* Posts by Franco

286 posts • joined 11 Apr 2008

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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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UK.gov tells freelance techies to slap 20 per cent on fees as IR35 tax hike looms

Franco
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It'll cost the Goverment more all right, because you can guarantee that some disgruntled contractors will test the reciprocity of this and demand employees rights if they are taxed and treated as employees.

Just as an example, workplace pensions are mandatory in the UK now. Add healthcare to that, and the costs are significant to the employer. Then you have other perks that employees are allowed but contractors are not (E.g. in my current contract I am not permitted to park in the employees car park or use the gym, and am quite happy with that as it is a clear delineation between temp workers and employees)

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Annoyingly precocious teen who ruined Trek is now an asteroid

Franco
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Re: Wesley was okay...

Indeed, her role did seem to be window dressing most of the time (althought they didn't keep her in the minidress for very long, maybe only the pilot) but on the other hand if there was no Troi then we wouldn't have had Lt Tawny Madison in Galaxy Quest.

Agree with the earlier comments about Kirk though, hated TOS and always have. Mind you, when I was a kid Shatner wasn't Kirk, he was TJ Hooker......

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All the cool kids are doing it – BT hikes broadband and TV bills

Franco
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Re: Once and it went well

That's why I said for the most part, there are the odd few that are conscientious and helpful but they are in the minority IME. The girl who took my cancellation request was very pleasant for example, particularly when she saw the number of complaints in my file and made no attempt to change my mind when she saw that, just admitted they had let me down.

Most of the time though, I have been met with indifference and an utter refusal to deviate from script.

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Franco
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Re: Sport

Sadly the sport is just the start, it'll be regular TV soon. Fox TV was removed from the BT TV package last year, and they own the UK rights to The Walking Dead. Makes no odds to me, but would to a lot of people.

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Franco
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BT's service isn't bad in general, however {Deity} help you if something goes wrong as their support staff are incompetent, rude and unhelpful for the most part.

My contract is up and I've already cancelled it before I heard this news. The Mike-Foxtrots still want £31 to leave even if you are out of contract as well. Awaiting my go-live date from Origin Broadband at present.

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Landmark EU ruling: Legality of UK's Investigatory Powers Act challenged

Franco
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Re: Snooping means snooping

I think Baron Acton had the answer for that one

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dalberg-Acton,_1st_Baron_Acton

To be fair, when the bill was first rejected MPs did a "radical" revision of it, they made themselves exempt.

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Franco
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Re: Appropriate?

I thought Food Standards Scotland's remit was to have everything deep fried?

(I'm allowed to say that, I am Scottish)

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Franco
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Re: This is great news...

I don't know if it is lack of understanding or deliberate subversion of the content of the bill, along with timing it to get lost in the shuffle of the Trump debacle and other news, but El Reg is one of very few news sources covering this at all.

It was mentioned briefly on The Last Leg on Channel 4 when it gained Royal approval. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver can usually be relied upon to cover stuff like this, but it's currently off air until next year.

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BT and Plusnet most moaned about broadband providers. Again

Franco
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BT are utterly awful, but sadly whilst the regulators are showing no interest in doing anything other than telling us BT are awful, they will continue to be so.

I complained to the Ombudsman about BT this year. They misinterpreted my complaint (deliberately, as I corrected them twice and they ignored me), admitted BT's service was terrible and showed complete disinterest in anything I said. They offered me £25 goodwill, which BT paid before I had accepted and when I informed them of this they took this as acceptance and closed my case. Sadly I haven't yet found an Ombudsman to handle Ombudsman complaints.....

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'Upset' Linus Torvalds gets sweary and gets results

Franco
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Re: Linus needs to start looking for his replacement.

Not gonna work, Chuck Norris can divide by 0 but Linux can't....

Judging from Linus's email rants, Malcolm Tucker would be a good candidate though.

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Oracle finally targets Java non-payers – six years after plucking Sun

Franco
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Good time to try this, given that as soon as Flash is finally taken out into the desert, shot in the back of the head and buried in an unmarked grave, Java will then become number one on the most hacked list.

Either that, or Larry has run out of money for his hollowed out volcano lair.

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Men! If you want to win at board games this Christmas, turn off the rock music – scientists

Franco
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To be fair, I find it hard to concentrate whilst also singing THUNDER! AH AH AH AH AHAH AHAHA.

Next week's pointless scientific study. Why the fuck aren't scientists doing useful things with their time and grant money?

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UK.gov has outsourced tech policy to Ofcom because it is clueless – SNP techie

Franco
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Government departments DO NOT want people with technical backgrounds who might ask intelligent questions, because then things like the IPA won't get passed.

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Sysadmin told to spend 20+ hours changing user names, for no reason

Franco
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Re: 2IC is correct ...

Ah, the joys of the "blame the contractor" game. My current bugbear with that one is the change management team at my current contract, who are so risk averse that they have become Mordac.

They asked me for a rollback plan for a server reboot last week, and were less than amused when I told them that they would need to approve my change request for a flux capacitor first if they wanted a rollback plan for this change request. We're currently rebooting servers when we need to and putting in retrospective change requests, on the "better to ask forgiveness than permission" basis.

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Microsoft says LinkedIn will make Trump, Brexit, voters feel great again

Franco
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Re: And this just in ..

LinkedIn seems to be Chuck Norris according to Microsoft.

LinkedIn can divide by 0!

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The UK's Investigatory Powers Act allows the State to tell lies in court

Franco
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Very possibly, but might as well sign it. The alternatives are:-

1. Accept it without saying anything, regardless of whether or not it will have an effect.

2. Go off the grid, which would immediately flag me up as an anomaly by being under the age of 80 and having no mobile phone or broadband, and therefore eligible for the sort of holiday where you get strapped down before your daily swim and the leisure attire comes in any colour you want so long as it's orange.

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