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* Posts by Kernel

483 posts • joined 13 Nov 2011

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Surprise, surprise. Here comes Big Cable to slay another rule that helps small ISPs compete

Kernel
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Re: So I lay the cable

The way it works in New Zealand is that whoever lays the cable, fibre or copper, has to let any provider who asks use it at the same cost as they charge against their own retail arm to use it. About the only preferential pricing allowed is for the end customer, where you normally get a small discount in the monthly cost if you take your phone service and internet from the same provider - not that you have to have a phone service to get internet if you don't want one.

So far I've had three different ISPs offering to run fibre from the street into my house and provide me with service, although the fibre infrastructure in this area was laid by a fourth company who as far as I'm aware don't actually sell internet services at all.

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Greybeard greebos do runner from care home to attend world's largest heavy metal fest Wacken

Kernel
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"There's nothing like growing old disgracefully! ;-)"

Pretty much sums up what is written on my belt buckle - and the badge on my '86 K100RT.

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CableLabs sends its time lords to help small-cell mobile nets

Kernel
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Re: GPS

"I know I shouldn’t feed the trolls but;

A. Yes I do.

B. Yes I do.

And C. Er, Yes I do."

As someone who can also answer 'yes' to A and B, I have also worked in a telco that had a pair of Cesium clocks at the top of its clock distribution - this was fairly common back in the day.

I know that the telco I worked for changed its top level clocks to GPS sourced some years ago (selling the Cesium clocks back to the manufacturer) - whether this is a good long term strategy or not I'm not sure.

Clock distribution should be a fairly serious subject in any telco worthy of the name and the clock distribution network must be treated as a separate design and build exercise to the actual traffic carrying, revenue earning, network. Clocking loops and/or avoidable clocking degradation are bad things.

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Early experiment in mass email ends with mad dash across office to unplug mail gateway

Kernel
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"Beaver College changed its name to Arcadia University in part because of overeager web filters, with smutty jokes providing the rest of the motivation."

Yes - surprisingly my 5yo grandson, newly started school, is allowed to call his teacher by her first name - it seems even at that age children can do far too much with a name like Mrs Bottomley.

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Some Things just aren't meant to be (on Internet of Things networks). But we can work around that

Kernel
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"That is a violation of rule 1 & 2 of the BOFH book, Rule 1 being "We don't talk about Luser-installed network attached hardware", and Rule 2 being "We don't talk about what happens to Lusers who install network attached hardware"."

And Rule 3 is "Try to remember that many of those 'Lusers' will be the people who actually generate revenue for the company so it can continue to exist and employ those who are merely a cost centre and weight around the ankle of said Lusers."

Just because someone isn't an IT expert doesn't make them stupid or ignorant or a Luser - it just means they probably know a whole lot of specialized stuff you don't - even if it's only how to shovel shit out of the gutter 5 days a week without ruining their back in the process. Shoveling shit brings money into the company when the customer pays for it to be done.

Yes, I know you used the joke icon, but I've seen some crap work from IT professionals who should've know better, over the years - if fact, a number of the major data leakages we read about on El Reg seem to involve a degree of incompetence on the part of those professionals who should know better, particularly in the area of failing to secure/configure deployed systems properly.

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No big deal... Kremlin hackers 'jumped air-gapped networks' to pwn US power utilities

Kernel
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Re: Not sure what the motive of the attcak is

"One thing missing here. How did they control the air gapped system? It could cause an issue immediately or after a time delay, but both this degrades the system, but does not control it. "

If they have access to enough of a national network and can drop a few of the larger generators at the same time, the grid operator will lose control of the frequency - and when that happens the entire network has to be shut down and started form scratch.

A few of years ago I was at a national grid operator's operations centre, doing support on their comms equipment and I was invited to sit in on one of their induction sessions. Apart form seeing soime great foo0tage of what can go wrong when switching high voltages and why you don't use water on a transformer fire, there was an interesting discussion of how long it takes to bring a power network up from a 'black start' - even for a small country like NZ the answer is in days rather than hours, as the connected load has to be carefully matched to the on line generation capacity in order to prevent another loss of control of frequency event.

What better time to launch a nuclear attack?

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Google to build private trans-Atlantic cable from US to France

Kernel
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Re: If the Atlantic is so narrow...

"Also, why does the cable get thinner further out into the Altlantic?"

As the cable gets deeper it has less protection - shore end cable can be 100mm or more in diameter, deep sea sections are often 25mm with no external protection at all.

At various times in its career the cable has to be suspended off the arse end of a ship - when there's up to 10km of briny underneath that's an awful lot of cable hanging off the thing you're living on at the time, so you want it to be as light as possible. One of the specs of submarine cable is the 'modulus', which is basically a measure of how much cable can be supported by the cable before it snaps under its own weight. This effectively determines how deep it can be laid.

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Kernel
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Re: Repeaters are avoided

"Unlike normal lasers which have mirrors on both ends to have an ever growing avalance of photons, you don't have mirrors there, but send in your signal on one side, and it comes out amplified on the other side."

The most common amps are Erbium Doped Fire Amplifiers (EDFAs) which consist of a short (few metres) length of fibre doped with the mildly radioactive element Erbium.

This section of fibre is connected in series with the working fibre and is also feed with energy from 'pump lasers', whcih are solid state lasers operating at a slightly different wavelength to the working passband of the amplifier.

The energy from the pump lasers causes some electrons in the Erbium atoms to jump up a couple of energy levels - they almost immediately spontaneously drop back one level ( emitting random photons which appear as noise in the amplifier output) but are reasonably stable in the intermediate level. An incoming photon from the optical signal strikes one of these electrons, which causes the electron to drop back to its base energy level, in the process emitting a photon which is identical to the original photon which crashed into it - as the original photon is not destroyed by the collision, you now have two identical photons in place of the original one - repeat this many times and you have a working optical amplifier.

Other doping agents can be used, but Erbium is the one that works best in the long range 1550nm band.

Raman pumps are useful on long spans that are otherwise unamplified, but can cause issues due to the high power levels involved (I've worked on Raman systems that transmitted an pump wavelength at +28dBm up the receive fibre) due to secondary effects which add to the noise and signal distortion - not to mention a tendency to do things like destroy connectors if there is even the slightest trace of dirt in them.

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Kernel
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Re: How many repeaters?

"So the deep sea cable is about 1" in diameter typically, with a hefty copper conductor to power the torpedo string."

The copper conductor isn't as heavy as you might suspect - it's normally just a thin tube of about 8mm (guestimate, as I no longer have a piece here to measure) diameter surrounding the inner core of fibres and steel protection wires. Each amp (connected in series) normally requires about 2 amps at 50 volts, so the ability to handle high voltage is more of an issue than the current involved - if memory serves, the cable insulation is rated at 25kV and I've seen one installation that was feeding positive 14kV from one end and negative 14kV from the other. The circuit between landing stations is completed via the 'sea earth' at each landing station.

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Kernel
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Re: What about contingency?

"Whenever I read stories about undersea cables I am reminded that the only institutions equipped to sever them are navies,"

And any passing trawler, ship with its anchor dragging, etc. Even a recreational fisherman can get an anchor caught and cause grief and consternation even if it doesn't result in an outage.

I've even been involved in an event where a thruster was pushed through the land section of a cable, breaking some of the fibres but, more importantly, tripping out the power feeding resulting in the repeaters (it was an older cable) ceasing to function so even if some fibres did survive they were of no use.

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Brit watchdog fines child sex abuse inquiry £200k over mass email blunder

Kernel
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Re: The Independent non-Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

"Probably because if the true scale of this was actually known, any responsible parent would lock their child in a panic room and never let an adult (or anybody with a two digit age) near them."

Unless the UK is vastly different to the rest of the world, the most common child abuser seems to be a parent, other relative, family friend/known to the family - if only it were as simple as the much promoted "stranger danger", with all the simplicity of identifying potential risks that concept provides.

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Kernel
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Re: The Independent non-Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

"Probably because if the true scale of this was actually known, any responsible parent would lock their child in a panic room and never let an adult (or anybody with a two digit age) near them."

Unless the UK is vastly different to the rest of the world, the most common child abuser seems to commonly be a parent, other relative or family friend/known to the family - if only it were as simple as the much promoted "stranger danger".

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Submarine cables at risk from sea water, boffins warn. Wait, what?

Kernel
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"Fancy fibre network with redundant links between two nodes. Unfortunately they were laid in the same ducting, so links not redundant when someone else trenches the street without checking what's in the ground..."

In the past I've worked with a transport system which had full protection at the optical layer - on two different wavelengths of the same DWDM system ie., not even different fibres in the same cable sheath which, if carefully chosen to be on opposite sides of the central strength member, can give a small measure of protection, but on the same fibre pair.

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Kernel
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Re: Well you sound smart.

" I'm not aware of any feeds into my dc that are over 100. Still too finicky, and the termination equipment is outrageously expensive at 100."

Most of the stuff I see going in now is 200Gb/s wavelengths and has been for a couple of years - 100G is actually getting pulled out and replaced by 200G by one of my customers - transponders occupy the same or less number of slots, power consumption is less and as a bonus you get twice the data rate per wavelength. I guess the difference is that I work with the same types of DWDM kit that goes on the end of submarine cables, not what goes into data centres - although that said, we do sell routers that will take 400G interfaces and we do now have DWDM transponders that can do 400G coming on to the market.

"Depending in what you can put down on the ocean floor as a repeater, every 30 klicks,"

Or maybe amplifiers rather repeaters, which are limited to their original design rate and protocol - the spacing is usually a compromise between the end-of-life capacity requirement from the customer and how to achieve that with the minimum number of amplifiers. Every amplifier requires 50 volts across it, so a long cable can require as much as 25kV to be supplied, which imposes problems of its own when moving this stuff around.

"It's not like the coastal facility is a data center, it's just a switch/repeater to some inland dc."

I've done work in several landing stations - they are more "just" a switch/repeater and have all included a variety of systems for breaking out sub-rate data streams for the various cable customers in addition to the basic cable terminal equipment - ie.the large and complex power feeding equipment, some form of optical routing/DWDM kit to terminate the fibres and the crucial station earth (just in case the sea earth fails for some reason). At least two of them have included one or more major PSTN switches in addition to data switching/routing kit - months to move, years to plan.

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Kernel
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Re: Not really a big issue

I'm assuming you're not familiar with what goes into making a landing station - it most certainly is not easy to take a submarine cable off line and move it. (Hooking it with a ship's anchor and dragging across the seabed doesn't count).

Apart from the new infrastructure build required to replace the landing station, replacing/extending the landing section of the cable would be quite a significant task as it is usually comprised of the heaviest and most highly armoured cable in the system. There's also more than a couple of hours worth of setup and certification work needed once the new landing station(s) have been built - more like days or weeks.

Oh, and don't forget that the cable manufacturer will want to do a feasibility study on your new build, as in some cases there may be an impact on cable capacity - normally the first amplifier is placed on the assumption the landing station is not going to move - if you extend the cable too much an additional amplifier may be required, which will change the power feeding needs of the cable and introduce more noise and distortion to the optical signals. This in turn may mean you are restricted to 10G or 40G/wavelength rather than 100G, 200G or 400G, or perhaps you will not be able to use as many wavelengths.

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Tech team trapped in data centre as hypoxic gas flooded in. Again

Kernel
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Re: Have you ever breathed halon?

Aah, memories of following my refrigeration engineer father around as a nipper and the heady aroma of Freon12 that's escaped through a small gap at the end of a red hot, glowing copper pipe - nothing clears the sinuses quite the same, unless it's the hydrogen sulphide gas that was used as a refrigerant in 1950's era domestic fridges.

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One two three... Go: Long Pig Microsoft avoids cannibalising Surface

Kernel
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Long Pig

I seem to recall reading somewhere that you had to be cautious with long pig - the white skinned ones tended to be excessively salty and would give you the shits if you weren't used to it.

At least nobody ever seems to have claimed it tastes like chicken.

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Former wig-wearing Twitterphobe replaces Hancock as UK.gov's Secretary of Fun

Kernel
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Re: Brexiteers jump ship

"To switch idiom; Capt May has hit the iceberg but continues to order full steam ahead"

Which is the correct form of action IMHO - i) much less water gets through the hole if there's a bloody great lump of ice securely wedged in it and, ii) with all that ice available it's got to be gin and tonics all 'round, hasn't it?

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Automated payment machines do NOT work the same all over the world – as I found out

Kernel
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Re: The only way to use an Italian automated petrol station is to use an Italian

"Last two times I had to use them I ended up getting help from the locals. The menus and the whole process is utterly counterintuitive."

Quite unlike their automated ticket machines at railway stations then - being a non-Italian speaker, it only took me two or three ticket purchases before I found myself regularly assisting Italians to buy tickets.

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No more slurping of kids' nationalities, Brit schools told

Kernel
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Re: Invasion?

"The Normans invaded in 1066. And won. So what exactly is 'foreign' and 'british' anyway?"

Not to mention the very successful Saxon immigration somewhat earlier.

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Galileo, here we go again. My my, the Brits are gonna miss EU

Kernel
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Re: Fgs

"Maybe the commonwealth can chip in....?"

Maybe we might have ........... if you'd remembered the Commonwealth all those years ago when you were soooo keen to jump into Europe and disavow all knowledge of those of us in distant parts of the world.

So for now, feel free to suck it it up and suffer.

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Ex-Rolls-Royce engineer nicked on suspicion of giving F-35 info to China

Kernel
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Re: Stupid... Just stupid...

"It will take them decades and tens of Billions to make it work. If not more."

Either that or they will be available on Alibaba next year at one million each for order quantities in excess of 1000.

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IBM to GTS: We want you to 'rotate' clients every two years

Kernel
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Re: @Glad and Done ... Making the same mistake the Banks did.

"....................... normally getting up to speed with all the different processes and working models takes longer than two years. "

Yes - reminds me of a manager I worked for many years ago in a civil service department. His theory was that if trainees spent five years working in each specific technical area, at the end of it they would be be able to choose the area they wished to specialize in - the only problem was that there were eight technical specialities and at the time the organization limited you to a maximum of 40 years working for them.

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Amazon can't or won't collect sales tax in Australia

Kernel
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"Overseas GST = level playing field for local businesses (ar at least a more level playing field)."

No, to level the playing field local businesses need to borrow a large bulldozer and get stuck in.

My own experience was a local business in NZ quoting me $400 for a few parts for my Maytag washing machine.

Actual price I paid to purchase on-line from some random retailer in Texas - NZ$86, including shipping and currency conversion charges on my credit card.

Adding 15% GST to my original purchase still doesn't bring it anywhere near $400.

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Meet the real spin doctors: Scientists tell H2O to chill out so they can separate isomers

Kernel
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Re: One possible use

"The problem with super pure water is that it eats your boiler tubes (which is why it is called hungry water)."

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I seem to remember reading that drinking too much distilled water will do much the same to your bones - something to do with dissolved calcium in body fluids being at equilibrium with that in bone.

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International Maritime Organisation turns salty gaze on regulating robotic shipping

Kernel
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Re: It'll Never Happen

"They already have all the auto aids to reduce crew so no real saving in cutting 10 people."

There is if it's watch keeping officers you're cutting, just leaving a team manager and a few semi-skilled labourers on board.

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Brit doctors surgery fined £35k over medical data fumble

Kernel
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Re: "The severity of this breach "merited" a fine of £80,000"

"Fuck that. Hammer the bastards."

Yep - and since it's obviously not a large or wealthy practice, let's fine 'em enough kill the practice completely - after all, it's not as if their patients won't be able to find another doctor, or even do without medical care at all.

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Google listens to New Zealand just long enough to ignore it

Kernel
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You may suggest it - but you do realize that:

i) There are other search sites than Google that are used by many people

ii) There are tools that allow individuals to search for stuff on the internet without using search sites such a Google - not that many years ago they were the only way to find stuff on the internet. Not as quick, because basically you are sending out your own robots to crawl through sites on your behalf which takes time to do, but at least the results are comparatively free of ads and only you know what you searched for. Google (or duckduckgo, if you prefer) "Archie", "Gopher", "Veronica" and "Jughead" for some early examples.

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Kernel
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You may suggest it - but you do realize that:

i) There are other search sites than Google that are used by many people

ii) There are tools that allow individuals to search for stuff on the internet without using search sites such a Google - not that many years ago they were the only way to find stuff on the internet. Not as quick, because basically you are sending out your own robots to crawl through sites on your behalf which takes time to do, but at least the results are comparatively free of ads and only you know what you searched for. Google (or duckduckgo, if you prefer) "Archie", "Gopher", "Veronica" and "Jughead" for an examples.

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Boffins detect antimatter thundering down from Hurricane Patricia

Kernel
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What I want to know

So, are we in serious danger from anti-matter coming from hurricanes, or should we be more concerned about over exposure to other anti-matter sources, such as bananas?

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Mystery crapper comes a cropper

Kernel
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"On my first adult visit to Belgium I was standing at the pub urinal disposing of the unwanted bits of about 12 pints of trappist ale and was surprised at the constant flow of not only the processed ale but the number of women behind me on the way to the sit-down. They seem quite happy with mixed sex toilets there."

Encountered the same at a beer festival here in NZ some years ago - with the enhancement that some of the women concerned were happy to pass comment on the beer was being drained from as they walked past - nobody of either sex seemed to consider it a problem.

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US, UK cyber cops warn Russians are rooting around in your routers

Kernel
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What we need to do to counter this threat is .......

use strong end-to-end encryption.

Oh, wait - bugger!

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UK rocket-botherers rattle SABRE, snaffle big bucks

Kernel
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Re: That's good, but...

"Then there's computing. Colossus was years ahead of everyone else, and yet where is the British computer industry today?"

Arguably one of the most important light bulb moments leading to modern computing was down to Lyons and their extensive chain of tea shops.

They realized that computers could not only work on straight maths problems, but could also be used to assist with solving business problems, like how do you bake and distribute fresh cakes and scones nationally, on a daily basis, with minimum wastage and lost orders.

The Leo series of computers they designed and built to work on this and Lyon's other general business processes (payroll, accounting, etc) were quite innovative for their time and it's unfortunate that the initial lead this gave the UK in commercial computing was never followed up with adequate government encouragement.

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B-Ark passengers to control most IT spend from 2019 onwards

Kernel
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Re: Not quite correct.

"But that's not important. The really important question is: what colour should this invention "The Wheel" be?"

And do people want it to be nasally fitted?

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Google wants to gobble up Nokia's airborne broadband biz – reports

Kernel
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Re: selling stuff for a profitable price was actually quite good

"Personally I'd not buy anything Nokia is selling. I bet not only are "batteries not included" but IP and brands aren't either (except as licences!)." (sic)

I believe that's called a 'continuing revenue stream".

It seems to me that if you can sell the results of your research to someone else who is prepared to take on the risks of manufacture, deployment, support and marketing while you continue to get a return on the research effort that you paid for up front, then that's a very good thing.

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Finland government buys a slice of Nokia

Kernel
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Re: Nationalisation by the back door?

"Oh, dear. Nationalisation of telecoms company, is it? If it's like the old General Post Office, peeps can look forward to a 6 month wait before being judged worthy by Nokia of getting a party-line installed. "

WTF?? - have you got even the remotest idea of what Nokia actually does as a business?

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Suspected drug dealer who refused to poo for 46 DAYS released... on bail

Kernel
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Re: Lamarr, Lucky to be alive

"The bags or condoms have not ruptured and consequences of an overdose..."

Or, as a previously unmentioned alternative, PC Plod have got it wrong again and there are no drugs.

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Cryptocurrencies kill people and may kill again, says Bill Gates

Kernel
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Re: Worst argument ever

"...an hitman..."

How tasteful!'

Indeed - it should be 'hitperson' now days.

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Oi, drag this creaking, 217-year-old UK census into the data-driven age

Kernel
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Meanwhile

Out here in a remote colony, on the far side of the world, the missus and I completed our entry in NZ's latest census last night - online, for the second time a census has been done this way.

Get with the program guys, it's the 21st century already!

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Rock-a-byte, baby: IoT tot-monitoring camera lets miscreants watch 10,000s of kids online

Kernel
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Re: "The main problems..."

" The voyeur will not even know the address where the camera is located. "

Our kids now have kids of their own so this only affects me indirectly - but I won't be suggesting to them that the monitors are not sending back enough information about the AP they're connected to, router public IP address, etc., for this to be a safe assumption.

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Aching bad: 'Kingpin Granny' nicked in huge prescription drugs bust

Kernel
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"If she has a prescription, was given too many, and somebody is in need of a painkiller, I guess it is not illegal to help out, even if you charge for the favor ..."

I suspect your guess would be wrong in most countries - it's generally illegal to be in possession of prescription drugs with someone else's name on the package. Definitely a way to attract attention at border crossings.

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Kernel
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Could've been worse

Put 'Granny' and 'Aching' together in the same headline and my thoughts immediately turn to sheep remedies and 'Jolly Sailor' pipe tobacco

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Remember the Yorkie pizza horror? Here's who won our exclusive Reg merch...

Kernel
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Re: Gravy/Chips issues.

"Biscuits and gravy being a prime example of something we'd have difficulty even understanding over here without visual aids."

Never over fed the cat, then?

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Kernel
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Re: Northerners...

"Gravy on chips is wrong!"

It's terribly wrong, but still pales in comparison to the crime against humanity that is curry on chips!

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Elon Musk's Tesla burns $675.3m in largest ever quarterly loss

Kernel
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Re: Unwarranted Trumpanzee

"Ridin a bike is a crime as afar as I'm concerned."

In that case, although I don't work for Tesla (or Musk in any shape or form) and I don't live in the US, I'm more than happy to put up my hand and say "I'm a bicycle criminal" for most of my work commutes.

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Biker nerfed by robo Chevy in San Francisco now lobs sueball at GM

Kernel
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"It is only USA which has the grand idiocy of everyone driving in any lane at any speed they please and overtaking on both sides. "

Perfectly legal to overtake on either side in NZ as well where there is more than one marked lane - the crucial point being that the lanes must be marked as separate lanes, not just a single lane that is wide enough to squeeze through on the left.

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Cryptocurrencies to end in tears, says investor wizard Warren Buffett

Kernel
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Re: Alternative Hypothesis

"Great if you live in Knightsbridge but our local Kebab, Chiaken and Corner shops dont deal in cards less than a tenner if, at all."

Good grief - the UK must be more of a benighted banking backwater than I've ever imagined!

In NZ even a stall at a weekend morning farmer's market is risking a significant loss of sales if they don't offer card payment.

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Russia claims it repelled home-grown drone swarm in Syria

Kernel
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Joke

Re: Russian tech hacked by Russians?

"You're suggesting the Russians are bombing themselves."

I heard that they were thinking about doing just that, but then a Lieutenat Minderbender turned up from somewhere with an outsourcing deal they couldn't afford to ignore.

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Watt? You thought the wireless charging war was over? It ain't even begun

Kernel
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Re: Effects on Humans & Animals?

" Quick answer unlikely at the suggested frequencies. I'd worry more about queasiness and disorientation for anything using magnetic resonance at the kind of power that would need to work at distance."

The trouble is that the 'side effects' won't be identified by those with any degree of technical knowledge, but by the sort of person who gets sick from a WiFi signal coming from three houses down the road - any attempts by reputable boffins to point out that the 'victim' isn't at risk will be dismissed as a $ConspiracyTheoryOfChoice coverup, because some random nutter on the internet obviously knows far more about it than anyone who's actually studied the subject in depth..

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If Australian animals don't poison you or eat you, they'll BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE

Kernel
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Re: Pigeons on trains

"How do you know the pigeon was deliberately choosing a particular stop, rather than wandering onto the train knowing that often there's food to be found on the floor, especially under seats? "

A couple of reasons: i), it was under the seat opposite me and it wasn't wandering around looking for food, it was just standing there, and ii), it's wife and kids were waiting to meet it.

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