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* Posts by Kubla Cant

1164 posts • joined 28 Jun 2010

London Underground cleaners to refuse fingerprint clock-on

Kubla Cant
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Re: Its kind of pointless really

The doors in the office where I work are controlled by fingerprint readers (Samsung IIRC). The false negative rate, at least on my fingers, seems to be about 75%. Some days I've obviously put on the wrong hands when I got dressed, because it won't recognise me at all. Fortunately there's a card backup.

Some colleagues never seem to have problems. I suspect that the care with which the original data is captured and verified is critical.

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OK, so we paid a bill late, but did BT have to do this?

Kubla Cant
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Re: Not just broadband

That's interesting.

I too have a btinternet.com email account, though I no longer use BT as my ISP. Every week I receive emails that say something like "Important changes to your BT email account". I always delete them unread because they look like phishing messages - the login links appear to point to domains that have nothing to do with BT (or, indeed, the UK).

I've always wondered why the btinternet.com spam filter can't catch messages that spoof BT. Now I'm wondering if they were genuine messages in which BT was too stupid to use recognisable domains.

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iPhone 5S: Apple, you're BORING us to DEATH (And you too, Samsung)

Kubla Cant
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Re: From the X Labs

@DougS Why the hell should anyone care about battery life longer than a day?

Why the hell should anybody have to remember to charge their phone every day?

More seriously, poor battery life can be a real inconvenience. I just got back from a trip to Italy where we used a phone for navigating. Even a fairly new phone ran out of power after about an hour, and the USB socket in the car didn't deliver enough current to recharge it while it's navigating. (I should add that an old Nokia Symbian phone had no such problems a few years ago, and the maps were better.)

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Lip-wobbling boffins: Eating Chinese food is like kissing a vibrator

Kubla Cant
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Re: Really??

A better understanding of the mechanisms of pain may help the development of ways to alleviate chronic pain and develop analgesics.

The fact that you missed this fairly obvious point may be due to your having been hit in the face with a cricket ball.

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Borland's heir Embarcadero says one dev tool can rule them all

Kubla Cant
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@petboy

How many £18k "developers" does it take to write a "Hello World" application?

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Boris Johnson floats idea of 'London visa' to attract tech talent

Kubla Cant
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Re: Silicon Roundabout Bollocks

@phil dude so long as it's not 8th week in Trinity

I was at Trinity, and I don't recall getting stupider in 8th week. Drunker, maybe.

You're not from Balliol are you?

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Torvalds suggests poison and sabotage for ARM SoC designers

Kubla Cant
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Brake lines?

puncture the brake-lines on their car

As most things on a car are now controlled by software, I'd have expected a less hardware-based revenge from Linus.

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First rigid airship since the Hindenburg cleared for outdoor flight trials

Kubla Cant
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Re: it will probably be an expensive boutique operation.

Nobody points out that cruise ships must fail due to the slow nature of the journey, because the point isn't the speed, but the journey itself.

Cruise ships seem to contain a vast amount of stuff* to keep the passengers amused between stops. This is easier for ships because they're very, very big. It also suggests that the journey itself is less alluring than you might think.

*Water slides, gourmet meals, lectures, adultery... you can probably tell I've never actually been on a cruise.

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BBC releases MYSTERY RIDDLE poster for Doctor Who anniversary episode

Kubla Cant
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Stairs and manhole covers

Following the disappointing revelation that daleks actually can climb stairs, the new strategy is to trick them into falling down manholes.

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Do not adjust your eyes: This Kobo ten-incher has a 2560 x 1600 resolution

Kubla Cant
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Re: 2560 x 1600 - About Time.

I could be wrong, but I believe font hinting, unlike ClearType, is not about compensating for low resolution. Its purpose is to describe the way in which the components of a character scale differently. The differential scaling affected Gutenberg too, though it probably took a few centuries before the rules were formalised.

As for the resolution achieved in the 15th Century, it was limited by granular phenomena just as much as today's pixel displays. The paper used was rough, the ink was grainy, and type matrices were not very accurate.

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iPad classes for DOGS offered in New York

Kubla Cant
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Result?

So what does she train the dogs to do with the iPad? Even her witless customers presumably expect to see some result for their $50.

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Star Wars revival secret: This isn't the celluloid you're looking for

Kubla Cant
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Re: Lens Flare...

Surely the viewer is supposed to "forget" that there is a camera filming and be immersed in the film?

Yes, but to achieve that the director has to use the grammar of film. If the whole thing was shot with a single static camera the audience would soon lose interest.

The point of lens flare is not to replicate a live experience, but to signify one. Not "this is like real life", but "this is like other cinematic experiences that meant something". The same is true of cut-away, zoom, panning, tracking and all the other elements of film grammar. They're only bad when they're intrusive.

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Meet the world's one-of-a-kind ENORMO barge-bowling bridge of Falkirk

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Snowden journo's partner wins partial injunction on seized data

Kubla Cant
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I'm pretty sure it's just you.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: There's more going on here...

...an Airport Transit area. It's important to remember that he wasn't, technically, stood in the United Kingdom

IANAL, but I think the idea of extra-territorial zones is a myth. Some areas, such as embassies, are subject to diplomatic protection, but they are still part of the UK. There's a bit of US territory at Runnymede, and a bedroom in Claridges was declared to be Yugoslav soil during the war. But there's no reason why a transit area should have any special privileges beyond the fact that people can go there without passing Customs or Immigration. It's more like a bonded warehouse than an embassy.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Irony strangely uncommented upon

@Dan Paul

There have been several other articles and discussions relating to Mr Miranda's detention and the episode in the Guardian cellars during the past few days. If you look at those you'll find that the significance of his name has been repeatedly pointed out.

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Kubla Cant
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Windows

Re: But whose data is it?

NOFORN has a quaint hillbilly ring to it: "We don't want no fornahs readin' this heah"

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Total cost of that axed NHS IT FIASCO to taxpayers: £10.1bn

Kubla Cant
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Re: How many lives

In 2012 the NHS budget was set at £104 billion so £12 billion is over 10% of the budget.

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Oh noes! New 'CRISIS DISASTER' at Fukushima! Oh wait, it's nothing. Again

Kubla Cant
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Re: "that's called Democracy"

@Pascal Monett

What we have today is not a "parody of democracy", it's representative democracy, the worst possible system except for all the others.

The pure, direct democracy practised in the Greek city states of antiquity was impractical in the populous Western European societies that re-introduced democracy. With modern information technologies it might be possible to revive direct democracy, but that wouldn't necessarily be a good idea. The voters of Athens may have been in a position to know everything about the subject of a vote, but that didn't necessarily mean they took the trouble to do so. Don't forget that "demagogue" is a Greek word.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: At the risk of...

@AC 19:37 Because when things go wrong, they can go wrong in a BIG way

This is exactly the mental process behind fear of flying. Air travel is much, much safer than road travel, but the rare accidents are much more noticeable. People think (wrongly) that they can escape from a road accident, but that they're powerless in the face of an air crash or nuclear incident.

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'Symbolic' Grauniad drive-smash was not just a storage fail

Kubla Cant
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Joke

Re: And why aren't the Government using the law for these things?

Some of the data leaked is stuff the UK gave to the US

So, now we know they can't be trusted to keep it secret, I expect we'll stop giving it to them.

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FoundationDB ACID-lovers price up NoSQL database

Kubla Cant
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limits deployment to clusters of up to 6 processes per month

A FoundationDB process is a single worker process you run on a computer

OK, I think I grasp what a process is. But what's a "process per month"? It sounds like floating-point ops per foot. or GHz per millibar.

Or does this in fact mean that every month you can deploy to 6 cores? So at the end of the year you have 72?

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MYSTERY of Guardian mobos and graphics cards which 'held Snowden files'

Kubla Cant
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Boffin

Re: Huge flaw in article

"You're assuming the people from GCHQ are in some way competent."

Let's not be too condescending. Remember that these people are from the organisation that pretty much invented the computer*.

I think JonP has it about right.

* GCHQ was previously called GCCS, and was based at Bletchley Park.

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Snowden journalist's partner gave Brit spooks passwords to seized files

Kubla Cant
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Black Helicopters

Coat trailing?

I would love to believe that the whole Miranda affair was a successful coat-trailing exercise. There seems to be no particular reason why he should carry Snowden-related documents on his laptop, especially if flying via London. It's probably not an accident that the Guardian acceded to the disk-destruction demands of GCHQ on the same day.

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Guardian lets UK spooks trash 'Snowden files' PCs to make them feel better

Kubla Cant
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Tantrum

The only word that adequately describes the recent pointless behaviour of the security services. They're incapable of doing anything effective, so they start detaining people and smashing kit to show how tough they are.

It's especially disturbing that stuff leaked from an American agency by an American national is safer in New York than London.

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Blighty street has hottest Wi-Fi hotspot hottie in Europe: We reveal where

Kubla Cant
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Boffin

Re: What about any semblance of security...

used the free wifi to check her bank balance

You're confusing the security of the network transport (probably none) with security of the browser protocol (probably HTTPS) and security of the banking application (good, one would hope, but it seems to vary from bank to bank).

Anybody relying on the security of the network transport can expect break-ins, whether it's free WiFi or ADSL through a private phone line.

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Comet brand yanked from its grave: Tycoon vows to open EIGHTY new stores

Kubla Cant
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Re: To misquote Harrison Ford...

people are still wary of making large electrical purchases online.

I can only speak for myself, but white goods and larger brown goods are things I only purchase online. White goods, especially, all look much the same, and you can't evaluate their efficiency or reliability in a brick and mortar store. So my usual purchasing strategy is to decide on a brand and model using sites like Which, then search for the model number online. Having filtered out the obviously dodgy suppliers, I order from the cheapest. I don't have to waste my free time driving to retail parks and gawping at twenty similar appliances.

Customer service? I can't say I've been impressed by the service in Curry's, Dixon's, Comet et al. And if your washing machine breaks down, you don't take it back to the shop for repair.

Speedy delivery? Understandably, most stores don't hold stock of large white goods on site, so the delivery process is much the same as for an online purchase.

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'But we like 1 Direction!' Rock gods The Who fend off teen Twitter hate mob

Kubla Cant
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Re: Homage

I always thought that Baba O'Riley owed its ultimate debt to Steve Reich.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: Sad Gits

Of course I meant VESPA Zimmer Frames...

Take my advice, ride a Lambretta. You don't get the auto-correct problems.

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Bureaucrats foil Nestlé's bid to TRADEMARK KitKat's chocolatey digits

Kubla Cant
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Windows

Because

I only buy and eat these things because of their distinctive shape. I have to put up with the chocolate and biscuit in order to enjoy the fingers.

... off to the vending machine again.

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So fondleable Windows 8 didn't work out so well: Why not try it IN 3D?

Kubla Cant
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I assumed that this gadget would track the position of your fingers on or near the screen, thereby providing a rough and ready touch-screen. Instead, it seems to track fingers near the keyboard. How does is differentiate between pointing and typing?

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Java devs warned of pushbutton exploit for buggy Struts framework

Kubla Cant
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Re: Doh!

developers downloaded out-of-date versions of the most popular frameworks 33 per cent of the time

If your application is running in Framework version X, you don't need to keep downloading it. I would guess that most downloads of obsolete versions are intended to build developer environments when legacy applications have to be modified or maintained. In an ideal world the application platform would be upgraded at the same time - in the same ideal world we'd all have unlimited time and money.

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NASA: Earth II may be hiding in unexamined data from injured Kepler

Kubla Cant
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Three wheels

To judge from the picture it does look vaguely like a space-going Reliant Robin.

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Badges for Commentards

Kubla Cant
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Badge?

Quote: "your posts have been upvoted 2015 times and downvoted 279 times"

Am I mistaken in thinking a badge upgrade is overdue?

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Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid: Eco, economy and diesel power

Kubla Cant
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Re: 12 seconds!!!!

@Andyf

I don't want to start another of the all too frequent town-v-country spats, but the scenario in which you join a 60 mph road from a 90 degree side turning is a common feature of driving outside towns. It's normally a two-lane A road, with continuous traffic during the rush hour. If you don't want to sit at the junction for ten minutes, and prefer not to earn the undying enmity of other drivers, there's nothing for it but to floor the pedal and accelerate up to 60 with squealing tyres and occasional fishtailing.

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OWN GOAL! 100s of websites blocked after UK Premier League drops ball

Kubla Cant
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Facepalm

Clumsy analogy

Allowing a bunch of lawyers and footballers to mess with anything technical is like taking your watch down to the zoo to see if the chimps can repair it for you.

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Data protection bods Bocada list dog on senior management team

Kubla Cant
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Tommy developed his socialization skills at doggie day-camp...

I am fond of dogs, but, as they say in Private Eye, "Pass the sick-bag, Alice."

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Possessed baby monitor shouts obscenities at Texas tot

Kubla Cant
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Holmes

Probably not hacked

Opinions seem to be sharply divided on whether this man's home network was adequately secured.

I suppose there are Europeans with the skills to hack into it and take over the baby alarm, though why they would bother is a mystery. But the article also says He heard a male voice coming from inside his daughter's bedroom, calling out her name. This implies that alleged hacker gained access to a computer, where he was able to find out the baby's name, then hacked the baby alarm. Possible, but vanishingly improbable.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: British or European

@Captain Scarlet : Villains in American films seem to have had English RP accents since the invention of talkies. Maybe it's some kind of hangover from 1776. Does anyone know if American stage productions in the 19th century had English villains?

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Tech war latest: Today's leather tools 'invented by NEANDERTHALS'

Kubla Cant
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Picture of a Neanderthal

Scruffy red hair and beard,

Brow ridges,

Big nose,

Furry smock,

Bare legs,.

BUT...

Shiny black patent-leather shoes!

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Is NASA planning to send LAVA LAMPS to Jupiter?

Kubla Cant
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Re: Go Meccano

I was delighted to see that much of the Meccano used to build this centrifuge was green and notably old-looking. Unlike the modern Meccano as I've seen.

The thing that impresses me most is the lightweight frame of the base, which doesn't appear to be fixed down in any way. It must be superbly well-balanced. If I made a thing like this it would probably walk across the floor and smash the windows.

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Kubla Cant
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Windows

Lava lamp

When I first encountered these lamps, I'm sure they were called Astra (or possibly Astro) lamps, and the distinctive glass container appeared to come from a swanky brand of fruit squash (oxymoron alert!) whose name escapes me.

They seemed to disappear during the 70s, along with kaftans and joss-sticks. But then they reappeared with a new name. Is this evidence of the great wheel of existence? Or is my memory playing tricks - it was the 60s, after all.

Icon of hippie with a good-sized joint.

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Elon Musk unveils Hyperloop – the subsonic tube of tomorrow

Kubla Cant
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Re: 35 minute trip with no bathroom?

Most suburban transit systems (e.g. the London Underground) have journey times at least as long, and none have toilets.

Why would you want to take a bath while you're travelling, anyway?

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Kubla Cant
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Headmaster

Re: A pipeline?

@Mips "Fit for Shakespeare"

Well, yes. But it's a modified quotation of the motto of the US Postal Service, which is in turn a translation of Herodotus. So it's either more recent than Shakespeare, or much older.

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Mobe-slurping Wi-Fi SPY BINS banned from London's streets

Kubla Cant
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Re: Forget the privacy implications

phone switched off and in an RF protective case

Have you considered that it might be easier not to have a mobile phone at all?

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Tell me, professor, what is big data?

Kubla Cant
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In the days before world+dog got into relational databases, data had to be stored in files. When databases started to become popular there was a notorious vendor nostrum: "Just put everything into a database, and then you can get whatever information you need out".

To an extent, this was true. Extracting meaning from data stored in files was always difficult and resistant to ad-hoc queries. But the implication that a database is a sort of magician's bag, into which you dump masses of disorganised data and from which you pull meaning and truth, never was.

The advocates of big data seem to be resurrecting the magic bag.

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This weekend: Watch HOT STARS shower! Moon won't interfere

Kubla Cant
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Re: You can bet your sweet biddy

The thing you bet is actually a "bippy" (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in, c1967)

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Ofcom: Making a switch between ISPs will soon be much easier

Kubla Cant
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Unhappy

Copper?

the decision applies only to switching providers on BT's Openreach copper network

As I'm not a communications engineer, can somebody explain to me what is the relevance of the element that the conductors are made from? Why shouldn't people who are unfortunate enough to be connected via inferior aluminium wiring benefit from this change?

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ULTIMATE cuppa contenders prepare to go mug-to-mug

Kubla Cant
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Methodology

Your standard methodology will skew the results. I believe many aficionados of China tea prefer the second infusion. Also, it effectively eliminates some very fine teas that are better drunk without milk. For example:

Darjeeling

Lapsang Souchong

Gunpowder

By way of contrast, the worst tea I ever tasted was during a holiday job as a tram conductor in Blackpool. Every member of the crew brought an enamel brew can containing pre-mixed leaf tea and sugar. After adding boiling water they'd swing the can round a bit, then add condensed milk. The result was brick-red and so sweet that you could feel your teeth getting looser as you drank it.

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Kubla Cant
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Re: 12 Contenders - No, No only 11

@Richard the Head: if your inside information on Twinings tea is as reliable as your spelling of their name, then I think we can ignore it.

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