* Posts by Franco

302 posts • joined 11 Apr 2008

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Pre-order your early-bird pre-sale product today! (Oh did we mention the shipping date has slipped AGAIN?)

Franco
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"Yes, I still write in that direction. I am hoped to it finding fascinate."

I misread that as feeling fascination, and now have an annoyingly catch song by The Human League stuck in my head.

Any reference to the genius of Douglas Adams is always welcome as well. I have rarely in my life laughed as hard as I did the first time I read the argument about man disproving God because of the babelfish, and shortly afterwards proving that black is white before being killed on the next zebra crossing.

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The ultimate full English breakfast – have your SAY

Franco
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Re: Breakfasts around the nation

There is also a Full Irish and the Ulster Fry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_breakfast#England

I don't think it's something you can definiteively categorise though, we've already seen from the other comments that there are huge local variations across England. Given that it's often post-alcohol breakfast for so many people, what goes in will be determined by what's in the house.

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Franco
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Man v Food has a lot to answer for!

mate of mine lives in Bristol though, so I'm sure he'll have sample that one in Portishead.

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Franco
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Tattie Scone is another essential ingredient north of the border, and most of us up here will also prefer square sausage. It's pronounced "squerr", it's never called Lorne and it almost certainly isn't actually square, but such are the ways of things.

As an aside, seeing as hipsters are the cause of this article, a story from the 80s.

The Glasgow Herald (as was, now just The Herald) used to run a column called Tom Shield's Diaries for it's more irreverant stories. Concerned about the gentrification of Glasgow in the yuppie era, they ran a comparison of the working man's breakfast in the 70s vs the 80s.

Then:-

Bacon, sausage, black pudding, fried egg, tattie scone, all wrapped in a city bakeries roll

Now:-

Bacon, sausage, black pudding, fried egg, tattie scone, all wrapped in a city bakeries croissant.

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Alexa, why aren't you working? No – I didn't say twerking. I, oh God...

Franco
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I was given an Echo for Christmas. It's in the kitchen and only really used as a timer, cos it's fuck all use for anything else.

Audio quality is rotten unless you have external speakers, and it has trouble realising that you own the song that you ask it to play. Oh, and despite what it says you can't connect bluetooth devices without the app.

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May the excessive force be with you: Chap cuffed after Star Trek v Star Wars row turns bloody

Franco
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Re: No contest

Go to purple alert!

Are you sure Sir? It does mean changing the lightbulb.

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Boffins start work on data centre to analyse UK infrastructure

Franco
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Not at all alone, my immediate thought was the chief consultant should be Guy Fawkes's ghost as he identified the problem in 1605.

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BOFH: That's right. Turn it off. Turn it on

Franco
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This sounds like a job for the BOFH, after all it's been a while since he's had a run-in with the coloured pencil department.

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Dead serious: How to haunt people after you've gone... using your smartphone

Franco
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Can I add to the list any company whose website pops up a customer satisfaction survey as soon as you arrive and before you have done what you went to the website for in the first place? This is (IME) a sure fire guarantee that their website is so shite that they know it and so will not ask for feedback after you have visited any page whatsoever.

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UK PM Theresa May's response to terror attacks 'shortsighted'

Franco
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This story is the example I have been using to try and explain this to non-technical people, the analogy seems to help them

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/39744644/epidemic-of-van-tool-thefts-blamed-on-skeleton-key

A skeleton key meant for use only by locksmiths and law enforcement is available for a small fee online, and is the cause of a spate of thefts of expensive tools from vans. Now assume that the key opens secure communication channels rather than vans and what is being stolen is whatever data is in those channels. Yes, it COULD be terrorists talking to each other. Could also be medical information, bank details, communications between Governments, Nuclear Launch Codes or any of thousands of other legitimate uses of encryption.

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The nuclear launch button won't be pressed by a finger but by a bot

Franco
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In another adaptation that is nothing like the book, the portrayal of media sensationalism in Starship Troopers is also not that far from the truth. The aforementioned Chris Morris did something similar in Brass Eye as well.

Robert A. Heinlein's book inspired little but the title in the film, and the book is still considered overtly militaristic to the point of fascism by many, although remains on the recommended reading lists of many militaries.

On a final note, the same director (Paul Verhoeven) also did a fine job skewering consumer culture in Robocop, the omission of which is just one of the many reasons the recent reboot was crap.

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Franco
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"The trouble is IT security expects have the reputation of fast cars, wild parties and fast, wild women."

I must be going to the wrong parties, as the nearest any IT Security bod I know gets to this is playing Grand Theft Auto.

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Franco
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It's funny how the perception of art changes over the years as life starts to imitate it.

When The Running Man came out it was seen as a fairly standard Sci-Fi action flick, by the mid 2000s it was starting to look like a prescient satire on the future of reality TV.

Incidentally, although they didn't explicitly name Trump, Big Country predicted the future in 1991. The song was called Republican Party Reptile. Sample lyrics "he knows the surgeon's gonna keep his wife young", "he likes to play with the NRA and their toys". Well worth a listen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im4EFEDSUVI

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DXC Technology looks to lighten the payroll six weeks after launch

Franco
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Re: The good news however...............

Likewise, my time at HP was one of the worst experiences of my working life. And yet if you look at the IT recruitment websites at the moment there are about a dozen contract roles at any given time.

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Majority of contractors distrust HMRC's IR35 calculator, survey finds

Franco
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Re: Yes, blame the tool

All the weighting certainly WAS on the Substitution clause, but all of the articles I have read (E.g. Qdos, ContractorUK etc) have said this goes against all the examples they are aware of with case law precedent, as there is also a heavy weighting on SDC (Supervision, Direction and Control).

HMRC also seem to place a lot of weight on using your own equipment, which I have long maintained should be explicitly stated as an exception for IT Professionals. It's fine for plumbers and electricians, but there are few situations IT Professionals would be allowed to use their own laptops, at least for those working on site.

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Don't stop me! Why Microsoft's inevitable browser irrelevance isn't

Franco
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Personally I use Firefox. It's not as good as it once was, the occasional random UI changes being particularly annoying, but I couldn't use Edge for the most part as it doesn't yet have a good adblocker. Opera on mobile for preference.

I WILL NOT use Chrome on general principle. I don't see how an article that takes a backhanded swipe at Microsoft for their own (indefensible) attempts at a one browser state cannot even mention Google's drive-by download tactics which are (IMO) a large part of why they have such a large market share.

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Customer satisfaction is our highest priority… OK, maybe second-highest… or third...

Franco
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Personal favourite in Windows comes from RRAS (Routing and Remote Access Service).

If you setup a site-to-site VPN and it can't connect it will offer you the option to check the unreachability reason (spectacular language I know). The most common unreachability reason is that the destination is not reachable.

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Franco
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Re: Public wifi?

""arse handed to you on a plate."

Don't say things like that. It'll be on the menu in no time at all."

It won't be on a plate, anywhere hipster enough to try such a thing would serve it on a breadboard or in a frying pan or something equally ridiculous.

Kudos also for the Denis Leary reference. That was from 1997 and is well worth a watch although entirely NSFW

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f_dxLiuXuw

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It's 30 years ago: IBM's final battle with reality

Franco
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They never really learnt the lesson of backing the wrong standards, or at least kept trying to promote their own.

I remember trying to get a game working on my cousin's PC, which was an IBM Aptiva and it must have been in the mid 90s or so as it ran Win95 and had a Pentium chip in it. Certainly it was long after sound cards had settled on either Sound Blaster or AdLib compatibility, but IBM were persisting with MWave, their combined modem/sound cards that were compatible with feck all.

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Lochs, rifle stocks and two EPIC sea gates: Thomas Telford's Highland waterway

Franco
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Another interesting article.

If you are in the UK, it's well worth checking out Channel 4's series "Great Canal Journeys" presented by Timothy West and Prunella Scales and available on demand on All4. They cruise the Caledonian in one episode, and the Crinan in the next.

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IT contractors behind IR35 calculator to leave HMRC... because of IR35

Franco
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Re: changing opinion

I am reminded of the old PC Game Megarace, which was well renowned for the fake prizes contestants could win after races.

One of them was "Light the Bonfire", the sure-fire witch test. It's tagline was "If they don't die, those babes are guilty as hell."

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Home Office accused of blocking UK public's scrutiny of Snoopers' Charter

Franco
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Re: doubling the response time

Don't need Github for that.

V1.0. All your data are belong to us

V1.1. Unless you are an MP, you're exempt cos we're sure you are reliable and trust worthy.

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I need an ISP that offers IPv6. Virgin Media: Whatevs, nerd

Franco
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Virgin have always been behind the curve. About 10 years ago they were still dishing out dynamic IPs to business customers and wouldn't issue statics under any circumstances. Apparently they had never heard of mail servers being blacklisted for such things. And then a few years ago when they started issuing the "Superhub" routers they shipped them with VPN passthrough disabled and couldn't understand why business customers wanted the setting changed.

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UK.gov departments accused of blanket approach to IR35

Franco
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Re: Off at a tangent - providing cover for absences

Depends on the situation and the client, I've never had to do it myself but the idea is that you would subcontract another PSC to do the work in your place, and the client maintains a right of veto over the substitute but only on "reasonable" grounds. I.e they can't say we want Clifton Shallot becuase we always get him, but if the substitute is not as qualified, or lacks appropriate clearance (E.g. SC Clearance, Disclosure checks, FCA Background Checks) then the client can veto them.

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MPs slam 'dismal' cost savings of government procurement body

Franco
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Re: Or could it be...

Likewise msage. I tried to order some 10GB SFP+ Cards for a project from the preferred supplier and the price had more than doubled from previous purchase. Not only that, despite the fact it's end of FY and everyone is desperate to get their orders up to date they couldn't fulfill the order until 30th March and didn't bother to tell anyone this until quizzed about why they haven't arrived yet.

Went to another supplier last Wednesday, had them by Friday lunchtime for less than the price of the preferred supplier BEFORE the hike.

Centralising the purchasing is a good idea in theory, but the suppliers are guilty of some ridiculous price gouging IME.

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Why do GUIs jump around like a demented terrier while starting up? Am I on my own?

Franco
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Not just you Dabbsy, I was once looking at the network card properties of an ISA Server in Aberdeen and got the similar jump. And of course the disable button is next to the properties button, it's after lunch on a Friday afternoon, I'm in Stirling which is at best a 2 hour drive and the client whose server it is wouldn't splash the extra cash for iDRAC in his servers.

Much sweet talking of the office manager got it sorted without a trek north thankfully.

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UK.gov gears up for IR35 private sector crackdown – say industry folk

Franco
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"I reckon 90% of private sector contractors would be 'caught' by IR35 if the revenue had the resources to pursue investigations."

You may well be right under HMRC's interpretation of IR35, however most of the time when it is tested in the courts HMRC are often found to be in the wrong. One thing is for sure, IR35 insurance and review providers are rubbing their hands with glee.

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Franco
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Re: Govt just trying to get cash back for shite work done by contractors.

You are confusing contractors (individual people) with outsourcing companies (E.g. Capita, Accenture) and are forgetting that those same large outsourcing companies are the only ones benefitting from this.

The mass exodus of contractors from public sector projects will be picked up by these same companies as they will be the only people willing to do it, and they will provide less qualified people being paid less than the original contractors but will charge more.

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UK to block Kodi pirates in real-time: Saturday kick-off

Franco
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Re: Why the obsession with Kodi?

I don't disagree with you, but I think it's to essentially anthropomorphise the issue by giving the "villain" a name.

Napster was pretty much the same with music sharing (although they got shut down by virtue of hosting the files rather than being peer-to-peer) and The Pirate Bay for torrenting

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Palmtop nostalgia is tinny music to my elephantine ears

Franco
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Re: A man after my own heart

I make my own guitar cables and will only use Neutrik jack plugs along with Klotz cable. Cheaper and more reliable than any brand of pre-made cable I have tried.

My preference is always to try and fix things, however my niece broke a pair of Skull Candy headphones a while back and their cable is so thin and flimsy that it just melts when you try to resolder it into a new jack, at least with my soldering iron.

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Germany, France lobby hard for terror-busting encryption backdoors – Europe seems to agree

Franco
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Do the fucktards who come up with this nonsense honestly think that people believe it is purely for anti-terror purposes?

Lets go back 80 years or so. Encryption wasn't an option for data transmission then, so instead the data itself was encrypted. Terrorist sends message encrypted via one time pad over an unencrypted channel and there is precisely heehaw that a backdoor can do about it.

Of course, if we have nothing to hide we have nothing to fear though.....

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Tech contractors begin mass UK.gov exodus in wake of HMRC's IR35 income tax clampdown

Franco
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What's changing is double taxation. If you fall within IR35 post April 6th you get taxed at source (Income Tax and NI) before it goes into your Limited Company, but still have to pay 20% Corporation Tax on retained profit. Further more, there used to be a 5% tax free allowance to cover the costs of running a company (E.g. Indemnity Insurance) which has been removed, and dividend tax increased this year as well and so has the rate for those on the flat rate VAT scheme.

The major shift this year is that if I am investigated now and ruled to be inside IR35, then I am liable for the shortfall in tax that I have not paid. Under the new rules the engager is liable, and many will either rule all contractors inside IR35 to be on the safe side or will use HMRC's new digital tool, which is also likely to rule inside IR35

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Franco
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Re: Whilst I don't disagree...

I didn't expect any outcome other than what we got, as every bit of feedback that HMRC has asked for but hasn't given the answer they want has been met with "la la, not listening" which included a petition that reached enough signatures for a Parliamentary Debate that they also chose to ignore.

My choices are to take the tax hit, or move to the private sector

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Franco
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Like others here, I am off on 31st march. Seeing as every petition, sitdown with Professional bodies and recruiters and engagers or survey that HMRC have had says this is a terrible and unworkable solution, we are now effectively at the point where exiting the public sector until such time as rates increase or this ridiculous law is repealed is the only power we have.

This benefits no one but large outsourcing companies like Crapita, who will take double or more the rate a contractor would take and pay the person doing the work very little

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Bring it BACK... with MODs! Psion 5 storms great tech revival poll

Franco
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I didn't have one of these, but I do have fond memories of that sort of form factor. In the days when smartphones were a business only item, HTC's Touch Pro and similar devices were brilliant. Quite why no one now makes phones with hardware keyboards I do not know. (BTW I don't include Blackberry, as I hated their keyboards, my fingers are obviously too fat)

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I want it hot and wet – preferably with Wi-Fi

Franco
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Re: Where was this, pray tell?

Avoid Scotland, we have a Greggs on nearly every street corner, outside every train station (Glasgow Central has a Greggs at pretty much every exit) and even in industrial estates.

Not many of them have tables though, and none have WiFi so the hipster quotient is low.

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Apple to Europe: It's our job to design Ireland's tax system, not yours

Franco
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I used to work with a lot of Irish people in Glasgow, and they had a saying where Irish politics was concerned. "Don't tell my Mother I'm a senator in the Dail, she thinks I play the piano in a whorehouse."

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UK Snoopers' Charter gagging order drafted for London Internet Exchange directors

Franco
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Re: Didn't this behavior collapse the Empire?

As much as I agree with you, public opinion at the moment seems to be that we (Britain) have more to teach "Johnny Foreigner" than we have to learn from him.

The arguments for and against globalisation are for another discussion, however one very good thing about it (IMO) is that we get a sense of perspective from how others see us, and the view with regards to the IPA does not cast us in a favourable light.

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Reg tours submarine cable survey ship
'Geo Resolution'

Franco
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Every time I hear an Australian say data it reminds me of the ribbing Adam Hills gets on The Last Leg from Alex and Josh.

Anyway, very interesting article Simon. Personally I always enjoy the more nuts and bolts articles, E.g. The Geeks Guide to Britain series.

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A webcam is not so much a leering eye as the barrel of a gun

Franco
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They're obviously his Personal Jesus.

(I'll get my leather jacket...)

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Roses are reddish, exam-takers more so: Cisco's test price hike's a smack to the torso

Franco
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Re: Fluctuation?

Usual nonsense, MS will no doubt follow soon.

This reminds me of when I was a student. I changed my registered address for my car insurance, and it went up as I was at higher risk of casual damage apparently. Then went up again when I moved home as it was a higher risk postcode.

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Voila! Bazinga! Amazon turns Alexa into an annoying 'cool' aunt

Franco
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I was given an Echo Dot for Christmas and had to fake enthusiasm, along with the robotic hoover I was given for my birthday.

The Echo is in the kitchen, and I do (occasionally) turn it on when I'm in there, either to play some music or for the timer function. The timer works fine, the music playing is fucking useless. You would assume that the first thing the dozy bint would check is your music library, but no. Automatic assumption of whatever popular dreck is in the charts over music that you have actually purchased. She only gets switched on when required though, as after about 30 minutes of being on and at least half a dozen "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that" annoyed me (even before the stories of people buying stuff by accident)

BTW the robotic hoover is still in the box. It was out briefly, spent 12 hours beeping at me whilst it chardged, beeped more loudly when charged, and then beeped more loudly and more annoyingly for the 5 minutes it was on and then changed to a quieter but more annoying beep when it's capacity of one bag of crisps was reached. Progress is not always in a forward direction.

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Prepare your popcorn: Wikipedia deems the Daily Mail unreliable

Franco
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Oh, the irony of being called unreliable by Wikipedia.

As much as the goal of Wikipedia is to be applauded, it's execution is fairly terrible. I did once try to correct an article that was incorrect and had my edit removed with the comment that although the entry was wrong, it quoted a more reliable source with the wrong information than the 4 I provided with the correct information. At which point my brief career as a Wikipedia contributor ended.

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David Hockney creates new Sun masthead. Now for The Reg...

Franco
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Re: Sorry, no can do.

I wonder, Sir, if you have enjoyed, as I have, "Bag Interior" by the colourblind hedgehogs.

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Would you like to know why I get a lot of action at night?

Franco
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Re: the tissue distribution

Better that than listening to the same "music" blasting from a clapped out Ford Fiesta with a pimped out stereo system worth 5 times more than the car, although this may be a purely local problem.

Returning to the topic at hand, I have more than once been mocked for doing exactly what Dabbsy did in advance of meetings only to be proved right at the meeting: either no access to SkyDrive/OneDrive on free WiFi or being told that there's no Guest WiFi at the client or that we can't connect our devices to their network.

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2017 is already fail: Let’s try a Chinese reboot

Franco
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Re: Can I just mention in passing....

That's just an "Alternative Fact" coined by the liberal press....

(Attempt at a joke of this weeks news and not an attack on the poster, for the avoidance of doubt)

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Franco
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My local Chinese takeaway, clearly being possessed of a firm grasp of the local humour after many years in the west of Scotland, had the same message in all of their fortune cookies for a month. The message was "I bet you wish you still got a bag of free prawn crackers instead of this"

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President Trump tweets from insecure Android, security boffins roll eyes

Franco
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Re: Douglas Adams nailed it

Billy Connolly phrased that as the desire to become a politician should automatically preclude you from ever being one.

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UK ISPs may be handed cock-blocking powers

Franco
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<quote>Do you really think El Rag will shut their forums? Seems very unlikely that will happen at all? Any proof that will happen?</quote>

Of course I don't have proof, I was taking it to extremes. However, in our future notional totalitarian state free speech isn't allowed, therefore El Reg's forums would, if they were still in existence, be heavily censored

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Franco
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And we had the IWF and their nonsense with The Scorpions Virgin Killer album a few years ago too.

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

It'll start off with porn, then it'll be torrent sites or pirated content, then it'll be any nudity at all (Page 3 does offend some after all, so no one will get the choice) and then it'll be anything that dissents from the party line, which effectively means that El Reg will need to shut their forums (amongst others).

My current fear is that when Openreach is split from BT it's taken into public ownership, and at that point all traffic will be forced to be compliant. As things stand, the smaller ISPs aren't forced to comply with the High Court blocks etc, bot who knows for how much longer.

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