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* Posts by John Brown (no body)

2743 posts • joined 21 May 2010

NATS ignored previous recommendations – IT cock-up report

John Brown (no body)
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Re: ...continue to invest...

"Who gets to define "under-invest"? Retards in forums?"

That would be "Former business secretary Vince Cable" as reported in the article. And the lack of implementation of previous recommendations as per the official report referenced in the article although I suppose that might be incompetence rather than a lack of investment in training, procedures, people or equipment.

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John Brown (no body)
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...continue to invest...

"To mitigate this we will continue to invest in making sure that failures are extremely rare and the impact of such failures on the travelling public are minimised as far as reasonably practical."

"Continue to invest"? - That sounds like no increase, ie continue to under-invest.

"as far as reasonably practical" - Who gets to define "reasonably"? The shareholders?

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Amazon sighs, may slip hands into trousers to pay some UK corp tax

John Brown (no body)
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"country boundaries for trade make a lot less sense now than at any time in the past."

I should also add...

If companies think national boundaries are a hindrance to trade, why is it so difficult/expensive to use a mobile phone on the same companys network across the EU (where available) or access steaming services across the EU or subscribe to a TV sat service from another EU country?

National boundaries are an integral part of companies strategy to re-sell the same services across what is supposed to be a "common market" so I would say that both from the point of view of companies AND government, national boundaries are an integral and vital part of how trade still operates today.

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John Brown (no body)
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"The law is fast realising that in the new world economy, country boundaries for trade make a lot less sense now than at any time in the past."

That may partially be the effect of current laws on international trade but without a world government, boundaries will always be there and companies have to work with that whether they like it or not. A company may attempt to maximise profit but they don't have a right to a profit, especially not by ignoring the law.

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John Brown (no body)
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"Yet again we see a government bullying a company into paying them more cash. They're fast turning into highway robbers."

On the other hand, Amazon have been using a legal loophole to sell to UK buyers from a UK "presence", fulfilling the orders from UK warehouses and claiming that the sales for tax purposes happened in Luxembourg where taxes and VAT rates are lower, ie using their size, power and reach to undercut smaller local companies in what many see as an unfair way. Now the law has been changed and Amazon, as well as others, have to work within the new framework.

The law is catching up with the new dynamics of on line buying so I don't see that as bullying. I see that as bringing the law up to date. If Amazon want to retain their Luxembourg tax and VAT status then maybe they could sell in Euros and send the shipments from their Luxembourg warehouse. I have no doubt Amazons legal team are already looking for new/more loopholes.

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Bluetooth privacy is mostly ignored, so you're beaming yourself to the world

John Brown (no body)
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Facepalm

Re: Bluetooth. Security

"And I'm in a tech aware office."

Same here. We build and sell Servers, PC, SANs and stuff. We even have tech people designing "solutions" and tech support people dealing with customers. And the number of these people who never turn off BT or Wireless or even secure them properly is frightening. I mean, even if just for the common sense reason of maximising battery life let alone the security implications FFS.

Then again, a number of people in the company seem to be incapable of even addressing emails to the correct list addresses. I really don't give a flying pigs arse about the new menu in the canteen at a different office 100's of miles away. (although flying pigs arse might be an improvement, especially fried and placed in bun!)

Hey El Reg, we need a flying pig icon!

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Land Rover's return: Last orders and leather seats for Defender nerds

John Brown (no body)
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Re: "versions that run on rails"

A quick search led me to wikipedia which tells me it was all one story, but longer than the magazine published so they must have split it into two episode at the natural break between the airship crash and the trip to Jupiter. It made an impression on me in that form so although I've certainly read it since then (but not for a long time) it's still lodged in my brain as two stories. Thinking about it now, it was only a page or two with a couple of pics so even that was probably abridged.

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John Brown (no body)
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"versions that run on rails"

I think my first memory of an "unusual" Land Rover was from a magazine printed in the early 70's called Speed & Power which my brother used to buy. I remember a photo in there showing a Land Rover with railway wheel hooked up to a couple of flatbeds rail wagons loaded up with Land Rovers. There might also have been a photo of the tracked one in the article as that looked familiar when I saw it.

That magazine was also one of the primary reasons I got into SF. There was a short story near the back of each issue, the most memorable ones being the short Arthur C. Clarke series starting with huge futuristic airship (it crashed) and the now cyborged main character in the follow-up piloting a hot air balloon in the heights of Jupiter's atmosphere. Oh yes, and the Clark story about a sun sail powered race in space. 60-70 years later we are seeing prototype cargo carrying airships and more prototyping with solar sails.

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Unicode wonks are bringing home the BACON, as an emoji

John Brown (no body)
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Re: What are they used for?

...and of course they work really well when the sender has a different set installed compared to the recipient (or not installed at all). Or a different program which interprets the codes differently. Or some hipster downloads the latest "new" set and gets a virus from the "free" download.

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Windows and OS X are malware, claims Richard Stallman

John Brown (no body)
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"the number of misprints for which the Grauniad was noted."

"was"? Although to be fair, since the advent of computer based spell checking and the sacking of meat-bag proof readers, most of the media seems to be particularly error prone these days, including our beloved El Reg. The very act of placing a "Corrections" hyper-link on the bottom of every story tells us that they are happy for errors to to be "crowd-fixed" rather than use proper quality control.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: A fool without money will soon be ignored

"identify the right model, select the Linux distro, figure what to replace various bits of SW with, check if printers want to print, ..."

To be fair, in a business situation the choice of Linux is quite limited if you want/need support and your other "problems" are the same if you are switching from one type of OS to another, eg Windows to Mac or vice versa. Although in your case, colour management is certainly a deal breaker in Linux land.

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LOHAN's final test flight set to honour PRATCHETT

John Brown (no body)
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Re: 4 years

"Unless the FAA starts reporting to Lord Vetinary - a while yet."

Hmmmm...you might need a Vetinary to attend the ants in the spell checker module.

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Google patents DEVIL TOY which will BRAINWASH KIDS

John Brown (no body)
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Judging by the wording...

...this must be a design patent since there's nothing jumping out as being any form of technical innovation, especially in such a woolly and wide randing description.

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Candy-cane optimism tastes sweet in Disney’s Tomorrowland

John Brown (no body)
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Happy

makes you feel a bit warm and fuzzy.

Yep, it's just Disney getting back to its roots. You can't really complain about that. A film you can take your kids to without worrying.

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Heroic German rozzers rescue innocent lamb from sordid brothel

John Brown (no body)
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Re: German Law?

"Those conditions did not include being inside a brothel, said Die Polizei."

...the Brothel Inspector? Alex's sister?

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Self-STOPPING cars are A Good Thing, say motor safety bods

John Brown (no body)
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Re: I hope this is programmed right ...

"sometimes they have auto-fail-to-starting but that's a different issue"

That's what the starter handle is for. Especially give it a turn or two on a frosty morning ;-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: I hope this is programmed right ...

Hell yeah! Computers only do as they're told and what they are told has to cover every situation or they fail, hopefully safe. My SatNav today attempted to guide me off the dual carriageway today, up the slip road, around the roundabout and back down the other slip road back onto the dual carriageway. The road was busy and very, very slow and the SatNav was "aware" of the traffic conditions from it's little radio traffic thingy. It's set to choose the quickest route and the algorithm "decided" that exit and re-entry was a few seconds quicker than just staying in the queue.

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4K refresh sees Blu-ray climb to 100GB, again

John Brown (no body)
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Re: It hinges on...

"standalone players usually cannot be updated quickly."

What makes you think standalone players are part of the equation? Think of the games now available which require a net connection even to play "standalone" single player.

I have no inside information as to whether HDBD will work standalone or not, but if these one do work standalone you can bet your bottom dollar that the next iteration won't. Or will need an update to play next years discs with the new encryption system. Or something. Maybe I'm just being too cynical?

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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Why the obsession....

"Smartphones as remotes is actually one of the more sensible parts of the whole IoT thing."

Agreed. So long as there's a some from of standard so a single app can talk to all the devices instead of having a screen full of app icons, a separate one for each device. And that the device or app icons don't change colour and design every time it must be upgraded.

Of course, each manufacturer will create their own unique and incompatible standard because only their app will be the one you simply must have. Along with their entire product line.

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UK safety app keeping lorries on the right side of cyclists

John Brown (no body)
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Re: 100M£ John Brown

"Actually in that particular case it doesn't. Speed limits apply specifically to motor vehicles only, there are no speed limits for cyclists, pedestrians, horses or horse-drawn vehicles."

Thanks. I honestly didn't know that. Or if I did it was many years ago and long forgotten in favour of "common knowledge" :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: 100M£

"There is a reason motor vehicles require a license. Because they are bloody dangerous."

Maybe not pedestrians, but cyclists under and overtaking all the cars sticking to posted 20mph limits maybe need to get a clue that the law applies to them too. Especially in university towns where the 20mph limit is posted because it's a student area. Cyclists colliding with pedestrians can result in serious injury and death too, especially when they go straight through a red light.

Fortunately, most cyclists aren't that stupid. Apart from the one I saw yesterday who gave me the finger because I beeped my horn at him. Maybe if he'd used the cycle lane based on the side of the road he was on and looked at the pretty pictures of bicycles painted on the surface and noticed they were upside down he might have realised I was attempting to save his life by suggesting he ride of the correct side of the road.

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Attack of the possibly-Nazi clone parakeet invaders

John Brown (no body)
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Attack of the Clones?

There was a great disturbance in the force. As if a million parakeets all cried out at dawn.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: I saw plenty of those

Is it *literally* theft?

Only if someone writes about it.

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RAF radar station crew begs public for cash to buy gaming LAN kit

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Pleasant

"head to the beach, build sandcastles "

Only if you check the tide times first. There's not even a beach when the tide's in.

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Japanese astro-boffins race to recover pulsar-spotting balloon basket

John Brown (no body)
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Boffin

balloon crashing on takeoff in 2010

I hope the El Reg SPB team have watched that video and took careful note as well as a decent insurance policy.

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Russia delays ISS crew mission over Progress launch safety fears

John Brown (no body)
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Headmaster

Captain?

I could be wrong here but isn't "captain" in terms of a ships captain a title and the rank is commander?

So not actually the same "rank", especially as an airforce captain is quite different in terms of rank and authority to a ships captain.

But it's still a nice on play words :-)

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Massive police 'heavy equipment' robot drags out suspect who hid inside television

John Brown (no body)
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Re: It is better to send robots

"According to the 2011 census, the total population of the United Kingdom was around 63,182,000"

"The population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538", 2010 Census

Source: wikipedia.

I'm not sure of current estimates for the UK, US seems to be estimates as about 318,000,000 so I used the nearest dated census data.

So that's 0.06 versus 1.5 so only 4% on 2010/11 figures.

Guessing that UK pop. is now 65m and USA est. of 318m gives:

0.06 & 1.3 making it 4.5%

Yes, I was bored.

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DEEPENING MYSTERY of BRIGHT LIGHTS on dwarf world Ceres

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Ice. Shiny smooth ice...?

Meteorites?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Ceres bright spots iluminate without sun light

Ringworld sunflowers? Stay well away on sunny days!

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John Brown (no body)
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"That, or its a bad case of space meazles."

Don't be silly. We already know that Earth is 6000 years old and a whole universe takes time to make. Obviously Ceres is still a teenager.

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SHOCK! Robot cars do CRASH. Because other cars have human drivers

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Evidence == "Invasion of Privacy!"

"Because the same thing happens when a photographer takes a picture of the street. Unless you specifically were the focus, the courts have previously ruled you are under no expectation of privacy on a public street."

And that's a perfectly reasonable stance to take when there are millions of people walking the streets of various towns and cities and maybe a few people talking photos which may or may not happen to include you. But when it's every car driving past you, possibly uploading the imagery to the Borg cloud in full HD colour it might be time to revisit the law. After all, you may not have an expectation of privacy in public but you also don't have an expectation of being filmed everywhere you go as soon as you step out of the front door. "Expectation" implies a balance of some sort.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: "so far caused by human error and inattention"

"Dumb meat-bags doing stuff that another meat-bag would see the warning signals of high stupidity and/or intoxication and keep well away?"

That's always been my concern of mixing meat-bag operated cars with autonomous cars. The robot cars are likely to drive "perfectly", ie to the letter of the law while meat-bag drivers will bend the rules to suit the conditions and operate on the assumption that other drivers will do the same. Once you have a number of "perfect" drivers following the letter of the law no matter what, there's likely to be a few more bumps. Obviously, legally, it will be the meat-bags at fault since they will be the ones bending the rules.

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So what would the economic effect of leaving the EU be?

John Brown (no body)
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Re: If you build a better mousetrap...................

"All that needs to be done is turn England into a tax free zone (like the channel isles) and the worlds finance and banking will flock to our shores even more than they do now"

...and everyone else will immediately introduce protectionist import tariffs.

Reducing corporation tax and VAT to the levels of Ireland or Luxembourg on the other hand...

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John Brown (no body)
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Happy

Re: Will Tim nail his colours to the mast...

Think of all that lolly on offer with almost no MPs and lots of votes :-)

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John Brown (no body)
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Coat

Will Tim nail his colours to the mast...

...as a candidate in the UKIP leadership election?

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Why don't we...

Tonys plan was always to be the first President of United States of Europe.

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Microsoft springs for new undersea cables to link US, UK, Asia

John Brown (no body)
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Linux

Re; all the security patch bandwidth

Yes, I just connected up a laptop that's not been used for about two months. Over a GB of Win 7 patches then rebooted into Ubuntu and got 350MB of patches. Make of that what you will.

MS Office on Windows and Libre Office on Ubuntu. (It's a work lappy)

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John Brown (no body)
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Joke

from the "sea to the sky."

...carefull, Murdoch is in a litigious mood!

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Lies, damn lies and election polls: Why GE2015 pundits fluffed the numbers so badly

John Brown (no body)
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Re: We don't vote for parties...

"The worst hit, and potentially the most dangerous artefact of this, is UKIP, who did get a fair share of the vote, but lost out in the dance-of-chairs."

Although I do understand your point and where you are coming from, is it fair to foist a second placed UKIP candidate as MP onto a constituency which voted for eg Labour or Tory?

I'm not sure what the answer is...

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Amstrad founder Lord Sugar quits 'anti-enterprise' Labour party

John Brown (no body)
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Re: becoming "disillusioned"

He already got one. Then he got promoted to lord.

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John Brown (no body)
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Re: Ha....

"You know.. Where Bordan Tkachuk worked? The 25-year director of Viglen, who said on the Apprentice that ISP stood for "Internet Service Protocol"?!"

You mean the guy who's now top dog of the merged XMA and Viglen and just took home nearly half a million quid? That Bordan Tkachuk? I doubt he gives a toss about a minor error like that.

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Spooks: Big-screen upgrade for MI5 agents fails to be a hit job

John Brown (no body)
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Thanks for the review

I was already half expecting it not be all that great when my wife told me they'd made the film.

Your write-up only confirms what I suspected. I often take a reviewers opinion with a large pinch of salt (including yours!) but in this case I'm now sure that I'll wait for it come on telly before bothering with it.

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Mondeo Man turns into mutant electrical beauty: Ford Mondeo Hybrid

John Brown (no body)
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0-62 sprint takes 9.5 seconds and the top speed is 116mph

Considering the target market, I don't either of those numbers are especially relevant.

I have to agree on the fuel economy though. On longer trips I've been getting far better than 49mpg in diesel cars for some years now. I had a courtesy car a few weeks back. It was a Kia Sportage and I had a busy day involving about 400 miles driving, 2/3rds of which was non-motorway. Being a courtesy car I needed to be back at the garage same day so I was in a hurry. 1.7l diesel, hurrying on country roads, finishing off with a 70mph run back up the motorway, no attempts to be "green" by me and I still got 54mpg on the day.

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Malfunctioning Russian supply podule EXPLODES above Pacific

John Brown (no body)
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Gravity; it's the Law!

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John Brown (no body)
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"the only downside is Her Maj would need to find an alternative pad to Balmoral"

Independence and becoming a republic are two separate issues, not necessarily related.

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Traumatised Reg SPB team barely survives movie unwatchablathon

John Brown (no body)
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WTF?

And so, after six hours and 43 minutes

What? That the total cumulative running time of the the three films. That means you ripped them. Otherwise, the running time would have to include the half hour per DVD of trailers and "wouldyou steal a car" shite too.

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With FTC suit looming, AT&T backs off on throttling 'unlimited' data plans

John Brown (no body)
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FAIL

Yeah, well, to fair....

"AT&T, on the other hand, has argued that not throttling data speeds for bandwidth hogs would result in slower download speeds for all customers (and to be fair, other telcos have made the same case)."

To be fair, they and their ilk brought it on themselves by using a common word like "unlimited" in a limited sense in their marketing. The man in the street sees "unlimited" and takes it at face value. Unlimited data. The ISP meanwhile, wriggles out of it by saying the connection time is unlimited, not the data throughput and the customer feels ripped off. (AOL were good at that one in the dial-up days too)

Of course, we all know that words can have many meanings and nuances but marketeers are masters of mis-leading advertising and using words in unusual ways with the intention of deceiving the punters while holding their hands up in all innocence that "of course we didn't intend that, we had no idea people might read it that way, none of our focus groups told us that!"

(Apologies to any El Reg marketing staff reading this. You could always get a proper job :-) )

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Keurig to drop coffee DRM after boss admits 'we were wrong'

John Brown (no body)
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"I just wish everyone would finally stick to one standard for these things and be done with it rather than making a proprietary system everytime that gets junked when demand for the pods runs short making the devices useless."

The problem is the market. No, not the coffee market. The financial market. More specifically, the stock brokers and financial people who influence the value of shares with the sales and purchases every time the wind changes direction. Some analyst says a company A will make $500m profit. Company A then actually reports "only" $400m profit. Shares up or down? Well obviously they "failed", so the shares go down. This means a company who are on the stock market are not only under immense pressure to grow and return more "value" for share holders, but they are under even more pressure to outperform some analysts market predictions that he pulled out of his arse not unlike certain coffee beans but more smelly.

So, even if you make a healthy profit and have decent growth, you can still fail if you don't meet market expectations. So no company can afford to look the other way when there's the chance to lock in consumers because if they don't do it, someone else will, and that someone else might succeed.

This why a simple, basic, cheap espresso machine is so hard to come by. No one wants to be the one selling last years model. And the new model has to be bigger, better, brasher and have more features. And cost more. And be different. And use "special" pods/capsules/whatever. (s/coffee machine/any gadget/)

My favourite espresso machine was the first one I bought. £20 in Woolworths. Really small foot print and you got out as much coffee as water you put in (less some used for steam if you wanted frothy coffee). Now they all have tanks and pumps and barely enough pressure to make frothy milk. and you can't get a reasonable one for under £50. And they are bigger.

TL;DR. Capitalist bastards destroyed the coffee machine industry :-)

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Would you trust your DNA with APPLE? HealthKit lined up as genome data trafficker

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Why Apple

" This is MASSIVE DNA collection...massive."

You do realise that the Apple user has to send off a sample first before the info can be sent back to their phone, don't you? This requires users to be proactive in getting their DNA analysed. It's not as if every iPhone will do a DNA analysis in situ from the fingerprint reader.

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SpaceX Dragon crew capsule in 'CHUTE ABORT drama – don't panic, no one died

John Brown (no body)
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Re: Lets hope this is never needed

"...VERY uncomfortable"

Yes, I thought that too. Then I remembered WHY astronauts might have to go through that. Brown trousers might be a better option than having a rocket explode right under your arse ;-)

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