* Posts by DougS

12863 posts • joined 12 Feb 2011

China reveals home-grown supercomputer chips after Intel x86 ban

DougS Silver badge

For fuck's sake

The idiots in the Pentagon think this will hold them back, but it will only speed their development and make them more independent in their capabilities, while damaging US companies both today and in the future as China is able to better compete with them.

Anyway, China is hardly the military threat the USSR was back in the day (and the threat they posed to the US and western Europe was way overblown by the fear mongers trying to boost defense spending) China doesn't have a history of invading other countries, unlike the US. If anything they should be afraid of us, not the other way around.

Holding back technology didn't even work all that well with the USSR, despite them having to get off their asses and come over here to steal our technology, instead of hacking from their comfy office chairs like today. We wouldn't sell them VAXes, but they had VAXes... http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/creatures/pages/russians.html

Neil Young yanks music from streaming services: 'Worst audio in history'

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Re: my 2 cents

But he's not pulling his music from iTunes, Google Music and so on, he's only pulling it from streaming. He should have complained 14 years ago, it is too late now - Apple has the same quality for streaming they do for music purchased from iTunes and as pointed out there are even a couple streaming services that offer lossless. He'd have called them out as the only ones who offer his music for streaming if he really cared about quality.

He's just upset his income has dropped, which is partially due to the lower streaming rates but probably more due to the fact his fanbase is aging and dying.

Everything I see is Windows 10, says Microsoft's SatNad

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40% market share for Windows Mobile

That was back when the smartphone market was a few million phones a year. Nadella thinks Microsoft can regain those Windows Mobile users they lost - maybe they can, but that's less than 1% of today's market.

Almost all smartphone users became smartphone users after Windows Mobile was already dead. Bringing back that brand name means nothing to them, and is a joke to those of us who remember it.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Continuum

If you have a Windows phone that is essentially running the same kernel as desktop Windows, using an x86 CPU of some sort, why not?

I've long thought Apple should do this as they could steal share from Windows (though maybe they're worried they'd only steal share from OS X) It isn't quite the slam dunk but they do already have most popular apps on OS X, and adding a OS X GUI to the iPhone that only runs when you "dock" it to a keyboard/mouse wouldn't be hard. It isn't going to replace a real PC for demanding work, but for browsing on a full sized screen, writing term papers, etc. it would be ideal for students and twenty-somethings who are already buying PCs in far fewer numbers than older people.

Maybe when Microsoft finally does it, if it is even a little successful, Apple will finally do it too. They've ported the OS X GUI to iOS in their lab, so they've obviously considered this or at least experimented with it. Maybe they need someone to do it wrong so they can see where the problems are and show them how to do it right.

iPod dead? Nope, says Apple: New Touch has iPhone 6 brains

DougS Silver badge

Wouldn't it depend on the smartphone you're comparing it to? I highly doubt an iPod uses better audio components than an iPhone, but with Android there is a whole world of models out there and undoubtedly some of them will have inferior audio.

Citizenfour director Laura Poitras sues US for years of border security harassment

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Re: @DougS - you're an Ass.

I'm actually a libertarian, but I guess you tar anyone who doesn't agree with the republican morons you worship with the socialist brush. I remember back in the 80s guys like you called everyone communists, but I guess the days of the red scare is over so you've moved on.

Maybe someday you'll grow up and realize that the two parties are effectively in cahoots, trying to emphasize the differences between them to desperately hide the many many places they both agree and are both dangerously wrong for our country. All they care about is perpetuating their party's power and hitting the revolving door to cash in for themselves with cushy lobbying or defense/security industry jobs once their time is up. They need to keep fools like you cowering in fear from the boogeyman terrorists and believing true patriots like Snowden are traitors.

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@Dan Paul - you're an idiot

Had you read the article instead of taking an opportunity to blame Obama(tm) you would note that her harassment began in 2006, when President Cheney Bush, one of the republicans you think would save the day, was running things.

The only candidates likely to make significant changes in these sorts of policies are Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, neither of whom are likely to win.

Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

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Firefox sucks, however

The alternatives suck more. I used to care about its memory bloat (not that Chrome is any better) but memory is so cheap it doesn't matter how much a browser uses.


DougS Silver badge

I'm not seeing anything to indicate it is GM. The linked article says it is a "strain" which sounds more like it was the product of selective breeding, which everything humans eat - including what you grow in your garden - is.

Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

DougS Silver badge

Re: If you are going from Vista, 7 or 8/8.1 it will work

I just posted much the same thing until I noticed yours. The kernel version is the same - Vista was 6.0, 10 was 6.4 until they decided to hide the fact it has been incremental upgrades for nearly a decade by updating that to 10.0. What bloat have they added since Vista, other than Windows 8's useless touch GUI no one wanted?

The Windows 10 PC will even perform significantly better than a lower end PC purchased running Vista on the day it launched 8 1/2 years ago, if you replaced the original hard drive with a SSD.

Google joins Bluetooth snoop pals with iBeacon rival tech Eddystone

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Needs Android 4.3, not Android 2.3

Play Services 7.8 might run on 2.3, but beacons require BLE, which requires Android 4.3 - and the hardware has to support it as well.

Large Hadron SMASHER: Boffins BLOW OPEN the PENTAQUARK's secrets

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Re: never?

Perhaps dark matter, if it exists, is stable neutral particles made up from more than three quarks.

Mathematician: sunspot could mean mini ice age from 2030

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The timing jibes with the solar "maximum" in 1859

When a huge solar storm caused telegraph wires to catch on fire, etc. The timing of the minimum, the proposed 370 year cycle, etc. works out well for a non-cancellation maximum around that time (and earlier, but since we didn't have wires strung up and pretty much no electrical devices, we wouldn't have seen the effects)

If they're correct it is good news for the world power grid, our satellites, etc. By the time we leave the minimum we will have a century of additional technological advancement to deal with it (or have ignored it and be even more exposed)

Better yet, if we're warming the planet we'll cancel out the nasty side effect of colder weather, and have a century to figure out how to suck all that CO2 from the atmosphere when the minimum ends and we're due to finally pay the piper and see significant warming.

Natural geothermal heat under Antarctic ice: 'Surprisingly high'

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What would happen if a supervolcano lay beneath Antarctica?

OK, probably a silly question since some of the ice is millions of years old so there isn't a previously active supervolcano there. But Yellowstone wasn't always there, it formed at some point so every supervolcano has its "first" eruption.

If it blew like Yellowstone has in the past, would it send city sized icebergs into the stratosphere, falling down at random and leaving huge craters in which lakes form or resulting in tidal waves when they fall into the sea? Or is two miles of ice heavy enough to hold in all that pressure?

How much ice could that melt, and if it was hundreds of square miles were melted from below wouldn't that make it much easier for the whole west shelf to slide into the ocean?

Seems like I just wrote the plot for the next Hollywood disaster blockbuster. One of the city sized icebergs will drop on LA, after dropping on a few major cities in Europe or Asia. Somehow disasters always seem to hit LA or NYC, so I'm glad I live in the midwest where I'm obviously safe :)

DougS Silver badge

Re: Geothermal Power

Yellowstone is a national park, beloved by many, and there would be a tremendous amount of resistance to building all the infrastructure that would be required there to support this. Not to mention all the worry warts who would be concerned that tapping the heat would cause Old Faithful to stop erupting, or worry that drilling is going to cause the supervolcano to blow.

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@Ian Michael Gumby - radioactive core

It is believed by many that radioactive decay of potassium, uranium and thorium isotopes may be a major reason the Earth's core is as hot as it is. We don't know for sure what is down there, but the simplistic models that show the core as a ball of solid iron surrounded by liquid iron are obviously not telling the whole story as it should have lost much more heat since the Earth was formed since tidal stresses from the Sun and Moon don't nearly account for it.

PLUTO FLYBY: Here's your IT angle, all you stargazing pedants

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Re: So there's just no practical way to increase the data rate much?

Pluto just passed its closest to Earth for the next couple centuries a while back (remember when Neptune was briefly the further planet?) By the time it is closer than it is today, we might be able to take a vacation there. Well, probably not, but it would be nice to have the option!

Foxconn to hire a million Indian staff in major base shift

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So the wheel turns

When outsourcing got too expensive in India that's when it started going more and more to China. Since China's economy has grown so much, now it is being driven back to India. Surprised they aren't shooting for a lower cost country like Vietnam.

New Horizons mission to Pluto prepares for terrifying silence on Tuesday AM

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If quarterbacks used a ball that could have its direction controlled after it was initially tossed they'd be far more accurate. Hitting (or rather, just missing) Pluto isn't difficult, it is just math.

Designing the spacecraft so it stays operational and being able to overcome problems like the one from a week or two ago is the truly hard part, because they have to anticipate hundreds of "what ifs" and come up with solutions to them before experiencing them. If they miss one, and it happens, or one that has no solution (like the micrometeorite impact) occurs, then they're screwed.

Swimming in smartmobe profit? Let us guess, you're Tim Cook?

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Marginal manufacturers?

Which ones do you think the world would be better off without? Xiaomi sells premium Android phones at far lower prices than the equivalent model from Samsung, HTC, etc. Surely they'll do a better job of killing them off, though it is probably the ones selling $50 phones that you're talking about. No is going to kill them off, save those selling $30 phones upping their game.

There's no way Apple could make more money by offering a lower end iPhone. They'd cannibalize more of their high end sales than whatever they made by expanding their market.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Apple iPhone 6 is a budget phone by today's specs!

The higher price of iPhones is more easily justified on the basis of how well they hold their value if you want to sell them after they are 12 or 24 months old. Far better resale value than a 12 or 24 month old Galaxy S or Note, let alone the non-Samsung also-rans in the premium Android category.

Trolls will argue that it is because Apple buyers are stupid and will pay a lot even for a used iPhone, but regardless this makes a $650 iPhone cost a lot less than a $650 Samsung if you plan to upgrade every year or other year.


DougS Silver badge

There is (at least in the US, not sure about the EU) already more than 0.15% in fraud, so use of Apple Pay reduces that - due to the one-time use codes and fact that fingerprint authentication is more secure than signature in case your phone/wallet was stolen.

In a few years when everyone has EMV cards, the fraud will drop on its own since they will use the same one time codes. Apple may have trouble keeping that 0.15% as the banks may no longer think it is worth it. I guess it will depend on the popularity of Apple Pay, and whether Apple users would choose to use a card from a different bank if some were dropped from Apple Pay.

Attention dunderheads: Taxpayers are NOT giving businesses £93bn

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Laffer Curve

The bit at the end about the Laffer Curve made me chuckle. The Laffer Curve is obviously correct, that is there is some point where raising tax rates will cause revenue to decrease. The problem is, we have no idea exactly what that rate is, so we don't know what side of the curve we're on (especially since we have an overly complex tax system, with tax rates higher than they need to be, offset by deductions more generous than they need to be)

The Laffer Curve is sort of like quantum mechanics. It is obviously correct, but it can't help us answer any questions about the actual world in which we live where taxes aren't flat and we don't interact with individual atoms and photons.

Pan Am Games: Link to our website without permission and we'll sue

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You fell for their trap!

The best way to rise in Google search results is to have a lot of people linking to your site. The best way to get a lot of people linking to your site is to tell people they can't, and watch all the tech sites scream bloody murder about how that's ridiculous and link to their site in their stories, in their comments, and in their blogs just to stick it to them.

The Pan Am Games would like to thank you for helping their search ranking.

Cool-headed boffins overcome sticky issue: Graphene-based film could turn heat down

DougS Silver badge

You're correct, but the important thing to note is that as chip dimensions shrink the hot spots become more and more concentrated, and because silicon's thermal conductivity is less than a tenth of this material, it doesn't spread laterally through the chip very well.

By having a high conductivity material affixed to the silicon die, the heat will be drawn out of the silicon and into the graphene film - where it can then be drawn out of the graphene by your existing heatsink. The heatsink would have a lower thermal conductivity than the graphene film but its mass will be far greater than the chip+graphene and thus be able to soak up a lot of heat while still maintaining an acceptable thermal gradient for good performance (which can be helped via fans, heat pipes, etc.)

I wonder if it would be possible to put the graphene layer in between stacked chips, as heat removal from stacked dies is one of the limiting factors of the current state of the art.

DougS Silver badge


It absorbs heat from a higher temperature surface, it isn't a sponge that can suck heat in and push it out whenever you want! If you're looking for Maxwell's demon, keep looking, graphene film isn't able to do this any more than setting a chunk of copper or aluminum in your living room can.

Microsoft giving up on phones? Naaahh ... Windows 10 Mobile lumbers toward release

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Re: Ex-Box One, next up according to financial analysts

"Narrowing its deficit" meaning that Xbox One was still outsold by around a million units for the quarter, but it was outsold even worse the previous couple quarters so this is supposed to give MS hope.

Sony just announced a new smaller/lighter/cooler/cheaper rev of PS4, but didn't cut the price because they don't really need to. Probably holding off until the holidays for maximum impact.

DougS Silver badge

Re: Reset the Spin Dials

It isn't Apple fanboys, read what the tech/business press and analysts have been saying about this. You're hearing what you want to hear from his statements, but if he meant the kind of unwavering support you're reading into it, it sure didn't reach anyone outside the Microsoft fanboy echo chamber. It reads to everyone else as "we're giving it one more try, but won't commit past a couple years because we've already twice tried and failed to reboot the Windows phone market."

Microsoft's big mistake IMHO was to buy Nokia instead of buying RIM. Blackberry had the enterprise credibility that Microsoft has been lacking in phones since they pulled the plug on Windows Mobile after the iPhone and Android showed them they were on the wrong path with smartphones and needed to start over. Unfortunately this marks the THIRD time they've started over, orphaning the previous generation with each new OS rev. RIM would have also wasted much less money if it failed like the Nokia purchase already has.

If the userbase who wants Windows everything in the enterprise could be combined with the Blackberry enterprise userbase, they might be able to get critical mass to become a viable third choice in smartphones. Microsoft's only hope is to get businesses buying Windows Phones for their employees, but with the old school enterprise market split between Windows and Blackberry, it is easier for companies to punt and do BYOD. BYOD is the death knell for both, because consumers aren't choosing them, and Windows 10 won't change that. They'll be listed as "other" with a few percent between them in market share data for a few more years, until Microsoft calls it quits and RIM runs out of cash.

PC sales go OFF A CLIFF to under 300 million a year

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Re: Prices gone up in Q2

If Q2 wasn't like the 14th consecutive quarter they've dropped you might be right.

DougS Silver badge

Gartner != logic

When PC shipments first started declining in 2012 they blamed it on people waiting for Windows 8. Then when they continued to fall they blamed it on negative publicity for Windows 8. Then they came up with a few other reasons, now they think people are waiting for Windows 10?

Man, that's one hell of a lot of pent up demand to account for 3 1/2 years of falling sales! Better rush out and buy stock in Intel, Microsoft, Dell and HP!

China wants to build a 200km-long undersea tunnel to America

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Ships as CO2 emitters

Modern supermassive container ships are actually extremely efficient. Yeah, one of those belches out a whole lot of CO2, but per ton of cargo it is a drop in the bucket. There's a couple orders of magnitude more CO2 getting items to the loading dock and from the destination loading dock to the consumer than there is for the container transit. Even if you had a transatlantic train that ran on fusion it wouldn't reduce the CO2 footprint of getting goods from the manufacturer to the consumer by enough to care about.

Apple's iOS 9 public beta lands: El Reg pops it on a slab, strokes it up

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I hope it fixes the little UI niggles

iOS 8 was the first release I've ever seen with flaws in the UI, the most noticeable of which was the size of the text on top (time, carrier, battery percentage, etc.) changing font size during certain transitions like zooming the screen occasionally during transitions like landscape to portrait. Say what you want about Steve Jobs, but he would NEVER have let something like that make it into a final release - much less remain from 8.0.2 through 8.4! He might have screamed at the developers and been a giant asshole, but it would have been fixed.

US govt now says 21.5 million people exposed by OPM hack – here's what you need to know

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We can only hope it was the Chinese government that got it

If so at least we don't have to worry about identity theft. If it was some Russian hackers who accessed via a compromised network in China, look out!

Samsung's latest 2TB SSDs have big hats, but where's the cattle?

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Drip feed?

Who the hell writes over 1 TB of data to their drive a day? All that says is that servers shouldn't use this drive, but for consumers and even professionals (unless you do stuff like video editing or CAD) it would be fine.

People worry way too much about this, because they never had to think about it with hard drives, but if you check the amount of data you actually write to your drive over a week you'll find you have nothing to worry about.

The END of WINDOWS EVERYWHERE! Is that really what Nadella wants?

DougS Silver badge

Re: @AMBxx - where's the new hardware

Didn't Microsoft port Office to iOS & Android? The experience will be better with full Office on a Surface Pro, but honest how many people are worried about getting all the features? Most of those who need Office on a mobile device just want to read documents, or at most make a few edits. Hardly anyone will want to create new complex documents from scratch and justify needing the full Office experience on a tablet. Those who do basically bought the Surface Pro instead of a laptop, rather than in addition to. I'd hardly even count those sales as tablet sales since they're really a wonky laptop format, and their users mostly use them as that with a keyboard and not as a true tablet.

Ditch crappy landlines and start reading Twitter, 999 call centres told

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Re: Hmmm

They've already worked out how to call 999/911 on a phone. I can see why texting them might be useful - if you were hiding in your closet with an intruder already in your home it would allow you to silently call for help. But even that I think is unnecessary - calling 911 in the US and saying nothing works...they'll send police/ambulance over since they assume you're in distress.

But why the fuck would anyone tweet that they need help? What would happen is that idiots from 4chan would delight in sending tweets asking for help using hacked PCs (for the geolocation information, and to hide their identity) so it would have about a 99.99% false positive rate. Much harder to spoof a phone call, whether landline or cell.

Smartphones are ludicrously under-used, so steal their brains

DougS Silver badge

Phones "helping" you in the car

So you want to sap the battery while I'm driving for a bunch of useless computation to tell me things I already know - "if you had slower starts you'd save fuel", "if you had taken this alternate route you'd use less gas because you wouldn't have to wait for those left turns", etc.

Oh, you want me to dock my phone or put it on some sort of wireless charging pad so the battery doesn't run down? Great, so now I have to take my phone out of my pocket every time I drive, and add a dangerous projectile flying around the cabin in the event of an accident! And maybe cause me to forget it when I leave the car (though hopefully with all that fancy programming, the phone will remind you to put it back in your pocket when you shut off the ignition)

DougS Silver badge

Re: "Why would I want my phone connected to the washing machine or cooker?"

Once you've made your dishwasher or microwave smart enough to communicate with your phone, added bluetooth or wifi, etc. you could have spent that money just making it able to do what the phone is doing for it. It isn't like it is that hard to tell when something is cooked through, the reason only the high end microwaves do is because it costs money to add that feature. How much computational power could it possibly require to "help" a dishwasher with its task? What happens if you start up the dishwasher and leave, with your phone. Is the dishwasher helpless, and can only wash dishes when you're home? Yeah, that's not what I want...

Link farmers bust Google search algos

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Re: This should be a pretty simple fix for Google

There are a lot of legitimate PDF files that you would want to use - consider the tech docs for Oracle, for example.

They probably already have an indication from other sources which sites are dodgy, so a lot of PDFs are found that improve the search results of dodgy sites, all the PDFs on that site can be ignored. Since Oracle's docs don't talk about "v1agra" or whatever the spammers are pushing, they won't have to worry about false positives from sites that legitimately have a lot of PDFs.

IBM GATE-CRASHES chip world, boldly exclaims: 'We've cracked the 7nm barrier'

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Re: TSMC @10nm?

Can't push out anything smaller than 28nm? You mean other than the ~150 million A8s they've made for Apple so far in 20nm? Everyone (except Intel, because they started at a higher price point than the foundries) is reporting that cost per transistor is slightly higher when they go below 28nm, so use of those nodes has been less than originally hoped for. But customers who have a little extra to spend for the improved power/performance like Apple, don't care about that.

Most likely the reason why Apple is rumored to be going back to Samsung for the A9 is that Samsung has their 14nm process ready which will further improve power/performance beyond 20nm. TSMC is skipping ahead to 10nm as their next main node because of the aforementioned cost issues, claiming that they've made some changes in that process to address those concerns and their 10nm node should result in lower $/transistor than previous nodes including 28nm. Of course, the $100+ million cost for a mask set at 10nm means that only pretty high volume or very cost insensitive chips will be produced in that node by anyone.

Rumor has it Apple will have the A10 made in 10nm, which probably indicates they're going back to TSMC, unless Samsung plans to have 10nm next year also or the long-fabled idea of Intel making Apple's SoCs finally happens.

Brit boffins teach mere PCs to find galaxies in Hubble pics

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Re: Hanny's Voorwerp

After you pick out what "should be", whatever's left is by definition a "shouldn't be".

Intel's tablet CPU share to DROP: analyst

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Intel was PAYING people to use their chips in tablets for a while

That's the only reason they had showed some success there. Go look up "contra revenue", that's how Intel represented it on their books. Basically they charged people the normal price, but had rebates that made the chips essentially free. That way they could claim to be selling tons of mobile SoCs for tablets and hoped that by forcing app writers to port to x86 Android it would eventually become self-sustaining. Guess they were wrong, and just threw away a few billion dollars of their shareholders money.

Apple spared from paying a day's revenue in patent damages bout

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HQ in Tyler, TX?

So for once suing in the patent-friendly East Texas court was legitimate!

Crap crypto crackdown coming as FBI boss testifies to US Congress

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Rare moment for Europe to be ahead of the US

Don't be too hard on that Senator, he's from Oklahoma. No one who lives there has ever been outside the US.

Facebook casts a hex with self-referential IPv6

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Re: Lucky

Maybe he thought it was hexatriacontadecimal (base 36)

Black and Latina boffins regularly mistaken for janitors, study finds

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So you find ONE example where women get a better deal and you're all bent out of shape about it? Go look up how much money the women's World Cup winners get versus the men's - it is about a 20x discrepancy.

I'm sure you'll say that's because the ratings are much higher for the men's World Cup so there's more money to go around for the men. Go look up the ratings for Wimbledon, I'll bet the women's matches draw more viewers - at least that's true for US Open tennis (I couldn't find figures for Wimbledom in 30 seconds of googling) So really the women ought to get paid more than the men in this case, since they're bringing in more TV viewers.

The bucks stop here: NYSE freezes trading, blames 'technical issue'

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Re: Maybe...

My tin foil hat side wonders if the Chinese weren't responsible, to take attention off the full blown crash in their market that they appear to be helpless to stop, despite extraordinary measures they've implemented (like banning anyone holding more than 5% of a stock from selling any for six months!)

DOUGHNUT (donut?) and whale FOUND ON PLUTO

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"angry make-up science"

This is why I read the Reg. The articles are long on technical detail compared to the popular press (plus there are often commentards who can fill in the gaps where they get things wrong or leave out details) but the lines like that which give me a good laugh are what really keep me coming back! Have a pint, you earned it!

Microsoft SLASHES 7,800 bods, BURNS $7.6bn off books in Nokia adjustment

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Re: That Reminds Me

Probably most of those Surface sales are replacing the sales of Windows licenses for ultrabooks, so I doubt it really helps Microsoft all that much especially if you counted all the R&D for the hardware against it.

Contrast with Apple and Samsung, whose tablet sales aren't cannibalizing their laptop sales but are rather complementary to them, because the iPad and Galaxy Tab are a different product with a different OS than their laptops.

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