* Posts by I ain't Spartacus

5810 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Hi Facebook, Google, we think we might tax your ads instead – lots of love, Europe x

I ain't Spartacus
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Re: Sales Tax

Companies are unaffected by VAT. Apart from the expense of the admit overhead.

Consumers pay VAT.

What Google and Facebook sell is advertising. So yes, they charge VAT to their customers, which they pay to the government. But their customers are businesses, and so reclaim that VAT from the government, when they do their VAT return.

The advertisers then charge VAT to the companies they work for, who also reclaim it. The music stops with the final customer who isn't VAT rated, and so can't claim the money back. Which is either the consumer or some tiny business earning less than £50k a year.

So VAT is a tax on things that we buy as consumers.

As I understand it, the US sales tax is only charge by retailers selling to consumers. So business to business transactions aren't subject to it. So it operates a lot more simply than a VAT system, but has roughly the same effect.

Corporation Tax is a levy on profits that companies make.

Turnover taxes and transaction taxes are another thing entirely. They have the highest distorting effect on the economy. The usual rule of thumb is that if you tax something, you get less of it. So if you tax economic transactions, you'll get less of them. Which almost by definition will shrink the size of your economy.

The EU stopped its financial transaction tax, because the Commission's research determined that it would shrink the economy so much that other tax revenues would fall more than the revenue raised by the tax. So it would earn negative money for governments and permanently shrink the economy. A tax on non-financial transactions would almost certainly be worse.

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Re: Ouch!

I talked about some harmonisation of corp tax and VAT in my original post. That, I think, is possible. Though Ireland / Luxemburg / Malta etc would want some compensation for giving up some more of their sovereignty.

That kind of treaty change would require a referendum in Ireland, Denmark, and probably also France and Sweden plus a couple of others. It's one of the reasons Cameron couldn't get much in his renegotiation, Juncker is almost the only major European politician who'd like to see treaty change. None of the national governments dare touch it, as they're all too scared of trying to sell a referendum on more integration. Even if the Eurozone could come up with some policy to make the Euro a workable long-term currency, they then also have to work out how to get the voters to approve it - or come up with a policy that doesn't need treaty change.

Anyway some harmonisation of rules could just be done by inter-governmental agreement. And as long as it doesn't totally fix rates, it's not that bad for democracy. Obviously you can't raise as much through corp tax and VAT (or even get more than you want), but you still get to decide on green taxes, income taxes, stamp duties, dividend rates and land taxes.

Against the loss of sovereignty argument is also the reality one. All EU governments are currently free to set their corp tax rates to 50%. They just can't. Because all their companies would leave. Even small businesses might profit from setting up a branch in some other Single Market country, and moving their profits there at that point. So maybe agreeing a band of acceptable taxes might help, or even just agreeing ways to collect them, and the kind of offers you're allowed to make to attract companies from other countries.

There's already a tiny bit of VAT harmonisation. Once we charge VAT on something, no future government can remove it again. Which is why when Major's government brought fuel charges into VAT, Labour were only allowed to reduce them to 5% (as we had a pre-exisiting 5% rate for some things). Same with the campaign to get tampons zero-rated - EU rules don't allow. 5% is the minimum - obviously until we leave the EU.

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Turnover taxes are a rubbish idea. They favour high profit / low volume companies over low margin / high volume ones. So they'd punish Huawei as against Apple, for example. They also deter investment and so growth.

The answer may well have to be some Single Market corporation tax and VAT harmonisation. Although it would help if Ireland kept their low Corp Tax rate, but made companies pay it on all single market revenue, and stopped allowing non-Irish profits to escape.

Also Trump may help here. If he can get Congress to lower US Corp tax to nearer European levels, there'll be less incentive to dodge it. But the worst distortion is caused by the tax deferral on retained foreign earnings. If US companies had to pay tax on it anyway, they wouldn't have kept a couple of trillion dollars off-shore, avoiding the tax for now, and hoping for a tax holiday to persuade them to repatriate the loot.

This won't make Europe happy, as most of Apple and Google's taxes will go to Uncle Sam. But that is where most of their economic activity is really, so it's reasonable.

In the long term the answer is global cooperation, and harmonised rules on accounting for international profits. If the big tax authorities audited, and shared their data a bit, they could keep the global corps relatively honest.

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Quebec takes mature approach to 'grilled cheese' ban

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Re: Comfort food!

UK grilled = US broiled

But all toasted cheese sarnies should be made in a toastie-maker. Hence they'd be croque monsieur's in french, surely?

Cheese on toast is fine - but one sided. Toasting two bits of bread and slapping cheese between them is always disappointing, better to just have 2 slices of cheese on toast.

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Re: Mild Punning for a Mature audience

You're right. This story is a croque monsieur of shit.

Once they blue right through the puns in the first few lines, everyone was board - and yet there was stiltons left to read. After all the effort, I'm cream-crackered - so I cheddar brie off to bed.

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Something good about Brexit? Errr, more teeth for Ofcom! – report

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Re: Threats and opportunites

We can just ban them from putting roaming charges back as part of their license terms if we want to. It only means that they put their prices up to all consumers so that they can't charge extra for roaming - which is what they did when the European rules came in anyway.

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You've been baffled by its smart thermostat. Now strap in for Nest's IoT doorbell, alarm gear

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Re: Its all gone to the dogs

That's what Google and everyone else are missing.

We don't want facial recognition. Too intrusive, and able to be used on everyone walking past the detector. We want a system where only the person asking for admittance is scanned. So what better than a little electronic nose on a telescoping arm, which comes out of a recess in the wall and smells the visitors bum?

This idea is genius! We could call it the iPong.

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Erm, is this the same Nest who got tired of one of their old devices, stopped supporting it, and also effectively remote disabled it. Apparently Google were too poor to afford to keep a server running. And after all, only a small number of our users were affected...

I'm happy to deal with Google. They've done some great stuff. Just don't ask me to trust them.

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Mobe reception grief turns LTE Apple Watch 3 into – er, a dull watch

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Facepalm

Good old Apple!

I hear they have a new slogan:

It Just Works. Even When You've Turned it Off.

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More are paying to stream music, but YouTube still holds the value gap

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Re: Elsagate

That's the problem. These exemptions were put in to help protect the internet when it was a lot smaller. And also you need protections to protect small companies who don't have the resources to survive and police user-uploaded content.

But Google make tens of billions in profit a year. They're not some poor start-up anymore. They just want to make some extra profits, by avoiding their responsibilities. Facebook are the same.

They're moving a bit now, because public pressure is starting to tell. It would almost certainly be better if regulation was light, and then well funded organisations behaved responsibly. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

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Commentards booted off m.register?

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Re: Commentards booted off m.register?

Comments shows up in IE on Windows Phone 8.

Also just checked on the iPad, and the battered old iPhone 5 with the broken screen that's never been thrown away. They comments link is still there.

Not as a button though, but just text.

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Inept bloke who tried to sell military sat secrets to Russia gets 5 years

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Re: Curious to know......

There's still a lot of spying going on. Much of it by legally resident spies, operating from embassies under diplomatic cover. Which is how it was done in the Cold War.

In the UK MI5 keep tabs on foreign diplomats - while the SIS hide amongst our diplomats, trying not to get noticed. In the US the CIA do the naughties abroad, while the FBI have the job of counter-intelligence at home.

There was always a dilemma in Cold War days, where mass expulsions of "diplomats" for spying were common. You'd caught the KGB doing something naughty - so you wanted to discourage them. On the other hand, you'd just caught them. If they didn't know you had, then you could keep watching them and learn more. Whereas if you expelled all the ones you thought were spies, they'd learn who you'd cottoned onto and who you hadn't. This might give them valuable clues as to how you operated, and what worked best to counter it.

Also, they'd only be replacing those people with more spies, slipped into the normal numbers of diplomats. And you wouldn't know which ones these were, or how they worked. So you'd have to spend ages building up profiles of them to learn their routines and try to work out who was an honest diplomat and who was a wrong-un.

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Re: Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki

Or people might say "bless you" and pass the box of tissues...

On a serious note though, I'm pretty sure most people would be a bit put off if they met someone at a party who worked for SIS or MI5.

If someone told you they worked for the SVR (in the old days the KGB), you might be too busy checking the state of the teapot to have time to consider the coolness of meeting a spy.

"What kind of a spy?"

"A mince pie! And a merry Christmas to you all!"

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Uber Cali goes ballistic, calls online ads bogus: These million-dollar banners are something quite atrocious

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Re: The internet seems broken today

You know it's just possible that Uber are in the right here.

[laughs hysterically]

No, no seriously! Hear me out. Maybe in this one particular case, Uber haven't done anything wrong, and are the innocent victims.

[laughs even more hysterically]

Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch...

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Re: I thought this was Uber's business plan...

Yeah, but it's probably only in their business plan that they're doing it to other people.

Having it done to them is different...

It's a shame that both parties can't lose the court case really. Though I suppose lawyers often cause that situation to arise, even when one side has technically won. So we can hope.

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Itching to stuff iOS 11 on your iPhone? You may want to hold off for a bit

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Re: Oh yeah .....

Not sure how you managed that, I don't think what you claim is even possible.

I've never had a problem with iOS updates

DougS,

OK, I can understand that iOS has always worked perfectly for you. But surely you've noticed the odd headline in El Reg? Or just know that it's a computer - and they don't "just work".

Even if it's only a million-to-one chance that someone could get 3 iOS upgrade failures in a row - well million to one chances come up nine times out of ten. Or to be serious, they've now sold hundreds of millions of iOS devices, so million to one chances would be expected to happen hundreds/thousands of times per update cycle. Also if a device and its configuration cause a failure once, it's more likely to do so again.

I've had one iOS update fail, on an iPad. I'd backed it up - so all I had to do was plug it into iTunes, factory reset it and run the update again.

Also almost all the updates before about iOS 6 broke WiFi in some way. WiFi on the iPad 1 was a bit flakey, got almost fixed by the later point releases of iOS, but then got borked again when they upgraded to iOS 4 (I think), and the first few iterations of iOS 5 re-introduced some problems. I remember having to give my iPad a fixed IP address to make it reasonably reliable at staying on the network for a few months.

I don't recall seeing an iTunes backup be corrupted, but it's a file on a disk, so that's just to be expected sometimes. Another poster points out that iOS backups over-write each other, and I know people who've plugged in a problematic iDevice to get iTunes to reset it, and it's done an auto-backup on top of their previous good one and so destroyed their only backup by pisspoor software design. They should at least be rotating backup files.

Finally I had a friend on a 3GS who wanted to upgrade to a later iPhone. And I was unable to back his phone up - because he'd never done it, and iTunes got into some weird cycle of trying to sync/backup and couldn't do either as it hadn't been connected for so long. Which is pretty shit given they wrote/approved all the software and designed the hardware. Because when Apple stuff doesn't 'just work' they don't give you much in the way of tools or help to try and get it going again.

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Programming in the Middle Ages: Docker makes a lovely pair of trousers

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Re: Came here to post a really witty comment

We're going out for a walk later.

I SAID, WE'RE GOING OUT FOR A WALK LATER!

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Ethereum will have transaction chops of Visa in 'a couple of years', founder claims

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Huh?

What's the point of having a blockchain, if you have to go off it in order for it to be any use?

We've just created a slow but supposedly extra secure means of transaction which isn't any actual real-world use. It's supposed to give us permanence and transparency, but then we have to use other systems that we have to trust (and presumably also pay) in order to actually do anything.

So what's the point of using the blockchain at all? Why not just use VISA? They already work, don't wildly fluctuate in value, and have lower transaction costs than Bitcoin (when you take into account the exchanges).

I don't know about Etherium, but Bitcoin transactions are only temporarily free. At some point, they'll have mined all the Bitcoins allowed. At which point either the miners will need paying per transaction, or they'll vote to keep paying themselves by minting more free new Bitcoins (so the goldbugs start crying about inflation), or the miners stop mining and the whole thing collapses.

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Google parks old pay-to-play auction in front of European Commission – reports

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Re: Curious to see the answer of the EU

It's like Netscape Navigator all over again. By the time Microsoft lost the case, Netscape were dead - so it didn't matter. Which then makes the remedy an intereesting question.

There are still specialist price comparison sites out there. Expedia and Trivago even have the cash to advertise on telly. Plus the millions of shit hotel comparison sites. I don't know if things like Pricerunner and Kelkoo are still going though.

But MS didn't get to charge the browser makers for space on their browser choice screen. And Google don't charge anything for their normal search results - so it's hard to argue they should be able to get out of being a convicted monopolist with an extra revenue stream.

MS had to put browsers in a random order - so maybe Google should have to do that - and maybe only show the top 3 results. Then the EU can just do a bit of price googling, and check they're not cheating. Though they'll need to do that from random IP addresses and clean computers - as we don't want a Googlegate to go with Dieselgate...

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Ofcom to crack down on telcos' handling of nuisance callers

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Re: Calls from BT OverReach

Nor do the NHS.

My Mum was getting plagued by fake TalkTalk scum last year, as her details were part of their ongoing gift to the world's hackers. At the same time her sister was dying, so she got the phone company to block the nuisance calls.

But what Tesco Mobile actually did was to block all calls with no caller display data. Genius! That meant her sister's GP, the hospital and district nurse service all got blocked with the spammers.

If only we could have some joined-up policies. Like with foreign premium rate numbers - where they go abroad to avoid regulation. Or in fact the UK ones, who go bust before they have to pay their fines. All the Telcos have to do is consult the regulators before paying out their fees - and non-legit ones can wait for their money until we know they're not total scumbags. OK this may limit "innovation" in the premium rate sector, as businesses will need start-up capital to cover the hiatus in their initial income, but since all the innovation in this sector is basically bad - that's not much of a loss.

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Boffin wins (Ig) Nobel prize asking if cats can be liquid

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Re: gamble in the presence of a live crocodile

Nope. I'm gambling I can outrun the other people there...

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SpaceX releases Pythonesque video of rocket failures

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100% success.

Every time the rocket survived long enough to blow up while attempting to land, it had already delivered its payload to orbit. Landing was a bonus.

Alternatively they haven't failed a landing since the first one worked. Yet. Well there have been a couple of geostationary launches where there wasn't enough fuel left to attempt landing, so they didn't try.

When they launch Falcon Heavy and have 2 first stages that separate simultaneously and attempt to land, that should be an interesting day. Would be a bit sad if they managed to crash them into each other, for example.

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UK attorney general plans crackdown on 'trial by social media'

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Re: A friend of mine was doing Jury Service recently

The big problem however is that very often the "more evidence" that you find out is a load of bollocks.

Entirely true. Which is one reason why I didn't do it. The others being you're breaking the law, plus fucking up the entire process.

Well after one case was over I did have a look online. Turned out there was almost no information anyway. Couldn't even find out what sentence the crims in question had got - as local papers haven't done court reporting since about the 90s.

I do not have a problem with jurors looking up a few objective facts

Even this can be dangerous. Obviously there's no problem checking distances, though if that's relevant you should have been given the info. Also you're allowed to send a note to the judge to ask for any info like that which you feel you need.

But you don't want jurors looking up medical info for example. If it's needed, that's what expert witnesses are supposed to be for. Admittedly there have been cases where this has gone wrong, and the witness isn't as objective as they're supposed to be. In the US I understand it's common practise for both defence and prosecution to have their own, in the UK they're supposed to work for the court, and it's very unusual for both sides not to accept them as a neutral source and get their own.

Hence you're told as a blanket instruction not to search. You've got a mechanism to ask for more info, and that is probably important so the judge (and any appeals process) knows what info you got. If the prosecution don't give you enough info, your job isn't to look it up, it's to ask for more. If you're still not happy, it's to find "not guilty".

Appeals aren't normally supposed to overturn the finding of juries - but they need to know what info the jury had, so they can rule on whether that was enough, or even too much.

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Re: A friend of mine was doing Jury Service recently

It is really tempting. I didn't, because I'm not an idiot. But there's a really strong temptation to find out stuff that people aren't telling you. That's just human nature. In a jury trial it's really obvious that you're being kept in the dark too.

We were thrown out of court during a judgey rant. Prosecution had said something, after already being stopped mid-sentence once by the judge. So he started to launch into a tirade about not ignoring what they'd agreed in closed session, then remembered we were still there, told us to disregard the last bit from the prosectution, sent us off to the jury room for tea - and we could hear the shouting after the doors had closed.

Plus there's just curiousity. There's only so much money the police can spend on investigating an assault say. So there are really quite annoying gaps in the evidence you've got, and you always feel you could make a better decision if you had more.

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Re: Contempt of court can also be committed by defying or ignoring a judicial order

The Nazz,

Court takes time for a reason.

You need to gather lots of witnesses, suspects and victims in the same place for enough time to get the info out of them you need. Sometimes with expert witnesses too.

You also need to get the judges and barristers in the same place. As they've got stuff to discuss. I've been sat in a jury room for 2 hours while the judge and barristers argued some point of law on what evidence we got to see. Obviously I've no idea what that was - but there's a balance to be struck between giving the defendant their right to a fair trial, and getting convictions. And that's what we pay judges for.

We could make the courts service more efficient. Obviously. But there are limits. One thing we'd have to do is pay junior barristers much more cash, as they'd have to accept far fewer cases in order to be within range of the judges to have those arguments outside court time. We'd also probably need quite a few more judges.

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Re: so many cowed cows, i can hear the lowing from here...

art guerrilla,

It isn't the jury's job to look up stuff online. Or to inform themselves. Or to make the case for either side.

It is the prosecution's job to put together a case, and the defence's job to point out the holes or inconsistencies in that. Sometimes with expert testimony, that in the UK is supposed to be neutral and testifying on behalf of the court not either side. If the case is really ricketty, the defence might simply point and laugh and remind the jury that it's not their job to prove innocence, but the prosectuion's to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

The judge is there to decide on what evidence either side is allowed to put before the jury.

I've done jury service. I'm therefore partly responsible for someone serving a long time in prison. You want to be sure you don't fuck that kind of decision up.

The next week we didn't convict someone, that nearly everyone thought was guilty, for exactly that reason.

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Fancy that! Craft which float over everything on a cushion of air

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Re: Weird timing

The little ones are great fun to drive. There's a place near Reading that have a couple you can race. Went there for a stag do.

Doing a sort of handbrake turn is the easiest way to steer, though not terribly useful, unless you want to do a full 180. It took quite a bit of practice to be able just go left a little bit.

Oh, and very noisy. Didn't vibrate as much as the old cross Channel ones did though.

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User worked with wrong app for two weeks, then complained to IT that data had gone missing

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Re: Customisation isn't necessarily the enemy

Ah yes! The manual on many wireless routers that says, "the LED will change from red to green when it is working".

Great. Except I can't fucking tell them apart! Now to be fair, I've not got it too bad. I can tell them apart if they're both next to each other and lit, and then do a compare and contrast with the others to slowly work it out. But a power light will tell me the fucking thing is on, then a light that isn't on will do fine to tell me other functions aren't.

BT's Homehub isn't too bad. It's got a retina-bleedingly bright blue LED for broadband link working, and a flashing red one for when it isn't.

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Apple bumps up price on iPad Pro as flash costs climb

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Re: Cupertino Idiot Tax

No, it's just that nobody treats them with the reverence they (or seemingly you) feel they deserve. El Reg are equally rude to everybody.

Even when Apple act like spoiled children and refuse to invite them to their press events. The Register are still happy to say their kit is the best when that's fair, and have a go when it isn't. I'm fine with that.

I hold no reverence for any company. My iPads have been brilliant, the iPhone 5 was mechanically unreliable, and not well designed enough for the premium price charged. And anybody who designs a phone with a glass back is an incompetent fuckwit, however pretty they might think it makes it. I try to use the best tool for the job, whoever makes it.

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Happy

I love apple crumble and custard...

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Re: Android here I come

Lord Elpuss,

As far as I'm aware from playing with one in a shop, you can draw to your heart's content, but there's no handwriting recognition.

I could get the Notes app to let me doodle, or write notes - but it wouldn't turn them into text. And the pencil only worked as a totally pointless pointing device in Email and Safari.

I'd be delighted to be corrected if I'm wrong. Because the one consistent thing I've wanted for my iPad all along has been a stylus. Onscreen keyboards are rubbish for anything more then tapping out a line or two of text.

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Re: Android here I come

I really liked my 2 iPads. But Apple have always taken the piss on the price of storage, and I notice that I'm using the thing much more as a web browser than for apps nowadays. I was rather tempted by the bigger screen of the Pro, but for that money I don't want their pisspoor crippled "pencil" - I want a proper stylus with handwriting recognition. I don't think that's unreasonable.

I had one with my HP convertible tablet back in 2005. It was slow, and used Vista, but the stylus worked flawlessly. I admit that it was one of the few parts that did, hence my move to an iPad 1.

I use the things way more than my PC now, so I'm happy to spend £800 - but not if it's only going to last a couple of years - or they've done a half-arsed job.

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Android here I come

I've decided I've got the money to replace my old iPad 3. Which sadly has a crack in the screen, a knackered old battery and is woefully short of RAM by this point. It can no longer hold two webpages in memory simultaneously - if you switch between them you have to wait for the old one to reload when you go back to it. So that also doesn't say much for the efficiency of the programming in Safari and latest versions of iOS. Obviously you'd expect it to struggle with the latest apps and games.

Almost makes you wonder if they deliberately slow the old models down...

Anyway the Pro looks tempting. But then they put in the stylus I've always wanted on an iPad - and deliberately cripple it so you can't write with it. Why!?!?! Supposedly you can buy third-party apps that will sort this, but why the fuck should I have to do that? And how can I test them before buying?

Or I can get a Samsung with their stylus that does work properly - but on a version of Android now 2 out of date (even though it's brand new), and not much hope that Sammy will update it - or even give me security fixes.

So I'm thinking stuff it, I'll go for a cheaper 'Droid. Get one of those nice Lenovo Yoga ones, with the barrel down the side of the screen that makes them much nicer to hold. They're also on out-of-date software, but at least they're not charging over £500 for a device they fail to support.

I guess there's always Surface.

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Unloved Microsoft Edge is much improved – but will anyone use it?

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Re: Memory Utilisation

Firefox broke my PC yesterday, well ground it to a halt anyway, by eating all the memory. But there the biggest process was only 1.2GB.

I've been thinking of moving for a while, as it's not reliable enough, and goes in cycles of improving a bit, then getting worse again. But I'm not touching Chrome with a shitty stick, because of Google. Plus I dislike the UI.

I actually like the old-fashioned UI of IE11, and still have my Firefox set up more-or-less how I had it 10 years ago. I want a menu bar across the top - and I want home back and forward buttons on the left of the address bar.

I'm almost tempted to go back to IE. Edge won't let me have have a menu bar, so it can sod off too.

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Re: Seen in the wild!

Was it her browser of choice? Or just default?

At least two Windows 10 updates have reset my default browser to Edge - and it's happend on a couple of our other PCs. We've only 5 staff and an IT department of, me, when I'm not doing my actual job. So we use consumer Win 10 as installed on whatever computer we happen to buy.

So like many people who ended up on Chrome (due to their spyware-like download with Flash/PDF trick), did she even pick her browser - or did it pick her?

I've no problem with Edge. However it doesn't have the option to have a menu bar across the top. I can't be arsed to have to click on a button on the right, to bring up a menu, that I then have to read through to find the bit I want, to then sometimes have to navigate my mouse sideways to the final nested menu I was after. I'd rather waste a few pixels at the top, so I can get to my chosen control in one click. IE and Firefox both do that, so I use IE for the one website that prefers it and Firefox for everything else.

I'm sure this is just habit, and I could get used to Chrome or Edge. But I can't be bothered to.

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Signs of ground ice found on ancient protoplanet asteroid Vesta

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Re: Ground Ice

Sweep,

Oh God! They still sell them! But £3.79!!!!!!!!!! How the fuck has this thing got 5 star reviews?

Love this food been eating it since the 1970s. Tastes as good as always. Highly recommended for its high quality.

That I'm prepared to believe. However, that's not exactly saying much. And I'm not sure what levels of insanity you need to be suffering to be recommending it for its high quality.

But yup, it was the Chow Mein that I ate when I were a student. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. But for that money, you can buy a proper supermarket ready meal. I mean, I'm sure it won't be the best meal you've ever eaten, but at least it's actual food.

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Re: Ground Ice

Rich 11,

Those things really did have a texture all of their own. Shudder! They were truly awful, especially as there'd always be one random pea or something that didn't re-hydrate - and so was like eating a bullet. Like the last kernels of un-popped popcorn, lurking at the bottom of the bag in order to break your teeth.

My memory is that the curry was truly dire, but that at least one of the Chinese ones was vaguely edible. Though didn't taste of much. But did come with crispy noodles. So you at least got the good honest taste of the fat you deep fried them in. They were the only actually nice bit. Plus it's just fun, sticking a handful of tiny flat noodly things into boiling oil, and watching them puff up into things that look like Quavers, in seconds.

I suddenly thought, after I'd posted, that nobody would remember Vesta's finest contribution to our culinary life. But I should have guessed there's enough old codgers round here. Now we need to find an explanation for where those Fray Bentos pies in tins came from.

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Happy

Re: Ground Ice

You're both wrong. The ice is left over from the freeze-drying process. Which means that the remainder of the "asteroid" is in fact a giant dehydrated curry.

It turns out that the Vesta company in the 70s must have had access to primitive space technology, in order to mine this curry substance, and bring it back to Earth in order to disappoint hungry English people.

Sadly, despite having space technology, Vesta hadn't bothered with flavour technology...

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Would you get in a one-man quadcopter air taxi?

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It won't be fine after a few years. Because it only generates lift through having a working engine. Helicopters can autorotate, and on loss of power get limited lift from their rotors on the way down - this will just plummet. Planes have wings.

Now admittedly there aren't too many people who've successfully done a Chesley Sullenberger, and put their engine-less plane down successfully in the middle of a city. But at least if you can glide, you get to decide whether to crash in the park, rather than the housing estate. Often you can do better than that.

Helicopters are very restriced in their operations by the way. Because they are a lot more dangerous than planes, or most other forms of transport. And that's why they're quite rarely used. There's only one place you're allowed to land them in London (which is Battersea) and you're only allowed to fly them over the Thames - because of how relatively frequently they crash.

This is before we've even mentioned the madness of automatic pilot use in airspace that is designated see and avoid, and doesn't have air traffic control or flight corridors.

It's a silly idea, even if they had technology that wasn't barely tested and hideously dangerous.

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Stupid flying machines

I saw half of a documentary about the US jetpack prototypes they were playing with in the late 50s / early 60s. Firstly with rockets, then they built a little jet.

Obviously they had very limited fuel. As if you put too much weight in, it was impossible to stand up.

So as a stunt, they decided to fly across Niagra Falls. But, running out of fuel halfway across is bad. So this guy worked out a brilliant wheeze to give him more time. He'd step off the cliff at the same time he turned his motors on.

So I've seen the footage of him confidently stepping out, sinking ten feet, then hovering away happily.

Of course, there isn't any footage of him stepping out confidently, then the thing failing to start up, and him plummeting to his death. He was either awfully confident in the machinery, or insanely brave.

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'Don't Google Google, Googling Google is wrong', says Google

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Happy

Re: A proposal…

How about Search on Google? I weirdly prefer the sound of SoG - and you're not creating an "i" from nowhere, in order to make your acronym work. Like SCSI cheating to be pronounced scuzzy.

So I could say, "please can you sog for a local pizza place.

Or, I was sogging online for porn the other day.

Or a web designer could tell marketing that the site is very easy to find online as it has all the right search engine friendly keywords and such by saying, "our site is very soggy."

Hmmmmm. On second thoughts...

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Re: Timeline...

2024: Organ harvesting drones have been sent to all locations where Google's servers have detected use of the word googling.

2025: No uses of the word googling have been detected this year. It is estimated that the organ banks now hold sufficient stock to keep the remaining few million humans alive for 10,000 years. Matrix OS v1.243

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: In the UK...

Nope. I've never heard of a pointy man-made bing before.

Are you suggesting Microsoft's favourite search engine is a slag-heap? I have heard that it's better for searching for porn than Google...

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: In the UK...

I doubt anyone looks at you with disdain for saying you'll "bing" something. As most of them won't know what the hell you mean. People in an IT context would laugh at you though.

It's a funny area. I used to say mp3 player, as I had the rather lovely Rio Carbon at the time that loads of people were getting iPods. But should have said iPod, as that was the word most people knew for mp3 player, even if the one they owned also wasn't an iPod.

My Mum does her hoovering with a Dyson.

I guess Googling became the word because "search" can be ambiguous, "search the internet" is too long and Google were top dog at the time many people were first doing this. Anyone remember the rather sad TV adverts "do you Yahoo?" No! Because your homepage looks like it was designed by a blind speed-addict who hates all sighted people.

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I ain't Spartacus
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Re: That'll confuse users

So many people say their browser is 'Google'

I asked someone to open Internet Explorer yesterday. To click on a bookmark.

He got confused of course, and when I went over to help, I found he'd opened Chrome and typed "internet explorer" into the search box...

As he doesn't know what a browser is, I can only conclude that he ended up with Chrome when Google were marketing it like spyware, so you got a "free" download of it when you installed/updated Flash or Adobe's PDF reader.

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El Reg is hiring an intern. Apply now before it closes

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Devil

Re: I am not at all sure the ad is genuine

You have, of course, spotted the problem. The offer is too good to be true.

Basically El Reg are desperate to be invited back to Apple press events. They've tried cajolery, bribery, threats and then just waiting. Nothing has worked. So now they're on to the next plan. Human sacrifice! Hence the tempting offers of money, beer and cheese.

I'm just surprised they didn't do this a few months ago, in order to get into last night's iPhone launch. Perhaps that was the last straw? Which is why they immediately thought of this the day after.

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Happy

Re: cheese and biscuits

Why are they offering beer, if they're also offering cheese and biccies?

Surely the correct drink with those is port.

Unless they aren't using "the odd pint" in the normal colloquial sense, but actually mean "pint of port". In which case, I highly approve! This should be made a new Reg Standard immediately!

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Your boss asks you to run the 'cloud project': Ever-changing wish lists, packs of 'ideas'... and 1 deadline

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Devil

Re: Enterprise Architecture

...to provide some nice upper management friendly picture of all the interconnected bits...

Presumably in crayon...

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Five ways Apple can fix the iPhone, but won't

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Happy

The SpaceX system carefully guides falling phones down to the surface, a process which the phones increasingly often survive without exploding

Tee hee.

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Re: Accessibility ?

iOS is recommended by the RNIB - and the couple of blind people I know who choose to use touch screen devices use iOS.

Apple had some usability features in the early iPhones, and put quite a few more features in for either iOS 4 or 5. Don't remember which. They've also put quite a few resources into user testing since - I know someone who's had several conversations with Tim Cook about it, as he took a personal interest. Which I regard as much to his credit.

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