* Posts by Andy The Hat

439 posts • joined 21 Oct 2010

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Schrödinger's cat explained with neutrinos

Andy The Hat
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Re: Nothing is determined

Is that modification to the experiment introducing the measurement problem? The very act of measuring - or even intending to measure (this is horrible!) - the current state (in this case via a stopwatch) will in itself define the quantum state, the wave function will be collapsed and everything is hunky dory (or not if you're a poisoned cat!) and non-quantummy-wierd.

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Celebrated eye hospital Moorfields lets Google eyeball 1 million scans

Andy The Hat
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Anonymised ...?

... yet since every one is potentially identifiable by their retinal scan, how can it be?

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Opera cries foul over Microsoft Edge power-slurping claims

Andy The Hat
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tabbed browsing

careful what you say ... Opera invented, innovated and drove a load of these features then, because they were loved by too many and management were stupid, they removed the more useful ones to the detriment of wider browser development and resulting in a load of their loyal user base defecting.

At least they're put power saving at the top of their list as Chrome is apparently so crap ... sorry? It's now based on the Chrome engine? Umm err ... well at least they must have polished around the edges to reduce power consumption ...

Opera was, but no longer is, a real challenge to the non-mobile market incumbents.

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Maplin Electronics demands cash with menaces

Andy The Hat
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Re: Have not used them since finding CPC.

CPC=Farnell=Swiss buyout (see above). Bye Bye CPC? It was nice knowing you for so long ...

Rapid Electronics were great and I've used them since the late 80s or early 90s. I still use them but, since the Conrad merger/buyout, things are not quite as good.

Maplin had a good patch in the 80s but when as soon as they stopped sending you a catalogue and opened high-street shops they were doomed. I remember walking into a store for a couple of emergency bits and picking up a catalogue. They tried to charge me for it and I asked for the catalogue free. "No Sir". I spend £20k a year on components and other kit ... and have a company account with you. "Oh I'll speak to the manager ... Just this once I suppose we can let you have one." Haven't bought from them since.

Screwfix were sold out to B&Q and opened high street shops and are now total crap (quality and price).

Is there a theme here?

What RS like now? Haven't used them for years. They used to be expensive but had nearly everything you wanted in at least two flavours, the best set of catalogues of any supplier, a great Data Library and customer support second to none. Obscure components they didn't carry came from Farnell who were nearly as good ... back then anyway.

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Intel still chip, chip, chippin' away at the European Commission's anti-trust fine

Andy The Hat
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Daniel Beard ...

... stamped his feets and tearfully sobbed "But it's just not fair!" in true Enid Blyton fashion."Oh woe is me!"

And then his demeanor became more hostile and his thin, lawyery lips hissed " ... and what the hell is a Euro-dollar anyway? I know the fine was a billion of them 'cause El Reg reported it ... We'll pay up when we can find a currency matching that description ... probably as soon as TTIP is ratified and the US controls everything."

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Rejoice, fatties: Giving chocolate electric shocks makes it healthier

Andy The Hat
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But when it comes to fat we seem to get plenty. When is a Mars Bar not a Mars Bar? Are the Aussies short changed on additives? Note:

UK Mars ingredients:

Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Skimmed Milk Powder, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Sunflower Oil, Milk Fat, Lactose, Whey Powder (from Milk), Palm Fat, Fat Reduced Cocoa, Barley Malt Extract, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Salt, Egg White Powder, Hydrolysed Milk Protein, Natural Vanilla Extract, Milk Chocolate Milk Solids 14% minimum, Milk Chocolate contains Vegetable Fats in addition to Cocoa Butter

But Australian Mars ingredients:

Sugar, Glucose Syrup (Sources include Wheat), Milk Solids, Vegetable Fat, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Barley Malt Extract, Cocoa Powder, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Salt , Egg White, Natural Flavour (Vanilla Extract).

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Telia engineer error to blame for massive net outage

Andy The Hat
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Misconfingered... again?

is it just me or does this story sound familiar?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/19/eu_cable_outage/

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Gravitational waves: A new type of astronomy

Andy The Hat
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Re: RE:"was greater than all the energy radiated by every star in the observable universe"

It was the power output of the gravity wave burst as the two black holes coalesced. One was accelerated from 0.3 to 0.5c in about 0.15seconds ... not bad for a few solar masses.

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Andy The Hat
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Re: Poor science

Two independent detectors producing time displaced, near identical signals. An error would have to have been replicated independently ... twice now ...

No, actually amazing science, just poor interpretation by an AC

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BOFH: Follow the paper trail

Andy The Hat
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Can you be a bit terroristy? Isn't that like a bit pregnant or a bit of a twat?

There should be a scale - what about Brian (a very naughty boy) via Goldfinger (a misguided teenager) and Hans Gruber (a properly bad boy) to Nero (properly annoyed)?

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Euro Patent Office prez's brake line cut – aka how to tell you're not popular

Andy The Hat
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Re: The difference between genius and stupidy?

Indeed genius has it's limits - the patent they filed has lapsed, presumably because the 'bicycle' the specified includes a frame but no wheels ... doh!

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ISS pump-up space podule refuses to engorge

Andy The Hat
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Red faced ...

I note no video of Tim Peake, red faced, out of breath and still desperately blowing into a small tube ...

"How big did you say this balloon was...?"

<edit> sorry, I have to report I just has a major Airplane flashback!

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ISS 'nauts to inflate pump-up space podule

Andy The Hat
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Not very inflaty

It doubles its length and gets a bit fatter.

I find that lack of expansion somewhat surprising considering the supposed benefits of the blow-up system and the size of the proposed habitat. Perhaps the skin is relatively thick so on a small installation like this it's a significant volume of the unit but, assuming skin thickness stays constant and there's little more 'structural' material, becomes significantly less as the size increases?

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Bearded Baron Shugs hired by Gov.uk to get down with the kids

Andy The Hat
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Founded Viglen?

He didn't found Viglen, he found Viglen as something to make money from.

I bought my first 'real PC' from them and was looking to buy a load of kit from them quite some time before old Beardy McBeardFace got his sticky paws on them.

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Gillian Anderson: The next James Jane Bond?

Andy The Hat
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Re: No no no no no no and no

... and I'm sure running across rooftops in high-heels would be bad form.

Though "Emma Peel" always managed by changing into a tight jump-suit before a fight scene ...

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Blighty's Virgin Queen threatened with foreign abduction

Andy The Hat
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One of those auctions ...

Seller: "We'll offer this to the open market at £10m ... we've no idea if anyone will pay that much, the eBay and Paypal fees will be very high for a start."

Country: "We've got to raise £10m to buy it because that's what it's worth - the money-grabbing seller told us so it must be true ..."

It's only some greasepaint on an old bit of sailcloth. Either take it for the nation as it's of historical value and "it's ours because it's a picture of Queeny", or tell the seller to get stuffed and offer them sixpence as a starting bid.

I can't get £15k from the Lottery for a popular, totally voluntary educational outreach programme for 25000 people over 10 years, just watch them cough up a £5m donation for this ... Perhaps it can share vault space with the Churchill Papers to save money?

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Hypersonic flight test hits Mach 7.5

Andy The Hat
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Is this news?

It seems to me that the collaborative team have launched a two stage rocket. Hell, loads of amateurs do that every week around the world.

If there was a scramjet ignition or other test then that would be news but, at the moment, "A small, high speed sounding rocket was launched by the Aussies" is about as far as it goes ...

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HSBC swinging axe on UK IT department, 840 heads to roll

Andy The Hat
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Comp sci grads unemployed?

Only ywo hours before, El Reg published an article bemoaning the prospects for Comp Sci grads and blaming the quality of courses ...

Now that there are yet another 800 staff on the job seeking circuit, isn't there a clue there somewhere?

...

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NASA flashes cash at advanced aerospace concepts

Andy The Hat
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"Torpor Inducing Transfer Habitats..."

Ooh ... hibernation chambers ...

Pack the pulse rifles, Alien here we come!

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Nuisance caller fined a quarter of a million pounds by the ICO

Andy The Hat
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Auto report

Given the connection method used by telecoms companies, why can't we 'auto report this call' - even 'we do not have the number' ones - with a button on the handset or something? The operator would at least be able to scrape some caller info from the call set up information to accumulate as evidence.

What's quite worrying is that 6million+ connected calls only generated 200+ complaints. Surely that says it's too difficult to report them? Or is it that Mr Telecom operator takes a cut per call so it's not in their interest to provide an easy method of preventing/reporting such calls?

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Inside Electric Mountain: Britain's biggest rechargeable battery

Andy The Hat
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memories ...

I went for a visit many years ago. It was great fun but I remember one thing - hitting the sheep/cattle grid at the entrance at only about 4mph and the car rattling so hard it ejected the CD and broke the main dashboard mountings! The woman showing us around said "Oh yes, it is vicious but it still doesn't keep the sheep out." :-)

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Non-police orgs merrily accessed PNC without authority, says HMIC

Andy The Hat
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Who is the data controller?

Surely it is the Data Controller who should be taken to task for allowing access? This was not a breach of security but misuse of data by the data controller. Therefore the data controller will be subject to the relevant fines/prison sentence as defined in the law ... won't he/she/they?

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Dwarf planet intumesces before astronomers' gaze

Andy The Hat
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Clue please ...

Anyone point me at how you use reflectivity and infrared absorbance/emission to estimate planetary size?

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Archaeologists find oldest ever ground-edge stone axe

Andy The Hat
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Question ...

I'm no archeologist but what do you use an axe for, even that you've spent time polishing, when the scale shows only a 5mm edge? How small was the shaft - a twig perhaps? How did you physically tie it on? Even ye olde hand axes had cutting edges inches across for the dismembering of ye even older hairy bison,or felling of ye ancient great Eucalyptus or whatever ... Perhaps they were cave-cabinet makers producing fine dovetails?

Looks more like the basalt equivalent of a sharpened flint flake knife to me (held between the fingers to cut meat, skin etc) ... but I'm no expert.

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Siemens Healthcare struck by rebranding madness

Andy The Hat
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Re: Sounds like

and, as there's "no veneer in 'ere", there's no risk of catching veneerial disease ...

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Mercury to transit Sun: Viewer discretion advised

Andy The Hat
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It's dangerous?

Yes you do need a small telescope to see this event and at least 60x magnification therefore:

Yes it's potentially dangerous.

Yes you could potentially be blinded.

Yes you could be knocked down by a bus tomorrow.

But no, none of this 'dangerous stuff' will happen with a bit of care and common sense. Safe solar viewing info is all over the web and both white light solar filters and the *correct* filter medium to make diy filters are available quite widely. No need for anything expensive - £20 will get you enough "Baader Solar Film 5.0" and cornflake packets to make several filters and you can use the filter all summer ...

Watching stuff on a screen is never as interesting as seeing it happening in front of you.

If you're worried then NASA is a great option but it need not be dangerous to watch it live yourself.

Be sensible, be safe, enjoy it.

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Come get your free Opera VPN (and bring along something to read)

Andy The Hat
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Severe slow down?

Sorry, silly me, for a minute I thought the slowest said 43Mb throughput!

... haahaahaa ... haaaahaaa hee

Doctor Doctor! I think I've just developed rural broadband hysteria ...

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Clucking hell! Farcical free-range egg standard pecked apart by app

Andy The Hat
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and to go to the logical extreme ...

At present in the UK we are giving chickens more and more space whilst, at the the very same time, building houses for humans that are smaller and smaller. Anyone care for a sweepstake as to when the two figures will converge (not including those working for Romanian gang-masters who already live in terrible conditions with 6 square meters or less)?

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Andy The Hat
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Re: omitted

In the UK the regs say free range is about 2500 birds per hectare (which they should have free access to). That's 4square meters per bird ... if your A4 is that size I pity your photocopier budget!

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Academic network Janet clobbered with DDoS attacks – again

Andy The Hat
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Valid excuse?

"I can't hand in my dissertation due an extended DDOS barring access to the wider interweb and thus my research materials"

Never had that in my day ... best we could do was 'I didn't have time to complete as there wasn't terminal access available for the VAX at 2am - everyone was playing Rogue, drinking beer and listening to Pink Floyd.'

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Europe's biggest radiotelescope in fast-burst-finding upgrade

Andy The Hat
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"Top"

Call yourself a physicist and use the phrase 'top half of the planet' ...?

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ESA decupboards asteroid-dusting brush-o-matic

Andy The Hat
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Reg measurements?

"A few 0.001mm"?

Perhaps 'a few microns' would be more appropriate?

Or, to use standard units in a really annoying way, 'up to a hundred times smaller than the thickness of a human hair'?

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Hands on with the BBC's Micro:Bit computer. You know, for kids

Andy The Hat
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Re: They are generally pretty good

"The other issue is the I/O points. It is far to easy to short circuit them which can cause it to reboot."

Oh dear ... anyone care to enter a sweepstake on how long it will take one kid in a class of thirty to work out how to draw pencil lines between the I/O terminals ...?

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Andy The Hat
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And the first programme is ...?

"Micro:Bit Live!" perhaps?

Welcome to an hour of prime time BBC1, plugging it in, uploading code then ... pause ... will it work? ... pause to annoy the audience with naff drum rolls ... then 'oh look "Hello World" scrolling on some LEDs'.

'In the next programme we'll demonstrate how to wrap a parcel and set up an account on eBay.'

This programme will also be repeated on BBC1 then available on BBC1HD, BBC2, BBC2HD, BBC News24, iPlayer, UKTV Gold, Dave, DaveJaVu ...

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Snowden WAS the Feds' quarry in Lavabit case, redaction blunder reveals

Andy The Hat
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Re: Trumped up

Not convinced Trump will be any worse - he'll just look more obviously bad because he actually says what most hide in the background.

You have to accept that the politics of the western world is not run by elected leaders. They may have one finger on a steering wheel and another desperately clawing finger on a handbrake lever but the 'democratic' juggernaut of the establishment is controlled by unelected, faceless individuals and groups and powered by the whims of finance, power, religion and historical influence.

I have to believe most leaders are elected with an idealised socio-economic belief but that rapidly decays into reiteration of the same old economic and power mantras fed to them by the fat controllers.

The USA and GB both are suffering the leaders wanting 'free and open government and individual privacy' whilst actually pushing through uncontrolled increases in power and actively reducing individual freedoms and privacy. Rightly or wrongly, Snowden actually stood up for his cause and said that the US was contravening its own laws. This has been seen to be fundamentally true yet he is still vilified for it (especially in the US) and is being used as justification to 'legally' reduce democratic freedom and privacy all over the western world ...

Not so much the people 'sleepwalking into a police state' as 'snuggling under the duvet whilst police state is built around them'

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Mighty Soyuz stands proud at Baikonur

Andy The Hat
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Hmmm

And to give a sense of scale, here's Tim Peake and colleagues standing in front of those massive engines.

Unfortunately the humans are what is known as "very close" and the engines can be referred to as "far away". So, for a sense of scale, ignore the picture entirely then consider that the first stage is bigger than a blue whale and the humans are normal human sized (I assume ...)

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Silicon photonics boosted with UK fabrication research

Andy The Hat
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105mW

Correct me if I'm wrong but this is for 'on chip communications' isn't it?

If so, a 105mW laser is damn powerful. I would have thought nW would be more appropriate when considering travel distances of millimetres and at most a few optical switches to negotiate ...

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Brits seek rousing name for polar research vessel

Andy The Hat
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RRS Ice Ice Breaker ...

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Labour will create FUD and then abstain on UK Snoopers' Charter vote

Andy The Hat
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Opposition?

The job of the opposition is to oppose. Abstinence should not be an option at that level in our democratic system - only by voting against a proposal can it be sent back for revision and resubmitted, by abstaining the opposition is effectively declaring it has no opinion. Disgusting.

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NASA's mighty SLS to burn 1.215 Olympic-sized pools

Andy The Hat
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Re: Puny....

But the Queen Mary II can keep it up for weeks at a time, only limited by the need to stop for refueling (passengers and fuel stores). If that translated to space travel ... cue Wall-E imagery ...

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Monster motor breathes fire in Mississippi

Andy The Hat
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Safest?

The engines have been upgraded with 'new technology' so presumably the 'safest' engines are still the safest in the same way that Windows 8 was the best operating system ever as it was upgraded from Windows 7 using 'new technology' ...

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Ad-slinger Opera adds ad-blocking tech to its browser

Andy The Hat
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Oric 1?

Anyone see the link between a splash of a magazine ad for the 1980's Oric 1 and the story of the new Opera with web ad blocker? Apart from they're both 'ads' as is a billboard on a city roundabout or the latest Screwfix catalogue ...

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State should run power firm spam database, says... competition watchdog

Andy The Hat
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"Default" tariff

Look at it from the company's point of view:

If everyone was switched from the "default" tariff, then there would be no customers on the "default" tariff that you would have to open to other providers- so what is a "default" tariff? The easy answer for the utility company is to provide a "default" tariff', then after a while, and out of the goodness of your hearts, you automatically move the reliable 'default' tariff customers to a marginally better one for being good customers. The result is that the highest cost tariff is more or less preserved along with the income stream, the bad payers and the like are left on the 'default' tariff and get 'the chance' to move to another rubbish deal ... This means nobody really wins apart from the cold-calling bods who get a job, Mr Whitcomb for doing something (however useless) and the companies who look good for 'not having a big customer base on a default tariff'.

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NASA sets the date for Martian robot drilling rig to lift off

Andy The Hat
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"A vacuum leak during low temperature testing ..."

Wouldn't this not be 'damage sustained' but "testing failure" which is the whole point of the low temperature testing?

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Facebook can block folks using pseudonyms in Germany – court

Andy The Hat
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It's even worse than that ...

If this EU privacy ruling applies to Germany/Ireland and Facebook/A.N.Other then it will apply to all EU countries and citizens. That really is worrying.

A company sets up in the country with loosest privacy laws, sells its product throughout Europe then quite legally does whatever it can with the collected data under Slovakian/Slovenian/Cypriot/Luxemburger/EPO/whatever privacy rules with absolutely no regard for the laws of the user's state where the data was collected ... it makes Safe Harbour look like a cuddly duvet of protection ...

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

Andy The Hat
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I can foretel the future ...

About six or seven years ago I predicted iplayer would be the tool to commercialise the BBC either by extending the license fee (an "internet license") or by subscription (p-o-d or whatever model) ... It's not often I get it correct but in this case ...

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SpaceX Falcon 9 set for fourth launch attempt

Andy The Hat
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Re: Easy

I'll take your Harriers and raise you to the tune of the 1970's German Starfighter display team low-flying over the crowd with full afterburn ... *#@%!!

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California methane well leak filled a Rose Bowl a day

Andy The Hat
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Rose bowl is not a reasonable unit

As mentioned above, the obviously imperial measurement, the 'Rose Bowl' (stupidly-shaped-football stadium) is marginally bigger than your average gran's 'rose bowl' (yes gran, they're lovely...) This could cause great confusion, especially when considering climatic wobbliness and the granhouse effect (usually very warm unless the gas price vs pension ratio is too high ...)

El Reg must stick to its already well defined standards - The Wembley Stadium, Mellenium Dome or Blue Whale and, on the smaller side of the equation, the bathtub, fruit bowl, kettle or mug (teacups are so pre-decimal!)

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Gosh, what a huge shock: Ofcom shies away from BT Openreach split, calls for reform

Andy The Hat
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It's so exciting ...

I can't wait for those keen telecoms companies to knock on my door offering to run 500m of their own wet string to my house instead of using BT lines and ducts ... I love the smell of flying bacon in the morning ...

Fundamentally, Openreach needs nationalising (ie the infrastructure is secure and owned by the state) and those that use it can fight over customers on the end of the lines. Much like Railtrack and the rail companies because that works well ... sort of. It would mean that when the state says "we're investing in high speed roll out" it would be the state investing in actual infrastucture, not big institutional shareholder's wallets. Oh, sorry I've just found the glaring error in my thread ...

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ISS 'nauts prepare to wrap One Year Mission

Andy The Hat
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Zinnia?

Forgive me for being stupid but I'd suggest a basic requirement for a 'vegetable production system' should be a vegetable of an edible nature? Whilst I admit that growing Zinnias may make a mars mission look pretty, they taste horrible ...

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