* Posts by A K Stiles

254 posts • joined 16 Jul 2010

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Fear and Brexit in Tech City: Digital 'elite' are having a nervous breakdown

A K Stiles
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Facepalm

unfortunately, you appear to not be aware of the most recent news...

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Bacon is not my vodka friend

A K Stiles
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Joke

what if you're a Bison?

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A K Stiles
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Pint

I have to agree - nobody want's their chilli-spirits to taste of sambuca!

(icon, 'cos chilli beer is often quite nice)

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DARPA's 'flying wing' drone inches closer to lift-off

A K Stiles
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Re: Ryan Vertijet

Is that another of Michael O'Leary's crazy ideas to cram more people on his 'planes?

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Patriotic Brits rush into streets to celebrate… National Cream Tea Day

A K Stiles
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Re: Tea first? Heathens!

and for me - Pot, pre-warmed and left to brew for 3+ minutes, preferably loose leaf by the teaspoon per person. Milk first so it doesn't denature with heat - you know roughly how much you put in normally! Scone, rhymes with 'gone', then jam then clotted cream.

In fact, due to my heritage tendancies, a slice of butter between jam and cream for extra tasty goodness - and be glad I didn't try to batter and deep-fry that bad boy too!

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A K Stiles
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Coffee/keyboard

Tea first? Heathens!

http://www.academiaobscura.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/RSC-tea-guidelines.pdf

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Microsoft cancels Remain speech after death of Labour MP

A K Stiles
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Re: State of disappointment?

Sheesh! - I double-checked, and I did put the joke icon on it.

Being serious for a moment though, I've looked at as much analysis as I could find and at who is actually pushing which side of the campaign and what their personal motives might be, and once you cut through as much of the crap from both sides as you can identify it seems pretty clear to me where the right answer lies.

All I ask of anyone voting on Thursday is that you try to get to the truth amongst the hyperbole and make an informed decision, don't just vote with the grumbling sensation in your skull and belly from too much beer with last night's dinner.

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A K Stiles
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Joke

State of disappointment?

Is that what we're calling the nation next Friday while Boris, Nige and Rupert are quaffing their celebratory Bolly?

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Lester Haines: RIP

A K Stiles
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Bugger.

Thoughts and sympathies to his family.

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Boffins shake up smartphone with motion-sensor as microphone

A K Stiles
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Resonant

Interesting idea, however useful it ultimately ends up being. The main part of their research actually seems to be about regenerating the 'missing' frequencies from the vibration-motor-as-microphone signal rather than the hardware hacking to enable it's use. I notice that their sample voice is quite deep so probably plays to the strengths of the experiment. I wonder how effective it is for a less resonant, higher pitched voice?

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NASA 'naut to boldly enter pump-up space podule

A K Stiles
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Re: slow puncture

okay, so assuming it was just BEAM rather than the whole station, 16m3 is about 20Kg of air at 1 bar. Annoying and disappointing but not critical. Thanks for doing the harder thinking!

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A K Stiles
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slow puncture

I haven't seen (too lazy for in-depth research) what the risk or mitigation is to the whole ISS if the module suffers a puncture which vents all its internal air - how drastically could it alter the station's orbit / attitude / damage structure by pushing or twisting in an unexpected direction?

Mostly idle curiosity rather than doom-mongering and I'm sure they bright boys and girls at the various agencies involved have assessed the possibilities, just haven't seen any info about it.

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BOFH: What's your point, caller?

A K Stiles
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Joke

Gaffa tape

They should make sure to order some more Gaffa ( Duct / Duck / pick your own flavo(u)r ) tape. That would solve the problem really quickly, or they could use it to hold the broken battery cover in place...

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Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

A K Stiles
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3rd Party Connections

I realise that they build these things with Apps and 3rd party servers for ease of installation and configuration (and not at all because they want to be able to analyse all the metrics they collect...) but unless I can configure the thing so it never talks outside my router unless it is only talking directly with an authorised (by me) device, AND I can actually see a benefit to having the thing, it isn't getting into my home, no how, no way.

I realise the android phone is already telling google way more about me than I am happy with, but that doesn't mean I need to expand that to every 2-bit IoT peddler that comes along.

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ISS pump-up space podule fully engorged

A K Stiles
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Excellent work

Congratulations to everyone involved in this, and the SpaceX launch & land at the weekend!

Hope the experiment goes well enough to prove the technology is dependable and could be used to increase our space-in-space more economically than launching giant tin-cans.

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EU wants open science publication by 2020

A K Stiles
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Institutional and subject repositories

Many (most?) UK / EU universities also have some form of institutional repository in which the researchers should (for a varying level of mandate) put copies of their work for it to then be freely available to all - generally the version deposited is requested to be the last one the author tweaked - i.e. Author writes paper, submits paper to journal. Journal farms out peer-review to other academics in the discipline, author takes feedback from peer-review and tweaks paper so that journal will accept it - THIS VERSION should go in repository - journal fiddles with the font / layout / adds headers, page numbers etc...

The journals charge mightily for the finished version, or charge the author (or their institution / research funder) mightily to be open access in the finished version. They also tend to implement various embargoes for the author's last version as part of the agreement to publish the shiny version in the journal, and the institutions can't afford to be sued for copyright breach by the publishers, unlike e.g. sci-hub, who essentially have no money anyway... There's a debate as to the value of the publisher step, but whilst academic career progression is contingent upon being published in 'excellent' journals, most academics won't stop trying to publish in those (blooming expensive) journals. Without the excellent research to publish, the journals won't stay 'excellent' for very long, but who wants to risk their career in the meantime? They call it academic freedom to publish in the journal of choice, but it seems more like publisher freedom to charge what they want.

If research funders insisted that outputs of their funded research had to be publicly available from peer-review day zero, no embargoes, no gross author fees to be paid, the quality of the expensive, locked-down journals would vanish quite rapidly. Researchers bringing in the research funding will be in demand from the institutions, so career progression would be based on your ability to do good research, rather than just about getting your research published in Nature.

It just needs somebody to make the first brave move to break the current stalemate...

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Airbus to build plane that's even uglier than the A380

A K Stiles
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380 v 777

I had the fortune to spend some time last year travelling between the UK and AUS via Dubai with Emirates.

Some of the legs were on A380s and some were on 777s - far and away happier with the Airbus than the Boeing - Even the cabin crew seemed happier on the airbus, although that's only from my observation, not a first hand account.

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What's holding up Canada's internet?

A K Stiles
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Joke

Perhaps both conductors on one cable are earthed whilst the other cable has both connected to many volts - the shortest path for each to earth is the opposite wire?

As for blue / purple - maybe your monitor calibration is out or it just seems a purple colour in contrast to the blue background?

Why someone would wire both conductors in a cable to earth or high voltage is another question entirely!

<bloody pedants!>

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UK.gov pays four fellows £35k to do nothing for three months

A K Stiles
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Big Brother

So much this

One of my (many) biggest bug-bears. Spend your budget before year end or don't get the budget next year...

At Uni, I was involved with a sports club in charge of looking after the equipment. The annual budget wasn't massive and all expenditure had to go through 3 subsequent layers of administrative approval to get signed off.

towards the end of the year we needed a new piece of reasonably expensive kit - more than we had remaining budget for and such that it would wipe our next year's budget flat. I asked the admin to whom I usually had to pass the invoices for payment if we could carry our remaining budget through or get an advance out of next year's budget so we could buy this item, but neither option was permitted and if we didn't use our remaining budget, next year's would be reduced accordingly...

It ended up with the supplier invoicing me for '0.5 x big item' plus other bits of consumable in the last month of the budget period, and '0.5 x big item' in the first month of the next period, when it was actually delivered. Needless to say 'big item' was not a divisable thing, but at least someone was willing and able to manipulate the system as necessary to get things done. Plus, their financial year ran across a different period to ours so they didn't have to explain how or why they sold 50% of it!

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Ireland's international tech sector bumps up against language barrier

A K Stiles
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re: it strikes me...

erm... you appear to have forgotten the coat or joke icons?

I totally agree that it would greatly help if we could standardise on a common language but nobody is going to agree to only teach and use English as a functional language across Europe. Attitudes are too entrenched to ever accept that.

Perhaps however, we should agree across Europe on a specific, formal European language that everyone is taught at school as a second language, perhaps something with less grammatical peculiarities than any of the existing langauges, (and no diacritics / fine pronunciation issues etc.)

How about High Valerian?

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Switch survives three hours of beer spray, fails after twelve

A K Stiles
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Re: So when he says “football” he means soccer

Just what I came to say. "Football", or even "Association Football", rather than "American Football" or "Aussie Rules All-In Brawling".

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Stross' new Laundry list

A K Stiles
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Re: This should be fun

How about London? Not all of it, just a small bit of Westminster, near the river...

Notice - yes, distress...

<So how many watch lists are we all on now? Despite the fact that it is clearly a joke!>

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NASA spools up ultra-high def aurora movie

A K Stiles
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Pretty, but...

I gave up after about 2 minutes, without the musak. I thought some of the shots were fabulous but the 10 second scenes with jump cuts were doing my head in.

It just about gave you time to find an interesting feature you wanted to watch and then jumped to another view altogether.

So frustrating! Or is it just me?

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Logging on to United's frequent flyer site might take longer than a flight

A K Stiles
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Re: it's worse than I thought

HA ha! So my account is secure as I've always loved sprouts!

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ISS to host space truck rally

A K Stiles
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Pint

fingers crossed

Hopefully this time they've 'read the instructions' for the landing.

Anticipatory beer for this evening (GMT)!

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PayPal freezes 400-job expansion in North Carolina over bonkers religious freedom law

A K Stiles
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Re: Is Transgendered the new [Ms.] Black?

But then we'd all end up sounding like Gollum from the Lord of The Rings! (What does it think of its postses?)

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A K Stiles
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Re: Is Transgendered the new [Ms.] Black?

Thanks - couldn't remember the specifics (countries or words) off the top of my head at the time.

So, this being English, we'll drop the umlaut, (who needs a clue as to how something is pronounced?) and use han, rhymes with can, van, ban, tan, ran and LAN.

For his/hers we'll just use 'hans' rather than the original 'en' ending. Just pondering the him/her option and debating between 'hanet' or keeping it simpler and reusing 'han'...

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A K Stiles
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Re: Genuine question

In the spirit of non-reactionary discussion...

I think the same safeguard that existed a forthnight ago - societal mores and trained staff who are well aware of whether any of those 'jocks' had displayed any sense of gender discrepancy up to that point in time (preference for female clothing, etc.) and, if it's truely a newly emerging factor for one or more of them, the option to utilise a separate facility away from either birth-gender group, who are more likely to make the trans-individual uncomfortable than the other way round.

What are you aiming to safeguard against? Is it sexualisation of some attendant individuals by one or more others present?

Would it be more of an issue for you to have a trans-gender individual share facilities with their identified gender or for a homosexual person to share the facilities with others of the same birth-gender?

How about the post-surgery trans-female who, according to this law now has to share the showers with all the hairy-arsed jocks, despite the fact that they now have defined breasts and lack a scrotum and penis?

Perhaps the end-solution is unisex facilities with individual, lockable toilet stalls and shower cubicles rather than the mass open-plan options we've all faced at school and elsewhere. It might help prevent some of the endless bullying that seems to have gone on in schools for time immemorial.

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A K Stiles
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Re: Is Transgendered the new [Ms.] Black?

The Izzard article just sounds like a bit of lazy or stupid journalism where they couldn't be bothered to find the word 'transvestite'.

As I go through life, I can't help but think more and more that the correct term for someone who wears outfits not traditionally aimed at their (birth/genetic/identified) gender is 'person', and what they choose to wear are 'clothes'.

Thanks be to all for covering up the somewhat distracting bits in the day to day public context - male or female, attractive or otherwise, general office nudity would break my concentration every time a co-worker wobbled past my desk, at least for the first couple of weeks, though I expect it wouldn't take too long to become an accepted 'norm'. <Deity> knows what temperature we'd need the office heating set to if that were the case, but at least people wouldn't borrow each other's chairs!

It would also be great if we could introduce a non-gendered nominative term for the English language to replace him/her/his/hers, similar apparently to (some of?) the Scandinavians - heck this is the English language, we should go with history and just steal one of theirs!

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A K Stiles
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Re: Freedom

As I understand it (from a right-pondian perspective, so the specifics may vary geographically) Every business is entitled to say "yes I'll serve you" or "sorry, not today" to anyone they please. It's only when they add on the "because you like smoked bacon, and we only serve people that like unsmoked bacon"* that they start to get into legal difficulties.

*may not actually be about bacon prejudice...

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BOFH: Sure, I could make your cheapo printer perform miracles

A K Stiles
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Joke

Re: 30 printers

Have you tried changing the colour settings on your monitor(s) until they match the test sheet you printed?

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Inflatable space podule set for orbital trial

A K Stiles
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Joke

LOHAN

Have a quick word Lester, maybe they'll let you staple LOHAN to the outside of the thing?

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JAXA confirms ASTRO-H breakup

A K Stiles
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Re: The solution is obvious...

"It was all going so well, and then it exploded..."

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Call the Cable Guy: Wireless just won't cut it

A K Stiles
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Joke

Cat 5 nine-tails?

Oh wow - does it work as a clue-stick?

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IT freely, a true tale: One night a project saved my life

A K Stiles
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@AC Re: Priorities and empowerment

Desperately resisting the urge to "pick aprt an spelling or grammar mistake" in your post now.

Hope the job shift works out for you.

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A K Stiles
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Priorities and empowerment

Can't agree more strongly how vital it is that the workload is prioritised and then the people handling the work are trusted to get on with it without being micromanaged.

Every time a new task appears I have a conversation along the lines of "Here's what is on my worklist, I'm currently doing the thing at the top. Where does this new task fit in to the list?" That way the only thing they can complain about is how inaccurate the estimate is for how long the vaguely specified task will / did take.

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Polite, helpful? Stop it at once in the name of security

A K Stiles
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Re: Holding the door open

Yup - used to work in an office like that - smallish, revolving door on a swipe access that would only rotate 180&deg; to allow 1 person through at a time, in or out. If you tried tailgating you'd get caught in the closed off section when the rotation locked again. Always entertaining (?) when some joker would spin the door from the other side when you swiped it, causing you to have to swipe again, and then also explain to the local security audit why you had swiped in twice in rapid succession, without swiping out again. Also entertaining after a fire alarm where you'd have ~100 people trying to re-enter the building simultaneously (They did, sometimes, have the fire-exit door open with a security guard checking id badges, just to speed up the process).

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ExoMars mission thunders aloft from Baikonur

A K Stiles
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Boffin

Run of the mill?

I managed to catch the ESA feed this morning. It was crazy that it started to feel almost run of the mill after the recent activities of ISS crew changes and resupply missions, Rosetta, New Horizons, etc and all the SpaceX almost reusable rocketry.

How incredible is it that, by late October, some part of that rocket assembly I watched launching is going to land on another planet using what seems almost a Wil-E-Coyote assemblage of heat-shields, parachutes and rocket thrusters?

More, so much more of this please, (along with lots of other good science a bit nearer to home).

Icon, not for this post but for all the stuff winging its way to our rocky red neighbour.

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UK plans robo-car tests on motorways in 2017

A K Stiles
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Joke

Re: British driverless cars

Hold up there - they seemed to get into communication far too quickly... Surely they both need to stop and attempt to determine the other's intent via body language alone for at least 5 minutes before resorting to actual communication!

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You say I mustn’t write down my password? Let me make a note of that

A K Stiles
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Re: Passwords and disaster recovery.

I did consider the fail-safe cron job / standing order to send relevant passwords / money to the right people in the event of my demise. i.e. need to reschedule the job each month to stop it sending the password file to the appropriate recipient.

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A K Stiles
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Re: Three words...

Problem with that is our place enforces bitlocker on usb storage, itself then requiring a password to unlock...

I'd use the joke icon, except it's anything but!

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Boffins give amputee the finger – a bionic touch-sensitive fingertip

A K Stiles
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Happy

Just wondering

I was just pondering the other day about some tech I remember seeing on the tellybox some 25? years ago.

They were discussing a prosthetic arm which used microphones embedded in the fingers to determine if something they were holding was slipping and tighten the grip slightly - sort of a reverse ABS system but using acoustics.

Now we're talking about wiring sensors back into the nervous system. Incredible really!

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Beep, beep – it's our 2016 buzzword detector. We see you, 'complexity'

A K Stiles
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Joke

Meeting Twitch Syndrome

I swear some of my colleagues think I've had a stroke or some kind of fit in some meetings. Mine is not so much an inner Fist Clench Seismograph®TM as an exterior dentist-enriching, teeth-grinding, eye-twitching, drink snorting that has a scale which runs from Plain English to f-right off.It's rather a binary scale.

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A K Stiles
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Joke

What?

24 Hours have gone by and nobody has tried to 'touch base' yet? Maybe it's been decided somewhere that touching someone's base is not appropriate workplace behaviour?

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BBC telly tax drops onto telly-free households. Cough up, iPlayer fans

A K Stiles
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Paris Hilton

Forward planning?

Would it have been an issue if they had made you log in with e.g. your licence reference and your postcode from the very beginning, rather than making it a free-for-all and then trying to take the toys away?

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10 Gbps fibre-to-the-home signed off, ITU eyes 100 Gbps future

A K Stiles
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Joke

Nice!

So when are BT / VM rolling this out in the UK?

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ISS 'nauts wrap 'historic' 340-day mission

A K Stiles
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Facepalm

Really?

"Backing away at about 1/10th of a metre per second, which will continue until they are about 50 feet away from the ISS"

Couldn't have gone with 4 inches/s, or 15m away?

What is that in Linguine anyway?

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My devil-possessed smartphone tried to emasculate me

A K Stiles
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Re: Reminds me of the Orange nk502/Nokia 8110

Ah, I can't deny that The Matrix inspired me to replace my 1997 Nokia 2110 with a 7110. Oh those customisable ringtones (by SMS). I think it's still stashed in a drawer somewhere... (as is the 2110).

Have managed to avoid the nut-stabbing/crushing since replacing the 7110 with an i-mate Jam (with separate bluetooth GPS receiver for TomTom), then an HTC touch when the Jam broke, then an HTC Desire for the smarts, then the current trusty Note 3 for the useful memory size (the last ensuring my shirts all came with pockets!).

I think my favourite of all of them is probably the Touch - smart enough without running my life!

6 phones in 20 years? Okay, now I feel old(er).

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Standing desks have no effect on productivity, boffins find

A K Stiles
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Megaphone

Re: I fecking HATE open plan

So much this. We recently moved from a space with about 15 people in it to one with 70 people in it because "it will help improve cross-team working", and apparently our density (head count to space) was lower than average across the organisation.

What it means is that I now sit in an office space surrounded by people whose roles appear to require them to talk, on the phone, to each other, random other people, constantly, all day. My concentration gets broken repeatedly and out come the headphones and some AC/DC to drown them out, which is also not desperately conducive to clear thinking.

The annoying thing is that they'd moved the sources of noise out of the 15 person space about a month before they decided we could all jam in together - just enough time for the quiet thinkers amongst us to breathe a sigh of relief before having our hopes and dreams of a bit of peace crushed...

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Drone-busting eagles to darken Blighty's skies?

A K Stiles
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How about Deploying Brian Blessed?

"...Hawkmen, DIIIIVE!!"

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