* Posts by Pen-y-gors

958 posts • joined 1 Oct 2010

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TalkTalk admits massive data breach

Pen-y-gors
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Let's not jump to conclusions

Okay, it's great fun slagging off TalkTalk, 'cos they are pretty rubbish, but...

So far there's no evidence that they've been hacked or anything. The data that has allegedly been used could just as easily have been acquired by a more traditional, physical route. Perhaps a printed report of customer details in the TalkTalk accounts dept, that didn't get shredded after use, but instead found its way into the pocket of a dodgy junior member of staff, who then flogged it. Technically a security breach, but strip-searching all staff on the way out is probably overkill for a phone company.

Not all data breaches are down to clever hackers and security loopholes. They may well be in this case, but we don't know.

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Moto E 2015: The builder's cheapie gets a serious upgrade

Pen-y-gors
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OnePlus?

It would be interesting to see what OnePlus could produce for the same sort of price. Got my new OnePlus One last week which manages to pretty well match the spec of just about any top-of-the-range £500 beast but for about £250.

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SkyProwler VTOL transformo-drone set to darken skies

Pen-y-gors
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Not coming to airspace near you

at least not anytime soon.

Don't get me wrong, it looks and sounds amazing, but 65mph, and a range of 43 miles, with a payload of 550g of semtex - I think our definitely-not-friends the jihadis will be queueing up to bulk buy them.

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Boffin: Use my bionic breakthrough for good, and not super cyborgs

Pen-y-gors
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Hands? Pah! Kiddie stuff

News reports today

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530103.700-first-human-head-transplant-could-happen-in-two-years.html

about scientists planning full body transplants! Now THAT I want to see!

How would it work if they transplant a woman's head onto a male body, or vice-versa? Could be a whole terrifying future ahead - 80 year old man kills 20 year old to take their body and live for centuries.

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Win! Classic El Reg tees, plus something special for the weekend

Pen-y-gors
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Quality control

Just make sure the goods are up to the rigours of actual use.

The transfer printing on my LOHAN mag is fading fast - at this rate it will be completely gone by the time our intrepid playmonaut lifts off! Most disappointing.

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P0wned plug-in puts a million WordPress sites at risk of attack

Pen-y-gors
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Fundamental problems

Basic Wordpress is quite neat, but seriously dangerous in the hands of amateurs (i.e. 99% of Wordpress users). It's the insecure plugins that are the problem, as the article notes.

I had a couple of clients who were very keen to get their own Wordpress site up and running, and wanted hosting. My solution was to buy a separate reseller hosting package from 1&1 and ONLY use it for Wordpress. If any of the sites get hammered then hopefully they can't damage anything else. (and if they can get outside the boundaries of the reseller account that's 1&1's problem) Obviously I also warned the customers about unnecessary plug-ins!

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MELTDOWN: Samsung, Sony not-so-smart TVs go titsup for TWO days

Pen-y-gors
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An alternative to TV

Buy a large goldfish tank - in the long run it may be nearly as expensive as a fancy TV, but it's a lot more soothing to watch.

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MP resigns as security committee chair amid 'cash-for-access' claims

Pen-y-gors
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The impressive thing about Rifkind

is that he couldn't conceive that his activities could be morally or ethically wrong, even if they're not technically illegal (yet?). THAT is the reason why he has to go. We do not want or need politicians who cannot tell right from wrong - possibly better to have a crook who at least knows and accepts he's a wrong 'un.

Having said that, taking money to arrange 'introductions' to government officials surely must be illegal.

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UK.gov shuns IT support tower model. Now what the hell do we do?

Pen-y-gors
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Ah, the traditional model

Something not working? Phone the hardware people. Not us guv, must be network, try the network support people. Nah, not the network, must be software. Nah software's okay, must be hardware...

repeat until will to live is totally extinguished...

What an efficient use of public money. Do these gov.uk bods have any concept of life in the real world?

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Google opens 'Inbox' heir-to-email trial to biz users

Pen-y-gors
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If it ain't broke

don't fix it.

When it was first invented e-mail was a revelation - instant-ish written communication. But we did have to dial up from time-to-time to see if there were any messages and download them, and dial in again to upload.

Modern e-mail with broadband works just fine - and used with a mobile it's effectively instant messaging, but with attachments and unlimited length. And you can save them for a very long time.

I predict another Google service that will be retired in a couple of years.

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Post-pub nosh neckfiller: El Reg eggs Benedict

Pen-y-gors
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Hollandaise ingredients?

The photo of the hollandaise indgredients worries me - that 'butter' looks awfully white, in fact I suspect it's really LARD! Which is usually acceptable in any post-pub nosh, but I'm not sure if it will work in hollandaise.

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First HSBC, now the ENTIRE PUBLIC SECTOR dodges tax

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Two things

That's crazy - why should VAT on ANYTHING not be recoverable?

I thought the system was meant to be simple. VAT is paid by the final link in the chain (usually the end customer). A business charges VAT to its customers, who (if they are VAT registered) claim it back, and then charge VAT on THEIR services/goods to their customers.

So how can some things not be VAT-recoverable? Doesn't that mean that HMRC gets the VAT twice? First from the original supplier (who has charged VAT) and then from the buyer, who can't pass it on to their end-user customer. Cloud services are surely a business expense?

Crazy! No wonder there are so many accountants making a fortune out of tax loopholes. For heaven's sake - please can we have a nice simple tax system that can be written on a couple of sides of A4.

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DARPA's 'Cortical Modem' will plug straight into your BRAIN

Pen-y-gors
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Interesting...

Looks like Geordie La Forge's visor could be on the way.

BUT why does all this technology which can help mankind have to be developed as a spin-off from developing more efficient and more expensive ways of killing and maiming people?

Wouldn't it be nice if they renamed DARPA the Making-The-World-A-Better-Place Advanced Research Projects Agency, and left the budget untouched?

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Speak your brains on surveillance, despots. No we don't mean Five Eyes

Pen-y-gors
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But I assume it DOES include

The good old US of A and its Department of Homeland Civil Rights Violations?

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So who just bought the rights to .blog for $30m? A chap living in Panama

Pen-y-gors
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re:e-mail validation

@KenHagan is making a very good point. Yes, perhaps he's looking at it from the customer point of view - but any competent web designer must be able to see things from the customer's point of view. And making sure validation of e-mail addresses works is pretty important to website owners as well. E-mail format validation is very helpful, but if we're being strictly accurate, code which rejects e-mail addresses because they don't end in .com, .org or .net isn't technically validation code at all, is it?

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Vint Cerf: Everything we do will be ERASED! You can't even find last 2 times I said this

Pen-y-gors
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Easy!

Very large slab of granite and a chisel, and just chip out the bits.

Not sure about the cat videos though...

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Unsurprising report: UK local govt sites remain totally crap

Pen-y-gors
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You're not wrong

Generally agree 100%, although our local council has got some quite neat GIS stuff on their site - if you know where to find it! Map search by house name (very useful in rural Wales to help lost Fedex bods). Really ace problem reporting pages too - zoom in on map and mark the location, fill in form with details of fly-tipping, broken street lights etc and bingo. And they update you on progress via e-mail

But site navigation generally sucks!

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CAR? Check. DRIVER? Nope. OK, let's go, says British govt

Pen-y-gors
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What could possibly go wrong?

Perhaps any driverless cars should be preceded by a man with a red flag. I don't want to be doing 70 on the motorway with a driverless car, complete with sleeping 'driver', coming up behind me.

The lawyers must be rubbing their hands with glee!

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ANOTHER US court smacks down EFF's NSA wiretap sueball – but won't say why

Pen-y-gors
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Python

Stig: I had transgressed the unwritten law.

Interviewer What had you done?

Stig Er... Well he never told me that. But he gave me his word that it was the case, and that's good enough for me

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Skin colour's irrelevant. Just hire competent folk on their merits, FFS

Pen-y-gors
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How to accurately measure diversity?

Personally, whenever I have to fill in a form with ethnic questions I tend to tick something at random. Okay, to you I may LOOK like a white British person, but who are you to tell me what my ethnic origin is? Inside I really, really feel Caribbean (or possibly Inuit)

I'd take the results of any ethnic origin survey with a large pinch of salt...

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BBC bins pricey Windows Media, Audio Factory goes live

Pen-y-gors
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And what about on-demand?

One of the nice things about my Roberts Radio (and one of the reasons for buying it) was that it did on-demand for BBC radio. Great at 3am when you want something amusing to listen to on Radio 4 Extra. I can at least reprogramme it to get the mp3 live streams, but what about on demand? Now I have to fire up a tablet and use the blasted iPlayer. Shame on you BBC.

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Boy, 16, cuffed after posting selfie with body of kid he allegedly killed

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Darwin Award contender?

Even without the death penalty, if he spends the rest of his short life locked up in a Merkin chokey, when would he get the chance to pass on his DNA?

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What time do you call this, BT? Late, state-funded broadband rollout plods on

Pen-y-gors
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"Not viable"

"the telco giant had declined to invest its own money, because those areas were not considered commercially viable."

To be fair, it's not just the 'telco giant' that reckoned the areas weren't commercially viable. I didn't see a queue of competitors lining up to do the work without subsidy, even in many areas where BT HAD installed fibre without government dosh. At least this way, most of us, eventually, will get a fairly reasonable service. Just don't hold your breath for the 500Mbps rollout!

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Microsoft explains Windows as a SERVICE – but one version remains a distant dream

Pen-y-gors
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Windows as a subscription

Obviously m$ are aiming to move Windows to a subscription model, as they are already doing with Office. To be fair, from a business point of view I can see their point. The present model is that we buy a copy of Win XP/Win 7, and give M$ £100 or whatever. We then want to keep using that software for 5-10 years (or more), and expect M$ to keep it updated and safe for the entire period, for no extra payment. From the manufacturer's point of view, that really sucks as a business model!

If they move to subscriptions, then I could probably learn to live with it, provided the annual sub is roughly the old one-off cost divided by 10. I'd pay £10 a year for a clean and up-to-date and secure Windows 10.

Of course if it's priced like Office (Office 2013 about £120 for ever, Office 365 £80 p.a.) then they can go and fornicate with themselves.

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Assange's cop chaperones have cost £10 MEEELLION to date

Pen-y-gors
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Sack the Commissioner

Whatever the rights and wrongs and the details, the Met Commissioner should be sacked over this. We are constantly told that money is tight, policing is all a matter of priorities etc, which is why they never investigate burglaries unless the burglar was kind enough to live a business card with photo and address. If money is so tight, then pissing £10 million up the wall on this shows that the Met Commissioner is totally unable to prioritise - and if he gets this so badly wrong what else does he get wrong.

Pull the cops and shove a cctv camera on the door!

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Hey kids! If you vote Facebook will give you EXTRA LIKES*

Pen-y-gors
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Don't moan - Take it a step further

If you can't find someone you want to vote for, then do something about it. Stand yourself, or join a party and get involved in the candidate selection process. Do SOMETHING, not just sit on your arse all day playing video games, sending photos of your genitalia to yours friends on Snapchat, or pointless chatting to your mates on FB. That applies to people of all ages.

Imagine the effect on candidate selection if 500 young people suddenly joined a UKIP branch!

The Scottish Referendum showed that young people CAN be interested and take an active role in politics. Just chuck out the grey professional politicians with their rich chums, and get some passionate, caring people in Parliament instead.

Trust me, it works. Having twice been a Green Party candidate at general elections it's very satisfying to go out and vote for someone you know is really the best candidate and exactly represents your views.

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#VultureTRENDING: YESS! It's Pantsr, the Sharing Economy super app that delivers on the BOTTOM line

Pen-y-gors
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Excellent!

see title.

I like the ratio of 1 developer to 30 wastes-of-oxygen

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'Boutique' ISPs: Snub the Big 4 AND get great service

Pen-y-gors
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Takeover time

In the past I've been with several smaller ISPs, usually because they offered a better deal, or better service. And they did for a couple of years....until they were sold to one of the big players and it was time to move on.

At the moment I'm with BT Business, who aren't bad, and at least have UK call centres. When FTTC finally arrives I'll maybe shop around again.

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UK official LOSES Mark Duggan shooting discs IN THE POST

Pen-y-gors
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Re: And still using DISCS IN THE POST

If the data on the discs is securely encrypted, and the outer envelope doesn't say "TOP SECRET" or anything (and the passkey for the decrypt isn't written on the discs of course) the Post is very secure - and at least NSA and GCHQ can't intercept it!

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Smartphones merge into homogeneous mass as 'flagship fatigue' bites

Pen-y-gors
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Obligatory anti-fanboi tirade

Actually, I'll skip it, it's boring.

People buy smartphones because they can perform a function (I assume - if they want useless bling they would buy a diamond ring or gold necklace). If a mid-range phone is adequate for the job, then why would they buy top-of-the-range ones? I'm sure iPhones are quite effective tools for communicating and doing what they do, but I genuinely wonder at the mindset of people who buy them. Surely the rational approach is to buy a tool that offers good value for the purpose for which it is intended. If the manufacturer of the tool you're thinking of buying is making over £10 billion squids profit in three months, surely one would start to question whether it's really good value, or just very, very over priced, no matter that it does the job.

Who are the people who pay over the odds for things? Are they the people who buy expensive designer clobber which they only wear a couple of times? Should I start a company selling gold-plated hammers at a 10,000% markup on manufacturing costs?

I think I may be one of those boring old farts who foolishly thinks that clothes are just intended to keep you warm and dry, and which should last for years!

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Wheeee! BT preps for FIVE HUNDRED MEGABIT broadband trial

Pen-y-gors
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Rollout timetable

TEN YEARS to roll it out nationwide? They're taking the piss, aren't they? Or will there be a sudden magical improvement in the timetable to three years if the government bung them a few billion quid?

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Google Translate MEAT GRINDER turns gay into 'faggot', 'poof', 'queen'

Pen-y-gors
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Re: "Bulldyke"

Language is so confusing - what do Merkins (and google translate) make of the annual Dyke Jumping Competitions in East Anglia?

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Regin super-malware has Five Eyes fingerprints all over it says Kaspersky

Pen-y-gors
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Detector?

Does the SpyShelter anti-keylogger software (see yesterday's article) detect/block this?

I think we should be told...

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Anonymous: Snap on that Guy Fawkes mask, we're marching against child sex abuse

Pen-y-gors
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What could possibly go wrong?

Probably a good idea for all paediatricians, paedogogues, pedestrians, pedants, pedalo owners and podiatrists to leave the country for a few days around then.

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Keylogger: Somebody STOP ME! Oh hang on, I just did

Pen-y-gors
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Someone else

crossed off the GCHQ Xmas card list - unless they've left in any backdoors of course.

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Snoopers' Charter amendments withdrawn – FOR NOW ...

Pen-y-gors
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Things may be improving, in an odd way

Interesting report (link here) about warning from ex-GCHQ boss that with wider use of end-to-end encryption, the spooks will have to start working up close and personal - i.e. physically planting bugs and having surveilance teams watching suspects. You know, like it used to be. And an effective end to universal, warrantless bugging, as it won't work any more.

Maybe it will soon sink in to our 'masters' that monitoring everything is a waste of time and money (as has been shown so often, when trrrrrsts attack, and are found to have been on the spooks radar anyway, but they just didn't do anything about them)

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'One day, YOU won't be able to SENSE the INTERNET,' vows Schmidt

Pen-y-gors
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Everything's connected?

and owned by Google?

I really, really do not want to end my days wearing internet-enabled underpants that show me adverts!

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

Pen-y-gors
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Garlic optional?

Looks and sounds rather delicieuse. But how on la Terre can le garlic be considered optionell? It's foreign - garlic is mandatory!

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Microsoft: We bought Skype. We make mobiles.. Oh, HANG ON!

Pen-y-gors
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VOIP - Flavour of the month?

With or without video, this seems to be the way to go. Just had an advert email from HMA, who do a very good VPN service, and are now offering HideMyPhone - one or more free new phone numbers to be used via their app, at a rate that is a lot less than I pay for normal mobile calls. I assume others are offering similar deals.

But if M$ get their act together with wearable hardware and Skype, then yay, we have the Dick Tracey watch!

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UK Scouts database 'flaws' raise concerns

Pen-y-gors
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No shit sherlock!

"UK Scouts database 'flaws' raise concerns - System holds records of ALL scouts in the country"

Wow, how could that be allowed to happen? Next we'll hear that the Upper Chudleigh Campanology Society database holds records on all members of the Upper Chudleigh Campanology Society. Shameful!

Out of interest, what would be the point of a UK Scouts database that DIDN'T hold records for all UK scouts?

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Leaked doc: Europe's justice chiefs forming plans to cosy up to ISPs

Pen-y-gors
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When will it sink in?

Dear Law-makers

It's simple. I am not a terrorist, therefore there is no reason or justification for you or anyone else storing details of my movements, my activities, my financial transactions or my contacts.

If that person over there is reasonably suspected of terrorist activities then the police should be able to ask a senior judge nicely (with their reasons, obviously) for an order permitting them to request that various bodies start recording details of that person's movements, activities and communications etc. and pass them to the police.

Is that so difficult to understand?

Yours sincerely

A law-abiding citizen.

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Beam me up, Scotty, And VAPORIZE me in the process

Pen-y-gors
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Makes no sense

"The system could prove vital for companies that wish to retail products to 3D printers. By holding buyers to a single copy, retailers could ensure a product can be sold and printed without the risk of pirates selling off additional copies of their 3D printed products."

That's nonsense - the retailer's original would be destroyed in the process, and there's nothing to stop the buyer re-scanning and duplicating the copy.

3d printing may one day be handy for creating a limited range of objects fairly quickly, at a distance. Problem is they'll all look almost, but not quite exactly, like a plastic model of the Eiffel Tower.

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Free Windows 10 could mean the END for Microsoft and the PC biz

Pen-y-gors
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Re: Sorry...

Yes, but...

I don't think I've ever risked actually fully upgrading a Windows OS in situ (installing service packs doesn't count), as the chances of finding out the new OS is either a) a total lemon or b) the 'upgrade' bricks the PC are just too high. I've always waited to change OS until I need a new laptop/PC - which happens every 4-5 years. In this case my Win 7 box is 4.5 years old, and should be good for at least another 18 months (possibly with an upgrade to an SSD). Then I'll (probably) get a nice new machine with Win 10 pre-installed, and take the opportunity to clean out all the crap as I migrate data and essential software.

It's a strategy that works for me - I've never owned a copy of Win 3.0, ME, Vista or Win 8!

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Pen-y-gors
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Re: WTF.....- "supported lifetime"

@Credas

I suspect "supported lifetime" is pretty clear. M$ support (i.e issue security updates for etc) the last few OSs. So XP support ended in April 2014. I believe Vista support is due to end in early 2017, and Win 7 in 2020. So supported lifetime of Win 10 will go until about 2026 or so. And if you want support after the end-of-support date THEN you will have to pay, as you do for XP support now. They're not daft enough to suggest that they will support Win 10 for the next 50 years.

That's all it means, it's nothing new, it's what M$ have always done. It doesn't mean that when support ends it stops working, just that if you want support after 10 years, you'll have to pay for it.

I'd say "Simples!" but that's a bit naff....

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LEAKED: Samsung's iPHONE 6 KILLER... the Samsung Galaxy S6

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And the price will be?

If it's £200-£250 I might be interested. Pointless spending more than that on a phone.

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Drinking to forget? OK. But first, eat a curry... QUICK!

Pen-y-gors
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Really useful food additive

If they can manage to get the circumin so that it's colourless and tasteless (ground turmeric is a bit of a giveaway) then it could be added to military rations, hospital food, school meals, macdonalds - anywhere where events likely to cause PTSD may happen.

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2015: The year of MAD TV science, but who can keep up?

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Re: Do the older amongst us

I think I might have had a sense of deja vu - but VCR wasn't quite the same situation as 4K (and HD). There was the format war over recorders, but generally people found them to be quite handy once they had one, they added useful functionality - allowing time-shifting, recording films to watch again, renting movies - but 4K really doesn't add anything substantial. And I have to admit that I haven't had my VHS recorder plugged in to the telly to record anything for years, and I've not bothered getting a DVR, cos there's very little on that's worth watching again. Now that they show the same film 19 times within a month, who needs to record?

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Pen-y-gors
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Honestly, what's the point?

Just looked at what 4K TVs are available. Some of them are 85" diagonal - a bargain at £13K! Who the flip needs an 85" TV? Try getting a 40" and sitting closer to it.

What I can't see are any 20" 4K TVs for £250, which is what I'd want, if and when present, perfectly adequate, TV dies.

And would Corrie, X Factor or even those wonderful historical documentaries with Lucy Worsley be seriously any better in 4K?

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Elon Musk SNOWED UNDER with Googley DOLLARS for Space Internet

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Re: I don't have any dollars

@ciaran "Nothing in Europe has an exciting vision for space"

I dunno...what about the Skylon/Sabre spaceplane? Get that lot working and all current bets are off! Why don't we have any eccentric European billionaires who want to back that?

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