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* Posts by Oddlegs

52 posts • joined 18 Mar 2011

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Fork it! Google fined €4.34bn over Android, has 90 days to behave

Oddlegs

The wronged parties in this case are phone manufactures. There are several of those in Europe

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Oddlegs

I suspect you're right but the point is that with these lockins no one else stands a chance. If I develop a search engine that's 10x better than Google's no one's ever going to know about it because Google are paying the manufacturer's to use their own, quite obviously supressing competition.

You specifically mention search and maps, two areas where Google are justifiably market leaders. They also have an awful lot of other tools which, at best, are distinctly average but they gain an unfair leg up by being bundled with the rest.

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Oddlegs

Re: " Can't wait to see the MS fine then."

And how did you install Firefox? Through the Google Play Store almost certainly. The point of this is that without access to the play store Android is pretty much useless. Windows* allows you to install apps from a multitude of sources.

*The exception is Windows S on some tablets but Microsoft doesn't come close to having a monopoly in the tablet OS world

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Sueball claims Apple broke hacking laws with iOS batt throttling code

Oddlegs

Re: Trespass to chattels?

Except Apple advertise performance as well as battery life even if they don't mention how many iops you can expect. If you buy a device advertised as including an A10 processor then it's reasonable to assume it will run at near capacity (if the demand is there) and isn't artifically throttled.

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USB-C for Surface owners arrives in form of a massive dongle

Oddlegs

Re: Eh?

Very few tablets/ultralights come with a plethora of ports. If you need to plug in a large number of accessories then this isn't the form factor for you. Given that then by far the best choice of port is USB3 due to being compatible with just about every accessory out there.

Yeah this dongle's expensive but that will be partly because Microsoft knows no-one will buy it since it serves no purpose whatsoever. Want to only carry a single charger to charge your tablet and mobile? Well carry the surface charger and charge your mobile off the tablet. You wouldn't be able to charge both devices at the same time from the USBC charger anyway.

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1.5m Brits pay too much for mobile and crappy broadband – Ofcom

Oddlegs

'Household' spending. The average household is 2.3 people. Even with 2.3 mobile bills and home telephone/broadband it seems a little high. Some people must be spending an absolute fortune to skew the numbers.

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Julian Assange said to have racked up $5m security bill for Ecuador

Oddlegs

What's in it for Ecuador?

I really don't get what's in this whole episode for Ecuador. They're spending a large amount of money harbouring Assange and having him around must be interferring with day to day operations of the embassy. To top it all he's now allegedly hacked into their computers. I understand they're not on the best of terms with the US but damaging your relationships with the UK, Sweden and most of the developed western world seems pretty extreme just to spite America.

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Zero arrests, 2 correct matches, no criminals: London cops' facial recog tech slammed

Oddlegs

There are serious privacy implications of this technology which don't sit well with me but that's not what this article's about. This article seems more interested in making the point: 'look at the stupid police using a system which is wrong 98% of the time'

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Oddlegs

I'm still waiting to hear the alternative. This system's not perfect. In fact it's pretty poor but still better than nothing. The decisions on where to trial such technology (and any racial implications thereof) lie wholy at the feet of real people. This AI is probably far more race agnostic than the people administering it.

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Oddlegs

Why is it a massive waste of police time? What's the alternative? Hundreds of real police officers scanning crowds looking for known trouble makers? That would cost an awful lot of money and I'm not even sure they'd be more effective than a 2% positive match either.

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Oddlegs

Re: Surely though

People really seem to be missing what these numbers mean. Imagine the police were searching for me. This system would identify 50 people, one of which would be me. A real person looking through those 50 photos will probably be able to very quickly discount the majority of them leaving only a small number requiring investigation. The alternative would be a massively larger and more expensive investigation.

Privacy implications aside a system with a 98% 'false positive' rate is still hugely useful to the security services.

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Google Pixel 2 XL: Like paying Apple-tier prices then saying, hey, please help yourself to my data

Oddlegs

Re: re: At least Google are upfront about the data they collect and what they use it for.

Likewise for Apple. Sometimes it's 'better the devil you know...'

Personally I'm looking forward to GDPR. Journalists all over Europe will be asking tech companies to divulge exactly what they're storing about us. I suspect we'll be horrified (if unsurprised) at the results.

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Oddlegs

"The Apple "tax" is the price you pay for privacy"

If you genuinely believe that then you've really drunk the kool aid. iPhones track 'significant locations' just the same as android does. Siri has the ability to listen constantly as well. Apple (and Microsoft if anyone had their phones) are just as invasive to your privacy as Google and that's even before we start considering that most people have Facebook and a whole myriad of other tracking apps installed. At least Google are upfront about the data they collect and what they use it for.

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Facebook scandal: EU politicians should aim for straight answers, not star witnesses

Oddlegs

I don't understand this new obsession with politicians wanting to grandstand in various hearings. It was the same with UK MPs interviewing bigwigs from Google and Apple about how little tax they pay. It achieves nothing. If Facebook have done something illegal then investigate and punish them. If they've done something which you think should be illegal then change the law to make it so. If you just want to appear tough on TV before everything goes back to how it was before then save everyone's time and money and don't bother.

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Mind the gap: Men paid 18.6% more than women in Blighty tech sector

Oddlegs

I'm not really sure what the aim of this exercise is. Can women in the tech industry now march into their boss' office and demand an 18.6% pay rise? Not really since even though the median pay may be lower that doesn't mean that one employee's is. Without any analysis into why there's a difference this seems rather pointless.

A very detailed analysis of the gender pay gap between Uber drivers was published recently and non of the reasons are what could be considered discriminatory.

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10Mbps for world+dog, hoots UK.gov, and here is how we're doing it

Oddlegs

"Er, no it's not reasonable that people subsidise rural broadband. Not unless the countryside starts sending me fresh air, lower crimes rates and less congested roads in return."

I think you'll find the countryside is already sending you your fresh air given that's where most of the trees are

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Parents blame brats' slipping school grades on crap internet speeds

Oddlegs

All depends on how the original question was phrased.

"If you had a faster internet connection could your child do more online research to aid with homework?"

I don't think anyone could disagree with that. If only you'd bothered to link to the original article we could see.

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Cambridge Analytica seeks data protection assistant

Oddlegs

Re: Guardian article

The most amazing thing about this whole revelation is that people seem to genuinely believe that the other side weren't up to exactly the same

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Robot cars will kill London jobs – but only from 2030, say politicans

Oddlegs

Maybe we should ban motorised vehicles and move back to horse and carts? Think of the number of jobs that would be created!

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UK.gov pushes ahead with legal right to 10Mbps

Oddlegs

Re: "not economically feasible"

And spending £100+ billion (and counting) saving a few minutes on a train journey from London to Birmingham is...?

While I don't disagree that the price of HS2 is excessive the purpose isn't only to make journeys between London and Birmingham a little faster. It will also free up capacity on the existing lines making for a far nicer experience on them.

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Ads watchdog to BT: We say your itsy bitsy, teeny weeny Ts&Cs too small for screeny

Oddlegs

But they never have an issue with the terms 'unlimited' and 'up to'. Come on ASA

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BBC Telly Tax petition given new Parliament debate date

Oddlegs

Re: Adverts...

You forgot the adverts in banners over the top of the actual program

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Oddlegs

Re: If you have issues with the Telly Tax...

I find it bizarre that people are willing to pay Sky a minimum of £25 a month (and still have to watch adverts) yet complain about paying the BBC less than half that. I also have a hard job of believing that across the TV channels, iplayer, the website and radio there isn't some content to suit absolutely everyone.

It wouldn't just be a case of scrapping the license fee, allowing advertising and everything else continuing as now. There's only so much adversiting money to go round and the BBC would be likely to hoover up most of it. ITV and C4's revenues would plummet with a corresponding drop in quality of programming. Several of the smaller channels would likely disappear altogether.

Those campaigning to scrap the license fee should be careful what they wish for. Whilst the BBC is far from perfect the entire entertainment landscape of this country would be worse off without it.

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Tapping the Bank of Mum and Dad: Why your Netflix subscription is poised to rise (again)

Oddlegs

If Uber are as ubiquitous as you say and STILL not making any money then heaven help them when their competitors finally get their act together

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BT and Virgin Media claim 'broadband' tax will cost £1.3bn

Oddlegs

The value of the property has nothing to do with what's in it. If I fill my house with gold bullion I don't have to pay more council tax than if it was filled with cabbages.

If the value of the property hasn't gone up then the tax won't go up

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Amazon's Netflix-gnasher to hit top gear In December

Oddlegs

I really want streaming services to work but the fragmentation is killing them. To be able to see the shows I like I'd need to subscribe to Now TV, Netflix and Amazon at a monthly cost of £20.50. The latest season of half of the shows I watch aren't available on any of them. Other than limited Amazon titles I can't download any shows so I'm reliant on my by no means exceptional broadband. I'm also certain that once they become popular they'll move the way of subscription TV and have just as many adverts as regular broadcast television.

Offer me a single service with no ads, all shows, the ability to automatically download a few episodes of each show at the best quality that works on multiple devices and I'd be a buyer at a higher price than the three services combined now.

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New measurement alert. The Pogba: 1,200Pg = NHS annual budget

Oddlegs

Re: Less than £2k per person

Given that the vast majority of people only make use of the health services in any meaningful way in the first and last 5-10 years of their life the cost for only those years of need is considerably more.

Really it's no different to any other insurance. The huge majority of people won't get back what they pay in but you still pay during the good years just in case you're unlucky enough to need it. A rare condition could easily cost millions to treat.

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A UK-wide fibre broadband investment plan? Don't ask awkward questions

Oddlegs

If the expected returns are going to be 'significant' then why isn't Virgin or any other provider chomping at the bit to lay fibre. Despite appearances BT aren't stupid. If they thought there was money to be made in replacing copper cables they'd be doing it.

The truth is that for the majority of people their current copper-based connections are 'good enough'. Certainly good enough to not be willing to pay much more for fibre. There will always be a small number of people (and links posted above show that this is a small number of people) who do have very low speeds but these are likely to be the most cost-prohibitive to lay fibre to anyway.

Finally you mention 'paying through the nose' for broadband. As it happens the UK is pretty competitive for broadband prices compared to the rest of Europe (http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2015/10/mixed-uk-results-in-eu-study-of-broadband-speeds-price-and-coverage.html)

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Oddlegs

I suggest you read up on your history. Nynex, C&W, NTL and just about all of the other cable providers went into massive debt to lay their fibre and all went bankrupt when the expected returns just didn't materialise. No one was going to pay a huge premium for cable TV/telephone when over-the-air TV and BT provided a decent, cheap alternative.

Virgin cable only survive because they didn't have to pay for the cost of rollout. They picked up the bankrupt carcasses of everyone else who did. There's a reason Virgin haven't extended their network in any significant way in the last 20 years.

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Oddlegs

Re: it amazes me..

Indeed. It's slight unfair to compare the UK to other countries in this respect. We've had fixed line telephones for coming up to 150 years! Many (most) other countries have never had a universally connected populace so when they have a choice now of rolling out fibre or nothing then it's a no-brainer. The UK's choice is between rolling out fibre at a massive cost or keeping it's copper based network. For most people VDSL/ADSL2 is 'good enough'. Very very few people would be willing to pay much of a premium for fibre broadband and certainly nowhere near enough to pay for the cost of rollout.

In 10/20 years time that situation will probably change but who knows what copper based technologies will be available then. If wasn't that long ago that 56kb/s was considered the maximum bandwidth copper could support.

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Indian Capital Delhi bans Uber's surge pricing

Oddlegs

Re: Down with surge pricing in India!

As you say 1000Rs to a tourist is still relatively cheap and no one's going to spend hundreds on a holiday to India and then refuse to pay another tenner to see one of the wonders of the world. But if it's ok to charge certain groups more than the norm "because they're willing to pay more" how is surge pricing any different? People may not like it but they're clearly willing to pay surge prices otherwise no one would and the policy would disappear overnight.

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Oddlegs

Re: Down with surge pricing in India!

Indeed. 1000Rs for a westerner to visit the Taj Mahal. A local can get in for 40Rs. The same is true of most government-run tourist sites across India. I've got no problem with paying more but 25x more?

If the Indian government's able to ask people for more money than usual for a service why shouldn't Uber?

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TalkTalk offers customer £30.20 'final settlement' after crims nick £3,500

Oddlegs

Re: Small claims court

And you'd prove to the court that your specific losses were caused by the Talk Talk breach how exactly?

Don't get me wrong, TT have been grossly negligent and should be fined a huge amount by the regulator/government and some high level executives should see prison time but there have been data breaches before and I'm not aware of a single case of someone linking a financial loss to the breach.

The chances are that it's pure coincidence this gentleman had £3500 nicked a couple of days after this breach but that's not really the point of this article. To charge him, and any other customers who want to leave, an early termination charge is shockingly bad PR from Talk Talk.

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YouTube bloggers told to slap 'advert' stickers on their vid posts

Oddlegs

Whilst I agree with the sentiment of the new guidelines will they also apply to professionally produced films and TV due to the liberal use of product placement. Having 'advertising feature' on screen for 50% of the next Bond movie could be rather distracting

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Google to take another shot at a free Wi-Fi business

Oddlegs

Re: I wonder what this will do to the mobile phone market

I see it the other way round. 5-10 years ago (when Google first tried) this would have been great due to the state and expense of high speed mobile networks. Nowadays mobile data connections are (for the most part) fast enough and reliable enough that when I get to a location offering free wifi I just don't bother.

Free, ubiquitous wifi only works if it's just that: present absolutely everywhere. If you're still going to need a backup mobile network for the times you're in a park, the countryside or just any black spot then why not just use it everywhere?

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Don't panic. Stupid smart meters are still 50 years away

Oddlegs

Why?

I can understand some concerns about privacy but smart meters? "Oh no, the powers that be will know exactly how much gas and electricity I'm using!!" What possible nefarious use could anyone have for that information? Contrast that with more accurate bills, not being hassled for meter readings and potentially innovative products/pricing based on time of use.

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Google versus the EU: Sigh. You can't exploit a contestable monopoly

Oddlegs

Re: So....

But Microsoft didn't get in trouble for forcing Windows to be the de facto desktop OS. They got in trouble for using their (fairly won) OS monopoly to try to create a second monopoly.

The situation with Google is pretty much identical. Their search monopoly is legitimate and no-one is saying otherwise. The issue comes from using that search monopoly to push other products. You can argue that it's trivial for users to go to other price comparison sites but the truth is no-one bothers because there's a big shopping button right at the top of any Google search.

Should Google be punished because users are a bit lazy? Possibly not but it's exactly the same rationale behing Microsoft's fines over the browser wars.

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Wi-Fi beam-steering tech could KILL OFF fixed home networks

Oddlegs

Re: 3 TV's

The device that sits in the same place all the time, connected to the wall by a cable, or two cables?

And how many of those cables attached to the three TVs mentioned are gigabit ethernet?

Wired is undoubtedly, and will always be, faster and more secure than wireless but very few people have ethernet cabling throughout their house. Through constant, small improvements (such as this) wireless will eventually become fast enough for the vast majority of uses and at a hugely cheaper price than running new cables through all your walls.

The ability to stream three UHD video streams seems like a reasonable benchmark for now.

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Free WiFi coming to UK trains ... in two years

Oddlegs

Re: The Size of My Package...

I believe they have their own infrastructure, it's the same one with which the drivers can keep in contact with the controllers I think.

Given the lack of announcements by drivers on Great Northern trains and the fact that when they do happen more often than not they're to say "I don't know the reason for the delay" it doesn't bode well for the performance of any new wifi network.

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Oddlegs

"especially for those making lengthy journeys to the North"

Except all of the train companies mentioned only operate short distance commuter lines into London?

I don't see the need for this. Who doesn't have a data package nowadays on their phones which will be at least as fast as any free wifi used by several hundred people per train would be? Commuter services are also so packed that there's no chance of getting a laptop out to do any meaningful work. This just seems to be a massive white elephant which will no doubt be used as an excuse to justify ever higher fares.

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UK smart meters arrive in 2020. Hackers have ALREADY found a flaw

Oddlegs

There are several reasons. I'll leave it up to you as to whether they justify the cost of the rollout

1) More accurate bills. The days of estimated readings will be gone. You'll pay for what you actually use and won't have to worry about getting a massive bill after having had your usage under-estimated.

2) Fault monitoring. If your electricity or gas usage increases or decreases hugely it could point to a fault. With smart meters your supplier will notice

3) More flexible pricing. This is where some people will get scared. Suppliers pay more for energy at times of peak demand. Currently they smooth that out over a year to give everyone an average price. With smart meters they'd potentially be able to charge different prices based on the time of day. I don't think it's unreasonable to pay more for your usage at times of peak demand (and less off peak), others may disagree.

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Oddlegs

Scare mongering

And right now you can make up readings to give your energy supplier effectively 'hacking' it so things won't be any different. Even after smart meters are rolled out someone will still come round to your house to read it manually every year or two to make sure everything's working so any 'hacking' will only get you so far. The automated smart readings will also be validated against your expected usage so report zero or very low usage for too long and your supplier will want to know what's going on.

No-one's pretending smart meters will be perfect but in the huge majority of cases they'll be at least as good as what we have now whilst also leading to more accurate bills. I don't understand everyones hatred of them here. So what if your supplier knows you tend to use most of your electricity between 5 and 6pm. They still won't know what it's being used for but it will allow them to potentially bring in more flexible pricing. We accept that you pay more for phone calls, holidays and transport at times of peak demand. Why should energy be any different? Sadly the government is not going to be building many new power stations any time soon so we're going to have to get smarter in how we consume a (soon-to-be) limited resource.

Whether that justifies the massive cost of the rollout is another matter.

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Siri: Helpful personal assistant or SERIAL APP KILLER?

Oddlegs

All true unless:

You're somewhere noisy

You're somewhere you have to be quiet

You're somewhere without network connection

You don't want to look like an idiot by talking to your phone

Also, whilst getting better, the mobile PAs aren't 100% accurate. Would you accept a keyboard which got what you typed wrong 5% of the time? Or even 1%.

Apps aren't going away anytime soon.

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Botched SAP billing system helps Npower reach No 1 on gripes list

Oddlegs

Re: Working hard to resolve it? My £5k bill says otherwise

I wouldn't necessarilly expect moving energy suppliers to fix the problem. I shifted from nPower to SSE around the time these problems started. SSE have been great but nPower are a total mess. They're still billing me for electricity despite me now paying SSE. They're still billing me for a second electricity meter in the house which SSE had removed.

After spending about an hour explaining all of these problems to a very paitent nPower guy on the phone I was told they'd investigate but that this could take 90 working days. Almost 5 months! In the meantime they still send me incorrect bills every now and again and I have to ring up and spend half an hour on hold just to confirm that they're still investigating and I can ignore the spurious bill.

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Barnes & Noble's Nook sales take a long walk off a very short pier

Oddlegs

I have both a Nook HD+ tablet and a Nook Glowlight eReader. They're both lovely bits of hardware, certainly way better than the competition at those prices so it's a real shame they never took off.

Sadly I think Amazon/Kindle have the eReader market sewn up simply due to the Amazon brand being synonymous with books so much so that other manufacturers may as well not bother.

B&N never marketed their tablets as 'tablets'. They pushed them as gateways into the B&N ecosystem which no one really cared about being a part of. Had they done this differently and left it up to users to discover that they had access to the B&N store alongside the expected tablet functionality I suspect they would have done better.

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Google 'fesses up: Yup, we're KILLING OFF IE9 support for Gmail, Apps

Oddlegs
Facepalm

Missing the poing

So will they then be displaying similar notifications to Firefox 23 users advising them to upgrade to a more 'modern' browser?

The various Google apps are likely to continue working in IE9 as well for many years to come. Despite being much maligned IE has moved on considerably since IE6.

The purpose of this policy is to scare users into changing browsers to one which is more Google friendly (Google is the default search engine in both Firefox and Chrome).

Google can't have it both ways. Either this is an anti-Microsoft (and anti competitive) policy or they have to treat Firefox 23 the same as IE9. Obviously Google would look very foolish for suggesting a 3 month old browser is not modern enough for them to bother supporting though.

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Oddlegs

"Google is killing IE9 in line with its policy announced in June 2011 for its apps and services to only work with the current and prior major releases of browsers."

I assume this means they'll also be killing support for Firefox 23 (now that we have 24 and 25) which is only approximately 3 months old.

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Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

Oddlegs

Re: Engineering

Isn't that exactly how it should be? A decent OS shouldn't get in the way but should merely facilitate the hardware and software.

If you're not noticing the OS on any system then it's doing its job perfectly.

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Tax dodging? It's harder to do - and rarer - than you think

Oddlegs

Re: Having our cake and eating it too

Except that, if everyone was being honest, Apple Stores (UK) would be making a far larger profit. For example Apple UK 'buy' a laptop from Apple Ireland for £999 and then sell it for £1000. Profit=£1. Apple Ireland buy the laptop from a Chinese factory for £500 and sell it to Apple UK for £999. Profit=£499. What's to stop Apple UK buying the laptop direct from China? Arguably this would be far more efficient due to the decrease in paperwork. The only reason not to is to lower the total tax liability. Where was Apple's total profit of £500 really 'earnt'? Most people would say in the UK.

I fully agree though that Apple are not doing anything wrong. It's up to the UK and other governments to update their own tax laws.

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Fanbois smash iPhone 5s much sooner than iPhone 3s ... but WHY?

Oddlegs

And this is why I never buy mobile insurance. Having never lost or significantly damaged a mobile in 15 years I'd be subsidising the idiots who barely manage to get 6 weeks out of one

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