* Posts by A K Stiles

313 posts • joined 16 Jul 2010

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Sysadmin figures out dating agency worker lied in his profile

A K Stiles
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Reality can be as sad as fiction.

back in the days of my childhood the computer would frquently request that I 'PRESS A KEY' and for the first couple of years I would diligently press the 'A' key. It worked every time though, unlike a system much later on which would request that I press any key - which apparently didn't include the top left key marked 'ESC' ...

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A K Stiles
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Bless....

Was asked the other day, as part of a Display Screen Equipment assessment, whether the keys on my keyboard were all legibly marked. My immediate response was 'yes', followed by actually looking and realising some of the home row, a shift key and the arrow keys are somewhat worn. It was suggested that I should get the keyboard swapped for a nice new one with clear markings on it (which won't be a 'nice' keyboard like my current one). I persuaded them it wasn't necessary for now, but I may need to break out the letraset transfers to preserve my otherwise perfectly functional keyboard from the office 'elfensaftee patrol...

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Plastic fiver: 28 years' work, saves acres of cotton... may have killed less than ONE cow*

A K Stiles
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Pandora's box?

Now that there's huge outrage about the animal content of plastic fivers, are we going to see a rash of 'news' stories about stuff that people have been using for years suddenly being discovered to also contain animal by-products?

How do vegans / principle-based veggies feel about clothing made from wool, or stuff like hand-cream which contains lanolin?

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UK.gov was warned of smart meter debacle by Cabinet Office in 2012

A K Stiles
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Consumer benefits?

I still haven't seen the compelling argument for how smart meters will benefit the consumer.

"You'll be able to see your meter readings online" - if I'm bothered about seeing my meter readings it isn't exactly a chore to open the cabinet and read the numbers.

"You can monitor your electricity use more easily" - well, as we don't tend to leave the oven and a bunch of fan heaters running 24/7 just in case we need them, seeing pretty graphs of energy consumption isn't going to suddenly enable me to use less.

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ESA: Sorry about Schiaparelli, can we have another €400 mill?

A K Stiles
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Re: syntactical question (@Francis Boyle)

That would explain it - as others have said above, I only ever hear of the agency being referred to as "EEE-SAH" so it sounds a little odd when I read the articles to hear (in my head) "the EEE-SAH" just as it would be odd to hear "the NAH-SAH", but if the author is hearing "the EEE-ESS-AY" when they write it that makes more sense.

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A K Stiles
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syntactical question

I've noticed in recent months that space articles on El Reg refer to 'the ESA' but not 'the NASA'.

Is it a Reg editorial decision, a request from the agency itself or just a random quirk of journalistic style?

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You want SaaS? Don't bother, darling, your kind can't afford it

A K Stiles
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Pint

Gym subscription model

Surely you charge an initial £200 set up fee and then £70 per month for a minimum 24 months, for the basic software package and then if you want to do anything fancy (like run a report or send a mailing) you need to upgrade your subscription to £100 a month, oh and your minimum contract term just renewed to 24 months from now...

(icon is the only weight lifting I try to do repeatedly)

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Hackers electrocute selves in quest to turn secure doors inside out

A K Stiles
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Re: Push The Button To Exit

Used to work in a building like that - rotating doors with single person sized vestibules that would turn just enough to allow one person through after a successful swipe from either side (it turned in opposite directions depending which side was swiped), and a general kicking if you didn't have matching ins and outs on the daily audit. If you tried to tailgate someone, you'd get stuck in the enclosed vestibule area, and it wasn't possible to transit the other side of the door - don't remember quite how it worked but we did consider it in detail at the time.

Right next to the rotating door was a large hinged door (glass) that was always locked, except when the fire alarm went off, when it would automatically release so everyone could just flood out quickly. took over 15 minutes to get everyone back in to the building through the rotating door once the alarm was over.

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British banks chuck smartphone apps out of Windows

A K Stiles
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Re: Well even though my bank has an app

which was why it was 'improves' within quotes - claims to be better but isn't necessarily so.

certainly a bit more convenient though and probably good enough for me (and 90+% of the population) with how I use it, until somebody actually steals money from the attached account - then I'll probably have a rethink...

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A K Stiles
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Re: Well even though my bank has an app

Not sure I entirely count for your requested group as I'm an old(ish) git and I only use one banking app, occasionally, to make intermittent payments to a pre-arranged recipient for occasional classes. It 'improves' on the website by allowing me to make the payment using only memorable data and not having to use the little card calculator doodad. Being able to pay once you are sure the class is happening is helpful. It doesn't let me set up new recipients etc. though.

All other bank accounts stuff (for this and several other banks) happens through web pages from a proper machine.

I've never seen the point of apps that are just wrappers to website pages - I have an app for that - it's called a browser.

I love that it used to be considered a sign of potential criminal behaviour to operate multiple bank accounts but they've been pushing for the last howevermany years to get people to chop and change banks for the new customer bonuses and then make it a pain in the proverbial to actually close the old accounts.

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Hurrah! Urinals will soon be splash-free

A K Stiles
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Re: rubbery things?

but why have they given them flavours?!?

"Purple Cherry, Green Apple or Orange Tropical"

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A K Stiles
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Coat

rubbery things?

Didn't someone figure this out a while ago? Which is why those perforated rubbery mats have been proliferating for years in the world's urinals?

Still not going to do anything for the folks who fail to aim properly though...

(icon is someone fitting one of those mats?)

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'Pavement power' - The bad idea that never seems to die

A K Stiles
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Meh

Re: I don't know

but the point, as was made in the article, is that the energy from footfall isn't there to be harvested in the first place, no matter how efficient your system, whilst the solar energy is already there and the panels are (apparently) becoming more efficient at converting the incident energy to usable electricity.

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IFTTT isss notttt afraiddd offf Microsofttt Flowww

A K Stiles
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Facepalm

Office 97 Era

Ha! a previous life (About 7 years ago) had me supporting legacy Foxpro databases and a lotus-123 macro based spreadsheet, created, for attendance recording, by some (non-IT, beancounter) body who had left years previously, and the department *HAD* to track their staff time to the minute and it *HAD* to be done using this 'system' which now had nobody to support it. No, it can't be replaced with something else 'cos "the staff won't know how to use it"...

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What went wrong at Tesco Bank?

A K Stiles
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Re: Santander must also not be hashing passwords

My Santander online access is a userid (can be customised) and password, which then presents you with a screen giving you a piece of information you have previously supplied to them so you can be more sure they're not a fraud site (unless it's doing some passthrough stuff) and then asks for a full 5 digit pin number.

I presume (faint hope) the banks that ask for individual character combinations from passwords / keywords have a slightly restricted list of combinations which are hashed? If my password is 10 characters long, then there are 120 different ways to choose 3 characters - it doesn't seem unrealistic to think they might have that many hashes stored for me...

Clinging to hope here!

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Musk: Got best battery ever

A K Stiles
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Joke

Lyrical is such a strange name; why can't he just call it Willy, Peter, or Johnson like everyone else?

or even "Little Elon"... although the thought of waxing it brings a tear to the eye and a whole new meaning to pulling one off!

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Any questions? No, not you again at the back, please God no

A K Stiles
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Joke

Re: Incontinent Flyer

So that would be an "all-too-frequent" flyer then?

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Accessories to crime: Facial recog defeated by wacky paper glasses

A K Stiles
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Windows

Hmmm

I'm about to make a trip from the UK to Germany and back but I've grown something that nearly passes for a beard since I last went through an airport... I've been wondering how the automated bio-metric immigration machine will cope or if it will punt me off to deal with a real person? For that matter I also sometimes wear glasses (don't remember if they ask you to take them off for those machines?)

icon is a picture of me with a beard... never going to get that beer can through airport security though!

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What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

A K Stiles
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Pint

Re: Let's be different

We were there a couple of years back when the Canadian Lanc was over on tour. We'd gone out for the day and were at the Dogdyke steam ~& diesel pumping station nearby when there was that very familiar sound in the distance - got some great photos as they came overhead, circled round for a couple of minutes and then came in to land - incredible.

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A K Stiles
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The thing about the Hawks is that they are *relatively* cheap aircraft so it does seem that the T2 would be a sensible replacement.

The Typhoons would be more expensive, unless they roll out some of those spare ones (doesn't make them cheaper but at least they're already paid for...)

How effective do they reckon the reds are as a recruiting tool? Is it worth the cost of running them at all?

(Don't get me wrong, I think they're very impressive and have enjoyed watching them on several occasions)

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Mobile beats desktop traffic

A K Stiles
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Coat

Desktop / tablet ?

So what counts as a desktop versus a tablet?

Are they analysing user agents for web requests, or something to do with screen resolutions?

Does a 12" tablet count as a tablet but a 12" eeepc (remember them?) as a desktop?

Lies, damn lies, statistics and report headlines!

(mine's the one with the latest election polling figures in the pocket... no, for our parish council referendum - Don't be silly, we don't have a president!)

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More movie and TV binge-streaming sites join UK banned list

A K Stiles
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Joke

Thank goodness for that!

I mean, it's not like there's any easy way to register a new domain name or anything, is it?!

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Samsung are amateurs – NASA shows how you really do a battery fire

A K Stiles
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Coat

Re: Wow. Make this a feature...

What 'ave you done now?

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Phishing fraudsters pose as UK bank social media types

A K Stiles
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Pint

Re: Father Ted?

Thank you! - I was waiting for that reference to appear.

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A K Stiles
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Joke

but his name was "Lloyd Bank"

and his avatar was a picture of a lovely horse!

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It's ALIVE: Juno back online after reboot

A K Stiles
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Re: Figures sound wrong

Is it fuel, or is it thrust mass? i.e. cold gas thrusters rather than combustion fuel rockets - chuck 3.6 kg of stuff in *that* direction, change velocity in *this* direction?

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Password1? You're so random. By which we mean not random at all - UK.gov

A K Stiles
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Flame

Re: Okay... let me be the first to post this :

... and let's see if you get assailed by the critical masses as I did for posting the same link in an article a couple of years ago!

The main issue I face with the CorrectHorseBatteryStaple approach is that most of the things I have passwords for insist on mixing upper and lower case letters with numbers and possibly symbols, but maybe not, and minimum and maximum lengths... so never mind reusing a password across different sites, I can't even reuse my password construction rules across sites!

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Spoiler alert: We'll bet boffins still haven't spotted aliens

A K Stiles
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Joke

Re: why are they all pointing their lasers at us?

It's because we're really noisy, emitting lots of electromagnetic cruft and they're all trying to whisper-shout at us to keep the noise down before we wake up the Vogons!

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A bigger splash: The mathematics of spilling beer

A K Stiles
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Coat

New line of investigation

But they've only been researching how liquid will run out of a vessel when it is on its side, not how easy it is to tip one over when full?

Next seven years spent determining the ease with which a full pint can be knocked out of

1/. tall, thin glass

2/. conical glass

3/. bulging glass

4/. stein

5/. tankard

6/. dimpled pint jug

7/. stemmed, fluted, 'call that a pint?!?' glass

(mine's the one with the dimpled pint in the pocket)

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Hackers pop top 'secure' wireless keyboard and mouse kits, gain RCE

A K Stiles
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Joke

Wait, what?

You mean this wireless keyboard and mouse attempt to use some sort of encryption / security? I'd just assumed they were plain text from the start!

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This speech recognition code is 'just as good' as a pro transcriber

A K Stiles
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Joke

Re: This speech recognition code is 'just as good' as a pro transcriber

Ach, Awa' an' bile yer heid, ye lummock!

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Radio glitch as Schiaparelli lander probe splits from ExoMars mothership

A K Stiles
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Alien

Re: Juno having problems too.

"I hope Wednesday goes well."

My too. I've had an entry in my calendar since the launch in March. Stuff like this brings a little bit of joy into my otherwise politically depressed existence!

<alien because hopefully there will be some extraterrestrial explaining>

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BOFH: The Idiot-ware Project and the Meaningless Acronym

A K Stiles
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Coat

I generally prefer hand tools,

but sometimes the speed and efficacy of a nail gun is what's required!

Calcium Chloride you say...

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Invasion of the virus-addled lightbulbs (and other banana stories)

A K Stiles
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Terminator

Third time (un)lucky?

That's the third time this week that I've seen reference to that bloody toaster from Red Dwarf! Admittedly one was my own comment on another story and the second was someone else's comment on yet another story... I think the toasters are coming for us!

(or maybe, just maybe, there are enough technoprats inhabiting these reaches that we all have common memories/nightmares about that bloody toaster?)

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My Nest smoke alarm was great … right up to the point it went nuts

A K Stiles
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Mushroom

Re: Fire?

possibly version 1.5 of this?

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A K Stiles
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Joke

re: Canary

"Arrrgghh - look at the canary! We're being poisoned by CO !!"

"Nah, look - it's just resting!"

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'My REPLACEMENT Samsung Galaxy Note 7 blew up on plane'

A K Stiles
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Coat

Introducing a whole new generation...

...to the phrase "Halt and Catch Fire"

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OK Google, Alexa, why can't I choose my own safe, er, wake word?

A K Stiles
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Mushroom

Hi, I'm Talky Toaster!

Would you like some toast? Perhaps a teacake? How about a crumpet? Or maybe a delicious Muffin?

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Swansong for Rosetta as it lands on the duck-shaped comet

A K Stiles
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Pint

Re: "The final commands were uploaded on September 29 – and now there is no going back"

Except that it was reported before they even got to the comet that the mission was Rosetta, and Philae was an added extra - if it woke up it was a bonus, if it made contact with the comet, that was a bonus, if it stuck, a bonus, if it did any of the science another bonus.

Okay, so the harpoons didn't launch and the cold-gas thruster didn't work either. After 10 years in space and ending up in a non-optimal location and attitude they STILL managed to do a whole bunch of bonus science thanks to the stuff that DID work on the lander.

If that's a failure, then I look forward to them continuing to similarly fail so spectacularly on future probe missions!

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BOFH: There are no wrong answers, just wrong questions. Mmm, really wrong ones

A K Stiles
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Re: Employee Surveys

Ah - previous employer termed that one as 'special projects'

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We live in a world where a 'Hamdog' burger hybrid is patented

A K Stiles
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Re: Quick...

I didn't - all the ones I got in change during my trip last month were ratty bits of barely-legible paper that appeared to have been in regular use as a makeshift beer-mat for a leaky pint of Tennants!

<edit> quick check of t'webs suggests it was a pilot run last year by Clydesdale ahead of full release now, with RBS and BOS in November 2016 and 2015 respectively, which explains why they weren't more prevalant </edit>

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A K Stiles
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Coat

Re: Quick...

**GAAAHHH!!!** I'll hand in my grammar-police badge on my way out!

"...plastic stuff they're rolling out..."

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A K Stiles
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Joke

Re: Quick...

I dub thee Robert MacHelpMaBob and claim my Scottish Five pound note! (made of grease-absorbing paper, not this weird plastic stuff their rolling out in the south.)

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Rosetta probe's final death dive planned for just after last call next Friday night

A K Stiles
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Joke

Re: Exciting times

Good stuff - have you informed him of any dress code?

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Google buys startup biz, slurps up its NLP brains

A K Stiles
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Coat

Can it handle slang?

I'll be impressed when it can contextualise the sentence and understand whether or not I'm desperate to hear something by 60's soul legend Eartha Kitt or desperately requiring the nearest facilities!

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Tesla to stop killing drivers: Software update beamed to leccy cars

A K Stiles
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Re: Light bulb moment?

I think Laura MacCleery is the VP of blah blah for Consumer Reports, not for Tesla? Though the phrasing is fairly confusing!

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Apple gets judge to hit ctrl-alt-delete on $625m FaceTime patent troll

A K Stiles
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Re: dont know or care...

It would be good if there was some sort of 'implementation' requirement where the current owners of a patent have to demonstrate the mechanism of the patent working (and not just identical to, or even just, a thing they bought from the previous patent owner(s) ) before they are allowed to sue for the infringement.

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Samsung Note 7: Probably the best phone in the world. Yeah – you heard right

A K Stiles
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Got a Note 3 at launch...

and it's still my main phone now. Works well and does everything I need (not actually saying 'why did they bring out another phone when I don't need it' - just don't see the need to upgrade personally whilst this one still works).

Intrigued by the battery on the new one though - mine is 3200mAh (12.16 Wh @ 3.8V) and that was 3-4 years ago so either their battery tech isn't advancing as quickly as might be hoped or they've opted for a smaller battery to cram more (stuff?) into pretty much the same form factor.

Also, is that silvery back case actually metal, or just chromed plastic? That's the one thing that started to mark quite quickly on my Note 3, and the thinner parts around the edge buttons are starting to split.

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Milk IN the teapot: Innovation or abomination?

A K Stiles
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Boffin

Re: M.I.F

Um, no, it isn't. Half litre of tea at 95°C, add small dash of milk at 4°C temperature of the mixture is now 94.5°C. Repeat until all the milk is added and the mixture is now at about 75°C. (all depending on initial starting temps and relative volumes)

Or quantity of milk at 4°C, add a splash of tea at 95°C, temperature of mixture is now 5°C. repeat until all tea added, mixture is now at 80°C. In the second instance the hottest the milk ever gets is the 75°C. In the first instance some of it gets up to 95°C and denatures more and tastes 'funny' - like using UHT milk in your tea tastes 'funny' vs. the pasteurised stuff.

(Icon with a dash of irony, added at any stage of the reading you like!)

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A K Stiles
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Re: Unhappy memories

"Hmmm... they must have been Thai, because Chinese, Japanese, Singaporean, and Korean all drink their tea "black." "

Or, as I suspect the OP was talking about Birmingham, United Kingdom, it was probably 'Asian' meaning of Indian / Pakistani / Bangladeshi origins, or thereabouts.

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