* Posts by PhilipN

406 posts • joined 12 Oct 2010

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Need the toilet? Wanna watch a video ad about erectile dysfunction?

PhilipN
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Curved Air

Nice one, Dabbsy. Spot on. One of the best singles of that decade.

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China launches aircraft carrier the length of 2.1 brontosaurs

PhilipN
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Any marine architects here?

A fascinating subject but in the context of the article : several centuries ago, in response to a Dutch strategy of designing and building Bigger and Better Vessels the UK Government threw resources at designing and building Even Bigger and Better Vessels. Some years later : British Empire.

Dunno how much but there must have been some advantage in having suitable trees in Blighty back then (after all, whisky is better when aged in American Oak barrels so why waste ours?) or possibly expertise in building barns helped.

Moral : Government support of R&D helps.

Moral 2 : There will be immense pride in China at having built their own carrier. You can guess where it could lead from here.

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Facebook decides fake news isn't crazy after all. It's now a real problem

PhilipN
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"making Faceboook safe ..."

Straight out of the Microsoft Manual of Platitudes. Quite meaningless. Obviously written by the PR guys, which means we are going to see this and other carefully chosen expressions every time there is a proclamation by FB.

The reality is, like it or not, misinformation is an integral part of the World whether it is at the government, political, street or personal - or office - level. Starts with saying "fine" in response to "how are you?" to, e.g., members of the same political party "dripping poison" in each others ears. To combat which we, as sentient beings, are supposed to develop a sense of scepticism and a habit of questioning.

What is a damn sight harder than eliminating blatant falsehoods is establishing the truth.

Frankly, misinformation is much more entertaining.

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China 'hacked' South Korea to wreck Star Wars missile shield

PhilipN
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Cardboard Tanks

Lots of dirty tricks in warfare going back millennia. See above which was a ruse in WWII.

Makes sense to have a whole artificial missile system to distract Johnny Foreigner's attention (and induce false confidence*) while the real one is properly ring-fenced.

*'Course the Law of Unintended Consequences will screw you every time, say if your cardboard tanks cause the enemy to ramp up production of its own tanks or anti-tank ordnance.

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(You can't) buy one now! The flying car makes its perennial return

PhilipN
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Re: "Roger Moore held hostage in Primark"

Christ, Dabbsy. I haven't shopped for razor blades on the High Street for ages but you can buy them online, you know.

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PhilipN
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Calories - I call BS

Given the human body is so efficient I could run a marathon on a slice of buttered toast with Golden Shred I don't see the use.

Well I can't run a marathon anyway, but you know what I mean.

Dieticians qualify as one of* The Professions Least Capable Of Reaching A Consensus. Is it lo-fat this week? Or hi-carb? Or paleo? Do I stoke up with protein before, during or after a workout? Say again?.. Yes or maybe no to all of those questions? Oh - lack of magnesium, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or....... common bloody sense?

*The others being Economists, Statisticians and Politicians.

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Apple nabs permit to experiment with self-driving iCars in Cali

PhilipN
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Prior Art - Crash! Bang! Wallop!

I was about to cast a vote in favour of self-driving vehicles - as long as EVERY vehicle was self-driving. But then remembered (as others here will) "driving" beaten up dodgems* at [your choice of rundown English coastal resort's even more rundown funfair] when the brakes didn't work, the steering wheel barely made a difference and the accelerator was worse than useless. I changed my mind.

On reflection I prefer a human brain - with all its wonderful defects - in charge.

*Hi, kids. Imagine Grand Theft Auto played out for real** on a basketball court.

** No, not virtually real. Really real.

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US military makes first drop of Mother-of-All-Bombs on Daesh-bags

PhilipN
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Contradictory

I would not want such a mother exploding over my head however deeply dug in I am but there is a lot about this which makes no sense - apart from (1) willy-waving and (2) got it so use it.

It was not a bunker buster (q.v.) which strikes me as the weapon of choice for this scenario. It explodes in the air. OK accepted that the air is sucked out - actually blown out, which is what every explosion does - but only briefly before it rushes back in - the implosion which follows every explosion. This may - OK will - encourage underground collapse in tunnels whose exit is within the blast field but I am not convinced by the physics unless it is a primitive tunnel system.

If the US military has not been able to dig out those moving freely (sic) within the tunnel system it suggests a complex of rabbit warrens with limited access, from which it follows that most damage will come from the pressure wave insofar as it reaches downwards. How far is that?

And are we then talking about a geology of loam or rock?

Accepted that anyone on the ground and within a certain (limited) distance below ground (measured from ground zero) would be pretty well vaporised but unless they got very lucky I do not see much of a military impact overall.

Ergo this is a purely political exercise. Which is even more worrying : given that Trump possibly did not even realise they had a MOAB and a likely target in Afghanistan and followed his generals suggestion to drop one. And he does seem to enjoy being surrounded by the military ....

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Apple’s premium TV plans – the hobby doomed to stay that way

PhilipN
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"57 Channels .... " [and counting] ..

".... and Nothing On".

Well said, Brucey.

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Customer satisfaction is our highest priority… OK, maybe second-highest… or third...

PhilipN
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Re: Card - no

Cannot agree to the card alternative unless it is the pay-by-bonk variety.

People in the queue are usually in a hurry to get their cuppa or at least, justifiably, want to stand in the queue as little time as possible. The customer who holds everybody else up using a card to pay a few quid is the prat against whom the harrumphs will be pointless.

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Steppe thugs pacified by the love of stone age women

PhilipN
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Re: (alleged) locker-cave talk:

Neanderthal link : opens to a site with an uncanny resemblance to my wedding album

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After London attack, UK gov lays into Facebook, Google for not killing extremist terror pages

PhilipN
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For perspective - Siege of Sidney Street

A disturbing melange of criminally-minded immigrants, termed revolutionaries, the armed response, close involvement on the part of the Government represented by the Home Secretary, to what today would inevitably be called terrorism. Not for the first time; nor the last.

All more than 100 years ago. In London. The Home Secretary a young-ish Winston Churchill.

Would be interesting to look at contemporaneous news reports, short of which I guess they ran the same gamut from stiff upper lip sangfroid to rabid and bloodthirsty bollocks.

Come to think of it there wasn't much else back then apart from the print media.

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Disney plotting 15 more years of Star Wars

PhilipN
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Video games

I just checked to sustain this comment because otherwise I really really did not want to but the release of Star Wars video games pretty well tracks the release of each movie. Every video game (almost) gets tired after 18-24 months so the need to come out with a new game drags the movie production line by the nose along with it. And of course the production values. It became more blatant with each of the Terminator movies that the graphics and dialogue and a lot else besides were actually designed to cut and paste into the video game.

Then of course there's the product franchising which is Disney's forte AND new rides at their theme parks. And so it goes on.

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Google's stock rating downgraded as YouTube ad boycott contagion goes global

PhilipN
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Youtube has ads?

Oh - you mean those things that disappear when I click on the 'x'?

And those pretty coloured boxes on the side? Who'da thought?

Blowed if I can remember what was being sold by any of 'em.

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Wang, bang, thank you, mang: Acer exec off to sell PCs for Lenovo

PhilipN
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Wang

I realise this is the Age of Retro but I got a brief jolt seeing "Wang" in the title.

For the benefit of the children, Wang (the company, and also a bloke) was a member of a small group of (competing) manufacturers of "microcomputers" (sic) which boosted, indeed popularised, the entire industry from lowly beginnings. They also produced a top notch word processor. All way back in a previous century.

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GCHQ dismisses Trump wiretap rumours as tosh

PhilipN
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tr1ck5t3r

This guy reminds me - very similar style/presentation e.g. "silly billy" - of an a****le who used to troll the newsgroups (remember those?) many years ago. Back then the traditional response was (excuse caps) :

DON'T FEED THE TROLLS

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White-box slingers, Chinese server makers now neck-and-neck with US tech giants

PhilipN
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Does China have more than cheap labour?

No longer cheap

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If fast radio bursts really are revving up interstellar sailcraft, here's the maths

PhilipN
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Solar Wind

Way over my head (metaphorically and perhaps literally too) but this reminds me of using craft with large "sails" driven by solar wind which I remember reading about many years ago in Arthur C. Clarke's "The Promise of Space". At least I think that's where the memory is from. He reckoned it was a viable and relatively efficient means of propulsion for non-time-critical and even heavy cargo which could build up a reasonable speed over time because of what would be constant acceleration.

A lot of punters here will know he has form with such ground-breaking concepts. One of his essays was entitled "How I Lost A Billion Dollars In My Spare Time" ruing the fact that although he formulated the concept of communication satellites soon after WWII he never thought of taking out a patent.

Edit : Blimey. Just checked and the anniversary of his passing is days away - 19th March. Reminds me to raise a glass to a true original and selfless contributor to humanity.

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Cold callers illegally sold Aussie farmers 1,700 years worth of printer ink

PhilipN
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Dear El Reg : Try Google Maps

The original article says they are Queensland farmers.

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PhilipN
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Hung up the phone?

No. It means the good lady was polite and friendly enough not to slam the phone down until the last "Thank you. Goodbye". THAT is stereotypical Aussie (in my experience) and whilst this is not completely apparent from the article is expected and predictable when the nearest neighbour might be 3 miles away in an area the size of Blighty with a few thousand people.

And a worse sin than being dumb is being ignorant.

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President Trump-themed escort services may soon open in China

PhilipN
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If he thinks this will deter the rip-off artists ...

... totally delusional

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Iconic Land Rover Defender may make a comeback by 2019

PhilipN
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Time to face reality

That's business reality.

First, when VW resurrected the Beetle it was not a Beetle. It was designed to sort of maybe look a bit like a beetle and latest iterations are no longer so recognisable.

BMW and the Mini - ditto, even worse. Anyone who compares the latest so-called Mini with Issigonis' original is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Point : So any "new improved" Defender will be no such thing. End of story.

Second, why should JLR cannibalise its own sales with an upper range SUV when they already have several Range Rover models there. That leaves space - perhaps - for a low end rugged off-roader which is either (a) cheap and cheerful and therefore NOT WORTH THE INVESTMENT or (b) full of today's essential bells and whistles ....see "Point" above.

One possible option is the cheap and cheerful version for e.g. China's farmers. Anyone who has seen a farmer transporting his produce to market by means of a generator lashed to an axle will know what I mean. BUT Tata-owned JLR obviously do not want to do cheap and cheerful and they probably would do better embarking on such a business plan from India anyway.

Third I have been driving Jags for many years and now have two and a Land Rover D4**. Whilst I was cautiously happy with the business and design decisions coming from JLR UK I am fast becoming thoroughly pissed off with local service since they clearly want service income to compete with sales income. For example whereas the service depot used to be spread over two floors it is now cramped into one floor crammed with Jags and LR's fighting for space.

Tata and JLR are going to have to come up with something good and I mean very VERY bloody good to retain my loyalty to the Defender brand.

**Maybe not the style that most purists here are waxing lyrical about but I am *****d if I am going to try and drive a 90 or 120 through rush hour traffic.

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Spies do spying, part 97: Shock horror as CIA turn phones, TVs, computers into surveillance bugs

PhilipN
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Pint

Rogue Operative

A good deal of human progress derives from the actions of rogue operatives.

Cheers, mate!

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Pence v Clinton: Both used private email for work, one hacked, one accused of hypocrisy

PhilipN
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Something missing in all this

Ask me how many email accounts I have - no clue.

There's a small number I set up and use regularly.

One or more I have probably forgotten about.

Others given automatically by one service provider or another which I may not even know about (e.g. broadband provider). Even while I think of it some of them spring to mind.

Running into double figures already.

Point : Almost anyone who is online regularly these days has a sprinkling of active addresses. So if I were Sec of State or Gov of Backwater USA I would be happy to let the dogs sniff around a selected email account and be happy they are too engaged to look for all the others.

Now when we get started on online storage ... G Drive, iCloud, One Drive, Dropbox, Cloudme, again broadband provider ... AND data automatically uploaded by one app or another ...there are definitely files secreted somewhere I have forgotten about ..

Kee-rist .. I also need to remember to clear out the draft emails folder otherwise I could be in BIG trouble.

Correction : Something major missing in all this

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BONG! Lasers crack Big Ben frequency riddle BONG! No idea what to do with this info BONG!

PhilipN
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Other uses?

Can they point their kit at a rock band and give us the sonic picture in 3D?

Actually I guess that's what my brain does already.

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Lap(top) of luxury: Porsche Design revs up 2-in-1 Windows 10 slab

PhilipN
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Detachable keyboard is a fundamentally bad idea

MS knew this when the first Surface came out. To anticipate the negative their TV Ad showed grinning airheads skating and grinning and detaching and grinning and re-attaching the frigging keyboard as if it is the "latest, coolest, greatest, FUN" thing to do. It isn't.

Curiously a related piece here from Simon Sharwood reports IDC as predicting "a tiny ray of sunlight in future sales of touch-screen PCs with detachable screens".

Since we are into retro many here will recall the emergence of proto-phablets from Nokia with perfectly usable built-in physical keyboards in a mobile phone form factor. Then Google's G1 managed it with a slightly awkward but workable design. How is "detachable" an advance?

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Pai, Pai, Mr American spy: FCC supremo rips up privacy protections for broadband punters

PhilipN
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Welcome to the '60's ... '70's

Perhaps complementing another piece seeking New Blood at El Reg this is the second item received last night (where I live) whose by-line referenced a classic song which means nothing to today's yoof**.

By the way - Thanks! And if you want to update the job advertisement to encompass Old Farts I might well apply.

** Hi kids. Steve Stills/Buffalo Springfield was one. Don McLean the other. Go Google them.

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Facebook scales back AI flagship after chatbots hit 70% f-AI-lure rate

PhilipN
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Re: The problem with Facebook

Well said and I would go half a league further - FB is wasteful and counter-productive. It has reached epidemic proportions now, as I look at a website - news, manufacturer, what-have-you - and there is a box telling me to visit their FB page. Why TF would I want to go somewhere else when I am already looking at the main website? Mad. Just imagine the resources including internet hardware to handle such nonsense.

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Huge if true: iPhone 8 will feature 3D selfies, rodent defibrillator

PhilipN
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Head phone

I want a phone small enough to fit somewhere inside my skull. Plenty of room there. Or even a dental implant. Kinetic charging from chewing gum. Siri to whisper the time in a sexy voice. Built-in heart-rate blood pressure and steps monitor. Satnav. Fuck this is a good idea. In fact several implants linked by - what else - blueteeth. Phew! Now I have seen the future 50 years hence I need to lie down and listen to War and Peace.

Oh not finished. Direct link to the optic nerve so no external display. Do not disturb I am watching Star Wars Part Soixante-Neuf.

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Zuckerberg thinks he's cyber-Jesus – and publishes a 6,000-word world-saving manifesto

PhilipN
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What the ......?!!

El Reg's hack's opening paragraph spot on.

This would be laughable (as well as sick-making) save that it emanates from a guy who wields influence - as much if not more by virtue of the law of unintended consequences than by design.

Worse : completely delusional. This piece could have been written by a hyped-up Robinson Crusoe - the lord and master of his domain - oops - the only one in it - before he saw the footprint in the sand.

I often wonder how the World manages to work at all but it sure as hell is not going to change because of this sophomoric nonsense.

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The Mail vs Wikipedia: They're more alike than they'd ever admit

PhilipN
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I'm pretty sure the ancient Greeks had most things documented.

It supports your point, I think, that the weird forms of human behaviour, the sort we do NOT talk about at the dinner table, all seem to have names derived from Greek rather than Latin.

I'd give a few examples but owing to natural delicacy etc etc

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Last Concorde completes last journey, at maybe Mach 0.02

PhilipN
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Halo Effect

The first time I heard the above expression was in connection with Concorde and BA. It was claimed to give a bump to BA's image world-wide and they reckoned to increase passenger loads generally on other flights simply because of the halo effect of flying with the airline that flew supersonic.

But yes that disappeared in minutes with the crash in Paris.

Having said that it was a tiny bugger. Some may remember Concorde flew to Caracas at one point. I had an uncle who flew there a few times on business. He was very tall - 6 foot 3 - and he could only complain about the leg room.

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RAF pilot sent jet into 4,000ft plummet by playing with camera, court martial hears

PhilipN
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Re: Low level loss of concentration

I used to think (and still do) that the appalling accident rate of Starfighters in Germany was mainly because of Arkansas and Texas flyboys the first time off the farm, in a foreign country, and having a blast in a jet aircraft.

Happy to hear our lads are of the same mentality. Let's face it - if I were a kid getting to fly a Typhoon sure as hell I would want to skim the trees. Wouldn't we all? (Except the po-faced Squadron Leader who had grown out of it)

And it is supposed to be what they are good at. I seem to recall a key feature of the RAF's role in the first Iraq "engagement" was low-level bombing raids over Iraqi airstrips. Even the Yanks thought it was crazy. Believe the RAF lost 3 aircraft that way before trying a different strategy.

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Apple CEO: 'Best ever' numbers would be better if we'd not fscked up our iPhone supply

PhilipN
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IPad - down

Not surprising at all. I have about 6 of them of various pedigrees floating around home and office, all working, but I'm just as likely to pick up the phone to check something on the Internet. I shan't buy another unless it can do something outstanding - such as producing a decent plate of bacon and eggs.

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Kylie withdraws from Kylie trademark fight, leaving Kylie to profit from… existing?

PhilipN
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Can't believe I wasted 2 minutes of my life on this news

So to make up for it here is a starter list of Wastes of Space (Nos. 1 and 2 being of course Kylie I and Kylie II) :

Russell Brand

Pete Doherty

Eddie Izzard (unfortunately having gone from Diamond Geezer to WoS)

Everyone whose surname begins with Kar ,,,, except Dad

.

.

There are others who are prime targets for a STFU but it is Chinese New Year here so I shall declare boundless goodwill for those mentioned above

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WTF? Francis Ford Coppola crowdsources Apocalypse Now game

PhilipN
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The decision to crowbar films into games to create a parallel income stream has ruined many movie franchises. It is a relief that Apocalypse Now came out several decades ago. If it had been made today with an eye on the gaming market it would have been one of the worst movies ever made instead of one of the best.

A new game based on the film, though - I am intrigued.

I am similarly intrigued at the thought that models of Kurtz, military choppers playing Wagner and other items (such as Frederic Forrest's severed head) could end up in toy shops.

Not sure whether a game would be allowed if it included a trip to an opium den (Apolocalypse Now Redux) but either way I'd buy it - if only to ensure that the surfer (Sam Bottoms) has his head blown off at the first opportunity.

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Forget Tony Stark's Iron Man – exosuits of the future will be spandex

PhilipN
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Great ... but ...

Why bother? Walking etc. with two counter-balancing legs of similar dimensions, one left, one right, with alternating separation from Planet Earth works great for us 'cos that is how we are built*. It is not the optimum method for locomotion generally. Nor is it efficient, when one leg has to be strong enough to bear the entire load while the other is in mid-air. It has proven to be an immense challenge to replicate industrially. Wheels (1, 2, 4 or more) are a better option in many scenarios. The exception is where the mountain goat comes into his own. Or the tank track.

* and don't get me started on having 5 toes at the end of each leg - whose brilliant idea was that?? If it was to help us count to 20 it failed - and a foot of a couple dozen bones more advanced (and effective) than anything Mr. Adidas has yet invented.

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Chinese investors gobble up owner of PCWorld, Macworld etc

PhilipN
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Welcome to the world of zero transparency

Of course such outward "investments" from the PRC cannot possibly be anything to do with recent restrictions on expatriation of capital which would prevent just sending the cash out, can it?

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Uber, Apple, Amazon and Sully Sullenberger walk into a bar – er, self-driving car committee

PhilipN
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25 people?

Forget it. No group that big can ever achieve anything.

Unless it's really just 2 or 3 and the rest are there just as a sop to whomsoever, keep their collective mouths shut and nod at the right time.

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Congrats, PC slingers. That's now FIVE straight years of shrinking sales

PhilipN
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Re: Mature market shake out

Agreed. Well said.

It would be interesting to know amongst people coming here, although it might be a skewed sample, how many have multiple working but unused computers mainly laptops going back years. I dread to think how many I have floating around home and (my own) office, some of which even those running W7 quite adequately have not been fired up for months and months, others of which have been sitting in cupboards and forgotten about.

Reminds me I still have an IBM PC 110 Palmtop somewhere geared up to run W95. I think I'll dig it out this weekend just for fun. A different point but the best keyboard I ever used.

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CES 2017 roundup: The good, the bad, and the frankly bonkers

PhilipN
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...on the wrist or wherever....

You mean like this one :

https://happic.co

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Microsoft goes retro with Vista, Zune-style Windows Neon makeover

PhilipN
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Re: You're not a hipster unless you're still mourning OS/2.

eCS works fine in a VM on macOS. Even the audio.

What would have been nice is if Sun's Project Looking Glass desktop had been ported to OS/2. PLG was 10 years ahead of its time. Soon it will be 20 years ahead of its time.

Blimey - it's been open-sourced :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Looking_Glass

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Prez Obama expels 35 Russian spies over election meddling

PhilipN
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35??

When Russia must have 3500 or even 35000 operatives in the USA?

What a joke.

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Twas the week before Xmas ... not a creature was stirring – except Microsoft admitting its Windows 10 upgrade pop-up went 'too far'

PhilipN
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Re: M$ Long History

OMG so much Stalinesque re-writing of history here.

Suggest those interested find Eric Raymond's comment about Win95 being "shockingly inferior" to another OS and take it from there

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Itchy-fingered OnePlus presses refresh, out pops value champ 3T

PhilipN
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... talking to the person in the passenger seat ..

When I worked near Buck Place I saw some old biddie driving along The Mall busy chatting to her passenger just as if they were neighbours gossiping over the fence while hanging out washing. She sailed straight past the cop on point duty despite his raised hand - and despite also, when he saw what she was (not) doing, a loud whistle and a "STOP!". She was blissfully ignorant of the entire episode.

The cop turned his head around just long enough to clock her number.

I doubt whether Gladys was taking Vera on joyrides through London for much longer after that.

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Jimbo Welshes on pledge to stop fundraising

PhilipN
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Re: "you'd know that The Register is a satirical rag"

Informative and knowledgeable articles dressed up in an entertaining skin - yes

Occasional lewdness and NSFW warnings - yes

Carefully selected eye-catching photos (originally) unconnected with the article - yes

Running gags and themes such as Playmobil, Paris etc - yes

Slightly skewed phraseology with more-often-than-necessary innuendos - yes

Persistent attacks on pomposity - with an edge of self-righteous pomposity - yes

Acidic commentary softened with artifical tongue-in-cheek barbs supposed to sound self-deprecating - yes

I could go on but KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

Hang on - Free??? Oh, fuck. Then how do I cancel my subscription??!!

Scrub all the above.

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Don't panic, friends, but the Chinese navy just nicked one of America's underwater drones

PhilipN
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How stupid can you get?

Allowing a foreign vessel, which has been shadowing you, close enough and with time enough to grab YOUR drone from the water?

In the Royal Navy that would have been a court martial offence.

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Facebook hires Hillary Clinton to lead assault on fake news*

PhilipN
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End of the Internet as we know it? No

Does this mean from now on the Net will start to become accurate but boring?

No thanks.

Everyone loves to read scurrilous rumours and of course we consciously suspend discrimination, the same as we do when watching Tom and Jerry.

Or when reading about a gay liaison between Hillary and Yoko Ono (yup there was such a report)

Or watching Smith & Jones sniggering about Rowan Atkinson smearing himself with peanut butter before riding in his sports car (sorry, can't find the link on Youtube).

Same with the gutter press.

And of course daily life whether it is gossiping in the office about a lass (or lad) of low morals or the C of E matrons peering from behind their net curtains at those new neighbours ....

Welcome to Planet Earth.

Seems to me the user needs guidance, not (as much as I hate to say it) FB.

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Remember that brightest supernova ever seen? It wasn't one

PhilipN
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Beefheart - Thanks

Not responding to my own post, which is bad form, but noticing with appreciation the Beefheart reference

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Trump's 140 characters on F-35 wipes $2bn off Lockheed Martin

PhilipN
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Taiwan - when it was more commonly known as Formosa

The USA shafted Taiwan once before. They WILL do it again.

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