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Comment Apple Airport (Score 4, Insightful) 241

This may not be a popular opinion, but I'm a big fan of Apple Airport gear. They generally support the latest/fastest standards quite quickly, are easy to configure, have built-in PSUs rather than wall warts, and I've generally found their range to be better than average for consumer WiFi kit. Other than that latest models (which look ridiculous) they're generally neat and look OK in the living room. I've had one Airport Express die on me after 2 years of use, and that was already second hand when I bought it and spent its life behind a pile of hot hifi gear as an Airtunes sink.

Comment Re:What I fail to believe (Score 1) 186

The 'text mode DOS crap' is probably a proprietary pathology lab system, and it's likely not DOS at all but a unix running over telnet. Old but super fast and efficient, and not easy to upgrade without replacing expensive lab gear that interfaces with it well. You may also be seeing EMIS, or similar, a GP health informatics system that's again super-fast and reliable. There is an upgrade path to a Windows clients and more modern backend but most areas are following a phased rollout. As for path results - GPs can phone and get the results within 24-48hr, but it's not practical to do for every patient.

Comment Re:hmm...doctors just don't worfk as hard (Score 5, Informative) 107

No, because the point is that the false positive results lead to more invasive tests (which in themselves may do harm), over-interpretation of other physical signs, worry etc.. The parallel with terrorism is that people end up on no-fly lists, get invasively searched and questioned, might get turned down for jobs or credit etc.. The uselessness of screening tests for low prevalence diseases is well known in the medical world, which is why tests need to be targeted to a high-risk population to have any value.

Comment Re: It gets worse (Score 1) 165

This is the nub of the problem. Drilling down through the bullshit, Windows 8 seems to be the archetype of what Ballmer has in mind... and it sucks. Apple have been criticised for making OSX too like iOS but in reality most of the changes can be ignored, the only thing that really confuses people is reversing the mouse wheel scroll (which can be reverted easily). The whole 'magic corners' thing on Win 8 is stoopid, particularly when Win 7 is such a great OS (and I say that as a card- and iPhone-carrying Apple Fanboi).

Microsoft's main competitor is themselves, and their best strategy right now would be pushing and incentivising the replacement of XP with Win 7 in the corporate environment to drive sales of updated Office and server software.

Comment Re:why does your phone need software running on yo (Score 2) 519

I've used various iDevices for years, including all models of iPhone bar the 5, iPods and iPads. None of them sync by replacing the entire contents of the device. All of them will sync a single file. None of them will break Windows' features relating to third-party cameras and USB sticks. You either have a seriously messed up Windows installation, or iDevice, or probably both - or you're just deluded.

Comment Re:Anything that states it has to be free? (Score 1) 351

It wasn't a strawman, it's a hypothetical illustration of the problem with providing an exception for free services. Businesses in the EU, that provide a service to consumers/citizens, are required to meet certain criteria in order to prevent abuse. The fact that a business funds a service by means other than direct billing doesn't entitle it to ignore its legal obligations. You questioned why those obligations exist - the answer is, if they didn't, then consumers would be exploited and businesses would inevitably find means to have their services categorised as 'free' in order to avoid their obligations. It's interesting to note that it's not unique to consumer rights - if I walk into a business premises and injure myself, I can still sue them if they were negligent, whether I bought anything or not. These consumer protection laws are an extension of that logic. There is a certain cost involved in doing business in any given region, and in the EU that cost involves fulfilling consumer protection obligations.

Comment Re:Anything that states it has to be free? (Score 1) 351

The logic is, that if you provide a service to consumers (as much as I hate that term), you are required to provide a minimum level of service. Financially discounting that service (even a 100% discount) doesn't change that situation. It's done to prevent abuse of the little guy. If there was an exception for free services, businesses would use all sorts of means to exploit that loophole (e.g. in a broadband + TV package, we say you're paying for the TV only, the broadband is a 'free extra' so you get a shitty broadband service with no customer support, you can't complain as it's 'free', and by the way we're the only provider in your area... see the potential problem?). I would also take issue with your definition of free - by using Google services you're providing to Google a payment in kind by displaying their adverts on your computer screen and viewing them. If it makes you happier, imagine that Google pays Germans 0.01 Euro for each advert imprint, and then demands that in payment for the internet service provided.

Comment Re:You know... (Score 1) 351

Agreed. You could reframe the debate this way: Google has many millions of paying customers, who make payment _in kind_ by reading and displaying (on their computer screen) adverts that Google provides. You can't sidestep consumer protection law by providing a service at a financial discount, even if that discount is 100%.

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I cannot conceive that anybody will require multiplications at the rate of 40,000 or even 4,000 per hour ... -- F. H. Wales (1936)