* Posts by My-Handle

93 posts • joined 20 May 2011

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Bloodhound Super-Sonic Car aims to wake up Newquay: Rocket work restart in August

My-Handle

Re: Should it happen?

My personal belief is that it should happen.

The reasoning is similar to why big motor companies invest so heavily in Formula 1. The prizes and prestige of winning a race or season cannot outweigh the millions they spend developing and building cars that are only good for a small handful of races at best. The real prize is when they can apply the advancements they make to their everyday cars, making them lighter, more efficient, and crucially better than their competitors' offers.

In these cases, it isn't the destination that matters so much. It's the journey, and what is learned along the way. The destination is just something to focus on :)

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My-Handle

Re: mono-propellant...

Ah, fair enough. I was mis-remembering the Falcon Project rocket that they switched away from. Digging a little deeper, it apparently used solid Hydroxyl-Terminated Polybutadiene (HTPB) as fuel, with HTP decomposed in the manner you describe to provide a hot oxidiser.

*Opens Pedant's guide to Pedantry at 1st page*

*Reads "Rule one of Pedantry: Be right"*

Um... oops :)

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My-Handle

mono-propellant...

Getting out my Pedant's guide to Pedantry, but does a hybrid rocket count as a mono-propellant rocket? One propellant is solid (the fuel?) and the other, liquid propellant (oxidiser) is pumped through it to allow throttling. Only one liquid propellant, but still two propellants?

Not certain here, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Software development slow because 'Most of our ideas suck'

My-Handle

Do you know why?

Quote: "Over the past 20 years,...the lead time for delivering software has come down significantly. It used to take years. Now it's more like weeks."

Do you know why?

Because many more people are developing software!!

Also, I get the feeling that twenty years ago people put a lot more effort into developing bullet-proof software. These days they seem to be aiming for software that'll hold together just long enough to make it to the next patch release.

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Engineer crashed mega-corp's electricity billing portal, was promoted

My-Handle

Promoted for failure...

One previous company I worked for had a rather bad habit of promoting people into positions where they couldn't do much damage. One such person, promoted to the position of project manager, was renowned for having -never- brought a single project to a successful conclusion.

They would never have dreamed of promoting someone who was -good- at their job. After all, who else would do that job?

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Guess who's still most moaned about UK ISP... Rhymes with BorkBork

My-Handle

I have to say, my basic Zen package is pretty much the same price as what BT were charging me (after several poorly-communicated price hikes). Speed is limited to about 2mbps where I am, so anything above a basic package is pointless for me. However, where BT regularly throttled the connection to 500kbps and point-blank dropped it about every half an hour, Zen only lost connection twice since I switched. And both of those were power cuts.

I'll stick with Zen, as others here have attested. Mere mention of the letters BT sends me into an incoherent ranting frenzy these days...

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It's April 2018 – and Patch Tuesday shows Windows security is still foiled by fiendish fonts

My-Handle

Re: Time to really say goodbye to flash? Too right!

I actually went over this during my dealings with BT a year or so ago. Phoned up to complain about the erratic connection and the shite speed (0.5mbps) and they directed me to their flash-based speed checker. Wouldn't accept any other result to start with, until I said that Google and Mozilla had removed flash from their respective browsers and their speed checker would no longer work on any modern machine. Technically bollocks, as you can get flash to work if you really want, but it was enough to make the support droid cave.

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10Mbps for world+dog, hoots UK.gov, and here is how we're doing it

My-Handle

Re: Posturing

Because 10 Mbps is five or six times faster than my current connection? And I'm not the only one who lives in a rural area.

Additionally, as another commenter remarked, laying the fibre is the tricky bit. If the fibre's there, it's not so much of a jump from 10 Mbps to 50 Mbps.

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Space, the final blunt-tier: Binary system ejected huge 'spliff' asteroid, boffins reckon

My-Handle

Ah, thanks for the correction.

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My-Handle
Coat

Quote: "Jackson said its orbit has the highest eccentricity ever observed for a foreign object passing through our Solar System."

Now I might be wrong about this, but a foreign object passing through our Solar System would not be in orbit around the sun, it would merely be passing it by. It's "orbit" would be hyperbolic, which would thus make it's orbital eccentricity infinite?

Either the object is the first interstellar object we've seen (which is was was largely reported, and would make this extra piece of information redundant), or it's straight-up wrong.

Ok, ok, I'm leaving. Mine's the one with a copy of "Pedant's guide to pedantry" in the pocket.

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Sysadmin tells user CSI-style password guessing never w– wait WTF?! It's 'PASSWORD1'!

My-Handle

Re: How stupid is this?

I would be sorely tempted to give them a different password every time they call, and I can get quite inventive with random passwords.

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My-Handle

Re: "They looked for the password on the CD . . ."

While I agree with the principle outlined here and would endeavour to follow it myself, real life has taught me otherwise.

Need to log in to a user's workstation? The password is 1: Under the keyboard, 2: On a post-it stuck to the monitor or, if you're very lucky, written on a notepad in the top drawer under the desk. Number 4, the desired situation of "the user remembering the password" very rarely happens unless somehow enforced.

I have only once received a password-protected file, a pdf via email, and the password was written in the same email. That's probably a little better than the password for a CD being written on said disc (in that the pdf and the email are separable), but only just.

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UK.gov: Name a more iconic duo than 'culture' and 'digital'. We'll wait

My-Handle

Re: I know I'm getting old . . .

If I remember my biology correctly, a bacterial culture (I assume that's what is being referred to here) grows exponentially over time. So culture = c ^ t, where c is the initial culture (a constant) and t is time.

Likewise, according to Moore's law, technology gets more powerful over time, doubling every 18 months. So this should produce a similar equation, albeit with a different constant. Call these cC and tC, for cultural constant and technological constant

This gives: 'digital' = (cC ^ t) ^ 2 + 4 * (tC ^ t).

I.e. a constant and very large waste of time.

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Too many bricks in the wall? Lego slashes inventory

My-Handle

At this moment, at home, my office floor is covered in Lego Technic (and assorted other blocks) in the process of being sorted. My collection consists mostly of long beams, plates, axles, gears and a few other more fiddly pieces. In my youth, with these very bricks, I have built room-high marble runs, working and reasonably accurate clocks, a three foot long, seven feet high automatic rolling crane, elastic band powered guns that quite frankly got far beyond being safe...

My brother got Lego City style sets during those same years. He built... the Lego city sets.

Don't get me wrong, I will likely still buy Lego Technic sets. But I treat the model I buy as something nice to build once, for the interest, then disassemble to fuel my next project. I regard the themed sets as largely a waste of time.

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Apple's new 'spaceship' HQ brings the pane for unobservant workers

My-Handle

Re: Well it's obvious

I almost think that this whole article was a set-up just for that joke

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Sony Xperia XZ2: High-res audio but no headphone jack

My-Handle

Re: I have experience repairing

I have to agree, the quality of the Xperias is rather lacking. My other half was a staunch fan of Sony phones from the Ericsson days, but since Sony Ericsson split the quality has gone down. The only Xperia I owned had a nasty habit of not noticing when I took the headphones out and continued to pump sound out to the jack until I reset the thing (extremely annoying when you answer a call, don't hear anything and haven't figured out the bug yet). A factory reset cured the issue for a few months, but it then reappeared. Every Xperia phone that has been in the house has had it's screen cracked. My other half's phones began eating through battery life extremely quickly...

I could go on, but the gist is that there were so many little bugs with the Xperias that we decided not to bother. I now have an HTC, and my other half went to Samsung.

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Ubuntu wants to slurp PCs' vital statistics – even location – with new desktop installs

My-Handle

Re: How it should have been handled

The recent actions of Microsoft, Google et al have made me (and undoubtedly a great many other people) understandably suspicious of anyone who utters the term "data collection". However, I agree with the approach outlined above (@Eugene Crosser). If the data collection is one-off, opt-in and I can see exactly what data is being sent, then I have no problem. Bonus points if I can tailor exactly what data is sent. The fact that Ubuntu's source code is apparently available to examine means that any extra data sent in an underhanded fashion will be quickly picked up.

The main problem I had with other companies is that the data collection was often either opt-out, repeatedly and continuously opt-out when they sneakily change your settings back, or even just mandatory. There was no transparency at all on what was collected, and an awful lot of apparent deceit.

I will be keeping an eye on Ubuntu, but as long as things stay pretty transparent I don't think this is an automatic black mark against them.

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Data scientist wanted: Must have Python, spontaneity not required

My-Handle

Salary isn't just a number

Something to consider that might skew the results a bit...

Three years ago I was working for a large company based in Reading, effectively as a junior software developer. My salary was around the £21k mark. A year ago I got a different job in rural Northern Ireland. A .Net / ASP web developer, earning a similar amount.

On the face of it, my standard of living should not have changed. However, in Reading, I could barely afford the rent on the 1 bed flat I shared with my other half. Here in NI, I own a 3 bed house with outbuildings, 2 cars and can afford to kit out my own workshop. But still on the same salary.

Salary, taken as a number, really isn't representative of your standard of living. It changes it's value far too much across the UK.

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TalkTalk starts offering punters choice to shift-shift to O2

My-Handle

Re: The beginning of the end .....

Zen

Cheaper or as cheap as BT. Reliable connection, even out in a rural part of Northern Ireland on a line that seemed to give BT constant issues. Good customer service too, according to reviews, though a year into the contract I've not yet had cause to ring them.

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User had no webcam or mic, complained vid conference didn’t work

My-Handle

Re: Your Network is broken!

I've had two emails from one user this week, both informing me that the network was broken. Both emails also told me that email was still working though.

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Google Chrome ad-blocking to begin in February – but what is it going to block?

My-Handle

Putting the reins of ad-blocking in the hands of the biggest ad-slinger. Now that's a great idea.

</sarcasm>

"Google is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads – a group launched last year to represent digital advertising businesses including Facebook and big brands."

To me, this reads as "...the Coalition for Better Ads - a cabal of the ad-slinging big boys who will use their new ad-blocking toy to unfairly discriminate against smaller advertisers. Now I'm no fan of the smaller ad networks (in my experience they tend to be worse for malware, popups etc) but at least most of them don't track your soul across this world, the next and the one after that as well. For that, you need the likes of Google and Facebook. Should a smaller, new ad network with a much greater ethic and better user experience pop up (stop laughing, it could happen!), I'm fairly sure they'll somehow run afoul of this new feature.

I'm with most other commentards thus far. I'll stick with adblock etc.

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No 2017 bonus for you, HPE tells employees

My-Handle

Re: Meg not too phased?

I thought that was a BOFH joke. If she's not phased at the moment, crank up the voltage a notch or two

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GCSE compsci kids' work may not count after solutions leaked online

My-Handle

I was largely a VBA / SQL developer at the time, so it wasn't something I'd encountered before. Even now, as a VB .Net developer, I know what the point of StringBuilder is but could only name the .Append() and .AppendLine() functions off the top of my head.

The point of my post, as I believe you may have missed, wasn't just to "copy and paste" but to understand as well. You're a lucky man if you can find a piece of code online that does exactly what you want. whatever code you find will need changing in some way, or implementing as part of a greater bit of code. Understanding the code is essential to that.

And incidentally, yes. I did take that as a cue. I spent a short half hour or so that evening reading up on Stringbuilder. Via Google.

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My-Handle

On one hand it is definitely bad to cheat at exams or assessments.

But.

I am a software developer and I *live* on the internet. I would say that probably the single most important skill for a software developer is being able to investigate a problem, look at documentation, previous examples or somewhat similar code and being able to learn from it and construct a working solution to the problem. Put me on the spot and ask me what the correct syntax is for a given operation in a random language and you'll be lucky to get a sensible response. Either I can bring it to mind, or I'll rely on intellisense backed up by Stack Overflow / MSDN et cetera. The key is knowing how to find the answer and use it.

I once failed an interview because I didn't know, on paper, the various methods in StringBuilder. They didn't appreciate the answer "I'd Google it".

If I were to recommend anything to the exam board, it would be to set a problem that didn't have a simple pre-built solution. Like, asking a student to build a set of objects to do certain tasks in a coursework-style timescale, then have them demonstrate how these objects can be used in a short assessment period. If the student copied the code, then it's highly likely they won't have a clue how to use it. If they did copy it and they *do* know how to use it, then congrats! That's how real software development works. Extra marks.

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BT hikes prices for third time in 18 months

My-Handle

@AndrueC

You're correct in that the hardware to the exchange should not have changed. Indeed, BT serve all of the infrastructure for my area.

I suspect that the reason that we experienced so many connection issues (here defined as us not being able to load websites etc) was either due to some kind of bug in BT's home hub router, or some kind of aggressive throttling at the exchange. The behaviour of BT's customer service when attempting to diagnose the problem, coupled with the fact that myself and my other half are fairly heavy internet users in an area where the typical speed is 1.5mbps (no fibre available), make me inclined to believe that we were being excessively throttled.

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My-Handle

I was with BT until a few months ago. They upped my bill from £32 a month to £41 with very little notice (a sneaky email in amongst the crapton of marketing emails they usually send). Considering my service couldn't get a connection for about 50% of the time, the 'service improvements' excuse that BT's various drones kept spouting didn't exactly go down well.

I'm with Zen now. Haven't had a single connection issue since the second the service went live. No throttling. And they're charging me £17 a month (to go up to £32 after the first six months). In all fairness, I can't say how good their customer service is. I've had no need to call them.

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Jeff Bezos sells one million Amazon shares, makes one billion dollars

My-Handle

Indeed. That Lotus Esprit that Elon Musk bought a while ago is now probably functional. And armed.

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TalkTalk glitch causing mobiles and landlines to go off at the same time

My-Handle

Impressive...

It really is impressive. You have to grab that spade and dig with some serious dedication and energy before you'll get lower than BT.

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BOFH: Come on, PFY, let's pick a Boss

My-Handle

Re: Why

I think to provide a clue as to what Boss V1 was doing shortly before acquiring said footprint. I, like the PFY, don't like to be endlessly reminded of all the useless stuff other people want me to do.

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Lloyds Bank customers still flogging the online dead horse

My-Handle

Re: Simple Solution - move your money out to another bank

But I only just moved away from RBS!

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Stupid law of the week: South Carolina wants anti-porno chips in PCs that cost $20 to disable

My-Handle

Re: More Magic Technology

So that I could watch porn but block Facebook?

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Wi-Fi baby heart monitor may have the worst IoT security of 2016

My-Handle

"Utmost importance"

<Rant>

"The safety, security and privacy of our customers are of the utmost importance to us"

Am I the only one getting sick to the back teeth of this phrase, or an extremely similar one, being trotted out by every bloody company that gets caught cutting corners, when the evidence points to the exact opposite? It's so blatantly disingenuous, it's almost an insult that they expect people to swallow it. There's no genuine apology, no intent to find the cause of the fault and no intent to improve on the quality of the product and the company. They might as well say "We got caught, get the lawsuits over with and bugger off. We've got another crap product we need to start not designing".

</Rant>

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Oops: Carphone burps up new Google phone details

My-Handle

Re Swappable Battery

While I've never had the need to carry more than one battery with me, I have still had good reason to want a swappable battery, and that is the ability to hard power-off my phone. I've run into problems several times over the last few years where my phone has just stopped responding to the soft buttons (including recently when a new phone got stuck in a boot loop) and removing power would have solved the problem neatly.

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Asian hornets are HERE... those honey bee murdering BASTARDS

My-Handle
Coat

They can buzz off.

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TalkTalk's appeal against paltry ICO data breach fine thrown out

My-Handle

That's kind of what gets me in these situations. A company like TalkTalk messes up and spills millions of their customers' personal data across the net. Regardless of whether the company get fined or not for their lack of security, those who are actually hurt by the company's negligence don't see a penny of it. Instead, whenever the victim of a data breach is subsequently the subject of bank / identity fraud, they are usually blamed for having poor security / bad passwords.

A combination of stiffer fines and enforced refunds are definitely in order, I feel.

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Microsoft's HoloLens secret sauce: A 28nm customized 24-core DSP engine built by TSMC

My-Handle

Re: What about heat dissipation?

For a point of comparison, the average human brain is supposed to consume about 20W of power, about 20% of the body's 100W. So it's not that unreasonable an amount of heat for the Hololens to dissipate.

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£11bn later: Smart meters project delayed again for Crapita tests

My-Handle

"It is currently being tested to deliver a long-lasting, world class bill to payers"

FTFY

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Baffled Scots cops call in priest to deal with unruly spirits

My-Handle

Applying the cynicism filter...

Now I'm not saying that this is the case, but that cynical side of me is thinking that events went something like this...

1. Son is bored, decides to trick his mum with a few pranks.

2. Mum calls police, genuinely thinking a ghost has taken up residence, and the son doesn't own up either because he thinks this is hilarious or that things have gone much further than he thought and he doesn't have the bottle.

3. Cops show up. It's a slow day, so they listen to the story and one or two of them decide to enter the spirit of things. Cue a few more sheets being surreptitiously thrown and an idea occurrs to put one over on the bosses.

4. Bosses show up and are taken in. Exorcist and media are called.

5. No-one is ever going to dream of owning up within the next few years, but the perpetrators are probably having a damn good laugh

Or the place is haunted, whichever you prefer :)

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Revealed: How a weather forecast in 1967 stopped nuclear war

My-Handle

Re: Wrong lesson, I am afraid

Meh, I think I'd prefer to play pedestrian against tank. The only outcomes are stalemate, or the pedestrian loses. Because the tank can never lose, it never has to even bother turning the engine on. The pedestrian can run as fast or as slow as they like, but they won't win. As long as the tank knows this, the worst damage that can be done is by one pillock to his own head as he tries to nut stationary steel plating.

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Cognitive computing: IBM uses phase-change material to model your brain's neurons

My-Handle

10^8 nanoseconds?

That's 10^8 of 10^-9 seconds? Most of us would just say a tenth of a second, rather than adding needless complexity.

/pedant.

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Dolly the sheep clones have aged well, say scientists

My-Handle

Re: I don't care too much if they age well or not...

baaad

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TalkTalk: 9,000 broadband customers did the walk walk last quarter

My-Handle

20%

So... let me get this straight. One single person is awarded, as a salary, 20% of the entire profit margin of a national company?! That this person also apparently knows so little about the security of the service their company provides is really just a follow-up back-hander to that initial slap in the face.

How about TalkTalk cut her salary down to something even vaguely sensible (say 500k) and re-invest the other 2 M in their IT and security infrastructure?

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Brits don't want their homes to be 'tech-tastic'

My-Handle

Re: LIfecycles of tech

I thought about including comments about security (or lack thereof) in my original post... but I wanted to keep the length down to something that would fit on a normal monitor :) Obviously my subconscious decided it wanted a say in the matter.

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My-Handle

LIfecycles of tech

The main problem I see is that the life cycle of technology is pretty short. The phone that your app runs on may well only be a couple of years old before it gets replaced. Will your new phone run the app that controls your lights? What about the one for your heating? Same for fridge / oven / locks / whatever.

The systems and white goods in your house are designed to last years or decades. Can you rely on manufacturers to continue updating their software to allow uninterrupted control of all of your Things?

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A UK digital driving licence: What could possibly go wrong?

My-Handle

Wrong conclusion

I read the title and jumped to the conclusion that the government was making it illegal to use a computer without having a license! Something like a cross between ECDL and a real driver's license, maybe. I got a few lines in before realising my mistake.

While part of me would sincerely love to see some users permanently banned from touching a computer, I think perhaps it's best that the government is not responsible for judging that one.

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UK.gov pays four fellows £35k to do nothing for three months

My-Handle

My first job...

... was pretty much like this. I was hired by a large energy company as a temp to do a two week job that I subsequently completed in a day and a half. I informed the boss that I had finished, then spent the next eight days playing sudoku (thinly disguised as a work-related spreadsheet). The boss's reaction? My contract was extended by two months, as I was clearly so efficient. They didn't have much that I could actually do, and had no time to train me, so I ended up getting so bored I wrote a sudoku generator. And solver.

They actually tried to extend my contract again, from the summer through to christmas, however I politely declined saying that I had Uni to get back to. And sanity to keep.

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Daft draft anti-car-hack law could put innocent drivers away for life

My-Handle

Re: Precedent

Of course, most tin-foil is actually made out of aluminium... /pedant

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3D printers set for lift off? Yes, yes, yes... at some point in the future

My-Handle

Consumer device?

I'd be the first to admit that I like the idea of designing and building stuff, but when you're pricing a unit at multi-thousands of pounds / dollars, you're not really looking at a typical desktop product anymore. Even for hobbyists, machining tools like lathes and mills are priced in the hundreds of pounds range. It is likely easier to acquire the skill to use these kinds of tools than it would be to gain the kind of disposable income to buy a desktop 3D printer. Coupled with the fact that these devices are fairly limited in the materials they can actually print with (usually thermoplastics), they probably don't make much financial sense outside of businesses with rapid prototyping needs and the 'cool' factor isn't really enough to justify the price tag.

Reduce the price of the thing and / or increase the types of materials it can work with and it'll boom right enough. Until then, it is likely to remain a niche product.

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Flying Finns arm octocopter with chainsaw

My-Handle

Having spent a full Saturday recently trying to get a chainsaw started and using it to remove a large broken bough that was wedged up in the top of three trees...

a) I call bullshit that he started that thing with one pull. Those sods are notorious for not starting without a lot of persuasion

b) Shut up and take my money :)

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Glasgow boiler firm in hot water for cold calls, cops £180K fine

My-Handle

Re: Something doesn't add up...

They need proof to issue the fine, but I'm guessing all they need is a reasonable excuse to justify sending in the auditors / investigators with a warrant. Even if the company being advertised wasn't responsible, a search would very likely turn up any third-party marketing firms that the advertised company had dealings with. It's still a pretty big giveaway.

I would say the 'rival' case is unlikely, as the rival in question would essentially be spending a lot of resource advertising for the competitor. The fine isn't a guaranteed outcome, and might not even offset the gain that the free advertising might bring. I will grant you, it would be more difficult to track down.

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