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* Posts by rh587

275 posts • joined 23 Mar 2011

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Are you a gun owner? Let us in OR ELSE, say Blighty's top cops

rh587
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Re: Reason for downvote

I absolutely agree it is not the role of Police to profile non-criminals. Which is exactly what they would be doing if they were running random spot checks.

So it's a good job that's not what they're doing.

In addition to pre-arranged visits they are doing unannounced visits where they have actionable intelligence regarding an individual.

Are you suggesting the Police should ignore actionable intelligence? Surely that IS the role of Police?

I'm far more concerned about the Crimestoppers hotline and the tarring us all as extremists bit.

If the Police get a complaint about an individual I'd far sooner have them investigate (their job, to investigate crimes and suspected crimes), get to the bottom of the matter, and either revoke a certificate if there are valid grounds, or not if the complaint turns out to have no merit than have them simply ignore the next Thomas Hamilton.

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rh587
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Re: Hmm

"I thought the same? I assumed they had the power to knock on the door of a registered gun owner and ask to see the firearms and how they are stored?

Surely this is good sense, no?"

They have never done random spot checks.

When my ticket was first granted the FEO went as far as to tell me that, and that I should be immediately suspicious of anyone turning up on my doorstep. He warned there may be odd occasions when it could happen - if say a pattern of local burglaries prompted them to pop around and have a word. They would endeavour to call in advance, but if they hadn't got hold of me beforehand, they would have no problem with me taking their details and waiting outside whilst I called the local station (or these days 101) to confirm their credentials and check that they were on legitimate business.

Whilst they are now doing some specific visits unannounced, I would personally still follow that routine - they don't come in until I'd independently verified their identity. After that I'd probably have no issue letting them in. The Police are not the opposition. At one club I was a member of we had three generations of Police as members (none AFOs, just regular bobbies and shooting ran in the family), as well as a couple of other PCs who shot. Regardless of what the media are trying to whip this into, the average FEO is well aware of what civilian shooting is about and it's in our interest to maintain a mutually co-operative relationship with them, even if their Chief Constables are busy posturing to the media.

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rh587
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Re: Hmm

"It's one of those things though - if you said no, go away, you'd probably end up with a siege forming around you."

Well yes, because they have to have a specific reason to justify an unannounced visit.

If they have a specific concern abut an individual they're not going to accept a "sorry, not right now" and toddle off to the doughnut store.

I mean, they probably will - but they'll be back the next evening. And after you've not been able to find 10 minutes to accommodate them for the third occasion they'll have good reason to believe you are being evasive and come back with a warrant.

And I don't actually object to that.... if they have specific intelligence about a specific individual that gives them specific concerns, then I would want them to get to the bottom of the matter. That's what the Police failed to do in the case of Thomas Hamilton, and we can hardly complain about them doing their jobs properly now! And if they try to abuse it, turn them away and call your NGB.

I very much doubt turning them away once would constitute enough good reason to refuse a renewal - the expensive London lawyers retained by people's insurers through their NGB membership would tear that apart.

"You visited my client unannounced. It was not convenient for him to let you in at that moment as he was preparing his young child for bed and you consider this sufficient to revoke a certificate? Did you attempt a second visit, announced or not at a more sociable hour? Did you attempt to follow up with those inquiries? In other words, what has the client done to make themself unsuitable to possess?"

But that wouldn't happen - these are NOT random spot checks - they are triggered by specific intelligence. Which means they have some specific reason to suspect you may be unsuitable. The burden is on you to show good reason (for FACs), the burden is on them to show you are unsuitable. If they cannot do that, the courts will inevitably find in favour of your renewal - and they know it.

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rh587
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"Unfortunately, anyone who legally holds a shotgun/firearm probably wouldn't be best advised to tell the plod to piss off, but the plod can't turn up unannounced and *demand* to inspect your security arrangements or weapons."

Technically they could.

If they had reasonable belief you were not complying with the conditions of your certificate, then they would have a reasonable belief that you were committing an offence - and they have the right under PACE to force entry to secure and preserve evidence.

Apparently people object to the Police asking nicely to come in for a quick chat and would be prefer to be barged out the way as they force their way in!

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rh587
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"The British Association for Shooting and Conservation, meanwhile, seems to have completely changed its position on random spot checks."

Gareth, could you point out - anywhere in the official guidance or law - that says Police are allowed to do random spot checks?

The current guidance states that officers must offer specific reasons why they are visiting. If not, you would be well justified in turning them away (moreover, the Police do not have the resource to randomly spot-check a meaningful percentage of certificate holders on a meaningfully regular basis).

As far as I can tell, BASC have not u-turned at all. Visits to a certificate holder for specific reasons have always been a possibility - they may now be unannounced instead of pre-booked. All the Governing Bodies are advising certificate holders to cooperate with Police, unless they feel that proper procedure (giving of good and specific reasons, etc) has not been followed, in which case to report all details. If indeed the Police chose to abuse these unannounced visits and set up random spot-checking, such a pattern would emerge pretty quickly at national level and I think you would find BASC et al let their lawyers off the leash fairly rapidly.

TL;DR Unannounced != random

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rh587
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"Does not say the owners need to be home either. Imagine coming home with the front door smashed in and a post it note from the local constabulary waiting on the post box."

And why would that happen? They have no new right of entry, as every statement has made abundantly clear. They knock on your door and either you're not in, or you are in and let them in, or are in but tell them now's not convenient and send them away.

The Police cannot force entry to your house without a warrant, or unless:

- They believe life is at imminent risk

- An offence is in progress or about to take place

This applies to all offences, whether relating to drugs, firearms, violent crime, handling of stolen goods or burglary-in-progress. The Police already had the power to rock up unannounced and break down your door if they thought, say, you were committing the offence of storing more ammunition than you were permitted to hold on your certificate.

Such an act would probably be considered disproportionate relative to the alleged offence, but they could do it. This new guidance literally offers no new powers.

Such scaremongering is the worst of tripe. These are not random spot checks or any other scary tactic. Where the Police have concerns about an individual and wish to visit them, they may simply now visit unannounced rather than making an appointment. This is not a new class of spot checks that are being introduced.

Far more insidious is the new hotline, which no doubt will be quickly abused by busybodies and jilted ex partners keen to anonymously make malicious reports that their ex was suffering from depression or had been heard to make threats relating to their firearms.

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Police stats inflate the number of guns actually stolen in Blighty

rh587
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Re: Shocked

"ok there are a small number of pistols that fall outside of the ban, I wouldn't say many types. Hence why the UK pistol squad have to train abroad, channel Islands I think?"

No, they went to Switzerland. Now they train at a single-figure number of nominated ranges in the UK where their Section 5s are stored.

Then there are the humane dispatch guns that a few vets have who may encounter circumstances where a captive bolt is inappropriate. And of course the growing number of Section 1 long barrelled pistols and revolvers, the Section 7 collectors who occasionally shoot their pistols and machine guns at nominated ranges, and the muzzle-loading and black-powder pistol crowd.

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rh587
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Re: Shocked

"Using a pistol is not illegal in the UK. Certain types of pistols (I.e semi automatic above .22 calibre and fully automatic) are banned from the general public. There are many types of pistols that are perfectly legal."

Think you're confusing the semi-auto bit with semi-auto rifles above .22rimfire.

To get around the general prohibition on "short firearms" they must be longer than 6cm, and the barrels longer than 30cm. If they are .22 then they can be semi-auto, greater than that not. Very few of the pistols accessible by the general public are really "pistols", bar the criteria that they are fired one handed. LBRs, LBPs and black powder pistols are not quite the same game as a Glock 17 though.

And they're not banned from the general public. Anyone can get a Section 5 permit if you put forward a good enough argument to the home secretary. The bar is just set really, really high. Higher than the "Good Reason" to get a Section 1 Certificate.

British Shooting can nominate 25 elite pistol shooters to keep Section 5 pistols in the UK to train with. A few ex-military and political figures who were involved with NI and against whom credible threats still exist have also been permitted to keep a section 5 firearm for self-defence, along with a few vets and deer stalkers for humane dispatch (usually a revolver with all but two of the cylinders welded up so you can only load two rounds at a time)

* Not defending the current state of affairs. It's a load of bull. But there isn't strictly a ban on owning or using a pistol.

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FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones

rh587
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Re: Comey:

"Phone taps solved ONE kidnapping?"

I think what they actually said was only 1 of the 3576 warrants was in relation to a kidnapping case.

They never said the data they demanded actually helped them solve the case...

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Be nice to the public, PC Plod. Especially if you're trying to stop terrorists

rh587
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Re: Sure

No. The process is reasonably robust. If someone is unsafe, boot them off the range. The RO's word is law. They are God. If a qualified RO says "They did x/y/z, this posed a hazard to themselves/other range users/me" then that's it.

No Police Force in the UK will challenge that, because they'd rather be sued for discrimination than investigated for issuing a Firearm Certificate to a nutjob who went on to do BAD THINGS (TM).

Similarly, Club Committees are not required to give a reason when they vote on whether to extend Full Membership to a Probationer.

The usual test is "Are they Dangerous or Disruptive?".

In the case above of the Iranian students, a simple answer is "They did not follow the Range Orders and Safety Procedures they had been instructed in, and were not receptive to remedial training. They therefore posed an unacceptable risk to range safety".

Another story I heard recently was of someone who had a prospective member shown around from a certain, much maligned religious background who asked very loudly why women were allowed to shoot and even then why they weren't required to shoot separately to the men.

Remarkably enough, tossing around sexist comments of that nature is considered disruptive to the club environment. It could get you sacked from a workplace, regardless of ethnic background, therefore it is more than enough to fail the "Dangerous or Disruptive" test.

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rh587
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Re: in the UK, there was NO causal link

"Not sure I'd claim that. In fact I'd say that looks like a possible causal link. Only that the causal link shows crime goes down when the perps think the odds of their targets being armed are higher."

Since Self Defence has not been considered a "Good Reason" for the issue of a Firearm Certificate in the UK since the 1960s, I'm broadly confident that when handguns were prohibited in 1997, the subsequent rise in firearm crime was NOTHING to do with the prohibition - people were not carrying around their target pistols holstered in their day to day life. That was illegal then, and had been for decades.

Firearm crime was trending upwards prior to 1997, and continued to do so until 2004/05 when targeted Police Guns & Gangs Operations such as Operations Trafalgar and Trident really hit at the heart of illegal firearms trade, import and usage.

In the US, it is possible such a correlation could be drawn, since people do carry guns around (whether concealed or open) as a form of self defence, and in the wake of a ban on that practice, an increase in armed muggings, robberies or other firearms crime could - in part - be attributed to that change.

But not in the UK. The rise in gun crime following 1997 was not related to the prohibition, it was just black-market business as usual until ENFORCEMENT clamped down on it some years later.

Any claim that there is a causal link constitutes Bad Science and Bullshit Statistics.

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rh587
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Re: worth noting

Yeah, a legal owner is unlikely to hand in their guns during an amnesty - amnesties are a no-questions-asked opportunity for illegally held firearms to be held in.

If you've got it on your ticket you sell it, or indeed hand it in at a Police station for destruction. There are no questions to be asked - you have a gun, the serial matches the record on your ticket. You get a receipt, ticket written on, and you inform the Licensing Office that you have disposed of the gun. And you file away copies of all that paperwork.

Any FAC-holder who has somehow disposed of firearms and not got their ticket appropriately amended is a numpty. Similarly the Police should have NO excuse for not holding an accurate record, unless the FAC holder has failed to inform them of the transfer - which is a breach of their statutory Certificate conditions.

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'Cops and public bodies BUNGLE snooping powers by spying on 3,000 law-abiding Brits'

rh587
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Pint

Re: Think of the Pig Filth as 'Chuck Yeager'

"The Honourable Members of Parliament. Are there such personages?"

Kate Hoey? She's about it, the little rebel.

Also, Andrew Griffiths (MP for brewing capital Burton-upon-Trent) gets props for chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Beer, the mere existence of which is a cause for celebration.

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Our Vultures peck at new Doctor Who: Exterminate or, er ... carrion?

rh587
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"Rather than engaging new sci-fi, the writers mine the exhausted"

Exactly what I've been thinking. I like Capaldi's Doctor. I just don't like the stories they've chosen to tell about him, with the exception of "Listen". Good old-fashioned monsters-under-the-bed (literally) rather than the sillier end of Sci-Fi.

I'm also conflicted about his hatred of soldiers.

Day of the Doctor offers some insight to the youthful incarnations of Tennant and Smith - trying to live a more innocent life after committing genocide against two species. A guilt which comes to an end with the Day of the Doctor, and now he can move on a little older and wiser - as Capaldi.

One can see why he might dislike soldiery - the Doctor has always had a sneer towards anyone running around with guns and he evidently sees it as the darker side of any species. Capaldi's colder exterior however, is just spilling over into nastiness with his treatment of Danny in The Caretaker, and whilst the Doctor can be cold and calculated in his actions, after 12 incarnations, one can't help but think he's wiser and cleverer than how they have portrayed him.

As for Moffat. He's clearly running out of ideas. That said, at least he plans his way through series though. When the Daleks come back it's because he was forced to let them escape in a previous episode. Not of the RTD silliness where he triumphantly sucks them all into a vortex once and for all... until episode one of the next season when they want them back again and have to concoct some twisted reasoning to allow one or two to have survived. Keep Moffat on as a "Strategic Advisor" to oversee continuity at a season level and get some fresh blood in (yes, I'm aware most episodes have a non-Moffat writer credited, but many, if not most have Moffat credited as a co-writer. Push him back another step, let people write their own episodes rather than co-writing with him, and have him just strategically comment on them).

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OMG!! With nothing but MACHINE TOOLS, STEEL and PARTS you can make a GUN!!

rh587
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Re: Guns in America

"I will say, however, that as an American there is one reason why many of us hate AR-15s. The reason is that in 2012, two weeks before Christmas, a mad man killed 20 children with one."

Whilst those events are unspeakably tragic, it's worth bearing in mind that Derrick Bird killed 12 people in Whitehaven using a bolt-action (albeit magazine-fed) hunting rifle.

In the right hands, it makes not a jot of difference whether a gun is Fully-Automatic, Semi-Automatic or Manually Fed.

China has had a spate of nasty knife attacks, with attackers killing 8+ children at a time with bladed weapons.

Much was made of the Washington Beltway Snipers using a Bushmaster (because it's black and scary looking), but for that job - with a modified car, etc - a bolt action would have been as, if not more effective.

The numbers surely are irrelevant. One innocent life lost is too many, and that means (once you have some sensible, basic regulations to make criminal access inconvenient) addressing the person, not the object.

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rh587
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Re: Defending against the government in the US

Indeed. Certain of the lunatic fringe seem to think it would be the general public vs the US military.

Of course, in a civil war - an actual, proper civil war where a country tears itself apart - many serving personnel may well defect - soldiers and airmen have families as well, and they're going to be one side or another. Ergo, far from a well organised military vs a popular militia, it'd be elements of the US military, with their hardware plus new recruits, vs other elements of the US military with their hardware, plus new recruits. Which side counts as the traitors and defectors depends which side you're on.

Your little stash of AR15s starts to look a bit pointless when the local military base is overrun because the guards abandoned their posts to go home and your neighbour is tooling down the street in their looted Humvee sporting a roof-mount .50BMG or TOW launcher.

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rh587
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Re: Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

"In the UK there are no guns because the govt took them away after WWII."

In the UK there are fuckloads of guns.

Couple of million rifles and shotguns - everything from double barrel shotguns for driven game and clays, to bolt-action target rifles, semi auto rifles (in .22lr calibre only), straight-pull AR-15s, the odd .50cal. Historic Machine Guns, held under special Section 7 Licenses for historic and significant firearms (along with "Section 7" Pistols and other goodies that would normally be illegal).

Oh, and an estimated 10 million air rifles and air pistols. But neither Westminster nor the Scottish Government has any idea who actually possesses any of those, which would make it very difficult to enforce licensing or a ban, as Holyrood keeps mooting at various intervals.

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rh587
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Re: Sigh....

"If I saw a non-uniformed person carrying a fire arm I would call the police."

I hope not. The list of scenarios where it's appropriate to call the Police because a non-uniformed individual is in possession of a firearm is actually quite short.

If you see someone carrying an uncovered firearm, then you're probably in the countryside and they're hunting. Hunters, whilst understanding of public ignorance and paranoia, get really fucked off when armed police come tramping over their permission and scare off the rabbits or foxes they were hunting because a dog walker couldn't figure out why someone in the countryside might be shooting in a field. Basically puts an end to the evening's work.

Similarly, a local clay pigeon site has a public footpath running through the car park. Presumably you wouldn't call the police about this hotbed of gun usage if you passed through on a ramble?

Driving along Queen's Road form Bisley in Surrey you'll pass by the back corner of Century Range at the national shooting centre. On a normal weekend you'll see hundreds of people shooting, none of them uniformed!

Granted, if you see someone ambling down the high street with a rifle over their shoulder then that's probably a cause for concern, but interestingly not illegal provided they have good reason to be carrying - such as transporting it to/from a gunsmith. Thanks to our wonderful mish mash of laws, it'd only be illegal to carry an airgun uncovered. Carrying a rifle or shotgun back to the car uncovered may attract attention but isn't actually illegal!

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PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai

rh587
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Re: Dummy

"One concern has been firewall penetration, as NAT provided an additional layer of security by separating the address spaces naturally."

Indeed. Serving stuff to people is dead easy. As we've been upgrading servers we've been asking our bit barn to provision them with IP6 addresses as well as IP4, since every modern server OS can happily handle a dual network stack. Security/NAT isn't an issue - they're public facing web servers, so the security on them is set to be tight whether they're accessible via 4 or 6.

Really, for anything designed to be web facing, then provided it's got a sufficiently non-ancient OS that it runs a dual IP4/6 network stack, it's really just a matter of getting it assigned an IPv6 address (and updating your DNS records).

The key issue is the users. If ISPs actually started assigning IP6 addresses to users and configured their routers (which will all be dual stack anyway) to prefer IP6, it could happen quite quickly. They won't though because though everyone would be bloody confused by the disappearance of their nice 192.168 addresses and the reappearance of these long, confusing IP6 addresses, and many of them could have stuff sat on their network that has gaping security holes either by design (IoT), or bits they set up that they never intended to be accessible from the public internet - RPi home media hubs and the rest. If ISPs flushed a firmware upgrade to their routers (and I don't doubt at least some of them have left backdoors in so they can do that), they could in principle convert all their users to IPv6, but doing so would simultaneously expose billions of unsecured devices that were never supposed to see anything other than a 192.168 or 10.0 address.

As a result, the only people who can actually see our servers over IPv6 are people keen enough to tunnel, or the handful who have actually ahd it natively enabled by their ISP - usually smaller players with fewer customers or the odd business network that's made the jump. Us being on BT in the office means we have to tunnel to check our servers are actually accessible by those means!

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Range Rover to fit trendy new SUV with FRIKKIN' LASER HUDs

rh587
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Re: And who needs a reminder of what gear they are in?

@Dr_N

"Making the same-old stuff, decade-after-decade, is what killed off British ownership of car makers in the first place."

Worked for Porsche... the 911 is beautiful, but it wouldn't kill them to experiment with something radically different once in a while. A sports car. Not the Cayenne *vomits*

I have no objection to the lifestyle end of Land Rover's range. I just find it utterly ludicrous that a company who has built it's history and heritage on go-anywhere utility vehicles will not have a single example of the type in it's range by next year.

There is a market for a modern day version of the Defender. If it was US-legal they would sell them faster than they could make them.

To end up in this situation where there is no Defender and no viable replacement on the cards is utterly bizarre. Their efforts thus far (the DC100) have not fulfilled the requirements of the supposed target market. If they'd said it was a beach buggy lifestyle vehicle then I'd have believed them. Pretending it was a Defender replacement was laughable. Not saying the DC100 was bad, or not a funky product. But it wasn't what they were pitching it as, which is presumably why it's dead.

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rh587
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Re: Call me sceptical

"If you mean 'lost their way' by deploying an innovation strategy which has significantly increased profits, company liquidity, market share and created a significant number of jobs, then I completely agree. Its terrible to see them using a well recognized brand to excellent commercial ends with significant improvement in the company long term perspectives, they should have just stuck to making LWB off-roaders for the agricultural community. Or perhaps not.

Companies need to adapt or die, JLR is a poster child for how to do that right (both nearly dying and then adapting)"

Yes. And no. The reason Defenders are barely profitable is because they only make about 20k/yr and can't sell them into the USA on account of no airbags and various other features.

However, there is a massive market for them - which is why people are busy buying ex-MoD Wolfs that are pre-1987 or so (old enough to count as classic under US law, therefore not subject to normal airbag requirements, etc) and exporting them.

There is a massive latent market in the US for a utility LR, not just lifestyle/SUV Land Rovers.

I have no problem with the lifestyle end of LR's range, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't also serve the agricultural and utility end (when there is a clear and profitable market for it, both in Europe and in the US if they build something compliant).

The DC100 wasn't just not what farmers wanted, it was a bad joke - here you are farmers, have a stylish beach buggy. That's what you want to throw your tools in the back of. Isn't it? No? Really? But, our arts graduates thought... Oh.

If you want to sell a beach buggy, then go for it - sounds fun! But don't have the cheek to turn around and pitch it as your new utility vehicle and the successor to the Defender that you honestly expect utility users to buy.

If you're not going to serve that market place then then we're very sorry to hear that. But just stop, don't waste your time and effort making these stupid prototypes that clearly don't address the market they are ostensibly designed for.

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rh587
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Re: Call me sceptical

"@stucs201 no-one has ever seen an Evoque off road."

My boss has! Took his Defender on a course day. The Evoque lasted about 20 minutes, including one tow out of a (not very deep) mud patch. Owner eventually returned it to the site entrance and spent the rest of the day spotting from the passenger seat of his mate's Discovery. How they laughed.

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rh587
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Re: And who needs a reminder of what gear they are in?

I could see this being useful off-road to show some of the bits that various 4x4s have been displaying on their central displays for a while now - front wheel steering position at low speed/hill descent, power distribution to wheels, lighting up parts of a top-down schematic when ABS or the diff locks are working.

Stuff modern vehicles are already showing - but now in HUD format.

LR are definitely losing their way though. Defender gone next year, and nothing to replace it with. The reason they're struggling to work out what Defender owners want to own is that what Defender owners want to own is what LR have just put in the museum.

I don't see why it's so difficult to create a Defender-alike that retains the classic styling and utilitarian interior, but has been structurally redesigned from the ground up to allow the fitting of such mod cons as airbags, instead of being a smartarse and turning an Evoque into a beach buggy and calling it the DC100.

They need a few farmers in their product focus groups rather than art and design graduates simpering over Posh Beckham's idea of what a 4x4 needs. Or we need to accept that LR are now a purveyor of luxury cars, not a 4x4 manufacturer and move on to their competitors. Our local LR Dealer has precisely one Defender on their property - and it's sat on top of a pile of rocks on the forecourt. Want to get in one or go for a test drive? That's going to be a hassle. Would you like to try an Evoque or a Discovery sir?

No.

I'll try one of your competitors instead.

LR obviously don't give a shit about the market sector that (alongside military sales) made them, and customers should return that loyalty with a trip to their competitors. Jeep dealers should be getting in lots of utilitarian-spec Wranglers ready for 2015 with trim appropriate to throwing bales of hay in the back.

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BT claims almost-gigabit connections over COPPER WIRE

rh587
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"During the G.FAST trials, researchers achieved downstream speeds of around 800Mbps over a 19m length of copper"

Oh good. So they're going to fit new distribution boxes every 20 metres? If you're going to run fibre from the cabinet to within 20 metres of a property just take it to the damn door!

The tech could be useful in very dense urban areas where there are relatively many customers within 66metres of each street cabinet, where squeezing those speeds out of existing copper is cheap and provides adequate bandwidth. But for the rest of suburbia and the country, just run the damn fibre already. We want it and thieves don't. It's the only realistic long term solution.

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What the 4K: High-def DisplayPort vid meets reversible USB Type C

rh587
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Re: Good cables are better

"I wonder why four people down-voted, there's nothing inaccurate about saying the DMA of firewire is a huge security risk."

I suspect the downvotes were due to the implication that because of the security risk, Firewire was a stupid or worthless system with no useful application.

Given that Firewire was offering 400-3200Mbps at a time when USB 1/1.1/2 was offering 1.2-480Mbps, the use case for demanding video and photographic applications was overwhelming. And piping video back from your GPU to get to the USB controller is indeed a stupid and wasteful thing to do.

In a closed environment where you used Firewire exclusively for importing material from your camera, etc it was the choice between getting on with it or leaving it overnight, and realistically caused no significant security risk.

The gap has closed now, with USB 3/3.1 offering 5-10Gbps, which in most applications far outstrips the I/O of connected hard drives, cameras or memory devices, rendering the speed advantage of Thunderbolt to be less than compelling for all bar the most demanding users, who will potentially find a means of hooking up their Red Rocket direct via a PCIe breakout port (which is what TB is effectively) very useful on laptops or mobile workstations.

That's hardware which would - in a conventional tower or workstation be connected via PCIe anyway. Therefore providing a means to connect it to devices without conventional PCIe slots (like laptops) has value, and doesn't put your system at any more risk than it would be anyway - provided you treat TB like your genitalia and take care what you do with it and who you give access to...

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GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins

rh587
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Re: Jumping the gun ?!?

Indeed. The other clue is in the project title - BICEP2. The observations were a decade in the making, including going and building the original BICEP instrument and working out what needed to be refined to physically detect and observe the phenomena they were trying to study.

No one is fundamentally disputing the observation here (as they did with the FTL-Neutrinos, indeed the team themselves were sceptical of that observation, they just wanted help working out what they'd missed).

All they're saying here is that BICEP2 may have observed something closer (and therefore younger) than first thought.

This is how GOOD science is done - run an experiment and make an observation, publish your findings to the best of your ability, and let the scientific community scrutinise it. It's why we have scientific journals.

Many papers are not

"We established this as absolute fact."

they're

"We observed this, which was unexpected. We think our methodology is good, can someone else reproduce it?"

When someone challenges some specific aspect of your experimental methodology or data analysis techniques, those challenges are either successful or are met by a robust defence. And so the state of human knowledge moves forward.

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SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis

rh587
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"It's beleived the RD180 is quite manpower intensive to build (because man power was cheap in the former Soviet Union at the time it was designed?) so it needs a fair bit of metal bashing on each one to get it working properly."

Wouldn't be at all surprised - when that NASA team reverse-engineered that Saturn V F-1 engine, they reduced the number of components by an order of magnitude. Thanks to the wonders of modern manufacturing we can bend complex pipework from a single length or fabricate complex components from a single billet rather than having to weld simpler sub-components together. The result was an engine that looks the same but is built from the viewpoint of "how would we fabricate that today?" - and is thus far stronger, easier to produce (push "Start" on the CNC mill) and easier to bolt together.

If the RD-180 is simply an incremental evolution of earlier models I can easily imagine there are lots of parts that could be redesigned to be produced cheaper and more efficiently, but which aren't.

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Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills

rh587
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Re: If they say yes...

Pax681

"No it isn't. Stop making things up."

read it and weep

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_devolution_referendum,_1979"

I think he was possibly referring to your assertion that the 40% turnout requirement was higher than for most General Elections. The last two have had turnouts over 60%. 2001 was 59% and every General Election before that as far back as 1922 was over 70%, with a couple of elections in the 1950s tipping the odds at >80% turnout.

So yes. Stop making things up. 40% for a decision as important as secession and independence is not at all high. It should damn well have a turnout well over 50%. Either people care enough to vote or you're pandering to a vocal minority, which is no basis for rule.

Moreover, your claim of a 40% turnout quorum was wrong! The requirement in 1979 was for 40% OF THE ELECTORATE TO VOTE YES.

Although 48% of voters voted yes, that only equated to 32.9% of the electorate as the turnout was only 63%. Do you actually read the articles you post to...?

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Snowden shouldn't be extradited to US if he testifies about NSA spying, says Swiss gov

rh587
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Really? Tell that to Gary McKinnon.

Most of us - when someone pointed that we'd left the password blank on admin accounts network-wide - would have kept quiet and scampered off to do something about it (although we'd all like to think we'd have done a better job of it in the first place). Not the US though. They pursued extradition for a decade, claiming the damage to each terminal was exactly the value at which damage goes from civil to criminal charges. Convenient eh?

"Most" of the government are not the ones in charge - and sadly the ones who are tend to be bull-headed non-specialists more concerned with being seen to be "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime", and not willing to be seen to back down once they've got their teeth into something.

Apparently admitting that the horse is flogged to death is a sign of weakness, presumably informed by that set of people who believe that you can flog it back to life and health again if you just carry on.

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Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC

rh587
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Re: iPlayer overseas

"But you know what? I maintain that just because you can't get hold of something you'd like to at the price you agree with that is not a justification to resort to illegal means to get it."

I would agree that if you are for instance, an Australian who wants to access the BBC simulcasts, that using a UK proxy or VPN would be morally and legally out.

However, for someone who has paid their licence fee, I'm not sure why there should be any legal or moral impediment to them accessing that service overseas, even if they do have do employ a VPN to get to their home's IP address, or a commercial proxy service because it's too difficult for the BBC to manage worldwide licensing on an individual scale.

It's no different to someone recording something off the TV at home and taking it on a USB stick to watch on the plane or in their hotel. If they've paid for it, does it matter where they watch it?

That surely, is far less of an issue than Europeans buying FreeSat dishes and tuning into free TV outside the UK because we can't narrow the transmission footprint adequately.

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rh587
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Re: Sorry Tom

"Part of the BBC license agreement includes an unwritten clause that says if you're not directly contributing to the UK economy in the UK or you're on holiday outside of the UK then you're not eligible to watch the BBC over the Internet on your domestic license."

Whut?

If it's unwritten then by definition it's not part of the license agreement.

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Data entry REAR-END SNAFU: Weighty ballsup leads to plane take-off flap

rh587
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Re: Next up: flying in circles

As S4qFBxkFFg says, it's to do with balance and Centre of Gravity. Too much weight up front and you can't take off, too much down the back and you take off, nose up, stall and crash as that 747 did in Afghanistan when the load shifted to the rear during take off.

That's why they weigh your baggage - not just for compliance with your allowance but so they can load the hold crates appropriately so heavy bags are distributed along the length of the aircraft, not all bunched up at one end.

For EasyJet and RyanAir, they're working on the premise that all things being equal, the passenger distribution will be about equal, and many of their aircraft are only 100 seats anyway, so a group that large would in itself equally distribute down the cabin! However, on a big several-hundred seat aircraft with allocated seats where they will be bunched together, groups may need breaking up, putting in the middle or counter-balancing with another similar group at the other end.

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NASA finds ancient films that extend Arctic ice record by 15 years

rh587
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Extending the ice extent records by 15 years adds a complete extra edition of the decadal oceanographic and meteorological oscillations, as well as getting us significantly closer to seeing any impact of a full cycle of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, which is thought to last 50-70 years.

Going from 35 years of data to 50 years is a big deal in terms of changes measured directly with satellites and modern instrumentation. Increasing the dataset by as much as 30% is big news.

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What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?

rh587
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It needs to be done right, and broadly speaking has been, though it was waaay over date and over budget. And they had to stuff "National" on the front because the Firearms Licensing Management System had become known as "FLIMSY". So now it's NFLMS, which ruins the backronym fun.

That was brought in after Dunblane when it became apparent that Thomas Hamilton had had adverse contact with the Police over the course of decades - but the regular beat bobbies had never thought to ask the Firearms Licensing lot to check their filing cabinets for whether he had guns (it wasn't really relevant). And then when they finally twigged, top brass wouldn't yank his certificate, even though there were a bunch of reasons they could have (wasn't a member of a Home Office Approved club for a start, which is a requirement to get a licence for Target shooting. Hunting is a bit different). Dunblane was truly a failure of Policing, not of the prevailing legislation, so the licensing process was tightened up. They also took away the pistols, but that was media grandstanding. The bit that made the difference was actually following the licensing procedure to the letter (I only mention Dunblane as it's important to understand how it came to happen and the reasoning behind the introduction of NFLMS. Anyone trying to make Political headway in either direction based on such a bloody appalling incident is a sicko).

So now if you're logging intelligence against a person, if they have a Firearm or Shotgun Certificate that'll pop up too, which is broadly a good thing.

And if you're pulled over, they can instantly check that your Firearms Certificate isn't a forgery designed to pass casual muster as they can get check from the roadside that it actually exists in the Police records, even if you're a shooter licensed by Devon and Cornwall Police, being pulled over by Surrey police on your way to Bisley or whatnot. This is a good thing.

Of course it only works if the person in the office actually logs all the records the firearms owners are dutifully sending in - that Person A has sold gun 1 to Person B, etc - and isn't just diverting the post into the bin whilst they spend all day playing Solitaire, which seems to be what happened in South Yorkshire.

Given some of those transactions must have involved certificate holders in other regions, it makes you wonder why NFLMS didn't start flagging when a transaction had been entered by, say, North Yorkshire Police, but not confirmed by South Yorks for their end of the transaction.

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rh587
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"Hand guns are basically illegal in Canada so only the criminals own them."

There's a bunch of Canadian Target Pistol Shooters who would disagree with you, shooting up to and including World Cup, World Championship and Olympic level.

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Surprise! Government mega-infrastructure project cocked up

rh587
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Re: assumption - better network = less commuting

"I'm not a coder myself, but my brother is - and he claims that if you're working in a team you often have to talk to the other members and discuss stuff. Presumably with a computer, some pads, a whiteboard, coffee and doughnuts..."

Define "coder".

Yes, for come applications, you're all working together, tightly integrated. My boss used to work as a pair with his colleague. He did the front end, his colleague did the database, so they'd sit opposite each other and be constantly passing handlers and such back and forth to each other - "What's that table called?", "Do you need column x in this query I'm writing?"

Conversely, for some tasks where you are writing a plugin, or some specific module, or you're a mathematician who sits and works out algorithms to throw to "the coders", you can quite happily sequester yourself away in piece and quiet and just submit your work for inclusion.

This is how Open Source works after all - people checking out code, working on it, merging it back into the code base, often on different continents, with most communication and "whiteboarding" done via mailing lists, forums, etc.

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rh587
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"I'm not sure. There's a lot of people living in the area affected who are objecting becasue of that, and will take on any objection. There are also some people looking at the vast cost and thinking it's a waste."

Yes and no. In my area much of the proposed HS2 is either tunnelled or below-grade. i.e. you won't see it because you'll look over the top of it, and won't hear it unless you're close.

Nevertheless, according to the extremely vociferous local No-HS2 group it will destroy the environment (yes, all of it, according to their campaign literature) and cause the coming of the apocalypse. As you say, they've long since passed from NIMBYism to plain BANANAs.

I would actually prefer it to have a somewhat larger impact and actually come into our main station. It would involve demolishing rather more houses than the edge-of-town station (or tunnelling under half the town) but it would also be a lot more useful in terms of changing for local rail and bus services and getting into the actual town you're travelling to rather than getting a bus from the new station to the main station for stopping services... but then my house also wouldn't be one that needed demolishing in the process so I'm biased...

As for CBAs. They wan tot be as good as possible, but sometimes the intangibles are very difficult - by their nature - to quantify. Municipal art has no tangible value (unless people come specifically to see it and you can measure the cash inflow), but generally it's a good thing to have if it improves the environment and encourages people to locate their home/business there. We don't mind councils spending a bit of money on communally "nice" things so long as it's not silly.

Likewise, quantify into financial terms the benefit of residents having a municipal park to enjoy and relax in, or a kid on a farm being able to play CoD with his town-dwelling school friends. Having grown up in a backwater I know how lonely it can be when you can't just walk round to a friend's house to play or socialise.

So as near to 1 as possible, but that shouldn't be a cut-off where it doesn't happen if it can't pay for itself. Same as the Royal Mail wouldn't have their service conditions of serving everywhere for the same stamp price. Sometimes you need to apply a fudge factor for "this is also a generally good thing to do".

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Top Ten 802.11ac routers: Time for a Wi-Fi makeover?

rh587
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Re: I mostly agree with this article

"Occasionally our department (being the catch-all for everything that plugs in) has to configure a home router for a customer that brought it in with them, complete with cables, printer, etc. to be thrown on our desks: "Here you go!" When I see an Airport router, I immediately begin swearing..."

If it's of any use, Airport Utility is available on iOS as well. Even if you're an MS/Linux house, someone is bound to have an iPhone/Pad.

Agreed it's a bit of a PITA not just having a web-interface like everyone else. Don't know whether that's a security improvement as presumably it's one less service running on the router. Guess it depends on how the Utility talks to the router and whether that's more or less secure than an inward-facing web service.

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rh587
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Re: speedy

As Spartacus mentioned. If you're streaming HD from your NAS, someone else can be using the internet (or their own stream depending how good your NAS is) and the wifi doesn't start running out of bandwidth. Unless you've got Infinity, 802.11n is far faster than your outbound connectivity, but internal traffic may well be higher still if you're in the habit of ripping your DVD/Blu-Ray collection to network storage.

By way of example my parent's ISP-issued 802.11-b (yuh, really) router is now seriously struggling when you try and connect a slew of phones, laptops and tablets to it simultaneously. It's 10 years old and was designed to sit next to a wired desktop with maybe one or two wireless laptops if you were one of the cool kids. Tablets and smartphones didn't exist back then. Still works fine as far as ADSL goes - they only get flaky rural ADSL so no one tries to stream (which would be pointless over 802.11b anyway) but the wireless chip itself isn't up to the job of talking to 3 devices per person. Gets confused when everyone is home for christmas and it's got 10-15 devices connected, if not doing anything. Just bought them a new n router and turned the wireless off on their old unit, leaving it to do modem/DHCP duties, which splits their devices over 2.4GHz and 5GHz and can cope with them all trying to talk to each other.

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rh587
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Re: ADSL, VDSL built in / requires modem

"More info required; it's all well and good you're testing the wireless speeds, but surely one of the other considerations is if the model is an ADSL / VDSL / Requires a cable/vdsl modem.

Hard to tell without going to each and every manufacturer page, (fritzbox, buffalo, tp-link excepted)."

Not that hard. The fact Orestis specifically mentions the presence of xDSL modems means it's a reasonable assumption that the others do not.

Or you can just look at the back-panel photos. If it's only got RJ45 sockets with one labelled "WAN" then you'll need a modem. If it's got an RJ11 socket labelled DSL then it's got it's own modem. Should be able to tell at a glance whether a modem is present.

Fair point that a matrix for other features like guest networks, firewalls, IPv6, VPN, etc would be useful.

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ICANN can't hand over Iran's internet, bomb victims told

rh587
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289 pages? Seems like a long winded way for ICANN to say. "F-off, don't be so stupid."

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Has Europe cut the UK adrift on data protection?

rh587
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Re: Democracy

"In short, if there is a nation that has historically been privileged in the EU, in terms that their opinion has often been accepted even when it was contrary to the majority and that a blind eye has been turned when it says "We don't like this global EU policy, so we decide that it applies to everyone except us.", that is the UK."

It's probably worth noting though that this in part to our attitude towards rules and regulations - i.e. we have clear, specific laws (though that's gone under a bus these past 15 years), but what we have we follow to the letter.

As opposed to the European example of pass some vague and broad-reaching laws in spirit, follow them in a manner that makes sense and if the Police disagree then a court can interpret...

Simple example, if a British farmer doesn't dot his i's and cross the t's on his DEFRA paperwork he'll get run into the ground by the bureaucrats. Mislay a movement form? Nice knowing you.

Compare that to France where no farmer worries too much about the paperwork and the ministry doesn't press them on it either.

As a result, we've always tried to be a lot more picky and specific. If there's an implementation date and you miss it, the French will come up with another date. If we miss it we're into fines, performance clauses, etc because we've done it as written. Culture clash and two fundamentally different ways of writing rules and laws. We stupidly end up trying to enforce broad directives to the letter, they get pissed off with us trying to be picky and specific because they rarely have any intention of actually implementing them anyway, just taking them as guidelines to inform their own policies.

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Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro

rh587
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Re: Computers in Schools?

He kind of has a point, though hasn't made it very well. This obsession with putting laptops in front of every primary school kid can detract from actually getting on and learning.

That said, being given one of the coveted slots to play The Crystal Rain Forest with a partner on a Friday afternoon was a serious sweetener for the Primary school version of me to work hard. There was a Wizard of Oz text adventure as I recall. Those early RM games were great puzzle solving activities. Yes, there were non-computer based ones that we could do as a group - and we did - but variety is the spice of life and an hour on a computer each fortnight was no great detriment to our education, quite the opposite. Of course, those were the pre-95 days when the school had precisely two RMs (the Normal and the "CD-ROM") and few had a computer at home, so getting a go was a big deal to an 8 year old.

However, fast forward a few years and when I was using Autograph for my GCSE Maths coursework it didn't detract because I already knew how to graph a function on paper. I'd been doing it since we started separate science classes in Year 5. There was no gain to be had by me spending an hour doing that when I can rapidly plot multiple functions in autograph. But I understood what the software was doing on my behalf.

Likewise, submitting essays digitally allows much easier/quicker editing and writing for a student. It's also a lot easier for a teacher to copy-paste into a plagiarism-checker. Just because something is handwritten doesn't mean it wasn't plagiarised from somewhere.

It's wrong to say computers have no place in schools, but equally I think they've become overly pervasive. I did GCSEs just when a few kids started to have laptops, and by the end of A-Levels a lot had something they could bring in for writing up coursework. The school didn't have wifi by then though so the computer labs were the only source of internet access.

Even then though, I know one guy who spent all his A-Level Physics classes playing Half-Life, and someone I met at uni a couple of years younger than me reckoned a friend had become a reasonably senior Wikipedia Editor off the back of the stuff they'd done during lesson time when the teacher was at the board and had no idea if you were actually working or doing something else behind the screen.

There's a balance, and computers are best suited as a tool to speed something up and make the most of lesson time once they've learnt how to do it by hand.

I recall seeing a program lamenting the death of traditional skills and they visited a stone masons where everyone was workign with power tools - rotary sanders, etc. Looked very modern and industrial, but every apprentice had spent their first 12-18 months with a hammer, chisel and glass paper learning how to work stone properly before they were allowed the power tools as labour saving devices to apply their skills more rapidly and efficiently.

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Google Maps community competition falls foul of Indian regulations

rh587
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Because without Google Maps it would have been totally impossible for a member of the public to go to a public location, such as an Opera House, Bazaar or neighbourhood and scope it out for themselves. The absence of Google Maps would have totally scuppered their ability to plan such an attack...

As for Nuclear Installations... those would be totally impossible to know about.

I mean, it's not like there aren't thousands of people employed at those locations, at least some of whom will spill details when plied with alcohol. Not to mention news articles about them, multiple online sources of information like the IAEA, etc where details could be gleaned...

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Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE

rh587
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Re: " were perfectly comfortable with the televisions they currently use"

"So anything higher resolution is unlikely to get much of a shout until the current set packs up or the price has dropped to the point that replacing it is a virtual no brainer."

Yup, my parents had an ancient 17" CRT that they'd had second hand off my grandmother.

That packed up the week before Christmas last year so an expedition to a suitable retailer was arranged with my little brother (on account of him being in at the time) and a 50" LG Smart TV duly appeared.

In fairness, at that size, the HD Freeview channels are noticeably better than their SD counterparts. It's also nice to have all the iplayer/Netflix/Lovefilm-AmazonFilm stuff embedded. Nothing I couldn't set up with an RPi but my parents much prefer just driving it all off one remote rather than having a Wireless keyboard, etc and introducing them to Raspbian, etc. And clicking a button is simpler than jacking in their laptop to an HDMI, setting up the right screen type (mirroring/extended desktop/etc - always defaults to the one you don't want at that moment!), having to wake it up when it goes into hibernation halfway through the film, etc.

Suffice to say, that TV ain't going anywhere until it physically dies. Not for 4K, not for nothing.

All they need now is something decent to watch...

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Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid: The plug-in for plutocrats

rh587
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Re: But why?

"Does anyone who can afford to lay out £90K for a car (probably north of £100K with extras) really give a damn whether it does 40MPG or 20MPG? Apart from giving you the chance to flaunt your green credentials at the country club this seems a largely pointless exercise."

Anyone who has £80-100k to spend on a Grand Tourer and doesn't buy a Jag F-Type ought to be sectioned. Dad had one for a weekend courtesy of work and oh my god what a car. Exciting when you want it to be and refined when you take your foot off the floor.

No, I know it's not a hybrid. But it doesn't matter. It's worth every penny.

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Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov

rh587
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Re: Plenty of sites warn you

Not quite. Most sites don't claim uploaded photos are exempt from copyright, but by using their service you grant the service provider a non-exclusive license to pilfer what they like.

So if I post a photo to Facebook, FB are within their rights to use that photo for their own purposes, including commercial and advertising. That still doesn't mean someone else has the right to pilfer it however.

Though as FB's minions strip all the metadata out of uploaded content, it potentially becomes difficult to trace origin once a photo has been saved and taken out of the context of FB.

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UK government officially adopts Open Document Format

rh587
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"Wonder if the EU will follow now."

They'll probably go the other way now Cameron's upset them, mandate .pages and .numbers and spend our taxes refitting the entire EU with Apple hardware.

Except for any British staff who will be issued Win95 boxes with MS Works.

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Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax

rh587
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What TRT said.

A 13-inch Macbook is indeed:

£1499 on the UK store

$1799 on the US store, which equates to £1054 today on xe.com.

However, that £1054 is sans-tax. After normalising it with UK VAT, that £1054 becomes £1265. So there's still a £250 (16%) premium for living in blessed Blighty, but one does need to be careful whether you're comparing against America's tax-free online sales, or against local sales tax, which in most states is less than 10%, compared to our VAT rate of 20%.

I did once hear the UK referred to as "Treasure Island" by someone working for a US consumer electronics company. We're known for apparently being prepared to pony up premium prices.

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

rh587
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Re: Red X

"Though I do understand your irritation at apparently pointless lane closures"

That and generally inappropriate usage of matrix signs. Whoever controls the M4 signage West of the Severn is a cretinous, unimaginative moron. The number of times I have been driving back to merry England in poor weather and been greeted with "Caution: Poor Driving Conditions"

Yes. I know. I can hardly read the matrix through the driving rain. But actually I'd quite like to know if the M50 is closed*, or what the traffic is like over the Severn Bridge. You know, useful and pertinent information that I can't glean by simply looking at the road ahead.

*It was. I chanced it and ended up being taken round a circuitous diversion. Trundling across the Severn Bridge and turning left would have been quicker. Thanks for nothing. Whoever does the M6 signage does a much better job of picking out the important nuggets, though I'm sure they'll also get in the habit of leaving the shiny new managed speed limits on far longer than is strictly necessary.

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