* Posts by Credas

363 posts • joined 23 Jan 2013

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Apple's DIRTY SECRET isn't that secret, or that dirty

Credas
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Re: Reality Distortion Field

If you go trumpeting your high ethical standards, rigorous supplier auditing, maximum working hours requirements, and so on and on and on, then you can hardly whine when someone holds that up against the reality and points out where you're falling short. It also doesn't help if you refuse to engage with anyone making such a programme before it goes out, and then start complaining about its supposed inaccuracies afterwards. I'm sure Apple are no worse than any other major tech company with regard to ethical sourcing, and maybe better than most, but the way they go about dealing with questioning or criticism makes them look arrogant and hypocritical.

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Staples comes clean: 1+ million bank cards at risk after hack

Credas
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Card cloning? What's that?

Oh, I forgot - Chip & Pin is still not the norm in the US, because it's not perfect, or it's un-American, or something. Just get on with it, guys.

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Sony Pictures hack is Hollywood's 'Snowden moment' say infosec bods

Credas
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Re: Snowden Moment

Oh, come on - Execs don't mandate Admin access controls and policies, and putting effective controls in place wouldn't even register in the average IT budget. The truth is that all too often the people responsible for putting access controls in place don't want the hassle of having their own access constrained. That applies to Admins every bit as much as Execs - but you'd expect an IT pro to know better.

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The Shock of the New: The Register redesign update 4

Credas
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Nearly there

Just the ridiculously stupendously enormously pointlessly vast (and almost always irrelevant) image that occupies two thirds of the prime space at the top of each page to get rid of, or at least shrink to a third of the size, now!

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Apple v BBC: Fruity firm hits back over Panorama drama

Credas
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Re: Supply and Demand

If you say in effect "we have policies to ensure decent working conditions for employees in our supply chain", then it's perfectly reasonable for people to hold you to that standard and flag up if that's not happening. Apple's position in response to this programme seems to be that they know the standard isn't being met, but things would be worse if they weren't trying. Well, fair enough, but if you can't ensure they're met then don't trumpet your wonderful ethical policies, just work quietly to get there first. Other manufacturers are doubtless in the same boat, but they're not making grandiose claims and thus exposing themselves to accusations of hypocrisy.

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UK air traffic bods deny they 'skimped' on IT investment after server mega-fail

Credas
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Re: Failover not necessarily the answer

I would expect to see a five-ten year rolling replacement plan, due to the nature of the business I would expect this to be developed in house by three competing teams.

So at about the time you've got a reliable working system, and hopefully the worst of the bugs have been ironed out, you're going to bin it and start again? As for three independent systems/development teams - dream on, nobody's going to pay for that when the alternative is to fall back to a safe-but-limited mode of operation and accept some disruption for a day - which is what they did in this case.

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Google Tax part 94: EU's H-dot wavers over copyright levy

Credas
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Makes your head spin

I can see the point if Google scrapes news pages, say, and reproduces several paragraphs on its own News site - but a line or maybe two in a search result? You could equally well make the case that Google is using its IP to compile lists of relevant search results, and they should be able to charge the same news organisation for displaying a link and sending it traffic; I wonder how these organisations would like a pay-to-be-indexed charge?

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Google swears no search leg up for new dot-word sites: We drill into claims

Credas
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SEO: Emperor's clothes

SEO companies like to talk up the supposed skill, knowledge and value of what they do, so pontificating about their "research" into gTLDs and the complexity of search algorithms fits right into this. The fact is that the best advice they could offer their clients (but won't, because then the flow of lucrative bucks for their fairy dust services would stop) is to make your website content relevant, original, and matching the metadata you put in the page. Do that and you get ranked highly. Publishing unoriginal crap and pissing about with strategies that attempt to game the search algorithms is an expensive waste of time.

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Scrooges rejoice! Beancounters find formula for perfect Xmas party

Credas
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Loser? Winner?

IME, when it comes to the contents of Christmas crackers "winners" and "losers" are pretty well indistinguishable.

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Beware of merging, telcos. CHEAPER SPECTRUM follows

Credas
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I rather think spectrum cost DOES affect consumer prices

We start with the idea that the firms are capitalist bastards. Whatever their cost base, they're going to charge us consumers the maximum they can get away with. So increasing the spectrum price doesn't change what we pay

Looking at this from the point of view of one of the telcos, I'd have no problem with the first two sentences. Nor, in the absence of competition, the third. But in fact the telcos do have competition. And in a business where their costs (network+spectrum) are more or less fixed, that means they end up having to compete on price to grab as many users as they can, while staying in business. The fixed costs effectively place a floor on how low they can go; if government charges more for spectrum that raises the consumer price floor (or one of them goes bust, their users have to move, and the floor gets reset).

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Microsoft whips out real-time translator for Skype calls

Credas
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How about getting written text translation right first?

When Bing (or the others) can translate something as basic as a newspaper website intelligibly, then maybe that would be the time to tackle the garbled mess that is normal human speech. Experience suggests that we're still quite some way from that point, particularly for languages that have quite different sentence structure and conjugation (English/Finnish for example).

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TalkTalk customers demand opt-out fix for telco's DNS ad-jacking tactics

Credas
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Re: Don't mess with DNS

Even better, OpenDNS stopped displaying ads on their DNS error pages back in June.

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Uber surge pricing kicks in during Sydney siege

Credas
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Re: Overreaction?

Oh come on, they've got to keep the fear level up somehow to justify ever-increasing surveillance powers. You can't expect them to pass up the opportunity for a bit of security theatre to big up one lunatic with a gun into an advance party of the ISIS hordes.

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Hold the front page: Spain's anti-Google lobbyists lobby for Google News return

Credas
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Re: Weird

For very local news only carried by the Spanish publishers, and not mirrored/reproduced/blogged about elsewhere, you may well be right. But the German experience suggests that in practice traffic does drop dramatically if publishers shut the major search engine(s) out. If the Spanish carry on playing this game then I guess we'll find out!

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Credas
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Re: Weird

The problem is that this law doesn't just cover the paragraph-length extracts that Google News specialises in, but any length of extract. Who's going to bother following a Google Search result that has no description?

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HORRIFIED Amazon retailers fear GOING BUST after 1p pricing cockup

Credas
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Re: price mistakes

I've no idea why some fool has downvoted you, you're correct. It isn't the first time this kind of pricing error has occurred online (or offline for that matter), and until all elements of the contact have been formed, including acceptance, the retailer has no obligation to sell at that price.

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Denmark BANNED from viewing UK furniture website in copyright spat

Credas
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Re: Two words...

Not "fuck" and "off", then?

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

Credas
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Re: Could be GCHQ that is playing up. Also, it's in Northern Ireland too

It could also be a GCHQ problem as all BT modems stream your data through GCHQ (you can search for that one if you want - some guy proved it with some very low level work on the modem for those with a BT home hmub 3 and an openreach VDSL modem. The modem was connected to two IP addresses and streaming all requests to the second.)

How about you search for it, before repeating this old tosh.

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NASA's British cloudy collab provider scores $51m from VCs

Credas
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We've seen how this plays out

Small British startup, VC funded, starts to get some traction, ... <SNAP!!!> US Megacorp decides it's cheaper to buy the customer base and take out a competitor, founders make a packet, VCs trouser a quick but massive profit as planned, UK business base back to square one.

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Vodafone to spend more time hanging out at bus stops

Credas
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No carrier aggregation - so what?

Apart from the fact that it's not of much practical significance to anybody outside the operators' marketing departments, aren't the densely trafficked environments where you might want these things just the areas where you don't have loads of unused spectrum to lavish on carrier aggregation? This sounds like a very sensible way to increase capacity, by increasing the number of cells rather than whining about needing ever more of the spectrum already in use by other people. That is meant to be the point of cellular networks, after all - servicing many users with limited spectrum.

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

Credas
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Re: Less than a dollar per shot

It's also about as relevant as saying it only costs $10 a day, say, to feed a soldier.

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Credas
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Re: LIMITED RANGE

You've got to keep the beam steady on one part of a moving, and possibly manoeuvring, target while mounted on a moving, possibly manoeuvring, ship, for long enough to cause catastrophic damage or derangement to the target by the attenuated beam - which could be several seconds if you're burning through a protected skin. That's going to become a hell of an ask as range increases, and probably explains why the weapon appears to traverse so slowly - the mount design is driven by tracking precision.

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Credas
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Pretty feeble compared with Phalanx

Phalanx delivers 4,500 rounds per minutes, each round a tungsten penetrator with a mass of about 100g, at a muzzle velocity of 1,100 m/s. That's an energy of 60kJ per round, and a total potential power delivered to the target of over 4.5MW. It doesn't worry about fog, smoke, or what type of camouflage the target is adorned with, either. For all their potential, current laser systems look pretty feeble next to old-fashioned cannon-based weapons.

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El Reg Redesign - leave your comment here.

Credas
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Two real problems

Amongst all the complaining about change, there are IMO two very valid criticisms of the redesign:

1. The prominence given to massive graphics over the text content. Any fewl no that you shouldn't be pushing the content below the fold, and certainly not for the sake of a picture that's merely an illustrative adornment.

2. That bloody expanding navbar is distracting and hideous. How nobody spotted what a usability disaster that would be I really don't know.

You also should be using a more responsive design that doesn't thrust a tablet-friendly format at large screen PC users, but then I'm sure you know that.

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GCHQ, police to team up to hunt down child abuse on the darknet

Credas
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I think the browser producers will very quickly decide that it would be suicide to cripple their browsers, since there'd no doubt be a non-crippled fork of an open source browser eating their lunch within days.

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Amazon comes over all eBay with new ‘make an offer’ facility

Credas
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Re: An offer you can refuse!

If they're buying cars that are that cheap then suing is probably pointless.

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Credas
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More like eBay every day

Amazon already allow their platform to be used to sell fake goods with impunity, so why not turn it into an eBay-esque flea market?

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WD and HGST: We tried to merge our two drive makers, MOFCOM said NO, NO, NO

Credas
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They need to get a sense of proportion

If there are $100millions being lost due to the delays, and they could have been resolved for a few $100k, then what the hell are these execs hanging around for? Make the pointless changes, build the Party social club or whatever "sweetener" the pointless bureaucrats are looking for, eat as much humble pie as is available, and send the CEO in to kiss as much MOFCOM ass as necessary. Yes it's silly, yes the pen-pushers are on a power trip, yes they're probably looking for a backhander or some cosy retirement post, yes it hurts to grovel, but for heaven's sake suck it up!

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Uber? Worth $40 BEEELLION? Hey, actually, hold on ...

Credas
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Re: problem...

The problem in the Netherlands (and in Spain) seems to be with their UberPop ride-sharing service - not surprisingly, since these are just ordinary Joes driving their personal vehicles seemingly without all the background checking, hire-and-reward insurance, public liability insurance etc that taxis are subject to. The Uber taxi-booking service as operating in London and elsewhere puts all those things in place and runs on the same basis as ordinary private hire vehicles, making it far less controversial.

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Microsoft opens Azure cloud to US govt for vid surveillance, etc

Credas
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Hypocrisy?

So the USG thinks it's very important for US citizens' data to be held within US continental borders, but the rest of us should be happy to trust our data to US corporations holding our data outside our own jurisdictions? Hmmmm...

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

Credas
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Re: Free?

Indeed - where's the cost impact assessment of this latest EU Parliament unicorn law? Over 12m new cars are sold a year, so that's going to be, what, £200m+ a year just to fit the modules? And it's no use pointing out how the total number of people who die on the roads; this is only going to help in the small subset of cases where somebody is fatally injured, and incapacitated, and there's nobody with them who has a mobile, and nobody with a mobile passes by before they die. Don't politicians just love passing feel-good laws when they don't have to worry about where the money's coming from.

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Sacre block! French publishers to sue Adblock maker – report

Credas
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Re: Homebase

You do know that Cologne (Köln) is in Germany?

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Portland lobs fair-trade gluten-free artisan SUEBALL at Uber

Credas
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Why such large local differences?

In New Delhi they'll sign up convicted rapists, it seems, in other cities we read stories about lack of insurance or background checks. Yet in London you need a private-hire licence (which comes with background checks), commercial/hire and reward insurance, and a pretty decent car with all the relevant documentation. Do they think they can bully their way in to some cities, but play nice in others?

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Credas
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Re: Cherry picking and public responsibility

Try getting one of those bastions of decency and public protection who drive black cabs in London to venture sarf of the river after 9pm and you'll find out all about cherry-picking.

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US Ass. Commerce Sec hits back at claims global DNS is DOOMED

Credas
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Trust the USG?

This obviously all looks different to people viewing it from inside the borders of the USA. From outside, the implicit assumption that the US Government can be trusted to always act in an even-handed way to protect the internet for humanity looks somewhat dubious, to put it mildly. The frothing at the mouth if it's suggested that the UN could take on the role also seems curious, and a tad suspicious, considering the fairly uncontroversial the way the ITU (previously CCITT) has quietly gone about setting telecommunications standards and managing a host of diverse agreements including on tariffs, spectrum allocation, and even satellite orbits.

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GSMA denies latest Snowden leak

Credas
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Re: Weren't the encryption docs kept secret and only available to "qualified" GSM implementors?

Yes; proprietary algorithms that were only made available to specified individuals who could persuade ETSI they had a need to know. And key lengths that everybody in the business knew had been deliberately made far shorter than necessary. In other words, just enough to stop anyone with a scanner recording Princes' dodgy phone calls to their mistresses, but not enough to seriously impede the security services.

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Plusnet customers SWAMPED by spam but BT-owned ISP dismisses data breach claims

Credas
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Hundreds of email addresses! The very thought is enough to make your head explode!

Actually it's very trivial if you have an email account or mail server filtering that allows arbitrary text to be included to form aliases for your email address - so that for example fred+plusnet@isp.com is a valid alias for fred@isp.com. For a tiny amount of effort you can then see who leaked your information if that alias is used elsewhere.

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Furious GTA V gamers seek similar ban on violent, misogynistic title: the Holy Bible

Credas
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Re: One name, two companies

The Target corporation is a US based retail chain that got hacked.

Target Australia is not associated the the Target corporation.

(US) Target does, however, license use of its brand to (Australian) Target. As was pointed out in another thread, that does still make them attractive as a potential source of pressure on Australian Target, even if the clueless are unknowingly venting their ire at the wrong company!

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Wheels fall off bid to sue Apple over iTunes anti-piracy shenanigans

Credas
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Only lawyers benefit from delay like this

Let's face it, it isn't going to be difficult to find a couple of plaintiffs who did buy an iPod at the requisite time, and file the claim again. Increasing both sides' legal bills doesn't benefit either side, just the lawyers; in fact a cynic might say that it's in their interests to have a flaw in the case that's then discovered years down the line...

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Cops accessing journo sources with RIPA? Use your powers properly, moan MPs

Credas
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Re: RIPA is obviously flat out unlawful and not a valid contract 'law'!

Good god, even El Reg is being infected by Freeman On The Land bollocks now...

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Euro spacemen clear Ariane 6 for liftoff

Credas
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Re: Great stuff.

The connections, funding and membership between Arianespace, ESA (Canada is an associate Member, UK seems not, but EU funds over 20%, so UK pays anyway, there are non-EU European members) and CNES (the French equivalent of NASA) is fascinating.

Just to be clear, the UK was and remains a founder member of the ESA. However it's not one of the owners of the Arianspace company.

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#Gamergate folk load flamethrower, roast own feet over GTA V 'ban'

Credas
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Re: Right on target

Indeed. If you license your brand you have to take a close interest in what's done with it - you can't just pocket the cash and leave the licensee to do whatever they want, trashing your brand in the process. The protesters have accidentally picked quite a good target.

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Device fingerprinting tech: It's not a cookie, but 'cookie' rules apply

Credas
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Re: Opt-In

As such, a web site operator cannot say "by the way, we don't respect your privacy" and force users to go elsewhere if they don't agree.

Yes they can. The website operator isn't saying "we don't respect your privacy", they're telling you what the privacy implications of using the site are, so that you can make your own mind up. That's precisely why you see the stupid cookie consent pop-ups just about every EU website operator has to litter their sites with - pointless and annoying for all concerned, to the extent that there's even a Firefox extension specifically to block them!.

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Credas
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Re: Opt-In

Where does your god-given right to access any website, regardless of the site owner's wishes, come from? If you're informed of the terms of use but don't like them then you're still free to bog off.

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

Credas
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Re: I don't buy the "18 months too long to approve a tower" excuse

It's bullshit. Vodafone and O2 applied for planning permission for a 24m tower near me, which was granted (with a lot of support from local residents pissed off with poor mobile coverage, as well as a few anti NIMBYs) two and a half years ago. To date nothing has been done to build it whatsoever.

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Sick of the 'criminal' lies about pie? Lobby the government HERE

Credas
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Even worse

The truly aspirational modern gastropub doesn't even bother with the dish - I was recently treated to a "pie" that arrived as a small pile of braised meat with a flat square of puff pastry perched on top at a jaunty angle. A travesty of a pie. As was the price.

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Star Wars: Episode VII trailer lands. You call that a lightsaber? THIS is a lightsaber

Credas
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People are griping about the practicality of a "light sabre"?

Seriously? That's the only aspect of Star Wars that striles you as being a tad unrealistic?

This isn't real, people, it's fantasy and entertainment! Get a grip, FFS!

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Fiat 500X: A fun-loving Goldilocks who'll get down and dirty

Credas
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Re: Nice try

Are these the same cars that don't do hills? Retro is all very well, but having to choose between living in Norfolk and getting out and push is a bit much.

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Leaked Syrian log files reveal attempts to starve rebels of information

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Not blocking xvideos.com?

The Syrian regime isn't all bad, then - they're still letting the rebels get some porn to take their minds off the barrel bombs.

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Software firms are over-valued, says Huawei

Credas
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Re: You can do...

True, but the same goes for good hardware engineers.

His basic point is correct - the valuations of trendy software companies are ridiculously high, looked at from the value of their software. How much would it really cost to replicate a Whatsapp? Virtually nothing, compared with their valuation. All their value's really in their first-mover advantage, market share and any dubious software patents they have to chuck under the wheels of a competitor.

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