* Posts by Kubla Cant

1769 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

11 MILLION VW cars used Dieselgate cheatware – what the clutch, Volkswagen?

Kubla Cant
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Re: What were they thinking?

It often looks as if the motor manufacturers, having arrived late on the computer scene, decided that they didn't need to learn from the decades of experience accumulated within that industry. I suspect this may have led them to believe they could get away with anything if it was done in software.

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Michigan sues HP after 'botched' $49m upgrade leaves US state in 1960s mainframe hell

Kubla Cant
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I should have thought that Michigan's requirements are pretty much the same as the other 49 states, and have a lot in common with most big municipalities throughout the world. Hasn't this problem been solved already?

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It's alive! Farmer hides neglected, dust-clogged server between walls

Kubla Cant
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VT100

the green screen was just a screen, for a VT100 terminal

AFAIK, the VT100 only ever had a black-and-white screen. If the screen was green it was either a VT100-compatible or possibly a VT220.

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RFID wants to TRACK my TODGER, so I am going to CUT it OFF

Kubla Cant
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Re: @x 7 Pairing socks?

The grim truth is that most modern socks are everlasting. They start life as cotton or wool "rich", but after a few dozen sessions in the tumble drier you're left with thin but indestructible polyester socks.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Pairing socks?

Ever notice that socks disappear, but clothes hangers multiply?

Wire and plastic hangers multiply. Wooden clothes hangers seem to time-travel. One day you take a jacket out and find that the hanger seems to have originated from a tailor in pre-war Budapest (an era and location with which I have no known connection).

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Bookworms' Weston mecca: The Oxford institution with a Swindon secret

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Magna Carta ... a pain to read (it’s in Latin)

I used to have a Bodleian reader's ticket, sadly lost during the decades since I was an undergraduate. That was in Latin, too.

The description of the stack in Swindon and the protocol for delivering books to Oxford sounds delightfully like the operation of an old-fashioned disk drive This is especially true of the part where they're considering moving popular books to the nearer shelves. I wonder if they'll start running a near cache in Broad Street.

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SPOOKY new Pluto snaps will make the HAIR RISE on the back of your neck

Kubla Cant
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Re: Not to get too gushy...

While agreeing entirely with your sentiment, I have to say that you can probably clean a lot of moats for the cost of an interplanetary mission. Besides, we wouldn't want to be caught with our moats dirty when the aliens pay us a return visit.

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'To read this page, please turn off your ad blocker...'

Kubla Cant
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Why not ask for payment?

Early in my working life I had a job in publishing calculating cost-per-thousand for display ads using readership statistics*. To judge from a quick Google, this is still how advertising space is evaluated. That being the case, it should be simple enough to calculate the ad revenue per reader and offer to remove the ads on payment of this amount.

The payment for content model has always worked for books and learned journals. Both have successfully transferred it from print to digital media.

* I'm a reformed character now. You can tell how long ago it was from the fact that I had to use a slide rule.

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Jeremy Corbyn: My part in his glorious socialist triumph

Kubla Cant
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A rasping West Country accent

I'm reasonably sure Pam Ayres' accent is Oxfordshire. Viewed from Shoreditch, I suppose that's West Country.

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Human Rights Watch demands to know who's been snooping on it

Kubla Cant
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However the IPT has rejected the possibility of a class-action-type lawsuit and says that anyone concerned that they may have been spied on must submit their complaint individually.

So the IPT would be happy to receive, process and reply to an individual complaint from everybody? Seems like they're setting themselves up for a paper DDOS.

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Layabout, sun-blushed techies have pick of IT job market, says survey

Kubla Cant
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Re: I took the summer off

The ludicrous shopping list of requirements is nothing new. I suspect it's partly due to the fact that recruiters are understandably ignorant of the scope of the skills they're listing. I keep seeing jobs advertised as "Server-side developer - must know HTML and CSS" or "Web UI specialist, HTML, Javascript, Oracle, SQL, Hadoop, Coherence, Perl, BASH...".

Then there's the mythical skills. I explain that I've used Java for 15 years, and I've developed software in just about every part of an application, but I still hear "Yes, but do you know Core Java?"

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Jeep Cherokee 2.2: Capable, comfortable ... but just not very Jeep

Kubla Cant
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Re: Limited on US vehicles

"Limited" or "LTD" seems to have originated with trains, though I've never been able to work out what it was meant to signify. I suppose it's a bit like calling a European car "Express" or "Inter City".

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Kubla Cant
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Re: BEEEEEEEP

So what alarm does it raise when you turn off the pavement onto the logging road?

As this is an urban SUV, I think you mean "what alarm does it raise when you turn off the road and mount the kerb to drop off schoolchildren or unload shopping?"

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BACS Bank Holiday BALLS UP borks 275,000 payments

Kubla Cant
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Re: THAT MOMENT

Everyone should send HSBC a letter informing them that they are in arrears and that they will be charged £25 for the letter.

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What time is it Oxford Dictionaries? How about almost ‘beer o’clock’

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

I've always regarded the use of "awesome" to mean "really quite good" as indicative of a two-digit IQ. Now along comes the twee neologism "awesomesauce" as a marker for single-digit IQs.

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Legal eagles accuse Labour of data law breach over party purge

Kubla Cant
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Nice to see you back Mr Gerry

1. Milibore declares that the electorate for the Labour leadership will in future include anyone who signs up as a supporter.

2. People sign up as supporters.

3. Harperson decides she doesn't like some of the people who've signed up so she disenfranchises them.

It seems all supporters are equal, but some supporters are more equal than others. In what way is this not gerrymandering?

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French woman gets €800 a month for electromagnetic-field 'disability'

Kubla Cant
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Re: KU the pedants

I don't want to seem ignorant, but what does KU stand for?

Google suggests: Kansas University; London's award winning gay bar; KU Software; KU Bookstore, the source for Kansas Jayhawks; or Ku band, a band of microwave radio frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum. The last looks the most relevant, but I can't see what the role of the pedants is.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Poor choice of words?

Thinking about it, it all depends whether the €800 a month is supposed to fund treatments that will enable the sufferer to live a normal lifestyle, or whether it's a subsidy for her off-grid lifestyle in the Pyrenees. In the first case, it's a provision of treatment; in the second, it's participating in a neurotic fantasy.

There's a tricky ethical issue here. Supposing that subsidising the off-grid lifestyle is cheaper than treating the neurosis, and given that it's the course of action the patient would prefer, is it acceptable to withhold treatment from somebody who is ill?

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Poor choice of words?

Something being intangible or irrational really isn't grounds to deny study or treatment.

But it might be grounds to deny a handout of €800 a month.

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Perhaps the AIpocalypse ISN'T imminent – if Google Translate is anything to go by, that is

Kubla Cant
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Natural Language Processing is a hard problem and translating from one to another gives compound difficulty

I have read that the basis of Google Translate isn't the traditional Natural Language Processing algorithms that get confused by arrows and bananas. They realised that despite decades of work parsing algorithms that translate by extracting meaning are still inadequate. So it basically translates by searching for existing translations of words and phrases. I assume that there must be a lot of algorithmic processing to assign appropriate weight to selected translations, too.

The compound difficulty aspect is interesting. Because of the way it works, Google Translate can translate between language pairs where there is no history of human translation.

There's a non-techical article here.

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Net neutrality: How to spot an arts graduate in a tech debate

Kubla Cant
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It's easy enough to spot when Stephen Fry offers a ridiculous explanation of a technical subject on QI (as he did here and here and here - just two examples amog many).

That's what's wrong with arts graduates like Stephen Fry, they don't know that 1 + 1 + 1 = 2.

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BT commences trials of copper-to-the-home G.fast broadband tech

Kubla Cant
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Stalking horse

In the days before everyone and his dog was signed up for ADSL by BT, geeks had the idea of sharing their network connections via meshed wireless.... Whatever happened to them?

In the days when BT was telling us that we would never, ever get ADSL in our village because it was technically impossible, there was a company dedicated to delivering rural broadband via wireless. I signed up and volunteered to have an aerial mast installed on top of my house.

No sooner had the wireless company started installation, than BT suddenly discovered ADSL was possible after all. So the company went bust and I had to pay somebody to remove the aerial.

Interestingly, when BT began to install FTTC around the country, we started to see posters and leaflets from a non-BT company promising super-fast fibre to villages in the area. I registered an interest, but I could never find out any more about the company. Shortly after, BT decided to run fibre to all the villages. I can't help wondering if somebody invented the "fibre company" as a stalking horse to get BT moving.

You might try something of the kind in Docklands/Greenwich.

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The good burghers of Palo Alto are entirely insane

Kubla Cant
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Re: Stanford

It used to be said that you can walk from Oxford to Cambridge on land owned by St John's College, Oxford.

Dateline Cambridge Science Park - owned by Trinity College.

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'Unexpected item in baggage area' assigned to rubbish area

Kubla Cant
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Re: They're all idiots...

Why do they need to summon a human to "verify your bags"? All the till needs to do is check incremental weight. It should be the same with my bags (typical hessian bags-for-life) as it is with the supermarket's polythene bags. It's not as if I'm asking it to accommodate my desire to pack my groceries on top of a hundredweight sack of coal that I happen to have with me.

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NASA dismisses asteroid apocalypse threat

Kubla Cant
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Re: Eating a peach

Does he wear white flannel trousers etc.?

They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”

Thin? More like non-existent.

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Rock reboot and the Welsh windy wonder: Centre for Alternative Technology

Kubla Cant
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Re: Lessons in ecology optional...

Koi carp don't sound very alternative. My sympathies are with the otter.

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Kubla Cant
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WTF?

Chris Boardman covered 49.411 km in an hour, with an estimated power output of 400 W. So to power your 50 kW mega-PC you'll need to pedal like 125 Boardmans.

If your PC is dissipating heat equivalent to 16 radiators at 3kW each it must be toasty warm in your office.

Does El Reg put things like this in to make sure we're all paying attention?

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Could our fear of fracking be appeased with CO2 sequestration?

Kubla Cant
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Fizz

using CO2 would prevent fracking chemicals from contaminating drinking water supplies

So we end up with carbonated drinking water instead? OK for cold drinks, but I don't fancy fizzy soup.

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Using complicated electrical devices to curry favour with brats – the new black?

Kubla Cant
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Re: FTFY

Do not study psychology. You'll be reduced to eating out of bins

I suspect you don't really know anything about psychology. As taught at a good university, it's probably equal to any of the other life sciences in terms of numeracy and intellectual rigour.

My degree was 50% psychology and 50% philosophy (another subject not generally regarded as a meal ticket). I don't want to appear boastful, but I've had no cause to complain during the ensuing 45 years.

The trick is not to make the mistake of thinking that the things you learn up to the age of 20 need determine your future. In a few vocational subjects, they do, but most of the stuff studied up to first degree level, in science subjects as well as arts, qualifies you for nothing.

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Intel's Compute Sticks stick it to Windows To Go, Chromecast

Kubla Cant
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Re: pricing?

Technically true, but actually trying to get the warranty honoured without going to court over it would probably be a big time sink.

That seems unlikely unless you purchase from a dodgy source. Most online traders realise that reputational damage is worth more than the cost of replacement goods - especially as they probably have an agreement to return faulty items to the manufacturer.

Also, any warranty, would only cover hardware faults (try getting your computer replaced because of Windows bugs!), so it should be immaterial what O/S you install.

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EE Harrier Mini grounded by errant Wi-Fi calling upgrade

Kubla Cant
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"we are speaking to those customers directly to resolve any issues"

Not easy, when the main issue is that those customers' phones don't work.

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A magic bracelet that unlocks PCs, dancing robot spiders, and more in Intel's circus

Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: All I want is a secure computing platform

Surely this can not be beyond the whit of man ?

whit : a very small part or amount

wit : natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence

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Amazon UK conditions 'exhausting', claims union

Kubla Cant
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US corporate nomenclature

When I've worked at American companies, I've always found it amusing that hordes of middle-ranking executives are called Vice President. I know that in US politics the Veep is notoriously powerless, but at least there's only one of him.

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Veedub flub hubbub stubs car-jack hack flap

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

Security by obscurity

Did nobody explain to the dotards in the UK High Court of Justice that by granting VW an injunction they were enforcing security by obscurity, and that it never works?

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Feeling a physical present: Ten summer games and gadgets

Kubla Cant
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FAIL

Re: How much?

Apologies to Lucy. I should have checked the by-line.

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Kubla Cant
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How much?

I've only so far read about the first three suggestions: a card game for $50, and a couple of sad-looking board games for £75 and £80. The author describes himself as a lecturer. Evidently salaries are booming in the educational sector.

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IT jargon is absolutely REAMED with sexual double-entendres

Kubla Cant
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"pegging order" is probably an eggcorn.

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Labour Party website DDoS'd by ruly democratic mob

Kubla Cant
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Actually, it's not true that left-wing socialism leads to economic ruin. The Tube drivers are all members of a left-wing union, and they're pretty well-off. If we all joined the RMT then poverty would be eliminated at a stroke.

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Typewriters suck. Yet we're infinitely richer for those irritating machines

Kubla Cant
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Re: <pendantry>

Touché. But I think you mean dangly.

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

<pendantry>

O Roneo, Roneo, wherefore art thou, Roneo?

Brilliant, and duly upvoted.

But the final comma is an error. Juliet wasn't asking "Where are you, Romeo?", but "Why are you [called] Romeo?". Most people seem to see the first syllable of "wherefore", and ignore the rest of the word.

</pendantry>

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FAIL: Windows 10 bulk patch produces INFINITE CRASH LOOP

Kubla Cant
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Re: good for you

@Aimee And there lies the problem, multiple hardware platforms.

That is why most of the commercial systems, Apple and even DEC, due to the hardware and software coming from the same vendor, install with less hassle.

Yeah. The mainly problem-free installation and patch regime of Linux distros is because they restrict themselves to a single hardware vendor, too.

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Brassiere belays boob-bound bullet, begetting bruised breastbone

Kubla Cant
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Teutonic tits

I can't rid my mind of the image of some hefty Brunhilde riding her bike in horned helmet and armoured bra.

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Jail incompetent council folk who leak our data, thunders furious BBW

Kubla Cant
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Re: Its surely cheaper to hang'em?

There's no political motive - Shirley?

I agree. There is a strong whiff of silly-season grandstanding about this report.

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GDS denim brigade flees GOV.UK after Web2.0rhea MESSIAH Bracken departs

Kubla Cant
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Gigital digital digital digital

Government Digital Service Digital Group

For the government, nothing can be too digital. I keep seeing ads for "Digital Developers"*. If I could get a job like that in the Government Digital Service Digital Group, I could be a Government Digital Service Digital Group Digital Developer.

* As opposed, presumably, to those who code with their toes, or other appendages.

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Introducing the Asus VivoMini UN42 – a pint-sized PC, literally

Kubla Cant
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Re: Footprint

What is?! I'm on a 256 GB SSD and after 2 years only 50GB is actually being used up by data... and yet I'm down to 10GB of free space!

The enduring mystery of disappearing Windows resources! When your workstation's grinding to a halt and you eventually manage to fire up Task Manager to investigate, it tells you that CPU, I/O and memory are all hunky-dory - you're just imagining it.

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Stop forcing benefits down my throat and give me hard cash, dammit

Kubla Cant
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Re: While this looks fine at first sight

what seems to be happening in the contract market is that companies are increasingly employing contractors at rates not significantly different from employee rates

I have seen no evidence of this. Contract rates are, of course, more volatile than permanent salaries, and there are always a few comedians hoping to hire a senior contractor with a comprehensive portfolio of skills for school-leaver rates. But in 30 years of contracting I've hardly ever seen a permanent job that pays what a comparable contract job does.

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Germans in ‘brains off, just follow orders' hospital data centre gaff

Kubla Cant
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Re: Brain required

I used to commute between King's Cross and Huntingdon. The route is served by clapped-out trains that must be at least 30 years old. Air is delivered through eyeball vents above the seats, but there are notices telling you to open the windows for more ventilation.

One sweltering evening I had to share a compartment with a moron who insisted that all the windows remain closed "so the air conditioning will work". The air blasting through the vents was obviously about the same temperature as that outside, but he knew better. By the time he alighted the temperature in the compartment must have been well above the 30C.

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All hail Ikabai-Sital! Destroyer of worlds and mender of toilets

Kubla Cant
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Re: something to stop it crumbling

Moisture resistant chipboard has a green tinge

... and is thus easy to confuse with mouldy non-moisture-resistant chipboard.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: To return to IT.

The purpose of a "warranty" is usually to attempt to limit the rights of the consumer. The implied warranty when you buy something is at least 12 months*, but I understand there is case law that says it should be three years for things like electronic goods.

For a supplier to refuse to repair something under the terms of the implied warranty, they would have to prove that the purchaser had caused the fault, not just that he'd removed a sticker.

Since the IBM PC architecture is designed to be extensible, anything that limits your ability to extend it, such as a sticker, effectively renders it unfit for purpose.

* In the UK. May be different in less civilised jurisdictions.

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Sengled lightbulb speakers: The best worst stereo on Earth

Kubla Cant
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Re: inside out

Everywhere has a light socket, the light socket supplies power. So building devices into lightbulbs is a good idea.

I don't know about your house, but in mine nearly all the rooms that have light sockets also have power points.

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