* Posts by Mike Richards

4018 posts • joined 28 Feb 2007

NASA, wait, wait lemme put my drink down... NASA, you need to be searching for vanadium

Mike Richards
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Re: Show me the trees...

But if Mars died when life was at a primitive stage we might want to look in unobvious places. Examining Hadean and early Archaean rocks here on Earth shows some evidence that isn't the usual fossils like stromatolites. There are some unusual carbon isotope excursions in graphite in the Isua Complex of Greenland (3.8Ga) which *may* be the product of carbon isotope fractionation that occurs in living organisms. And then, a bit later we have the colossal Banded Iron Formations that appear all over the globe as a by-product of primitive life oxidising iron for energy which resulted in changes in the neodymium and europium isotope ratios in oceanic sediments and eventually the release of oxygen in the atmosphere.

So if we want to look for life, we're going to be doing odd things like checking isotope ratios and examining trace metal deposits.

And smashing rocks, lots of smashing rocks.

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The award for worst ISP goes to... it starts with Talk and ends with Talk

Mike Richards
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Speaking of TalkTalk

(since it is past the watershed)

Does anyone know the outcome of the hacking case at the Old Bailey? I saw two people had been convicted in April, but never saw anything about how long they were sent down for.

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Mike Richards
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There's a certain inevitability about this

It's like Meryl Streep winning 'Best Actress'.

The only difference is that Meryl has never tried to communicate with an Indian accent.

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BoJo, don't misuse stats then blurt disclaimers when you get rumbled

Mike Richards
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The only downside was that he didn't topple over and crush Gove once and for all.

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What do you call an all-in-one PC that isn't? 'Upgradeable', says HP

Mike Richards
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Re: Upgradeable

I like the sound of this utopia - perhaps if I could be so bold to offer my own modest proposal that perhaps internal components could be standardised so that different suppliers could compete to make the most cost-effective and powerful parts for this 'personal computer'.

But I fear such a thing must remain a fantasy.

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Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is hot, but not much more than the S8+

Mike Richards
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Re: Has that intern started yet?

'Samsung reckons it's possible to dial phone numbers you and-write in notes,'

Ummm? Not a clue what that was meant to say.

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Fancy that! Craft which float over everything on a cushion of air

Mike Richards
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It won't be convenient to point at - but Crossrail is pretty astonishing engineering as was the Thames Barrier.

Fingers crossed perhaps we can add Skylon to that list one day.

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Mike Richards
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Re: I think they are very tricky to steer.

They'll then claim to have just discovered a Ming Dynasty wall painting showing one which proves China invented the hovercraft.

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Mike Richards
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Re: You spoil us

What a shame a Saunders Roe Princess didn't survive along with the building - a 150 tonne, 67m wingspan, ten engined flying boat.

A stupidly big seagoing Brabazon of a plane - but what a fantastic beast:

https://youtu.be/AV1eUeo27tc

Saunders Roe were clearly sniffing something, because they then proposed the Duchess - a swept-wing jet flying boat for the the London - Australia route:

https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1950/1950%20-%200863.html

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Equifax UK admits: 400,000 Brits caught up in mega-breach

Mike Richards
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Re: Drip, drip, drip...

Don't forget the maximum fine the ICO can impose is £500k - and its never been imposed - even TalkTalk didn't pay that much. GDPR can't come along quickly enough with its fines up to €20 million or 4% of an organisation’s annual global turnover *whichever is greater*.

Equifax also needs to be forced to spunk up serious compensation for anyone who has had any of their personal data leaked. We don't ask to be put on their systems, we don't have any right to say 'no', so lets make them take security seriously - or kill them through fines and legal settlements.

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

Mike Richards
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A task-centric interface

Rather than a grid of abstract icons linking to apps, allow people to put their own shortcuts on the interface 'call Mum', 'do Tesco shopping'...

The Windows Phone interface with its ability to pin things like phone numbers and URLs to tiles on the home screen came close to this idea of working.

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London Tube tracking trial may make commuting less miserable

Mike Richards
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Re: This...

A pedestrian subway link to ES station from Euston itself would be nice in the wet weather.

And whilst we're about it, rather than the cavernous concourse at Euston, why not split the holding space for arrivals and departures on to two floors with ramps leading down to the platforms, so that arriving passengers aren't fighting their way through the massive crowds waiting for the 16:47 London Midland calling at all stops to pergatory and the queues for Burger King?

Oh crap, I've gone off on one of my 'why don't stations learn some of the good points from airports?' rants.

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The new, new Psion is getting near production. Here's what it looks like

Mike Richards
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Re: Want!

But despite the 'bag of holding' qualities of any handbag - they still need more than one of them.

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HSBC biz banking crypto: The case of the vanishing green padlock and... what domain are we on again?

Mike Richards
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Their online banking service is utterly dreadful.

Try paying an HSBC credit card bill from an HSBC current account without looking resorting to a) swearing, and b) finally giving in and using the online chat to talk to a human being.

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F-35 firmware patches to be rolled out 'like iPhone updates'

Mike Richards
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Worse - it'll give you a macOS style countdown until it reboots as you gun the plane for the nearest friendly airport.

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Equifax mega-leak: Security wonks smack firm over breach notification plan

Mike Richards
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Right now on the Equifax site

'Identity theft and data breach white paper

'Almost three quarters (73%) of GB adults online think that companies should tell them that they have experienced a data breach and 63% would expect to be notified of a breach within hours.'

https://www.equifax.co.uk/data-breach/react.html

Hope the executives who sold $2 million of shares last week don't have anything to hide - such as prior knowledge of the breach.

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Google's Hollywood 'interventions' made on-screen coders cooler

Mike Richards
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'I bypassed the storage controller, tapped directly in to the VNX array head, decrypted the nearline SAS disks, injected the flash drivers into the network's FabricPath before disabling the IDF, routed incoming traffic through a bunch of offshore proxies, accessed the ESXi server cluster in the prime data center, and disabled the inter-VSAN routing on the layer-3.'

Take me! Take me now!!!

So the end effect of Google's efforts is that rather than leaden dialogue that appears to have been written by a computer, we now have leaden dialogue that appears to have been written by a computer - which is technically plausible.

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Boffin rediscovers 1960s attempt to write fiction with computers

Mike Richards
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Re: Stuff like this

Or they could invest in a set of Rory's Story Cubes. If you have kids or just like writing fiction, these are a great little toy for coming up with story ideas.

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She's arrived! HMS Queen Lizzie enters Portsmouth Naval Base

Mike Richards
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Re: Oh no!

Did they actually install that many or did Capita install 14 and bill for 14,000?

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Blighty’s beloved Big Ben bell ends, may break Brexit bargain

Mike Richards
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"Downing Street this afternoon confirmed the 24-month deadline for reaching a Brexit deal will expire 'when Big Ben bongs midnight' on the night of March 29-30, 2019."

The Express then went on to say that Diana was killed just before she could announce a miracle cure for Alzheimers in time for that year's SIBERIAN BLAST BRINGS HAVOC TO ENGLAND!

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Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon's lawyer, UK supporters rally around Marcus Hutchins

Mike Richards
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Re: Hell yeah

Before you all stock up on big boots and balaclavas, it is worth pointing out he's in Milwaukee...

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Alien 'lava lamp' with dying magnetic field orbited Earth a billion years ago – science

Mike Richards
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Re: I thought radioactive decay was a big part of keeping the core molten...

On the modern Earth, the heat of the Core is thought to be largely primordial heat left over from its formation. There is also a continuous contribution of latent heat released as the Inner Core grows through crystallisation from the Outer Core. Radioactive heat is likely to be a relatively minor component in heating the Core.

Radioactive heating is much more important in the Mantle where it is largely driven by the decay of low concentrations of 40K, 232Th, 235U and 238U. Even though concentrations of isotopes are low, the volume of the Mantle is so vast that most of the Earth's heat is generated here. Perhaps counterintuitively, the continental Crust contains the largest concentration of radioactive isotopes due to their elemental incompatibility with the ultramafic minerals of the Mantle. Their relatively high concentrations means the geothermal gradient rises most quickly at shallow depths.

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Cancel the farewell party. Get back to work. That asteroid isn't going to hit Earth in October

Mike Richards
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Re: Aim is improving.

Anyone else old enough to remember 'The Golden Shot' and 'Bernie, the bolt!' ?

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Marcus Hutchins free for now as infosec world rallies around suspected banking malware dev

Mike Richards
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Poor bastard

He's going to Milwaukee.

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WannaCry-slayer Marcus Hutchins 'built Kronos banking trojan' – FBI

Mike Richards
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In the UK you could fall foul of the Computer Misuse Act Section 3A 'Making, supplying or obtaining articles' with prison sentences of up to 2 years or a fine.

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Programmer's < fumble jeopardizes thousands of medical reports

Mike Richards
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Re: We had this problem

From the Donegal 'v ᠎ ​ ৮̗̜͓̀̎d͓͚͐'s - yes?

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WannaCry kill-switch hero Marcus Hutchins collared by FBI on way home from DEF CON

Mike Richards
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Re: Accused of spreading the Kronos trojan.

They probably waited until he was in US jurisdiction rather than embarrassing themselves again by demanding extradition with bugger/all evidence.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Borrisss!

Dunno - I wouldn't hold my breath, he's only recently renounced his US citizenship.

But one story that didn't get much traction is that the NAACP has put out a travel advisory for Missouri warning black travellers about widespread racism, discrimination and intimidation by the police. That's an American civil rights organisation warning Americans about travelling in one part of America.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Conferences?

Good point.

And from my recent experiences, conferences still in the US are seeing a lot fewer foreign attendees; a lot of people aren't attending because of the problems getting the necessary visas for the States (especially students from countries where the skin colour isn't in the approved range), and because of the general 'fuck you' attitude radiating from officialdom right now.

I've got a paper ready and I'd normally submit it to a US conference and then tack on a few days to see what has always been a fantastic place, but I think it'll end up going to a European conference purely because I might come back intact.

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Trump-backed RAISE Act decoded: Points-based immigration, green cards slashed

Mike Richards
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If you get 50 points

You're automatically through to the swimsuit round with an opportunity to meet the President in the changing room.

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Ohm-em-gee: US nuke plant project goes dark after money meltdown

Mike Richards
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Re: " good news for the mug taxpayer. to be hoped UK ones go the same way."

"Hard to believe the only country in Europe that's surrounded by sea has spent effectively FA on tide (predictable) or wave (vast energy) systems."

Quite!

Bring back the Salter Duck!

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=XQwcxTIERmUC&pg=PA308&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

A promising wave technology killed in the 1980s when the government decided that North Sea gas was the future, and when UKAEA (who oversaw energy research) estimated its costs at more than double the actual costs.

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Mike Richards
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Re: Crap construction from the beginning

Did this happen when Westinghouse was part of BNFL? I'm trying to work out if the government's decision to sell BNFL Westinghouse might actually have been a good decision so that we're not on the hook for what appears to be a massive cock up.

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Scary news: Asteroid may pass Earth by just 6,880km in October

Mike Richards
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Re: Context

The Soviet Union launched a good number of reactors on their US-A ocean surveillance radar satellites (RORSATs). Their radar technology meant the satellite had to be in a very low orbit which precluded draggy solar panels, so they put a nuclear reactor onboard.

At the end of the mission, the spent core was meant to be fired into a disposal orbit, that didn't always happen. At least two cores returned to Earth, one in the South Atlantic, the other redecorated about 120,000km2 of North Canada with intensely radioactive debris of which only about 1% has been recovered.

Of the remainder, several spilled their liquid metal coolant which now contributes to orbital debris, at least one appears to be disintegrating in its graveyard orbit, and when they were working they were nightmares for gamma ray astronomers.

Fortunately, none have been launched since the late 1980s.

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Mike Richards
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If you are ever unlucky enough to watch 'Hudson Hawk' you'll know Bruce Willis has repeatedly died in front of the camera.

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'Real' people want govts to spy on them, argues UK Home Secretary

Mike Richards
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And people like labradors.

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Mike Richards
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What is it about politicians?

Amber "necessary hashtags" Rudd and Malcolm "Well the laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that. The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.” Turnbull, should compete to see which of them knows the least about encryption.

It's a tough one, but on current form, Rudd might just win.

Over to you Oz.

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Autonomous driving in a city? We're '95% of the way there'

Mike Richards
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'But between "the first powered flight" and "planes as a form of relieable mass transport" lie untold billions of R&D money and roughly six decades.'

Good point to which I can only add - 'and a couple of world wars'

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iRobot just banked a fat profit. And it knows how to make more: Sharing maps of your homes

Mike Richards
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Re: Thanks iRobot...

No doubt they'll ensure that all the robot's health monitoring, battery information, scheduling and replacement components will require you to create an account and maintain a constant connection.

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HMS Frigatey Mcfrigateface given her official name

Mike Richards
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Re: Towns again....

And the Flower class corvettes which included HMSs Geranium and Tulip amongst many others:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower-class_corvette

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Mike Richards
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Typo

'In British service, frigates are broadly equipped to fight other surface warships and as anti-submarine vessels, a particular British specialism.'

Should be:

In British service, frigates are broadly equipped to deliver large amounts of money to BAE Systems whilst spending most of their lives waiting for vital equipment or under repair.

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Russia launches non-TERRIFYING satellite that focuses Sun's solar rays onto Earth

Mike Richards
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Been there, done that.

The US measured the properties of the upper atmosphere with the much bigger Echo passive communication satellites of the early 1960s:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Echo

The Russians do like their space mirrors though, they've tried and failed twice with the Znamya satellites:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Znamya_(satellite)

Every now and again there are some new gee-whizz 1950s-style articles about how the Russians will be bringing light to the winter tundra thanks to enormous mirrors hanging in space.

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Australia releases MH370 sea floor data but search is still off

Mike Richards
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Re: It is a salvage mission in international waters, China should take over the search

153 Chinese citizens were killed, so the state has a moral duty to investigate. Though 'moral' and the Communist Party are rarely bedfellows.

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UK government's war on e-cigs is over

Mike Richards
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Re: Ex-smoker, vaper here

'I'm vaping at work, and even in aeroplanes, without any complaints whatsoever! '

In planes? Interesting - the last few flights I've been on have specifically said that vaping is not allowed in the cabin.

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UK.gov snaps on rubber gloves, prepares for mandatory porn checks

Mike Richards
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Small government in action

'The government is also expected to announce plans to appoint a regulator to police the sex websites,'

Anyone want to hazard a name for the regulator?

Ofspurt?

The very strict regulator?

Paul Dacre?

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Truck spills slimy load all over Oregon road – drivers slip in eel slick

Mike Richards
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Should have used a hovercraft

Obligatory Python:

https://youtu.be/G6D1YI-41ao

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Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill

Mike Richards
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Re: Caveat emptor

With engine, but the go-faster stripes and sun roof option are extra.

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Hey, remember that monkey selfie copyright drama a few years ago? Get this – It's just hit the US appeals courts

Mike Richards
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Meanwhile - the photographer

Can't afford to replace his equipment or even attend the court case:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/12/monkey-selfie-macaque-copyright-court-david-slater

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Virgin Trains dodges smack from ICO: CCTV pics of Corbyn were OK

Mike Richards
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Rarest of things on a Virgin train

Paper reservation tags with the proper information.

The electronic one on Pendolinos are all too often not working, showing information for a completely different trip to the one you're on, or just saying 'Reserved'.

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Got a Windows Phone 8 mobe? It's now officially obsolete. Here's why...

Mike Richards
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Re: Going Nowhere soon?

I still have my Lumia 800 in a drawer for precisely the reason that it is very frugal on battery power when travelling. It's also tough as old boots, it's been dropped on various continents and is still working with barely a scratch.

The downloadable maps and that sensational interface designed for fat fingers were something I really miss on iOS or Android.

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Web inventor Sir Tim sizes up handcuffs for his creation – and world has 2 weeks to appeal

Mike Richards
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Damn I'm conflicted...

I've been praying for something to come along and kill Flash and Silverlight...

...but this?

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