* Posts by Phil O'Sophical

1863 posts • joined 28 Oct 2011

Microsoft begins war against fake phone tech support scams

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: MS wants compensation for this?

The nice bit in this story is that MS want a jury trial. AFAIK the jury gets to set the damages in this sort of case, and it will only take a few jury members who's grannies have been duped by this to throw several tens of $m damages into the mix. Beats the slap on the wrist a UK court would deliver.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: But what does the scammers EULA say?

What has the poor quality of the software got to do with it? The very fact that these scammers have to ask you to let them access the systems shows that the software itself isn't at fault. The only reason that this is a Microsoft story is that the overwhelming majority of potential victims run Microsoft software on their PCs. Given enough time I'm sure there'll be an equivalent iPhone or Android scam.

Basically this is exactly the same kind of scam as the ones where people doorstep elderly people to sell them solar panels or home insulation that they don't need, or phone to sell insurance for problems that they don't have. They're simply unscrupulous crooks preying on the vulnerable. My Mum has had these calls, but is fortunately still savvy enough to recognise them for what they are. In a few years time she may not be.

Sure, Microsoft are probably more concerned about damage to their reputation than about the financial hit these users take, but if that's what it takes to get the problem addressed then go for it as far as I'm concerned. They've a better chance of success than anything an ordinary police complaint can do.

So, I downvoted you for the kneejerk "must be the supplier's fault" reaction, not for anything to do with defending Microsoft.

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ICANN HACKED: Intruders poke around global DNS innards

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Come on - TheReg should know better

That's apparently why the Honda Fit is called the Honda Jazz in EMEA :)

And why the Chevrolet Nova didn't do so well in Spanish-speaking parts of S. America.

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EU VAT law could kill THOUSANDS of online businesses

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: This is entirely UNreasonable

NO - VAT is a consumption tax. It is paid when something is consumed.

VAT is a consumption tax that is charged on added value. The clue is in the name: Value Added Tax.

Intermediaries in the chain do not charge/pay VAT (and if they do, they claim it back).

That's not an and, it's an or. The theory is that they pay, and if they aren't the final consumer they claim it back. Obviously they can simplify this by not paying it if they can justify that they will claim it back later.

The idea is that the VAT is charged at the price that the consumer pays, which is normally the higest price in the chain. In your example, the printers buy their ink/paper VAT free, and only if it is sold to a consumer is VAT charged

No, it is always charged to the final consumer. If the printer doesn't sell the product it becomes that final consumer and would have to declare and pay.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: This is entirely UNreasonable

VAT is a "Value Added Tax", and the whole idea of is is that at each stage in a production process where value is added, it is taxed.

If a manufacturer buys paper from a factory, he pays VAT because that factory is assumed to have added value to turn wood pulp & water into paper. When he turns that paper into pretty bags he adds value, and his purchaser then pays VAT on the additional cost for adding that value. OK, so the current scheme is implemented through a serious of pay-and-claim-back-when-you-sell steps, but the principle still applies. The added value is taxed.

So, logically, why is the VAT not payable in the place where the value was added? If that manufacturer is in the UK, and the purchaser is in France, the value was still added in the UK. It doesn't make logical sense for the final purchaser to pay the tax in the state where they live, since by definition that final purchaser is adding no value. If that French purchaser walks into the manufacturer's shop in London, buys the product, and takes it home to France, he won't be expected to claim back the VAT at Dover & pay French VAT when he gets home. Why should it be different if he is making the purchase by proxy?

The cynic in me can't help but wonder if this is an EU backdoor to ensure that wealthy countries still get tax income even as their manufacturing industry is exported to cheaper places. If a German goes online and buys a cheap TV that is made in, and shipped from, say, Romania instead of one made in Hamburg, the German treasury will still get the tax.

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American bacon cured with AR-15 assault rifle

Phil O'Sophical
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Unhappy

Re: The Bacon is not so bad.

> Right, that's my tea sorted, semolina pudding and bacon.

This is all making me really pine for some decent black pudding.

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Screwball ruble closes Apple's Russia store, whole kit and caboodle

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Apple has a tiny share in Russia

Can't Apple Russia just price/sell iPhones in dollars? It's just the sort of thing a status-conscious фанат would love to boast about.

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Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows

Phil O'Sophical
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The telcos borrowed to buy.

Which is an interesting point. The difference between winning with a bid of £10bn versus one of £11bn of your own money is a lot more than the incremental difference in interest that you'll pay if you win with a borrowed £11bn instead of a borrowed £10bn.

Of course, they still have to pay off the loan eventually, but if they do that through a share issue the very act of winning could increase the company's valuation to the point where the share issue is self-financing. The perceived value of the company will increase by the "value" of the spectrum they've just bought, or more.

The end result will be that they don't actually care, within reason, what the price is. They just need to find suifficiently gullible shareholders to shoulder the risk, while the treasury collects their money.

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'Turn to nuclear power to save planetary ecology from renewable BLIGHT'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: @Phil O'Sophical - Exaggerating much?

The article certainly goes off at tangents from time to time, but the figures are still valid when applied to different scenarios.

For example, it quotes figures for 7-day pumped storage reserve under certain circumstances. Clearly if this were hydro being used as a primary source, and not as a buffer for temporary storage, things would be different. There would be no need for the lower reservoir, for example, so lake storage would reduce. On the other hand 7-day reserve would be insufficient. It would need a reserve able to last through a 'dry' season, and which could be refilled during the 'wet' season, which could mean months, not 7 days. This could mean a 10x increase in required reservoir capacity. Clearly the actual numbers would vary depending on whether this was in California or Cumbria, but nonetheless the numbers do show that "just use hydro" isn't an environmentally benign, or practically achieveable, approach on a worldwide scale.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Exaggerating much?

flooding a valley for hydro may seem a big area, but on a country-wide basis it's really tiny.

Hardly. take a look at:

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/11/pump-up-the-storage/

where they've done the calculations. The figures are huge, such as the need for 2500 dams, with 19m m³ of concrete in each. Just for the US. It would take the total energy consumption of the US for three years just to pour that much concrete. 25,000 km² of lake area if this were a 7-day pumped-storage installation storing energy from other sources, in El Reg units that's 1¼ Wales. Perhaps small compared to the area of the USA, but not really tiny. Certainly not negligeable on the environmental scale.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Fusion (Re: Thorium)

the joke about fusion power - perpetually fifty years away.

The latest IEEE Spectrum actually has some encouraging info about fusion, not so much technical progress but the number of private companies investigating alternative ways to do it, with suggestions that working prototype reactors are 5-10 years away. See the "Fusion Alternatives" sidebar at the end of this article:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/inside-the-dynomak-a-fusion-technology-cheaper-than-coal

It might just be hype, but if even one of these works...

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Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: They are done

Last I checked, Apple and MS never released music CDs that installed malware in your computer if you so much as put the disk in.

Apple didn't even use a disk, or do you not consider U2 to be malware?

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Ofcom mulls selling UK govt's IPv4 cache amid IPv6 rollout flak

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: IPv6

Line rental is usually higher than the cost of ADSL broadband these days.

You're missing the point that ADSL broadband also requires the line. Even if you have no phone plugged in you still need that copper pair, so either you pay for it as part of the ADSL (price goes up to match) or you pay for it separately (two charges on bill, ADSL + line rental). The one thing you can't do is have the ADSL without the physical line. If that's what you prefer you'd need to go for 4G.

I am assuming that you give a fsck about people who are not as fortunate as yourself. I understand that this is often a false assumption.

An irrelevant one in this case.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: IPv6

Or pheasants? Don't just shoot the messenger, shoot it and eat it.

Would only work for UDP though.

Maybe we need to push for Feathers To The Home ?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: IPv6

RFC 1149, or better still use RFC 2549 to add QoS ...

It's all right for you Londoners, megapigeons all over the place. Out here in the sticks I'd be lucky to get one pigeon a day, and I have to share that with my neighbour . When's the government going to get us a decent avian carrier rate for the whole country, eh?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Oh FFS!

But what about all the customer premises equipment behind the ISP's router, who will be responsible for upgrading that by your deadline?

If I have a domestic alarm system, or a smart TV, or STB, etc. which only speaks IPv4, who will be responsible for upgrading it to IPv6? Who will pay? OK, the ISPs could be required to provide dual-stack equipment but how many domestic users will be able to configure equipment for it, and/or understand how to troubleshoot it?

It's fine for us without our knowledge of the protocols, I've had a working dual-stack desktop system for 15-odd years, but I still wouldn't like to have to convert my whole home network to IPv6 or joint-stack operation. The Unix/Linux/Windows 7 boxes are easy-ish, the rest most certainly are not

This is not a trivial problem to solve, and throwing an arbitrary date to ISPs won't solve it.

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Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: @Phil O'Sophical - @The Axe - The reality

What you see are private landlords effectively arranging their own little cartel where they don't actually bother to try to compete with each other because nobody wants to rock the boat.

A predictable response, and one that doesn't hold water. In order for a landlord cartel to work they would need to control the supply, and they don't. The existing landlords have no way to prevent new entrants to the market. If they were somehow to manipulate prices to keep them artificially high it would simply attract more private landlords into the business, increasing supply and reducing prices.

And if you really think there's no competition I can only assume you've never actually looked into the market.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: @Phil O'Sophical - @The Axe - The reality

There is a difference between charging a fair rent and charging all the traffic will bear,

You persist in using the word "fair". Please be honest, what you mean is "low". It isn't a fair rent as far as the landlord is concerned, merely one that is beneficial to a tenant, which suggests that you're uninterested in actually being "fair" since that would imply equal treatment.

puts people in a position where they have to choose between eating, heating and keeping a roof over their heads.

Helping such people is the responsibility of government-provided social housing, not private landlords. One way to help, of course, is to make it easier for such people to move to accommodation more suited to their needs. If they insist on consuming more accommodation than they need, and cannot afford to pay for it, why should they expect taxpayer help to do so?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Statistics and all that

inequality and the fact that a significant number of people are getting poorer.

Well, more accurately, not getting wealthier as fast...

I have to wonder, though, if that isn't a consequence of more opportunity, rather than less?

With no opportunity to improve oneself, things won't change, but the more opportunities there are, the more people will be able to take advantage of them. Since people aren't equal in abiliity it is inevitable that some will be better at that than others. It seems likely, therefore, that the more opportunities there are, it is inevitable that the bigger the inequality will get. Provided that all levels of society are going up, as is demonstrably the case, the fact that some levels are going up faster than others must be a good thing.

An increasing wealth gap isn't necessarily a problem, it's a sign of more opportunities being available in general. It would only be a problem if it were being fuelled by a feudal-style aristocracy trampling on the backs of peasants, and despite the claims of some on the left that is not the case nowadays.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: The per captia figures may be better but that's not the point.

Education used to be the primary social ladder, it's now very difficult to educate oneself out of a subsistence level to a more comfortable existence.

That simply is not true. People have more and freer access, to more information, today than ever before. Those who take advantage of it can go almost anywhere they want.

Sadly there are always those who will trot out the old "there's no point in trying to learn, it'll never do you any good" argument. That attitude is far more of a problem than any imagined lack of educational opportunity.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: @The Axe - The reality

not interested in cutting the rents to a fair market rate.

By definition "market rate" is what people are willing to pay. If you ask more than the market rate, you don't sell your product or service. In that sense the market rate is arguably always "fair", by definition. It matches supply to demand.

I suspect that what you want is for landlords to adjust their rates based on some unrelated index such as RPI. That is not a "market rate" but a socially managed one. There is no reason that a private landlord should follow it.

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HORRIFIED Amazon retailers fear GOING BUST after 1p pricing cockup

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Hang on

the checkout assistant would probably figure out something was wrong

I wouldn't bet on it. I had a £10 item go through an M&S till at £100 once, and when I stopped the assistant and pointed it out she seemed to be completely unaware of the likely actual price of the item in question. The £100 ring-up hadn't flagged any mental alarm bells for her at all.

(To be fair I've had the opposite happen as well, where an assistant scanned something, and commented "that can't be right").

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The STEALTH Plug-in Hybrid: Audi A3 e-tron Sportback

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: This Audi is causing some amusement in France

Ah, like that popular Toyota 2-seat mid-engined sports car

And the putative Rolls-Royce Silver Mist, allegedly renamed after the Germans got wind of it (so to speak).

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Phil O'Sophical
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This Audi is causing some amusement in France

étron is French for "turd".

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Uber surge pricing kicks in during Sydney siege

Phil O'Sophical
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Missing info

What are the ordinary cabs charging, if they're running at all?

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Real Ale TWATS: In SPAAAACE, no one can churn your cream

Phil O'Sophical
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Real Ale Twat

Would that not contravene the new rules on squirting porn?

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REVEALED: Titsup flight plan mainframe borks UK air traffic control

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: There's legacy, and there's legacy

I guess the UK equivalent were things like CORAL66 and RTL2 (ICI's in house computer language. No that's not a typo).

That takes me back. At least some of the System X telephone kit was programmed in a variant of CORAL66 called PO (Post Office) CORAL, I remember learning it but never used it in anger.

RTL2 was another matter. It seemed to incorporate the worst features of C and Pascal, with none of their redeeming characteristics, and a buggy compiler to boot. I remember compiling RTL2 to PDP11 assembler, and then having to get the overlays right to fit it all into 48K. Building got easier when the output was M68K, the compiler was no less buggy though.

Programming today is so boring :)

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UK flights CRIPPLED by system outage that shut ALL London airspace

Phil O'Sophical
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Adding to the diesel stories, I know of a site that had diesel backup which was regularly tested. Once a month, for many years, the generator was started, fuel levels verified, etc., Unfortunately the diesel was run for about 2 minutes each time, which had the same effect as lots of short journeys in a car. When the power failed years later the generator started and took over the load flawlessly...until it warmed up. Once hot the thoroughly coked-up engine misfired, wouldn't keep speed, and spluttered to a halt. It took a head-off engine rebuild to get it back online.

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Europe's top court mulls vandal's right to privacy after bloke catches thug on home CCTV

Phil O'Sophical
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they shouldn't have tried to photograph a cop/politician/journalist.

Policemen and politicians are public servants, we pay their wages and while they're on duty they can damn well stand there and be photographed when we tell them to.

As for the hypocrisy of a journalist who doesn't want to be photographed, the phrase "in the public interest, m'lud' comes to mind.

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Assange's WikiLeaks: Give generously this Xmas – for STATUE of our DEAR LEADER

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: AC Offensive

There are no rape charges

Not yet, because Swedish law requires an interview before charges are laid, and Assange is hiding under the bed and won't come out. Only after the interview can the prosecutor decide if he will be charged with rape. To suggest that this means that there will be no charges is plain disingenuous.

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This week it rained in San Francisco and the power immediately blew out. Your tech utopia

Phil O'Sophical
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Pint

and without it we wouldn't have beer.

Happy Friday!

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: German food

I find food in the SF Bay area uniformly boring. It's almost all heaviliy Italian-influenced (which may be tolerable if you're not eating out every day for two weeks) and it's all way too sweet. Why do Californians want everything to taste like dessert?

Up in SF itself there's more variety, of course, like in any big city. It's not a cheap place to eat out though, prices have skyrocketed over the last 20 years or so.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Please, please get rid of that fecking expanding navbar. Pictures thrown in your face and vanishing any time the mouse hapens to brush by. Horrible.

"make content more accessible"

I assume that this is some novel use of "accessible", not the customary one of "making it easier to use for prople with disabilities", because it sure as f**k doesn't follow those guidelines.

For much of the rest, there's always AdBlock.

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BT Infinity ‘working to fix problem’ after three days of outages

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Talking of fails...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/11/register_redesign/

but be warned, the negative comments are coming in faster than you can read them. 8 pages and counting...

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US Navy's LASER CANNON WARSHIP: USS Ponce sent to Gulf

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Ponce

"I ponced a ciggie off her"

Wouldn't "bumming a fag" be more appropriate in the current naval context?

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Phil O'Sophical
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Headmaster

Re: It was named after the explorer Juan Ponce de León

Assuming jigawatts is a bad pronunciation of gigawatts

Technically gigawatts should be pronounced with a soft 'g'. it's the same Greek root as words like giant and gigantic. In English the hard 'g' has become pretty much the standard thanks to the way the US computer industry uses it (except when used for the purposes of time travel).

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Sonic BOOM: 10 blast-tastic soundbars

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: "Dialogue can be a little sharp, but the soundstage is expansive"

It means the mid range is too loud, and they've screwed around with the audio signal phase to make it seem like the TV is wider than it really is.

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Euro consumers have TOO MUCH choice – telco operators

Phil O'Sophical
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There's some logic to this

Operators argue that it could become impossible to remain viable if they are not able to pool resources with partners or rivals.

which surely shows that the business models for many of the operators is flakey? They want to cherry-pick the lucrative parts of the market, while pushing the cost of the other parts onto "somebody else". It's the model used by most of the MVNOs, and they can't all get the cherries while leaving the uninteresting cake to someone else. Maybe 4 or 5 operators is too few, but is 800+ really practical?

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The future looks bright: Prepare to be dazzled by HDR telly tech

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: "If it's a good programme, you soon forget the image quality anyway"

Is that like saying "if it's a good song, you soon forget you're listening to a 96Kbps MP3 rip of a heavily compressed version through your phone's loudspeaker"?

No, which raises an interesting point. Even the most cloth-eared music listeners get annoyed by pops, clicks and hiss, and are aware of it right through an album, yet when you watch a TV picture that's B&W, or has some snow on the picture, you (well, I at least) quickly tuneout the imperfections and get absorbed in the story.

Is it because we're less sensitive to visual noise, or because there's more information in a complex video story, or is it a music/speech thing?

Discuss...

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Spanish scraper scrapped: Google axes Google News

Phil O'Sophical
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can't waive the right to a fee.

But can they set the price at €0.00 ?

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Firms will have to report OWN diverted profits under 'Google Tax' law

Phil O'Sophical
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WTF?

Re: It is only a draft law

Not really. If you are found by police standing over a dead body with a bloody knife, you would have to "justify yourself" as well.

No, not in the UK. The courts would have to prove that you had done something wrong with the knife.

By which I mean: you have definitely done something that looks like a crime (tax evasion). Unless you can provide an alibi (the justification above) you look guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Are you serious? You're planning to punish people just because they look guilty?! Maybe you'd like to waterboard them until they confess?

a good reason why they have £10m in a suitcase. The fact they possess it would probably be enough to go for handling stolen goods beyond reasonable doubt, because there is no reasonable way any person without a very high-paying job can lay their hands on £10m.

Outside of winning the lottery, or finding it abandoned in a taxi, you mean?

However they came by it is irrelevant, if they cannot be proven to have commited a crime, they cannot be punished for it.

If the law allows these companies to divert their taxes then the law is an ass and should be changed. Until it is the companies have committed no offence, however immoral you may consider their acts to be.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: It is only a draft law

It's basically saying, "if you utilise a scheme which clearly diverts profits out of the UK, you have to tell us, and then justify those actions"

But isn't that essentially creating a "guilty until proven innocent" situation?

Laws should be simple: You can do what you want except this, if you do do that you'll be in trouble. They shouldn't be trying to second-guess the lawyers.

Of course there is the old pre-EU-joke (Churchill?):

- In England, everything is permitted except what is forbidden.

- In Germany, everything is forbidden except what is permitted.

- In France, everything is allowed, even what is prohibited.

- In the Soviet Union, everything is prohibited, even what is permitted.

so how do we get any international agreement...

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The Great Unwatched: BBC hails glorious digital future for Three

Phil O'Sophical
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Makes sense

When BBC3 was only on digital it was useful as a hook to sell digital STBs, but now? Since half of what's on BBC1 is repeats, you could fit all BBC3 and BBC1 programming onto BBC1 without even straining. Maybe the reverse-snobbery of the C/D/E social groups will stop them from watching "middle-class" BBC1, but that's their choice, it isn't like people will be pointing at them in the pub saying "I know which channel you were watching yesterday", is it?

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97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband. 'Typical households' need 10Mbps – Ofcom

Phil O'Sophical
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@Lee D Re: very misleading headline.

I thunk you misread my comemnt.

The headline claims that "97% of UK gets 'basic' 2Mbps broadband". The article itself repeats a claim in the report that the UK average is 23Mbit/s. Those two figures don't add up, because the headline is wrong.

What the report is quoted as saying is that 97% of the population get at least 'basic' 2Mbps broadband, which is not the impression given by the headline.

Of course if the 97% were getting 24 Mbit/s the average would be around that figure.

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Phil O'Sophical
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very misleading headline.

According to the report, as quoted in the article, 97% if UK households get at least 2Mbit/s. There's no way the average would be 23Mbit/s if 97% were only getting 2, unless the other 3% were near Gbit/s speeds.

The comment that and altogether 15 per cent of people are stuck below the 10Mbps mark. suggests that 85% get 10Mbit/s or better, which isn't bad at all. I wish I could get 10. Or even 5.

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EU law bods: New eCall crash system WON'T TRACK YOU. Really

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Free?

Isn't that also the definition of the "public services"

True, but no-one claims they're "free".

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Free?

"..free to all citizens..."

That's goverment-speak for "paid for by all citizens, whether they use it or not"

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Phil O'Sophical
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Thumb Down

location data

"which must be sent only to the emergency services,"

Emergency services as defined by whom?

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18 million iPHONE USERS HAVE NEVER BONKED to ApplePay

Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Re the Need For Standards

Security always means some inconvenience and Apple has made it as convenient as possible for legitimate users and as hard as possible for crooks.

I think you have those two completely reversed. NFC payment by phonebonk is a technologist's solution for a non-existent problem.

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Phil O'Sophical
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Re: Re the Need For Standards

If they steal your iPhone, they have not got your fingerprint to operate it,

So in order to pay with my phone I have to get it out of my pocket, activate it with a fingerprint, present it to the reader, and wait for the transaction? All the while hoping some lowlife doesn't snatch it out of my hand?

And this is more convenient than just handing over a fiver (or waving my wallet with my bank card in it) how?

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