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* Posts by TheOtherHobbes

875 posts • joined 15 Feb 2012

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As bankruptcy looms for RadioShack, we ask its chief financial officer... oh. He's quit

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Another one bites the dust...

Pooch screwing happened a very long time ago, because they've been making most of their money from overpriced, overmarketed, mediocre consumer electronics since the 1950s.

I'd guess the component side was always a footnote.

I remember being appalled when I discovered them in the late 70s because the catalogues seemed brash, aggressive, and patronising. If you wanted something like a 555 timer you had to buy a multipack, while all the other UK electronics stores at the time would let you buy one-offs - and their catalogs and literature treated you like an engineer, not a gullible fool in need of upsell. (Maplin will still sell you a single resistor.)

To be fair they did give the world the TRS-80, which wasn't a total rip-off for the time.

For nostalgia fans there's an almost complete collection of old catalog(ue)s at http://www.radioshackcatalogs.com.

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

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Roaming charges are what they really mean...

Not a fair comparison. The Swiss and Germans (and the French, sort of) have been making stuff work since after WWII.

English telcos take pride in overcharging and making stuff not work.

What I'm wondering is whether a Yes vote means we could have a referendum in England declaring our own independence from Westminster.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: At last the 1936 Show, Folks!

>Which decade is radio stuck in, the theatre stuck in, the book stuck in ... ???

Books have these new things called eReaders. I hear there are even electronic delivery systems for them.

I spend too much time on Facebook to have any idea what 'radio' and 'theatre' are.

The problem with TV is the studios/networks and the way they commission content. YouTube has the right idea with free-to-view user-generated content.

If Apple tried the same stunt and created an iTV store (probably not with that name) where the public could make/sell/crowdfund content they'd transform the industry overnight.

It probably won't happen because the studios won't like the idea. But it would be a game-changer if it did.

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Boffins: Searching for ALIENS is like looking for PIZZA among students

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Hmmmm.

"Any sufficiently advanced alien invasion is indistinguishable from local politics."

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Hey, HP shareholders! Mike Lynch is set to buy a 180-foot superyacht with his Autonomy loot

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: That will be one very happy armateur, then!

Keynesians say "Don't look at us. This is a perfect example of the kind of stupid shit that happens every day in free markets."

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Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts

TheOtherHobbes
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It's a cut-down iPhone screen with a dinky but clever UI and an extra knob for rotating rotatey things. And it vibrates. Sorry - taptates[tm].

It's too cheap and not blingy enough to cut it in the over-priced premium designer tat watch market owned by Rolex and the rest, it's too expensive to compete with the FitBits and Garmins for the yoof health market. So far it may do a few things that people might sort-of want, a bit, but - unlike a phone - it doesn't do anything anyone really needs.

I know it's dangerous to predict an Apple failure, but I can't see this appealing to many people outside the Bay Area and Silicon Roundabout. It's certainly not going to sell to Vogue-y fashionistas.

Pricing also matters. Most iPhones are sold on a contract with - eventually - a minimal up-front payment. Far fewer people are going to drop $350 in a one-off lump sump. That price point makes it more expensive than any of the iPod touches, and those still have obvious utility for gaming and music.

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Apple's Watch is basically electric perfume

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Watch idea is valid, still bad implementation

>Really, what do you want on your wrist?

The FAIL here isn't the actual product, but the fact that what is really a wrist-based data processor has been billed as a watch, when it should have been sold as something that happens to be wearable and watch-shaped but is *not* just an eWatch.

It even has a stupid, obvious name - Apple WATCH.

When Jobs sold the iPod he didn't called it Apple MUSIC. He gave it a weird name to distinguish it from the other MP3 players and to underline the fact that it was part of an ecosystem.

Then he bundled it into a package that gave users access to a completely new mini-industry called podcasting. And, incidentally, also tied it to iTunes and a music market.

So the iPod wasn't just an MP3 player. It gave you access to a huge music store *and* you could also promote yourself and your interests by pushing your own content to the device for other users to listen to/view.

Not so WATCH, which has been marketed as a fashion accessory with cut-down features and a hint of bling to a market that doesn't care about fashion.

Most people are thinking of it as a small iPhone for your wrist that tells the time - which IMO is totally not how Jobs would have sold it. What's missing is that community of interest that can add value.

Devs will be able to do things with WatchKit, but for users there's no element greater and more interesting than the object itself. And that may turn out to be fatal mistake.

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World's only flyable WWII Lancaster bombers meet in Lincs

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Aviation geeks

I was near Coningsby over the w/e. No sign of the Lancs at the base, but plenty of Canadian maple flags in all the windows.

Got to see a BBMF Hurricane doing low practice runs, a Spitfire taking off, and a dual-Typhoon QRA though.

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Tinder sexual harassment suit settled in undisclosed deal

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Admission Of Guilt..

It's just lawyer-speak for 'If we pay you enough, will you shut up?'

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Limits to Growth is a pile of steaming doggy-doo based on total cobblers

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Enery is the secret

And you think this makes less sense than:

"Starvation is a substitute for food, playing with oneself is a substitute for a willing and able sex partner and, yes, we do generally think that minerals and metals are substitutes for fossil fuel energy."

And *you're* the one claiming everyone else is talking bollocks?

Of course if you build minerals and metals into renewable power sources you might have something resembling a not entirely hairy and round point. But I don't suppose you approve of those, given your record of hand-waving swivel-eyed nonsense on pretty much everything you've ever written about.

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SHIP OF FAIL: How do we right capsized institutions we thought would NEVER go under?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: You've got it exactly backwards.

Central government has been biased against local solutions since Thatcher's day. The Queen of Sleaze wasn't just a nasty piece of work, her policies were deliberately designed to consolidate power in the hands of her handlers.

So good luck with getting anything more useful than a bit of gardening and maybe some road signs put up locally. If you try to do anything more interesting, you'll find you're 'not allowed' to.

The real problem is democracy is rigged and basically non-existent in the UK. The voting thing is a bit of panto we all get to take part in. It has almost no effect on policy.

There are no easy answers, and Watkinson's vapid conclusion certainly isn't one of them. But if I had too much spare cash I'd start a party that encouraged people to pick people from the local community who are respected, effective and have a record of integrity to stand for parliament. *Not* business people and the usual suspects, but people like teachers, nurses, and even (!) software developers.

Then run a slow flush through Westminster replacing the current crop of chancers, thieves, and shills in all parties with adults who have a track record of solving problems.

It's not a perfect solution, but it's (arguably) better than any of the alternatives.

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GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: OOPS! Why it could or couldn't

>That Street View data's from 2010. I wonder why that is?

Terrorists would never use Street View. Or Google Search. So it shouldn't matter.

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Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: 34 years later and ...

>It still looks like it belongs on one of those over-night cable channels that sell something different every 15 minutes.

So did all of Ballmer's Microsoft.

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Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: I don't understand

> Microsoft marketing would give you Bill G's grandmother if it involved you buying services from M$

That actually sounds like something we can expect from Microsoft marketing.

"Win 8 - now with free Mrs Gates the First Venture Capital Action Figure. But sign up for Azure, and get your own strictly limited edition Steve Ballmer Signature Office Chair. Also available - genuine Sinofsky Skateboards with Real Dented Credibility Finish, and Official Nadella Strategy Synthesizing Stuffed Shirts, with Dynamic CEO Fistpump Action and Genuine Deep Visionary Shoegaze[tm]"

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Take the shame: Microsofties ADMIT to playing Internet Explorer name-change game

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: New browser names:

11. Internet Exploiter

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Dodgy payday loan ads make up 83% of cases probed by UK's FCA

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "At least someone is making money off the stupid this way"

Even the Bank of England has noticed that wages are - oh look, they're falling. While prices are increasing.

So if you have a steady job on the borderline - oh look, you're fucked. Working full time and you can't afford to pay your bills any more.

Apparently this is called 'being irresponsible.' Right.

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Lawsuit claims SpaceX laid off hundreds without proper notice, pay

TheOtherHobbes
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>Also amongst this 90%, about half of them actually create more problems than they solve

And in most companies, you'll find them clustered at vp level and above.

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Tiny transforming bots: Meet these self-assembling 'thoughtful' droids

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Research sponsored by IKEA...

>Research sponsored by IKEA...

The Dr Who writing team called. They want their episode back.

If you could mail to them in the future seven months from now, that would be great.

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Gov.uk's broadband boast: Superfast fibre piped to 1 million Brits

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Lies, damn lies, and BDUK ...

Getting asked some hard questions on a video no one watches is really going to terrify BT.

>That's how it works in the commercial world. You lie, you lose.

if only.

What's needed is a campaign with a catchy-title to take down everyone who makes easy money out of Westminster slime and stupidity. That includes the telcos and cellcos, the energy companies, the transport companies, the high street banks, the defence procurement circus, the shady outfits who would benefit from NHS privatisation at the expense of care provision, and too many of the big names working in major infrastructure in the UK.

We have some of the most corrupt, greedy, self-serving and customer-hostile companies in the world.

"Rip-off Britain" was a start, but it didn't go far enough or hit hard enough.

A bit of hard questioning is fake-democracy panto. It won't change anything, and things won't improve until there are real consequences.

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What's the point of the Internet of Things?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: No, Trevor...

>I think a person would be more useful.

They're called domestics. Maids, butlers, housekeepers, etc. Rich people have them.

And this is the killer app. Combine it with robotics, and everyone gets a personal servant for those boring chores - cleaning, cooking, shopping, walking the dog, terrorising the neighbours, that kind of thing.

The first few generations will bump into things and fall over a lot. But as long as none of the current big names in technology try to make this happen (Microsoft - I'm looking at *you*) the potential is, as they say, there.

Also sitcoms/dramas in an upstairs/downstairs way. (Dyson Abbey?)

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Windows Registry-infecting malware has no files, survives reboots

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: What I don't get

>Somehow it seems Microsoft left a door ajar somewhere waiting for it to be exploited.

Funny how that seems to happen. A lot.

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Windows 8 market share stalls, XP at record low

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Obvious answer to obvious stupidity is obvious

>1) Business had just completed/still undergoing the XP->W7 upgrade. They would not be going W8.x no matter what.

The upgrade cycle takes a while, and business totally would be thinking seriously about W8 if it was any good. So it's the future MS has to worry about now.

Right now there's no guarantee, and not much prospect, of Win 9 being any better. It's more likely to be a Different Kind of Annoying Crap [tm].

>they will end up letting Linux into the desktop arena

The slack has been taken up by OS X at the high end and iOS/Android at the low end. There's been some Linux switching, but Linux is still mostly a geek toy. (I know Reg readers all have grandmothers who are using it happily. But the stats show most of the population doesn't want it.)

Linux is making more inroads into corporate, where the bits that don't work aren't so critical.

MS is happy because cloud. But cloud is a lossy, competitive business, Windows is sick as a Norwegian Blue parrot, there's serious corporate interest in switching to open alternatives to Office... and there goes the MS biz model.

Nadella badly needs less business bingo, and more Exciting New Thing.

Breath? Not holding it here.

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END your Macbook SHAME: Convert it into a Microsoft SURFACE

TheOtherHobbes
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>Windows 8 is a bucked of warm ebola.

One thing you can't accuse MS of is being afraid to make history.

Win 8 is so unpopular it has become a legend - up there with the Edsel, New Coke, and the last two Matrix movies.

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Google's mysterious floating techno barge SOLD FOR SCRAP

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Google Ark

GitHub

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YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS

TheOtherHobbes
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The Laffer Curve has been debunked repeatedly by people who live in the real world.

Go on. Google 'Laffer debunked.'

Can we have someone who knows something about real scientific economics? I suppose some people - not least Worstall himself - are terribly impressed by this kind of hand-wavey story telling, but it would be nice to see some content with more of a connection to data-driven science.

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Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: If Amazon is convinced that it's right…

Amazon has been doing this for a while.

Not a few authors have jumped ship and started selling direct - often with a significant increase in income.

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TheOtherHobbes
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Re: We pay Hachette for their good judgement

The mainstream publishing drivel storm is alive and well and full of Oxbridge luvvies, ghostwritten sleb biogs, and middlebrow nonentities specialising in novels about wine, shoes, husbands, and bitchy middle class nastiness.

No one in the business believes someone like Thomas Pynchon or Jane Austen would be signed today.

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Microsoft bakes a bigger Pi to cook Windows slabs

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: re. Sharks Cove apostrophe

>Or it could be a cove with lots and lots of sharks.

And no frickin' laser beams.

Or Ethernet.

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Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Meteor?

Are you saying my iPhone is really a dinosaur?

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Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate history' story made into TV series

TheOtherHobbes
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Amazon makes TV series about dystopian future?

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SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud

TheOtherHobbes
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AWS is a footnote in the Amazon business model - it's less than 10% of revenue - so this article is silly. AZ could walk away from AWS tomorrow and hardly notice.

It's the Any Old Iron companies - IBM, HP, Microsoft, etc - who need to worry about commodity cloud pricing, because it's critical to their business models.

If prices crash - and they will - they're going to be in a world of pain.

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DAYS from end of life as we know it: Boffins tell of solar storm near-miss

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: power grid

Carrington happened in 1859, which was not a few decades ago.

12% seems unlikely, but not quite impossible. Before this story, the more common estimate was that Carringtons happened once every century, which seems more believable.

[doomporn] Of course the next event might be even worse than the 1859 one.[/doomporn]

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Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: One OS

>MInd you, a horse with a steering wheel would be pretty awesome

Until it stops suddenly, as horses sometimes do.

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

TheOtherHobbes
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"What do you mean there's a problem with me copying your money? It's just bits in a file. You've still got it. I haven't stolen anything. Oh - you think money stored as digital files is different to content stored as digital files? Are you going to explain why, exactly?"

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Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs

TheOtherHobbes
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>It just works.

Close. Should be

"It just borks."

surely?

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Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Call Scooby and the gang!

>Are they sure he's not Ballmer in a mask?

Nadella and Microsoft are being scripted by the ghost of Douglas Adams.

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Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: You can't legislate against human behavior.

It's not human behaviour that's the problem.

If you could legislate against the more disgusting kinds of politician behaviour, the world would be a much more enjoyable place.

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Microsoft bags more CASH – but profit's flat as Nadella waves axe

TheOtherHobbes
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MS has a believable if not very imaginative plan for enterprise, with Azure, O365, SQL, and the rest.

It's not very interesting, and it's what everyone else is doing. But there's enough momentum in selling boring overpriced infrastructure to boring corporations to make it work for the forseeable.

MS has no plan at all for devices and consumer software. There's an unholy mess of incompatible hardware, incompatible operating systems, incompatible goals, incandescent user hostility, inexplicable rhetorical farting, and incoherent non-planning.

Unless Nadella can pull all of that together and/or reinvent MS as a company that has something unique to offer - don't hold your breath - MS is going to disappear from consumer-land entirely within ten years. Except maybe as a mouse and keyboard brand.

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New Star Wars movie plot details leak, violate common sense and laws of physics

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Please let this not be true...

I demand the following:

Lots of shouting, pointing, panning, and yelling

At least one scene of people running madly through a corn field

Swivelling helicopter shots of vehicles picking up speed

Lens flare!

Camera shake!

Explosions! In SPAAAAAACE!

A script that makes sense (Ah. Well then.)

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So whither Microsoft? If Nadella knows, he is keeping it well hidden

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: on slogans...

I think MS is repurposing its core synergised alignments to expand dynamically into new vertical, horizontal and diagonal opportunities as a world-class agile purveyor of flattened business bollocks.

It'll turn into an ad agency, with Nadella as Creative Director of Mobile Cloudy Vision.

Or possibly it will take an early international lead in walrus farming. Who knows?

Nadella doesn't seem interested in talking about products, so either is a reasonable guess.

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Amazon's Spotify-for-books: THE TRUTH

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: What about the authors?

Authors get paid at the usual Amazon rate if the book gets read past the 10% trial point.

So not actually a bad deal, so far as I can tell.

But of limited interest to most Kindle users. Only heavy readers are likely to spend more than $10/month on books. There are a few of those - romance readers are famously obsessive - but not as many as you might think.

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HP CEO Meg Whitman dons TRIPLE CROWN of POWER

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Corporate governance—crowned

>Your Board of Directors most important function is to facilitate the high level components of strategies developed by Executive Management.

LOLWUT?

If you mean 'They do the planning' - that pretty much never happens in the US either.

Look at M$. They swapped out a clown and installed the corporate blatherbot equivalent of ELIZA.

Look at HP. Strategy? Meg Hitman wouldn't know a strategy if it jumped out of a printer and yelled "Jobs!"

Last time I looked her 'high level components of strategies' meant a mix of enterprise, cloud, and tablets no one wants - just like everyone else.

Oh, and printers have been 'refocused around customer needs.' Which is nice. (What were they before? Focused on the needs of the trees in the parking lot?)

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Microsoft swings axe at 18,000 bods in its largest ever round of layoffs

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Good God, Synergies AND Alignment

He also said agile.

It's 100% Dilbert: "We have aligned agile synergies - we are INVINCIBLE!"

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Nadella: Yes I can put 2 THINGS FIRST. I will say them at the same time – CLOUDOBILE

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "'We are building an operating system for human activity'"

I think he means 'Not just Office, but, like, life 'n shit.'

Photos! Documents! Memories! Shiny people!

Basically he's pitching MS as the next Yahoo, with some secret-sauce AI.

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Microsoft's new 'Adam' AI trounces Google ... and beats HUMANS

TheOtherHobbes
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Who - or what - do you think write Nadella's last strategy email?

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Microsoft not good enough for you, eh? 'Next Steve Ballmer' drives to Google

TheOtherHobbes
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I for one welcome the arrival of our new Googlord.

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Mobile, cloud, social? Data? Nadella strings sexy words together

TheOtherHobbes
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>weirdly disembodied and robotic

Nadella in a nutshell.

But... I wouldn't write off MS yet. There's actual AI happening in the MS labs, and some of it is the most interesting technology I've ever seen from MS.

But MS needs to get over Windows and Office to do something with it.

As a mobiles-with-AI corp, MS might have a future. But while it's Spawn-of-Gates Mk III, the long decline will continue.

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NASA: ALIENS and NEW EARTHS will be ours inside 20 years

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: A quote from Hawking

In theory you could make a collecting surface the size of a solar system, which would give you astonishing resolution.

In practice - something like this is more likely:

The FOCAL Project

Park a telescope out around >550AU, use the sun as a gravitational lens.

Not very steerable - you have to move your spacecraft to 'point' the telescope.

But you'd get one hell of a close-up. And it's sort-of almost achievable with current technology.

Interestingly, if a culture learned how to engineer gravity and warp space directly without using a nearby star, it could build an even strong version with a shorter focal length. But it would have to be even further out, because it have enough of a gravitational influence to begin perturbing the orbits of anything close to it.

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ISPs 'blindsided' by UK.gov's 'emergency' data retention and investigation powers law

TheOtherHobbes
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>Actually R'y'leh is UNDER the South Pacific!

No, R'y'leh lives at No 10 Downing Street, and has done for at least the last couple of decades.

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Military-grade bruiser: Getac F110 rugged tablet... is no iPad

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: HOW Rugged?

Someone has to say it:

"Will it blend?"

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