* Posts by Red Bren

1597 posts • joined 17 Oct 2007

Why did top Home Office civil servant lobby Ofcom for obscure kit ban?

Red Bren
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Big Brother

Interesting Cover Story

M: Ah 007 sit down. We have an unusual mission for you. We want you to stop people using these. [points to a device on the table]

007: What is it? An IED?

Q: No 007 it's a GSM Gateway. It allows our greatest enemy the ability to circumvent our surveillance.

007: So you want me to go to China and destroy the factory that makes them?

M: No 007.

007: You want me to assassinate the design team?

M: No 007 we want you to take a senior role at OFCOM and make sure they are banned.

007: Isn't that a bit, erm public, for a spy? I know nothing about communications regulation or competition law.

M:You don't need to be qualified to run a quango, the junior staff do all the real work. You'll be hidden in plain site as it were, and if anyone does suspect, we'll just move you to another civil service role. Why do you think we have so many of them?

007: Ok but do I get my own PA?

M: 009 is between assignments and she's a qualified accountant

007: Excellent, she can teach me about double entry

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UK drone collision study didn't show airliner window penetration

Red Bren
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Trollface

"UAVs pose less of a risk to airliners than government officials"

Can we fire a few ministers at aircraft windows and put the rest on a register of who owns them?

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Kernel-memory-leaking Intel processor design flaw forces Linux, Windows redesign

Red Bren
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Re: I finally switch from AMD to Intel, and this is what happens.

"IANAL but surely the chips we have, once patched, will no longer be performing as advertised?"

I was thinking something similar. The Lenovo laptop I bought less than 18 months ago is still in warranty so is it reasonable to ask for a refund/replacement?

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Red Bren
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Re: Hmmm...

Would this mean distributing Intel & AMD specific binaries, or would users have to compile their own kernel to enable/disable the patch as necessary?

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UK security chief: How 'bout a tax for tech firms that are 'uncooperative' on terror content?

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Big Brother

Costing or saving?

Surely tech firms are indirectly saving the UK government millions in "human surveillance" of extremist content by building and maintaining services that extremists use to communicate? All the security services need to do is follow due process and get a court order to obtain the communications records of the suspects. Unless the security services don't want to follow due process with judicial oversight, and the "suspects" are anyone who questions authority.

We're all extremists now...

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One more credit insurer abandons Maplin Electronics

Red Bren
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Childcatcher

Re: Last of it's kind?

Isn't that the modern equivilant of going into Dixons/Currys/Comet in the 80s and typing

10 print "Red Bren Woz Ere"

20 goto 10

Into all the display computers?

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Brit film board proposed as overlord of online pr0nz age checks

Red Bren
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Trollface

Re: This may, perversely, encourage more porn

What if I were to admit I find it highly arousing to watch images of 650 fully clothed men and women sitting in rows, hurling jeers and insults at each other?

I'd hate it if the BBFC were to ban such filth...

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Red Bren
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Gimp

First they came for the porn sites and I said nothing, because I had a ball gag in my mouth...

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Netflix silent about ridicule as it discusses punters' viewing habits

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Pirate

I've just completed a free trial with netflix. I would have signed up for a subscription, were it not for their refusal to take my money by direct debit. Instead, they insist on a continuous payment authority (CPA) against a credit or debit card. These arrangements offer less consumer protection than DDs as the business can vary the amount or timing of the payment without prior notice.

When I phoned their helpline to ask if there was a way to set up a direct debit, as their website didn't appear to support it, I was assured that yes they did, I just needed to give them the debit card number. After a few minutes of insisting that I would only supply a sort code and account number, and only after he read me the direct debit guarantee script, he finally admitted that he couldn't set up a DD and was trying to set up a CPA. I thanked him for his time and informed him I would not be subscribing until they accepted a payment method with better consumer protection.

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No, BMW, petrol-engined cars don't 'give back to the environment'

Red Bren
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Pirate

Re: "He's not the messiah!"

Big cheeses are more than happy to take credit for corporate success due to their "guiding influence" when salaries and bonuses are being decided, even if they weren't involved with the minute details. But the moment there's a hint of corporate failure, it's always the fault of "rogue employees" who kept us in the dark, with no questions asked about oversight, who hired them or why, and who benefited most from the "rogue" behaviour.

"Your department is performing unexpectedly well this quarter. Is there anything you want to tell me?" said no CEO, ever!

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Muzzle our public watchdog much? UK.gov Data Protection Bill adds affect the ICO

Red Bren
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Re: Rule by dictat

Once upon a time, one of the checks and balances on the government was the thought of what the opposition might do with these powers.

In the light of

- the Electoral Commission's vicious gumming of the Tories for their (two) general election overspending and polling telemarketing offences.

- the Boundary Commission proposals to cut the number of MPs (which hits Labour hardest) while the number of (Conservative) peers has risen.

- The number of (mainly Labour) voters that have "disappeared" after changes to the Electoral Roll.

perhaps the Tories (or their backers) don't expect a change of government ever again?

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DNS resolver 9.9.9.9 will check requests against IBM threat database

Red Bren
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Coat

"somewhere, in a dark, BO-scented bedroom"

The fact that my first reading of this prompted the question, "What does Business Objects smell of?" suggests I might need to get out more...

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ATM fees shake-up may push Britain towards cashless society

Red Bren
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Not just change. These new plastic notes are as slippery as hell and seem determined to slither out of my pockets

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Paradise Papers were not an inside job, says leaky offshore law firm

Red Bren
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"Who gives the ICIJ the right to decide what gets published?"

The ICIJ spread the workload out as there was too much to sift through for any one publication. Each publication will focus on persons relevant to their home turf, as you're about as likely to be interested in the financial arrangements of some minor German celebrity as a German would be in some UK sitcom actor. So on those grounds, it makes sense to localise what is being reported.

The fact that the BBC decided that sitcom actors were a more newsworthy target than some of the wealthier but unheard of entrants on the list, suggests that the BBC makes its decisions based on what the public are interested in, rather than what is in the public interest.

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Jupiter flashes pulsating southern pole, boffins understandably baffled

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Paris Hilton

Just a thought

As Jupiter has a much stronger magnetic field than the earth, is it much better at sorting charged particles, so that the resulting aurora is markedly different at each pole?

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Health quango: Booze 'evidence' not Puritan enough, do us another

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Devil

Re: I Don't Understand The Graphs

An alcohol-related disease doesn't mean exclusively caused by alcohol. Heart disease risk increases with excessive alcohol intake but reduces with moderate intake, compared to no intake.

The secret of a long, happy life is to ensure all your vices counteract each other...

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Red Bren
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Happy

Re: Sheffield Alcohol Research Group....

With all that left-over research booze?

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Boffins befuddled over EU probe into UK's tax rules for multinationals

Red Bren
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Re: This is just part of the dysfunction that Brexit negotiations have become

RTFA it's nothing of the sort.

The EU is telling the UK to make to level the playing field between native and global corporations instead of offering sweetheart deals to the multinationals. The tax that gets collected still goes to HMRC, not the EU. The EU is looking after the interests of UK business and consumers better than their own government, who are more interested in ensuring cushy directorships when their political careers go south.

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Supreme Court to rule on whether US has right to data stored overseas

Red Bren
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Re: If it's in Ireland ...

"The fact is that Microsoft U.S. could tell its Irish office to send over the data, and the Irish office could hardly refuse to obey an instruction from head office."

If the US parent company instructs its offshore subsidiary to break local law, wouldn't the local management threaten to resign, sue for constructive dismissal and inform the local authorities? It would then be difficult for the parent company to find new management, when their first task would be to break the law while the local authorities were watching.

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FCC Commissioner blasts new TV standard as a 'household tax'

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Coat

Re: 3D

"but 3D adds relatively little to a RomCom"

It depends just how "romantic" the action gets...

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US Congress mulls first 'hack back' revenge law. And yup, you can guess what it'll let people do

Red Bren
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American Logic

If we all have more guns, there will be less shootings.

If we all have hacking tools, there will be less hacking.

Perhaps the US government would be get better results by insisting that software must be fit for purpose before being sold?

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Outlook, Office 2007 slowly taken behind the shed, shots heard

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Unhappy

I dislike the ribbon, not because I'm not open to change, but because I like to have some say in the matter. Had the ribbon been introduced as an interface choice, I would have tried it, decided I preferred the old menu buttons and carried on productively, while other people who preferred the new interface could do the same.

But what I really detest is the replacement of all the keyboard shortcuts; years of muscle memory training that now actively slows me down as familiar finger movements now cause unexpected or downright destructive results. And thanks to the simultaneous removal of menu buttons, I have no familiar mouse-driven way of achieving the task while learning the new shortcuts.

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UK Home Office re-bans cheap call gateways because 'terrorism'

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Re: VOIP over VPN?

"The right to privacy is an important part of a democratic state."

How do you describe a state where the population, every 4 or 5 years, choose governments (regardless of political ideology) that openly demand to breach their subjects' right to privacy, in order to catch paedo-terrorists.

This is the news we want you to hear, and we want to know if you hear anything else...

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Red Bren
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Black Helicopters

Re: VOIP over VPN?

Excuse me Sir, but you appear to be publishing information useful to terrorists. Please come quietly, we wouldn't want you to fall over. Repeatedly...

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New HMRC IT boss to 'recuse' herself over Microsoft decisions

Red Bren
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Pirate

Recusal

JW (to public): "I will recuse myself from any decision involving Microsoft."

JW (to underling): "It's almost time for your performance review. How are getting on with that thing I'm recused from?"

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UK attorney general plans crackdown on 'trial by social media'

Red Bren
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Re: It's not social media that's the issue

Isn't the problem the overlap between thickies and jurors because smart people tend to wriggle out of jury service and lawyers like thickies who can be swayed by emotional rather than factual arguments?

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Just how are HMRC’s IT systems going to cope with Brexit?

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Re: Ha

Oh they will still find a way to take money off some of us. Who else will pay for the next bank bailout? The rich?

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The Register Lecture: The secrets of power in the digital age

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Thumb Up

The North, we've heard of it...

Any chance of hosting an El Reg lecture in Yorkshire, rather than in a London pub with Yorkshire in its name? The beer is cheaper and we're friendly...

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UK Data Protection Bill lands: Oh dear, security researchers – where's your exemption?

Red Bren
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Big Brother

"...aims to overhaul the UK’s data protection laws and update them for the digital age."

Erm, the 1998 Data Protection Act was written for the digital age. Perhaps you mean the social media age where nothing is private anymore?

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EU court must rule on legality of UK's mass surveillance – tribunal

Red Bren
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Big Brother

Re: The Sooner...

It's called a "Bill of Rights" because you only get them if you can afford the bill!

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Massive iPhone X leak trashes Apple's 10th anniversary circus

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Iphone owners are in the know

I was listening to radio last week and one of the presenters predicted the launch. When asked how he could be so sure, he explained that the battery in his current iphone always suffered degraded performance about a week before Apple launched the next version.

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Sony remembers it once made a great little phone

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Windows

"US SIM-free prices are $699.99 (XZ1) and $599.95 (XZ1 Compact), while UK RRP will be confirmed later today."

Based on the way the exchange rate is going, £699.99 and £599.95 might actually be a decent RRP, rather than the usual swap-the-dollar-for-a-pound-sign scam that often occurs in rip-off Britain.

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Police deny Notting Hill Carnival face recog tech led to wrongful arrest

Red Bren
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Re: No accountability

He was arrested and released in the interval between the police compiling their list of targets and actually using it, presumably without double checking against the PNC. So there was no outstanding warrant when he was arrested the second time, which by your own logic made it wrongful. One might even go so far as to suggest it was harassment.

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Couple fires sueball at Amazon over faulty solar eclipse-viewing goggles

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Unhappy

Re: This is why

A cousin of mine managed to damage his eyesight because he didn't know how to use a pin-hole camera; he looked at the eclipse through the hole and scarred the fovea in one eye. He now has a permanent squint as he uses averted vision to compensate for the blind spot.

He was lucky; the woman in front of him in the queue(!) was told that the damage to her eye was so severe that she would lose what little vision she had left as her brain would adapt and ignore the "bad" eye.

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Linux-loving lecturer 'lost' email, was actually confused by Outlook

Red Bren
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Re: Client support, we've heard about it

Our IT department forced my employer to upgrade from Windows XP. Some of the software my team rely on had to be upgraded. Some software was no longer available. It was a ball-ache but we learned, we adapted and in many instances, used the opportunity to improve some long established working processes. Just because you've been doing something the same way for years, doesn't mean there isn't a better way of doing it.

Perhaps we should have pushed back and told IT we were not going to change our way of doing things, just because some unsupported operating system was vulnerable to attack. After all, I only work for a bank...

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Red Bren
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Don't know why you've been downvoted. My boss has insisted we implement a "4D" strategy for email:

1. Deal with it

2. Defer it

3. Delegate it

4. Delete it

Quick steps let me speed up converting emails to appointments for option 2 or tasks for option 3.

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Er, Ofcom, please tell us more about Murdoch's £11.7bn Sky bid

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Trollface

Re: Laser Law

@Peter Christy

Looks like Uncle Rupert has been downvoting...

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Red Bren
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Megaphone

Laser Law

Didn't Murdoch take out US citizenship to sidestep a law preventing foreign ownership of US media? Perhaps the UK government should follow in Uncle Sam's footsteps (as it so often seems to) and enact the equivalent here. Let Rupert choose between Fox & Sky.

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White collar crime prosecutions fall as offences rise

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Unhappy

Privilege

It's only a crime of a poor person did it

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Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Red Bren
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Re: If you're all in favour of strong female roles...

"Or do these strong female roles have to battle against entrenched favo[u]rites by starting new series?"

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Xena Warrior Princess

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One-third of Brit IT projects on track to fail

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Re: In other news

It's amazing how far the definition of success can be stretched. Roughly proportional to the seniority of the people involved.

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NASA: Bring on the asteroid, so we can chuck a fridge at it

Red Bren
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Mushroom

"Would you stake your life on that statement?"

It could be argued that he already is. Unfortunately, he's also staking everyone else's lives on it too!

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Has riddle of the 1977 'Wow!' signal finally been cracked? Maybe...

Red Bren
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I read the article. It was comets. Bugger.

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Red Bren
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Alien

Lalalalala

I'm not reading the article! I'm not reading other comments. I'm just believing WE HEARD ALIENS!!!

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DUP site crashes after UK general election

Red Bren
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Re: Scotland & Tories

"SF should take seats or get no money."

You'll be pleased to hear SF MPs do not get paid.

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Event horizons around black holes do exist, say astroboffins

Red Bren
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Facepalm

Re: @Symon

Covfefe (adj.)

A shade of orange.

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PAH! Four decades of Star Wars: No lightsabers, no palm-sized video calls

Red Bren
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Je ne c'est pas

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Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking?

Red Bren
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Gimp

Ergonomics v Economics

If Samsung put the fingerprint sensor in a sensible location, i.e. in the centre, below the camera, near your index finger regardless of which hand you're holding it in, LG would follow Apple's example and sue them for copying the obvious.

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Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry

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Windows

Re: Never trust a binary - and never trust a vendor who works with the NSA

@AC

"What about the software that ONLY works on Windows and has no alternative because medical software and equipment is an incredible niche industry?"

If it's that niche, you're only going to have a small customer base. If that customer base starts telling you they're not buying equipment that relies on a consumer grade OS with a designed obsolescence that's shorter than the life expectancy of equipment itself, what are you going to do?

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Red Bren
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@David Webb

"Ease of use naturally has to be one of the highest priority, the people who use the machines will have basic training, if the complexity is too high or there any many disparate systems, ease of use drops which reduces safety for the patient."

You make a good argument for sticking with XP. No ribbons, no metro UI, no having to learn new keyboard shortcuts. Or migrating to a linux with an XP-like desktop interface such as LXDE or Cinnamon.

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