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* Posts by Ian Yates

858 posts • joined 12 Jun 2007

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Multimillionaire's private space ship 'can land on Mars'

Ian Yates
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Not only that

He's actually making space flight cost-effective, which I think deserves massive props.

If he's making a profit at the prices he's quoting, it just shows what healthy competition can do to an industry.

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The best sci-fi film never made: Also-rans take a bow

Ian Yates
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Are you sure?

The Void trilogy is set over a thousand years after Judas Unchained, still prominently featuring Paula Myo and a few other characters.

Maybe you're thinking of The Night's Dawn trilogy, which is in a different universe?

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Ian Yates
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Banks

I'm hoping for Matter. (not that it changes anything)

It's got everything a good sci-fi film needs and it introduces the Culture without getting too heavy or relying on lots of backstory.

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ICT classes in school should be binned – IT biz body

Ian Yates
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Computer Science

I think "ICT" (having taught it and know people that do) should be dropped and a proper Computer Science syllabus be added as an optional GCSE.

I learnt how to use Office at school and how to program VBA at A-level. It wasn't until Uni that I really got in to memory structure and OOP. I'd have loved proper CS courses at GCSE/A-level, but they just weren't/aren't there.

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Apple sues Samsung over Galaxy look-and-feel

Ian Yates
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Pirate

On the plus side

it's all MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) - or a "Patent Gap" in Peter Sellers talk.

They'll all fight it out and then agree to stop suing each other because of the sheer size of the suits flying around, and a few years later it'll all start again.

The patent system is so opaque that they don't even know if they hold valid patents and most companies aren't really interested in being proven wrong. It's the legal equivalent of slapping your dick in someone's face.

(Where's our evil lawyer icon? No need for the good one)

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Google to close pre-YouTube Video service

Ian Yates
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Badgers

@Elmer Phud

Agreed, "cloud" is just marketing speak for what people have been doing for years (IRC?).

But then the same is true for "social networks" - people think it started with facebook or Friendster, but BBS' and forums were doing the same thing since the 80s (sans Farmville).

But then, where would Web-2.0 be without ignorant hype?

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Got a buck to send M Night Shyamalan to film school?

Ian Yates
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title

It only works because of the "clever" cuts between scenes.

From the top of my head, the one that stuck out was every time he goes to the basement door it cuts to him being in the basement until the very last attempt when he realises he's dead.

/shrugs

Maybe it's just hindsight, but the film seemed far less clever the second time around. I think that's probably true with all MNS's "twists", though.

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Ian Yates
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Unbreakable

I thought that until I tried to watch it a second time.

Although, watching Sixth Sense a second time showed just how weak the pretending-he's-not-dead thing was.

Signs was just dreadful.

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Nissan Leaf electric car

Ian Yates
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Charge

I'd argue 5 minute charge would be the upper limit to being a true mass-market product. I can't see owners nor forecourts being happy for people to sit around for 30 minutes.

If the charge was only a few minutes, 110 mile range would be livable.

Actually, I take that back; I'm sure Thingy Bean cafe will love having people around with nothing else to do.

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Can Bing ride IE and WinPho to Google triumph?

Ian Yates
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Have to say

I actually like Bing. True, they've renovated more than innovated most of the features (certainly a lot of Google and Yahoo features in there), but I've started using it as one of my main search engines.

I think it would be a mistake for MS to push it too hard, though; I tend to rile against default search engines, and we all know how much ire it can get from the technorati.

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Binary dinosaur drive found alive and breathing fire

Ian Yates
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Speccy

Not too interesting, but I have a few old ZX 16K/48Ks with voice synthesizer, thermal printer, and microdrive.

These were my home computers growing up (we had multiple due to the number that stopped working).

I got the whole lot (with 50-odd tapes and microdrive "disks") out of the loft about 10 years back, but all of the microdrive disks were dead (no surprise) and I couldn't get most of the tapes to fully load.

The Hobbit worked, if I recall, and it really made me appreciate how patient I used to be to play any of those games.

In the end, the Speccy emulators are superior to digging up the real deal (IMHO).

Almost forgot: how awful were the keys on those units, though? eh? Crazy little rubber things

And what was with 5/6/7/8 being the arrow keys? Threw me off for ages trying to play things like Dan Dare.

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HTC Android tablet priced up for Blighty's shoppers

Ian Yates
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Screen

The screen sounds very clever: capacitive for the hands but a dedicated layer for detecting the more precise stylus.

Unfortunately, from what I've read, you can't rest your hand on the screen while using the stylus :(

Drop the price a couple of hundred quid and I'll consider it.

Have they mentioned Honeycomb support for the future?

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SpaceX unveils new Falcon Heavy rocket - WORLD'S BIGGEST

Ian Yates
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I was going to disagree

But then I heard an interview with Musk and he has a pretty awesome villain voice.

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Ten... tech treats for mum

Ian Yates
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Slankets

Let's face it, though, a slanket is just a backwards dressing gown.

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Pre-release Windows 8 code hits PC makers

Ian Yates
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Not just that

But these aren't even OS functions; these are clearly just applications bundled with the OS. Why not release these as some kind of (paid for) suite for Vista/7 and do a smaller OS update with only OS changes?

/sigh

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Fire-quenching electric forcefield backpack invented

Ian Yates
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Sprinkler system

I always thought that the sign of a good safety device was one that worked in the absence of something telling it not to. i.e, dead man's handles or engine governers.

Sprinkler systems work through water pressure, but this new device will require electricity. I may be wrong, but their version (while very cool) sounds like it has the most potential to fail in its duty.

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Apple bashes 'gay cure' app

Ian Yates
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@P.Lee

Having seen the screenshots, I'm not sure I'd go with "discriminatory", but maybe I missed something since I'm heterosexual.

It struck me more as being hugely misleading and questionably dangerous (based on anecdotal evidence of the damage their therapy has had on people).

I don't disagree with Apple removing the app since it did give a "homosexuality must be cured" message, which I find pretty sickening; in the same way I'd be against a "homosexuality is better for you" message.

Being the provider of a public forum gives you the responsibility to not encourage/allow extreme views (IMHO).

I think the extremity of their message might be where the "discrimination" aspect is coming from; not so much direct discrimination but espousing discrimination of their lifestyle.

And if you want to know their viewpoint, go to their website. I doubt these guys want to be engaged in discussion.

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Apple Mac OS X: ten years old today

Ian Yates
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PowerShell

PowerShell is a much better CLI than cmd/command, and it takes a lot of lead from Linux/Unix CLIs (ls and ps, for example).

MS finally put in features like coloured text for error outputs (and other) - amazing!

I've seen lots of people complain about how different it is, but that's a lose-lose argument ("I hate cmd but ps is too different").

I'm still a Bash man, though ;)

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Fukushima explained in crap cartoon

Ian Yates
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@Steven Jones

I completely agree; I wasn't defending their preparedness or lack thereof, just pointing out that they actually had tsunami defenses in place.

The 2004 tsunami was expected to have reached at least 20m at landfall... and that's the low estimate.

I'm inclined to go with someone else's comment about how fair it is to attack them on trading off cost for extreme safety (especially with the odds of such a large earthquake/tsunami occurring). Where do you stop? A 20m+ tsunami is not a trivial problem to prepare for.

I think they've proven they designed the nuke's damned well*, but it would have obviously been better if they'd been able to get the whole thing under control so much faster.

* Given the age and inherent flaws in the design of the reactors.

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Ian Yates
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@IMG

That's not entirely fair.

They did expect the "double whammy", but nothing in the range of what they got. As Sean said, put this in perspective - the wave was freaking huge.

"The Fukushima power plants were required by regulators to withstand a certain height of tsunami. At the Daiichi plant the design basis was 5.7 metres and at Daini this was 5.2 metres.

Tepco has now released tentative assessments of the scale of the tsunami putting it at over 10 metres at Daiichi and over 12 metres at Dainii."

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Stabilisation_at_Fukushima_Daiichi_2003111.html

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Microsoft Kinect hacked to control the PS3

Ian Yates
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Long view

Any chance MS will take the long view and start allowing publishers to license Kinect for their PS3 games?

It'd be interesting to see that kind of collaboration. They could take the view that having X titles on PS3 using Kinect might draw PS3-only owners to buy an XBox (having already got the Kinect) in order to experience the 3X Kinect titles and exclusives.

Probably not, though.

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Actress meets feds investigating nude photo Gmail hack

Ian Yates
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Don't be absurd!

Who do you think you are?

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TV sitcom opens up the world of penetration testing

Ian Yates
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Pint

Oh dear...

Who else has visions of attackers being displayed graphically breaching firewall "shells" to get to some core system?

Or worse, it could be Hackers all over again...

I try to let it wash over me, but when a movie/TV gets IT so seriously wrong (Swordfish, etc.), it really shatters my suspension of disbelief. Actually, even books; I'm not sure I ever finished Dan Brown's Firewall (I'm not even sure why I started it...).

Ah, well. Almost beer o'clock.

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Apple 'gay-cure' app severely slapped

Ian Yates
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Not So Simple

Using discrimination to fight discrimination is entirely the wrong way to solve anything.

If you're confused, "remove ALL religious based app" is discrimination.

The correct response (IMHO) is to remove apps that promote extreme/negative views of others (this includes anti-religious) and let the market decide about the rest.

You can't spout equality on one side will removing it on the other. As with democracy and free speech, if you want equality, you have to be prepared to give it to others first.

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Nintendo 3DS smashes advance order record

Ian Yates
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Nintendo

"Of course it's nintendo, and people just buy nintendo, as they know no different."

Or they have years of experience of knowing that Nintendo deliver some of the most innovative and fun 1st party games on all of their platforms.

I'm not in any particular camp, but Nintendo (and close partners) do produce some of the most intensely enjoyable games.

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Supercomputer charts killer tsunami's course

Ian Yates
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Well said.

That energy plot image is just terrifying.

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Fukushima on Thursday: Prospects starting to look good

Ian Yates
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FAIL

eltit

"DNA cannot be repaired"

Really? I think you're wrong

http://www.nih.gov/sigs/dna-rep/whatis.html

You should probably read up on background radiation as well, since there is a significant amount of evidence that there is more than just a "safe dose", small doses of radiation may actually be healthier than none (as part of the DNA repair process and radioresistance).

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Hadron Collider 'could act as telephone for talking to the past'

Ian Yates
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Easy to prove?

Once we've detected the singlets, we just leave a long-standing note (a la Doc Brown) saying when we started detecting them and what we expect a message to look like and, assuming one day we can create and direct singlets, we should start seeing messages. No?

IANAPhysicist, but this seems to fall under Hawking's observation about never having met a time traveller.

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Court OK's Assange Sweden extradition, given 7 days to appeal

Ian Yates
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Pint

"Sexual offences are an extraditable offence"

Part of the defence was, I believe, that what he was being charged with wasn't a sexual offence in the UK.

And the "Australian national" thing is irrelevant as we are obliged (morally and constitutionally) to not send anyone somewhere to suffer unfairly, regardless of nationality.

Personally, I think he should go and defend himself. If he's innocent, congrats, if not, obeying the law in the country you're visiting and taking personal responsibility is part of life. I've got nothing against the guy, but he sounds like he's just trying to avoid giving his side of the story in a court.

I may be naive, but I don't believe Sweden will be able to get away with an extradition to the USA, even if they wanted to. Any extradition from the UK would not allow a forwarding extradition without concluding the original trial, and we constitutionally can't extradite someone to a country where they face cruel punishment (i.e., death).

I'd be first in line to protest his release should he be couriered out of Sweden.

(Beer, since I'm off tomorrow)

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New balesio appliance liposuctions fat out of files

Ian Yates
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n/t

I read that as "liposuctions fat out of flies" and was very confused.

I assumed it was the start of lab tests for a new fat-reduction method, and couldn't work out why you'd start with flies...

Ah, well. Slightly more interesting than the actual content ;)

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Exhibition to applaud videogames as art

Ian Yates
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"so merely looking, reading or listening to it is its only function"

I'm confused.

Are you then saying you agree that computer games _can_ be art, or can't?

Because the only function of a computer game is to, well, let you experience the computer game.

I was always told that you have art, craft, and skill; but even this oversimplifies a subject of grays.

In this sense, since computer game skills (playing) are non-transferable (for the most part) and not a craft, they probably fall under art.

I've definitely played games I think are deserving of the term (and HL2 is definitely one of them), but I wouldn't try to tell people to accept them as art.

Cheerio

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Cowon D3 Plenue Android media player

Ian Yates
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J3

As a long-time Cowon customer, I have to say that this sounds like a very poor follow-up to their J3.

The J3 has a battery life that smashes the competition; I consistently get a working-week's worth of usage out of it using on ~10 hours a day.

Plus, the touch-screen side of the J3 doesn't detract from the physical buttons for using it in your pocket.

True, the J3 doesn't have wifi, but apart from loading music on to it, I don't really see the need (though, I do have a smartphone, so those without may disagree).

http://www.reghardware.com/2010/07/07/review_media_player_cowon_j3/

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US scientists build laser-killing device

Ian Yates
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The missing something:

They can selective cancel out a small range of wavelengths, effectively not changing other wavelengths.

At least, that was the explanation I read elsewhere.

The applications they've considered are for light transistors, where they can use block a signal using another signal.

Talking about taking up to the visible light spectrum, isn't that just a filter? I think they've been around for a while...

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O2 to raise broadband prices by up to 27%

Ian Yates
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Compare

I don't have it on me to quote from, but the current issue of Custom PC does a comparison of the top broadband suppliers with details on their traffic shaping policy.

Well worth a gander if you need one type of traffic to be more reliable.

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'Race against time' to find LOST TREES from the MOON

Ian Yates
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Joke

So...

Basically, the moon visits were just an expensive excuse to litter?

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Indian courts 'rule astrology is a science'

Ian Yates
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Not science.

I can't decide if this was a light-hearted troll or an honest confusion between the highly-regarded science of *astronomy* and astrology, pretending to know what's going to happen based on planets moving through arbitrary boundaries in the sky.

Unless you know something that we don't, and that Johnson was advised by such a quack during the space race?

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Apple clips publishers' wings

Ian Yates
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Time for the publishers to unite

I think Sony, Amazon, etc. need to take a stand and remove their apps from iOS with an explanation to their consumers about why.

Everyone I know with an iPad uses the Sony or Kindle Reader and would be pretty upset to lose that ability because Apple were being greedy. Would it be enough to start the consumer boycott until they relax their sphincters? We can only hope.

This is some of the scariest stuff Apple has done. They've always stated that they restricted users' freedom for their own good; how do they justify this move?

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Official: Android rules OK

Ian Yates
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Statistics

I think it's fair to say that, without access to any kind of raw data, these figures should be taken with liberal amounts of sodium chloride.

As you stated, the last few, which at least showed something tangible, ended up lumping all iPhones in one against a single phone, or completely cutting off a section of the market.

Statistics are wonderfully pliable things.

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In defence of Comic Sans

Ian Yates
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n/t

I stand corrected ;)

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Ian Yates
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Well put

But you'll never convince me. Something about the font just makes me think "amateur".

If I wasn't at work I'd hunt for the photo of a "keep this door closed" sign in Comic Sans that someone has placed a "do not use Comic Sans - we are a fortune 500 company, not a toy factory" sign next to (in Arial).

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Dead Space 2

Ian Yates
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Ditto

I was the same, unfortunately.

I picked up the first one for under a tenner, but I just couldn't get on with the third-person view.

Shame, as I did enjoy the atmosphere and tension building.

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UK.gov braces for Anonymous hacklash

Ian Yates
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Protest

While they may or may not believe their own statement, it is an interesting topic.

What normal right of protest can you make against an online organisation? I feel like DDoS /should/ be illegal (maybe just because I know the CMA says so), but I agree that everyone has the right to peaceful protest.

If the parallel is what happened to Top Shop and Vodafone for less than a day regarding their tax-evasion (surely just a Present Denial of Service?), then maybe I'm wrong to be against DDoS...

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Gatwick Airport security swoops on 3-inch rifle

Ian Yates
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WTF?

Just what we need...

...people acting completely without thought to give the Sun and Daily Mail a reason to feel smug about "political correctness gone mad".

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Sony preps PlayStation gaming for Android

Ian Yates
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Choice

It is a way to control developers, but only those that want to release Sony-approved PlayStation(tm) games; which I'm assuming will be supported in devices like PSP and maybe even PS3 arcade-style?

I'm also assuming they'll be providing their own APIs to run within the emulator.

I actually think this sounds like a good approach. You'll still get "pure" Android games, but Sony are providing the possibility of taping in to an existing catalog for decent games.

This is basically adding an Apple-style walled garden market for games - with all the pluses and minuses that entails.

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Italy sues Microsoft for box-bundling bungling

Ian Yates
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@Lewis Mettler

I was interested in your statement about IE being sold on shelves, since I never witnessed that, but I can't find any reference to MS ever selling IE. Was this some kind of specially supported boxed edition?

I was under the impression they gave IE away with Windows to avoid having to pay royalties for the underlying tech - which they later rebuilt themselves. There was a massive lawsuit around this in the late 90's.

I agree with your statement about it being "free", though; even if I disagree that people have the choice to use another browser.

Do you make similar complaints about the engine components in your car? The parallels are quite interesting.

Ack. I sound like a MS sympathiser... must be time for some shell scripting

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Ian Yates
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I /kind of/ agree with you

If, as some say, Microsoft is basically holding resellers to ransom to only offer PCs with Windows on or pay higher costs, then they should prepare for a few hefty fines from every corner of the globe.

If, however, it is the resellers who do it due to "market forces"... I'm not entirely sure what people expect to happen here...

I don't really want to defend MS' market tactics, given their history, but I'm not convinced they're to blame if OEMs don't offer alternatives... Dell's argument used to be about them supporting alternative OSs, since they can't sell a product without a warranty.

Aren't we also rapidly treading in to even worse territory regarding Apple products here?

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Tunisia plants country-wide keystroke logger on Facebook

Ian Yates
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HTTP

If this is HTTP, why do they even need the JS injection? They can just record the POST headers...

I'm assuming, of course, that Fb doesn't do any client-side password hashing, which they may (can't be arsed to check).

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The Last Airbender up for nine Razzies

Ian Yates
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n/t

I just wanted to take Iglethal's comment further.

I get really annoyed when it became "news" that a film (Avatar) has taken the most box office cash ever.

I'm sure it can't just be me who pays more for a cinema ticket now than they used to? In London, cheap cinemas are £10 a ticket, compared to the £4 of 10/15 years ago.

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Ian Yates
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Hmm...

I disagree that a film's takings are related to the quality.

A new Twilight was always going to do well due to the hype and fandom; Inception, however, was a new franchise so didn't have initial momentum.

One of my favourite films is Gattaca, which is reported to not even have made back its own budget - hard to tell with Hollywood accounting, but it certainly wasn't a "smash" in this sense.

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Google swaps old CEO Schmidt for older CEO Page

Ian Yates
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Amassador Schmidt

Which is why calling his new role an "ambassadorial role" makes me think all kinds of "uh oh"!

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