* Posts by A K Stiles

128 posts • joined 16 Jul 2010

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Wheeee! BT preps for FIVE HUNDRED MEGABIT broadband trial

A K Stiles
Coat

Existing customers...

Be nice if I could get anywhere close to the 100Mbps on my FTTP link (and yes I do mean premises - installed as part of a trial about 3 years back), or any kind of consistency of bitrate - speed tests tend to show in the 40-50Mbps range, but file downloads from varied sources tend to show ~ 15 Mbps, and frequently hang mid-download, and streaming video regularly goes into buffering. It's quite frustrating when the same thing pulls down faster / more smoothly over 3G or H+ connections. Frankly though, it's all still better than the maybe 1Mbps we had over ADSL before the fibre arrived.

Mine's the one with the list of 'first world problems' in the pocket!

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: 1.5 MILLION SCOVILLE masala omelette

A K Stiles
Mushroom

Not just willy-waving

This time last year my cousin came to visit, who likes his chilli at around the same level as I do.

We ordered a couple of takeaway curries - one vindaloo and one naga. After a bit of a taste test we decided to split them 50/50 - the vindaloo had a lovely sour fruity quality, whilst the naga was a rounded, earthy sort of flavour. Absolutely beautiful and aided by nothing more than a small beer during consumption.

Next morning I was convinced I'd not washed my hands properly due to the burning sensation when I peed, until the next time I went to pee and ensured there was no contact with the sensitive fleshy parts, and still the burning came - from the inside!!

This was later confirmed by my cousin as the first time either of us had experienced such a thing - strangely though, no Jonny Cash effect was apparent.

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Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

A K Stiles
Unhappy

My nomination for the list is...

Drop Dead Gorgeous

I took a few friends to see it on the basis of a review in a magazine.

I refunded their cinema tickets and bought them beer by way of an apology.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: Chickpea stew à la Bureau des Projets Spéciaux

A K Stiles
Coat

Re: Boil pancetta (note splelling)?

I'd feed all of them to the dogs - or the cats - (well actually I'd just not buy them in the first place) but then I've always been a bit strange like that - not even tempt-able by a bacon sandwich. More bizarrely, it isn't even for religious or moral reasons.

I know, I know - getting my coat already - but if you stop and think about it for a second - it just means there's more bacon for the rest of you!

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Oz father and son team plan suborbital spaceplane

A K Stiles
Windows

Re: Bundaberg

But it makes a lovely Dark and Stormy when you add a double shot of dark rum!

(I deny any resemblance to this icon !)

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Hang on a second – Time Lords have added one to 2015

A K Stiles
Pint

banking systems

When working on the banking systems a few years back, most of the dates were calculated on a Julian-esque fashion, so Christmas day 2015 will be 115359 (adding a digit at the beginning was the 'fix' for Y2K issues so year 115, day 359) whilst Christmas day 2016 will be 116360 due to the extra day earlier in the year.

It really started to get complicated when they were trying to calculate daily interest from an annual rate and someone decided that the way the contracts were written meant that we couldn't work it out on 365 but had to work out if the period in consideration was in a leap year...

Still, all good fun, and usually best sorted with the aid of liquid refreshment!

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Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

A K Stiles
Holmes

Horses for courses

Agile methods work for some situations, particularly where the client / end users don't know or can't describe what it is they actually want up front (e.g. customer service agent portal) - so you get the basic gist, build the prototype, then have a round of, "well, could this bit be red, can we show this here, I need to see this when I'm doing this", and then go and tweak it and have another round of 'testing'. been there, done that, it worked well to give the end user the system they needed in the sorts of timescales available.

When building stuff for aircraft with millions of pounds and lives at stake, everything spec'd up front 'It will do this', 'it will not do this', then tested to destruction once built to make sure it did and didn't tick all the boxes. That also works well for its intended purpose (planes staying in the air and people staying alive). It can tend towards over-runs and over-spends because the projects take longer, so there is more time for the true requirements to change, and you have to pay for more, and repeated testing of those changed systems.

I know which one I want my phone company to have used for the system for their customer service agents, and I know which one I want Airbus to have used when building the A380 I'll next be sitting on at 30,000 feet.

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Heyyy, you seem to be trying to post a DRUNK PICTURE. You know your boss looks at this?

A K Stiles
Coat

Deep Learning

They could save themselves a lot of time and effort by just asking this for every post anyone tries to make?

Or they could look at licencing 'Clippy' from Microsoft - "Hey it looks like you're trying to post in English, would you like some help with that?"

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This Christmas, demand the right to a silent night

A K Stiles

Re: Evasion Tactics

Encountered that senior management argument once, to which the appropriate response was more along the lines of "When I get paid the same money as you, I'll be available when you are." Otherwise, it was a paid call-out rota, and anti-social hours rate overtime, but only when it absolutely couldn't happen in standard hours.

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BEST EVER broadband? Oh no you DIDN'T, Sky – ad watchdog

A K Stiles
Devil

It would be nice...

If the ASA or other appropriate body could actually enforce something that all the advertising had to show you the minimum contract period and the total cost for the service over that time, including all the line rentals and packages etc., and those figures had to be as prominent as the big monthly cost number and the 'up to' figure, oh and any download limits and some kind of minimum agreed speed at similar sizes would be nice too.

What? too much honesty for the marketing departments?

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Official: Turing's Bombe BETTER than a Concorde plane

A K Stiles
Coat

Re: So somebody really did...

I'm guessing this might be a popular music reference? Perhaps an example of "da R n' B" that seems so popular?

(Mine's the brown and orange one, yes - with the 8 track cassette in the pocket!)

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Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER

A K Stiles
Flame

Not necessarily the types of food

Especially these days, are kids actually spending enough time just running around? There's more directed broadcast television, streaming shows, games etc. The media has raised so much fear of 'bad people will do bad things to your kids the moment you blink' that the only people you see hanging around parks and playgrounds are the 14-18 year old 'hoodies', with the 2 litre bottles of white lightning and the Marlboro lites.

The answer to obesity is pretty much always eat less (in a balanced way), do more, but people, kids and adults, get bullied for some reason constantly. If you make people feel bad for being obese, they want to feel better - what makes you feel better? food, especially the tasty combinations of fats and carbs.

As for the amount spent marketing 'junk' food at us as a desirable thing... Or for instance, the new 'healthy' green coke-life, made with sweeteners from natural sources - that'd be a tiny bit of stevia, and a crap-ton of good old-fashioned sugar. 1 can of normal coke = approx 33 % of daily recommended sugar intake. 1 can of coke-life = approx 25% of daily recommended sugar intake. It's not entirely their fault , but the people behind that kind of marketing should be amongst the first against the wall.

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Move over, Apple Pay: Tesco trials PayQwiq phone-flash pay app

A K Stiles
WTF?

Re: Payment is not its problem, so this is yet another effort wasting gimmick

Indeed - their soulless, giant warehouse stores, prices higher than immediate competitors (web comparisons), lower quality produce (my perception), and crappy customer service (my experience on several occasions) have caused me to never set foot in the nearest 'extra' store. We now do big shops via delivery (from their competitors) or go further out of our way to the more pleasant experiences of Sainsbury or Waitrose.

Our local small 'grocery' store is a Tesco Local, which we do use for occasional top-ups, but it does seem crazy that one of the few places I might want and be able to use a card to pay for something under £20 with a slappy-tappy card doesn't have the requisite tech installed.

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A K Stiles
Unhappy

Re: Qwiq?

I'd also add something about adverbs generally ending in _ly, but I suppose neither of these suggestions are "young, hip, now" or perhaps most importantly, able to be registered as a trademark, thus generating 2947 variations on a theme for the same (crappy) technology.

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Singapore slings £18k fine at text-spam-spaffing biz owner

A K Stiles
Stop

UK regulators - an idea:

How about making it an offence, punishable with a fine which goes to the call recipient tax-free as expenses for time and distress, to call someone and not give the details of your company when you leave a message, either through an automated caller (which should be banned outright anyway) or by person. I, and I'm guessing a growing number of others will not answer the phone to unrecognised or withheld numbers. If you are a legitimate business with a valid reason to call, you don't with-hold your number, you leave a message stating your company name and the purpose of the call, and you leave a number I can call back which is likely to be included in all calling plans.

Actually, a second idea:

If you call me and actually get through, when I ask you from where you got my number, you should be legally obliged to tell me the source, so I can then trace back to which organisation has ignored my instructions that I do not wish to be contacted by them or their 'carefully selected' 3rd parties and again, they can be punished by a fine, which goes to me. </rant>

Clearly having a caffeine issue, just not sure if it's too much or too little...

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Ninja Pirate Zombie Vampires versus Chuck Norris and the Space Marines

A K Stiles
Coat

Re: Still need Arnie & Sigourny

And Danny Glover got himself a Predator too...

What do you mean "There was no second Predator film!" ?

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BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

A K Stiles
Facepalm

Fun arguments with auditors

There was always the auditor at a previous place of work who complained that the 'consumables' spend was too high in the electronics workshop, and that we had so many cables (VGA / serial / parallel style) without records in the asset register... Never grasped the concept that the 'consumables' were being transformed into these new, custom length & function cables and it would cost more in man-hours to record the materials usage than it did in parts and labour to make the damn things!

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A K Stiles
Big Brother

Budgetary crazyness

Always astounds me that this is still the predominant form of budget management -

"You didn't spend all of last year's budget, so not only are we going to take away the money you didn't spend last year, but we're going to reduce this year's budget by an equivalent amount"..."sorry, you need to buy a what? but you don't have the budget for that!"

How about "Well your planned spend for last year was X, plus 10% contingency, but actually you spent 0.99 X, so it was a good plan, Thanks for saving us 0.11 X . What does the next year's justifiable planned expenditure look like? ... okay so we can agree a likely figure of 'Y' for next year so here's Y plus 10% contingency", or is there some beancounter magic that I just don't understand?

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IT blokes: would you say that LEWD comment to a man? Then don't say it to a woman

A K Stiles

Re: Turn it around

But again, that is (hopefully) only to be seen between people that know each other really well and understand that the sentiment is not implied by the statement - it might disturb or confuse potential onlookers but if those involved aren't upset or offended, then why should anyone else? (Though adult sensibilities would hopefully limit the potential for using 'unacceptable' language.) You certainly shouldn't see that kind of behaviour or interaction between people who are effectively, or actually, complete strangers, and absolutely not in a professional capacity where the reputations of the individual and the company they represent are at stake.

It keeps coming back to the Adam Hills philosophy:

1. Don't be a dick!

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LOHAN Kickstarter bid IS GO: Back our Vulture 2 spaceplane launch

A K Stiles

Re: add-ons

I think it was some mechanism around over-pledging (pledge more than the chosen reward level), then requesting the extra goodies from a price-list

e.g. select a £40 pledge level, but pledge £60 quid and ask for £20 worth of patches / stickers etc.

No idea how complicated it is to manage though - only ever played from this side of the KS fence.

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A K Stiles
Pint

add-ons

It should be possible to add the options to acquire stickers / patches / mugs / tankards to your pledge - I know the Elite: Dangerous guys managed it anyway.

It would be appreciated as I've realised my sub doesn't include a tankard (I think) and I'd quite like one, but don't want to reduce my pledge to your beer fund this fabulous project

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6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)

A K Stiles

Re: Not just FB please

I'd settle for 5 different blunt things...

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What a pain in the mass! Euro craft Rosetta to poke its probe in 10-BILLION-tonne comet

A K Stiles

Re: Orbit

What about Apoapsis and Periapsis ? Or should I stop messing about with KSP for a while?

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Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole

A K Stiles
Pint

Dammit - 'locale'

or maybe I do mean 'local' - it being Ireland and all. Though possibly not at 40,000 feet.

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A K Stiles
Thumb Up

Routing

I'm impressed that it keeps circling back to cut across Blighty (I'm projecting from it's current local on the west coast of Ireland) - we're not exactly a giant target on the global scale, but clearly the Jet Stream or whatever those high altitude winds are called (IANAMeteorologist) just love this little island.

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Vampires and Ninjas versus the Alien Jedi Robot Pirates: It's ON

A K Stiles
Pirate

Article Title

Every time I look at it, and I CAN see the individual words for what they are but, my brain translates that into "Alien Dread Pirate Roberts"...

Oooh - now where's the category for the Rodents of Unusual Size?

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Get ready: The top-bracket young coders of the 2020s will be mostly GIRLS

A K Stiles

Re: Coders

Please! It always frustrates me when you apply for stuff like car insurance and they give you a box for job description so you try writing 'developer' and it says "do you mean 'property developer'?" so you try 'software developer' and it doesn't have a match, and eventually you plump for 'computer programmer' because apparently a mental image of a giant rack of lights and flip switches is still the sum of what some of us do.

My last job was ostensibly developing in-house systems, but it was a small company so it included 1st line support, sys-admin stuff, kicking printers, rewiring sections of the office, changing the fuse on the toaster in the kitchen and shifting desks around. Couldn't find the correct job title in the list so I was a 'computer programmer'...

In my world view:

coder / programmer - takes a detailed spec and translates it into a programming language.

developer - takes a very fuzzy set of wish-list requirements and tries to create a semblance of a spec from it, get that agreed, beats their head against the keyboard repeatedly until they have a system closely matching the spec, then repeatedly rebuilds chunks of it because that isn't actually what they wanted / needed, stuff is in the wrong place, etc.

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LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!

A K Stiles
Mushroom

Ah the joys of an open market...

with just enough of 'la cinta roja' to scupper the best laid plans of mice, men and playmonauts!

At least the land of the free look likely to let you blow some stuff up in their bit of the upper atmosphere, and you can try some of the lovely craft beers whilst you're there, for research purposes of course!

Bring on the Merch and let's get this thing done. One credit card standing by.

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Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?

A K Stiles
Unhappy

"watch [it] on purpose"

I'm not, but that's because I don't need to see wanton acts of barbarism rather than because of some thinly veiled, dubious statement about the legality of doing so by some questionably informed representative of the Met. Police.

Could they please get someone with a clue to actually point out what is and isn't illegal rather than scare-mongering because they'd really rather you didn't do it. All the sides of these issues have got to realise that respect is not best obtained via the use of a stick, either real or metaphorical...

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Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run

A K Stiles
Pint

Compass

Well known problem in big metal ships. Apparently they used to sort it with some strategically placed magnets (or a big lump of steel), though I couldn't tell you the specifics. Probably easier to test that by just having a play around with an energised LOHAN in a big open field, followed by a beer or two for refreshment.

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Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'

A K Stiles
Trollface

indeed - how has someone on the prosecuting team not muttered the words 'triangulation' and 'phone masts' ?

Or maybe they're hoping that it's a log from his apple maps app so can't be considered accurate evidence...

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Stanford boffin is first woman to bag 'math Nobel Prize'

A K Stiles
Coat

Professor??

When she was a teenager in 95? How can someone get such a title while they're still in their 20's... oh, hang on... crap! - her maths is clearly MUCH better than mine!

(Mine's the one with the missing decade in the pocket)

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Vulture 2 spaceplane brain surgery begins with remote incision

A K Stiles
Coat

Another canard servo issue?

Have you considered having a word with your servo supplier, or possibly threatening the pesky things with some orange sauce?

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Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes

A K Stiles
Facepalm

Stripe swipe?

Why so many companies wading in to a 'market' for swipe reading additions to had-held tech? Have they not noticed that World(-USA) shifted to chip and PIN readers 10+ years ago because <ahem>security</ahem>, and now towards "tap...tap...TAP...SLAP...jiggle, wiggle - ah there it is, no PIN, 'cos that was faster wasn't it? Securi-what now? well, it was only £20 wasn't it..."

Or I could hand someone a bundle of used notes in exchange for some goods and nobody pays any transaction fees, well until the business go to lend it to their bank anyway!

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We told you jailbreaking your iThing was dangerous

A K Stiles
Unhappy

Re: Hilarious

Ads on el-reg aren't obtrusive? Well, except when they are the Microsoft / Lotus F1 style, autoplay video, or the mouse-over expanding ones... I specifically don't run ad-block on here because I want the reg hacks to get paid for the drivel / articles (delete as appropriate) they post, but those MS adverts were coming very close to making me re-enable it again!

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Password manager LastPass goes titsup: Users LOCKED OUT

A K Stiles
Joke

Re: Why trust any third party?

Ah, but your generated password is too long / doesn't contain any of the required symbols / repeats characters within 3 spaces / must be changed every 29.497 days / breaks some other arbitrary and unhelpful rule on this particular service ...

Still not trusting 3rd parties with my password management though!

(and exactly what mechanism are various banks using to 'encrypt' my password in such a way that they can validate only characters 3,7 and 9 of my password anyway?)

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Amazon smacks back at Hachette in e-book pricing battle: We're doing it for the readers

A K Stiles
Unhappy

Re: Here is an idea....

It sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately they can't. As I understand it, VAT on ebooks is mandated from 'Europe' so the UK government have to charge it... of course, 20% of ebook sales to the treasury is great incentive to continue to shrug, wave their hands in the air and mutter 'Europe eh - what can you do?'

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LOHAN's stirring motto: Ad Astra Tabernamque

A K Stiles
Pint

Good work guys

Have one on me. (not the Vacuum frozen kind though, unless the alternative is Carling)

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UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know

A K Stiles
Paris Hilton

Re: Already Given Up

It is standardisation, but like the thread sizes, they're specifying the standard for the end product (the screws, nuts and bolts) rather than the tools used to produce the products (the taps and dies). Yes, everyone would be fine if they just use Mr Whitworth's tools, but then you'll pay Mr. Whitworth whatever he's asking for those tools. Alternatively, I can buy tools at half the cost from Mr. Smith or Mr. Jones, which have been made such that they still produce something that will interface perfectly with an item produced by one of Mr. Whitworth's more expensive offerings.

(obligatory Paris for a comment about nuts and screws)

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NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'

A K Stiles
Terminator

US Immigration

Are there several training courses that the workers in the Department of homeland immigration and border controls (or whatever that particular law enforcement agency is currently called) have to go through to ensure they have not one scrap of a sense of humo(u)r or empathy left before they are let loose on the poor 'foreign' idiots that have chosen to spend some time and money in the states?

On my first and only trip so far, the first 3 words mumbled by the [clerk|guard|officer] were 'business or vacation'? which left me staring blankly at him for a few seconds whilst my sleep deprived and dehydrated brain attempted to determine the source language and translate it into my native English.

Eventually my response was 'Oh, um, holiday' ... blank stare returned for 2 seconds ... 'um, vacation, yes'. followed by the where will you be staying ('travelling all over' is a bad answer), how long, etc.

Even just a 'good morning' / 'good afternoon' to allow my brain to get into first gear would have been nice - I realise it's probably quite a mind-numbing job, but some hint of civility and human recognition might make the day a little less tedious, and make me feel less disinclined to ever visit again.

Of course, at the end of the questions, being British, I took my passport back, thanked him and then joined the next queue...

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Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

A K Stiles
Devil

Re: "generally inappropriate use of matrix signs"

Had to deal with the M42 variable speed limit signs for quite a few years, but at least they mostly seemed to help. I think the problem they sometimes have is that, by controlling the traffic flow successfully, they actually stop the concertina effect from propagating so far and so you end up driving at 40 for a mile rather than stopping, accelerating to 50 then having to stop again, but from your seat, you just had to slow down for no reason. Other times they're clearly on the wonk - I've seen 50 limits at 22:30 when I was the only vehicle for a mile forwards or backwards...

The problem with the long lane queuing is there'll always be some sod (in an Audi or BMW) who carries on down the second lane until the hatch marks then abuses their way over. Everyone should drive like me - then the world would be a better place! (I only mean when I'm driving well and paying full attention to the world around me, not those times I creep too close to the car in front or slew across to the inside lane with 100 yards to go to the exit I suddenly realise I need).

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A K Stiles
Unhappy

"X minutes to <significant junction>"

I do admit to having to consciously avoid treating these as a target to be beaten, rather than a general hint. One I'd quite like to see more of though is the "Keep Left Unless Overtaking" matrix signs which I've only seen a couple of times - not that anyone seemed to be taking any notice!

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A K Stiles
Facepalm

and congratulations to the 3 idiots on Sunday..

..who decided that the hard shoulder was an appropriate way for them to reach the exit half a mile ahead at 50 mph because the main carriageways were only travelling in queues at 20 mph due to everyone having to have a slow down and rubberneck at the emergency vehicles parked around the pile-up wreckage just beyond the junction. Which came very close to causing another accident as they attempted to rejoin the slip-road whilst others were using it correctly to exit the motorway...

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Boffins fill a dome with 480 cameras for 3D motion capture

A K Stiles

Hawkeye?

So effectively kind of an extension of the Hawkeye technology they've used at Wimbledon, etc. to replay disputed line calls for the last 10 years or so, but tracking something other than white lines and a fuzzy yellow ball?

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Listen: WORST EVER customer service call – Comcast is 'very embarrassed'

A K Stiles
Pint

Madasafish similarities

Had that a few years ago when I wanted to get a MAC (I think) code to shift from Mad As A Fish (not the original name of the company I was with, merged or rebranded a sub-company) to O2 broadband (who I am also no longer with). Spend 10 minutes with the woman in the retentions department

Q: "why do you want to leave"

A: "You're too expensive and I can get a cheaper and faster connection elsewhere"

Q: "If you stay we can reduce your bill by £5 a month?"

A: "Which is still more expensive and slower than I can get with O2, so No."

and repeat ad nauseam.

At least the last time I cancelled a BT phone contract was straightforward:

Q:"Why don't you want the service any more?"

A:"I'm moving house"

Q:"Ah but you'll need a line at your new address?"

A:"Nope - that's my other half's remit in the new place"

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LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

A K Stiles

Courtesy of Google translate...

CDIV Distributorii erratum

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Beer in SPAAAACE! London Pride soars to 28,000m

A K Stiles
Coat

Re: YOLO

but what would we call it? The "QC Register" ?

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A K Stiles

Re: YOLO

is that another QC reader I spy?

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Elon Musk to fund Tesla museum with 'ONE MEEELLION DOLLARS'

A K Stiles
Paris Hilton

1 down, 7 to go...

Now, how to raise the other 7 million... anybody know of any other uber-rich tech titans to tap up?

(icon: possibly not exactly a tech titan)

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El Reg nips down IKEA's 'I've Got A Screw Loose Street'

A K Stiles
Devil

Store designs from hell

I think the Ikea store designers had a former life designing Las Vegas casinos, carefully constructing the places so you never know which way to go next - I'm not even sure that left hand wall tracking works to get you out of those places, or the casinos!

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