* Posts by Commswonk

823 posts • joined 3 Sep 2015

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What? What? Which? Former broadband minister Ed Vaizey dismisses report

Commswonk
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Re: Believing BT bollocks

Hong Kong has 95% availability of 1Gb and a 10Gb service. BT weasels the statistics by redefining "Europe" as five countries on some spurious data and then claiming we are "leading".

Without going so far as to defend BT consider the following:

If Wikipedia is to be believed Hong Kong has an area of about 1000 sq miles and a population between 7.25 and 7.5 million. Orkney, OTOH has an area less than 400 sq miles and a population of about 21,400.

These figures result in population densities of about 17,000 per sq mile and 52 per sq mile respectively.

At which location is it (a) easier, and (b) economic, to provide high - speed broadband to individual customers?

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HMS Windows XP: Britain's newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

Commswonk
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I wonder...

...if they've had a 'phone call from one of those ever - helpful people from Windows Technical Department yet?

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Software glitch led to London Ambulance Service outage – report

Commswonk
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Coat

Mmm... Puts a whole new slant on "whose turn is it to empty the bins".

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AES-256 keys sniffed in seconds using €200 of kit a few inches away

Commswonk
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@ M D Rackham: ...ethical clickbait.

My oxymoron alarm has just gone off.

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Research suggests UK consumers find 'fibre' advertising misleading

Commswonk
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Same mistake I've been making with Golden Nuggets all these years, apparently. Bought loads of packs - still no gold.

<pedant>

"Golden" is an adjective, relating to the colour of whatever noun follows. "Gold" is a noun, albeit used as an adjective to describe the substance of the nuggets. You might not have found any "gold", but you will certainly have found "golden" things. They might even have been edible.

</pedant>

Coat please...

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Commswonk
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@ Pangasinan Philipines FTTH here in Manila.

Just out of curiosity what speed do you get and how much does it cost you per month?

(Please specify currency used!)

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Commswonk
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Full fibre is coming but I don't think anyone is 100% ready for it yet for consumers, hence the 2% coverage so far.

Is that as in "ready to pay for it"? I recently received notification from BT that our contract was nearly up, and would I like to upgrade to 76 Mb/s? Now as it happened I didn't like anything of the sort; 52 Mb/s is quite fast enough for our purposes and I saw no reason to pay about £5 per month more for a speed I didn't need.

What pissed me off was that while upgrading would have been a simple on - line process, remaining on the existing speed required a 'phone call involving the truly horrible voice recognition system; that said once I found a human being he was extremely helpful and it all went well.

My main point is that as and when FTTH becomes more widely available just how many people are going to be willing to shell out what is almost certain to be a greatly increased monthly cost? Will it be enough to make it financially viable?

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Commswonk
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Re: " leaving consumers baffled"

Which is the point, no?

Likely to be the most pertinent comment in this thread...

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Tesla's driverless car software chief steps down

Commswonk
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Re: I think Uber might have a vacancy.

@ Martin Gregorie: What it needs is someone who knows what 'ethics' means and has them.

And of course any appointment has to meet the "diversity" agenda.

Perhaps they should employ an Ethics Girl.

Er, I'd better get my coat.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned, says report

Commswonk
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I read the headline...

... and immediately thought of this (Obligatory Dilbert): http://dilbert.com/strip/1994-01-07

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Banking websites are 'littered with trackers' ogling your credit risk

Commswonk
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Re: Yeah but...

So whatever you agree to TODAY won't protect you any longer than it takes for the echo of the mouse click to fade.

That is so good as to be almost poetic.

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Trump nominates a pro-net-neutrality advocate as FCC commish

Commswonk
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Re: Man bites dog

So, have I got this right, this is a Trump did a sensible thing story?

It would appear so. Perhaps we should not be entirely surprised - statistically a "sensible thing" is bound to emerge from time to time, much like a large enough number of monkeys with typewriters* eventually producing the works of Shakespeare.

Chaos Theory might also have something to say on the subject as well.

* Should also be valid for PCs and laptops. Dunno about tablets...

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Ever wonder why those Apple iPhone updates take so damn long?

Commswonk
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Re: @SuccessCase

@ I ain't Spartacus: It's all very well for these rich companies to just assume that everyone has unlimited internet, but lots of people don't. And a couple of GB could be a significant part of someone's data allowance for the month.

It also seems to assume that ISPs and MNOs have "unlimited internet" and don't object to Apple risking clogging up their networks with test and revertive downloads to all and sundry.

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Currys PC World given a spanking for misleading laptop savings ads

Commswonk
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Another misleading advertisement?

Quelle surprise...

"Situation Normal" more like.

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Labour says it will vote against DUP's proposed TV Licence reforms

Commswonk
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Re: I Think We Need The BBC

@ scrubber: Is it acceptable that the poor pay just as much as the rich for an essential service?

Um... Let us modify that slightly...

Is it acceptable that the poor pay just as much as the rich for a washing machine / car / vacuum cleaner / replacement window / smartphone / broadband / effing enormous television and so on...

An argument in support of "no" would be interesting, and I look forward to reading it. Please include the method by which price differentials would be calculated and enforced.

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BT's Ryan Reynolds helicopter Wi-Fi ads 'misleading', thunders ad watchdog

Commswonk
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At least BT is in "good" company...

Helpfully, having ruled that it is OK to broadcast ads about technical capabilities based on tests made in laboratory-equivalent environments instead of the real world, the watchdog then dubbed BT's range claim as "fantastical and illustrative in nature"

...along with claims for car fuel consumption figures and CO2 and other emissions. Even the test software was a "cheat" of sorts.

For myself I just found the advertisement extremely annoying, but that response is not unique to BT. I have no interest in how many 10s or 100s of metres yards BT's WiFi will go; what would be of much greater interest would be how many single brick (internal) walls can it (a HH3) penetrate so that Mrs Commswonk can use her iPad. (FWIW 1 or 2 is fine; but 3? Forget it.)

I tried a wireless range extender but decided in the end that it was no help, with no unused mains socket in a suitable location.

In the specific case of this particular advertisement I just treat it the same way as I regard all the others; "someone" wants my money and they will stretch the truth to breaking point in an attempt to get it.

A plague on all their houses... as Shakespeare didn't quite say.

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Discredit a journo? Easy, that'll be $55k. Fix an election? Oh, I can do that for just $400k

Commswonk
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Re: Whatever happened to...

Ethics Girl Jokes?

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Uber board: We accept all recommendations. Any execs left to carry them out?

Commswonk
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Re: That odd noise is me gnashing my teeth...

@ CrazyOldCatMan: Two words "American English"!

Has - in a sense - always been with us, but the missing "on" is something that I have only become concious of relatively recently. With most immigration into the US being historical rather than recent I suspect other influences.

By way of example: US TV news drops into a sort of patois to make the presentation pacy, racy, hip, and trendy even when the topic makes that little short of inappropriate. The "excluded on" is commonplace.

Also the relatively recent horrors of

Q: How are you?

A: I'm good thanks.

and

Can I get a cup of ...? (which always makes me want to run screaming from the premises)

I don't think either can be attributed to US immigration.

Abominations all...

Edit: "Oxford Comma" included just to be, er, annoying.

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Commswonk
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That odd noise is me gnashing my teeth...

The details of that report – due to be released Tuesday...

Exactly when was the generally harmless little word "on" cast into the outer darkness, and why? Its absence is to be deprecated.

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Capita call centre chap wins landmark sex discrimination lawsuit

Commswonk
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Re: Management speak ...

"...takes equal opportunities very seriously, we are disappointed with the outcome in this case on that part of the claim where we were unsuccessful".

I suggest that while it is double talk on a grand scale, there is a linguistic escape clause of sorts. We all interpret "takes equal opportunities very seriously" to mean that they support equal opportunities.

Now consider this: "we take the theft of company property very seriously". Would any of us interpret that as meaning that they are fully supportive of the theft of company property? I suggest not.

"When I use a word" said Humpty Dumpty", "it means what I choose it to mean - neither more or less"

Conniving sods...

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Boeing preps pilotless passenger flights – once it has solved the Sully problem, of course

Commswonk
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Re: Remote pilots?

@ DNTP:

One fairly valid argument against emergency remote piloting is the number of incidents when a cockpit pilot achieves an effective emergency maneuver that other pilots...

A non - staffed flight deck, resulting in a need for "remote piloting", inevitably means that there would need to be an external radio interface to facilitate that remote control, and an external interface means a convenient entry point for a malicious attack - a hack on an unthinkable scale.

Just prior to the "Remote Pilots" part of this thread Voland's right hand wrote Boeing is still taking personally the fact that two of its aircraft were used to perform architectural modifications on the New York skyline.This is more about "you are not ramming this aircraft into this building even if you wanted to" than about shortage of pilots. Having an external interface makes "architectural modifications" more likely, not less, with no risk to the perpetrators.

The need for "remote control" would be greater than just taking over in an emergency. Departing or arriving flights often have to "hold" at a designated point whilst an other aircraft (or even more than one) clears the runway; that "hold" can be on the ground or in flight ("holding pattern") and those holds occur under the direction of ATC; given that necessity,"remote control" would turn out to be a routine requirement that was available more or less all the time from any number of locations, albeit not all at the same time.

The security implications of fully automated flight with no human interface on the flight deck are truly terrifying.

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Commswonk
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Redundancy is important. But replacing the copilot with a computer makes sense.

No it doesn't. Having two pilots on the flight deck means that on long flights one can be flying the aircraft (or at least keeping an eye on things and being fully "situationally aware" ) while the other rests. Reduce that to one pilot and that capability disappears. Do you really want just a single pilot on the flight deck for (say) a 14 hour flight? I would suggest that in those circumstances the single pilot would struggle to perform adequately should the need arise.

Redundancy in aircraft systems is there for a reason, and I can see no compelling reason why that redundancy shouldn't include a second pilot. In fact I can see compelling reasons why it should.

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My unpopular career in writing computer reviews? It's a gift

Commswonk
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Joke

Alistair Dabbs...

Iron fist in velvet orange glove.

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Live blog: Fired FBI boss spills the beans to US Senate committee

Commswonk
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Re: Odd refernce to the statue of justice

Before that time she would neither wear a blindfold nor display a sword but be shown holding a scale and a cornucopia in her hands.

Ah yes... cornucopia... the Horn of Plenty; symbolic of the fact that the lawyers below were doing quite well, thank you very much. Small wonder that someone decided to replace it with something else.

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Forcing digital forensics to obey 'one size fits all' crime lab standard is 'stupid and expensive'

Commswonk
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Conspiracy theorists are probably frothing at the mouth with the thought that the government is forcing a standard on digital forensics that is hard to meet in the hope that the digital forensics can never be used against them in future court cases.

Great idea that; it would also hamper the ability of the police and security services to prosecute anyone who used any sort of digital system in planning or executing a terrorist offence. The restriction would work both ways, you know!

Doh!

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Commswonk
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Re: "compliance bureaucracy"

Otherwise known as doing it properly with records

That was worth an upvote.

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Tech can do a lot, Prime Minister, but it can't save the NHS

Commswonk
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Re: WTF!?

...and they spend quite a large wad on Weapons of Mass Destruction which keep us safe...

Without getting into arguments for and against replacing the nuclear deterrent fleet it is worth looking at the figures. IIRC the whole life costs projected for replacing the subs comes to about £100bn, which is less than a single year's expenditure on the NHS. There may be a case for scrapping the deterrent but funding the NHS isn't it.

So surely if people live longer they can pay taxes and NI for longer and keep the status quo going?

My incomplete understanding of the NI system is that it is at best a muddle, at worst a complete mess. ISTR that for a full state pension an individual has to have a 35 year contribution record, which I believe includes credits obtained by "signing on" if unemployed and looking for work.

35 years? Why for goodness sake; with the state retirement age creeping up towards 70 there is a clear case for 40 or 45 years' contributions, not 35. And why does the contribution rate drop off as soon as any individual creeps into a higher Income Tax bracket?

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Commswonk
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Re: The long-term cost no one talks about..

Although it will hit the deficit I think paying off these PFI's will actually save money in the long run.

That is assuming that there is provision in the contracts for buying them out early, and I would bet a £ to a pinch of sh1t that there are (harsh) financial penalties for early pay - off involved anyway.

Unfortunately those who hold the contracts (many of which have been sold on as "investments", IIRC) also have the government taxpayers by the dangly bits.

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Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn't you follow all these people ... on your radar?

Commswonk
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Re: Change

It's much easier to cope with the unexpected if you're not set in certain ways.

Well yes... but... If there is no "established way of doing things" then there is a risk that things will be done in a haphazard way, and that is wholly undesirable. The trick is to be set in certain ways but have the ability to spot that a "certain way" may not be appropriate in some circumstances and thus might have to change quite quickly in a controlled manner.

Easier said than done, I suspect.

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The internet may well be the root cause of today's problems… but not in the way you think

Commswonk
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Re: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

@ Mark 110: If I hear Theresa May claim they are a low tax party one more time ...

Even as a conservative voter (cue downvotes!) I am becoming more and more uncomfortable with this mantra. Ignoring "benefits" because they are too emotive a subject there is no escaping the fact that the requirement for public expenditure can only be reduced so far, and if we as a country are to deal with increasing life expectancy, better healthcare, and care for the elderly (along with all the other things we expect like defence, policing and so on) then shouting "low tax" from the rooftops will very soon become a vote loser, that is if it hasn't already.

I am truly astonished that the Conservative Manifesto contained the suggestion about elderly care that it did; it shows all the signs of having been concocted by an inner circle detached from life's more difficult realities and there is every possibility that this blunder could cost the Conservatives the election. Some might say "good" but I won't be one of them.

I feel very sorry for candidates who have to go out and sell the unsellable; that of course applies to both of the major parties at this election, albeit for different reasons.

Just another indication that a major requirement for political ambition is basic ineptitude.

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Commswonk
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Re: Christian Berger: The problem isn't ideologies spreading on the Internet

@ BoldMan: Repeat after me "Government finances are not the same as Personal Finances"

Hopefully you will soon realise that the statement is essentially bollocks, perpetuated by those who believe that there is an infinite source of money mysteriously available. It was that attitude that ratcheted up the deficit and the accrued debt that had to be addressed in 2010.

@ PapaD: Just a quick question, if companies don't pay tax, what is corporation tax?

Companies have no money, whatever you call any tax on them. "Company money" is simply income from doing business; it is actually customers' money.

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Vodafone to block its ads from appearing next to 'fake news'

Commswonk
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Re: Ha ha

You can't listen with your eyes...

Hear Hear!

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Amazon granted patent to put parachutes inside shipping labels

Commswonk
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Re: WE delivered your parcel today!

Customer vows never to use Amazon again

If that isn't illegal already it soon will be.

First Commandment: You shall have no other Gods but me. (No change)

Second Commandment: You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it unless the idol is Amazon or its founder. (Only a small addition)

Third commandment: You shall not misuse the name of the Bezos your God. (Only a small change)

You get the idea...

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Samsung's Bixby assistant fails English, gets held back a month

Commswonk
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I should have included this in my post above...

Apart from anything else caribou have a command of English already: see

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5035TY5RSpg

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Commswonk
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Bixby is a tinny name. I prefer a woody name, such as Hurk. Incredibear.

What was wrong with caribou?

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Retirement age must move as life expectancy grows, says WEF

Commswonk
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Re: Wow

@ Mad Mike

Alternatively, save an awful lot more into your pension than the current average.

Even that might not help much. I suppose I am lucky; the bulk of my retirement income comes from a Defined Benefit (contributory) pension, but that was closed some years ago with new "entrants" being on Defined Contribution.

One factor in the demise of D/B schemes that is rarely mentioned is Gordon Bown's tax raid on the dividend income that pension schemes receive on behalf of their one - time contributors, now beneficiaries. It's little wonder that D/B schemes struggled to remain afloat with those that haven't been closed developing greater and greater black holes in their accounts. As governments can become as hooked on other peoples' money as anyone else there has been no move that I am aware of to ditch what to me has always been an unfair penalty on retirees.

D/C schemes do not really allow much by way of financial planning; how can a soon - to - be - a - retiree plan ahead when there can be no clear picture of what the retirement income is going to be?

Politicians (it isn't just governments) bleat about people not planning sufficiently for their retirement and then make it as bloody difficult as they can to make any such planning even halfway effective.

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Commswonk
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Re: Re-skilling older workers

@ Christian Berger

Well those "free IT courses" are usually about how to use the current version of Product X. What you learn there usually will be completely useless within months.

Such courses (and it isn't limited to IT) serve the financial needs of the Training Providers more than the recipients of the training.

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Commswonk
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Re: This is all very well, but........

@ Mad Mike:

People can make their own choices, but when they decide to spend money and not save for retirement should stop complaining about what they have to do later in life. Problem today is people want it all. To spend all their money now on living life, whilst still expecting others to fund their later life/retirement. Either live life a little less and save more, or accept some compromises later in life.

While I have some sympathy for the views expressed, people working in minimum / living / low wage jobs are supposed to save for retirement how exactly?

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BA CEO blames messaging and networks for grounding

Commswonk
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Re: Hardware vs software

There is still no verb "to architect".

@Doctor Syntax: Could you please suggest a pre-existing alternative.

Try this:

...there are likely to be hundreds of little scripts that have been created to get around functionality gaps, many of which will not have been documented or architected structured properly...

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Commswonk
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Re: Hardware vs software

"...many of which will not have been documented or architected properly..."

There is still no verb "to architect".

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EU axes geo-blocking: Upsets studios, delights consumers

Commswonk
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Re: Axed Geoblocking

"It was a COMMON Market before it was the EU."

Perhaps if it had stayed like that we wouldn't be where we are now...

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BA's 'global IT system failure' was due to 'power surge'

Commswonk
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Re: Heathrow and Gatwick?

CEO should be fired just after he fires the CIO for allowing this to happen.

Unless, of course, the CIO has kept a copy of the email / memo / minutes in which the CFO refused the money to replace the batteries in a big UPS or replace some other mission - critical bit of hardware that was approaching end of life or the like.

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Commswonk
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Re: Heads will roll

Nearly right. The usual starting point is Deputy Heads will roll...

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Don't rely on fitness trackers to track number of calories burned

Commswonk
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Re: DAMMIT!!

Try jogging to the Pizza Emporium instead of pressing buttons on your smartphone.

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Commswonk
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"Don't rely on fitness trackers to track number of calories burned"

Not least because their true purpose in life is to part the gullible from their money.

As is the case with a lot of other (i.e. most) shiny stuff...

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Mouse sperm kept frozen in SPAAAAACE yields healthy pups

Commswonk
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Thinking about it...

Microgravity is less of a problem. Previous studies involving other animals such as sea urchins, fish, amphibians and birds have concluded that it doesn’t hamper reproduction. But performing the same kind of trials with mammals is trickier.

I would expect that human copulation in zero gravity could be quite, er, challenging. At the same time I would have thought that finding volunteers to try using that "diving aircraft" wouldn't be too hard.

Could give a whole new meaning to the term "cockpit".

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Crooks use WannaCrypt hysteria as hook for BT-branded phishing emails

Commswonk
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Re: Maybe we should bring back plain text email.

And a click here link could take users to www.jawsofHelldamnedforAllEternity.com for all the users know.

Yes but... I cannot be the only person who puts the cursor over any "Click Here" box for the url behind it to be revealed. Likewise I cannot be the only person who notices that the "To" box at the top is either empty or says "Recipients" and that the "From" box is more often than not from a self - evidently non - BT address.

I might be the only person who dutifully forwards these spoofs / phishing attempts to BT's "Abuse" address, including a copy of the incoming header information. FWIW the majority of potentially troublesome emails here purport to come from BT and only on one occasion did it require detailed scrutiny to suggest that it wasn't what it seemed.

Mind you being paranoic helps a bit...

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Three home security systems found to be vulnerable – if hackers were hiding in bushes

Commswonk
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Re: Anything radio has vulnerabilities

Because wires are so difficult to cut?

Quite; but a properly designed security system can detect a cut wire and react accordingly. In some systems adding a wire connection in an attempt to conceal the attack can also be detected because it isn't just "a piece of wire" but a resistance of known value that sits in a bridge circuit where any imbalance can be detected immediately and again used to trigger the alarm.

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Plutus Payroll clients and staff fell for plausible business model fairy tales

Commswonk
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Re: If it looks too good to be true,it's probably a con somehow..

Well it seamed to be working fine and all legal as well ...

Until it came apart at the seems, that is.

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French fling fun-sized fine at Facebook for freakin' following folk

Commswonk
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Also to be honest from the UK if you have friends & family abroad, call costs to places like Australia, or Thailand from the UK tend to be a bit pricey to phone someone up for a quick half hour chat and catch up.

Cheap phone packages are available; Mrs Commswonk has one to talk to her daughter abroad.

Facebook tends to be a quick and easy way; "Facebook tends to be a lazy way" might be more accurate. Apart from anything else if I want to communicate with specific friends I do not world + dog listening from the sidelines; if all the friends are mutual there might be some excuse for using Facebook but individual friends deserve individual attention.

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