBLE to have a successful command economy

Kubla Cant
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Re: yeah but what about the jobs...?

In that condition, the notion of an economy is absurd.

Marx anticipated "the withering-away of the state" when Communism was completely implemented. It sounds like Tim anticipates the withering-away of the economy when robot automation is complete.

Both cases suffer from the reductionist fallacy of assuming that anything in the real world will reach its logical conclusion. To put it crudely, in a world where all desires are met, human ingenuity will invent new desires.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: "Mega Corp" proves command and control can work!

I think you'll find that the internal organisation of a Mega Corp has more in common with a market economy than a commnd economy. It depends, to some extent, on the diversity of their activities. A tightly-focussed company like Ford can probably be relatively dirigiste.

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Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes

Kubla Cant
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Re: Direct debit

PayPal can take money from your account via direct debit

Not from mine, they can't. A few years ago I made quite a lot of purchases on EBay, so I had to pay via PayPal, whom I in turn paid by credit card. After a few weeks I got an email from PayPal saying "You've spent over x. If you want to continue using PayPal you will have to let us suck money directly from your bank account via Direct Debit", possibly the only case I've encountered where a good customer gets a worse deal.

Naturally I declined, and ever since then I've been unable to use PayPal for purchases. Occasionally they even refuse my credit card when they're just acting as a card handler (in the same way as WorldPay, for example).

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Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty

Kubla Cant
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What about

Kippers? Kedgeree? Devilled kidneys? Anything else that begins with 'k'?

TBH kippers is the only one I regularly breakfast on. Kedgeree is mainly a dish for impressing weekend guests with my ability to cook on Sunday morning after a bibulous Saturday dinner, and I can't remember ever having devilled a kidney.

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Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM

Kubla Cant
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Re: Can you turn it off?

>> Grown-ups use email

>Grown-ups use TELEX.

Real grown-ups send messages in cleft sticks. (See Evelyn Waugh's Scoop for details.)

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Amazon smacks back at Hachette in e-book pricing battle: We're doing it for the readers

Kubla Cant
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Re: Not for readers

@Michael Hawkes Amazon's doing it for profit, not for readers. I think they don't care whether people read books or not, as long as they keep buying them.

Whereas Waterstone's, Blackwell's, Foyle's and the independent bookshop in town would be happy to sell books at a loss as long as people keep reading them.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: We all moved to sharepoint.

@Buck Futter The paperback may have proved to be a financial success, yes, but as Woolf and Joyce feared, it has lowered the quality of writing.

Where's the evidence for this? What unit is quality of writing measured in, and who measured the pre-paperback score?

The difference in price between paperbacks and hardbacks these days is quite small. I suspect it's more a matter of market segmentation than production cost. The printed pages are identical, and binding is probably done by machine for both formats - few hardbacks seem to be stitched. Most of the hard cover edition is probably produced for libraries.

Being a bit of a book-fetishist, I like to buy hard cover books. Interestingly, they are much easier to find on Amazon than in bookshops.

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Americans to be guinea pigs in vast chip-and-PIN security experiment

Kubla Cant
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Why so many keys?

1-2-3-4-Enter.

Maybe 1-2-4-Erase-3-4-Enter.

Occasionally 1-9-0-3-Clear-1-2-3-4-Enter.

That's a maximum of 13 keys. So what are all the other keys on chip & pin terminals for? Especially the ones in supermarkets. With one on every checkout in the country, and, I should imagine, a pretty short life before replacement, there can't be economies of scale in using generic terminals. But they often seem to have function keys and other extra keys. Do the checkout staff play games on them when business is slack?

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Wait, an actual QR code use case? TGI Friday's builds techno-restaurant

Kubla Cant
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Windows

...only really suits regular customers...

TGI Friday has regular customers? People who, having made the mistake of going there once, decide to return?

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Tiny transforming bots: Meet these self-assembling 'thoughtful' droids

Kubla Cant
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The flattened ‘bot transforms itself into a functional machine

So what function does it perform? I suppose walking away is a sort of function, but it's not a very useful one.

I, for one, am happy to wave goodbye to our robotic flat-pack overlords...

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Nuts to your poncey hipster coffees, I want a TESLA ELECTRO-CAFE

Kubla Cant
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Scarcely relevant musing

Does anyone know why 99% of the UK population pronounce latte as "lah-tay"? In Italian, the "a" is short. In English, most words containing "att" have a short "a" (hatter, batter, latter...).

I can only assume that they think it's obligatory to pronounce foreign words in a special, non-English way. I believe people also say "basmah-tay" when talking about rice, though oddly I've never heard of anyone spreading "pah-tay" on toast.

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Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Re: Move to the US

The US? The country that gave the world Starbucks?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Espresso

Not to mention the poncey lightweight coffee nonsense.

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