* Posts by ChrisBedford

179 posts • joined 27 Feb 2012

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It's happening! Official retro Thinkpad lappy spotted in the wild

ChrisBedford

touchpads, pfft

so why do they ship crappy touchpads with laptops? It's obviously possible to make one that works

IBM came up with that *HUGELY* inferior pointing-stick-thingy that looks like a pencil eraser in the middle of the keyboard - what in the blue blazes were they thinking?!?

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ChrisBedford

Reactionaries everywhere

Of all the *NOTEBOOK* computers ("laptop" is an old term that vendors haven't used for 25 years) ever released, the IBM Thinkpads that this model emulates is probably the ugliest. All sharp corners and that rubbery stuff only looks good for the first 3 minutes after you take it out of the box.

Also (in South Africa anyway) Lenovo's after-sales service is probably the worst I have ever encountered so even less incentive to buy one of these horrid things.

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I say, BING DONG! Microsoft's search engine literally cocks up on front page for hours

ChrisBedford

Re: muhaha

@DagD

Colonel: Get on the horn to British Intelligence and let them know about this.

top marks for this frivolous mis-use of a futile imagination :D :D :D

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The Next Big Thing in Wi-Fi? Multiple access points in every home

ChrisBedford

Re: messing with meshes

Mesh APs are still not a panacea for crap WiFi performance

No, not panacea - solution.

It's not just signal strength that matters, but signal integrity

Yes, that's what a mesh means.

Methinks you haven't understood what a mesh is, exactly. It's not just a bunch of APs all shouting as loud as possible, it's an intelligently managed collection that acts more like one AP with distributed antennas, but with each one able to moderate its signal strength according to usage.

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ChrisBedford

Is 2.4GHz viable for such a use of wi-fi?

Certainly it is

Not to mention microwave ovens

Umm I don't think you get enough leakage from microwaves to affect your WiFi. They are after all very carefully shielded against radiating.

I have recently installed a Ubiquiti UniFi mesh which covers both 2.4 and 5 GHz and it works very very well. Costs a "bit" more than conventional WiFi access points / repeaters but by golly it's worth it when you have a large number of people and difficult geography to support. The management software is great, and gives some fascinating insights into what's going on in and around the house.

In this particular scenario (a rambling two-storey guest house catering for up to 19 transitory and 3 permanent users) there are 6 access points, 5 upstairs and one on the ground floor, providing fantastic, seamless coverage. No latency, just smooth coverage (not a lot of enter-device traffic, it's pretty much all device-Internet). Most devices that aren't iPads, iPods, or MacBooks use the 2.4 GHz band.

Here's the astonishing part: at any given time there are 100+ (yep, over a hundred) visible APs in the neighbourhood. This is an ordinary suburb in Cape Town, not high-rise, not even high density cheek-by-jowl housing. OK, only the UniFi software can show me those SSIDs, and obviously many of them are unusably weak, but still... over a hundred, and zero noticeable interference.

I had another customer near the International Airport - right by the runway threshold - and conventional WiFi just didn't work. As someone else mentioned here, turn up the power and you only make a small difference for a short while. Installed one of these meshes and it was like night and day.

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ChrisBedford

If Comcast's support people can control wifi following a script, surely software would be able to do a better job automatically?

Yeahhhh... if Comcast's support people are anything like the average ISP support person in South Africa, this won't work. Not by a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g, long shot. The mind boggles at the thought, in fact, of an ISP call centre agent managing even the simplest home "mesh".

Also... these things are "tiny devices plugged into the wall", right? Getting signal from... ethernet over power, I assume? Yeah, works great as long as you only have single phase power in the house, and you only want 11 Mb/s or slower (not much good for streaming hi res video).

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€100 'typewriter' turns out to be €45,000 Enigma machine

ChrisBedford

Re: There is quite a bit of that floating around Eastern Europe

[i]I couldn't have lasted a week without drilling a hole and taking a look.[/i]

Umm yeah the owner's not telling you what his grandparents told him about the 2 nazis he stuffed in there

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Concorde without the cacophony: NASA thinks it's cracked quiet supersonic flight

ChrisBedford

Re: Engines

Exactly, there are two completely separate factors at play here: the supersonic bang (which on the NY-London route AFAIK always took place well out to sea) and engine noise. The article is written as if these were one and the same.

A major reason why most modern aircraft are cheaper to fly and quieter is the use of the wide "high bypass" engines

In other words Turbofans as opposed to turbojets I believe? Something like that, I read once a hundred years ago that there about 7 distinctly different "jet" engine designs but I couldn't be bothered looking them up now. Anyhow this can be seen in the shorter, fatter engine nacelles of modern airliners compared to the more pencil-like engines of the 70's aircraft. The problem with Concorde was you couldn't bolt bigger engine housings on the wings - they were enclosed in a box under the body where I guess there just wasn't any room for big fat engines and modifying that housing would have changed the a/c design too radically to keep its type certificate.

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Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap

ChrisBedford

Yes but then you have to use Android.

I had a Galaxy S II for about 14 months and hated every second of it. I've had 2 iPhones since then and while there are still somethings that are a bit frustrating, it's so far ahead of the user experience I remember from the Samsung that the thought of going back makes my blood run cold. I think I'd rather not have a mobe.

Probably the worst part of Android as it was then was the predictive text and the stupidity of the keyboard, and possibly it has improved since then, but I'm just not prepared to take a chance. And no-one lets you the general public test drive a phone for a week before buying one so I guess I'll never find out.

Quite happy with my iPhone 5S, thank you, see no reason to change.

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Mark Shuttleworth says some free software folk are 'deeply anti-social' and 'love to hate'

ChrisBedford

Given that most software folk are deeply nerdy, how is this news?

As Gordon Pryra says, probably 90% of a "community" is the silent people. But it's the same in real-world politics, isn't it: it's the voiciferous minority who drive all the rhetoric.

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User lubed PC with butter, because pressing a button didn't work

ChrisBedford

It's hard to believe that a clear-cut case of user vandalism as described could not be unequivocally proved to have been exactly that - (a) the drive was full of butter and (b) it worked when the button was pressed properly - so if that's all there was to it, the techie in question should have been able to prove his innocence beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt. If not, I have to question either the truthfulness of the story or the competence of the techie - sure, I know there are dumb-ass companies that will allow (or attempt to allow) marketing drones to get away with s#!t like that, but, seriously now...

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Trump's visa plan leaks: American techies first

ChrisBedford

Re: "SV companies ... weren't willing to offer adequate compensation"

That actually translates to "we want more scientists". The more who are trained the easer it is to keep the pay rates down. It was just as true 50+ years ago

Well apparently pay rates are already down, so actually you need fewer scientists, don't you?

In any event, equating "scientists" with "tech jobs" is like saying engineers and mechanics are the same - a mistake the press makes all the time, where I live and probably in the UK too.

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

ChrisBedford

Touch Screens and Buzzing Briefs

I really don't get touch screens on computers that have keyboards. Either it's way uncomfortable to use ("Remember the gorilla arm") or I keep inadvertently touching the screen when using the keyboard, with all the frustration that ensues.

And apart from that, I wonder how many times you can accidentally close the notebook without first removing the Airbar before the lid hinges break. Try getting *that* covered under your Apple warranty.

Haptic jeans? You know how tight your trousers have to be for that to be effective? I've lost count of how many times has my phone buzzed silently in my pocket and I've not felt it - besides, as has been pointed out elsewhere, lots of times directions that are simply "left/right" are oftentimes misleading at best. This idea truly belongs under the "bonkers" column and I doubt it will be a commercial success.

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Barcodes stamped on breast implants and medical equipment

ChrisBedford

Re: But how to know if someone has an implant?

@ Wzrd1:-

"But I imagine that, say, titanium wire bound round a femur to hold it together could just conceivably form a multi-turn coil, in which case it might be dangerous due to circulating current in a rather high resistance metal."

Only if you have some magical overriding law of physics that surrounds you and turns titanium into a ferromagnetic metal.

Last I heard copper wasn't ferromagnetic. However current is induced in copper wire loops. So maybe your theory needs re-thinking.

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Security! experts! slam! Yahoo! management! for! using! old! crypto!

ChrisBedford

In! Other! News!

El! Reg! Continues! To! Use! Lots! Of! Italicised! Exclamation! Marks!

Readers! Irritated! By! Hackneyed! Technique!

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Take that, creationists: Boffins witness birth of new species in the lab

ChrisBedford

Re: Maybe

A country [Americans] mostly populated by the descendants of people 'fleeing religious persecution'

Religious persecution? Really? So starvation, wanderlust, adventure, or anything like that played no significant part in the population of the country?

Seriously, dude, that's like saying Australia is "mostly" populated by ex-cons.

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ChrisBedford

Re: Most of the creationists I know also believe in evolution!

Or maybe they just prattle on with no idea of what the theory actually is.

I think that's the more accurate assessment. Evolution is probably the least widely understood theory amongst the general public. Lots of people have the idea mutations happen to individual specimens, but that is probably only the grossest mistake. The "I was not descended from an ape" argument probably sums it all up quite well.

I think more people have a better idea of Relativity than they do of Darwinian evolution.

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ChrisBedford

Re: frog becoming a giraffe - is it just me?

...or does anyone else find this incoherent?

[...]basically I accept the possibility of time dilation with an expanding universe, where some of the universe has experienced illions or billions of yaers of time while the Earth has not despite all being made at the same time. I cannot accept that God made light of a supernova only as light from that where the nova did not occur, if we see it then it happened.

I re-read it a few times but couldn't make head or tail of it. Not just this but pretty much the whole post just reads as a confused rant to me.

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Hackers electrocute selves in quest to turn secure doors inside out

ChrisBedford

They seem to have no idea wtf they are doing

I think it's more like the person who wrote the article had no idea wtf they [the hackers] were doing, and wrote a dumbed-down version of the story as s/he understood it. Resulting in making the whole thing incomprehensible, but it's hardly the first news article I've read that is guilty of that.

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ChrisBedford

Re: Push The Button To Exit

What I'm wondering is how they safeguard against someone sneaking in through these doors DURING a fire, hiding

Huh? With a human guard of some type stationed at said door?

Security sections aren't all complete idiots. I know the average rent-a-cop walking around with an ill-fitting uniform is a minimum-wage, minimum-IQ drone, but any company worth anything meaningful has somebody with a bit of brains in charge of the loss control department.

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ChrisBedford

Re: Push The Button To Exit

rotating doors with single person sized vestibules that would turn just enough to allow one person through

Unbelievably annoying to try getting through this type of door (let's just call it what it is: a turnstile) with anything larger than a Tupperware lunchbox in your hand. Totally forget a substantial toolbox. Cue up the just as annoying bureaucratic process of getting clearance to bypass the turnstile and use the large (fire escape) door, after security has overridden the alarm, blah blah blah yawn...

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User needed 40-minute lesson in turning it off and turning it on again

ChrisBedford

Re: Witless idiots

I think the problem is risk avoidance.

It's called an SEP* field. Can be driven by a single torch battery for up to 2 years.

*HHGG

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ChrisBedford

Quite how the screen *definitely* had a green light and *definitely* had a "C:\" prompt is still a mystery 20 years later!!

No mystery. Users say yes if they think that's the 'right' answer.

Answer to that one is never to put words in their mouths, or ideas in their heads. Instead of 'can you see a green light' ask 'what colour light can you see'. Make *them* describe things to *you*.

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ChrisBedford

Re: Always kill switch it?

You haven't used Windows for a while, have you? It's far more resilient to power interruptions now

Exactly, and if the user can't find the 'Power' button, how in the came of anything you hold dear is anyone going to talk her through opening Task Manager, let alone finding the rogue application and shutting it down?

Puh-lease.

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ChrisBedford

Re: Can you hold down the power button

US car companies. Who like to play the Microsoft UI game with their controls...

Mercedes, anyone? Although I suppose that's a US-owned company now so they caught the same fever. Where's the parking brake? Over there? Oh, I see. And to release it? Somewhere else? OK. Where the hell do I select the gears? Oh, on a stalk. Yeah, makes perfect sense, not. The last time I was involved in a MB rental I had to go back inside and find someone who could come out an explain the controls. And even he - a professional driver with Avis - couldn't explain everything correctly.

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Brexit? We have heard of this, says Dixons Carphone CEO

ChrisBedford

Re: Hang on. ...

We've not left yet...

Yeh but the point is, the fear-mongering Remainers spent as much time howling about a post-poll economic crash (as well as all manner of other bogeymen, including but not limited to riots in the streets, meltdown of all nuclear power stations, and earthquakes) as a post-Brexit crash.

But apart from a small currency correction, which *HELPED* Britain's exports and from which the country is now rapidly recovering, NOTHING HAPPENED.

Strewth, as of this writing every comment here that deals with Brexit is uniformly negative about the country's economic chances following actual exit. Come on, do you think Germany and France are going to say no, we'll stop selling motorcars to Britain if you want favourable tax rates? I can't believe you support the concept of a "parliament" of smarmy underworked, overfed EMPs chauffered around in Mercedes Benzes, dreaming up 32-page documents that define what a banana can or can't look like, and overriding decisions by the High Court.

PS *NOT* a Farage supporter, he's the smarmiest twat of them all. In fact I'm quite surprised he gets even gets it.

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Crashing PC sales don't stop HP Inc releasing two new ones

ChrisBedford

Re: As long as

I meant Windows 7 or maybe 8.1

7 goes out of support in less than 4 years

8 has that horrible "charms" bar that pops up every time you get near the right-hand side, and other inexplicable popups when you are scrolling around

10 with Classicshell FTW. Huge improvement on 8/8.1, I don't know what your objection is (apart from the still-kludgey mishmash of Control Panel / PC Settings screens, but 8 has that too. Worse.)

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Surge pricing? How about surge fines: Pennsylvania orders Uber to cough up $11.4m

ChrisBedford

Re: Bootnote

until Trump gets voted into office - then the whole country will just be in one almighty state

...of chaos. God help us all if he does get elected.

Slightly off topic here

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ChrisBedford

@ Dan 1980: TL;DR

I don't think anyone is saying or even implying that using Uber makes it legal.

But unquestionably, using Uber *does* send a message to the relevant Administration that it is a service that the citizens want.

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BSODs at scale: We laugh at your puny five storeys, here's our SIX storey #fail

ChrisBedford

Re: I don't understand why people are running ad-signs on Windows

Agreed, especially when I see the awful video performance of computers that should handle Windows at least "OK". A local national chain pharmacy shows some of those "Just for Laughs" candid camera prank videos in amongst the ads, and the jerk-jerk-jerkiness is sometimes too painful to watch. Certain a stripped-down Linux with the right drivers would handle it much better.

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False Northern Lights alert issued to entire UK because of a lawnmower

ChrisBedford

Unfortunately the University doesn't know what an aurora is

Unfortunately, auroras (Northern Lights) aren’t the only thing

...mmm only there's an identical, though weaker, effect over the Southern polar region known as Aurora Australis so you can't call auroras "Northern" lights can you.

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ChrisBedford
Coffee/keyboard

Re: Well...

Nearly and auroraful mistake

Not nearly as auroraful as that joke.

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ChrisBedford

Re: Intermittent interruptions...

spark transmitter cleverly disguised as a Weedeater

Many years ago I heard a report (may be apocryphal) of a LAN that worked only in short bursts, which turned out to have been affected by the pulse of an electric fence. Can't imagine who would be so dim as to run a LAN cable (and we are talking RG58, here) so close to the HT line of an electric fence, but I guess... early days + ignorance = dimness...?

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ChrisBedford

Re: Lawnmower man

The thing that disturbed me the most was how long it took to find out that it was the cleaner who was disrupting their services

Umm yeah except that is a reference to one of the hoarier urban legends.

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'Flying Bum's' first flight was a gas, gas, gas

ChrisBedford

It even beats the Antonov AN-225's 84 metres, but the Airlander's helium-based lift is only 10 tonnes (the Antonov is good for about 250 tonnes)

I'll bet it also falls a fair way short of the AN-225's top speed of 520+ mph.

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ChrisBedford

Re: Hindenburg

This is heavier than air

No it's not! No wings or other lifting power. Why would the body need to be so enormous if it was HTA?

In any event, the statement was "largest aircraft" not largest "lighter than aircraft". And the Hindenberg was indeed 245 m long, so the flying bum is a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g way short of the largest or longest aircraft ever made.

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'Daddy, what's a Blu-ray disc?'

ChrisBedford

Re: quality..

I mean who would ... how? why?

I have long since maintained there is no snob like a self-styled audiophile, but the stringing together of so many meaningless buzzwords in one short review has to take some sort of prize.

People who can talk like this aren't listening to the music, they are listening to the sound equipment. You have to pity them, really. SEVENTY NINE DOLLARS for a small handful of little plastic stick-on feet that you can get at your local Builders' Mart for probably $3... I guess if you are forking out that kind of cash you'd better expect that "Improvements in soundstage dimensionality and image clarity" would be "readily apparent", as and as for the removal of "harmonic smearing", ooh well now.

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Thieves can wirelessly unlock up to 100 million Volkswagens, each at the press of a button

ChrisBedford

Re: Quick Release or build it like it is in my head

The steering wheel could have a unique serial number that hardware in the steering column could detect

Or in other words, exactly like the immobiliser chip in the key currently works? I have to point out, a key is a lot more convenient to carry in your pocket than a steering wheel.

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Nobody expects... a surprise haemorrhoid operation

ChrisBedford
FAIL

Re: Alls well that ends well

Alls well that ends well

Apostrophe Sheriff here.

Should be "All'swell that end'swell"

all's well yes, but

end's well <-- where did you get this from? Or was this a joke i didn't get.

Seriously, if you are going to appoint yourself the apostrophe sheriff surely you should get your facts straight. I end, you end, he ends; we end, you end, they end. Straight verb conjugation, which has never taken an apostrophe and only now gets one in "Grocer's English".

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Harrison Ford's leg, in the Star Wars film, with the Millennium Falcon door

ChrisBedford

Re: Eh? What?

Ford, best known for playing CSO Jack Stanfield in the 2006 cyber-thriller Firewall...

Really?

My reaction exactly. Best known by whom... that was one of the more mediocre films he made. I think "Best known" for playing - well, Han Solo in the 1979 sf-thriller Star Wars perhaps...?

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ChrisBedford

Re: Eh? What?

Apparently your attention span is comparable to that of the guy who was operating the door, because if you had bothered reading the next paragraph, you would have read...:

"The door was remotely operated by another person..."

- also, there's no mention of compensation. This is a criminal case, not a civil one.

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I want to learn about gamification but all I see is same-ification

ChrisBedford

Re: Mew Sick Television is old hat, we use the Internet to watch cats throwing up now...

> MTV wasn't an entire waste... they gave us Beavis and Butthead.

> Er... hmm... nevermind.

'The Maxx', 'Drawn Together'...

And who can forget "Pimp My Ride"... erm... well yeah, OK

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ChrisBedford

Street corners and cheap cider when I were a lad...

Aye well of course we 'ad it rough. We 'ad to get oop at 4 int' mornin', lick road clean wit tongue...

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Patriotic Brits rush into streets to celebrate… National Cream Tea Day

ChrisBedford

And what's wrong with putting a spoon on the saucer?

Indeed, I was wondering the same thing. If you don't put it on the saucer where do you put it? On the table, where it leaves a milky tea-stain? Seems daft to me.

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ChrisBedford

What weird accent do you speak that gone rhymes with fawn and pawn

Hmm, possibly some affected upper-crust one? There is a memorable exchange in one of the G&S operettas (Pirates?) where "orphan" and "often" are pronounced the same. And and didn't the two Ronnies (?) lose a French "horn" that was "gorn"?

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ChrisBedford

Re: “tea before milk”.

This has divided my wife and I for a considerable time

Yes well there's something that shouldn't divide *anyone*. This has divided my wife and ME, please.

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Would YOU start a fire? TRAPPED in a new-build server farm

ChrisBedford
Pint

Re: Done the reverse before

a pat on the back and a full night of overtime

You sneaky rat. I'd have done the same ;)

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ChrisBedford

threw a swivel chair through the larger of the windows

Nowadays, of course, said plate glass would be bulletproof (or at least chairproof) so at best you are going to cause a few small cracks...

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ChrisBedford

Re: Design flaw

simple push to exit button would be more than sufficient

Indeed, and when carrying notebook, toolbox, other toolbox, miscellaneous flyleads, and sundry hardware having to fumble around with a swipe card can be, umm, the last thing you need.

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ChrisBedford
FAIL

Re: stern words warranted

starts beeping if you havent moved for over 60 seconds

There would be a constant chorus of beeps if you implemented this at any given South African government office

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