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* Posts by paulf

969 posts • joined 25 Aug 2009

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HTC U12+: Like a Pixel without the pratfalls, or eye-watering price tag

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: "Like a Pixel without the pratfalls"... and presumably without the updates

Exactly what put me off HTC years ago. I had a HTC Hero and Sensation between 2009 and 2013 - the former got sod all updates despite many promises and the latter, while it did get occasional updates was beset by the random turn off problem (plus other updates/fixes promised by tech support that never materialised). IIRC the Sensation was EoLd about 18 months after launch in the UK - so you'd have been SOL if you bought it on a two year contract. I bought SIM free so cut my losses after about 20 months and went to something else which proved significantly more reliable (not perfect but streets ahead).

HTC may make some great Hardware (as evidenced by AO's various reviews) but that's nothing if the software support is utter shit (as evidenced by HTC's own behaviour over many years). And, no, I wasn't feeling confident enough to flash Cyanogen onto either handset - it shouldn't be necessary to do that just to make a £500* flagship phone usable (*Sensation June 2011 launch price).

From my POV, HTC's progressive decline is them reaping what they've long been sowing with respect to software support and updates. Such a shame for an early pioneer of Android hardware.

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Brit water firms, power plants with crap cyber security will pay up to £17m, peers told

paulf
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Thumb Up

@Alister "Brand names for the services included Kilostream and Megastream.". Now that does take me back to my Saturday Job days in the mid 1990s at a local public transport concern. Our divisional office was blessed with a kilostream link to head office in the next town - giving us two internal lines to direct dial HO (I suppose this was before DDI became a thing). Harsh punishment was dished out to those who used PSTN for head office calls instead of the Kilostream lines.

"...utilities and power companies must use private circuits for their infrastructure." A cursory search shows BT still provide kilostream, but only until 31 March 2020 which may hamper your proposal for mandatory private circuits (note I don't disagree with this)? The alternative is Wholesale Ethernet.

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Hacking train Wi-Fi may expose passenger data and control systems

paulf
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Gimp

@TWT @Tony W

The system that uses 64 odd kHz is TPWS, a safety system that is designed to mitigate the consequences of a train passing a red signal. It is an improvement on AWS (in that it can mitigate going to fast and doesn't rely on the driver if the train doesn't stop at a red signal) but not as comprehensive as ETCS/ATP. In most cases up to 70mph (100mph for TPWS+) it can stop the train with an emergency brake application before it becomes a problem (i.e. within the signal overlap), but even if the train doesn't stop in time it can still reduce the consequences of what happens next.

TPWS uses the two aerials in the four foot (the space between the rails) and a sensor on the train. AWS (the train one not the cloudy one) uses a unit with two magnets (one permanent one electro) which sits in that yellow ramp looking thing also in the four foot. This gives a warning to the driver when approaching a signal showing a restrictive aspect (single yellow, double yellow or red i.e. not green) and can make an emergency brake application if the driver doesn't acknowledge it within 2.7s. If the driver does acknowledge an AWS warning s/he takes the consequences of not reacting accordingly as AWS will take no further action.

You could potentially hack either but only by getting into the signalling system proper.

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My PC is on fire! Can you back it up really, really fast?

paulf
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Happy

Re: I recall even my mum (a bit like Dilmom) telling me a fire story

I had happy memories of a ZIP drive - it was my backup solution of the day (1997) and it was quite a substantial upgrade from the Floppy disc backup I was using! I had a parallel port one at first for my 486 laptop then moved to an IDE one when I got a desktop. Thankfully no click of death or any other problems - I wasn't so lucky with a later purchase of an Iomega REV drive which was a POS. I do wonder if the IDE one will still work as I found it in an old computer box along with a load of 100MB disks. It's crazy to think it'll barely hold an MP3 album now.

[For those clamouring to know, my next backup solution was a HP 2.5GB Colorado tape drive. HP support was reasonably good back then happily swapping out two tapes that failed]

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Firefox to feature sponsored content as of next week

paulf
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Terminator

Re: Still one version back

I hurriedly switched to v52.x ESR last summer before the main update channel moved to v57(?) which modified user profiles to be incompatible with a move back to v52 ESR. I'll cling to v52 ESR for the next few months until it goes out of support then I'll have to sort an alternative. Pale Moon is the current favourite as it runs all the old FF add ons. YMMV

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paulf
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Holmes

Something else I don't get is the whole "analytics are done on the local browser client so we don't need to slurp your personal information server side (Halo)" bunkum.

Surely they can reconstruct the user's preferences from logging the specific ads requested by the client post analysis. If the client realises I've looked at a page showing ovens and I've done a search for kettles the ID will be linked to someone who is in the market for kitchen appliances (or even a new kitchen?) when adverts for toasters and Dishwashers are requested. If all these requests are linked to an "anonymous" client ID (as noted by the AC OP) quite a profile can be built up unless the client ID is changed/flushed every time the browser is started (or on demand).

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Apple grounds AirPort once and for all. It has departed. Not gonna fly any more. The baggage is dropped off...

paulf
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Meh

Re: What happens to Time Machine?

@ JaimieV "You can point multiple Macs at one destination TM target. Each Mac creates its own sparsebundle to backup into. They cope with the inevitable running out of space okay."

I agree on the first point as I have three MacBooks (Pro/Pro/Air) pointing at a single Time Machine target on an old Netgear ReadyNAS Duo (v1 Sparc) and they all coexist happily. The only thing I'd disagree on is the running out of space gracefully. It's fine if they back up one at a time as if the space gets low they clear up their own Sparsebundle accordingly. If more than one is backing up at the same time and the space runs out they deal with it by throwing all their toys out the pram and dumping their entire Sparsebundle as corrupt taking the full backup history with it.

Apart from this aspect I've found Time Machine on 3rd party NAS very reliable.

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Will Dell eat VMware? Or will Carl Icahn snack on Dell? And where does Uber fit in? Yes, Uber!

paulf
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Holmes

"Why he’d want to go from a stable, ethically-led company to the controversial world of Uber is anyone’s guess."

I'd guess $$$$ also (or even $$$$$$$$).

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BBC extends Capita Audience Services contract to 25 years

paulf
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Boffin

@HmmmYes "30 years ago, I would go and look stuff up at the library. Or ask a librarian. Now I google or Amazon. So does everyone else."

And that's why Libraries evolved at least in the places I have lived for the last 20 years. They offer internet access to those who need it and don't have it at home. They're also about more than books - yes you can borrow books (great if you can afford to buy every book you want but not everyone can) but they are also used as a community building that (among other things) offer events to get kids into reading, and a point of contact with your local authority if you need to discuss council services.

Personally, I don't use the local libraries now; I'm lucky that I can afford to buy rather than borrow the books I want to read and frankly I don't have time to read the ones I have bought without borrowing more. BUT I'm more than happy that libraries are funded by my taxes because I remember how much I enjoyed browsing and reading the books in my local library when I was younger and how that inspired me to pursue different interests as I got older (widening my horizons to interests I didn't even know existed), or just get a story book I hadn't read before.

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A developer always pays their technical debts – oh, every penny... but never a groat more

paulf
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Mushroom

Re: CEOs are fed up with their jobs being at risk because some programmer screwed something up

This aspect of the article goes on to say, "The liability issue makes technical debt a governance issue. "CEO jobs are on the line for something that they don't even begin to understand," Curtis points out."

Perhaps if CEOs spent a bit more time understanding how their fucking company achieves the things they bill customers for and less time on the golf course they would better appreciate what their Devs (and other employees) are up against. To moan about a CEO being blamed for something they don't understand and not holding the CEO at least mostly responsible for not understanding it in the first place is absolute bollocks.

I'm not saying a CEO in a business with many disciplines should be a crack kernel coder (nor VHDL author or whatever) but they should at least appreciate what coding involves and how Dev work their magic to write software. Only then will a CEO understand why cutting this corner or outsourcing that team causes pain far beyond saving a few beans.

At the end of the day the CEO is ultimately responsible for what happens (or not) in a company. If you, as CEO, can't explain why the merde hit the fan then it serves you right and don't let the door hit you on the arse as you leave.

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Google, AWS IPs blocked by Russia in Telegram crackdown

paulf
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Big Brother

Re: Solution...

@AC OP "Telegram to put some servers on every public cloud and hosted data centre out there."

I'm not disagreeing with the potential of your solution but the risk is that public cloud operators start weighing up the loss of revenue from being completely blocked in Russia, resulting in the following conversation, "Do we:

a) Stand up for what is right, face down a brutal bully and maintain hosting Telegram despite our entire public cloud operation being blocked in Russia with subsequent loss of business.

b) You want us to get rid of them if we want to be unblocked in Russia? Sure, we're `rm -rf *Telegram*` right now. We'd kindly ask you promise you won't make these kind of requests again as it kinda makes us look like complete pushovers. Can we do anything else to help, Mr Putin? Not at all, we'd be honoured to go and swivel on it.

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paulf
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Joke

Well, I'm surprised

FTA: "Kremlin officials have had to switch to the Mail.ru-owned ICQ service “for communications with Russian and international media”."

I had no idea ICQ was still a thing. Have Mail.ru considered acquiring Friends Reunited?

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UK pub chain Wetherspoons' last call: ♫ Just a spoonful of Twitter – let's pull social media down ♫

paulf
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Alert

Re: Maybe a bit more to worry about...

From the tweet linked by @ServerSauna: "Tim Martin, Wetherspoon's chairman, also a significant donor to Vote Leave....currently under investigation for possible overspending and data sharing. "

I'm sure shutting down and deleting the social media accounts is completely unrelated to this revelation.

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The first rule of maths class: Don't start a fight club

paulf
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Terminator

Re: FFS

@ Sanctimonious Prick "when the deputy headmaster literally jumps *off* his desk,"

Wait, what? (My emphasis). What TAF was he doing on the desk in the first place? I was at school in the 80s/90s so I did see some bad shit by teachers, just projectile board rubbers etc, whereas that's off the scale!

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'Dear Mr F*ckingjoking': UK PM Theresa May's mass marketing missive misses mark

paulf
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Facepalm

@AC "Once received a letter to my house number and street name - but for a different town about 20 miles away with a post code that only shared the initial city letters."

I used to live in xxxx road, with xxxx place just around the corner. I used to regularly get post incorrectly delivered to me for my number on xxxx place. Ironically it was usually bumpf from the CWU that was being misdelivered (Communications Workers Union - union for Royal Mail posties in the UK for anyone not familiar).

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Skype for Business has nasty habit of closing down… for business

paulf
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Headmaster

Re: Why are people still on 32-bit windows

"Why are people still on 32-bit windows". IMO The article really muddied up this aspect. There are two things at play 32-bit WINDOWS and 32-bit OFFICE.

My work machine runs Win 7 x64 as it has 8GB RAM. But IT (in their supreme wisdom) gave everyone Office 2010 32-bit edition (in fairness I don't know if Office has a 64-bit version). AIUI, you must install the same 32-bit/64-bit version of Skype For Business to match the Office installation on the machine. So even if you have Win 7 x64 you have to use SfB 32-bit if you have Office 32-bit. From what I could see the article completely mixed up Win 7 x86/x64 and SfB 32-bit/64-bit - this aspect could have been much clearer.

PS are 32-bit only Win 7 licenses a thing? I bought Win 7 and the box had both 32-bit and 64-bit licenses in it.

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

paulf
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Mushroom

Re: KB2952664

PS - I've just checked and note that KB2952664 has oddly re-enabled itself despite me blocking it two weeks ago. If this has got nothing to do with GWX it's acting damned suspiciously like GWX did so nuke it from orbit - it's the only option.

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paulf
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Big Brother

Re: KB2952664

I'm glad someone else spotted this. I did and GWX in the description rang alarm bells so I blocked it. I then found I had to install Feb+March patches manually as WU had stopped picking up auto updates - whether it's related to this update (and me blocking it) or not is another matter but I was able to install the Feb+March roll ups (plus associated out of band patches) without issue and Win 7 (x64) has now got the April roll up patch.

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'Every little helps'... unless you want email: Tesco to kill free service

paulf
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Thumb Up

Re: Damn

@ A Non e-mouse @Stu J @JakeMS

Another +1 for Fastmail (run with my own domain) from me although with one reservation (see below). I have three accounts with them which replaced all my "Free but you are the product" accounts about 4 years ago. Yes it costs money but is good value and support is excellent. Twice now I've had a support ticket elevated to the top tech guy to investigate when the lower level techs couldn't sort it.

One thing I would note - AIUI although they're an Australian domiciled company they have their data centre in NYC so this could mean it's still subject to direct scanning by the Murricans. If they could move my account storage out of The Land of the Free that'd be ideal.

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You'll like this: Facebook probed by US watchdog amid privacy storm

paulf
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Holmes

Re: So why does the Daily Mail run a Facebook script?

@Jon Smit "Anyone going to the Daily Mail website..."

So don't go to the Daily Heil website. You will be a happier person with lower blood pressure as a result.

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Foxconn embiggens footprint with nearly a BEEELLION for Belkin

paulf
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Torygraph story about opening a GPU R&D office a few miles from former supplier Imagination Technologies would also back up the OP.

I did read a story a few months ago detailing about 10 times Apple had opened up a new office near their suppliers which are then used as a base to poach employees. Unfortunately I can't find it but they do have form in that game.

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PwC: More redundos at HQ of UK 'leccy stuff shop Maplin

paulf
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Unhappy

Re: Bummer....

I went into my local store on Saturday to see what their "deals" were like on writeable DVDs (the only thing I used to buy there to avoid them being regularly mangled by Amazon logistics). Caketin of 25*8.5GB DVD DL = £35 which became £28 after the closing down 20% off. Quick sanity check on Amazon: £23.50 for exactly the same branded stuff. I would have stomached £25 (including have it now premium) but I left empty handed. Kudos to the staff though who remained polite and friendly despite staring down the barrel of redundancy.

[Edit: ISTR the Comet closing down sale was the same - even with the Manic Street Preachers discount they were still more expensive than other places and you wouldn't have anywhere to go back to when your new gadget went wrong]

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BOFH: Give me a lever long enough and a fool, I mean a fulcrum and ....

paulf
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Happy

Re: cellphone?

@ Doctor Syntax "The BOFH has been around for a long time. Probably long enough to remember BT's System 4 which was a non-cellular mobile system. It overlapped with TACS. In BT terms TACS was 5th generation...."

Ah System 4. ISTR (among other things) that System 4 had no HLR (Handset Location Register) so you had to call the cell based on where you thought the suscriber was. Since the cells were massive that wasn't too difficult and probably explains why the system saturated at ~20k users.

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User asked why CTRL-ALT-DEL restarted PC instead of opening apps

paulf
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Facepalm

Re: Feeling Old...

@TonyJ "Remember wrangling with the order things loaded in autoexec.bat and config.sys too, just to be able to get a game or program to run properly. And I used to think that kind of thing was fun!"

I recall it very well. Back in the day my 486-DX2 50 laptop (the first with an integrated double speed CD-ROM drive no less!) had about 9 different configurations (selected at boot up) in the config.sys and autoexec.bat to either load full fat everything for Win 3.11 and applications or just load the bare minimum tailored for this or that game.

When I went to university I took up the option of a network connection in my Hall bedroom (a 10MBps always on 10baseT ja.net connection for £50 was incredible compared to the V.90 modems of the day). I left my computer with the config guys to install the network card and required software+drivers and returned after lectures to find machine all sorted and working. Then the config guy cheerfully told me he'd run "memmaker"* to ensure DOS loaded the network stuff optimally. I almost used his head to test how robust the solid metal display casing was (the CF-41 was an early Panasonic tough book).

*Those who didn't know what a TSR is, probably won't be familiar with memmaker - a DOS tool for "optimising" the stuff loaded at boot up. Fine for simple configs but it totally mangled setups like mine

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Addicts of Facebook and pals are easy prey for manipulative scumbags – thanks to tech giants' 'extraordinary reach'

paulf
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Boffin

A mandate can be either democratic or irreversible, but it cannot be both – an argument

Selective excerpt: "...in certain circumstances, a government can abandon and reverse policies where there is a mandate without waiting for a general election. A classic illustration is the poll tax, for which a Conservative government had a detailed mandate from the 1987 general election. Few sensible people, if any, would have argued that the Tories were bound to keep this tax in 1990 because of “democracy” when it came to be seen widely as wrong in principle and unworkable in practice."

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Fancy a viaduct? We have a wrought Victorian iron marvel to sell you

paulf
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Go

Re: Nice piccies as well.

It does look like two 20s in multiple. Fine locos and (I’m lucky to say) rather nice to drive too!

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paulf
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Thumb Up

Re: Wonderful!

Fascinating article - thank you. This article made me think of the viaduct at Meldon Quarry very early on, so I'm glad the author has mentioned this. For those that don't know, it's on the former LSWR/SR route from Exeter to Plymouth that ran around the north of Dartmoor (the SDR/GWR ran along the south of Dartmoor and includes the well known section along the coast at Dawlish). It's now at the end of the route from Crediton to Okehampton which sees services in the Summer by mainline operator GWR. Since it's not far from the A30 it's worth a visit although, sadly, it's hardly visible from the road. It now forms part of a Sustrans route so you can cycle across it and I'm glad to say it's in much better condition than Bennerley Viaduct is at present.

Sustrans have been gifted a lot of former railway property and assets in preference to other groups, in some cases. There are instances where railway preservation groups wanted to acquire old lines from the former BR and were told the cost would be tens of thousands. When they declined the lines were then gifted to Sustrans for a nominal (i.e. £1) cost. Considering this head start they don't really have much excuse and should have been in a position to do more with assets like Bennerley Viaduct.

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Brit retailer Currys PC World says sorry for Know How scam

paulf
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WTF?

Re: Can't work out who is thicker

@ Graham Jordan "...(the latest included an £1800 laptop with a faulty motherboard KnowHow had back at their workshop 6 times and put the wrong screen on 4 times), and yet - despite many promises not to shop there any more, still do because it's bloody convenient and cheap."

Back the truck up a moment. You've just said you returned your lappy 6 times, of which 4 included the wrong screen being attached, leading to self inflicted returns. I'm guessing that incurred at least 6 weeks (likely 12 weeks plus) loss of use then the various phone calls or store visits to return it and get it back; but you still claim they're convenient? This must be a new use of the word convenient I'm not familiar with.

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Openreach hiring thousands more engineers

paulf
Silver badge
Boffin

I’d also suggest that while 4G is all fine and dandy for browsing and streaming it’s a bit crappy for anything that needs a low latency connection (hello gaming) because it has a much higher ping than the equivalent wireline.

IME my best 4G ping at home is around 30ms (100ms+ on 3G) whereas FTTC is usually around 8ms.

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Maplin shutdown sale prices still HIGHER than rivals

paulf
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Thumb Up

@d3vy Perhaps. I expect them to last long enough so that cost per charge over the life of the battery is significantly lower than disposable batteries. That's probably not happened with some of them I bought whereas the Uniross ones work out at fractions of a penny per charge. IIRC the Maplin ones worked out at about £1.25-£1.50 each to buy whereas you can get 30 branded AA batteries in one of the DIY sheds for less than £9 (and probably cheaper elsewhere). While I respect your attempts to avoid disposable batteries, considering your lossy use case you'd probably be better off with the disposable ones in the kiddie toys?

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paulf
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FAIL

@ d3vy "That said, their AA rechargeable batteries were always good value - I might go and stock up!"

Did I miss a <sarc> tag? Their Rechargeables (IME, YMMV) were a bunch of crap which was unfortunate as it was one of the few things I went in there for. I bought loads of them over the years but stopped when the occasional failure became a routine thing. I found they lasted perhaps 4-6 years from purchase but no more than 100 or so charge cycles (if that!). You might think 4-6 years is about right for a NiMH but I have Uniross rechargeables from about 2000 (yes 18 years old) still working in daily use and I'm sure they've long exceeded their specified limit of 1000 cycles.

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A ghoulish tale of pigs, devs and docs revived from the dead

paulf
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Terminator

Re: Love it!

@ Chairman of the Bored "Problem is the guy who sent it - one nasty piece of work - had died shortly after sending me that."

Was the death, cough, an accident? Did you go all BOFH on him by the top floor windows that have the broken catch as retribution for him typing all in caps?

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DVLA denies driving licence processing site is a security 'car crash'

paulf
Silver badge
Facepalm

Funny Story about their ruddy Driving Licence website

When I moved house a few years ago I had to do all the address change stuff which included my driving licence. Normally I would have put my new address on the back of the paper license* and send it to them in the post; job done. This time I thought I'd be clever** and use the DVLA website so it would all be sorted online to minimise the paperwork. I had to go through all sorts of steps including entering all my personal details, (IIRC) my NI number*** and my passport details. But it all went through, they accepted my new address and promised to issue updated documents.

Then on the last screen it said: You're obliged by law to return both parts of your old licence in the post so we can cancel it. So it was a complete waste of time for me (but not for them as it handily linked my passport to my driving licence and NI number). Sigh - icon ->

* It was back when the licence consisted of both a photo card and paper part

** Yes, I know!

*** Social security number for Left Pondian types. The DVLA isn't quite as bad as the DMV is reported to be, but I think the promised trade deal with your current small handed incumbent may include completing the job of dragging the DVLA down to DMV levels.

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Administrator PwC chops Maplin staff

paulf
Silver badge
Pirate

Re: Debt

@Steve Davies 3

I’d say you’re being generous with that ‘1’ but it depends how long you give them. The longest lived after a debt fuelled acquisition is probably Debenhams after their ownership by Permira (?) about 10 years ago although that’s a case of 1. To the best of my knowledge and 2. Watch this space...

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paulf
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Alert

Re: PwC

I note from the CH page the entry "Incorporated on 22 June 1976". I suspect this means it is the actual original operating company that runs the shops etc, and isn't one of the various entities further up the chain created as part of the various PE ownerships - but I don't have a copy of the corporate structure to be sure.

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paulf
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Boffin

Re: PwC

Carillion = KPMG

EDIT: Maplin Electronics Ltd was audied by KPMG according to this from Companies house but I don't know where that fits in the complex corporate structure

Maplin - I couldn't get a definitive answer although I did find this opinion article which gives lots of accounting type information on how a company with good cashflow became a "zombie":

"The company that has been placed into administration is MEL Topco, which is the top layer of a complex corporate structure created by Rutland Partners in 2014 when Rutland purchased Maplin Electronics Group (Holdings) Ltd. from its previous owner Montagu Private Capital. Maplin Electronics Group (Holdings) Ltd. still exists, however; its 2017 accounts say that it is a "non-trading intermediary holding company". Its sole owner is MEL Bidco. MEL Bidco is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MEL Midco, which in turn is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MEL Topco. The corporate structure below Maplin Electronics Group (Holdings) is similarly complex."

"Quite why Rutland has created such a complex corporate structure for Maplin is not immediately apparent, but I suspect it may have something to do with tax, or rather avoiding it."

"When Rutland Partners acquired Maplin in 2014 it funded the purchase with debt. That debt was loaded in its entirety on to the books of MEL Topco, in the form of £15m of bank loans at Libor + 7.5% and £72m of shareholders' loan notes at 15%."

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HPE to cut technician jobs as field work outsourced to Unisys

paulf
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Terminator

Re: out of curiosity

@ John Brown (no body) "I wonder why the bean counters never seem to see HR as a cost centre ripe for cuts?"

Simply because there's a kind of MAD that exists between the bean counters and the HR droids. The BCs know where the money is and control who gets what; while HR know all the dirt on everyone and where the bodies are buried. Thus one lot gets their unchecked expanding empire plus juicy bonuses for reducing the empires (and costs) of others; while the other lot are confident the finer, more questionable aspects of their employee records never see the light of day so they aren't subject to closer inspection.

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'A sledgehammer to crack a nut': Charities slam UK voter ID trials

paulf
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Coat

FTA: "...individual votes only hold any value when thousands of others are cast in the same way – meaning "it's simply impractical to steal enough votes to make a tangible difference"."

There would be a significant amount of work involved which probably explains why there were only 44 allegations. To make any tangible difference you'd have to implement fraud on an industrial scale as you'd need to steal perhaps a few hundred (local authority) or more (GE) votes, assuming it's not a marginal. To do that you'd need to organise lots of different "thieves" to go and vote early before the real people showed up as the polling station staff will likely get suspicious when one person votes repeatedly. You'd also have to avoid the returning officer declaring the poll void due to repeated people showing up wondering why their vote has already been unexpectedly cast. This is already a helluva lot of work to make any difference and even then it may possibly sway the outcome of only one constituency (out of 650 parliamentary constituencies in the UK) so you'd need a serious reason to do it.

It's much easier to persuade the electorate with a fat pack of demonstrable lies while getting your mates in the media to run repeated stories that back up your claims; then let the more credulous elements of the electorate do the hard work for you. Red bus anyone?

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

paulf
Silver badge
Gimp

Re: The Resurrection is under way

"The casualty toll is set to increase once the building achieves sentience, and targets employees who have under-performed in their review."

I wonder if the building will achieve sentience before Apple Manglement? Perhaps the building can target the bean counter(s) that decided against increasing the Software Q&A budget first?

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UK data watchdog's inaugural tech strategy was written with... *drumroll* Word 2010

paulf
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Alert

Re: Really?

I'm still using Word and Excel from Office XP (2002). Fuck this Ribbon shit.

Oh and regarding "The ICO is widely seen as cash-strapped..." perhaps if they had the powers to make sure their pocket change fines were actually paid before the convicted shell company was liquidated maybe the chocolate teapot would have some more cash knocking around to fund their melting operations.

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Swiss see Telly Tax as a Big Plus, vote against scrapping it

paulf
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Facepalm

Re: Commercial TV is also a mandatory tax...

@ Cynic_999 "But that would be true regardless of whether the TV licence fee existed or not, so I'm not sure what point you are making."

The OP isn't advocating abolition of commercial broadcaster. The point (I think) the OP is making is that it's relatively easy to choose not to fund the BBC by not paying the TV licence; providing you adhere to the consequent restrictions of not watching live TV as it is broadcast and not using iPlayer.

On the other hand choosing not to fund media outlets that are financed in any part by advertising is one helluva lot trickier as you'd have to avoid buying anything (and from anywhere) that advertises. Take your weekly grocery spend as one example - Even if you limited it to own brand products at your local owner operated corner shop which doesn't even advertise in the local rag you'll probably find their wholesale/supplier organisation (e.g. Happy Shopper, Booker/Budgens, Costcutter etc) do advertising of some form.

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Comcast offers £22bn to snatch Sky from Rupert Murdoch

paulf
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Coat

Which is which?

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RIP... almost: Brit high street gadget shack Maplin Electronics

paulf
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Re: Well at least

I'm sad to see them go (and never happy to see people lose their jobs) but not surprised - like most other commentards here. 10-15 years ago I used to visit their stores and just browse at all the stuff I could get hooked into a project. Their cables covered every possibility I needed and were reasonably priced too (I'm talking 10m optical and phono cables among other adaptors etc). Slowly the good stuff evaporated until I was only going in for

1. (Re-)Writable optical disks (same price as Amazon and unlike Amazon weren't being delivered broken)

2. Batteries

3. Jewel cases for 1.

In the end I don't write as many disks as I used to, their batteries are expensive and/or crap so I only ever went in there for Jewel cases which tended to have one broken one per pack.

I did buy a lot of their rechargeable batteries but they tend to fail completely within a few years and not many charge cycles. That compares unfavourably to the Uniross rechargeables I have from 2001 which are still going strong long beyond their specified life; so I gave up on those. Then when I wanted button cells my choices were £3 for one at Maplin or 10 for £1.50 inc postage via an Amazon trader. I don't mind paying a "Get it today" premium so £1 each isn't too bad but not 20x more!

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EE: Data goes TITSUP* for Brit mobile customers

paulf
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Unhappy

On a tenuously related issue EE have just closed down the old Orange online account servicing portal. This allowed you to download your bill as PDF, check old bills, check usage so far in the current month - all the usual stuff. It was summarily closed at the end of 2017 pushing people like me, with old Orange branded plans, back on to paper billing. How's that for progress?

It seems the old T-Mobile portal is still active which suggests to me EE was built on the T-Mobile billing platform (in the same way you found the T-Mobile network was used as the foundation for the merged network). As new customers were routed to the new T-Mobile EE billing platform the old Orange platform withered as customers migrated to EE or others, to the point they figured it was cheaper to send bills in the post than keep it running. Also it acts as an incentive to shift off those old orange plans and shifting people over to the T-Mobile platform would just be too helpful.

In case you were wondering I have an old Orange Value Promise tariff - one of the old Virgin plans with no monthly charge so you just pay for calls. It's a bit like PAYG but with monthly billing instead of topups. I suspect it won't be long until they just get rid of all the old Orange plans completely.

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Cali cops' Clue caper: Apple technicans, in an iPhone repair lab, with the 1,600 silent 911 calls

paulf
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Headmaster

Re: Anyone remember 0990 premium numbers?

Yes, but it wasn't quite premium rate in the naughty sex chat line sense, although it was expensive to call (and still is).

0990 was BT's National-call product - a non-geographic number but charged as if a call to a national rated call. 0345 was the local call rated equivalent (Lo-call). 0990 became 08705 while 0345 became 08457.

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Vatican sets up dedicated exorcism training course

paulf
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Thumb Up

Re: @sisk

@Inventor of the Marmite Laser "Which, of course, begs the question: are there any Jewish ghosts...?"

There must be as they were popular enough to spawn a sitcom called So Haunt Me in 1992 about, "A suburban family find their new home is still occupied by the ghost of its previous owner, a middle-aged Jewish woman."

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Nokia tribute band HMD revives another hit

paulf
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Happy

Re: I still have a 7110...

Not entirely forgotten - I found both of mine (7110 and 8110) in a random box in the garage over Christmas. Didn't stop Orange marketing the 7110 as The Matrix Phone. I'd like to think they both still work but they're both still locked to Orange and I no longer have a working Orange mini SIM.

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Intellisense was off and developer learned you can't code in Canadian

paulf
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Coat

Windows 8.0 Metro?

Surely TIFKAM? (that also seems to not have a "U").

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That microchipped e-passport you've got? US border cops still can't verify the data in it

paulf
Silver badge
Go

Re: Just a TSA anecdote

"You should have claimed to be French, that would have fooled them..."

That would probably have worked. I wonder how many Americans think all Frenchmen speak with a perfect English Shakespearian accent thanks to Star Trek TNG...?

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paulf
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Facepalm

Re: Just a TSA anecdote

@DNTP "...she closed my passport without even looking at the picture or comparing my name to my boarding pass,..."

I recall having a Miami Twice* moment when I was checking in at an airport in the Land of the Free. The agent "checked" my fine brown British passport, "Dieu et mon Droit" proudly emblazoned in gold letters across the bottom of the majestic royal coat of arms.

And then proceeded to ask me if I was Australian.

Icon is how I would have responded if I didn't have an aversion to intimate inspections.

*One of the running jokes through this Only Fools and Horses special is everyone thinks these two chancers from South London are from Australia.

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