* Posts by Buzzword

901 posts • joined 30 Jun 2010

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Steelie Neelie finds phone calls are cheaper in Latvia than in Luxembourg

Buzzword
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"Suppliers charge what the market can afford"

Only monopolists or oligopolists can get away with that.

Look at e.g. the oil market. Buyers in the UK can afford a higher price for oil, yet miraculously we pay the same price (excl. tax) for oil as the Latvians. That's because oil is fungible and is traded in a competitive, market. Phone minutes/texts/data are fungible too, so the market should be just as competitive.

One way to ensure a competitive market would be to allow users to change network instantly, e.g. via a setting in their phones. Within no time at all the price of minutes, texts, and data would tumble to just above cost price.

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Hooker in Dudley man's car 'just helping to buy tomatoes'

Buzzword
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Re: This law

No, the law exists to keep prostitutes off the streets and in licenced "massage parlours". Local residents are generally opposed to seeing ladies of the night hawking their flesh on the streets. Probably because they lower house prices.

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Psssst: If you wanna be rich, make the next privacy Robocop app

Buzzword
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Re: No shit, Sherlock!

Even with Javascript decryption, you'd have to trust the site providing it. Who's to say that the JS decryption code isn't secretly sending your keystrokes back to Gmail.com? For that matter, you can't trust the browser makers either - and if the spooks can corrupt Microsoft, Google, and Apple, then most likely they can corrupt the Mozilla foundation too. Technical solutions aren't the answer - only legal solutions.

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Forget Snowden: What have we learned about the NSA?

Buzzword
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How are they using the data?

Like many, I wasn't that surprised by the revelations that US spooks had access to Gmail, Facebook, Amazon, etc. What I'd really like to know is how they are using that data. Is it just the anti-terrorist branch that has access, or is it the IRS, the child support agency (if they have one), and every local police officer? Are the NSA passing on industrial secrets to big companies?

Also, is information gleaned in this way admissible in court? Can the NSA point to your PDF e-book of "How to Make Bombs and Injure People" and use that as evidence that you're a terrorist?

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Voyager 1 'close' to breaking through to DEEP SPACE - boffins

Buzzword
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Mandatory XKCD comic

Voyager has left the solar system again?!

http://xkcd.com/1189/

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Boffin's claim: I have found how to get girls into tech

Buzzword
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What happens when lies meet real world?

When our lovely ladies enter the world of IT work, they'll be mightily disappointed to discover that the media lied to them. Still, it makes a nice change from the medias usual lies about photoshopped models.

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Vodafone coughs up £6.5bn for Kabel Deutschland

Buzzword
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Quads aren't for everyone

"The assumption was that the public would want combined billing from one communications supplier"

In a world where one family = one house, maybe. But London is home to some two million flat-sharers. Nobody wants to split the phone bill with the Brazilian guy who spends all night on the phone to his girlfriend back in Rio.

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Using encryption? That means the US spooks have you on file

Buzzword
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Large files

What if we encrypt all our messages, and pad them out to 100 MB too? That's small enough to keep our own messages, but big enough to cause a storage headache for the NSA & friends.

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Microsoft's canceled 'Project Brazil' took aim at Amazon, eBay

Buzzword
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Ubuntu got there first

This sounds suspiciously like Ubuntu's desktop search reaching into Amazon.

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Nokia Lumia 925: The best Windows Phone yet

Buzzword
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Bought one last week. It's a great phone, with a lovely screen, but marred by a mediocre OS.

There's no notification center. Multi-tasking is limited. The browser doesn't have a "forward" button (this sounds like a tiny detail, but in practice it's quite irritating). The status bar doesn't show the battery percentage, just a small icon. The status bar disappears most of the time (this is touted as a feature, but there's no way to disable it). You can't scroll through Youtube videos; you can only jump forward or backward 30 seconds at a time.

My biggest gripe is that the default font is massive. Using e.g. the Facebook app, you actually see less information on this phone's 4.5" screen than on an old iPhone's 3.5" screen. The email client has the same problem.

The lack of apps isn't so much of an issue: the important ones are there, and for most of the rest I can use the browser. Overall though WP8 doesn't stand up to iOS, at least for me. It's a shame as I'm quite the fan of MS otherwise.

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IT mercenaries and buy-to-let landlords are my HEROES - here's why

Buzzword
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Re: Tax?

But if you do own the rental property outright, and you're in the 40% tax bracket, then you're treated rather harshly for tax purposes.

Let's assume you own your house outright and rent it out, while working in another city where you rent from a landlord. Assume that both houses cost the same in rent. Your rental income only covers 60% of your rental cost because the rest goes on tax.

The only way to avoid this is to take out a mortgage on the first property and use it to buy a home in the city where you work. The current tax system actually encourages you to load up on debt so as to minimise your tax bill. A cynic might suggest that that is a deliberate feature, not a bug.

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CRINGE! Home Office wants to know whether your boss BEATS YOU

Buzzword
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Imagine if this strategy was rolled out across government. The police could survey members of the public, asking if they have committed any crimes recently. Makes sense, since we can always trust the bad 'uns to incriminate themselves.

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What do you mean WHY is Sony PS4 so pricey in Oz?

Buzzword
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Re: Landfill devices

Not a fanboi. The Samsung Galaxy S4 also commands a premium in Australia; but the budget Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus S7500 is actually cheaper in Australia ($189 at Kogan) than in the US ($249 at Best Buy).

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Buzzword
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Landfill devices

Yup. Apple charge over the odds for the iPhone down under, but there's no "Australia tax" on unloved landfill Android devices. They've worked out that Australians are willing (and able) to pay more for premium products.

Thanks to your higher wages you still end up better off. Whinging Aussies....

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Patch Tuesday: And EVERY version of IE needs fixing AGAIN

Buzzword
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Reboot required

These patches wouldn't be half as annoying if Windows could update files that are currently in use. Mac OS X achieves this, most of the time. Having to close my dozens of applications with their carefully-positioned windows is a significant pain point.

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Curtain drops on Apple Store ahead of WWDC: What lies behind?

Buzzword
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On the absence of leaks

Presumably there is no new hardware to leak, since the iPhone 5 isn't really due a refresh until autumn.

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Signatures no good at protecting databases, says Juniper

Buzzword
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Really?

Is SQL injection really still a problem? Any half-baked coder knows to use parameterized queries. What's more, their proposed solution sounds ridiculously complex.

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Google whips the sheet off new Gmail interface

Buzzword
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If You Have Gmail You Must Have This!

Looks like these new features eliminate the need for that heavily-advertised insane $5-a-month email filtering service.

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Hey, you, dev. What do you mean, storage is BORING?

Buzzword
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Cloud

But cloud computing is making storage invisible. As storage (and computing power) become commodities, the interesting action moves higher up the stack.

Then again I'm a developer, so I would say that....

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Facebook teens' kimonos - basically never closed

Buzzword
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Re: "get annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details"

There's a big difference between sharing your personal details such as name, home town, school, date of birth; versus posting inane updates like "I'm eating a ham sandwich". It's only the latter that annoy.

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Cameron's Tech City: Desks? Yes. Cash? Yes. Coders? Nope

Buzzword
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Re: EC1 ~ £600pd, E1 ~ £??? @Buzzword

You're assuming that the supply of skilled workers is fixed - when in fact we have a highly flexible labour force and we can import workers from the rest of Europe. If salaries in Shoreditch aren't enough even to attract an unemployed Spaniard or Greek, then they're definitely not paying enough.

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Buzzword
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There's no such thing as a lack of skilled workers. There's only a shortage at a given price. In other words they just aren't paying enough. Shoreditch's start-ups have to compete for talent, and they're up against the City's well-paid financial sector next door. I've never heard a City bank complain of a shortage of developers.

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London Olympics site to become digital mega-hub

Buzzword
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Re: Pardon my cynicism but...

Indeed. The recently-opened Shard provides 575,000 sq ft of office space in zone 1; this "technodome" will provide just 300,000 sq ft in zone 3.

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Mobile tech destroys the case for the HS2 £multi-beellion train set

Buzzword
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No new roads?

But not all work time is of equal value. Your businessman might be worth £50 an hour on average, but the work he can do in the train or the driverless car isn't the same work that he can do in the office. In my experience the work you can do on the train is of much lower value, e.g. sorting your inbox, adding animations to your Powerpoint presentation, or dashing off quick emails like "I'll get back to you when I'm back in the office".

Putting these numbers into the mythical cost/benefit spreadsheet would still give HS2 a lower benefit than assuming no work at all is done on the train; but a higher benefit than assuming that all work is equal.

There is of course a uniquely British disease of saying that what we've got is good enough, and that rather than build more we should just charge people more to use it. This applies to trains, airports, housing, water, energy, etc. I'd be glad to have HS2 just to prove that we're capable of pulling our collective finger out.

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McAfee all-in-one security suite covers PCs, tablets, and smartphones

Buzzword
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Re: Ooh, I can safely store my credit card and passport scans on it!

I did once use an online copy of my passport, displayed on my smartphone, as proof of ID to rent a car. I don't think it was standard procedure though :)

(it was in my "sent mail" box, having recently been sent to a recruitment agent)

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Mystery Sony big-screen ereader to sport E Ink bender

Buzzword
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Headmaster

Re: A4

Pedantry alert: A4 measures 210 by 297mm, or 8.3" by 11.7", so the diagonal is 14.3". The 13.3" screen will fit A4 as long as there is at least a 1cm margin on all four sides.

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Apple asked me for my BANK statements, says outraged reader

Buzzword
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Private companies DO do this

Want to rent a flat in London? Letting agencies regularly ask for 3-6 months of bank statements as proof of income. Recruitment agencies also ask for scans of passports. To rent a car using just a debit card (not a credit card), at least one major car rental company asks for not only a driving licence, but also a passport and a proof of address such as a utility bill or a bank statement.

There's nothing particularly unusual in Apple wanting to check the identity of their customers.

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How smart does your desk phone need to be?

Buzzword
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Megaphone

Just give us voice quality

There are only two features that I demand from a modern phone, over and above it's 1950s equivalent:

- Caller ID

- HD voice

Amazingly, many companies still don't bother sending out the true caller ID; at best you get the ID of the reception desk. In this day and age it's inexcusable.

As for voice quality: In the last two companies I worked for, the phones themselves were perfectly capable of supporting HD voice, but the option hadn't been activated at the switchboard / server level. Why manufacturers don't enable it by default is beyond me. They're deliberately making their own products look bad.

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The Metro experiment is dead: Time to unleash Windows Phone+

Buzzword
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Go

Re: Windows Phone+ is a poor name

Here's the full list of Microsoft's trademarks: http://members.microsoft.com/library/toolbar/3.0/trademarks/en-us.mspx

Personally I quite like the name "Digital Anvil" for a slab-based OS.

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Nokia teases world+dog with snap of new 4G Lumia 928

Buzzword
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14th May event?

There is a Nokia event scheduled for 14th May in London. It wouldn't make sense to announce a Verizon-compatible phone in the UK, so there must presumably be more to it.

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Review: Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 WinPro 8 tablet

Buzzword
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Price: Quantity vs Quality

The problem is the price. For £2,000 you can give your engineers one Toughbook, or you can buy eight netbooks. Unless they're particularly clumsy, or working in inhospitable environments, they're unlikely to chew through eight netbooks in a four year period.

Most Toughbook users only ever use them inside their vans or site offices; they aren't pressing buttons in heavy rain. For those people, a cheap netbook is a better value proposition than a Toughbook. (Obviously if you do need to press buttons in the rain, then stick with the Toughie.)

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Java still vulnerable despite recent patches

Buzzword
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Android?

Since Android's Dalvik VM is based on Java, does it also suffer from these kinds of vulnerabilities?

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Ten Windows 8 Ultrabooks

Buzzword
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Still only 4GB ?!

What's with laptop makers only providing 4 GB of memory in this day and age? Many of them don't even offer an upgrade option. 4 was standard some years ago; I'd expect at least 8 today, even in a laptop.

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Notebook makers turn to Android in face of Windows woes

Buzzword
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Metro

Just kill Metro and bring back the Start menu. There, that's everything fixed for Microsoft.

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Hardware hacker unifies 15 retro consoles in format frenzy

Buzzword
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3,500 hours?

When you say 3,500 hours, do you mean that he started the project last November and he spent the odd spare hour here or there working on it? Or do you mean 3,500 hours of solid work, which is near enough two years of full-time employment?

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IT salaries: Why you are a clapped-out Ferrari

Buzzword
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What's next?

This leaves two questions:

1) What fast-growing industry would you recommend to school-leavers today?

2) What should those of us left in IT do to protect our wages?

As for #1, it seems obvious that youngsters should steer clear of IT if they want a (financially) rewarding career.

But #2 is less clear. Is now the time to take a permie position in a government department, safe in the knowledge that your wage will never fall? Or should we branch out, learn lots of skills, and try to find ways to use them all in our day jobs so as to keep our CVs looking good? Or just progress up to management and spend all day shouting at the poor folk who were too foolish to ignore #1 ?

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Google asks Blighty to slave over its Maps for FREE

Buzzword
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Tube lines

As yet there is no option to edit public transport lines. This is a shame, as their tube map is particularly shoddy. In most places they've just drawn a straight line between two stations, even in the above-ground areas where you can see the tracks in satellite view.

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WTF is... H.265 aka HEVC?

Buzzword
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Freeview

For the UK consumer, the timeline looks like this:

1996: H.262 (MPEG2)

1998: ONdigital, which became ITV Digital

2002: Freeview, from the ashes of ITV Digital

2003: H.264 (MPEG4)

2009: Freeview HD

2013: H.265

Given the current track record of taking six years from tech spec to product launch, can we pencil in the launch of Freeview 4K or Freeview HD+ in 2019 ?

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Who wants a smart meter to track'n'tax your car? Hello, Israel

Buzzword
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Re: We already have a system that you pay more the more you drive...

"drivers are heavily subsidised"

Err, what? On the contrary, drivers subsidise the exchequer to the tune of some £20bn per year. Revenues from fuel duties and vehicle excise duty amount to £31.5bn; yet the government only spends £9.9bn on road maintenance. (2009 figures).

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Maggie Thatcher: The Iron Lady who saved us from drab Post Office mobes

Buzzword
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In other words, they only started thinking about innovation when faced with the prospect of losing their cosy monopoly.

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Google Shopping Express dips toe in same-day home delivery

Buzzword
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Amazon's notable advantage is its network of Amazon Lockers. These reduce delivery costs by an order of magnitude compared to delivering directly to homes or businesses, and yet they are incredibly convenient. Trying to compete on last-mile deliveries is like an exercise in futility.

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Angry commentard mobs to feel Facebook jackboot in site tweak

Buzzword
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Didn't a certain vulture-themed IT news website recently add a very similar "Highly Rated" feature to its comments? :)

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Dragons' Den badboy's Expansys burns sales, profits up in smoke

Buzzword
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Dead business model

Their time in the market is over. A few years ago we had dozens, perhaps hundreds of suppliers all offering PDAs and semi-smart phones of various flavours. Expansys was the #1 shop to find unusual creatures such as the HP iPAQ, the O₂ XDA, the Dell Axim, or the lesser-spotted offerings from HTC, Dopod, Qtec, Fujitsu, Palm, etc. They also sold sat-navs from a myriad of companies. (In fact I look back on such times fondly, when Windows Mobile was the dominant OS.) Today everyone just wants an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy, and they can buy those from their local Phones4u. Expansys no longer offer anything different.

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CCTV hack takes casino for $33 MILLION in poker losses

Buzzword
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Faraday cage

For true security, these high-roller private rooms should be enclosed within a Faraday cage. No leaking of Wifi, 3G, Bluetooth, ham radio, or indeed anything. It's the only way they can be sure.

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Take a temp job in Oz and become office pariah

Buzzword
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Re: Let's do a deal

Not true any more - many of the Aussies are coming to work in professional services. Australian bartenders in the UK are a rare breed these days.

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Pwn2Own: IE10, Firefox, Chrome, Reader, Java hacks land $500k

Buzzword
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Wrong place

Why is the hacking contest held in affluent Vancouver? They'd surely get far more hacks if they offered a half-million dollars in prize money in China or Russia. These two countries are also the source of much of the world's most advanced hacking, so they'd be drawing on a knowledge pool that is both wide and deep.

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Honk if the car in front is connected

Buzzword
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"check the status"?

"You’ll be able to check the status of your car long before you slip in behind the wheel."

What's a car's "status"? I can't think of anything that I want to ask my car before I get in. No doubt the car will just reply: "It's complicated".

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Virgin Mobile coughs to choking its customers

Buzzword
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Re: 2Mb/sec should be enough for a video stream

Given that the average laptop sports a measly 1366x768 resolution, probably not long.

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MI5 test for Mandarin-speaking snoops 'just too easy'

Buzzword
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Voice recognition + Google translate?

Maybe technology can help address the shortfall?

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Brit robot programmers banged up for £500,000 tax evasion

Buzzword
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Re: What am i missing here ?

Plus a criminal record, which will be a headache when it comes to getting a new job when they come out of prison.

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