* Posts by Neil Barnes

2994 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007

The ultimate full English breakfast – have your SAY

Neil Barnes
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBBBWuypBZc

Bacon: dry cured, smoked or not to taste.

Eggs: fried, hard white, soft yolk.

Beans: Sainsburys', full fat none of your reduced salt and sugar tasteless pap.

Fried slice: A bit yuppie, I know, but sourdough makes a damn good fry.

All else is optional. And a cup of lapsang souchong... https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/02/15/cuppa_round_up/?page=2 :)

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Astroboffins discover that half of the Milky Way's matter comes from other galaxies

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Since the distance between galaxies often stretches over many light years

Why, galaxies are almost as far away as the stars are!

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US vending machine firm plans employee chip implant scheme

Neil Barnes
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For what it's worth

a) we use the chips to decide whether to allow cats in/out of the house, or to feed

b) they don't cost anything *like* $300, even retail

c) they're strictly short range

d) multiple chips in an animal screw up the detection something wicked

e) what's wrong with implanting it in your watch-strap?

f) we get free soft drinks at work...

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Stop all news – it's time for us plebs to be told about BBC paycheques!

Neil Barnes
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Re: And STILL incredible value for money

And once again: you do not pay the TV Licence Fee to watch the BBC. You pay it to watch broadcast terrestrial TV, all flavours, and recently, BBC iplayer live shows.

The BBC is funded from a negotiated agreement some years in advance of the receipt of the license fees by the government, and is merely the body appointed as the agent to collect the licence. I strongly suspect - though I haven't worked there for years - that they really don't want to be the collecting agency but have had it forced on them.

You have the choice, as we all do, not to pay for the service and to disconnect your TV from the aeriel. But as the original poster stated - I do believe that the BBC offers sufficient gems among the dross and repeats to make it worth the money. None of the alternatives have yet presented a sufficient reason *for me* to change to them - your mileage may vary.

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Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Neil Barnes
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What do we want?

A time machine.

When do we want it?

Doesn't matter...

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Google unleashes 20m lab-created blood-thirsty freaks on a city. And this is a good thing, it says

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Having had Dengue Fever,

Anything that annoys Aedes aegyptis is fine with me,

But I do worry about the knock-on effects: there's an awful lot of other life out there in the food chain, and a lot of it starts with either the mosquito or its larvae. I wonder what they'll do a couple of years down the line?

I'd really like to see this process used to create something slightly different: either a mosquito that can't carry those diseases or better, one that doesn't like the smell of people and will simply choose not to bite me.

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Luxembourg passes first EU space mining law. One can possess the Spice

Neil Barnes
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Re: Dodgy Picture

Come now: you have to drown them to get spice. The harpoons are just for, er, persuasion...

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Nothing could protect Durex peddler from NotPetya ransomware

Neil Barnes
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Coat

So this is what happens

if you don't practice safe hex?

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Microsoft boasted it had rebuilt Skype 'from the ground up'. Instead, it should have buried it

Neil Barnes
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Re: Social disease

* Well they would do if their knees would let them...

They let me *down*. It's getting back up again that's tricky.

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New work: Algorithms to give self-driving cars 'impulsive' human 'ethics'

Neil Barnes
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Re: yeah, i'm not quite ready

Which raises en passant the question of why a cruise control (e.g. the one on the Tesla that couldn't tell the difference between the sky and a truck) can be set at a higher speed than the local limit...

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Neil Barnes
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Re: Save the women and children first!

Time to think is the wrong approach if you want to know what people actually *do*.

Stick 'em in a driving simulator, let them drive real time for a while, and throw hazards at them in 'real life' situations... and see what they do.

Some of them won't even notice the incident and will plough straight into the victim; some will notice the ball bouncing into the road and brake before the kid follows it; most will likely try and react too late. Whichever they do, you'll have a good baseline to which the AI must merely do better than.

I am really unconvinced that people make ethical judgements in such circumstances; I do believe that they may attempt to make a choice of 'avoid hitting anything/avoid too much damage/hope the airbags work'.

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Boffins' five eyes surprise: Bees correct colour for ambient light

Neil Barnes
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>> Come to think of it, could a bee use another bee's coat as a reference chart for colour and contrast?

Well, they're already bar-coded...

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Neil Barnes
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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Please

Well, I *was* drinking a coke...

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Why, Robot? Understanding AI ethics

Neil Barnes
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Can you lie by staying silent?

"I always do what Teddy says."

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GnuPG crypto library cracked, look for patches

Neil Barnes
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Thumb Up

And Lo!

The only thing on this morning's updates: libcrypt...

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Photobucket says photo-f**k-it, starts off-site image shakedown

Neil Barnes
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Re: Lolwut

"So a post from 2002 will say some shit about Photobucket 3rd party linking. You're seriously suggesting anyone gives a shit... even a post from a week ago is old news"

A post from a week ago may be old news in your circumscribed universe, but to those of us who *think*, perhaps we have other uses? Y'know, reference or something? Have you ever heard of the concept of a reference library?

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Shiny AJAX up/downvoting

Neil Barnes
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One thing I'd *really* like to see is a requirement, when downvoting, also to make a post stating why.

Upvotes are obvious; you're agreeing with someone without wanting to clutter up a thread, but a downvote? Why, damnit! What are you disagreeing with? The grammar? The logic? The point?

A downvote without comment is just throwing a rock through the window and running away!

p.s. I do like the new system.

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London suffers from 'sub-standard' connectivity - report

Neil Barnes
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I work five miles from Cambridge

And while the company has fast internet connections, I can't get a phone signal for love nor money.

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French general accused of nicking fast jet for weekend trips to the Sun

Neil Barnes
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Black Helicopters

Well, *training* people to kill people, or provide assistance thereby.

But to be honest, I'd rather it were used as a taxi than for it's design intention.

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Tavis Ormandy to Microsoft: Have another Windows Defender vuln

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

"including wild eip"

Wasn't that one of the alert sounds on an early (mid-eighties) Mac?

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Not Apr 1: Google stops scanning your Gmail to sling targeted ads at you

Neil Barnes
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Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization.

One word too many, Google.

Mind you, as I only use gmail as a spam collector and for ordering pizzas, and look at it so rarely it might as well not exist...

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Virgin Media router security flap follows weak password expose

Neil Barnes
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Stunning.

My superhub 2 - dated 2010 - lets me set the password. Four to fifteen characters, letters and numbers only.

Stunning.

Not something I've worried about since the first thing I did when I got it was turn the wireless off, and let my router handle that, but changed it anyway.

Interesting that there appears to be nothing on the Virgin Media site to hint that there might be an issue, and I've had no notification about this. Meh.

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NASA? More like NASAI: Brainy robots 'crucial' to space exploration

Neil Barnes
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A definition of AI:

Something that can say "hmmm, that's odd" and mean it?

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Humanity uploaded an AI to Mars and lets it shoot rocks with lasers

Neil Barnes
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successful in the real world

Well, successful in *a* real world...

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Queen's speech announces laws to protect personal data

Neil Barnes
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Paris Hilton

to protect personal data...

So what's happened to 'backdoor for all encryption' then?

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'OK, everyone. Stop typing, this software is DONE,' said no one ever

Neil Barnes
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So quite clearly Windows XP wasn't done otherwise it wouldn't need security fixes.

Um, I think it could still be done: if it met the requirements document at the time of sign-off. New vulnerabilities are those not considered in that document, no?

(not getting into whether that's a good thing or not, but I think there is a distinction between 'software does what it was designed to do' and 'software has a post-finished requirements change'. The latter is clearly maintenance. My fence was finished years ago, but it now needs painting again.)

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Virtual reality audiences stare straight ahead 75% of the time

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Just checked...

Eyes still on front of head, looking forwards.

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Software dev bombshell: Programmers who use spaces earn MORE than those who use tabs

Neil Barnes
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Re: What about the important things?

<multi-line comments>

Doesn't everyone?

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You're all too skeptical of super-duper self-driving cars, apparently

Neil Barnes
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Re: I'm in charge of me

Yabbut - *first* you build a robot car that works with the limited sensorium available to a human driver, *then* you improve the sensorium.

Possibly the 'deciding which way to look' is the critical factor in driving?

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Neil Barnes
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Re: I'm in charge of me

The way to mandate robot car usage is likely, I think, to be the same way they're controlling traffic in city centres; first a high access charge for non-robot cars and then eventually a ban on them. Roads which are 'harder' for the robots will get controlled last and remain available for those who actually *like* driving.

As an aside, and a response to the point upthread about a million cars all shining lights at each other... I've wondered - on no evidence whatsoever - whether current methods that use all sorts of sensors to try and build up a picture of the surrounding environment are necessarily the best way to do it, and whether perhaps we might observe that people manage to control a car with nothing more than two eyes, mostly facing forwards only?

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It came from space! Two-headed flatworm stuns scientists

Neil Barnes
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Boffin

Two inputs, no output?

I'm seeing this flatworm eating from both ends and with nowhere to poo, rapidly becoming a roundworm and the a balloonworm...

Pop! Problem solved.

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Curiosity drills into the watery origins of Mars

Neil Barnes
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Re: If we don't find some life there soon

Mars' escape velocity is 5km/s so anything incoming is going to have at least that much speed behind it. I don't see melting an iceberg as a major problem.

The idea is to do it with lots and lots of icebergs. Any water disassociating in to H2 and O2 will probably lose the hydrogen but keep the oxygen around for a while. Which is rather useful for ape-descended life forms who still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

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Neil Barnes
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If we don't find some life there soon

then I'm all for getting out to Saturn's rings and giving some icebergs a nudge in the right direction. A few hundred years of wet meteors should sort out the water problems.

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AWS launches celebrity-spotting-as-a-service: What a time to be alive

Neil Barnes
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Am I missing something here?

Surely a celebrity is someone who doesn't need machine assistance to be recognised?

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Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

Neil Barnes
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Re: I dont think

You seem determined to consider pilotless flight the only option, Charles 9.

I'll be long retired before it ever comes to pass - but what's your connection? Why so determined?

(For what it's worth: those who have seen my past posts will likely be aware that I'm a paraglider pilot. You can learn to fly a paraglider in a fortnight, if you're taught well and have good coordination. But to learn to fly a paraglider well, and safely in all (flyable) conditions, and to do the safe/sane thing with the wing folds itself up mid flight, for whatever reason? That takes years. And the paraglider is *so* much less complex than a widebody jet.

Halfway between the hard stuff and the vacuum is easy. Staying there isn't *usually* too difficult. Landing and taking off... guess where the majority of incidents happen?)

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Neil Barnes
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There's something fundamentally important they're missing.

No matter how good the safety record - how do they persuade people to get on the plane?

There is no way on this earth I am getting on a plane that does not have a human driver *on the plane* and in control. I don't *care* if all he does is program the autopilot and push the go button: I want the responsible person for a flight to share the risks.

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Please do not scare the pigeons – they'll crash the network

Neil Barnes
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Re: We had a laser link between two nearby buildings

Heh. I had to teach reporters to use those high-speed (64k!) satellite data links - including, of course, how to use the fancy maps on the top to select the appropriate geostationary satellite, set up an approximate aim, and then use the signal strength meters to get the satellite right on line.

I used to take them on top of Bush House to teach them, and the North Atlantic satellite was the one of choice - nicely lined up over the Houses of Parliament so an easy target even without the maps. I managed to convince some of them that I could see the satellite in daylight, and that there was something wrong with their eyes...

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Neil Barnes
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Re: We had a laser link between two nearby buildings

A slightly different issue at our Delhi office: the satellite data downlink used to fail, often but not consistently, around lunchtime. Took me a week to discover a vulture was landing on the LNB arm and pushing it out of the dish focus.

Never did discover where the vulture used to eat its breakfast and dinner...

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Neil Barnes
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Unhappy

Re: 10base2 outside of the building you said?

Triax? Triax is for wimps - TV101 is a connector for men!

(and yes, you don't make the engineers happy when you lay your camera cable over a stretch of 'unused' railway and they have to make the two hundred and two connections to rejoin the cable together again, only four foot eight and a half shorter...)

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Tech can do a lot, Prime Minister, but it can't save the NHS

Neil Barnes
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Re: Much of the NHS problems, are a result of other issues

It's a funny thing, but any of the big hotel chains can provide rooms for fifty quid a night and still make a profit. While there are further costs ensuing from care requirements (as opposed to medical issues better to be treated in hospital) why on earth does it cost so much more to get sheltered accommodation than a hotel room?

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Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law gets six months for hacking sweary super-chef's computer

Neil Barnes
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There must

have been some interesting conversations with the missus, of late...

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Meteor swarm spawns new and dangerous branch

Neil Barnes
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Mushroom

Oh dear.

Better buy a hard hat then...

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Break crypto to monitor jihadis in real time? Don't be ridiculous, say experts

Neil Barnes
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Black Helicopters

Re: The Elephant in the room

Easy. We want to seek needles in haystacks. Let's simplify matters by making the haystack bigger.

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Neil Barnes
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Re: "The former policy wonk -

Sadly, 'tis true. He was talking bollocks but she really wasn't helping her cause.

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Earth resists NASA's attempts to make red and green clouds

Neil Barnes
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Off message

Now if they'd instead proposed that the soft-drink-can-sized containers generated a red and white cloud in the shape of a well know, er, soft drink can, a well-known soft drink company would probably have thrown enough money at it to get all the other clouds out of the the way first.

(other well-known soft drinks are available, but probably not in such easy colours.)

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Retirement age must move as life expectancy grows, says WEF

Neil Barnes
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Re: When they came for the rockclimbers...

@Mad Mike:

I do agree. However, if someone becoming fat is a personal choice and causes load on the NHS, then you paragliding is also a personal choice that could put load on the NHS.

But everything is a personal choice. I drive around twelve hours a week just commuting; I'm much more likely to have an incident driving to a flying site than I am when I get there. I've put a significantly lesser load on the NHS due to flying activities than for other issues in the same time.

And indeed I find my views on getting fat being a personal choice have modified over the years. Yes, it might be down to what you eat vs what energy you expend, but it's arguable that what you eat is very largely controlled - whether you like the idea or not - by people who want to sell you high-profit products, which get that way by being laden with nice cheap fats and sugars. And they are very very good at pushing your buttons and persuading you to purchase...

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Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

Neil Barnes
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Black Helicopters

One of the things you can't do in the UK

under the Air Navigation Orders, is to cause anything to be dropped from an aircraft other than pure water or clean fine sand (ballast, basically). The military get an exemption for go-bang stuff, and parachutists are considered aircraft in their own right (but who on earth would get out of a perfectly good aircraft and hope theirs starts to work on the way down?).

Hard to see which category a parcel of books fits into.

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Boffins find evidence of strange uranium-producing bacteria lurking underground

Neil Barnes
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Mushroom

Re: yes the Uranium is being used as metabolic fuel for the bacteria.

Now if the bacteria absorbs U235 preferentially things could get interesting.....

Only briefly.

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Bixby bailout: Samsungers bailing on lame-duck assistant

Neil Barnes
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Permanantly disabled

Not disabled, removed. One thing that really irritates me about new phones is removing (or not) all the manufacturer's crap that comes with a new one - my current Sony has dozens of default applications I don't use, don't want to use, and don't want to fill up the memory with - but which I can't remove and which Sony spend one day a week updating.

Pointless.

All a phone *needs* is a basic dialler, text messager, and possibly a browser - and a way to access the application store. Let the user decide what he wants on it, rather than filling it with crap he'll never use. Yes, I'm quite aware that my needs are not the same as those of a fifteen year old, but that's rather the point, isn't it? Let *me* put on the phone those things I need, not sell me something, half the memory of which is full of unremovable cruft. (One of the things I really don't need or want is voice input - maybe I'm too old...)

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Google to give 6 months' warning for 2018 Chrome adblockalypse – report

Neil Barnes
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Pay per view

Think of it as evolution in action. We'll very soon find out just how much people want to view clickbait sites.

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