* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2601 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Ubuntu? Fedora? Mint? Debian? We'll find you the right Linux to swallow

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Re: too many words

http://www.eexploria.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/lix-distros-2011.jpg

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Re: "Comfortable with the terminal"

"Linux will never get any market share until XXX"

Phrases like this keep turning up. Usually XXX is already available for Linux, and was probably available before it worked on Windows. Let's pretend you actually find a statement where XXX was on Windows, but not on Linux when the statement was published. How did DOS ever get any market share?

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Re: Lets see if this self-fulfills

http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html#intro

Microsoft exec: No 'Plan B' despite mobile stumbles

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Their entire future depends on this

A raspberry pi makes fine thin client. Although Windows has been dieting, it is still far too fat for that price or power range. 3 of the top 500 super computers use Windows so the datacentre is not Microsoft's strong point either. Microsoft wanted to be the gate keeper between people and media content, but tablets without Windows do that job at half the price. Games and e-mail are mostly on phones. Microsoft's near monopoly in desktop operating systems means very little now that desktops (with tablets thrown in) are a small proportion of the computing market.

Microsoft's strong point is Office. They have said for years that their phones integrate well with PC's but that did not make them sell. The boot is being strapped onto another foot now. It is up to Microsoft Office to integrate well with phones. If people plug a keyboard and monitor into a phone to use an office suite they will not be using Microsoft Office. (If Microsoft continue in their current direction, Office will lose it's keyboard interface and be accessible only through touch.)

Microsoft must either get a near monopoly on phones or release a free version of Office for Android. If they miss this boat, documents will be created in a file format that Microsoft does not control and people will not be locked into the Office cash cow.

(A good phone user interface ports well to a tablet, so winning in phones is a good first step to the relatively tiny tablet market. Desktop to tablet is a more difficult step. Trying to restrict a desktop to a tablet user interface is insane.)

IDC: Android, iOS now own 91.1% of global smartphone sales

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Separate figures for Android and Linux

IDC know that Android uses a Linux kernel, but want a name for the Linux based phones that are not Android. Moblin (Intel Linux) + Maemo (Nokia Linux) -> MeeGo (Strangled by Elop because it was outselling Windows). Tizen (Samsung + Huawei + others version of Moblin) will be on phones this year as will Sailfish (Ex-Nokia MeeGo developers Linux OS for phones). Also on the way are Linux phone OS's based on Firefox and Ubuntu.

Nokia's Elopocalypse two years on: Has Microsoft kept its side of the bargain?

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Seagate: We'll bring down HAMR in 2014 ... this year, you get shingles

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SMR has its uses

If your use case is almost always one write, hardly any modify and lots of reads then SMR is fine. The obvious example is a DVD collection. As long as it is clearly marked, I am happy with SMR for certain applications.

Windows Phone 8 hasn't slowed Microsoft's mobile freefall

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The other 0.4%

Ubuntu for phones is on its way (late this year?), so it cannot be that.

Firefox for phones should appear in this month if you search very hard, but it cannot be that yet.

Sailfish (next-generation MeeGo made by ex-Nokia Linux programmers) is in progress and I expect it will turn up in India and Finland this year.

Tizen (next-generation MeeGo made by Samsung) should arrive this year too. European and US will be able to buy it despite Apple's inevitable tantrum.

Palm OS - there could be some legacy devices still going, but it is hard to see how Palm could cause an increase in market share.

Bada (Another Samsung OS) got 2.9% of world sales last year, but mostly in poor countries. Some of the 0.4% of US market share could be from Africans bringing their bada phones to the US.

MeeGo (The Linux OS Elop restricted to small markets and it still almost outsold Windows Phone 7) might account for some of that 0.4% despite Elop's best efforts.

Windows phones are in fourth place if you only look at the US. World-wide, they are behind Bada. Tizen could easily pass Windows this year (US or world). If Elop keeps working hard, Windows could fall behind Sailfish. Elop would need a lot of help from Ballmer to push Windows below Firefox and Ubuntu. I cannot see how Windows could fall behind Palm this year, but if anyone can achieve that, it will be Elop and Ballmer.

US diplomat: If EU allows 'right to be forgotten' ... it might spark TRADE WAR

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Neologism proposal

Next time some diplomat says something really daft we should call it "doing a John Rodgers" until he wishes he had the right to be forgotten.

BlackBerry: Aaah, Microsoft, we meet again.. for another deathmatch

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Actual smartphone OS sales figures Q3 2012

[Place]) [Q3 sales] [Q3 market share] [Q2 market share] [OS]

1) 121.2M 70.7% 66.9% Android

2) 26.9M 15.7% 17.0% iOS

3) 7.4M 4.3% 5.1% Blackberry

4) 5.2M 3.0% 2.7% bada

5) 3.4M 2.0% 3.3% Symbian

6) 3.3M 1.9% 3.0% Windows

*) 4.0M 2.3 %1.1% others

Source: TomiAhonen

The Q4 figures are not complete and they are by manufacturer, not OS. Slightly oversimplified: iOS=Apple, RIM=Blackberry, (Symbian+Windows)=Nokia, (Android+Bada+Others)=(Everyone else).

1) ~63.7M 28.9% Samsung

2) 47.8M 21.7% Apple

3) ~20M 9.1% Huawei

4) 12.5M 5.7% ZTE

5≈) ~10.5M 4.8% Sony

..... 9.8M 4.5% Lenovo

7) 8.6M 3.9% LG

8) 7.0M 3.2% HTC

9) 6.9M 3.1% RIM

10≈) 6.6M 3% Nokia

........ 6.6M 3% Yulong/Coolpad

Android is selling, and the manufactures have no good reason to stop selling what their customers are buying. It is possible that the manufactures will fall out with Google. They have already fallen out with Microsoft, they are not getting their hands on iOS, so the obvious candidate to replace Android is Tizen/Jolla/(The next name for Linux on a phone). Pretend this actually happens and the Android market share gets split into Android + 2 Linux distributions. There is still enough market share for all three to beat iOS, and put Windows down two places.

I think iOS is staying in the top three despite Apple's claims in court that they need injunctions to prevent their customers going elsewhere.

Next up we have Blackberry. Microsoft might like to think they are a top three contender, but they are not in even fourth place. Their battle is not against Blackberry yet.

Bada is Samsung's other OS. I think they are keeping it in case Google starts charging for Android. Its obvious competitor is Tizen. Samsung might decide to keep only one of those two, but they can afford to maintain both. Windows would have to gain market share to beat one of these. In reality, Tizen will go on sale in 2013, and Windows could easily drop one position.

Nokia have set fire to Symbian. I am amazed that Elop did not find a way to push sales down another 100K in Q3 so Windows could come 5th. He did restrict manufacture and sales of Maemo. Without that strange choice, Windows would have been 7th. Maemo is dead, but the developers have banded together after being shoved out of Nokia. Maemo will become Jolla and could become another competitor for Windows.

So Windows was in 6th place in Q3, probably remained static in a growing market in Q4, might beat Symbian in 2013 but is likely to be overtaken by at least one other. Ballmer can say "good shape in order to be a very strong third ecosystem in the smart phone world" as much has he likes, but 5th is a realistic hope and 7th is just as likely.

Back to the article: I liked Max Guevara and Susan Storm, but neither could convince me to want a Windows phone. I had to ask wakipedia who Alicia Keys is, but that does not matter because I am a penguin and will wait for Tizen/Jolla/Whatever before I make a purchase decision.

Plunging BT sales hit every branch of the biz on way down

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@FanMan

I would up-vote you, but I have never got through to a human at BT in under 40 minutes. I have seen a BT engineer sitting in his van for 45 minutes waiting for his boss to answer the phone. Once I do get through, the rep says I should have called a different number. An hour later I can talk to a rep on the other number and find out I should have called the first number. While this lunacy persists, I consider BT the supplier of last resort.

Nokia tries its luck with a sub-£150 Win Phone 8: The Lumia 620

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Joke

Don't forget the jury foreman

Apple's most dangerous patents:

1) Glass to the edge of the device - not quite as the back cover curves up to the front.

2) Four columns of icons - only three in the pictures.

3) The colour black - black background and border - oops.

Only one of the three infringed, but I am sure Apple can find a jury foreman that can convince the others three is approximately four and they should award punitive damages for all the patents anyway even if they are not infringed. If we say $50 per device per patent and triple damages for willful infringement, I make the total fine about $4931.12 - assuming that they sell all 6 and 3=4.

Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

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Warning: please check that your irony detector is switched on

These days, part of the cost of a new lap top is buying a proper matte screen to replace the mirror that is fitted as standard to almost everything. Now that front facing cameras are ubiquitous, it is time to switch over to fitting matte screens as standard and overlay the image from the camera for people who love glossy.

Wide screen gets me two 80 column consoles side by side with no overlap in a clear font size. I also get an exciting grey bar on each side of The Register's web site. How many people visit The Register just to stare for hours at those stunning pale grey bars?

Red supergiant Betelgeuse heads for SMACKDOWN with 'dust bar'

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Straw that will break the cammel's back

Betelgeuse was expected to go supernova within a million years before we saw the dust cloud.

Raytheon to build low-orbit, disposable satellites for DARPA

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SEEME

Space Extra Expensive for Military Engagements

Spy satelites - looking for the next war to justify their existence.

Another new asteroid-mining firm: 'First commercial space fleet'

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Re: JMC

Wouldn't you rather contract out to Weyland Yutani?

Microsoft's ARM blunder: 7 reasons why Windows RT was DOA

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BHP's measure ability in dollars

If you only charge 1%, that is how much your opinion would count. To get listened to, you need to charge double.

LIVE TODAY: Windows 8 licensing - Speak your brains, believe your eyes

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Serious question

Does using a licensed copy of Windows 8 permit FACT to do a software license audit raid on your home and office?

Brits' privates furtled in TWO-THIRDS of UK fraud cases

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Businesses have to prove their identity to customers too

I kind lady with an Indian accent phone me and asked the same questions my bank asks to confirm my identity. She was unable to demonstrate the she worked for a company I had recently purchased from. When I called that company, they had no way to confirm my identity now that I was confident I was talking to the right person.

Which slug brained nitwit selected this easily exploitable procedure?

Lenovo offers Chrome OS ThinkPad for well-heeled schools

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The bigger story

A major Microsoft customer is openly selling a laptop without Microsoft tax. A year ago, a laptop manufacturer might have shown (and withdrawn) a theoretical Linux box to negotiate a better price for Windows. Here is an actual product for sale (to schools and universities placing large orders). That is a hefty dent in Microsoft's control of OEMs. I thought news like this was still years away. I would like to say a big thankyou to everyone at Microsoft who contributed to the user interface design for Windows 8. Their determined efforts have brought a choice of operating systems a big step closer to customers.

Big spike in Euro patents - but 63% were filed from outside Europe

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Filing patents has nothing to do with innovation

Patents are for established companies who want stop block competition so they can scrap their R&D department and for trolls.

Good news everybody - the government has given us the patent box scheme: Tax cuts for patent trolls. Now all we need is a new Texas style court for resolving all patent disputes by fining the innovators into bankruptcy.

Scientists spin carbon nanotube threads on industrial scale

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Full circle

Power the CO2 to nanotube conversion with shale gas. That would provide an overabundance of concentrated source material. The atmosphere is only 0.035% CO2 and the concentration step requires energy.

Why mergers LOSE money, but are GOOD for the economy

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Modern solution: Slow and violent death

When a company is clearly doomed, the modern thing to do is sue everybody for patent infringement. While the company's products were selling, cross-licensing was the sensible choice to avoid an injunction. As soon as an injunction is not a threat it is time to sue suppliers, partners, customers and anyone else who might have money.

The other tell-tale signs of an immanent self destruction are getting your products mandated by governments and whining that the new companies eating your lunch are breaking all the rules you used to break.

The old law about mandatory archery practice was to ensure continued sales of bows despite competition from arquebuses. The modern equivalent would be to get the government to buy an extra licence for all the pre-installed software on computers used in schools even if the schools are buying Pi's.

New tool jailbreaks Microsoft Surface slabs in 20 SECONDS

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Re: @Zaphod

Time taken to hack also depends on the competition: there is plenty of other kit that is just as good, cheaper and does not require any serious effort to get root access. I do not expect to see good surface hacks until after the tablet sells at fire sale prices.

Nokia decrypts browser traffic, assures public not to worry

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Re: none of the traffic is visible to any of its staff

I assume that means many non-staff members have full access to the traffic but staff members have to use a text to speech converter.

Hey Lenovo, want to kill Apple? Look to Samsung hitman for tips

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Segmentation and bundling

A high res-screen is a must-have feature for a certain segment of the market. That means manufacturers will bundle it with the most expensive pointless features they can find. The easiest way to bump the price is to insert an Intel CPU fast enough to do real time atomic bomb simulations with a leaf blower for cooling.

If you want high resolution is silence, buy something cheap and replace the LCD panel. That way you do not even suffer from a glossy screen.

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citation provided

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/.a/6a00e0097e337c8833017d3f784e63970c-pi

(The final quarter is an estimate - ignore it if you agree with Mr Clarke or believe it if you agree with AC.)

Segway daddy unveils DIY weight-loss stomach pump

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Some people enjoy food more than exercise

Give them Baron Harkonnen's suspensor belt.

Google to scan Chrome extensions, bans auto-install

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What could Google get from being evil that they do not have already?

I bet 80% of the passwords for Google stuff are also used for online banking.

(Chrome is not for me, but that is because I am a Penguin with a huge choice of browsers.)

Vatican shrugs off apocalypse, fiddles with accounts dept

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You mean 292279025167 years

time_t is a signed 64 bit integer on a modern CPU, but we might switch to 128 bits before then.

Google given a month to wriggle out of Euro antitrust smackdown

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One thing Google could do ...

.. is to put the whiners' sites top of the list for a month for relevant searches. The sites will fall over because they cannot take the traffic. If the whiners do not upgrade their hardware, no-one will look at their sites again. If they do get their sites back up, no-one will look at them again because they are useless. The reason these sites are so low in the ranking is because they are crap. Putting them in the top ten will not fix that.

I use wakipedia for searches that I expect wakipedia to do well on. I started doing this because wakipedia was often the top result, and had the information I wanted. Next choice is duckduckgo - I would give them 9/10. I rate Google 9.9/10, but they are third choice because I like to support competition. I tried Bing for a laugh. I am a dyed in the wool Penguin, so their thoroughly Microsoft biased results are mostly useless to me.

AFACT wants ushers to confront pirates

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If fimlming in cinemas is such a problem ...

... they should sell DVDs.

Shh! Proxima Centauri can hear us!

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Take me to your ... Pope.

Transmitters getting smaller. The trend is towards a larger number of smaller transmitters.

There are plenty of numbers for radio transmitter power all over the internet. Most do not explain if they are quoting the power output of the electronics or the power that would be required to get the same signal strength from an omnidirectional antenna as is transmitted in the preferred direction of the installed directional antenna. Digital switch over in the UK reduced the power output by a factor of about 10. There were some really big short wave transmitters intended to bounce signals off the ionosphere. The Russians found that over about 1.25MW, the signal punched a hole through the ionosphere and went on into space instead.

The largest omnidirectional transmitter I could find (probably) still operating was Vatican Radio at 500MW (I could easily be very wrong. Health issues make Vatican Radio a prominent topic on the internet). I really hope that Vatican Radio is not the clearest signal sent from Earth.

GRAIL orbiters make DEATH DIVE into lunar mountain

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First Females in space took off in 1946

Some fruit flies went up in a V2. Mice have gone into space in Aerobee rockets, but I cannot find names or sexes for them until 1952: Mildred and Albert rode a rocket with two Phillipine monkeys named Patricia and Mike. Laika did not orbit until 1957, but rocket dogs Dezik and Tsygan made sub-orbital flights in 1951.

Analyst offers cut-price fondleslab recipe

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Small Cheap Computer^W Tablet

OEMs won't make small cheap computers because they would cut into sales of expensive computers. By all means tell them that expensive computers are not selling and watch them stuff their fingers in their ears and shout la-la-la. Why does this analyst think it will be any different with tablets? Surface 2 is on the way, and I will be shocked if it is only twice the price of an Android.

GlobalFoundries CEO: Europe must 'wake up' and help industry

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Could be worse

Imagine how bad it would have been if the European Commission had continued to focused their attention on manufacturing.

Last time, we had the DRAM tax - a tax on DRAM not manufactured in the EU. Everyone in Europe suffered from high DRAM prices. The foundaries still closed. The was a lucrative market in 'second hand simms' - anything that looked like a memory module was marked as defective and shipped to the far east so it could be 'replaced' under guaranty without incurring import tax.

Whatever the government does, sane people hope they do it to someone else.

File-sharing mom begs US Supremes to void bloated RIAA fine

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Part of a swarm

If 1000 people use p2p to take a track, the RIAA can fine one for distributing 999 copies, then fine the next for distributing 999 copies and so on until they get paid for 999,000 copies when only 1000 were distributed. I could understand fining Jammie Thomas-Rasset for her part in the unauthorised distribution, but not for the actions of the entire swarm.

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer named 'most improved tech CEO'

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Easy way to improve

Fire 10% of the people who disapprove, promise to fire more next year if the rating do not improve and order some new chairs.

Goldman Sachs: Windows' true market share is just 20%

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Exhibit 1

In 2004, Other had 0% of the market, but in 2005, other had 29%. Who is 'Other', and how did they achieve more than Apple (5% to 21%) without hitting the news?

I could not find a new product that would explain Apple's leap in market share. The events I did find were Ubuntu's first release (October 2004) and Apple showing a profit - see the second graph at:

http://royal.pingdom.com/2010/04/09/the-money-made-by-microsoft-apple-and-google-1985-until-today/

Janet I. Tu asked a similar question, and got an answer:

http://seattletimes.com/html/microsoftpri0/2019853243_goldman_sachs_microsoft_os_has_gone_from_more_than.html

[Update 12:58 p.m.: I asked Goldman Sachs about what happened in the 2004-2005 time frame -- as seen in the above chart -- that made Apple's vendor share jump, Microsoft's share plummet and the "other" category to go from zero to 29 percent. Goldman Sachs replied that it has to do with more mainstream adoption of non-PC consumer computing devices but declined to elaborate beyond that.]

What were these non-PC consumer computing devices? The obvious candidates are mobile phones, TV, GPS, routers and NAS (OLPC and the small cheap computer came later). I cannot find products that explain the harsh jump. What would make a difference is perception: the devices were there already, but in 2005 IDC and Goldman Sachs put them in the same category as PC's. That still does not explain why it did not hit the news back then. I have tried to find similar graphs that were made at the time, but found nothing obvious.

The only guess I can make fit is that IDC/Goldman Sachs put other devices in with PCs recently, but only had good figures for other devices from 2005 onwards. The big changes on this graph are not sudden massive consumer revolts. They are IDC/Goldman Sachs deciding to publish a different perspective. I think this says far more about IDC/Goldman Sachs than consumers.

Flocke Kroes Silver badge

Re: Ms hate

Software patents (not the only bad actor).

Secure boot (Luckily there are alternatives).

Dictating laptop specifications to OEMs (OEMs share some blame for temporarily blocking small cheap computers).

Damaging ISO badly enough to get OOXML approved as a 'standard'.

Anti-trust being 'over' is a strange idea. In the US, Microsoft got the judge changed, and liked the new sentence so much that they asked for (and got) more time to think up some extra punishments. In the EU, we got a browser choice screen and media player sold separately, but the price of IE still included in the price of the computer even if you never wanted it. The only things antitrust has achieved are some fines that provided extra tax revenue and active directory support in Samba (I use NFS).

Much of what irks me about Microsoft are actions in the past that still affect the present. What they are doing now is backfiring as much as it is peeving. I used to buy Windows laptops, wipe out Windows and install Linux. That means I am counted as part of the Microsoft market share. Thanks to secure boot, that is no longer true. OEMs are still clinging to the hope that I will buy a £599 laptop, but small cheap computers are out there from other sources, and the OEMs know they can either join the party or sulk alone.

Microsoft's death throws are going to be with us for a few more years, and they will involve patents and ever more desperate attempts to keep OOXML relevant. Microsoft are firmly on the path to being a legacy OS. Even the games makers are jumping ship. Watch the market share fall and the prices rise as the development costs are divided by a smaller customer base. Next up: Intel admit too late that they have to compete on price, but won't have the market share to sell a cheap profitable x86.

Revealed: ITU's deep packet snooping standard leaks online

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Do not need DPI to detect malicous content

http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3514.txt

Adobe demands 7,000 years a day from humankind

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I do read the terms and conditions

BSD is really short. GPL V2 is clear and simple. GPL V3 is longer and more complicated, but those three cover the vast majority of software I install. Years ago, clicking on a document activated a network install of Microsoft Office. I decided I was not authorised to agree to the terms on behalf of my employer, so I clicked the "Disagree" option. It installed and worked fine.

If you want some really good terms and conditions, try a porn site. If you accidently subscribe twice, you get charged double. To stop this can call the premium rate number and listen to the prerecorded message. I assume the message says something like "We got your money and we are keeping it". To unsubscribe, fill in the web form and wait for instructions to arrive by email. They should arrive within a decade.

The first place to look in a contract is how to end it. If that bit is missing or complicated, you know it is time to go elsewhere. The other fun clauses:

"If any conditions on this contract are not enforcible then the remainder of the contract will still remain in force." This means: "Many of these conditions are attempts to fool you into thinking you do not have statutory rights."

"This software [a C compiler] will work broadly in line with the printed instructions". The printed instructions were a small card explaining how to install the compiler. Started the installation in Friday morning, and it was still going on Monday morning. Nothing in the 'printed instructions' said installation would complete in under a year.

Free software: automatic no hassle money back guaranty. Proprietary software: If negligence or malice or our part causes your computer to explode and burn down you house or office, damages are limited to the cost of the software or a replacement CD.

WANTED: Actual HELPFUL info on price-comparison websites

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Other good phone number ...

I use the web site's customer complaints phone number. If I cannot find such a number then it is time to look for a different vendor.

Google avoids tax with ‘Double Irish Dutch Sandwich’

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Tax efficiency is required to stay in business

If Microsoft were not efficient about avoiding taxes then they would be less price competitive with Apple. If governments magically become competent at wording tax law and get the big search engines to pay more tax, then the price of advertising rises, the advertisers make a little less profit, pay a little less tax and pass some of the pain on to their costumers. The business customers make a little less profit, pay a little less tax and pass some of the pain on. Finally real people pay a bit more for their goods.

If you think Google paying more tax will reduce your tax bill will make you better off then you are living in a fantasy world. A government with increased revenue just finds more daft ways to waste it. I am sure politicians are well aware of this. All this talk about multinationals paying very little tax is just tactic to distract us from the latest expensive failed government initiatives.

Microsoft dragging its feet on Linux Secure Boot fix

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Not any non-Apple hardware

I have yet to see Windows for MIPS (I have three MIPS boxes). How about Windows for Raspberry Pi? (Windows RT requires a later generation of ARM CPU.) One of my other two ARM boxes could in theory run RT - but that would use all of the internal flash.

I have one Intel box left. When it dies, Microsoft have given me an excellent reason to replace it with an ARM - and I doubt the RT will be around that long.

Ex-Nokians fish MeeGo out of bin, launch Sailfish OS

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Cell phone bars

I thought the number of bars a cell phone displays was one more than on the nearest competitor's phone in the hope that it will influence a purchase decision. People claiming to know what they are talking about have posted some alternative theories:

http://ask.metafilter.com/60227/What-do-cell-phone-reception-bars-mean?

As far as I can make out, the bars could show useful information while a call is in progress, but unless their meaning gets standardised, don't bet on it.

Apple: Sure, here's the HTC patent pact. WITH numbers blanked out

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Samsung did come up with its own damn design without copying Apple

http://www.apple.com/uk/legal-judgement/

Patent trolling to go under anti-trust spotlight

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I am not a well funded company PR department

Innovation continues despite patents, not because of them. Getting a patent takes years and defending one in the courts takes at least £250,000. Startups do not have the time or money. What they do have is first mover advantage: by the time someone else has copied their product, the startup has released version 2.

Patents are most valueable to established companies who do not innovate. They can use patents to keep startups out of the market.

Patents are supposed to increase the rate of technological progress by rewarding inventors with a monopoly in return for publishing details of how their inventions work. In the real world, people only read patents when they are threatened by lawyers. This is because:

*) Patents are written in patent language which is difficult for non-patent specialists to understand.

*) Reading a patent almost never helps you implement a product. This is most obvious with software patents because they do not include source code.

*) Thousands of new patents are awarded every month. It is impractical to search through all that junk for a useful patent.

*) Reading a patent leaves you open to triple damages for willful infringement.

As inventors no longer read patents, they entire reason for the patent system disappeared decades ago.

Sun BELCHES twice, mighty plasma loops miss Earth - NASA vid

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Wrong equation

If you start at the sun, pick a random direction and fire something tiny, like the moon then the chance of hitting the Earth are about 1 in 2 billion. Coronal mass ejections are big - similar to the size of the sun when they start. They spread out. I could not find an decisive figure for how much they spread out. The closest I could find to a useful number was 0.25au long. If we pretend that CME's are 0.25au wide when they pass Earth orbit (1au) then the chances of a hit are about 1 in 250.

If someone knows a vaguely sensible number for the diameter of a CME when gets 1au from the sun, please speak up. I have almost no confidence in that 0.25au guess.

Brit retailers tell Amazon and Google to pay their taxes

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If the public were angry, they would not buy from internet multinationals

This 'public anger' sounds like astro-turf to me. If the government wanted fairer taxes, they would not be giving tax relief to patent trolls:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ct/forms-rates/claims/patent-box.htm

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