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* Posts by Kubla Cant

1164 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

Chihuahua TERROR: Packs of TINY hounds menace Arizona

Kubla Cant
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Taco Bell advertising campaign that featured a talking Chihuahua

Does it still talk after they've cooked it and rolled it up in a tortilla?

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Another U.S. state set to repeal rubber duck ban

Kubla Cant
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Re: *facepalm*

If gambling is illegal... then betting on a duck race outcome is ... therefore illegal

You're telling us that gambling is illegal in the USA? I could have sworn I saw a lot of illegal activity when I visited Las Vegas.

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Samsung flings sueball at Dyson for 'intolerable' IP copycat claim

Kubla Cant
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Re: Dyson overrated

@James Hughes 1 Bags clog and suction efficiency decreases as the bag fills

I'm sure that's true, but everything depends on how well the bag/filter/cyclone solution is implemented.

My Miele vacuum cleaner is about 5 years old, but there's no evidence of loss of suction, even when the bag is packed tight with something like a kilo of dust. It's also fairly light, easy to carry, and retracts its own cable very smartly.

The predecessor was a Dyson. Even without bags, it suffered from diminishing suction. Emptying it was a filthy job on anything but a windless day. Various components, including the hose, failed and had to be replaced. And it was so heavy and cumbersome that my cleaner hated it.

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Spam, a lot of it: Bubble tea is the Seoul of wit

Kubla Cant
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"In the post – just imagine!"

In the days before email, when spam was nothing more than a rather nasty tinned meat and the subject of a Monty Python sketch, it was not uncommon for offices to receive Nigerian scams in the post.

They mostly appeared to have been laboriously produced on a pre-war manual typewriter, and the propositions were every bit as unconvincing as today's. I dare say the response percentage to postal spam is much greater than to emails, but even so it must have taken a lifetime of pounding, and a fortune in stamps, for the scammers to hook a victim.

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My smelly Valentine: Europe's perfumers wake to V-Day nightmare

Kubla Cant
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I too experience allergic reactions when I use many substances that contain fragrances (though I haven't worn Chanel No. 5, as it doesn't fit my lifestyle). I also find that banging my head against the wall causes discomfort.

As a result, I abjure both activities, but I don't see why the EU needs to get involved.

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Broker accuses FAST of scaring users off secondhand software

Kubla Cant
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Re: It can be a grey area ...

support in my mind ... expires with resale, like a car warranty

Whatever the situation in your mind may be, it's not the case in the real world. Whenever I've bought second-hand cars I have had the benefit of any unexpired manufacturer's warranty. I have never been asked whether I was the original purchaser.

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WD My Cloud EX4 four-bay NAS

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

My what?

This thing seems to be an overpriced file server with limited features and flexibility. Several posts have described how you could achieve better results for a much smaller outlay.

But in what sense is it a cloud? Or is everything a cloud now, in the same way that everything once used to be turbo?

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James Dyson plans ROBOT ARMY to take over the world

Kubla Cant
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"The Chocolate Factory has been not-so-quietly hovering up companies"

I think you mean either Hoovering, or possibly Dysoning.

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STRIPPED DOWN and EXPOSED: Business kit from the good old days

Kubla Cant
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Epsom dot-matrix printer

I've heard that they go through the print queue like a dose of salts.

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How many keys can one keyboard have? Do I hear 200? 300? More?

Kubla Cant
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Re: That's progress!

If you can't remember the shortcuts you need, how the hell are you going to remember what icons represent them?

Exactly. I find that I frequently click the wrong button on the Windows taskbar. Toad for Excel, Outlook for Explorer - the evidence suggests that selection by colour tends to override selection by image, which makes sense, given that colour perception is immediate, while image interpretation takes time.

+1 for the Clippy paragraph.

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LOHAN's handsome young autopilot springs into life

Kubla Cant
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Buzzer???

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NASA quandary: Should Curiosity channel Fast and Furious for Martian dune-buggy jump?

Kubla Cant
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Re: A daft question...

I suppose it looks wet because the impressions are sharper.

I believe the maximum gradient of a heap of sand is a function of the cohesiveness of the sand and the strength of gravity. Wet sand takes sharper impressions because it's cohesive so the micro-structures that constitute the impression have steeper edges. Impressions in Martian sand are sharper because of the lower gravity.

It's also possible that impressions in dry sand are rapidly blurred by air movement. The thin atmosphere on Mars would reduce this effect.

Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing about soil science and I'm making this up as I go along

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Bletchley Park spat 'halts work on rare German cipher machine'

Kubla Cant
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"beurocratic"

What is it about the Human relationship with computers ?

They are by design, meant to enhance our lives and make things quicker and somehow less beurocratic

I hear some computers even include spell-checkers.

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El Reg BuzzFelch: 10 Electrical Connectors You CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

Kubla Cant
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Re: Connect me! @Big_Boomer

DIN plugs...falling out

I once fitted some audio equipment with incredibly sexy DIN plugs that had a screw-down (or possibly bayonet) collar that would prevent them falling out.

SCART connectors, on the other hand, were designed specifically for falling-out. I didn't know they were French, but it doesn't surprise me.

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MAC TO THE FUTURE: 30 years of hindsight and smart-arsery

Kubla Cant
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often you don’t remember things in quite the same way as they are being recounted by some smart-arse who’s just snorted a line of hindsight

One of the bizarre experiences of advancing age is to see your own youth recycled as period drama, and to sit there spotting the anachronisms.

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Ditch IE7 and we'll give you a FREE COMPUTER, says incautious US firm

Kubla Cant
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Re: IE is much better than it was previously...

It still won't run on anything except Windows :)

Actually, there still seem to be compatibility issues. A client called me recently about an old GWT application I wrote for him some five years ago. In the latest IE version it displays blank screens. It continues to work without issue in the latest versions of FF and Chrome. Leopard, spots.

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Walking while texting can – OUCH! – end badly, say boffins

Kubla Cant
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WTF?

8.5m?

Eight cameras were used to record subjects' movement on an ~8.5m course

I would guess that 8.5m is about a dozen paces for the average person. It doesn't sound like you could get a significant sample of normal walking over that distance, even if you do use eight cameras.

How much texting can even a phone zombie do in the time it takes to cross a moderately large room?

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Survey: Yoof too COOL for Ferraris, want state-sponsored hybrids

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: new-car envy?

that whole 'that was the week' sketch with the 2 ronnies and cleese

Point of information: it was The Frost Report.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Gadgets are king

reliability ... is really the only test of build quality

The trouble is, most of today's cars are pretty reliable and durable. Without the year-coded* registration plates, you can usually only differentiate a 10-year-old car from a 2-year-old one if you have some expertise in the subtle styling changes from year to year.

Cars are now such a mature technology that the only way to differentiate models within a price range is by additional features. IT features are attractive because they have very low run-on cost.

*Can anybody explain why the British Government supports a numbering scheme that has no other purpose than to boost new-car envy?

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Ancient carving of 'first human-built holy place' = Primitive Vulture Central

Kubla Cant
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Re: Ted talks

"As natural garbage collectors, vultures are vital to our ecosystem"

In view of which, "Biting the hand that feeds IT" isn't really an apposite tag line. I suppose "Picking at the rotting carcases left behind by IT" lacks the killer double meaning.

Sorry, El Reg.

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Eight EXCELLENT languages for the fondleslab-friendly Intranet of Thingies

Kubla Cant
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Re: Please God no

I seem to recall Leibnitz wrote about window-less monads. In those days I never got up early enough to make it to a lecture, otherwise I might also be able to tell you what they are.

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Ian Williamson: The engineer who gave Sinclair his first micro

Kubla Cant
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It wasn’t was a straightforward reproduction of the existing National Semiconductor SC/MP evaluation system.

Make your mind up. Was it or wasn't it?

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Chinese Moon rover, lander duo wake up after two-week snooze

Kubla Cant
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Non Anglii sed Hispanici

a lot of south America is sort of Anglo Saxon too thanks to the Spanish

The Angles and the Saxons seem to have come from North-West Germany or South Denmark. More colloquially, the term refers to people from England. In recent usage it describes people from North America or former British imperial possessions, whose ancestors came from Britain, Scandinavia or the Germanic countries of Europe.

I can't see how the Spanish, or Spanish-speaking countries in South America fit into this. If we're going to categorise people by their Dark Age antecedents, then Visigoth, or perhaps Moorish, would be more appropriate for Spain.

I suppose the Germans who emigrated to South America in a hurry in 1945 might count as Anglo-Saxons.

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Furtive ebook readers push Hitler's Mein Kampf up the charts

Kubla Cant
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Re: Lolita

"Lolita" covered in a "Bible" dust jacket back in the 60s

I know which one I'd be more embarrassed to be seen reading (though the Penguin Classics edition that I read had a slightly disturbing cover).

Lolita was regarded as a significant piece of literature in the 60s - in 1962 there was a feature film directed by Stanley Kubrick. If it's unacceptable today then that's probably a consequence of recent paedophilephobia.

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: There's a missing option on the list:

There's a missing option on the list:

(o) All of the above.

The question is Which book would you least like to get caught reading?. "Least" requires a single selection. If you dislike them all equally, the logically correct, though misleading answer is "None of the above".

Actually, I agree entirely with the opinion you're expressing, but I can't resist the chance to annoy the AC above who doesn't like to see logical fallacies corrected.

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Spock-style gadget can SMELL my PEE! Weird gizmos of CES 2014

Kubla Cant
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I suppose this is the intransitive use of "enjoy", as found in the infuriating exhortation "Enjoy!".

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Block The Pirate Bay? Arrr, me hearties, new P2P client could sink that plan

Kubla Cant
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the sooner the NSA will be able to insert the seeds of future backdoors into it

No doubt. But I don't think the NSA or comparable organisations like GCHQ would see it in their interests to share this information with the copyright protection faction. They might all be evil in their own way, but this doesn't amount to an alignment of interest. Intelligence organisations are invariably reluctant to share.

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Italian woman stunned by exploding artichoke

Kubla Cant
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Re: Appeal.

"the poor appealed to her husband"

I assumed this was a symptom of machine translation. In Italian "la povera" means "the poor woman", but it translates literally as "the poor".

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Coca Cola slurps millions of MAC addresses

Kubla Cant
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Windows

Stevia etc

Every decade seems to have its own artificial sweetener. Stevia is the flavour of the moment, preceded by Sucralose, Aspartame, Cyclamate and Saccharine. Animal feed companies have a repertoire of other sweeteners that are presumably not certified for human consumption.

Unfortunately there is evidence that consumption of artificial sweeteners is associated with extra calorie intake and weight gain. Hence, presumably, their use in animal feed.

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Gay hero super-boffin Turing 'may have been murdered by MI5'

Kubla Cant
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In this frenzied homophobic atmosphere, all gay men were regarded as security risks

This would be about the time when John Maynard Keynes was sent to America to negotiate the post-war loan on behalf of the British government. It seems unlikely that nobody knew about Keynes' sexual orientation, so clearly the judgement was more nuanced than this implies.

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El Reg's contraptions confessional no.5: The Sinclair Sovereign

Kubla Cant
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Re: Ahh, the days of real calcluators

The first electronic calculator I used was in a council Treasurer's office. It was about the size of a cash register, and had eleven rows of eleven keys (0-9 and decimal), and the display used Nixie cold-cathode tubes. This was about five years before decimalisation, so we had to convert £sd to decimal before entering and back again to use the result. A conversion table was stored by the calculator, but I'm still surprised it was worth the effort.

In the early 70s I had a job where I spent weeks performing calculations on magazine readership statistics using a slide-rule. I tried to persuade my boss to buy an electronic calculator, but it appeared that my time was cheaper than the calculator, so all I got was the occasional loan of horrible old electro-mechanical things, still with 11x11 keyboards. The basic models would only add and subtract. The more advanced ones could multiply and divide, but the interminable gear-grinding process made you wish you hadn't bothered.

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No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Sic??

"...annonymisers [sic]," the BT spokesman said

You must have an exceptionally good ear for pronunciation. What exactly was it about the way the BT spokesman said "anonymisers" that alerted you to the fact that if he had written it down he would have spelled it incorrectly?

Or do you, perhaps, mean "wrote", rather than "said"?

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Analogue radio will CONTINUE in Blighty as Minister of Fun dodges D-Day death sentence

Kubla Cant
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Mushroom

“We think it would be great if the BBC made Radio 1 or Radio 2 DAB only!”, Paul Keenan, Bauer CEO told the Go Digital festival

It may come as a surprise to you, Mr Keenan, but BBC radio stations are run as a service to the listeners, most of whom are the people who pay for the service. They aren't there to provide leverage for your failed marketing effort.

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Excise Xmas prezzie indecision MISERY with El Reg’s gift guide²

Kubla Cant
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Am I the only one...

... who read the title "Excise Xmas prezzie indecision misery" and expected a story about somebody's gift stuck in Customs because they couldn't decide what it was?

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How Britain could have invented the iPhone: And how the Quangocracy cocked it up

Kubla Cant
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Games

games like ... interactive carpeting

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but I have to say that "interactive carpeting" sounds like the dullest game ever. I assume that it's a computer simulation of the thrill-packed life of a carpet fitter.

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Hey Linux newbie: If you've never had a taste, try perfect Petra ... mmm, smells like Mint 16

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

PPA?

Authors who care about comprehension usually qualify abbreviations the first time they use them. So what's a PPA? OK, this is a technical site where explanation may be considered otiose. But I'm enough of a technician to earn a good living at it, I'm also a regular Linux Mint user, and I haven't a clue what a PPA is. Perhaps I haven't been paying attention.

Google is your friend, of course. But would it have cost anything to indicate which of the 2,520,000 PPA results is meant? Is it Professional Publishers Association, Prescription Pricing Division, Performance Preparation Academy, Personal Package Archive, Power purchase agreement, The Play Providers Association, PPA Awards, The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, or one of the other 2,519,992?

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Heart part more art than state-of-the-art: Shine wearable activity sensor

Kubla Cant
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Nothing new

Most of the functionality seems to duplicate an application that I installed on my phone (about three years ago, so there are probably better versions available). Obviously that doesn't do swimming, but it does use GPS and records altitude change.

Also, the cost was a fraction of the price of this gadget, and I can wear a proper watch instead of a nasty plastic thing.

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Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE

Kubla Cant
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Re: @ Kubla: Where have you been? USB has always had a square connector!

I was aware that there had always been a square connector. What I didn't appreciate was that the small connectors on portable kit are also Type B. Having never seen any other devices with full-size Type B, I assumed that it was a connector specific to printers.

I know better now. Thanks.

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Kubla Cant
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my laptop has a plethora of USB2/3 connections on it

Does anyone know why there has to be a special USB connector for printers? I can understand the motivation for min and micro USB variants, but what's the driving force behind "just like USB, only square"?

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When the lights went out: My 'leccy-induced, bog floor crawling HORROR

Kubla Cant
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Re: wood chip

Why shouldn't trees be felled for power generation? We're not talking immemorial elms and Amazon rainforests, but trees that are grown as a crop. It makes as much sense to deplore the use of potatoes for food.

On my drive to work I pass fields full of trees that are clearly being grown as biomass. I don't know what species they are, but they're spindly and close-packed. As far as I know they're harvested long before they grow into big trees. It's the modern equivalent to coppicing.

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IT MELTDOWN ruins Cyber Monday for RBS, Natwest customers

Kubla Cant
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Joke

Thank goodness Alex Salmond has is going to rid us of the Royal Bank of Scotland after Scottish independence.

What? He doesn't want it?

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Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

Re: Again?

I bet the RBS shareholders are seriously worried about the security of their investment. Oh, hang on....

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El Reg Contraption Confessional No.1: The Dragon 32 micro

Kubla Cant
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PDP-11

I have a PDP-11/05 (circa 1975)

How big is it? I worked on a slightly younger PDP-11/23 and it was the size of a wardrobe, with massive lead weights in the bottom (which we only discovered after carrying it upstairs). I also briefly worked on a PDP-8. That was the size of two sideboards.

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DON'T PANIC: No FM Death Date next month, minister confirms

Kubla Cant
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50% of what?

There will be no switchover until the majority of listening is digital

with the number of adults with access to a DAB digital radio up 10%

It sounds suspiciously like there's an assumption that when the number of adults with access to a DAB radio exceeds 50% that will mean that the former condition has been met. This is emphatically not the case.

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Amazon fires up worldwide Read Replicas for hosted MySQL

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

"...shifted between geophysical regions..."

Would I be correct in supposing that "geophysical regions" are the same as geographical regions, except they sound more impressive? Or are Amazon running databases in parts of the lithosphere and mantle?

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PC market: ABANDON HOPE all ye who enter here

Kubla Cant
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Inevitable

There's a long list of once-invincible companies that are now history. The technology industry is especially unforgiving. Think of Kodak and Polaroid. To some extent it even happened to IBM; they managed to survive, but they have nothing like the reach that IBM had in the third quarter of the last century.

So the same fate probably awaits Microsoft, Intel, Apple, perhaps even Google.

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'MacGyver' geezer makes 'SHOTGUN, GRENADE' from airport shop tat

Kubla Cant
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Re: why this obsession with aeroplanes?

Why do terrorists try to blow up aeroplanes? Like other criminals they seem to be more driven by vague emotional motivations than cold logic. Why do crack-heads steal car radios? In a world where the only people without one are those who've just had one stolen, I don't suppose they fetch a lot of money.

Maybe it's because the airliner is a symbol to them of western technology. Maybe it's because people already fear flying despite the fact that it's one of the safest ways to travel.

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Richard Stallman decides Emacs should go WYSIWYG

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

WYSIWYG != WYGIWYE

I'm very much not an emacs expert, but in my experience the problem is not the absence of WYSIWYG.

What You Get may well be What You See, but it's not necessarily What You Expected. For someone of my modest skills, emacs is a sort of WYGIWYG (What You Get Is What You're Given) editor.

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The latest stupid yoof craze: Taking selfies - while DRIVING

Kubla Cant
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Re: Almost

@Rob

AFAIK the law prohibits use of a mobile phone. There's no way to tell from the picture whether it was taken with a mobile phone (illegal), or whether it was a full-plate camera complete with a tripod (presumably not explicitly forbidden).

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What’s new in SQL 2014?

Kubla Cant
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Re: SQL 2014

"I didn't realise SQL was shorthand for SQL Server ;)"

It's actually shorthand for badge-engineered Sybase.

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