* Posts by Kubla Cant

1478 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Driverless cars deal DEATH to Detroit, says Barclays

Kubla Cant
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Where's my flying car?

I can't help wondering if the driverless car is going to be as endlessly deferred as the flying car. In both cases there are working prototypes and announcements that a production roll-out is just around the corner, but....

I'm just thinking of the level of ingenuity required to be a car commuter in Central London - knowledge of rat-runs and back doubles, judgement about which route is appropriate for the time of day and traffic conditions, knowing that this side road is the one to use when joining a main road because there's an upstream pedestrian crossing that causes breaks in the traffic and so on.

It's been a while since I lived in London, so last time I visited I used the satnav. I think it routed me through every major traffic hotspot it could find, and I arrived an hour late. At this rate, driverless cars will spend most of their lives stationary in traffic jams.

Navigation is the easy part of the driverless car requirement, but even that seems to need more work.

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Kubla Cant
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Detroit

a Barclays analyst reckons that points to a calamitous future for Detroit

I've never been there, but from what I read of Detroit it already has a calamitous present.

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Kubla Cant
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"No more old guys in hats holding up the flow of traffic"

I'm an old guy. I sometimes wear a hat because it can be quite draughty in my open car at 100 mph. What should I do to avoid holding up the traffic?

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Manchester car park lock hack leads to horn-blare hoo-ha

Kubla Cant
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Re: I do not think that word means what you think it means

I'm intrigued by the role of the exotically-named Autumn DePoe-Hughes in this incident. Early on in the story, she's just 'the woman who uploaded the Facebook video'. But by the end she's become a car security authority: '"Manually lock your doors or make sure you see/hear the locks lock," DePoe-Hughes advised.'

Mind how you go.

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Well YES, Silicon Valley VCs do think you're a CRETIN

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Confession

Though I have a limited grasp of economics, I read, enjoy and, I think, understand most of Tim Worstall's articles.

But I have to confess that in this case I haven't the foggiest idea what he's on about, despite that fact that the article seems to be about something related to IT, which I'm supposed to know. Should I take the trouble to find out?

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Pundits ponder perilous placement of STANDING STONES on Comet 67P

Kubla Cant
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Promises

If they were a bit closer they'd be able to read Ed Milliband's election promises on one of them.

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Milking cow shot dead by police 'while trying to escape'

Kubla Cant
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Re: "....but there was not enough room for them to do so"

Just how big a gun did they have?

Perhaps they were taking a leaf out of the Norks' book. They needed an anti-aircraft gun to kill a Defence Minister.

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Gawd/ess.

They all get lead home

I think you mean "led". The Northumbrian cow in the story got lead, but it didn't get home.

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Viagra makes it HARD for malaria, bug-boffins discover

Kubla Cant
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Priapism

My initial thought was that the mosquitos' aerodynamics would be compromised by priapism. But it's the female mosquitos that fly around biting people, so I guess it works by giving them something else to do.

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Right Dabbsy my old son, you can cram this job right up your BLEEEARRGH

Kubla Cant
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Re: There are times when Starbucks is the best choice

What it's not for is identifying whose frothycapudoodah is whose

I think it probably is. Starbuck's is notable for the fact that, however many servers are behind the counter, it takes them so long to make a cup of "coffee" that you have to mill around with a mob of 20 people waiting for their drinks.

The other thing it's notable for is that nobody's job description includes clearing and cleaning the tables, so you have to eat and drink in a midden of dirty dishes and spillage.

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Messerschmitts, Sinclairs and a '50s living room: The Bubblecar Museum

Kubla Cant
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Recollections

One of the striking things about bubble cars in the 1950s was that two of them bore names familiar from wartime German planes. In the case of the Messerschmitt you could easily imagine that they'd just removed the wings and tail (assuming you were 11 years old and had only ever seen Me109s in comics). They should have produced a Stuka, too.

There was a rumour that people could get trapped in the Isetta because it had a front-opening door and no reverse gear.

I used to own an original Mini, with the pre-Hydrolastic rubber suspension. It had an 1100 engine dropped in, which didn't actually seem to make it go any faster (though repeated incompetent attempts to "tune" the SU carburettor may have been a factor). I also used to ride a James, though mine was a 250 twin.

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You're going to have stop calling people 'cold fish': THIS one is HOT-BLOODED

Kubla Cant
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Interesting article. I just wish I could stop reading the name of the fish as "oompah".

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Next-gen Freeview telly won't be another disruptive 4Ker

Kubla Cant
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It's not clear from the pictures whether the catch-up content will be accessed through the same UI as real-time broadcast. If it's just a matter of putting a BBC iPlayer button on the EPG, then I'm less than impressed. If, on the other hand, it will make it possible to avoid using the atrocious iPlayer UI, then I'll start to think about changing my TV.

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Reddit: Gonna SCRUB these TROLLS right outa my hair

Kubla Cant
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"We are unhappy with harassing behavior on Reddit; we have survey data that show our users are, too"

They needed a survey to find that out?

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Election? Pah. Here's the REAL question: Who’s the SEXIEST MP?

Kubla Cant
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"Politics is show business for ugly people" (various attributions)

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Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods

Kubla Cant
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Semi-self-driving

I recently acquired a car that has a Limit button on the steering wheel. It's something I would never have expected to use, but it turns out it's quite valuable. Maintaining a speed below 30 requires a slice of attention that can be reallocated to things like looking out for pedestrians and trying to open CD cases. The only oddity is the way the car seems to slow down once the de-restriction sign becomes visible.

Alongside features like automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, it makes me wonder whether the effort going into self-driving cars would be more usefully applied to devising a hybrid control model, where the car handles control functions that can be automated relatively easily, while the drive continues to handle the difficult stuff like steering and trying to open CD cases.

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How Groucho Marx lost his voice and found his funny bone

Kubla Cant
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Re: On TV

"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

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Attack of the possibly-Nazi clone parakeet invaders

Kubla Cant
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Re: Time for biocontrol

The invading hordes are clones

I know that plants and insects are capable of clonal reproduction, but I didn't know birds could do it. What's the mechananism? Can they hatch unfertilised eggs?

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Massive police 'heavy equipment' robot drags out suspect who hid inside television

Kubla Cant
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Re: Huh?

I don't see what's impossible about hiding inside a TV. There are lots of people inside my TV. Some read news, others sing or tell jokes. I don't know how they get in there.

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Scot Nationalists' march on Westminster may be GOOD for UK IT

Kubla Cant
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Joke

The SNP aren' t especially left wing.... They're basically Blairite.

I expect they want independence so Scotland can invade Iraq.

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Kubla Cant
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Mushroom

Re: Be Careful what you wish for.@SolidSquid

If we did leave the Union we wouldn't be subjected to nineteen-sixty-fucking-six football pish *every* *fucking* *four* *years*.

I haven't the slightest idea what you're trying to say, but the ranting tone and foul language seem to be an example of exactly the kind of toxic behaviour you are deprecating.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Be Careful what you wish for.

@SolidSquid

Actually Scotland joined the union because the nobility bankrupted themselves (the Darien Scheme was a private venture, not a state one)

What sort of state venture do you imagine might have existed in late 17th Century Scotland? If the beneficiaries of the bail-out were posessed of sufficient power to "sell out the country", then they were to all intents and purposes the state.

Even so, I think after 215 years it's probably time to forget about the Darien episode.

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Kubla Cant
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@Nigel Whitfield

I keep hearing how "England is weary of the noise" and other such stuff, but only from people on forums. Where are these English people who hate the Scottish so much, or just want them to go away?

I've never met any such person in real life

So we can disregard your view because it comes from one of the "people on forums"?

At the risk of falling foul of the same self-denying ordinance, permit me to say that I am very, very weary of the noise. I don't "hate the Scottish". What I do hate is narrow sectional interests that want to get everybody else dancing to their tune. I don't care if it's the SNP, the TUC, the RAC, Arthur Scargill or the Society for the Independence of Pimlico.

The SNP received 1,454,436 votes out of an electorate of more than 46,353,900. A lot more than Arthur Scargill, admittedly, but still less than 0.7%. I call that noise.

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Major London rail station reveals system passwords during TV documentary

Kubla Cant
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Re: Calm down

What you say obviously makes sense. The worry is that a LAN can be accidentally connected to the outside world, for example by deciding that a workstation needs Internet access for a legitimate reason.

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Smile! Brit transport plods turn bodycams on travelling public

Kubla Cant
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Re: Taser Axon body-worn cameras.

Yup. It's called an Axon because it'll zap you right in the dendrites.

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New EU security strategy: Sod cyber terrorism, BAN ENCRYPTION

Kubla Cant
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Re: I'm a terrorist?

At first I thought you had made a typo and meant "steganography".

But if you really meant "stenography", you have a really good point. Are they going to round up all the shorthand typists and Hansard reporters?

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Kubla Cant
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Facepalm

"stop IT firms offering encryption"

Of course. Because when a terrorist wants to send secret messages he goes down to PC World and buys a yard of encryption.

Anyone who develops in Java will be familiar with the idiotic scenario where you can only download so-called Strong Cryptography libraries if you promise not to pass them on to the bad guys.

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Free markets aren't rubbish – in fact, they solve our rubbish woes

Kubla Cant
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one armed bandits ... that took empty drinks cans

What happens if you win the jackpot? I'm not sure I want 1000 empty drinks cans.

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'Use 1 capital' password prompts make them too predictable – study

Kubla Cant
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Re: Password generators

Here's an entropy aware pass phrase generator I really like:

https://www.fourmilab.ch/javascrypt/pass_phrase.html

Yikes! I flatter myself that I have a good vocabulary, but a high proportion of the passphrases contain unfamiliar, foreign or obscure words.

overnice bowline sceptic octopus pleopod sentient

licorice patroon miler bondman tramline dicker

par compo gyrus carolus rejoice jack

whoreson winding digit lozenge skiplane hopper

refer hyoscine nude ala fender piton

resign hawfinch enshrine assignor boast heliport

compos trigraph slacks genital corpsman akene

matchbox squeaky plump haloid sapwood metallic

byelaw smallish turbit marking afforest praetor

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Trust

Then write down that password on an anonymous and otherwise blank piece of paper and leave it in that decorative tea-pot your mother has.

The paper's not going to last long if she keeps making tea in the pot.

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Stuff your RFID card, just let me through the damn door!

Kubla Cant
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Re: ID

This evening I have to drive 50 miles to a TNT depot to collect a parcel. I am required to produce the non-delivery card, a utility bill, and my passport. This is considerably more ID than would be needed to gain entry to most foreign countries.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Spot on description of acess control purgatory.

A few years ago I worked at a site where the bogs were only accessible from the secured area but were shared between two companies in adjacent offices. The result was that you needed a pass to get out of the bog. The passes were managed from 100 miles away by a nest of jobsworths who used to cancel them in an arbitrary way in the middle of the working day. You can guess where I was when my pass got cancelled.

More recently I've encountered a system where you need a pass to get out as well as in, and where the doors send you a stroppy email if you aren't meticulous about closing them behind you.

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Welcome, stranger: Inside Microsoft's command line shell

Kubla Cant
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Not dead yet

Curously, there seems to be evidence that the command prompt in Windows still has a tiny spark of life in it. (Or maybe I'm late discovering features in the obscure and hard-to-find documentation.) "set /?" now delivers three screens of help, and includes features like string replacement and delayed variable expansion. You can write surprisingly capable scripts now. Unfortunately there seems to be some rule that any new feature has to be invoked by obscure metacharacters. I suspect that this is a legacy of the original feeble MS-DOS parser.

I'm reasonably sure that the first versions of MS-DOS did offer command-line editing. It used function keys F1 to F9(?) and it's still available in Windows 7, although some of the functions now produce a popup prompt which obviously wasn't there in MS-DOS.

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The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It's NOT a law after all

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: Spelling Police

I was also bemused by this:

... the number of transistors used in a typical CPU — the CPU transistor count — would double ....

Given that this is a techie site I should think most readers would be able to guess that the number of transistors used in a typical CPU is also known as "the CPU transistor count".

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What's broken in this week's Windows 10 build? Try the Start Menu, for one

Kubla Cant
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Re: Company bloat/inertia?

When I read the article I was astounded to see reports of problems with things like Outlook and Visual Studio. The clear implication is that the operating system and the layered applications are so entangled that changes to the system break the applications.

Microsoft has a track record of making secret APIs available to its own applications, and it looks like it's come back to bite them.

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Booking.com smacked by EU competition bods. Yeah, yeah, yeah

Kubla Cant
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Zoo

The whole hotel booking site world is like a zoo. You've got booking sites doing deals with hotels, booking sites doing deals with bedbanks, booking sites that consolidate from other booking sites, possibly including other consolidators, and so ad infinitum. Over and above that is the suspicion that the hotel puts you in a crap room when you use a booking site.

I've never used Booking.com. As other commentards have pointed out, they rarely seem to be the cheapest, which makes this story rather surprising.

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Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Kubla Cant
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Re: So....

"What Google may do is give preference to their own services, but it does not force you to select them."

Actually, yes, they indirectly do. Ever tried the "I feel lucky" button?

No, I've never tried it. Which is odd, since you seem to think we're all forced to use it.

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Apple will cut down 36,000 acres of forest in 'conservation scheme'

Kubla Cant
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Trees are a crop

The idea that cutting trees in this way is anti-conservation is plain stupid.

They aren't cutting primal broadleaf woodland or tropical rain forest. The softwood trees that are used for paper and packaging are grown for the purpose. Less timber-based packaging means fewer trees, not more. It's a crop, and it's only grown because there is a market for it. You might as well try to conserve wheat by eating less bread.

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The Internet of things is great until it blows up your house

Kubla Cant
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Re: I have a smart bed....

night lights under the bed

Eh? Is that so the monsters under the bed don't get scared?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: BAAS?

The great thing about BAAS is that you can count them when you can't sleep.

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Scummy transients FOUND ON MARS by NASA rover

Kubla Cant
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Re: Instead of making feeble jokes about a typo

Far from improving my self-esteem, it's made me feel rather guilty. My intention was to conform to the Reg posting style, which usually has much in common with the fish-slapping dance.

I hope your cold gets better soon.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Instead of making feeble jokes about a typo

@Arnaut the less : I suspect that the commentards making and reading the feeble jokes about the typo are not doing so because they have missed the significance of the discovery. But thank you for your sermon, Headmaster.

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MIT shows off machine-learning script to make CREEPY HEADS

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: guff

@LucreLout : I agree heartily with what you say, and I've even upvoted you.

But I can't avoid the suspicion that when you say "Queue lots and lots of things that were never a pattern being ..." you probably mean "Cue lots and lots ...". The metaphor refers to the stage (or possibly film and TV studios), as in "Cue music, cue lights, cue Hamlet".

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Aussie priest BLESSES an APP – and the sacred iPad it runs on

Kubla Cant
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If your first names are Mary of the Cross, I should think you're a shoo-in for canonization.

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Radio 4 and Dr K on programming languages: Full of Java Kool-Aid

Kubla Cant
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Thumb Down

Re: "soi-disant"?

I see that Simon Rockman, the author of the condescending soi-disant expression, is billed as "Mobile and Motoring Correspondent".

His description of it as “what we used to use before HTML 5” suggests he's less knowledgable about programming languages than phones and cars. I can only imagine he's referring to Applets, which haven't been a significant area of Java use for at least ten years. The vast majority of Java runs on servers, where “write once, run anywhere” is in fact true.

Since the soi in this case is a woman, surely it should be soi-disante?

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Streaming tears of laughter as Jay-Z (Tidal) waves goodbye to $56m

Kubla Cant
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Re: CD Quality

Tidal is revolutionary in offering “CD-quality” downloads

No it isn't. I regularly buy CD-quality downloads from Presto Classical, and have been doing so for some time. I'm sure most online music retailers offer a similar service. Presto Classical also offer "Studio-quality" downloads, but I haven't got the audio equipment (or the ears) to justify the extra cost.

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Eyes on the prize: Ten 23-24-inch monitors for under £150

Kubla Cant
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Problems with Asus monitor

I recently bought an Asus VN247H - I don't know what's the difference between this and the reviewed VE247H.

I almost immediately returned it. The stand was so flimsy that the screen would wobble as I typed (maybe I should cut out the strength pills). But the main problem was that it caused the operating system to freeze. I first saw this with Ubuntu 14.10, so I backed off to 14.04, but the problem remained. Within 15 min of logging in, the system froze and required a hard reboot. Following a change of monitor, no problem.

I was surprised about this, because I imagined that the monitor is a purely passive peripheral. Maybe the problem was with driver software, but this too is surprising, as I certainly didn't install any drivers and I should have thought all 1920x1080 HDMI monitors would be identical from the perspective of the O/S.

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Google cracks down on browser ad injectors after shocking study

Kubla Cant
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Happy

Re: Unwanted ad injectors aren't part of a healthy ads ecosystem

@Pete H Which will come when "users" realise they also have a right to pay for the content they are consuming on the internet.

OK Pete, you've convinced me. Can you provide a list of the sites that are worth paying for so that we can all subscribe?

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SPY FRY: Smart meters EXPLODE in Californian power surge

Kubla Cant
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Re: Distribution architecture vulnerability

in the UK that generally applies to houses built since electricity was discovered

My house was built in about 1760 and expanded in 1810*. The original supply was via overhead poles, but the whole village seems to have been converted to underground supply about 30 years ago. When they did this, they seem to have removed the supply from the pole but couldn't be bothered to route an underground supply into the house. Instead they left a pair of bare copper wires running on insulated brackets along the side of the house and connected to the mains by a cable laid across my neighbour's roof and down his front wall into the street. He recently needed his chimney swept, but the sweep wisely declined to go anywhere near the live exposed copper wires.

* I suppose the later date is after electricity was discovered, depending on what you mean by "discovered", but it's definitely before electricity was supplied.

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Locally Integrated Menus back on Vivid Vervet’s menu

Kubla Cant
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Local menus new?

Maybe I misunderstand, but the review seems to say that local menus are new in 15.04. I have had local menus in 14.04 for some time now. ISTR I had to change a setting to get them, but it was no big deal.

The trouble is that Unity menus don't actually work as well as traditional menus. Possibly because of the auto-hide feature, it's sometimes necessary to click a menu item more than once to invoke it. Even Windows 3.0 had menus that worked as expected.

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