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* Posts by Buzzword

510 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

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'Watson AI, cloud, mobile', says payments firm, trousering £49m

Buzzword
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Is Monetise in Jeopardy?

Why would you use a natural-language question-answering computer for a mobile payments business?

Coming next week: KPMG audits your accounts using fuzzy logic; and Cisco designs your network by copying a live spider's web patterns.

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Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION

Buzzword
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The first rule of software development...

... is to always have a more powerful computer than your end users. You need more RAM (to hold your IDE, your debugger, and your app itself); you need more power (to compile quickly); and you need more screen real estate (to see the app you're working on and your IDE around it / on a second screen).

Using a tablet as a thin client to a remote desktop or command-line terminal is only acceptable in emergencies, such as if you're on holiday and it's the only computer you have with you.

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Universal Credit CRISIS: Up to £200m in IT spend WASTED – NAO

Buzzword
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Re: The NAO might be waiting a fair old while...

Non-IT projects manage to set deadlines, and often stick to them.

Heathrow Terminal 5 opened on time and on budget; and that was a £4.3bn project. Why on earth can government not improve its own project management?

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Yes, UK. Johnny Foreigner has better mobe services than you

Buzzword
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Incoming calls matter too

One important metric they've missed is the percentage of incoming calls succeeding. My experience with O2 is that an awful lot of incoming calls don't connect. I get voicemail messages without my phone ever ringing, even when I'm sat at my desk and the phone has four bars of signal.

For anyone running a business from their mobile, missing a call from a client can be a deal-breaker. This is particularly the case for small businesses with many clients: mobile hairdressers, painters & decorators, etc.; but it's also very frustrating when you're job-hunting and expecting calls from potential offers.

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BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity

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It's cheap to try

Personally I'd like fewer fatties in my neighbourhood despite the cost: they take up two seats on the bus, they walk too slowly, and they offend my eyes. I'm sure you could put a figure on the pain I suffer, in QALYs, of having to see fat people.

At the same time, quite a few of McKinsey's 77 solutions are no-cost or negligible-cost. Perhaps it's worth trying the half-dozen cheapest solutions? And what can we learn from elsewhere? The Danes banned trans-fat: how is that working out for them?

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You'll go APE for our new Gorilla Glass 4, Corning reckons

Buzzword
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Pretty cool

Yes it's an advert, but it's pretty damn cool, and I learned a bit of science.

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All ABOARD! Furious Facebook bus drivers join Teamsters union

Buzzword
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Re: Does your job suck?

Tips? When did you last tip a bus driver? (Or tube driver, train driver, airplane pilot, whatever form of public transport you last used to get to work.)

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Bang! You're dead. Who gets your email, iTunes and Facebook?

Buzzword
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Recycling user names?

Maybe you're the original JSmith@yahoo.com or a J.Doe@gmail.com or your Twitter account is just @1. How long do the companies wait before recycling those names? Do their heirs get the right to sell them, like personalised number plates?

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ATTACK OF THE DRONES: ‘Nefarious’ private use rising, says top Blighty copper

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Fight fire with fire

The police need a new squadron, the Flying (Remotely) Squad. They'll have their own attack drones, maybe some trained hawks too, who can force a malevolent drone out of the sky. Just as the police get super-fast cars to chase down us ordinary folk, so too they need killer drones to defeat the menace of unauthorised civilian drone flights.

I, for one, welcome our encroaching police state.

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The last PC replacement cycle is about to start turning

Buzzword
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“When I’m in the office I’ll AirPlay it over to an Apple TV connected to a monitor. What’s the difference between that and a desktop?”

The difference is productivity. On a desktop with a mouse and a full numeric keypad I can fill out a spreadsheet with data from three different sources, draw a chart, copy it into a document, format it nicely, and email it to twenty recipients. All within five minutes.

On your iPhone, multi-tasking is barely feasible - every time you jump from your spreadsheet to your presentation app you'd find the latter'a process was killed because it ran out of memory. The Bluetooth ultra-light keyboard will be slower to type on than a more solid keyboard. There's no mouse so simple tasks like Copy+Paste take forever.

For content consumption (displaying your presentation) the iPhone is fine: but creating anything more than linear text, no edits, is a tedious chore.

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Me GIVE you $14 SQUILLION gadziddly-DILLION

Buzzword
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Re: Customer / Mark Selection Strategy

Thanks for the clarification!

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Buzzword
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Re: Customer / Mark Selection Strategy

Yep - the poor spelling and grammar help make the foreigner's sob story more believable. The spammers are just as likely to be in Russia or Vietnam.

Spam is the ultimate A/B testing, almost a genetic algorithm. You send out a million messages, half written in style A and half written in style B. See whether A or B gets the best response rate, then take the winner, tweak it into two variants, and repeat. Unsurprisingly they've all come up with similar results.

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7 questions we're dying to ask the internet's MOST EXCITING BLOKE

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Word docs

"2. Will you move the ITU toward the use of multi-platform-friendly documents rather than Microsoft Word docs?"

Which platform are you using that struggles to read a Word document? I can open them on Linux (Abiword, LibreOffice), on Mac OS (Pages, which is free in the App Store), on Android (too many apps to list), etc. It's just not an issue any more.

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That 'TECH-FREE' Nophone? It was already out years ago

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XKCD

Mandatory XKCD reference: http://xkcd.com/1363/

Seriously, what is it with everyone and their dog thinking they can make a better phone than Samsung/Apple, despite having (usually) no prior experience, no team of engineers, and nothing but wishful thinking?

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The ULTIMATE CRUELTY: Sandworm uses PowerPoint against Swiss bank customers

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Olé olé olé

"Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) object technology is used to share data between applications so that a chart from an Excel Spreadsheet can be included within a PowerPoint presentation, for example."

We're tech readers, not Daily Mail readers. Give us some credit.

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This time it's SO REAL: Overcoming the open-source orgasm myth with TODO

Buzzword
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Herding cats with long tails

"The Linux kernel has just over 3,000 committers"

But of those, there are probably 50 to 100 dedicated committees, and a long tail of thousands who only contribute the odd patch. Some other metric is needed.

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It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future

Buzzword
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Re: So why Starbucks?

Ok, so what about Caffe Nero? They aren't a franchise: every store is owned & operated by the company.

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Buzzword
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So why Starbucks?

So why on earth do we have global coffee chains? Making a cup of coffee is just as local a service as a haircut; yet our high streets are dominated by national or international chains. Where's the economy of scale in coffee production?

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Google puts Chrome credentials on USB drives for two-factor authentication

Buzzword
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Malware

This is no protection against a malware-infected computer though.

Banks (in the UK at least) have a better system. They issue a device which generates one-time tokens which you type into the computer. The twist is that when you make a payment to a new recipient, the last four digits of the challenge code must must match the last four digits of the recipient's bank account number. Thus your one-time-code is only valid for a specific transaction, not for any transaction; and crooks can't redirect the underlying website to send the money to their own accounts instead.

Since this doesn't protect against malware, and HTTPS already protects against man-in-the-middle attacks, what exactly is this supposed to defend against?

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FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for

Buzzword
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Same as iOS 8

iOS 8's Spotlight does the same thing, sending search queries to Bing. It also shares your geographical location (not sure if with Apple or with Bing). Both features can be disabled via the Settings, so it's not exactly secret.

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Doctor Who and the Dalek: 10-year-old tests BBC programming game

Buzzword
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John Connor

Your surname is Connor, your son is into tech and killing robots, and yet you didn't name him John?

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VMware's new VDI play is self-destructing virtual desktops

Buzzword
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Re: I guess it's neat that they "self destruct"

It's neat that they self-destruct, until your contract gets extended and the IT guys forget to extend the self-destruct date of your VM.

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PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 SHUNNED by refusenik fanbois

Buzzword
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6 GB free

Anecdotally, it's the requirement for 6 GB of free space that is putting most people off.

Don't tell them that they can connect their iPhone to a computer running iTunes and perform the upgrade without having to delete anything.

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How much is Microsoft earning from its Android taxes again?

Buzzword
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"What we think of today as the "flagship" Android niche may shrink to boutique-sized proportions, much like top-end hi-fi or A/V equipment became a low-volume high-margin business."

Yes, this. Mobile phone manufacturers can't differentiate on OS (it's Android or nothing, nobody except MSNokia are making WinPhones), nor can they differentiate on screens (AMOLED, 300ppi since the eye can't see the difference). There's little point adding a super-fast processor or tons of RAM since the OS and apps aren't built for it. Radio support (3G/4G/5G) depends on the network. And so on.

Today's high-end phones compete on fringe features such as speakers (HTC One), battery life (Sony), and camera quality (Nokia). Speakers haven't evolved in years: phones differ only in speaker placement. Cameras will reach a technical plateau soon. All that's left is price. Margins will shrink dramatically: in fact they already have for most manufacturers.

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£150m, three years... TWO base stations. Gov.uk? You guessed it

Buzzword
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Re: To improve the health of the nation ....

The government already is in sole charge of alcohol sales in some places, including much of Scandinavia and Canada. It's not nearly as bad as you'd expect.

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Doctor Zuck, I'm so poorly right now! Facebook examines healthcare biz: report

Buzzword
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There could be some good in this, if social networks accurately reflect real-world networks*. Researchers could track the progress of e.g. winter flu by observing status updates like "feelin poorly, ugh i h8 being sick, yay day off work/school!!"

In practice the mapping between social and real-world networks is poor (how many of your colleagues are friends on your TwitFace account?), so it's worse than useless.

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Vanished blog posts? Enterprise gaps? Welcome to Windows 10

Buzzword
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Docking

I find half-screen docks incredibly useful; in fact when I was forced to use Windows XP for a while (after having become accustomed to 7), the first thing I did was install a tool to enable left/right docking. I'm very much looking forward to corner docking becoming a standard feature too.

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One Windows? How does that work... and WTF is a Universal App?

Buzzword
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Backward compatibility to 7

To gain any traction, they urgently need to backport the Windows Runtime and App Store to run on Windows 7. If I'm developing software for companies, I can't possibly tell them "Here's your new app, by the way you need to upgrade your entire estate to Windows 8." Most of my clients have only just migrated from XP to 7; they're in no hurry to go through the same hell again.

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IRONY ALERT: Former MI6 chief warns of 'mass snooping' - by PAEDOS

Buzzword
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Please specify the nature of your menace

What exactly is the danger here? A paedophile somehow gets access to a kid's location data, identifies times & places where he/she is likely to be alone, and then pounces?

Kids are most often found walking alone to or from school, around 8am and 4pm. There, no hacking needed.

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SPECIAL iPHONE TROUSERS will ease Apple into the fashion world

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Handbags at dawn

The pockets featured in that video wouldn't fit an iPhone 5 either. Most women carry their phones in their handbags anyway.

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That PERSONAL DATA you give away for free to Facebook 'n' pals? It's worth at least £140

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Not all data is equal

Knowing somebody's income is much more valuable if that income is high than if it's low. Marketers pay more for a database of 100 high earners than 10,000 breadline earners.

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Windows 10: One for the suits, right Microsoft? Or so one THOUGHT

Buzzword
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Re: testing procedure.

Except none of those options work on a remote desktop. Rebooting a Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 machine remotely is an exercise in frustration.

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OpenVPN open to pre-auth Bash Shellshock bug – researcher

Buzzword
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No Logo?

The Shell Shocked bug needs to get itself a trendy logo like Heartbleed. Otherwise the media just aren't interested.

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Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld and some Apple bloke attend glitzy iPhone 6 Paris launch

Buzzword
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No ladder required

I'm sure he just used one of those horrifying selfie-sticks that are sold in all tat shops these days.

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Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’

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Sign me up!

So how does this work? Can I just move my company in and get free rent and free high-speed internet? Where do I apply?

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Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9

Buzzword
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I remember Windows 95

It's hard to believe today, but back in 1995 there were iPhone-esque queues outside computer shops on the night of the launch of Windows 95. That was the last time consumers were excited about Microsoft products (not counting the XBox).

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Cut-off North Sea island: Oh crap, ferry's been and gone. Need milk. SUMMON THE DRONE

Buzzword
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It's time to give serious consideration to installing city-wide pipes for goods delivery. Just as we have water pipes leading to every house, we could have an Amazon pipe - no more than two feet wide - delivering small packages. Robot vehicles would scuttle through the pipes carrying goods. Once arrived at their destination, they could drop their payload (or wait for the recipient), then drive back to base automatically. No danger of bird strikes, air traffic, or poor weather. The pipes would be fairly cheap to build since they're just dumb pipes: no fancy engineering needed. All the smarts are in the robots, which can be upgraded as technology advances. Since they are ground-based, they would be much more energy-efficient than flying drones.

I have no idea what this would cost, but it certainly seems worth exploring.

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AVOID the Apple Watch. Buy a drone or robot instead, techies told

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For Christmas I would ...

... rather have a drone than an eyeWatch. I suspect the same applies for many Reg readers.

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Emma Watson urges UN to back feminism – trolls threaten to leak her 'nude selfies'

Buzzword
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Re: But will it make a difference?

@TeaLeaf,

Thank you for addressing my concerns directly. I accept that her actions will indeed make a difference. Though for what it's worth, I suspect the nasty men will just ignore her precisely because she's a woman; the same message coming from a man might have a greater impact on its intended audience.

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Buzzword
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But will it make a difference?

It was a great speech, full of well-intentioned ideals, but what practical difference will it make? For example she asks men to sign a pledge that they'll be nice to girls. But let's face it, the kind of men who aren't going to be nice to girls simply aren't going to sign it.

It's analogous to the problem of reducing CO₂ emissions: one person acting alone will make virtually no difference to the global impact; and those who are emitting the most are the least likely to change their behaviour.

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Samsung abandons Chromebooks, laptops, PCs in Europe

Buzzword
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That's a shame, they made nice kit. Orlowski wrote a positive review of this one a couple of years ago: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/11/review_samsung_series9_np900x4c/

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THE DEATH OF ECONOMICS: Aircraft design vs flat-lining financial models

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Where's Worstall?

Dear Reg,

Can we get Tim Worstall's rebuttal to this? I imagine he'd have a rather different take on the matter!

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How's this for a biz expense? SAP pops $8.3 BEELLION on company card for Concur

Buzzword
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Re: Is this SAP's autonomy ?

It looks like SAP want Concur's clients. Get them hooked on basic expense software, then up-sell the rest of the suite. That's the only way this deal makes sense.

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Synology bakes word processor, groupware, into its NAS OS

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Re: Sponsored?

Your assumption was mostly correct. ASUSTOR is a subsidiary of ASUS, i.e. a separate company, not just a product line under ASUS. Whether that actually makes a difference on the ground is hard to know.

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Buzzword
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Re: Sponsored?

Thecus and Asustor also make popular NAS devices; the latter has only been around for three years yet already has a very impressive suite of products.

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First Irish boy band U2. Now Apple pushes ANOTHER thing into iPhones, iPods, iPads

Buzzword
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Re: OS vs apps: Paint

The first iPhone didn't even have 3G, only wifi. So having a data plan was irrelevant.

Once operators saw the uptake and the potential, they were falling over themselves to launch iPhone-specific plans. Also, Apple charged operators a few bob for use of the trademark "iPhone" in their plan names. For a while you could get the exact same plan at a cheaper price by choosing the variant without the fruity trademark in the name.

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'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator

Buzzword
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Encrypt

If the NSA are splicing the cables, just encrypt all traffic between nodes.

At any rate, it's much, much easier to attack sites on dry land than to splice an underwater cable, then run a parallel cable back to the mainland and into your secret data centre.

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Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills

Buzzword
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Re: Roaming charges are what they really mean...

Yes, nowhere else in the world has this problem, it's completely unique to the England-Scotland border.

Christ, try living somewhere like Basel, on the French/German/Swiss border. If their mobile networks can cope, I'm sure the Scots can too.

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Welcome your new digital.. commissioners? Likely pair could fill Steelie Neelie's shoes

Buzzword
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Re: Banks are digital these days, right?

Yes I could get a separate bank card, but by the same logic I could just use a local SIM when I go on my travels. That wasn't enough to convince Neelie.

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Buzzword
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Banks are digital these days, right?

What Neelie did for phone calls, is there any chance this pair could do for banks? I'm constantly peeved at paying a 2.75% foreign exchange fee just for the courtesy of using my bank card in a different country.

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