R2-D2 it is not!
I expect it was making fresh toast en route but perhaps a tad over-done now!
584 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Potential of a smart phone? No earthly good if the information is not there to start with. I was there today, dropping off passengers, then attempting to pick up others. Website arrivals flight information was sketchy, with some flights missing or no information against the flight numbers (so no use for one's shiny smart phone there!). Gatwick's auto. phone information system just went dead the second I entered the flight number (so no use for one's shiny smart phone there!). I had no idea of the status of my incoming passengers' flight and felt that Gatwick's main number would probably be inundated, so I didn't bother trying that (so no use for one's shiny smart phone there!). Arrivals concourse info. screens were also all over the place, with my flight number also not showing on there at all. My passengers also said that the baggage reclaim section was also not working. The main complaint I have is that there was no information whatsoever in arrivals that there was a problem - not even any public address announcements and certainly no whiteboards. There were lots of baffled-looking folk with furrowed brows looking at useless screens, obviously wondering what the devil was going on. In fact, as far as I could see, the only information that something was amiss was a rider on the flight information website saying that information screens were not working properly. A bit more communication (in more ways than one!) wouldn't have gone far amiss.
DAB was the most appalling bit of skull-duggery foisted onto the unsuspecting British public in many a year. CD quality? Just who are they kidding? I was an early adopter with a Technics tuner and it all sounded fine initially, but quality has slowly gone down the pan, mainly due, I presume, to the ever-decreasing bit-rates, not to mention the ever-present audio butchering caused by compression and/or processing. Sounds like the dreaded Optimod is still in there somewhere. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere in the mists of time that the original DAB spec. might have included user-adjustable compression. Anyone else got that in the memory banks? If so, it never happened - obviously. ANYTHING might be better than the absolutely appalling sound quality from FM these days. I hardly ever listen to radio, as I find it pretty painful on the ears. Even internet and satellite radio seem to use excessive amounts of compression. All the stations are desperately trying to sound more punchier than the others, with the result that they ALL sound as grotty as hell. Flat as the proverbial pancake. No dynamics - flat-lining. Why the Radio Authority (as was) ever allowed this to happen is beyond me. I have reel-to-reel recordings off FM from many years ago (bearing in mind the upper audio limit is about 15 khz. and they sound brilliant. Today's transmissions are a travesty.
Self-driving cars seem to be being touted as the be-all and end-all for the future. In which case, surely the beast should have had enough electronic know-how to realise what was happening and either brake or avoid? Isn't this the very thing that is supposed to be their salient feature? Safer than a human driver I have seen quoted. Doesn't appear to be so in this case. I reckon they have many years to go before they can be trusted (if at all) and, speaking personally, I don't think I would EVER feel at ease in one.
Blowed if I would give any age verification to some anonymous purveyor of smut! Having said that, this UK government seems intent on having as much control over the internet as the mad Chinese, with their daft encryption back-door ideas (pinched from the Yanks, I'll be bound) and the nanny attitude to this sort of material in this day and age is appalling. Good parenting is the answer to keep children away from it and I thoroughly resent being told what I can and cannot watch in the privacy of my own home, especially if it does not affect anybody else. The sooner the lovely Theresa, Amber, et al, realise that they are elected to serve the people and are NOT there for their own agendas, the better.
There's always one isn't there? I have to say that smacks a little troll-ish. The man was just standing up for his rights. If it is not illegal to photograph in a public place, why should he be required to identify himself - especially as the original inquisitor (it appears) was not actually a police officer? I thought this harassing photographers under false pretences malarkey had died a death with better education in the force. I well remember a case from a few years back near me where someone was also arrested in Chatham under the pretence of the anti-terrorism act for taking innocuous pictures of shops and some demolition work. The original jobs-worth who wanted ID (which was refused - and quite rightly so) was, I believe, not a police officer but a jumped-up council official with no ID himself, who then called the police. The photographer was eventually "de-arrested" but not after having been thrown into the back of a police van. I myself had some aggravation from some army types, milling around a road accident that I was photographing. I was told in no uncertain terms (in front of witnesses) that if I had included any of them in the pictures, they would confiscate both camera and film. I stood my ground and stated the law, also inferring that I would sue the pants off them if they tried it, and the person concerned backed off. Unenlightened security guards are also quite often belligerent with a lack of knowledge of the law and there are numerous stories about them trying to stop photography in a public place with a heavy hand.
The company I drive for in the UK has had the automatic text notification on its system for some time. Separate text messages for booked, despatched, arrived, complete with car make/model and its registration number (licence plate for our colonial comrades!). Also gives the driver's first name, all of which probably gives comfort to female passengers especially, to confirm that they are getting in the correct vehicle. Bear in mind that we "proper" drivers are subject to all the vigorous checks by the local authorities (and pay heavily for the privilege!) that these Uber clowns seem to be able to opt out of, for whatever reason. Car sharing they say. Twaddle. Of COURSE it's a taxi service. It's about time some firm action was taken to level the playing field, as far as these upstarts are concerned.
Reminds me slightly of insurance companies. Make too many, high-value claims and they either refuse to insure you or raise the premium to such extortionate levels that the poor old customer can't actually afford it. All works well for the company all the while they're taking your money but if they have to pay out, it's a different story. So-called "unlimited" data deals were always too good to be true. ISP's don't like customers actually using the service as advertised. Throwing people off seems very underhand to me, if they are merely taking up what the ISP offers. A deal's a deal in my book and this does smack of welching but I guess there may be something hidden in terms and conditions that cover this.
My "live.com" address was OK using Thunderbird, both incoming and outgoing, but my "hotmail.co.uk" address wouldn't accept log-in details from Thunderbird yesterday, giving an error, although (strangely enough) it was fine when I went to the web page. Just had an update for Thunderbird come through. Coincidence, or connected with the mail problem? Either way, the "hotmail.co.uk" address seems to be working OK again.
"In Britain, there will be some who see Theresa May’s new investigatory powers bill in a more urgent light after Paris. But unless and until the evidence shows that bulk surveillance would have made a difference in that dreadful scenario, the argument remains where it was. And our starting point is still that mass surveillance of all of us is neither necessary nor effective. When the intelligence agencies are looking for a needle in a haystack, they shouldn’t be adding more hay. "
Yup - I'll go for this, despite being an atheist. That man seems to have the right idea in that direction. Friends and other folk mock me for having no time for phones, despite being a techie. I was a telephone engineer in a previous life and I freely admit to indulging in my big boys' toys such as computing, home cinema and hi-fi, with the emphasis on high-end quality. I have to say, however, that phones do nothing for my techie taste buds and the beasts leave me stone cold. I posses one, as I now drive for a living, and need one for emergencies but otherwise it gets used as little as possible and, as for checking mail and this, that and the other every few minutes (not to mention photographing anything and everything within view), as some people seem to have to constantly do to fuel their addiction, this is something I can well do without. The invention has a lot to answer for.
And did to a friend of mine recently who also slipped on some concrete steps but carrying a bottle (sober, I might add!). Hand and bottle made contact on landing as bottle shattered, causing major damage to blood vessels, tendons and nerves, not to mention an enormous gash right down the palm and two fingers with considerable blood loss. Thankfully, after a four-hour operation to repair everything, she seems to be on the mend, with movement and feeling returning to fingers, but it just shows how easily these things can happen.
Absolutely! Socks (along with buttons) definitely go to an after-life in another universe after being washed but sometimes re-emerge through a time warp or portal several weeks (if not months) later from the time machine that is masquerading as a dryer. Haven't worked out the controls for the replicator section yet though, to give me replacement left or right socks in the same colour. They never come back as a pair, so one must go to a different universe.
I drive a private hire vehicle with air con. and climate control (not bragging - nothing special, as a lot of cars now have it fitted as standard!) and I wish I had a quid for every passenger that gets in on a stinking hot day (we've just had one yesterday. 28 degrees, believe it or not, in the UK) and promptly opens a window, which then triggers my standard, pre-prepared script of: "I do have the air conditioning running and if a window is open, you'll let all the hot air in". Should have a recording of it really as I say it so often!. Kids are the worst. Cue whining voice........"I'm hot. I want the window open". I usually counter that with the remotely controlled child locks (also disables the window controls - cackle, cackle!) and this spiel: "Now, imagine you're sitting inside a fridge. You wouldn't leave the fridge door open, would you?", which normally works, especially if the parents cotton on and intervene. I distinctly remember one guy in the car with, I suspect, limited intelligence who insisted that: "That's all right, mate. It's cooler with the window open". Hmm. There's no real answer to that assertion. He was bigger than me. One person insisted on having the window cracked open a couple of inches the whole 60-odd miles during an airport trip on a hot day and there's always the odd passenger (VERY odd!) who "hates air-con". Doh!
We used to do the same thing with an upturned duffle bag over one of the bench gas taps with a small hole in the bottom (now top!). Used to go skywards at quite a lick at the critical moment. Don't think the science teacher was too impressed though when he found out we were doing this in the lunch hour. Health and safety folk would have kittens if that was done these days. Come to think of it, I wonder what they would have made of our school Christmas revue shows, as there was a group of us who performed sketches each year that invariably involved explosions made with home-brewed flash powder from the chemistry lab. Oh, happy days.
"It's not unknown to have to crank up the volume to be able to make out what people are saying and then feel like the plaster is coming off the walls when something loud happens a second later."
Dunno about yours but my kit has independent channel level controls (as all have) but only accessible from an initial set-up menu. Not really practical to try and adjust levels, such as the centre dialogue, "on-the-fly" whilst watching anything, which I think is what is being said here. It's only the master volume control that is easily adjustable once the others are set. I would concur that sound editors seem to have different ideas as to what should be up-front, volume-wise. I've also noticed a distinct lack of clarity on dialogue at times on certain films.
I can sympathise with this. A friend of mine is qualified to teach English as a foreign language and does so in her home, accepting students from abroad who also "live-in" for the course, which, hopefully, also gives them a feel for the country. She has been tearing her hair out of late because students have actually used their phones on calls and texts whilst she is trying to teach on a one-to-one basis! One particular young female student recently decided she was "homesick" after only one day in the UK, after incessantly texting her boyfriend morning, noon and night (or so it seemed!) and suddenly deciding that she wanted to go back home, thereby depriving my friend of most of her income for the week. This probably wouldn't have happened had the student not been perpetually glued to her phone for what seemed like 24 hours a day, including far into the night and the early hours when she should have been asleep. I called in on the first day and she was trying to do a large-size jigsaw puzzle, still holding her phone in one hand, valiantly texting away! As my friend said, how can she possibly teach English all the while the student is distracted by making calls and texting in her own language? I suggested that, in future, some sort of stipulation be made to the company that organises the courses to the effect that phones are NOT to be used in what is supposed to be teaching time. Perhaps an additional deposit to be forfeited if it happens. Mobile phones have got a lot to answer for.
Yup - very good.......if you like that sort of thing! Loads of stuff being put out that was originally stereo though! Satellite is the way to go for the best quality, for what it's worth with the hideous compression still being applied. I once asked the now defunct Radio Authority why this technology (Optimod, I believe it was called), originally designed for AM, medium wave and brought in from America by the sixties off-shore pirate stations, had been allowed on FM. The reply was a joke, stating something like that there are many situations (such as in a car and noisy areas) where the majority of people would be listening (huh?) and the transmissions were adjusted for this so-called majority. You certainly wouldn't be listening to a satellite transmission in a moving vehicle, so why use compression on that medium? It's only to try and make the audio sound louder than anybody else's, the consequence being that most transmissions ALL sound as rough and as hideous as each other!
I have said this elsewhere and on many occasions. DAB was the biggest con trick ever foisted on to the great UK wireless-listening public, with their empty promises of "near-CD" quality and user-switchable compression (or did I dream that last bit?). I was an early adopter with a Technics tuner and what, eventually, did I get? Unreliable burbling signals (even in a supposedly good area with a half-decent external aerial; more and more stations squeezed in at ever-decreasing bit-rates plus MONO thrown into the mix, for goodness' sake on Radio 4 Extra (previously 7)! All this, together with the obvious butchering of the audio by compression and processing makes the output (for me, at any rate) almost painful to try and listen to. I have some old reel-to-reel tapes from ancient FM music broadcasts and the sound quality (even on pop from the era) knocks spots off current day offerings. If I load them into an audio editor like Audacity, the dynamics are there, plain to see. Try doing that with modern broadcasts (or even some CD's) and the waveform almost flat-lines - such is the complete lack of dynamic range. I despair with what's happening to both broadcast and recorded audio these days.
I too am pretty much ambivalent about MS. They're BIG CORP, after all with all BIG CORP'S tendencies, foibles and alleged ruthlessness. However, this situation needs resisting and who better do do it? As they seem so inclined, good luck on this one, even if it is a PR exercise.
Having closely followed many cases where police (and others) have illegally ordered people to stop videoing or taking photographs in a public place, followed up with an equally illegal confiscation of equipment and/or wiping of a memory card, it's my understanding that if GCHQ staff are on the public highway, then it is perfectly legal to photograph them. Of course, police may trump up other charges to try and justify an arrest but photography is not a crime.
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