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* Posts by PC Paul

153 posts • joined 13 Aug 2007

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ATTACK OF THE DRONES: ‘Nefarious’ private use rising, says top Blighty copper

PC Paul

Re: Blocker

Correct, *but* they do use spread spectrum of various flavours all over the 2.4GHz band, so a broad spectrum wifi jammer would still screw them up. Also the video feed back to the FPV goggles (if they have one) is quite likely to be 5GHz so they could still watch it crash ;-)

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Philae healthier... beams CHEESE: Proud ESA shows off FIRST COMET SURFACE PIC

PC Paul

Re: "Just how or why the lander stopped bouncing..."

,,,swearing drunkenly through a swanee whistle.

You know it's true.

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Top 10 SSDs: Price, performance and capacity

PC Paul

Re: but where are the 2TB Drives

If you want huge but are happy with SATA speeds, go for four 1TB mSATA disks on one of these http://www.addonics.com/products/ad4mspx2.php.

mSATA is a small format but comes in pretty much the full range of SSD sizes and makes. Infact I bought a 60GB mSATA card from Fleabay for £37 with a £12 mSATA to IDE adaptor so I could fit it into an old laptop, makes a huge difference.

I just bought an mSATA to combined USB and SATA adaptor card from Dealextreme for the price of a bag of fish and chips too, which gives me 140MB/s on USB and way more on SATA (haven't measured it yet), things are getting ridiculous if you don't mind mixing and matching a bit.

On my budget I'm aiming to go SSD for boot, programs and temp space with spinning rust for big storage. 95% of the benefits for a fraction of the cost. For now.

Edit: The penalty for running a bit behind the curve: mSATA is already going obsolete, M.2 has taken over. BUT that usually means lots of good clearance deals so if you're a penny pinching non-Luddite like me you could be in luck.

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Be nice to the public, PC Plod. Especially if you're trying to stop terrorists

PC Paul

Re: worth noting

At the time of the Dunblane Massacre and the resulting kneejerks I was the secretary of a pistol club. I had 4 semi-auto pistols, two revolvers and two single shot target pistols and up to 5500 rounds of .22LR ammunition in a sturdy cupboard in my garage.

They all had to go, the better ones to a club with much better security (fair enough) and the others were handed in at the local Police station to a startled civvy on the desk. And then the extra .22 ban came in so even the good ones got destroyed.

So now only the criminals have easy access to guns.

But anyway, about handing them in: when you have a Firearms Certificate absolutley everything you do with transferring guns or ammo has to be marked on it. If you buy or sell a gun it has to go on the FAC, to buy ammo you have to show your FAC and convince the gun shop owner that you have space in your allowed quantity to buy it. If you get a surprise inspection (and they do happen), and have anything different to what it says on your FAC all your guns are destroyed (with no compensation), and you could be in serious trouble. NOBODY would ever hand in a gun without getting their FAC stamped and signed, that would be lunacy.

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FLASH drive ... Ah-aaaaaah! BadUSB no saviour to plug and play Universe

PC Paul

'Plug and pray' is indeed very old but it's nothing to do with the current context. It was about how USB drivers were very hit and miss for a long time, needing installing for each individual port, being very OS specific etc.

'Plug and prey' refers to maliciously altered USB devices that actively prey on whatever system they are plugged into.

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Kenyan court case could sound death knell for mobile money

PC Paul

It would be a victory for the courts if they allowed the banks to clamp down on it BUT also introduced a mandatory banking service so they HAD to provide banking services to anyone and everyone at an equivalent cost to the mobile money that's there now.

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How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?

PC Paul

If it's a digital clone then you're right, there should be no difference, the CD and CD-R should be identical.

But if it was a CD and it was ripped to a CD-R in the common way of converting it to MP3s and storing the files on the CD-R then they are very different.

We don't have enough information.

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Oh God the RUBBER on my SHAFT has gone wrong and is STICKING to things

PC Paul

Talcum powder would be my first choice too. If you're feeling spendy then car trim restorer/protector like the armourall stuff can work well too.

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If you think 3D printing is just firing blanks, just you wait

PC Paul

Re: Digital photography and inkjets...

Inkjets - SWMBO does a lot of craft stuff which involves printing stupid amounts of stuff - full page patterns as well as inidividual design elements.

I bought a reasonable Canon printer and a continuous ink system from EBay which feeds ink to it from a set of bottles through silicon tubing. Over the last two years I've had four sets of 5x100ml/colour ink bottles through it at about £35/set, and the only issues are that I occasionally had to re-prime it (it works using the syphon principle, no pumps or moving parts). Wear gloves and don't mess with it over a carpet you need.

If you print a lot (at least several times a week) then it's well worth giving it a go. 500ml of ink in individual cartridges would cost you several hundred pounds...

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LOHAN in FIGHT to DEATH with brace of cantankerous canards

PC Paul

Has anyone ever heard of the KISS principle

It's nice to see all the gadgetry on show and the details of the engineering decisions, but it also feels like the KISS principle went out of the window a long time ago.

There are lots of things in this project that would make a substantial research task for an experienced hobbyist on their own.. I just hope it all works out in the end.

When is the end anyway? Is there a planned launch date?

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SPB's mountaintop HQ menaced by WOLVES

PC Paul

Re: Have to change armaments

Wolf packs will require depth charges...

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French teen fined for illegal drone flight

PC Paul

THIS is a racing quadcopter

There is a newish design of quad that is designed for extreme stunt flying and 3D racing - for instance a course marked out down the side of a cliff...

http://vimeo.com/78559200

Unlike normal quads that use a variable speed motor per rotor and fixed pitch props, the Stingray 500 uses a single larger motor with belt drive to each corner (well proven in 4x4 racing buggies) and collective pitch on each rotor.

It gives it amazing manoeuvrability compared even to acrobatic quads. Want.

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Powershell terminal sucks. Is there a better choice?

PC Paul

Re: come on, tell us what os so wrong with bash?

bash is fine.

But on Windows, bash via cygwin or whatever just doesn't have the power it has on Linux, because Windows just doesn't work that way. Linux command line admin is all commands taking strings joined together with loops and pipes, but for Windows you need commands taking OBJECTS held together with loops and pipes. That's what Powershell gives you.

And it was designed by Linux-y guys, so it will be more familiar to you than you think once you get into it.

A Powershell clone would be useless for Linux, for the same reason.

Use the right tool for the job.

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LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane

PC Paul

Re: Bah!

Well at least with all that heavy paint and vinyl it won't flutter down like the first one did...

I wonder what it's glide ratio will be once the rocket cuts out and it gets back to a thicker atmosphere?

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OK, we get the message, Microsoft: Windows Defender splats 1000s of WinXP, Server 2k3 PCs

PC Paul

Re: Well...if one doesn't USE Windows Defender...

As I understand it, Microsoft has made their AV definitions and fixes available for free to ALL other AV suppliers. So if any AV supplier can't beat the MSE results then it means they've basically done absolutely nothing.

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SpaceX Falcon tests HOVERCRAFT tech – despite ISS outage

PC Paul

Re: Soft landing on the ocean

If it was me I'd be tempted to have a barge or flat-decked cargo ship in place at the expected landing area, then if the approach was going well tell it to land there - otherwise you could choose/be forced to miss and land it in the sea anyway.

Seawater and complex systems are a bad mixture, why dunk it if you can help it?

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LOHAN preps Vulture 2 for hot vinyl wrap

PC Paul

Re: How much does this wrap weigh?

It's a weird thing with planes, especially gliders, which this essentially is - after a looong balloon phase and a few seconds of rocket powered terror, anyway. Weight makes them go faster. A given airframe will have a certain glide ratio, i.e. it will go a certain distance forwards for every amount it drops. Within sane limits this ratio is constant, so if you make it heavier it drops faster, therefore it has to fly forwards faster. With radio controlled gliders it's common to add lead or even tungsten ballast to really get the weight up. Full size gliders use water so they can easily ditch it.

In this case there are other factors that come into play. The vinyl will make the surface smoother which will help especially at very high speeds. The weight becomes an issue when you have to lift it with a balloon to ridiculous heights. But it also makes it tougher - I have a foam flying wing covered with vinyl which is super tough and super fast, at the expense of needing a really good day to go gliding.

I just want to see this thing FLY!

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My work-from-home setup's better than the office. It's GLORIOUS

PC Paul

"PS: The dichotomy of not liking my widescreen laptop and liking my widescreen TFT, I can rotate my widescreen TFT into portrait mode and get ungodly number of lines (well, 120+) on the screen"

I managed to get dual monitors for all the developers by showing the boss something that he could understand - an IBM report saying that programmers were 15% more productive with dual screens. Getting that more work from you for only a couple of hundred pound a head, for monitors that could be nicely depreciated against tax makes business sense.

We got crappy widescreen monitors as well, but if you're willing to put shiny and conventional aside (and what true techie isn't?) then you can either use both vertically or even better one landscape and one portrait then use which ever layout works best - vertical for coding, wide for browsing.

It looks daft, but it works brilliantly.

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Google Glass driver told she CAN wear techno-specs while on the road

PC Paul

Re: Restrict Glass to GPS when driving

"Maybe Google should make it so that only the GPS function can be active above a certain speed... "

That would be a pain if you were a passenger. Or on a train. Or in a self-driving car...

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What is the difference between a drone, a model and a light plane?

PC Paul

Re: Damnit, I'd just about decided not to renew my BMFA ticket...

"Still flying the paraglider though: model planes scare us and we do our best to keep well away."

I wish... there are lots of good paragliderists, but there are a minority who seem to feel entitled to fly wherever they like whenever they like, even at slopes where there are long standing agreements between model fliers and the local PG clubs. The same minority also seem to spend a lot of their waiting around time getting the nerve up with the help of funny smelling fags...

Human safety comes first obviously but having to risk crashing an £800 model because some knob has deliberately decided to keep flying across directly in front of the RC slope is painful. Frankly with a few kilos of pointy nosed carbon fiber model doing unpredictable aerobatics at 100mph+ I'm not sure I'd want to invade the RC airspace, but then again I wouldn't risk flying a PG either, so maybe it just enhances the 'fun/danger' aspect for them..?

When we co-operate, it can be very good. I'm always happy to scout around for thermals then leave them to the PGs if they are having trouble finding lift, and many PGers are happy to work together at the meeting of the airspaces. But some PGers seem to be on a power trip from the get go and cause nothing but trouble and bad feelings.

Some modellers are as bad probably, but then again PGers seem to be mainly 30-40ish well-off blokes, whereas RC gliderists are largely 55+ retired blokes. Sometimes obnoxious certainly , but not really so aggressive.

/rant

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HP: This Xmas, get the SACK... and not the one filled with presents

PC Paul

Re: Morals

"I remember seeing a study from a top US university some years ago that said the only difference between a CEO (or other top executive) and a psychopath is the methods they use."

I found that this explained it all quite well for me...

http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2009/10/07/the-gervais-principle-or-the-office-according-to-the-office/

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Asteroid-hunting beauty AWAKENS, takes cheeky snaps of neighbours

PC Paul

Re: red dots

The red dots are the moving objects against the static starfield.

I guess in this image the fast thing is asteroid (872) Holda, the red streaks are earthly satellites. There are similar images from its earlier incarnation on their website.

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BT network-level STOCKINGs-n-suspenders KILLER arrives in time for Xmas

PC Paul

Re: DNS blocking on port 53

Where would you get your source DNS entries from? DNS is a hierarchical system, running 'your own' DNS server only gets you a cache of things you've found from other DNS servers, or sites you manage yourself. And if unfiltered DNS is blocked, you won't be able to build your cache.

Even if you were to collect it all 'now' then it would go stale over time.

Some DNS suppliers may well offer other ports such as the 5353 mentioned above which would help, but if you had alternative suppliers then why run your own in the first place?

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Microsoft: Don't listen to 4chan ... especially the bit about bricking Xbox Ones

PC Paul

Re: One of my favorites...

I saw an IRC transcript on bash.org about that - someone fell for it, then came back and complained. In a masterpiece of trollage, they convinced him he must have hit Alt-F5 by mistake, and he should be sure to hit Alt-F4 this time... which he duly did. Again.

Nearly as good as the 'hunter2' one.

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Oh, shoppin’ HELL: I’m in the supermarket of the DAMNED

PC Paul

Re: I have never understood the English system for unmamnned tills

We can't have those on the tills because it's been snapped up as a separate 'business opportunity' by Coinstar: give the machine all your loose change and it will deduct 8.9% then print you a voucher for the rest.

8.9%!! If anyone has a ton of small change to handle I'll count it for them for a measly 8%. Can't say fairer than that!

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The Vulture 2: What paintjob should we put on our soaraway spaceplane?

PC Paul

Re: Maximise visibility

Go easy with the paint, though: its heavy and will really impact Vulture 2's performance

Seconded. Paint is heavy. And a light sanding would probably be a good idea, although given that it's printed in nylonish stuff I'm not sure how well it would work?.

For good solid colours and added strength, rc combat gliders use coloured parcel tape - it doesn't weigh much (especially if it's only a partial covering, e.g a red checkerboard) and as a bonus could be removed and redone differently for the next flight - reusable near-space vehicles wahey!

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PC Paul

Re: Not British Racing Green

Oh... and test fly it BEFORE you paint it. Otherwise it'll just have all the corners showing white and any replacement parts or repairs (although hopefully not) won't match.

DAMHIKT

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PC Paul

Not British Racing Green

Not green, you'll never find it after it lands, even in Spain.

Nothing very complicated either - I've had a nice realistic Zebra scheme on a much bigger glider than this and it totally disappeared into the background, both in the sky and on the floor.

Dayglo orange (or Register Red at a pinch) with black tips would do nicely for me.

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Our magnificent Vulture 2 spaceplane: Intimate snaps

PC Paul

Re: Have you printed any spare parts?

You're not allowed to ask about that, I suggested flight tests a few times and just got sarcastic replies and down votes.

Which is a shame because I have lots of experience of test flights...

To be fair last time it was 'wait and see' so now I'm waiting.

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DEAD STEVE JOBS kills Apple bounce patent from BEYOND THE GRAVE

PC Paul

Re: Regardless of the merits of the Apple patent

This link explains it very clearly.

http://web.mit.edu/tlo/www/community/preserving_patent_rights.html

The crucial thing is that if you have a good idea and tell everyone about it publicly then in most countries other than the US, you have torpedoed yourself. In the US you have a year long grace period to patent it after that point.

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Thorium and inefficient solar power? That's good enough for me

PC Paul

Re: Solar Thermal storage

It's being done - Gemasolar in Spain uses BIG well insulated tanks to store molten salt at 550C+overnight and generate power 24/7. Full tanks can run the plant for up to 15 hours with no sunlight at all, or just top it up on dull days to keep the output at full power for much longer.....

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PC Paul

Re: "What is wrong with this idea?"

Although the capital cost of solar will fall further, for it to be used externally the panels and supports use quite a bit of material. Unlike chips, there are fairly high transport and installation costs.

Is there any reason not to make generic roof covering solar panels, instead of having layers of tiles, insulation, brackets, rails, framework and *then* solar PV panels?

Simple interlocking weatherproof insulated panels designed to be slapped on a roof by your average roofer then plugged in by a domestic electrician would be a massive seller as far as I can see - but the nearest I have seen is hugely expensive tiny solar tiles designed to be installed in amongst normal roof tiles.

There's nothing at all to stop some of the panels being for solar thermal (water heating) instead of/as well as PV either.

I'd buy a roof-full.

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Our LOHAN rocket ship team exits Spain with a bang

PC Paul

Re: Design

I'll be interested to see how it glides, especially given that it looks designed for a high cruising speed. Maybe a KNICKERLASTIC bungee launcher could be useful?

Where is the CG on it? Looks like it would be near the front of the main wings, where they meet the fuse?

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Vulture 2 autopilot reports for duty

PC Paul

Re: Pushrods!

One thing to watch out for is that the failsafe which kicks in when the 2.4GHz kit is out of range doesn't do anything nasty to the autopilot, like turn it off. DAMHIKT.

For servo arms and pushrods I favour making an L bend and threading the bent bit, then tapping the rod into a too-small hole in the arm. Because the arm only moves over less than 180 degrees it cant come unthreaded, but there is very little slop and a lot of resistance to the end pulling out sideways. I've tested this on a lot of combat wings - it can take a beating and stay attached.

With a bit of your low temp grease it should be immune to freezing too, which a ball joint might not be.

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Pulsars: the GPS beacons of the cosmos

PC Paul

Re: Duh?

"For instance, in the last year or two there's been some debate whether Voyager has actually past the 'edge' of the solar system into interstellar space or not."

*passed

Well, to be fair that isn't anything to do with knowing where Voyager is, or even where the edge of the Solar System is. It's to do with 'what' the edge of the solar system is. And do you even need to know that to know where the centre of mass is? Isn't it just going to be the centre of rotation of the combined bodies making up the solar system?

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Our Vulture 2 spaceplane sprouts sleek pointy beak

PC Paul

Re: Does it only have rudders?

You're right, well spotted. That should work well once it has enough air to bite into, and the canards do look big enough to work.

I'm looking forward to seeing the test flights...

What are the plans for that?

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PC Paul

Does it only have rudders?

Does it really only have rudders?

I know it already has two control surfaces more than Vulture 1 had and that's laudable, but just rudders seems like a bit of an issue if that's the case. Or does it have elevons as well (in which case rudders are a bit excessive...)

Has anyone built a foam mockup of this to check how it flies, where the CG should be etc.? It shouldn't be too difficult to do as an RC model and could easily be tested at high speeds with a ducted fan motor or even hobby rockets.

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Buy a household 3D printer, it'll pay for itself in MONTHS!

PC Paul

Re: Does this use the same plastic that everything seems to be made of these days?

Have a look at PolyMorph, plastic granules that you can melt down in warm/hot water then form by hand. Tough as Nylon when it's done, but can be melted and resued many times.

Places like Maplins sell it in the UK.

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Google SELLS OUT the INTERNET HIPPIES! AGAIN!

PC Paul

Re: Virgin Media tried this

I'm with Virgin cable broadband and 'don't take the mick' does seem to be their policy.

They do allow pretty much any use you like as long as you don't mess the network up for other people, and that's policed purely by their throttling which kicks in after a certain data transfer threshold has been passed, which varies by time of day.

A lot of people seem to hate this as 'not really unlimited' but it rarely gives me any problem at all, and I'm what I think of as a fairly heavy user, in bursts. The only thing I could quibble about is the actual thresholds, but that's minor compared to 'no servers at all' or other similar draconian policies.

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For pity's sake: DON'T MOVE to the COUNTRY if you want to live

PC Paul

Re: Slow down

Completely agree.

In fact if I'm on a long boring drive, I tend to speed up until it gets exciting enough to keep me WIDE awake.

Anyway, speed doesn't kill people, _speed_difference_ is what kills people. Whether it's the difference between you and a static lump of concrete, or between you and the idiot doing 50mph down the middle lane of a fast flowing motorway.

There are some usually arbitrary numbers-onna-stick as well, but they don't really count for anything safety-wise, as long as you are doing roughly what everyone else is doing.

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How do you drive a supercomputer round a Formula 1 track?

PC Paul
FAIL

The point --------------------------------------------> *

* <---------------------------------------------------You.

Rightpondians spell it 'litres', as it should be.

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CONFIRMED: Driverless cars to hit actual British roads by end of year

PC Paul

Re: Funny you should say that

I thought Audis had taken over from BMWs in the last few years?

Anyway, I drive an old but high end BMW (bangernomics yay!) and a similar spec Audi. I let people out at junctions just to confuse them.

Personally I find its not the make of the car but the proximity to large cities that seems to determine the quality of the driving. Closer = More aggressive.

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Human error blamed for toxic Russian rocket explosion

PC Paul

Re: Directional Arrows

Apply game theory: If a QC inspector finds a mistake one of the others didn't he gets a big bonus. If he finds a mistake both the others missed, he gets a MASSIVE bonus.

If a QC inspector misses a mistake found by one other, he pays a penalty. If he misses a mistake found by two others (and hence easier to find), he goes to Siberia.

NOW they will focus on the job...

Although I recall a tale of a company paying testers per bug found and paying coders per bug fixed. Unfortunately the coders and the testers spoke to each other and it all got quite lucrative...

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Live or let dial - phones ain’t what they used to be

PC Paul

Re: Apropos of nothing..

A friend of mine lives in a converted telephone exchange. Until the numbers were all standardised, her number was just <village name><nought>

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PC Paul
WTF?

Gratuitous overnumerification

Why... does that phone have a sticker on it that shows the same numbers as are already printed on the phone?

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Patch Tuesday: And EVERY version of IE needs fixing AGAIN

PC Paul

Re: Reboot required

I'm sure I remember my Solaris and HP Unix machines reopening my windows when I restarted back in the 1990s. When did they all stop doing it? Was it just because Windows didn't do it, so everyone else stopped bothering?

Or has my failing memory failed again?

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The only Waze is Google: Ad giant tipped to gobble map app 'for $1.3bn'

PC Paul
Thumb Up

I like Waze

Interesting...

I like Waze, it has worked better than most other satnavs I've tried, with the added bonus of being able to fix any local errors yourself.

They've gone to considerable lengths to avoid problems with people copying in details from any other mapping suppliers, so having free and official access to the Google maps and aerial photos should help quite a lot. Searching for places should hopefully improve as well - at the moment I believe it uses Bing and it's a bit hit and miss!

I hope they use a light touch to keep the social aspects going, which are a major differentiator for Waze - although the recent Facebook integration stuff (e.g. 'take me to <facebook event>') will presumably slow down a bit now ;-)

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Virgin Media slides fat 10Gbps pipes into Murdoch's BSkyB

PC Paul
WTF?

Re: Wonder where

Err.. doesn't this just show that Virgin have so much capacity they can sell Sky several 10's of GBs while still carrying on business as usual?

Virgin is still Virgin - it's anti-Virgin Sky-ites who are now going to be using Virgin wires whether they like it or not.

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WW II U-boat attacks prompt new US response

PC Paul
Mushroom

Re: Kaaaarrrlllll!!

> Why not NUKE those derelicts to smithereens? There are tons of as-yet-unused Pu lying around!!

...because that as-yet unused weapons grade Pu is perfect to feed the next generation of long-life maintenance-free Thorium cycle reactors - which over their thirty year life will also turn it into much nicer stuff to handle, and also reduce the need to actually handle it at all!

On the other hand, really big bangs are awesome!

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