* Posts by Commswonk

886 posts • joined 3 Sep 2015

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Verizon kicks out hot new Unlimited* plans

Commswonk
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Re: Post-modern advertising

Verizon offer "unlimited" which is limited.

Ah, this is obviously some strange usage of the word 'unlimited' that I wasn't previously aware of.

Equally obviously with acknowledgements to Douglas Adams...

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US Navy suffers third ship collision this year

Commswonk
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Somebody call Tesla and Mr. Musk, and order autopilot stat!

How do you now that they didn't fit one months ago? Seems entirely likely.

The answer, of course, will be "it's helmsman assist..."

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Commswonk
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Re: Good job it wasn't a lighthouse

How can it be an "urban" myth when it concerns events on the high seas?

Anyway in this case is wasn't a myth; it was a direct hit.

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Commswonk
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FAIL

That explains it, then...

During the "pause" US Navy investigators would be "focused on navigation, ships' mechanical systems and bridge resource management", according to Admiral Swift.

Any navy that has concepts like "bridge resource managment" deserves to have accidents. I await the defence from the Officer of the Watch reading along the lines "I was trying to decode a load of management bollocks in Part 1 Orders* and I could thus not concentrate on where the ship was going".

* Or whatever the USN has as an equivalent

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Cognitive Services, Clippy? AI's silent infiltration of Microsoft's Office stack

Commswonk
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Re: Custom Decision Service?

Computer says no becomes a reality.

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Disbanding your security team may not be an entirely dumb idea

Commswonk
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Re: I met one security officer who said his team is known as the 'business prevention department'

I immediately thought of Mordac the Preventer of IT Services.

See Dilbert passim.

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UK industry mouthpiece wants 'near-universal' broadband speeds of 30Mbps by 2020

Commswonk
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Re: 30Mbps? By 2020! Sad! Nay, Pathetic!

Not to mention Romania.

From some of the figures in the linked article and a look here: http://uk.businessinsider.com/brexit-eu-members-net-contributions-and-net-funding-2016-12 it may well be that Romania was in the happy position of being able to provide decent broadband at someone else's expense entirely.

I don't doubt that if the UK received a pile of money every year from somewhere else it might have been able to provide better BB services.

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Commswonk
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Re: Use cases please?

An AC wrote: You are doing exactly the same in reverse, but you can't see. (and you do it everytime there is a post regarding Fibre)

We get it. You're desperate about keeping your copper Line for Emergencies such as Aid Call (Age Concern) devices.

Right, and wrong in that order. I will cheerfully admit to "projecting" a view, not so much about retaining copper pair into the premises to the exclusion of fibre, but on the basis of keeping domestic users' costs down to a "manageable" level. If BT were to offer me FTTP at the same cost as FTTC in perpetuity then I would be quite happy to have it, as I suspect would everyone else. But they won't; there are (significant) costs to be recovered and that can only be achieved by increasing the costs to the end user. If the aim is to have "everybody" on - line then pricing a service at too high a level will result in digital exclusion, which would be entirely counterproductive. There is also the point that higher fixed line costs might result in more users ditching fixed line altogether and relying on smartphones for internet access. (I don't and won't have a smartphone and if I need access when "away" I use an external dongle on my laptop, but that can be an expensive way of doing things as well.)

Another point that is apparent from one or two posts is that business and domestic use are being conflated; I will happily accept that business users may well need higher speeds but that need does not translate directly into everybody needing higher speeds; a business case for higher speeds only applies for business users, and it is dishonest to argue that the same case applies to all and sundry. Fair enough; if someone wants higher speeds to support a housefull of teenagers then they are perfectly at liberty to make their case; they are not at liberty to claim that that case applies to everyone.

Go and visit a supermarket at a busy period; some will have trolleys groaning under the weight of "stuff", possibly because they are buying for a housefull; other trolleys are less heavily loaded because the buying is for a lesser number. Nobody in their right mind would shop for (say) 6 if the household contains only 2 people.

I have never tried arguing that nobody should have FTTP; I just wish that those who do want it would stop claiming that "everybody" wants or needs it.

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Commswonk
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Re: Use cases please?

An AC wrote: Nope people want FTTP...

An assertion based on what, may I ask? I strongly suspect that most people, faced with things like FTTP, FTTC, ACSL, VDSL and so on wouldn't have the faintest idea what they actually meant.

I suspect that you are taking your own wants (I concede that in your case they might genuinely be "needs") and projecting them on to everyone else in the hope that your requirements will be met, effectively by forcing others to pay increased charges to reduce yours.

FTTC is not perfect, but it has the advantage that it can provide a reasonable service at a reasonable price with a reasonable rate of roll - out. FTTP would undoubtedly provide a faster service (even if users don't actually need it) but at a significantly increased price to the end user and with a slower rate of provision.

I suspect that you are indulging in the marketing game of trying to persuade people that they need something that they, er, don't. See my point about television advertisements...

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Commswonk
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Re: Use cases please?

@ SorenUk How about just convenience? Who is to say that people must fully utilise their bandwidth all the time?

For the simple reason that people have to pay for it all the time. To demonstrate the weakness of the suggestion it would undoubtedly be convenient for the train operators to have a much simplified ticketing structure; every ticket costs £100, irrespective of the distance being travelled. "But I only want to go 20 miles" would produce the reply "yes but you could go 500 miles - the choice to go only 20 miles is yours, not ours". Followed by "if you think about it its convenient for you as well, because you know how much every journey is going to cost you without having to look it up".

The western world's economies are based on selling people things they don't really need, whether they can afford them or not. The first step is to persuade them that they really do something and make sure their better judgement doesn't win the day. A look at most television advertisements should be enough to make this point uncomfortably obvious.

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South London: Rats! The rodents have killed the internet

Commswonk
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Devil

Re: Seems they dont' like BT fibre

Perhaps Openreach uses substandard cables that the discerning Sarf London rat turns its nose up at.

OTOH perhaps the rats read El Reg, a safe space for those who don't like BT fibre.

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Firmware update blunder bricks hundreds of home 'smart' locks

Commswonk
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Re: Fact

Any statement accompanied by the word "Fact" usually isn't.

Obviously there is an exception in this case...

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Speaking in Tech: Do I need some weird thing listening to me in my house all the time?

Commswonk
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Re: Do I need some weird thing listening to me in my house all the time?

If the answer to the headline is "no" then I suggest avoiding any event that includes the words "I do".

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Jocks' USO block shock: BT's 10Mbps proposals risk 'rural monopoly'

Commswonk
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Re: Not a problem

Doesn't have to stay that way. Water regulation is already different on either side of the border. Scotland has its own environmental regulator. Some energy policy is now devolved, even though there's a single GB regulator, charity and housing regulation is separate, I daresay there's others if you look.

I suggest having a separate regulator would have "unintended consequences". With a single BT and a single regulator there is no problem sharing the cost of providing services across the whole of the UK, so that "easy to provide areas" can subsidise the harder more expensive areas. If the regulatory function was split a Scottish regulator could not legitimately mandate that a service provider (in this case BT) subsidise provision in Scotland from English income; what BT did with its income south of the border would be outside a Scottish regulator's remit.

The remit of any Regulator set up by the Scottish Government stops abruptly at Hadrian's Wall.

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Commswonk
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Look at a map, and I think the answer is a very clear yes. Rural Scotland is what, 70,000 square km,. the Lake District 2,500 sq km, and is bounded by relatively well served towns and establishments, so that there's virtually no part of the Lake District more than about twelve miles from an existing high speed infrastructure, or one that could be easily upgraded to high speed.

I cannot comment on the accuracy of the respective areas quoted but what I can say with certainty is that at least parts of the Lake District have had FTTC for a couple of years or so. Ditto at least parts of Northumbria, which once you get clear of Newcastle can be a pretty remote place, albeit perhaps not on the scale that parts of Scotland are remote.

IIRC some of the money to provide FTTC in these areas came from local authorities; I wonder if Scottish L/As offered to put any money into the pot to provide services there, or did they sit back and wait for someone else to pay up.

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Commswonk
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@ AC: What does he expect? It will only be economic for other operators to provide rural service if people are willing to spend £2500 connection fee and £150 per month (random figures - just for illustration). No company other than BT can possibly provide rural covverage for £20 or whatever the expected price is, so why not welcome their committment rather than whining about it?

Although it might be a very crude way of looking at it, England has a population of approximately 55 million against Scotland's 5.5 million; these translate into population densities of about 1100 / sq. mile and 175 / sq. mile respectively. Now I know that "numbers of bodies" does not translate directly into "number of broadband lines" but it ought to be bloody obvious that the costs of providing anywhere near 100% coverage in Scotland have to be much greater than the equivalent coverage south of the border. It is thus quite likely that Scottish BB users are already being subsidised by their English counterparts. I wonder how they might feel ("they" being both the Scottish electorate and SNP government) if that subsidy was withdrawn and that they had to stand on their own feet.

While no great fan of monopoly providers of any service, I simply don't see how having more than one provider for rural services could ever be an economic possibility. I suspect that that would continue to be the case even if the major Scottish conurbations were carved up between other providers to provide a wider customer base.

It grieves me as an "expatriot Scot" that the SNP / Scottish government are always on the lookout for ways to complain about governments or businesses south of the border, to the point where even if there is nothing real to complain about they will moan away regardless on some obscure point of principle.

Here is BT saying "yes we'll do it" and the SNP government saying "we don't like that idea" as a knee - jerk response.

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Virgin Media only adds another 127,000 homes to Project Lightning

Commswonk
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people lose their excrement.

Is that spontaneously or do they get sufficient warning to be civilised about it?

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Mediocre Britain: UK broadband ranked 31st in world for speed

Commswonk
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Re: All I wanna know is...

So your answer to my As evidenced by what, exactly? amounts to For my needs and evidence is that 99.999% of landline calls I get are from India, telemarketers or Green energy messages.

In other words, you have projected your own personal experience on to the entire population of the country. Of questionable statistical validity, I suggest; future of fixed line telephones decided on a single respondent.

We don't even pick it up any more if it rings and we run a business. I hope you will forgive me if I speculate that that is not the way to run a business...

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Commswonk
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Re: All I wanna know is...

Landline Voice calls are worthless to most people now.

As evidenced by what, exactly?

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Commswonk
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@ AndrueC: I agreed with your case up to the point where you wrote: Even down to us as consumers refusing to pay a decent price for broadband.

That has to prompt the question "how much do you think we ought to be willing to pay?" From my own perspective I am paying quite enough thank you for our 56 Mb/s service, and turned down an offer of 76 Mb/s at contract renewal time because there was no way I could justify the increased cost to myself. (About £5/month IIRC)

I am retired (as is Mrs Commswonk) so there has to be some care over money management; that said I strongly suspect that we are better off then many who are still working. If the internet / broadband are to be "inclusive" (sorry about that!) then it has to be priced at a level that people can genuinely afford so that they can get a service that meets their needs. Taking yesterday's El Reg article about FTTH broadband provision at face value we are all going to have to pay a premium so that a projected FTTH roll - out is financially viable; that would appear to have two consequences; I pay more for the same service as I am getting now or I am more or less forced to have a far faster service than I need, but again at increased cost. That will hit every UK broadband user using BT (directly or indirectly), including those who have less cash to splash around than I/we have.

If any of us went to buy a sandwich from the local shop to find that the price of egg & cress had been bumped up to cross subsidise those who wanted smoked salmon I suspect that the reaction would be more or less uniformly hostile. Or if we went to the pub and found that our pie and chips had been priced to match something at the local Michelin 3 star we would, I suggest, be equally annoyed.

I have no objection to anyone having whatever speed takes their fancy, but I expect them to pay for it, not expect me to pay for it for them. I could live with a measure of subsidy so that the hard to reach places could get a decent service, but not a platinum - plated one.

So how much should households expect to pay for broadband, given the presumed need for "inclusiveness"? Or are you happy that some users woul perhaps struggle pay or be priced out altogether?

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WannaCry-killer Marcus Hutchins denies Feds' malware claims

Commswonk
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Re: Oh dear... maybe

An AC wrote: In short: sharing code that can also be used for criminal purposes is part of the process of making software more safe and protecting everyone of us. Please don't try to spin it to look like it is equal to stealing money from other people's bank accounts.

Interesting logic there; it's OK to share code that can be used for criminal purposes because it can be used for legitimate purposes as well.

And you accuse me of spin...

No wonder you used an AC identity.

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Commswonk
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Oh dear... maybe

Crucially, prosecutors are also claiming that Hutchins admitted during interrogation, in which he did not have a lawyer, to writing malware, and allege the Brit hinted he also sold software nasties. That sounds bad, however bear in mind that Hutchins, who goes by MalwareTechBlog on Twitter, has written and shared malware code online for research purposes.

I am in no way defending the US policing or judicial systems but if the above is true then I would submit that Hutchins has been rather silly. He may well have "witten and shared malware code for research purposes" but it is perfectly fair to argue that he has to accept some responsibility if some of that code is subsequently used for malicious purposes.

As a defence it will sound every bit as hollow as the claim that "I was looking at child porn for research purposes", which has been tried in the UK - without success IIRC. "Sharing online" is not a good way of discriminating between those with good intent and those with malicious intent so he may well be on a loser with that part of any indictment.

I suppose he might be guilty of nothing more than naivety, but that might not be sufficient to keep him out of trouble.

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Mid-flight jumbo font smartphone text shock sparks kid abuse arrests

Commswonk
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Kudos to this young lady. She went a step farther," Sergeant Brian Spears, commander of the San Jose police's Internet Crimes Against Children task force, told the San Jose Mercury News, regarding the teacher

Why do I get the uncomfortable feeling that if this had happened in the UK she would have found herself locked up as well.

Or worse still, instead.

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UK taxmen slammed for tech glitches rampant on child benefits website

Commswonk
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Re: Predictable

Let me guess, outsourced to Crapita?

I am slightly surprised that the article does not identify which of the Usual Suspects is at fault this time.

Enquiring Minds Would Like To Know and all that...

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UK IBMers lose crucial battle in pension row

Commswonk
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Re: Historically you might like to thank Gordon Brown.

@ John Smith 19

I think you are slightly mistaken, but only slightly. GB changed the rules so that pension provider / scheme investment income was taxed, and was thus not available for reinvestment and so on. This made a material difference to the amount of money that pension providers had available to pay out to those in retirement, and has (as far as I can see) been a major factor in the deepening black holes that have appeared in numerous DB schemes, leading to their closure in favour of DC schemes.

I would certainly agree that no later govt has seen fit to reverse his changes; had the Conservative Government restored the status quo ante between 2010 and now then we can be sure that the change would have been trumpeted from the roof tops.

Increasing life expectancy has certainly had an impact on the viability of several / many DB schemes, but I would argue that the biggest factor in their decline was Gordon Brown's tax raid on them.

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Ofcom: Blighty has devolved into a nation of unwashed binge-streaming mole people

Commswonk
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Re: Newsflash

@ ArrZarr: People are consuming more steamed content as time goes by.

I thought this thread was about television watching habits, not the eating of unspecified varieties of pudding.

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Uber drivers game Uber's system like Uber games the entire planet

Commswonk
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Dear Uber

It might be worth developing some understanding of "Perverse Incentives" and the "Law of Unintended Consequences".

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Another day, another British Airways systems screwup causes chaos

Commswonk
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Same with most multinationals.

Not sure that singling out multinationals properly reflects the scale of the problem. It is waaay bigger than that.

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Commswonk
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Not just an IT problem

There is a 2 page article in the Daily [NameThatMustNotBeMentioned] about other shortcomings of which BA is accused. It cannot make happy reading for anyone booked to fly with the company. It ought to make unhappy reading for the company management, but whether it will or not is another matter entirely.

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PayPal splashes cash on biz that persuades folks to splash cash online

Commswonk
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I may be a lone voice, but...

Cloud IQ claims to be able to encourage people to spend 10 per cent more online, by throwing targeted ads and personalised emails at visitors to their clients’ websites.

Such behaviour is almost guaranteed to have me frothing at the mouth in anger; the last thing it will do is encourage me to spend more - it might even make me spend less with the offending organisation.

At the same time we hear almost daily about mounting concern at the increasing level of personal debt; it would be nice if someone devised a scheme that discouraged people from spending more, especially if they haven't actually got the money to spend in the first place.

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UK.gov to trial vouchers for 'gigabit-capable' connectivity with SMEs

Commswonk
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Re: 'gigabit-capable'...

You could speed up FTTP my mandating that all new builds have it from day 1 (as well as Solar Panels while you are at it).

Looking first at your FTTP on new builds... this has some merit but the cost would have to be met by the buyers, who are already being hit with "Section 106" and Community Infrastructure Levy" front - end loading so the additional costs of providing FTTP might just be the last straw.

Solar panels are of course even more costly; how many home buyers want that additional cost at the same time as everything else? And of course there is no point in fitting solar panels on non - south facing roofs. That part of your idea is, I fear, just a tad silly.

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Look out Silicon Valley, here comes Brit bruiser Amber Rudd to lay down the (cyber) law

Commswonk
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Not for me, thanks all the same...

Despite President Trump's recent claim that a US‑UK trade deal was imminent and would be "beautiful," the reality is that a UK government minister – even the Home Secretary – carries little weight in California.

"Beautiful" has to be qualified by the much trumpeted (play on words not entirely accidental) "America First" policy. I suspect that any UK - USA Trade Deal will be greatly weighted in the USA's favour, and that the UK might be better off without one. "Greatly weighted in the USA's favour" should be read as the UK getting royally shafted.

And I say that as a "leave" voter, although I am not seeking to reopen the Brexit debate.

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Revised 'Broadband 2.0' report: 6.7m Brits suffer 'sub-10Mbps' speeds

Commswonk
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Re: Unacceptible

Another commentard with a crystal ball. Given the rise of smartphones & tablets, are you sure people will care about hardwired broadband in even 20 years time?

I suspect that your "20 years time" is a much longer timescale than will be required for this to show up. If the MNOs get 4G coverage and capacity up to decent levels then demand for fixed line BB is likely to flatten out or even recede.

Even I (as a non smartphone user) cannot see why anyone would effectively pay twice for the same service.

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Commswonk
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Happy

Re: Unacceptible

As is your spelling of the title.

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UK waves £45m cheque, charges scientists with battery tech boffinry

Commswonk
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Re: Long timescales

I support the earlier comment by Phil O'Sophical that the government should encourage, by paying for it, the study of STEM subjects.

I would agree if I could be certain that the fruits of that expenditure remained in the UK and that they weren't sold off to a foreign investor (company) at what amounted to less than cost price.

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Commswonk
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Re: Toshiba Supercharge Battery, where are you?

Some time about the early naughties the Toshiba Supercharge Battery was advertised as the new sliced bread, and Toshiba said that in a year from that we would hear much more about it.

What happened to it?

Rule of Research (1): Always be on the verge of a breakthrough; that way there is a chance that funds will keep flowing. Admit that you are getting nowhere and funding will dry up in an instant.

Rule of Research (2): Like shares, past performance is no guide to future performance; a doubling of battery energy density over a 10 year period does not mean that a further doubling will be forthcoming if another 10 years elapses.

Think "cold fusion" and ask why it hasn't happened yet...

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Commswonk
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Groan...

...existing battery manufacturers would be attracted to the UK...

No; they will manufacture wherever it is cheapest to manufacture.

Producing them locally could lower costs as well as improve safety – lookin' at you Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – because flammable batteries wouldn't have to be transported as far.

I know petrol & diesel are flammable but by and large they have no reputation for spontaneous combustion. If I am to be forced to have a battery - powered car I don't want flammable batteries that can self - ignite just for the hell of it.

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Think you could deliver a Register lecture? Tell us why

Commswonk
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Erratum...

The only other requirement is to be able to hold the attention of a roomful of very switched-on, occasionally invariably argumentative people...

FTFY

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Disgraced Entatech founder Jason Tsai tossed in the clink for contempt of court

Commswonk
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Memories... memories...

Apart from the fact that Mts Justice Rose appears to be far more effective than Mr Justice Cocklecarrot ever was, this article looks very much like something thought up by Beachcomber.

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Wisconsin badgers Apple to cough up half a BEEELLION dollars for ripping off chip designs

Commswonk
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Coat

Re: Live by the sword...

Mixed metaphor in the posting area...

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Take that, gender pay gap! Atos to offshore hundreds of BBC roles

Commswonk
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foreigners coming here and taking our money to spend on jobs abroad, so that the money isn't being circulated in this country any more.

This is an entirely valid point; furthermore we regularly hear someone from gov.uk crowing about the number of people in work and yet this never seems to be accompanied by a corresponding increase in the tax revenue available to support the NHS, Police, and so on.

I am of the view that the increasing number of people reportedly in work conceals an uncomfortable fact; I suspect that many of the jobs they do are at a level of remuneration that entitles the individuals to in - work benefits that more than wipe out what little income tax that they pay; I suspect that many of the jobs are subsidised by taxpayers to the point that they drain resources from the Exchequer, not add to them.

IIRC at one point the government stipulated that "Indian" restaurants wishing to import skilled chefs had to pay a minimum salary somewhere i.r.o. £20,000, which is well above what someone on "living wage" currently earns. It may actually have been more than that figure. Whether it actually came to pass I don't know.

Overall our current employment practices (inc overseas outsourcing) and what people are paid are completely unsustainable.

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Commswonk
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@ ritey

wonder why these companies never outsource the finance department

Or Personnel / HR for that matter...

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Commswonk
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Re: Not Wanted - Engineering Roles

I have said this before, "management" think that engineering is beneath them, so they treat them accordingly, yet any reasonable engineer can manage the management role.

Trouble is that a "reasonable" (or better) engineer may be unwilling to sell his (or her) soul for the priviledge of taking on a management role.

On your wider point of Was it only a few months ago that we were being told that the UK does not have enough IT educated people so have to source from the migrant population.

How many times have we been told that we do not educate enough people in STEM ?.

Here we have a British Institution doing exactly the opposite of what is required.

Other companies have done similar - offshored to the detriment of local employees, and then discover that they lack the expertise to even understand the projects that they have offshored. Costs increase, and they do not understand whether the costs are warranted.

This message deserves to be shouted ever louder until someone actually takes notice. Why would anyone in possession of a modicum of common sense want to pursue a career that can be exported to the lowest bidder on a whim? And why would anyone choose to be loyal to an employer that will effectively deprive them of their livelihood without a second thought?

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UK ministers' Broadband '2.0' report confuses superfast with 10Mbps

Commswonk
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Re: At Last The 1948 Show

Special gold stars for those who can sing the Angus Prune tune.

<nostalgia>ISIRTA</nostalgia>

Not sure why At Last The 1948 Show got mentioned...

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Commswonk
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Re: Available but not realistic

There you will find that they advertise 100Mbps then state "Up to 80Mbps Download & 20Mbps Upload

In an earlier posting you referred to this as fraudulent; not if you're a marketeer it isn't. 80 + 20 = 100 so suddenly it's "hey everyone we can call this 100 Mb/s".

Cynical? Moi?

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Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook blow massive amounts lobbying Trump administration

Commswonk
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Erratum...

Please amend So you can expect to see Google and friends spending more and more of their hard-earned cash attempting to align their interests with those of lawmakers

to read

So you can expect to see Google and friends spending more and more of their hard-earned cash attempting to align lawmakers with their interests.

Sorry for any misunderstanding...

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China censors drop the soap operas, sitcoms

Commswonk
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An Alternative Approach...

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWBv522Eevg for how someone else might have dealt with this...

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Now your boss can tear you a new Glasshole: Google's techno-specs reborn as biz gear

Commswonk
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It gets worse, doesn't it...

"What doomed Glass in a consumer setting was it wasn't clear what it was intended for," he said. "And that opened up a Pandora's Box of possible abuses."

Which of course would be completely impossible if used, say as a transcription application to capture discussions with patients instead of taking notes by hand.

People didn't really understand how to use augmented reality in a consumer setting.

I wonder how people feel about it being used on them in a medical setting.

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Jesus walks away after 7,000lb pipe van incident

Commswonk
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Re: The funny side is a bit morbid here

From (not recent) past experience driving on the A14 requires courage above and beyond the norm at the best of times, at least on the section between the M1/M6 and the M11.

I did something similar to what you did on the A6024 from Holme Moss downhill to the A628 (Woodhead) to warn an HGV that his load of (empty?) oil drums was shifting rather alarmingly.

Not an experience I am anxious to repeat...

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Jodie Who-ttaker? The Doctor is in

Commswonk
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Re: I

I, for one, welcome our new female OverTime Lord!

I agree wholeheartedly. Now we can have some nice curtains and matching scatter cushions for the Tardis.

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