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* Posts by Andy The Hat

152 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010

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Brit game devs WILL get tax relief for, er, EastEnders Game and Legend of Slough

Andy The Hat

I'm sorry but am I the only one who thinks this is an utter waste of MY money that could have been spent on hospitals and doctors and no-win-no-fee lawyers' legal aid money to sue the NHS and all that other tosh the media spout?

If a 'british game' gets a tax break why not British umbrellas, British Beef, British shoes, British parsnips, British condoms, British bombers, British pregnancies?

There's a stink in the tax department ... Revolt I say!

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Surf's up near Saturn as boffins spot waves on Titan

Andy The Hat

Silly question but what did they use that has a 2cm resolution? I didn't think any orbiter was that good ...

p.s. just read the article

"Four pixels in the images are brighter than one might expect from reflecting sunlight, Barnes reported at the conference. He concluded that they must represent something particularly rough on the surface — a wave or set of waves"

Four pixels? So it could be a lump of ice, a wave, an atmospheric disturbance or the Loch Titan Monster's back breaking the surface ...

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WTF is … the multiverse?

Andy The Hat

"Yeah... it's all fun and games until one morning you see dead pixels in the sky !"

Ha! The only indication of dead pixels would be very dark areas that we couldn't see but we could infer were there ... and, if the pixel was dead because it was electrically short, there would be a hard-to-explain flow of energy in that area ... oops I think I've just explained dark matter, dark energy and the existence of a higher entity ... now to send an email to gimme_a_nobel_prize.com! :-)

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Earth's night-side gets different kinds of neutrinos from day-side

Andy The Hat

I've started eating jam tarts ... anyone noticed a flux change yet? :-)

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Andy The Hat

The neutrino flux changes day/night. Good science, nice result.

Correct conclusion: lower electron neutrino flux at night ...

Reported conclusion: The electron neutrinos change flavour so the flux reduces and we don't detect so many. Theory, no practical experimental evidence, terrible science!

The excess neutrinos, using the same experimental evidence but according to my theory, are absorbed by the fillings of Mr Kipling jam tarts in London, there's just as much evidence! Lots of other less jammy possibilities, including absorption by some mechanism within the Earth but, until they do an experiment showing the increase in flux of the other neutrinos with the corresponding drop in flux of electron neutrinos, their conclusion is not shown by the experimental evidence.

A Level physics score 5 out of 10, results good but mis-interpretation of results resulting in an invalid conclusion based on the available data.

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Cable thieves hang up on BT, cause MAJOR outage

Andy The Hat

I wish people would stop blaming the average scrap merchant.

Large scale copper theft is organised and legit scrap merchants never really did touch it.

The cables are cut as an entire bundle (fibre as well), dragged out with a winch onto a drum, the whole lot stuffed into a 40foot container somewhere then shipped out via wherever as 'recycled waste material'. Nobody can tell the difference ... it's probably on the ship next to the container with two Range Rovers and a BMW for someone in Illigitimatostan ...

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'G-WIZ like' object doing 40,000 MPH CRASHES on the MOON

Andy The Hat

Sometimes you just have to love the eononomic drivers behind science ...

We've witnessed a number of small impacts but we saw one, "1", ONE, uno evento (is that spanish enough?) involving an object between 0.6 and 1.4m across. The conclusion therefore is that impacts involving objects of about 1m in size happens 10 times as often as we thought ... I would really like to see the statistical error bars on that single item graph ...

Oh no, such a thing may hit the Earth! Doomed doomed! We must try to spot them ... "Gimme gimme gimme that funding baybeee ..."

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No, pesky lawyers, particle colliders WON'T destroy the Earth

Andy The Hat

... and back to the subject ...

Who are these lawyers and on whos behest are they grinding they lawery axes and preparing to fill their ample wallets?

No laywer *ever* does something for nothing, getting two to work on the same job at the same time would cost at least four times as much (price goes up with the square of the level of bamboozlement provided). In addition they've actually written a letter ... that must already be £10k ... someone's paying ...

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IT'S ALIVE! China's Jade Rabbit rover RETURNS from the DEAD

Andy The Hat

It became a dead rabbit? This assumes it was alive to start with ... Was it artificial life or really alive? That's a silly question, they wouldn't send real bunnies as they taste too nice so it must have been artificial life ... THE CHINESE HAVE DEVELOPED ARTIFICIAL LIFEFORMS - RUN FOR THE HILLS!

But why are the Chinese then sending lagomorphic lifeforms to the moon? Is it that they've run rampant over their fields and are sucking their rivers dry, immune to all that the Chinese artificial-lagomorph exterminator squad could throw at them? Perhaps the cunning Chinese sought to kill the pesky hares by sending them to the moon!

Aha! Dead as the proverbial (but tasty) roast dinner.

But no!

Even now they survive the ravages of the lunar surface ... they're out to get us ... it's only a matter of time before the chino-bunny finds a lunar lander and, to the theme of the A-Team, builds a rocket ship to return himself to the Earth... Beware The War of the Wabbits and narration by Richard Burton! Pom pom pom ... ta de dah, ta de dah ...

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You’re NOT fired: The story of Amstrad’s amazing CPC 464

Andy The Hat

Had one of these. Wasted many hours whilst at university playing adventure games and graphic stuff that was great at the time.

It was the first machine I ever modded (had a *really* good keyboard off a terminal, 8-bit printer port and dual 3" floppies). You could get big stuff onto disk from tape but often couldn't load it again as the DOS took RAM space so you had to part load off disk, stuff that into video RAM, finish loading off disk then get the data back from video space which overwrote the DOS!

I also ran it as a full CP/M machine linked up either as a terminal emulator to various DEC machines or as a true workstation to other CP/M machines. My mate wrote his entire final year dissertation on it and my final year project was specifically targeted at compiling and running large projects on small machines (with the CPC as the sample CP/M machine).

It never broke, it did what you expected and, for it's time, I really can't knock it!

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Bad luck, n00bs: Mozilla to splurge ADS inside empty Firefox tiles

Andy The Hat

Donationware?

What's wrong with an optional 'donate here' button - £2,£5 or whatever? The user gets a guaranteed decent, fast, ad/spyware free browser and Mozilla get more income than they would from ad clicks ...

I remember being happy to pay a small amount for Opera years ago to get the full fat, ad free version ...

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MtGox takes heat as reasons for Bitcoin FAIL surface

Andy The Hat

Let me think through this turn of events, hypothetically obviously:

"Oops! There's a nasty hole here that I failed to fix, I'll take the system down for third party transactions"

"Oh look, the BC price has plummetted I'd better buy some"

"I've fixed the problem that I knew about all the time, carry on folks!"

"Oh look how the BC price has now risen due to increased confidence in my newly secured system."

""Wow, look how much money I've made from BCs that I bought when they had crashed in value after I knowingly took down the system in the full knowledge that it'd cause a temporary reduction in value ..."

BC market manipulation cynic ... me?

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Jean Michel Jarre: Je voudrais un MUSIC TAX sur VOTRE MOBE

Andy The Hat

I was listening to Zoolook yesterday - I think he's already taxing enough ...

Does the 'vocal' actually say 'moomin troll'? If so I believe there may be a copyright issue to answer ...

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CERN outlines plan for new 100km circumference supercollider

Andy The Hat

Re: Why not space?

... but that's one big device with a lot of sensors. How would you supply enough energy to power your ring and enough fuel to keep your immense ring in a stable position? Or, if you used a legrange point, would your ring be stable enough to not need prodding by attitude adjusters regularly? Whatever it is, pushing your ring into space would be eye watering.

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LOHAN's handsome young autopilot springs into life

Andy The Hat

Silly question but wouldn't a flush mounted super-blindo LED and a flush finish el-crappo-time safety switch be better aerodynamically than standard el-naffo panel fittings?

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UK libraries trial free access to scientific research

Andy The Hat

Every tax payer should have access to *any and all* research which is even partially funded by the tax payer or any public body (such as an organisation claiming charitable status).

As an extension to this, any patent or invention created as the direct result of public funding would also belong to the public (at least partially) and as such 'we' would all get a return on the investment via royalties rather than the entire proceeds being syphoned off to an individual, single rich institution or to a patent troll.

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UK picks Open Document Format for all government files

Andy The Hat

"The problem is not only document format but also embedded code and over use of document formatting ..."

I'd agree with that.

1) if the document was reasonable and

1.1) a) (i) concise and

(ii)not indented

(x) too far or

(xx) unreasonably

b) plausible information

1.2) didn't contain

a) huge colour watermarks or

b) loads of commercial

(i) logos

(ii) trademarks or

(iii) telephone numbers that send you in circles

Of course the first failure would be inability to comply with para 1.1(a)(ii)(xx) or 1.1(b) and, when it comes to HMRC, 1.2(b)(iii) would be right out ...

What I do hope is that 'editing in the browser' doesn't mean cloud storage of data with insecure data transmission and manipulation ...

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Boffins demo re-usable paper and waterjet printers

Andy The Hat

Writing stuff in children's books in erasable ink? The teachers here would be lynched if they did that here 1) because most of our teachers have the ability to write in the correct books and 2) most of the kids would be altering stuff all the time!

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Andy The Hat

Reminds me of the 'erasable biro' years ago ... before people realised that if you wanted to erase it you could use a pencil, or make it permanent by using a pen ... Cheques with erasable biro were great :-)

Now, where's that inportant memo sent to me the day before yesterday by El Sid the Wise ... I hope it wasn't printed on 24hour paper ...

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UK.gov recruiting 400 crack CompSci experts to go into teaching

Andy The Hat

At least Microsoft and Google are involved ... :-(

Why insist on two languages? At that age, why not teach them how to program properly instead so they can turn their hands to multiple languages?

When are they teaching basic logic to these kids, before or after they have been taught bad programming? Would that be before they've been taught the basic maths required for programming?

Ho hum ... at least they'll be able to code more crap apps for defunct windoze phones and googly stuff ...

I can't help thinking Gove should be subject to a CO2 emmisions cap.

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Amateurs find the 'HOLY GRAIL' supernova – right on our doorstep

Andy The Hat

What's more amazing is that using small telescopes (4 or 5" refractors) and some modern techniques, amateurs are imaging this thing from their back gardens!

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Your squirty insecticides make bumblebees SHRINK, warn boffins

Andy The Hat

"Oh, one last thing. That is one weird bee in the photo! IMHO it is either a bumblebee drone or a fly passing itself as a bee mimic. Anyone else know better?"

That started some conversation! It is a bee (not a fly as it has 4 wings), probably female (appears to have rudimentary pollen baskets) and likely a carder bee or similar but it's incredibly hard to tell from that picture ... certainly not an average "bumble bee".

Very good spot ChrisMcD!

For the record, I believe that's the first time bee anatomy has ever been discussed on El Reg!

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Andy The Hat

"Organic food is more healthy ..."

And my name is Nellie ... why do people believe this hippie twaddle? *Fresh* food is more healthy and restricting the indiscriminant use of pesticides and herbicides may be more healthy for the environment and reduce residues (which may or may not be harmful). Organic food per se has been proven to *not* be 'more healthy' or taste any different to 'non-organic' in like-for-like taste tests.

I had bees and they were specifically moved next to extensive rape fields (canola for the hard of English) for many years before the EU organo-phosphate regs came in and never had problems - apart from coping with the massive honey yield! Pyrethroid use has increased *since* that time yet the honey bee population problems were seen long before that. I think researchers must look more holistically at the reasons for the reduction in bee numbers not pointing fingers at individual things ...

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Health Sec opens new data centre: Biz not Surrey to be in Godalming

Andy The Hat

"Aegis One has standby generators powerful enough to supply 15,000 homes"

Whoopy doo! Enough to power 100million electric toothbrushes on pulsey vibratey mode, but is this super-dooper generating station enough to power ... err ... a data centre perhaps? And for how long? Somehow the importance of this has been lost on me ...

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Ten classic electronic calculators from the 1970s and 1980s

Andy The Hat

Re: Novus

"I had a RPM calculator back in the late 70's, it was a Novus. I've never seen or heard of them since."

Hooray! Another person in the world who had one of these.The big advantage was the rest of the kids never borrowed my calculator as it didn't have an equals sign! Mine still works ...

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Brit inventors' GRAVITY POWERED LIGHT ships out after just 1 year

Andy The Hat

A boot note to this. What exactly has been invented? Every schoolkid does exactly this experiment using a mass, a motor/dynamo and a bulb or meter?

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Andy The Hat

Stupid question but how does the power storage and delivery compare to whats-his-thingies clockwork stuff?

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Oh no, RBS has gone titsup again... but is it JUST BAD LUCK?

Andy The Hat

I applied for a job with a large retail group in the 80s. I found out that part of the job description was to transfer the entire stock database system to new hardware with a complete rewrite using a language as yet unspecified. When asked what the souce was they replied 'assembler' and I replied 'byeeee"

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False widow spiders in guinea pig slaughter horror

Andy The Hat

"I don't know how smart it is to keep guinea pigs outdoors, though."

Well, if they survive to 5 years old indoors in a small, smelly cage with the cat sitting onthe top terrorising them they're generally lucky. Let them run outside and behave like ... like ... well, guinea pigs, and 20 or 25 years of happy, rodenty, snuffliness is easy ... Outside is not only a good idea it's good!

There's a scientific paper (which I can't find at the moment) detailing the findings of an explorer who discovered guinea pigs actually living in the wild - not a centrally heated pet shop or someone to shout 'have you fed the bloody guinea pig' in sight ...

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DVLA declares J14 HAD on BU14 SHT and SL14 AGS

Andy The Hat

If people are stupid enough to pay the money, and others are stupid enough to try to interpret them let them.

If the DVLA droids actually thought about things and introduced a decent system when they changed the regularions (2001?) we wouldn't be discussing it ...

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Micron: Our STACKED SILICON BEAUTY solves the DRAM problem

Andy The Hat

Chipstacking? Brings back memories (sic) of the late 70's and 80's when we used to piggy-back solder 1K dram ics to increase board density ... Soldering the TSVs with my 3mm soldering iron tip might be an issue though :-)

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ROBOT SWARM positions itself over EARTH ... to probe our magnetic field

Andy The Hat

"The mission is going to help scientists understand the strange phenomenon of magnetic-pole shifts that the Earth is currently undergoing."

... or the not so strange and quite well theorised magnetic fied fluctuations that the Earth is constantly undergoing ...

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Noisy qubits destroy data in order to save it

Andy The Hat

>>The whole "you can't believe in science and religion" idea seems to be based on ignorance.

... silly me! I thought it was based primarily on the mistaken idea that there was a deity and secondly that science isn't a belief system ...

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Boffins baffled after Sun fails to fry satellites

Andy The Hat

Well, ten minutes ago, before the cloud rolled in, I saw the sun through my solarscope and I can report

1) it was round (not horseshoe, non-EU banana, or Mr Blobby shaped)

2) it was belching filaments and prominences and generally losing mass rapidly

but

3) it only had one minor spot.

It had a big spot all week and lots of smaller ones before that which means, statistically speaking, we've has about 80% reduction in spotification over a fortnight ... This rapid desolarspoitfication further means I can confirm that the sun is going out rapidly. Given the speed of infra red light, it's tin hats time folks, ice age 3 starts in 8 minutes!

... is it me or is it chilly in here?

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Andy The Hat

"While the Sun's north pole flipped more than a year ago, the south pole is running late – which means both have the same polarity."

Nobel Prize please - I've just identified a monopole!

... sometimes popular sciece spews forth such cobblers ...

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Undercover BBC man exposes Amazon worker drone's daily 11-mile trek

Andy The Hat

Rivetting rings on aluminium ladders, stacking shelves in Tescos, pushing trollies in Sainsbury's, picking frozen sprouts for Christmas dinners, putting stawberries in little punnets, sitting on the checkout in Asda, being an IT droid ... now tell me Amazon is worse ...

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Microsoft releases wonderfully loopy experimental GIF-jiggler

Andy The Hat

Let's try again. It was "G" for "Graphics" not "J" for "jellybrain" ... grrr grrr grrr ... not </australian accent> Geoff Geoff Geoff

Just because the USA decided, many years after the entire world (*including* AFAIR the USA) had embraced and used the word "GIF", that the inventor(s) liked the pronunciation "JIF" doesn't mean that it should be or is ...

Just to put both my feet in up to the ankles - sulPHur, sulPHur!

It's all to do with US world domination and finding English hard ... but it's so much easier if you remove bits. Get rid "g" because it's hard to pronounce (except in "gee that's hard") and "ph" because it's difficult ro write ... "Z" (zed) has already been lost to incompetence. Mark my words, "W" will be next, replaced by a "V2 ... sorry typo ... "V" ...

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#ALERT! There'll be EMERGENCIES on TWITTER for UK, Ireland

Andy The Hat

Brilliant, I don't Twit but, even if I had such an inane desire, at least I'd be happy in the knowledge that when I finally get home my personal phone will be able to regurgitate all the emergencies I've missed whilst I wasn't able to use my personal phone at work ...

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File-NUKING Cryptolocker PC malware MENACES 'TENS of MILLIONS' in UK

Andy The Hat

"You can protect a computer with the free CryptoPrevent utility."

Which is all well and good if you knew of a safe, malware free, 100% trustworthy, unhijacked source for it ... and that assumes that the software itself is not a trojan that only installs crypto.

I suppose I'd better take the risk and download a potentially insecure program from an totally unknown source on the internet to lock up a piece of malware which I don't yet have so don't know if aforementioned package will be sod all good anyway.

I'm going to start chanting, reading charred bones, drinking urine and spreading duck fat on my keyboard to stop infection next ... I just love computers

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RETRO-GASM: The Fuze electronics kit for the Raspberry Pi

Andy The Hat

... makes me want to dig my old Micro Professor out!

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Snowden: Hey fellow NSA worker, mind if I copy your PASSWORD?

Andy The Hat

"The boss of GCHQ claimed to Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee that Snowden's revelations had directly helped Al Qaeda"

Ok ... and 10 years ago we didn't know GCHQ were slurping data? We didn't know that the only way to protect data was to heavily encrypt? We didn't know that the US and GB were sharing anything they wanted, whenever they wanted? All Snowden has done is confirmed the bleedin' obvious - which is why bin-Laden didn't directly use electronic communication!

Snowden hasn't helped the US or GB by simply confirmed that "they've got their digital fingers in the till", that is why the politicians are not happy. If he'd have been al-Snowdenov and released al-queda (whatever that is) secrets he'd have been a hero ...

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Dodgy Kaspersky update borks THOUSANDS of NHS computers

Andy The Hat

Sorry, all this about 'why did the sys admin not test it ..." and all that rubbish ...

The whole point here is that a basic system file, not even something obscure, was borked. In this case, why didn't the AV vendor apparently test it on a windows box before it was unleashed?

Where there's blame ... and all that.

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MIT boffins: Use software to fix errors made by decaying silicon

Andy The Hat

I can see the point in software recovery of hardware that may degrade over time (martian landers etc) but to allow the creation of a inaccurate system then try to predict what is correct appears backward.

My only caveat is feedback - if we develop digital systems that are so fast that feedback systems drive the output towards the statistically correct result - it could work ... Personally I'd call it an 'analogue computation module' and shove a d-to-a and a-to-d on each end ... simples ...

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Blighty promises £49m to get more British yoof into engineering careers

Andy The Hat

Nobody here is talking about education ...

We used to run education from post-16 to degree level. Even basic C&G taught machining to tolerance with feeler gauges and everything.

We do not teach engineering in F&HE any more, we teach design. One designer requires 250 production and manufacturing engineers (ok that ratio may not be accurate!) FE is not paid by the education funding councils to run practical engineering courses so don't run them. Kids are taught at my local College from 14 but they cannot progress above level 2 as there's no funding for it and the people who teach it have in most cases, never used or even seen the equipment they are teaching "skilled engineers" to use! Yes, your car may be welded up by someone who has got all the qualifications but has never has one of his welds strength or penetration tested because the lecturer didn't know anything about it ... that's scary.

On the other hand, when it comes to jobs, a local engineering company has been crying out for workers on the tv and in the press etc. They can't find them ... shock horror! Despite offering a 40 hour week with mandatory overtime of which the first hour may be unpaid, shift work, nominally five but six or seven days per week as required with 15 days holiday per year and you are even allowed to buy your own overalls and boots in your own time ... all at basic minumum wage. For that you must be trained to level three, which isn't taught locally, and fully conversant with their machinery and practices ... Engineering isn't all working at Rolls Royce ... you could and can get paid more as an unqualified cleaner ...

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Sueballs lobbed at Tosh, Samsung and LG over 'optical disk cartel'

Andy The Hat

"... as any fule kno ..."

Finally, a story written in Queen's Norfolk ... :-)

A norfolk bumpkinny wumpkinney ...

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London plod plonks, er, pull request on EasyDNS

Andy The Hat

What a load of cobblers.

Who would expect a police force to approach a library and say 'We believe Mrs Bloggs has borrowed a book but is in breach of your terms and conditions. We will shut down the library if you don't do something about it."?

1) Terms and conditions are for the company and it's customers

2) Breaches of terms and conditions are not enforcable by the Police.

3) Why are the Police driving it and not either the host or the customer?

4) Threats should not be part of UK policing.

Fundamentally it appears that they (the police or someone associated with the police) are seeking to shut down a potentially legitimate domain using clandestine methods and not the law. This is neither appropriate nor, I would suggest, legal in this country.

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The Vulture 2: What paintjob should we put on our soaraway spaceplane?

Andy The Hat

Pay homage to the first Shuttle launch. Paint the body with a coat of red oxide and the wings white ...

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WAIT! Don't you dare send that ad-spaff email without 'specific' consent

Andy The Hat

£500,000 fine? You're having a giraffe.

If Malcolm the plumber from up the road dumps an anwanted flier once a year through my letter box he gets done.

But "Hello" who appears to be from Punjabistanishire and is not actually selling me anything but apparently knows I so desperately need to be eco friendly that he rings ten times a day to offer me 10% off a conservatory for my fourth floor flat can't be stopped ...

Perhaps arses and elbows need to be inspected.

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Indian spooks snooping without ISP knowledge

Andy The Hat

Under HM Govs own rules the when data exits the country it is subject ti the same data protection rules that we have here. In other words, it is held securely and used fairly ... or it's snooped on by all and sundry ...

I think the Data Commisioner bod should be jumping up and down at this point ...

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Germany warns: You just CAN'T TRUST some Windows 8 PCs

Andy The Hat

If it can be remotely updated by Micro$oft, who's to say it cannot be utilised by 'interested third parties' to simply prevent machines booting (in time of war by HM Gov or for the purpose of extortion by whoever and whenever ...)?

Control of the OS by the OS that you have opted to install is one thing, control of the entire system via firmware by a few companies who's only connection to your machine is a few lines of code in one chip is another.

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