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* Posts by Tom7

150 posts • joined 3 Aug 2010

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Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

Tom7

The BBC is really starting to piss me off. I'm here spending a year in Australia. I'm a license fee payer back home, but the ONLY (well, only legal...) way I can get BBC content is through the four BBC Worldwide channels that are available in Australia, and the only way they're available in Australia is through a Foxtel subscription at $75 per month, more than three times the license fee.

I figure I'm a license fee payer, I should be able to access iPlayer content anywhere. But heck, I'd happily bung 'em another tenner a month for iPlayer access from overseas. $75/month, though? Forget it.

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A budget phablet, what a curious thing: Reg puts claws to the Lumia 1320

Tom7

Phablet transportation

I have a Galaxy Note 3, which with a 5.7" screen is not so very different to the 6" nokia. It goes in my trouser pocket just fine, somewhat to my surprise. But then the Galaxy S4 has a 5" display - the phablets are really not that much bigger.

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Look, pal, it’s YOUR password so it’s YOUR fault that it's gone AWOL

Tom7

Re: Website policy stupidity

Haha. My bank sends out a one-time-code-generating fob to use when logging in to internet banking. Each time you login, you put your PIN into the fob and it spits back a login code. It's great.

But... somehow they IMPROVE on the security of this scheme by also asking what the make and model of my first car is.

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Tom7

Re: That's a nice mobile phone scam you've got there

I once managed to get my landlady to pay for a course I was taking. The school called me to chase payment, which was in installments by direct debit. I knew I had my bank account details written down on a piece of paper somewhere on my desk, so I scouted about until I found a bank account number on my desk. Unfortunately, my landlady had an account at the same bank and what I'd found were her details.

I rattled these off to the school, who passed them on to the bank, who dutifully started transferring money out of her account, despite the name on the account being 100% wrong.

It was only three months (and three payments) later that my landlady noticed these payments on her account statement. She queried it with the bank, who queried it with the school, who queried it with me. Both the bank and I had very red faces.

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Tom7

Website policy stupidity

My electricity provider's website is the worst. I have to log in to it once every three months to pay my electricity bill. Its password rules are arcane and impenetrable, and inevitably wind up with me having a password that is impossible to remember when you only use it every three months.

I usually deal with this situation by typing random rubbish in as a password, then hitting the "I forgot my password" button next time I need to log in. But they've cunningly found a way of thwarting this method. When I signed up, I had to also choose a "memorable word." Seriously. Pick a word that's memorable, that you won't have forgotten in three months time when you come to log in next.

The end result is, of course, that I don't log in, I call them and pay over the phone. I wonder how many people ever manage to pay their bill through the website.

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Honey, the satnav app says you're to leave at 6am... Yup. I'll have that coffee off you

Tom7

Late to the game

AFAICT, Google Now does all this already, but it can also do it for trains, underground and buses if that's how you usually get places.

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Awkward? Elop now answers to ex-junior Nadella as Microsoft closes Nokia buyout

Tom7
Devil

Let's see:

  • Elop went in to Nokia from Microsoft.
  • The ex-Microsoft CEO pushed them on to Windows Phone.
  • The push to Windows Phone basically ended any chance of Nokia turning around their phone sales.
  • A year or so later, Microsoft comes in to 'rescue' the failing Nokia devices section.

Is that a fair summary? It's getting hard to see Elop as anything other than a Trojan horse.

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New Reg mobile site - feedback here!

Tom7

RSS Feed Links

One problem that hasn't been fixed is that the links in the RSS feed still land you at the desktop site (I'm using Feedly on Android). The procedure should be:

* Default to mobile site for mobile devices/browsers

* Give a link to the desktop site

* And a cookie to make the selection permanent

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You'd better get out before the sync 'n' share bubble POPS

Tom7

Turning a product into a feature?

How about turning a feature into a product?

Somehow that use case scenario, preparing a document on a desktop and presenting it on a tablet, seems familiar. Where have I seen it before??? Oh, yes, it's what we've been doing for thirty years AT LEAST with network shares.

The concept is not new. If IT departments have a problem, it is one of their own making. Users have been asking for years for their network shares to be bigger and reliably accessible. IT departments have stonewalled because it's too expensive. Now Dropbox and its ilk have given the lie to that. Drop box is better for users than a corporate network share in almost every way: You're likely to have a bigger quota on Dropbox than your corporate IT system gives you; Dropbox can be accessed securely from anywhere, over a WiFi or 3G/LTE network, not just corporate wired Ethernet; Dropbox gives you offline access that works, unlike the "feature" of Windows offline files; and it's free to use. If Microsoft had built its apps to work even vaguely acceptably with intermittent network connectivity, or IT departments had built out network shares that actually worked for users, Dropbox would be dead and buried, at least in the business world.

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Samsung's thumb-achingly ENORMO Galaxy Note Pro 12.2

Tom7

Yep. There is this weird feeling around that maybe 10" screens are too big for us to carry around. Unlike, say, the A4 notebooks/printouts we all carried around before that.

The real problem with a 10", 12" or 14" screen is that, so far, they weigh too much. The 10" ones are getting into the realms of reality, but manufacturers can never resist the temptation to bung in a bigger battery and boost the run time between charges. So, as with so many other things in society at present, we await a better battery technology.

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Tom7

Phones getting bigger?

Not sure on that. Actually I think as tablets become more common, phones will revert to things to make calls on.

My other half had a Galaxy S3 phone, then added a Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. The tab fits nicely in her hand bag without weighting it all down too much. So now she's got rid of the S3 and uses an old Galaxy Europa as a phone. So long as it makes calls and acts as a WiFi hotspot, she then uses the tab for anything where you'd want a reasonable screen.

Let's face it, the 4.7- or 5-inch screens on phones were always a pretty nasty compromise, developed because phones were gaining the sort of processor and memory you'd see in a netbook and so needed a screen to match. Once you have a 10" or 12" screen that you carry about with you, your phone can go back to being a radio with some basic functions.

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Lycamobile launches 'unlimited' 4G for £12 a month. Great. Now where can I get a signal?

Tom7

25GB is not bad, IMO

I used 3 mobile for home internet for a couple of months recently. The 25GB cap was never a problem. We're not super-heavy users, but do make fair use of Skype, iPlayer etc.

And it only cost £5 per month on top of my existing mobile contract (£3 for unlimited data, £2 to add tethering).

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Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

Tom7

Wait, what?

Lambda Expressions are something that enables multi-core programming, eh? I guess they make the syntax of multi-core programming a bit cleaner, but don't they have another one or two uses somewhere down the line?

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NSA spies recorded an entire COUNTRY'S phone calls for a MONTH: Report

Tom7

Re: re Lionel Baden

Well, supposing the country is the UK, a quick Google search fetches up the number of 132 million phone calls made every day here. Suppose they all last for an average of 10 minutes (not everyone can match my mother's phone habits, after all), and it's stored as 8kHz 16-bit PCM (8kHz is what the POTS is designed to carry, being sufficient for human voice) then over 30 days you're collecting 1.32x10^8 x 10 x 60 x 8x10^3 x (16/2) x 30 = 1.52x10^14 bytes required to store it all for 30 days. 152TB. It's not peanuts, exactly, but surely the NSA can manage better than this?

And before someone leaps in, yes, MP3 or Vorbis or whatever could reduce that a bit, but bear in mind that they work by throwing away frequencies that aren't interesting, and you've already thrown away 80% of the audible frequency range by encoding it as 8kHz PCM; you're not going to get the same compression ratios that you managed with your CD collection.

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MH370 airliner MYSTERY: The El Reg Pub/Dinner-party Guide

Tom7

Re: @Psyx What if it was ditched and sunk intact?

People have been trying to improve radar by bouncing it off the upper atmosphere for 60-ish years now. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but generally it's line of sight, and that's what you kinda trust it to do. Low-budget south east Asian countries don't have such luxuries.

No, but that southern search arc is largely within the coverage area of Jindalee.

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Microsoft tries to re-invent GPS with cloudy offloads

Tom7

WiFi modem geolocation

I may be wrong, but I had the impression that Google still very actively geolocates WiFi modems and continues to use the data generated for coarse location tracking, no fearing to tread about it.

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Bosses to be banned from forcing new hires to pull personal records

Tom7

Explanation?

It would have been really useful to have this explained in layman's terms. I spent most of the article thinking it was about employers asking for access to Facebook, and I'm still not sure it doesn't cover that.

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Samsung flings sueball at Dyson for 'intolerable' IP copycat claim

Tom7

Hasn't basically every non-upright vacuum cleaner ever built had three wheels and been pulled around by its hose? Except Roomba and its lookalikes, I guess.

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Tom7

Re: Something else I won't be buying from Samsung

Ah, but do you go for something like the 11/780, on the grounds that the cooling demands of TTL discretes is going to provide better cleaning power? Or would the power efficiency of the MicroVAX compensate for the reduced flow rate?

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Tom7
FAIL

Re: The picture ..

That's because it is a picture of Dyson's vacuum cleaners. Hover over it - the alttext says 'Dyson DC37 Vacuum Cleaners'.

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How NOT to evaluate hard disk reliability: Backblaze vs world+dog

Tom7
FAIL

We expect you to be able to do arithmetic...

...before you attempt statistical analysis. $.016 is 1.6 cents, not 16 cents.

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Apple Mac Pro: It's a death star, not a nappy bin, OK?

Tom7

Oooo, the shiny!

But you still pay the Apple tax - an equivalent spec from Dell is about £1600.

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US Appeal Court slaps Apple for trying to shake antitrust monitor

Tom7

Re: And the merry go round...

Apple's past behaviour sure hasn't shown any reason to think this won't happen. In fact, their tenacious legal tactics are starting to resemble another certain litigious company. Is there any hint that Boies, Schiller & Flexner are involved?

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Apple's STILL trying to shake off court-imposed antitrust monitor

Tom7
Pint

Like customer, like company

ie a whining, whingy teenager who just knows the world isn't fair to it.

Can someone buy their lawyers a beer so they can calm down a notch?

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Yahooligans! cower! as! COO! was! reportedly! SACKED! by! Mayer!

Tom7

Reading fail

I'm obviously not up on the executive world. I read that headline, assumed it was an attempt at a Scots accent and wondered why Yahoo! employed cows in the first place.

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Google stabs Wikipedia in the front

Tom7

Nnnnnnyessss...

There's not any actual, you know, evidence that Google is trying to kill Wikipedia, is there? No reason that they'd want to, no sign that they are.

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Tom7

Re: Is it a real problem for Wikipedia?

I think that drop in contributors has been noted for some time, in fact considerably longer than the drop in page views.

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Apple fanbois warned: No, Cupertino HASN'T built a Bitcoin mining function into Macs

Tom7

rm -rf /*

Really? Is this the best they can come up with? Surely 'echo mining_enabled > /boot/kernel.img'[1] or other foolery at least looks slightly plausible.

[1] Excuse my utter ignorance of MacOS boot procedure - I'm sure you can improvise something suitable.

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Sony brags: We've hit over 2 MEELLION PS4 console 'sales' worldwide

Tom7

Re: My PS4 feels slicker and more refined than my PS3

I have the HDMI issue with my 360 - if I don't use optical audio, I get VGA resolution and 2ch sound through HDMI. Connect an optical audio lead and I get full HD and 5.1 sound.

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Tom7

Have to agree with this. I'm not seeing any reason to dump my 360. Skype is the only thing that has me even vaguely tempted, and it is very vague.

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Samsung's bid to halt grinding wheels of justice in Apple case denied

Tom7

Justice that is not swift is no justice - of haven't they heard?

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BOFH: Resistance is futile - we're missing BEER O'CLOCK

Tom7
Thumb Up

"Vinyl tax"

Gold.

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MANUAL STIMULATION: Whack me with some proper documentation

Tom7

Video tutorials

These deserve a much fuller treatment than given here.

I tried to learn Blender a year or so ago - a product with a notoriously inscrutable user interface. All the tutorials are in video form and EVERY SINGLE ONE includes at least five minutes of some microcephalic idiot saying "um" a lot, explaining what product the tutorial is about (thanks, I know, that's why I'm watching the tutorial), saying "um" some more, explaining what he's going to explain in the tutorial (thanks, I know, that's why I'm watching the tutorial), saying "ah" quite a bit, presumably to alleviate the boredom (his, not mine) and explaining why you'd want to do what he's going to explain in the tutorial (thanks, I know, that WHY i'M WATCHING THE FS!CKING TUTORIAL). It's as though they expect people to just sit there watching a random stream of tutorial videos and so need to say up front what the tutorial's about.

Another pet peeve is websites that do have a 'Documentation' tab but, when you get there, have an explanation of how great the product is but no actual instructions on how to use it (yes, www.beremiz.org, I'm looking at you). Or even worse, a documentation link that leads to an empty wiki - See? It's YOUR fault there's no documentation, you haven't created it yet!

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Post-Profit Prophet RUSSELL BRAND is the HUMBLE CHRIST of STARTUPS

Tom7

What? Tired and cynical?

I don't think Lord Bong of #businessmodel truly believes in the web-2.0-media-centric-data-driven-open-buzzword-driven-freedom-loving-startup-sellout culture any more.

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How to relieve Microsoft's Surface RT piles problem

Tom7

Three out of Four Reasons

The fourth, of course, is that it costs £360. That's £40 more than a Nexus 10 and at least £100 more than a Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. Microsoft still doesn't seem to have learnt that you can only charge a premium if you differentiate on features or fashion, both of which it has signally failed to do.

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'F-CK YOU GOOGLE+' ukelele missy scoops BIG WAD of $$ - for Google

Tom7

Re: Hey you don't like it.....

It might be arguing semantics, but I'd say Google is very interested in you as an individual. So are their advertisers. That's basically the whole purpose of the Google online estate - to build as detailed a profile as possible of you as an individual.

Of course they do the same thing to everyone else, as individuals, and probably what you meant is that they don't treat you any different to the other 4.5 billion humans who access their services (or whatever the number is).

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Have you reinstalled Windows yet? No, I just want to PRINT THIS DAMN PAGE

Tom7

Curiously enough, a recent BOFH (well, recent in BOFH terms, anyway - episode 5) dealt with this exact issue.

"Is it an inkjet printer?"

"Yes."

"Then pop it in the bin."

"I've only printed about 30 pages!"

"Oh, right! Count your blessings - and then pop it in the bin."

...

"In the OLD days, printers were made of STEEL! If one FELL on you they just amputated the limb at the joint because anything under the printer was PASTE! And if an engineer's tie got caught in a drum printer they had about 10 seconds to scratch out a message to their next of kin before they choked to death. AND THE PRINTER WOULD KEEP ON RUNNING! You could print three-layer fan-fold forms WITH carbon sheets in between and the only warning you EVER got was a PAPER OUT light when the box was empty. There was NO jam. EVER. There were no printer monitors running in the taskbar to tell you that magenta was getting low or that it was performing a routine clean and that your ink level was going to drop by 10 per cent - you just changed the ribbon when you thought it needed it. And feed problems! The only way the printer would misfeed is if you put the box in the wrong position, so you just marked the box location out on the floor for the benefit of the idiots on night shift - otherwise the printer'd keep on running week in, week out... They could take your printer to bits, put it back together, give you about 10 parts that they couldn't remember where they came from - AND THE PRINTER WOULD STILL WORK! They were! We've still got a hammer action drum printer in the basement that's done over a million pages. A *MILLION*! At 600 lines a minute! You'd consider yourself blessed these days if an inkjet did 100! We ran out of paper and ribbon for the machine years ago so we just taped over the paper-out and ribbon-out micro switches and feed stuff in it to be destroyed."

That's the sort of rant I've been trying to compose for about 15 years.

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Apple: SCREW YOU, BRITS ... no unlocked iPhones for you

Tom7
Devil

Common market, you say?

What common market?

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How I BLEW my co-workers' HEADS OFF ... without going to jail

Tom7

Another favourite: There are a lot of enviro-loony types where I work who are forever putting up posters about getting to work more efficiently by cutting down on red meat or some such rubbish. So the local sport is writing spoof posters. My favourite so far spoofed a poster touting the fuel savings of car-sharing:

"Remember when petrol was 40p per litre? Well it still can be at Honest John's Fuel Emporium!

* Diesel in designer colours, red *and* black!

* All fuels fully comply with ISO 3082!

* Fully investigated by HMRC - three times in three years!"

and other similar foolishness.

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Tom7

Automated defence systems

£20 USB missile launcher with built-in webcam + OpenCV programmed to recognise my boss. Reverse engineer the control protocol and the rest rather solves itself. It hasn't quite got the adjustment for range sorted out - I need to duct tape a kinect to it.

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Vulture 2 paintjob: Four-year-old nipper triumphs

Tom7

I see my Iranian-nuclear-programme-themed submission was ruled unpublishable.

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Surface 2 and iPad Air: Prepare to meet YOUR DOOM under a 'Landfill Android' AVALANCHE

Tom7

Re: You are comparing apples with oranges.

Indeed. This could be a real problem for Microsoft. What exactly is stopping Apple from replacing the ARM with x86 and installing OSX on it? And, oh look, it supports Office...

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Tom7

Re: MS will win

That, of course, assumes that the enterprise market for tablets will be significant. That's still an open bet, to my mind. Certainly tablets are cannibalising the PC market at an alarming rate right now, and almost entirely on consumer sales. Tablets make sense for consumers, who are mostly either consuming content or creating very small scale content (think Facebook statuses and photos). It's not at all clear that they make sense for the majority of enterprise users who sit at a desk all day and have to produce any serious volume of work.

Right now My 5k-10k employee organisation has just been bought out and the new owner is buying everyone a new machine to conform to their security model. Guess how many of them will be tablets? Exactly zero. Laptop is the default, and you can have a desktop tower if you really want the 1990s experience.

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Vulture 2 paintjob: Kim Jong-un battles flag-waving Brits

Tom7

Re: Different colours on different surfaces...

Since you'll be seeing it from the bottom, surely the Union flag should go on the bottom to indicate it's the right way up and the Federation star on the top, to show it's upside down?

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Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson battles bullfighting

Tom7

Re: I know you're in Spain for Lohan

No, only scanned the article for photos. Disappointed.

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Lumia 2520: Our Vulture gets his claws on Nokia's first Windows RT slab

Tom7

Re: Why don't you.....

"I had written off RT as useless until I got one for next to nothing and its great"

Good for you. But you rather make the point for us. It might well be great, but not at the price Nokia is pitching it. If they want to sell consumer devices, they need to be in the £150 - £300 market segment, not starting at £400. The grandparent commenter might be perfectly correct - RT might well do all those things brilliantly - but a £100 no-brand Android tablet does them at least as well for the average user. Printing is the only thing that's been mentioned that RT does particularly better than Android, and even then most printer suppliers have an app for printing direct from an Android phone or tablet. So what makes RT at least £300 better?

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Tom7
FAIL

But

But - and listen carefully here - it still costs FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS. For a consumer who wants to use this for web browsing, games and writing the odd letter, how is it £80 better than a Nexus 10? Or £100 better than a Galaxy Tab 3 10.1? Or £280 better than a Hudl?

This thing is not aimed at the business market - for any organisation with less than about 5,000 employees and therefore a volume agreement you can't use Office for business - and yet Microsoft, sorry Nokia, are still pricing it hundreds of pounds above the consumer market. Who thinks this is clever?

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Hands on: We play with the slippery Lumia 1520, Nokia's first phondleslab

This post has been deleted by a moderator

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

Tom7

Re: How to make a big company pay their debts on time

Although applying for liquidation is likely to piss off your customers, sending a statutory demand to the likes of BT is not unreasonable. The idea is to get the attention of people who can actually make things move. You're not being pushy or unreasonable - you're saying, "Hang on, the law is the law and it applies to you, too. You promised to pay on a given schedule; where is it?" As others have pointed out, there is considerable legal protection for companies making this sort of demand and statutory provision for penalties for late payment.

If you're operating a business on the philosophy of, "Pay when you're ready, no worries mate," then you're not serving your shareholders as you have a duty to do. You need to insist on payment on time because your customer has a legal duty to pay. Do you really think that, when you're late paying BT, they'll just say, "No worries mate, pay when you're ready"? If so, you need to read the article again.

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Tom7

How to make a big company pay their debts on time

Send them a statutory demand. If they owe more than £750 and don't pay within 21 days, you can apply to a court to have them liquidated.

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