* Posts by Mike Bell

614 posts • joined 3 Aug 2007

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Boffins say Mars had ocean covering 20 per cent of planet

Mike Bell
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"Smooth, flat with very few rocks"

Pffft. Boring.

I want to see some close-ups of the Martian Caves.

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Apple Pay a haven for 'rampant' credit card fraud, say experts

Mike Bell
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Re: ApplePay is very secure

I dont get how Apple Pay is more secure than carrying your credit card in your pocket

But you don't just carry the card in your pocket, do you. You get it out and, typically, stick it into a reader where you start typing your PIN. Your PIN can easily be sniffed by someone watching over your shoulder, or putting the card in a compromised reader. Your card/PIN can be cloned and used quite happily in parts of the world where they don't use Chip & PIN yet.

Apple Pay uses secure tokens to ensure that your credentials are never divulged to anyone. Ergo: more secure.

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Mike Bell
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Re: Banks (and Apple) must be accountable for fraud

Apple should take some share of responsibility

They do. In return for their tiny cut on the transaction fee, Apple do take on partial liability, so it has been reported.

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Is light a wave or a particle? Beaming boffins prove it's BOTH

Mike Bell
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Either... Or...

Actually, the double-slit experiment, which has been around for a very long time, demonstrates quite convincingly that light exhibits both particle and wave-like properties simultaneously.

The interference pattern in this experiment clearly shows wave-like behaviour. But one may also reduce the intensity of light so that the pattern builds up over time, photon by photon, with the resultant impacts being very particle-like.

One way of looking at this is that the photon 'knows' that there are two slits available and - somehow - passes through both simultaneously, interfering with itself to produce a statistical pattern.

Then we're back to the old conundrum of finding out why a particular photon ended up in a particular place (no pun intended). Which is made all the more fascinating that, in Many Worlds, multitudes of possible outcomes actually took place.

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Forget 1,000 lashes for Facebook posts, Saudis now want to behead blogger Raif Badawi

Mike Bell
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Re: Trouble , nothing but trouble

Killing in the name of God makes no sense.

Actually, it makes a lot of sense, as it protects and entrenches religion by eradicating competition. Darwinism in action, but at a cultural meme level.

It's a nasty tawdry business. In my book, religion is about as useful to the world as Ebola.

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Tim Cook chills the spines of swingers worldwide

Mike Bell
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Re: OH RLY?

life is about doing the right thing. This has been a core value of our company for a long time.

Examples: A gazillion dollars in receipts is pretty good evidence they're doing the right thing by a lot of customers. Making their operating systems free. NOT selling your personal shit to advertisers when they very easily could. Giving me a new phone because I clumsily dropped the old one in a car park.

You can argue til the cows come home that their products are a) too expensive b) too inflexible c) too dominant, but you're never going to trip them up on the matter of personal privacy. Apple make stuff, and that's how they mostly make their money. You are not the product.

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NERDGASM as Apple announces 'special event'

Mike Bell
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Re: Assuming it's about the watch

I doubt I'd buy one either, but I don't think I could complain about nightly charging. Most people don't take their watch to bed with them. Yes, I said most, before fingers start twitching.

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Don't touch me up there! Photoshop creator appeals for 'ethical' use

Mike Bell
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Re: Defending Subsrcriptions

Assuming for a moment you could buy recent versions of all those applications - which you can't - the reason they are so expensive is because Adobe really love charging their customers, and to date the competition hasn't been that great, which has made it easy for them to get away with it.

The landscape is beginning to change, though. There are some great applications coming out that in some respects are better than Photoshop. For about 5% of Adobe's price. As I mentioned in another recent posting, we need Adobe to have some serious competition.

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HAWKING ALERT: Leave planet Earth, find a new home. Stupid humans

Mike Bell
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Silly Idea

Super-intelligent trans-organic aliens are probably reading Hawking's message with wry amusement.

No way will they let us monkeys out of our back yard.

And nor should they.

By the time our species is worthy of survival, we won't be humans any more.

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Samsung buys LoopPay ... to be better at bonking than Apple

Mike Bell
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Re: Another mag stripe dead-end?

Gradually being dragged towards Chip & PIN? In the US, retailers have only 7 months left to upgrade to Chip & PIN. After that, they're exposing themselves to much greater liability for fraudulent purchases.

Samsung's acquisition may be of use in other parts of the world, but it's a dead duck in the US, surely?

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(Re)touching on a quarter-century of Adobe Photoshop

Mike Bell
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Re: Need a good kicking

Hey, well done. They must have relented and allowed access to three-year-old versions. For a while it was extremely difficult to find that on their website.

Nice of them, isn't it, to let you buy old unsupported stuff. If you bought it a few weeks ago, don't expect to see any patches anytime soon.

As for wanting the latest and greatest, you are stuffed, mate. It's rental all the way for you.

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Mike Bell
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Re: Need a good kicking

@AC:

Have you been living on a desert island? Adobe made usage of Photoshop a subscription-only model ages ago. You can't buy Photoshop outright from Adobe any more.

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Mike Bell
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Need a good kicking

Adobe alienated many loyal fans when they went to their rental model and removed the user's right to buy a perpetual license.

They need a good kicking. I am hopeful that the likes of Affinity Photo will give them the stiff competition that they sorely deserve.

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iBank: RBS, NatWest first UK banks to allow Apple Touch ID logins

Mike Bell
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Re: Disaster

Is that long-life popcorn you've got in the cupboard?

There are a million far easier ways of committing fraud than trying to fool Touch ID using elaborate print-cloning techniques.

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Hey, NUDE CELEBS! Apple adds SWEET 2FA to iMessage, Facetime

Mike Bell
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Re: What's the second factor?

@Bradley.

No, you don't.

If you wish to enable optional two step verification, you may use another phone or another Apple device to receive a verification code. If you don't have such a thing, don't enable it.

A printed recovery key may also be used if the verification device is unavailable.

But in any case, there are limited circumstances in which it swings into action, as described here. In the main, when making important security changes or setting up new devices with your Apple ID.

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Mike Bell
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Apple's sweet and fluffy nomenclature is called Two-Step Verification, described here.

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Mike Bell
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Re: What's the second factor?

No. You can add any old SMS phone to your list of trusted devices. At runtime you can choose which device you'd like to use to receive a verification code.

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BBC bins pricey Windows Media, Audio Factory goes live

Mike Bell
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Re: And if....

@AMBxx

Interested. Where do the BBC use client-side Java?

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Basic minimum income is a BRILLIANT idea. Small problem: it doesn't work as planned

Mike Bell
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Re: We already have this

Educate yourself.

You don't have to look very hard to find out how the world's money supply actually works. Note the criticisms, in particular.

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Mike Bell
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We already have this

It's called the Fractional Reserve Banking System. Unfortunately, the money gets handed to the very rich rather than to Joe Bloggs.

When you borrow from a bank, they mostly lend you money that doesn't actually exist. With the government's permission, they are permitted to effectively print the bulk of it, conjured out of thin air as 'new money'. And yet, they collect back from you all of that new money plus interest. Ker-Ching!

Nice little earner for zero productive work.

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Jupiter Ascending – a literally laughable train wreck of a film

Mike Bell
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Re: Isn't it amazing that...

Kingsman is a wonderfully over-the-top bit of fun, saw it yesterday. It takes no prisoners – least of all itself.

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They've finally solved it: Schrödinger's cat is both ALIVE AND DEAD

Mike Bell
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Re: If you really want to know ...

Agreed.

From the article:

the wave function described in quantum mechanics suggests the cat exists in a superposition of dead/alive states simultaneously

A quick reminder: the wave function is a well defined deterministic function that describes the probabilities of things happening. The 'wave function' of the insurance industry describes very well how many cars will crash on Britain's roads in a given year. What it doesn't do is describe whether or not my car in particular will crash.

And so to the cat and its wave function. In many-worlds there are vast numbers of 'universes' containing virtually identical boxes and cats, some of which are dead, and others that are alive. The observers in a live-cat universe will see a living cat; the observers in a dead cat universe will see a dead cat. This doesn't mean that the cat is both dead and alive at the same time, just that the universe has obliged by giving us - somewhere - all possible outcomes. This strikes me as being a parsimonious and elegant description. No need to come up with the notion of an observer, and the eternal conundrum of why a particular particle decays 'spontaneously' becomes irrelevant.

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Apple preps to DUMP crappy, sluggish iPhoto FOR GOOD

Mike Bell
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Photos for OS X has the potential to be a great product. Apple have re-jigged the OS so that RAW processing can now be implemented as a pipeline process, and third-party code can hook into that non-destructively. But I've seen no indications that Photos can make use of this... yet.

1.0 is going to be pretty lame for a lot of users. No brush edits. No lens correction... These things can be done easily, in particular with Yosemite's under-the-hood work, but it's anyone's guess when this will work its way into Photos.

As for Logic Pro X, I don't see any reason why Apple would want to drop that. It had a complete re-write about a year ago, and some significant updates happened a couple of weeks ago. It's more in line with other Apple products than, say, Aperture.

In answer to the above question, Photos supports multiple local libraries, and it's up to you to decide which you'd like to sync to iCloud. Use of iCloud is optional.

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'Ruskie' malware pwns iOS 7

Mike Bell
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Maybe someone found one of David Cameron's lovely back doors already.

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China demands real names online, bans parody accounts and news article comments

Mike Bell
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I would just like to mention that my real name is Fuk Yu.

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Enough is ENOUGH: It's time to flush Flash back to where it came from – Hell

Mike Bell
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Re: Leverage, Leveraged, Leveraging

FFS, we've been through this before.

To leverage something is to use it to maximum advantage.

There are more important things to worry about.

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Quantum of Suspicion: Despite another $29m, D-Wave doubts remain

Mike Bell
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Re: "only faster for certain classes of algorithms"

Can anyone remind me whether cryptography is one of those problem classes?

Yes, it is. Google Shor's Algorithm.

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Super-cookie crumbles: Verizon vows to kill off hated zombie stalkers

Mike Bell
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Weasel words

"As a reminder, Verizon never shares customer information with third parties as part of our advertising programs."

Here's another reminder: Making unique customer IDs available to world + dog every time the user makes a web request anywhere on the web most certainly is sharing customer information with third parties. Get it?

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Top smut site Flashes visitors, leaves behind nasty virus

Mike Bell
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Re: "campaign leveraging the recent Adobe Flash zero day vulnerability "

No, they mean "leveraging".

Look it up. It's in the dictionary.

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Is it humanly possible to watch Gigli and Battlefield Earth back-to-back?

Mike Bell
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Team America: World Police

This would have been quite a good movie, but the CGI special effects were terrible. I mean, Alec Baldwin was being played by a puppet, for Christ's sake! Did they seriously think the audience wouldn't spot that?

Can't fault the historical accuracy, though.

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LEAKED: Samsung's iPHONE 6 KILLER... the Samsung Galaxy S6

Mike Bell
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Re: Wireless charging

Your iPad or charger is faulty if it takes that long to charge.

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Mike Bell
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Re: Unwanted preloaded crap

Check out this bad boy.

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Facebook is MORE IMPORTANT to humanity than PORTUGAL

Mike Bell
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People will walk into phone stores and say 'I want Facebook'.

Yeah, right. Homer Simpson, maybe.

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'If you see a stylus, they BLEW it' – Steve Jobs. REMEMBER, Apple?

Mike Bell
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Indeed. If the following were true

"Apple, which has always derided fondleslabs that used any pointing device other than a human finger attached to a human arm"

then they wouldn't be selling stuff like this on their online store.

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Prez Obama snubs UK PM's tough anti-encryption crusade at White House meet

Mike Bell
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OED:

cyber, adj.

In predicative use. Of, relating to, or involving (the culture of) computers, virtual reality, or the Internet; futuristic.

Comes from...

cyber-, comb. form

Chiefly prefixed to nouns. Originally: forming words relating to (the culture of) computers, information technology, and virtual reality, or denoting futuristic concepts. Later also: spec. forming terms relating to the Internet.

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Mike Bell
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Re: I can't explain....

Destroy All Fraudsters?

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BMW: ADMEN have asked us for YOUR connected car DATA

Mike Bell
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Re: iBeacon vs Google

Actually, it's designed to receive information like, for example, whereabouts you are in a building with no GPS visibility. But you're right, the knee-jerk Apple bashing in respect of privacy is completely unwarranted, as is so so often the case.

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Apple wants your fingerprints in the cloud

Mike Bell
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Re: "Apple wants to collect and store your fingerprints..."@Mike Bell

Nope.

This is the hash code of an account password that I use to login to a live website.

9z076KYZa3ULVBHYTWNtbGL2vmM=

You didn't hack into its database, but I'm letting you know what it is to save you the trouble.

Care to tell me what password you're going to use to try to fool the login system? Hint: the website isn't expecting you to type in the above hash.

Further, it's not true to say that your finger will forever produce the same hash. It is almost certainly produced in conjunction with a random salt value. Just like when you update your password on a website that has any kind of decent security.

Good luck.

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Mike Bell
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Re: "Apple wants to collect and store your fingerprints..."

Well spotted, although that doesn't necessarily mean the El Reg back end database has been implemented shoddily.

Get to it on your login page, El Reg!

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Mike Bell
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Re: "Apple wants to collect and store your fingerprints..."

You are barking up the wrong tree.

Apple do not want to store your fingerprints in the cloud. They want to store your fingerprint enrolment data in the cloud, i.e. a hash code. Your fingerprint cannot be reconstructed from the hash code; it can only be used for verification purposes. Rather like your cloud-based El Reg password is stored as a hash. Bad boys aren't able to pinch your password if they dip into the El Reg user database.

As I see it, this would only be useful if you get a new iDevice and want to save a bit of time by not having to re-scan your fingerprints. Hardly the greatest benefit in the world.

i am intrigued that currently these hash codes are stored on-device in a secure element. This was much reported when Touch ID surfaced, and is likely a mainstay of Apple Pay. So I'm getting a mixed message here.

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PROOF the undead STALK Verizon users: Admen caught using 'perma-cookie'

Mike Bell
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Re: How about a new UIDH

There already is such a header in existence: Do Not Track

I have this set whenever I use various browsers, but the ad men just ignore it. Microsoft didn't help by setting the header by default in a version of Internet Explorer. That annoyed the ad men greatly, to the extent that they will have nothing to do with it.

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PlayStation-processor-powered plutonium probe prepares Pluto pics

Mike Bell
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Hands up, anybody, who remembers US Robotics modems that weren't much faster than that.

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20 years on: The satirist's satirist Peter Cook remembered

Mike Bell
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Re: brilliant things you forgot to mention

Yeah, he was brilliant on Clive James' show, appearing on TV after quite a long hiatus as a trio (IIRC) of alter egos. He pretended to be some crazed UFO spotter as well as a completely useless football manager with the catchphrase 'Dare to Fail', so funny. His 'diseased penis' also had me in stitches. Apparently, it needed 'regular massage to get rid of the pus'. Genius.

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Get your special 'sound-optimising' storage here, hipsters

Mike Bell
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Re: Too late - it already exists!

The Amazon review for that USB cable is awesome!

When my wife and I got engaged I proposed with a standard USB cable. I didn't get a steady job until recently and couldn't afford a cable as nice as this one. After being hired to stand in front of dominos pizza while holding a sign and jumping around like a chimpanzee on cocaine for almost six days I finally saved up enough hard earned cash to get her something nice. She had previously expressed interest in the gold plated lion tooth enforced XLR cable made entirely from recycled turtle tears but I knew deep down she wanted something with diamonds that would also keep jitter and distortion to a minimum. After months of searching I finally found this. At first the $998.75 price tag seemed a little steep but then I saw it had free shipping! The decision was a no brainier. My wife loves it; she wears it almost everyday. The smooth and shiny black cable goes with almost anything and ever since she started wearing it her jitter has been kept to a minimum. The only distortion that can be heard is portrayed through the jumbled banshee like squealing of her girlfriends who are all so jealous. If I had any complaints it would be that for $998.75 the cable should be a little longer. 3M is more of a $783.67 cable quality. Because of this, i give it 4 stars. Other than that I've got no complaints. I mean cmon, Free shipping!!!

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Not app-y with VAT: Apple bumps up prices in Blighty, Europe, Canada

Mike Bell
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Re: 30%!

Apple validate, host, deliver and update digital content for that 30% commission, as well as handling customer complaints and refunds, and providing a massive advertising platform for the vendor.

Compare that with many High Street purchases you make, where middle-men make their mark-up at multiple steps along the way.

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Erik Meijer: AGILE must be destroyed, once and for all

Mike Bell
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I read an interesting description of Agile/Scrum the other day: If houses were built the same way that Agile software is developed, you'd need a bulldozer to fit a microwave oven in the kitchen.

Not a great fan, but thankfully it doesn't really affect me (now), since I'm mostly left to get on with my own thing.

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FREE EBOOKS: Apple falls into line with EU refund laws

Mike Bell
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Re: There is no requirement on digital content

You don't necessarily need an iPhone - it's your iTunes account that is relevant here.

I recently accepted updated terms and conditions that were presented to me prior to downloading some newly purchased content via my iTunes account. I couldn't say how it was worded because, naturally, nobody ever reads that stuff.

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Mike Bell
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Re: There is no requirement on digital content

Apple are not being generous. Their terms of sale say:

"Exception to the right of cancellation: You cannot cancel your order for the supply of digital content if the delivery has started upon your request and acknowledgement that you thereby lose your cancellation right."

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Apple's 16GB iPhones are a big fat lie, claims iOS 8 storage hog lawsuit

Mike Bell
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Maybe they should fit an electric toothbrush attachment while they're at it.

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NASA preps lobotomy for Opportunity rover to cure amnesia

Mike Bell
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Plucky

Fingers crossed for the little chap.

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