* Posts by TheOtherHobbes

972 posts • joined 15 Feb 2012

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Excitement in boffinry circles as GIGANTIC ALIEN RING BLOTS OUT SUN

TheOtherHobbes
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[wacka wacka wacka parp]

But wait - this is all based on a single light curve measured in 2007. The estimated orbital period is at least ten years, so there will be no more data until later in the decade at the very earliest.

"With simple assumptions on ring geometry and the ring plane orientation, this ring model reproduces many but not all of the nightly photometric light curves. These discrepancies imply either an error in the determined geometry of the ring plane, and/or the rings are not coplanar. Further modeling with additional degrees of freedom for the rings, such as warping and precession may lead to better fits to the photometric data."

So it's debatable if this model is actually stable. Or if maybe something else is happening to affect the light curve.

It's all very interesting.

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Welcome to Spartan, Microsoft's persuasive argument for... Chrome

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: But it's Google...

>"It’s our web. Tell us everything you do".

Most people have no idea how true that is. I know for a fact that Chrome phones home hidden URLs that the main Google spiderbot can't find.

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This could be a case for Mulder and Scully: Fox 'in talks' to bring back The X-Files

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Sequels,Prequels,Resurrections and Remakes

>I'm willing to bet there's an El Reg reader out there who could think of something original

Difficult, what with Hollywood being managed by alien space lizards and populated entirely by clones and replicants.

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You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Linux is possibly not the only platform

Most users don't care about the OS. They care about features that work for them.

So the idea that mobile Linux is going to sell to the hordes because it's Linux is disconnected from reality in every possible way.

At best it's going to sell to a small nerd herd. No one else is going to care, unless it looks amazing or does some supercool things, which - being Linux - it won't, because Linux has never been about doing supercool things for people who don't spend their days hacking web servers.

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What will happen to the oil price? Look to the PC for clues

TheOtherHobbes
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No one who actually knows anything about the economics of fracking can claim that it's not capital intensive. In fact it's the opposite - it requires huge and constant injections of capital, because it's very tough on machinery.

The current crash in oil prices - and I know people who were predicting the crash from at least a year back, and being laughed at by self-styled 'experts' like Worstall - is killing the fracking industry because it's flipped the switch on the profitability of so many projects.

(Also, earthquakes and poisoned ground water. But only comical hairy hippies worry about silly things like that, so we shall move on...)

So I have no idea what this piece is supposed to about. Fracking is like PCs over mainframes? Because the PC industry never needed as much capital as mainframes? (Intel and Microsoft will be surprised to learn that.)

It's just one giant hot mess of flabby counterfactual WTF.

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

TheOtherHobbes
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"We" in this case meaning "No we didn't - we were mugged after the election when that muppet Clegg stitched up everyone who voted for him and revealed he'd been a secret Tory all along."

As for encryption - the gov wants a regulated and monitored Internet. End of.

This is just another excuse along the way to making one.

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Hawking and friends: Artificial Intelligence 'must do what we want it to do'

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Problem we don't have for tech we don't have to be solved by open letter. Conclusion: Arseholes

AI != consciousness

The simplest AI would be a general purpose open-ended inference engine. You feed it experiences, it generalises from them and makes predictions about future data and/or creates further examples of what you've fed it already.

You could do all of this with something that's less sentient than a Roomba. Personality, drives, and motivations are orthogonal processes and have nothing to do with a smart learning/modelling machine.

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Boybanders ONE DIRECTION launch DoS attack on open-source bods

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: I am fed up of their evil schemes

Congratulations on having wiser DNA than most.

May your further breedings be equally successful.

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Broadband isn't broadband unless it's 25Mbps, mulls FCC boss

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: I can't wait for...

>... Ericpicklesband!

Also known as 'Satellite.'

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Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Let this be a lesson to all...

>Unkorked the demons of religious war.

Yeah - all those Crusades and heretic persecutions that happened in the centuries before him - totally Luther's fault.

Incidentally, in future centuries your 'economist' heroes will have the same moral stature as all those religious nutters do today, as a prime source of Stories That Make People Do Stupid Shit.

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Sardine fishing in Kerala: Who benefits from mobile phones?

TheOtherHobbes
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'Efficient markets' are pure pseudoscience. The term is utterly meaningless.

You do realise there is absolutely no, zero, none, FA peer reviewed empirical evidence that markets are informationally efficient. But there are quite a number of papers - some from decades ago - that effectively debunk that nonsensical belief?

See e.g. Rosenberg B, Reid K, Lanstein R. (1985). Persuasive Evidence of Market Inefficiency. Journal of Portfolio Management 13:9–17.

Please stop passing off fishy just-so stories as useful descriptions of how reality works. You clearly know nothing about actual information science and have no business 'educating' anyone here.

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UKIP website TAKES A KIP, but for why?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: They arent a serious party..

>Or just maybe there is a problem with massive immigration onto a small island with already overstretched resources and thats reflected in the rise of a party that a large proportion of the population feels reflects their views.

And what 'massive immigration' would that be, exactly? Got figures? Got *accurate* figures?

Last time I checked the 'massive immigration' tops out at less than 190k people per year, once you subtract the people who emigrate at the same time.

What kind of moron thinks 190k people make all the difference to an economy of 64 million people?

How about the same kind of moron who thinks a fringe party polling at 14% is getting a 'large proportion' of voter interest?

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I'm sooooo green: The Beginner's Guide to Krautrock

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: have the Tangerine Blondes left?

Both replaced by Hoshiko Yamane and Ulrich Schnauss (who isn't a girl, and is one of the very few TD members to have a successful independent career before joining.)

I never liked what Spa and Camaa added. The music was always nice enough and they're very competent musicians, but it always sounded samey, bland, and Californian (not in a good way).

Maybe they didn't argue with Edgar enough when he was launching into Yet Another Endless Edgar Noodle?

The new Schnauss-ified CD has some lovely moments though, up there with the late Virgin years, IMO.

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Want to have your server pwned? Easy: Run PHP

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Seriously, he actually believed the advertised PHP version on the server?

> That's no more than spray and pray

Most servers are pwned to make spambots, malware distributors, and DDos machines, so spray and pray works just fine.

If your main concern is hackers targeting your everso important site because it's really everso important, those are not (usually) the threats you're looking for.

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Internet Explorer 12 to shed legacy cruft in bid to BEAT Chrome

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: What a mess

>"MuuuaaaahhhHrrroOOOOOOOOrrrrr"

So - Nadella's marketing and PR people are trying to write English again?

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Feds finger Norks in Sony hack, Obama asks: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA?

TheOtherHobbes
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North Korean hackers are experts on motion picture studio management? Instead of threatening to nuke Sony and America with canned Stalinist bluster - as they usually do - they have the political insight to find and release exactly the right emails to make Sony manudjment look like utter wankers?

That doesn't look very Norkish to me. It looks more like something Team 4Chan would do.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Bland Bland Bland

Excellent!

Quality of the design matches the quality of the op-eds.

Win.

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Sony sued by ex-staff over daft security, leaked privates

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Too early to judge

Then you have to explain it in really simple terms even they can understand.

"Does your house have window locks and a burglar alarm on your house? Or do you leave the front door unlocked when you go out? You don't? Because that would be stupid and asking for trouble, right?"

Doesn't always work - many business types are far beyond all rationality - but occasionally it makes a difference.

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Branson sinks sub dream: Plan to explore Earth's bottom scrapped

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "We would like to thank you for choosing Virgin Submersibles"

More like:

"On your left it's really dark and there's not much happening. On your right it's really dark and there's not much happening. Oh, and there's James Cameron."

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BT to gobble EE for £12.5bn – BTEE phone home

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: @annihilator

>Yes I do. It took six months to install a line and you had a choice of two phones.

If you live in some parts of the UK it literally takes six years to get broadband working, and you have a choice of two speeds, one of which is regularly zero.

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TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Markets! Competition! Prices driven down! The customer wins!

Are BT buying that too? It would be a good match for their business practices.

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Deprivation Britain: 1930s all over again? Codswallop!

TheOtherHobbes
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From Barnardos:

There are currently 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK. That’s almost a third of all children. 1.6 million of these children live in severe poverty .

In the UK 63% of children living in poverty are in a family where someone works.

Families living in poverty can have as little as £12 per day per person to buy everything they need such as food, heating, toys, clothes, electricity and transport.

1.6 million children are growing up in homes which are too cold.

Infant mortality is 10% higher for infants in the lower social group than the average.

See also interesting numbers about food banks from the Trussel Trust.

So keep up the good fight. The children and working adults of the UK thank you for it.

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The Pirate Bay SUNK: It vanishes after Swedish data center raid

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: "Cream of sum yung guy...:

>"Cream of sum yung guy...:

It's all startups eat.

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A nation of CODERS? Yes, says UK.gov, and have some cash to do it

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Code-As-A-Sport

>They are not stopping maths, algebra, science, English etc.

But they're certainly not prepared to pay a decent rate for high quality teaching of same. And they're even less prepared to retool the UK economy so it's run by people of clue, and not by greedy little posturing posh-boy wankers and their banker chums.

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UK slaps 25 per cent 'Google Tax' on tech multinationals

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: I'm confused...

>The gov doesnt create jobs

Apart from all those public sector jobs. And the ones created by big infrastructure projects. And the ones spun off from academic research funded with grant money.

> The gov didnt make a low wage economy.

Oh yes it did.

The Tories have been playing the same old two-faced 'Bring in lots of super-cheap immigrant labour while stoking up racism to distract the noobs from what we're doing' game for literally decades now.

I'm sure Cameron is terribly, terribly sorry that he hasn't managed to cut immigration. No really, he is.

This has been going on since at least the Empire Windrush. (Possibly much longer.)

> The certainty is that public services and jobs have to be cut (this is a concept still beyond some people) due to the cost being far beyond the tax collected and that tax must go up.

That's the peculiar thing about useful public investment - it creates multipliers. If you do it right eventually you get out a lot more than you put it in.

Cutting spending in the wrong ways creates multipliers too. If you do it wrong you lose a lot more than you think, because it has a chilling effect across the economy - as Gideon has proved so brilliantly during his exemplary term as fiscal peasant-kicker in chief.

People like you, who seem to think running a country is just a bigger version of running a bank account and it's all simple, in a stands-to-reason-dunnit market trader kind of a way, shouldn't be allowed anywhere near economics, because you don't understand how fiscal policy actually works.

Keynes understood it, and Keynesians have a much better record of correct predictions than the loony monetarists and supply-siders who currently run things - but since the loonies run things for their own benefit and not anyone else's, it's debatable if this is a bug or a feature.

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UK national mobile roaming: A stupid idea that'll never work

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: @Lee D

>I'm staggered that you could believe that government would be a good steward of any asset.

I'm staggered that anyone would believe corporations are better. Enron? Price-fixing banks? BT? The fact that most UK infrastructure is overpriced, undercapitalised, and barely performing?

The answer is probably some completely new legal and commercial entity, which can be kept efficient enough to avoid bullying by civil servants but is independent enough to avoid bullying by the City.

Might take a while to get there.

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By the Rivers of Babylon, where the Antikythera Mechanism laid down

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Origins

Ordered Flappy Bird clockwork edition, got astrology supercomputer.

Item not as described. Would not buy again.

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High Court: You've made our SH*T list – corked pirate torrent sites double in a day

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: What is 'copyright'? Its good to share.

>think starving artists

Starving artists would be delighted to sell direct. Piracy doesn't necessarily help artists, but most artists get screwed far more badly by the music and movie oligopolies.

In an ideal world artists would sell cut out the middle corporation, paying a management/sales team to work for them.

Currently the management/sales team believes it owns the artist's career, which is not a good thing for anyone.

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The gender imbalance in IT is real, ongoing and ridiculous

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Not just IT

>But none are sound engineers at a high level.

That's not entirely true. Women producers and engineers make up around 5% of the industry. So they're rare, but they do exist.

>We need to somehow stop the situation where girls willingly accept help from boys to solve tech problems for them.

Maybe women simply don't find tech very interesting? They certainly don't seem to get myopically obsessed with it in the way males do.

Thing is, to most of the population tech is a dull incomprehensible world full of dull incomprehensible people, and programming is mostly drudgery, punctuated by management abuse.

When women can become doctors, lawyers, or architects relatively easily, why would they want to be engineers?

I'm always baffled that STEM careers are sold as if they offer a promotion from 'just being a girl'.

"Yes we know you have ovaries and like Barbies, but if you learn C++ and GitHub you'll be all better."

The reality, in the UK at least, is that many STEM jobs are relatively low-status. If you're going to get a degree and aspire to be middle class there are better career paths to follow.

Perhaps a lot of women are savvy enough to realise there are better opportunities elsewhere.

Cultures that don't patronise people who get useful things done inexplicably seem to have a better record on equality.

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How to run a big web music biz (Spotify): Grab more cash from fans, sink deeper into the red

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Stakeholders delight - not

Apple have already said they'll be moving into streaming. Google don't seem that bothered, but might try it as an afterthought. Amazon probably will, once Bezos wakes up.

Streaming only works when there's bandwidth to support it. Domestic b/band is fine, mostly. Mobile is a data-capped nightmare in a lot of the world. So unless Spotify is planning to become an MNO, customer appeal is going to remain limited.

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I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!

TheOtherHobbes
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>what we’ll end up with is a disparate system of barely compatible and loosely interconnected but eminently “cool” yet murderous, hackable self-driving missiles on tyres.

You say that as if it's a bad thing.

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The Nokia ENIGMA THING and its SECRET, TERRIBLE purpose

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: I no what it is

This is IT. Grammar is for English teachers, and compiler writers. (Sometimes.)

I think it's a WiFi biscuit tin that Tweets a reminder when you're about to run out of chocolate bourbons.

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Now Uber can take EVERYONE for a ride

TheOtherHobbes
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Money

(No, not that one. The other one.)

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Exit the dragon: US govt blows $325m on China-beating 300PFLOPS monster computer

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: For some strange reason the expression "arms race"..........

That's not an arm.

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Jony Ive: Apple isn't here to make money. And students shouldn't use computers so much

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Those "6 months" are your advantage to make money, eejit.

>"It's not copying, it's theft. They stole our time, time we could have had with our families."

Dieter Rams called. He wants his ideas back.

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U wot? Silicon Roundabout set to become Silicon U-BEND

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: London is a dirty unfinished shithole

That's because it's been true for nigh-on 2000 years.

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Forget 5G, UK.gov is making 2G fit for the 21st century!

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Underlying assumption

>There is an underlying assumption here that there is a right for a mobile user to be able to use their device wherever and whenever they want.

Outrageous, isn't it. People are paying £30-£100 a month, and they actually expect to be able to use their phones in most of the UK?

Imagine if your electricity contract was run on the same basis. 'Sorry for the blackouts, but we just can't get it together to supply the service you're paying for. Your call is important to us, but tough shit.'

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TheOtherHobbes
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Re: 2G - 20 years on

>If you forcibly abstract around £400 per customer from the industry,

And you're still blaming an event that happened 14 years ago for today's rip off prices and shoddy performance? Especially after the 4G auctions a while back didn't even meet the reserve? And Voda got a huge tax write-off a couple of years ago?

No. I don't think so.

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Languages don't breed bugs, PEOPLE breed bugs, say boffins

TheOtherHobbes
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The study would have been more useful if it controlled for experience and background. E.g. Objective-C, JavaScript and maybe Python coders are more likely to be relative beginners and/or semi-pros - not because pros don't use them, but because a lot of newcomers are likely to start with them.

Haskell programmers are more likely to be hardcore comp sci types, or pros with a serious comp sci background. Java/C++ are going to cover a spread of experience, from new grads at one end to >25 year lifers at the other.

So I think it's confusing two questions. One is 'Do certain languages help you write bug-free code?' The other is 'Do programmers who write good/bad code tend to use certain languages?'

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Apple strap-on wristjob: You WON'T be able to spend more than $5,000!

TheOtherHobbes
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It's pointless, but it highlights the issue Apple is going to have with perceived value.

If you're the kind of moron who spends $$$$ on a blinged-up wristy time keeper, you'll go for one of the big name brands, pay the silly money, and have your silly toy to impress other silly people.

But the Apple Watch isn't that kind of blinged-up wristy time keeper. It's basically an iPhone accessory, not an heirloom wannabe.

Apple have always done brilliantly by creating the illusion of extra perceived value for computers and phones. The illusion of being cool and fashionable has been implicit, which is why it's worked so well.

Now with Watch (brilliant name, btw) Apple are trying to make the illusion explicit, and to move the Apple brand out of tech and into mid-market fashion.

Bad move, IMO. I don't think it's going to work, because the illusion only works as long as it's not conscious. And the fashion/status market is so very different, with different rules.

So when a company that basically does tech says 'Oh hai, we r the new fashion leaderz' everyone is going to be like 'WTF? Seriously?'

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TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Gold-plated?

Why don't Rolex buyers just have a $10k to $50k lump of gold surgically implanted in their foreheads?

Or would that be - I don't know - too showy and vulgar, or something?

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Met Office: 2014 was FIFTEENTH WARMEST UK SUMMER on record

TheOtherHobbes
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Meanwhile in the real world:

Summer 2014 Warmest On Record, NOAA Says

Nice try, Lewis. A shame climate boffins understand the world doesn't stop at Blighty's borders, eh?

As you were. You can go back to eating your crayons now.

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RBS faces BIGGEST ever fine for THAT huge IT meltdown – leak

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: From an insider

>ou need to keep competing with the other guys who haven't been fined, and the last thing you need after paying a big fine is for your customers to take their money elsewhere.

Corporations don't compete for customers. They compete for shareholder investment and they lobby hard to minimise regulation.

The standard corporate rule in the UK is to provide the most mediocre customer-hostile service you can possibly get away with.

Customers are always at the wrong end of the Financial Penis Substitute.

>You do get that they're opposites, right?

What on earth are you talking about? Everyone knows that above a certain level of seniority you're Too Big To Fail, and below that level you're Too Small To Matter.

>we know what caused this particular megadisaster, and it wasn't a senior manager; as mentioned in the article, it was an inexperienced member of IT staff screwing up a batch job

Yeah, right. The graduate trainee walked in, leaving the usual trail of amniotic fluid, pressed the wrong buttons, and the system went down.

Happens all the time in well-run IT depts with competent senior management who know what they're doing.

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BBC clamps down on ILLICIT iPlayer watchers

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Smart TVs too

>The answer is simple: buy a new TV.

Or just ignore it. [shrug]

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Snapper's decisions: Whatever happened to REAL photography?

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Many good points - however

>A moderate camera that you have with you is better than a superb camera that has been left at home.

This. And the best way to learn photography isn't to dick around with medium format, which most prosumer users don't know how to use creatively anyway (sorry John...), but to start with a phone cam or maybe a compact and learn the basics of composition and lighting on that.

You can worry about focus, shutter speed and aperture later, after you know how to frame a good-looking shot.

Also

1. Take lots and lots of photos and learn what works and what doesn't.

2. Look at the work of the best photographers - not just the well-known ones like Cartier-Bresson and Adams, but the more obscure ones like the remarkable Vivian Maier.

3. Look at art and learn some art history. (Learning to draw will help, even if you never get very good at it.)

Bottom line is that any £300 DSLR is so good now that you can take semi-pro photos with it. Any £3000 DSLR is good enough for professional use - and you'll see photos taken on this kind of kit daily in high-end print outlets and on the web.

So the idea that 'there is no progression for photographers' is nonsense.

The only people using medium format are geek hobbyists who obsess about the technology but have no clue about visual framing, fashion/food/product photogs who actually need the quality, and a few slightly crazed landscape photographers.

No one else cares. And high end DSLRs are so good now most professionals have absolutely no need to drag a Leaf back around with them.

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Forget eyeballs and radar! Brits tackle GPS JAMMERS with WWII technology

TheOtherHobbes
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deLoran?

Back to the Future...

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BT: Consumers and cost cutting save the day

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Small increase in punters

>- every other infrastructure provider sees this coming and takes their investment away. Firesales in the power, water, etc industries. Major economic damage.

As opposed to the major economic damage caused by bandit-like profiteering, an endemic culture of contempt towards consumers, investment still funded in part by government hand-outs, and monopolistic price gouging - which has been one of the main drivers of national inflation for the last five years or so?

Apart from that, it's all working splendidly.

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So long, thanks for all the ...er, FISH BRIGHTER than boffins thought

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: I had zebra fish ...

Octopus intelligence is terrifyingly sharp. They are very, very, smart.

Luckily for us they only live for a couple of years, and land adaptation is unlikely.

So we're safe for now.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: My well-known gayness is 'a gift from GOD'

TheOtherHobbes
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>Is there anybody who still cares that people are gay?

I'd guess most people here are in the 'So what?' camp. But it's still a big deal in some parts of the world, and it will cost Apple some sales.

Also, he's unlikely to get a Christmas card from Brendan Eich.

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Hey, YouTube lovers! How about you pay us, we start paying for STUFF? - Google

TheOtherHobbes
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Re: Psy got paid for the number of records that sold not that got played for free on youtube.

>The point is that youtube made a fuck sight more than that off him....

Which is normal for any kind of creative work. Record company/distributor/etc gets x, you get somewhere between 0.1x and 0 depending on how aggressive your lawyer is and how much The Powers That Be rate your prospects.

I'm not saying it's fair, just that's how it works - except on Amazon and in the App Store, where the split is much more favourable.

Incidentally, on YouTube you don't just get ad share from direct plays but from plays of related content. In Psy's case that includes all those parody videos.

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