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Comment Re:That's a bit of a stretch (Score 2) 218

The stock price has dropped quite a bit in the last few days, but it's still above the average for the last year and a lot higher than it was this time last year. It's hard to draw intelligent conclusions from the Facebook stock price, it's better to use it as a source of entropy for your random number generator...

Comment Re:Abolish marriage solves the problem. (Score 1) 564

I actually think that it would be an easier sell if you went for the wider context, where the state-recognised mechanism did not in any way imply a sexual relationship. If two guys who are just housemates want to have the same legal protection, it's fine. It shouldn't offend the Christian right, because it's a purely legal arrangement that is not in any way like a marriage. And then, if the same legal framework were used for marriages, then, well, that's just a simplification of the legal code.

Comment Re:People with money (Score 1) 161

Okay, so how do you do it? I'm running 4.4, with the stock calendar app. I don't have a Google Calendar account sync'd with it, I want to just subscribe to a calendar. I've found lots of forum posts saying you can't - you have to add it to your Google Calendar and then let it sync indirectly. So, since you can do it, how about sharing the mechanism? To make it more concrete, here's a calendar URL that I want to subscribe to from my phone: webcal://www.talks.cam.ac.uk/show/ics/6330

Step by step instructions please, since apparently it's easy...

Comment Re:If not Google... (Score 1) 564

I'd have thought Amazon would be a natural choice, especially for funding the Android port of Firefox. Amazon has its own Android distribution (and app store) that has none of the Google additions. In recent versions, Google has stopped developing the AOSP web browser in favour of Chrome, leaving a gap for an independent web browser that Amazon can bundle.

Comment Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (Score 1) 341

These economies work differently for a government. When you're spending am amount measured in hundreds of millions a year on software, then you don't complain that an open source program misses some features you need, you just ask for them and either your supplier provides them or you get a new supplier. You don't have to worry that you can't open MS document formats correctly, because you are the one defining what the interchange format is. If other companies buy MS products and they can't open the documents that you send them, or you can't open the ones that they send you, then that's their problem, not yours.

Comment Re:Re:well then! (Score 1) 341

Why do you think switching to linux would be much more simpler?

I'd have said FreeBSD not Linux, but the question still remains. For an answer, how about £5.5M? To put that in perspective, the annual budget of the FreeBSD Foundation is about a tenth that, which funds new development work, subsidises some conferences and so on. The UK government is paying £5.5 just for security updates. I can point you at several companies who'd be happy to provide extended support for a particular branch of FreeBSD for a fraction of that cost and an even bigger number who'd do it for Linux. £5.5M, even including overheads, will pay for 50 developers working full time. Let's assume that there's a lot of overheads, shareholder profits, and so on and call it 20. Do you really think it takes 20 developers to backport security fixes for Windows? Oh, and if they were running FreeBSD then I can point them at a couple of UK companies who would happily take half that money, provide the same support, and keep the money in the local economy. Want to take a guess about where Microsoft will be spending that £5.5M?

Comment Re:No kidding (Score 1) 161

Sounds like the USA sucks for phones. In the UK, I'm on a pay-as-you-go plan. I top up £10 every few months and pay 3p/min for calls (about 5), 2p/text (about 3.3) and 1p/MB for data (about 1.6). Most of the time I'm near WiFi if I want to do something online, so I rarely turn on the mobile data for my phone, and when I do I rarely use more than 5-10MB. Aren't there any carriers in the US that do pay-as-you-go data, so if you don't use any you don't pay for any?

Comment Re:Funny (Score 1) 161

Almost all of the apps I have installed on my Android phone are from F-Droid. I tried setting it up without a Google account at all, but there was one app (irritatingly, my Internet banking one) that required a Play Store account. I also have the Amazon AppStore installed for its free app of the day thing (it was NeoCal a few days ago, which is a really nice calculator app, but I use a calculator so rarely that I'd probably never have bought it).

The biggest limitation with iOS for me though is it's lack of some decent equivalent of OSMAnd - a map app that lets me download entire countries worth of vector maps and can do offline navigation, so I won't run up huge bills using it when abroad.

Comment Re:People with money (Score 1) 161

I've never owned a Windows Phone device (or a Windows-not-phone device, for that matter), but I've got a few friends at MSR and played a bit with them. The UI seemed nice, but it's hard to judge that sort of thing without a period of extended use. This criticism just made me laugh though:

The calender app is ridiculously limited and confusing

I have an Android phone, and there is no way from the stock calendar app to subscribe to a calendar from a link. The recommended way of doing this is to sync the device with your Google calendar and then have that sync with the remote calendar. I spent two hours trying to find documentation for how to get the calendar to just pull a .ics file from http and import it, because I couldn't believe that in 2014 anyone would ship a phone without this basic functionality.

as are most of the standard apps

As another example, the contacts app in Android has a 'me' vCard, but no mechanism for telling it that a contact already on your phone is you. Again, basic functionality that's missing. If you keep your address book sync'd by CalDav (or some other mechanism) then you most likely already have an entry for yourself, but the suggested way of doing this is to copy the data to a different card.

The entire mobile phone ecosystem is a clusterfuck at the moment. Microsoft shouldn't have a chance with two established players, but they both seem intent on producing utter crap.

Comment Re:Freedom of Speech? (Score 1) 328

For things involving the press, there is a question of public interest that can (sometimes) override the normal rights to privacy. For example, if the press discovers someone is a closet homosexual and decides to print it on the front page then that (depending on your jurisdiction) can be considered an invasion of privacy. If, however, that person is a fundamentalist politician arguing against gay rights, then you can probably justify in court that it was in the public interest to know that this had some baring on his motivation. There are lots of other examples (probably lots of better ones, but it's first thing in the morning and I haven't had coffee yet). In all of the cases, once you are in a position of power (political, financial, religious, whatever) then some things that a normal person can do without problems, because they can't affect the lives of anyone else, move into the realms of public interest.

Comment Re:Wood IS fuel (Score 2) 112

being solid, can't be used in any of the myriad applications that require liquid or gaseous fuel

That's not a significant problem for use, it's much more of an issue for transport. Gas and oil can be transported long distances through pipes, with just the occasional pump along the way to give it a boost. Wood has to be stacked onto trucks and then transported along roads or railways. You can't just turn on a tap in a house and have wood come out, so everyone needs a wood shed or equivalent to store it, taking up a lot of space.

Comment Re:The symptom, not the true problem. (Score 1) 509

I'd like to feel smug and superior and laugh at the stupid Americans, but in the UK we have precisely one MP who has a degree in a science subject (Jullian Huppert, Cambridge, PhD in biological chemistry). Many of the rest didn't even do a science subject at A-level, so their last science education finished at age 16. These people are simply not qualified to be making decisions about scientific matters.

Comment Re:Cynicism (Score 5, Interesting) 148

My mobile provider (3, in the UK) has started rolling out a thing that lets you use your inclusive minutes and data allowance in other countries without any extra charge (the costs if you go over those limits are pretty dire). It was actually cheaper for me to use data on my mobile when I visit the US than it was for the people I was visiting, on my last trip. I think they've seen the writing on the wall and started making these agreements long before they were needed. They're able to do this and charge 3p/minute for calls, 2p/text and 1p/MB for data (pre-pay - if you get a bundle and buy in bulk then things are cheaper, but the bundles are time limited).

Comment Re:Viewpoint (Score 2) 161

You go to university to understand the depths of your ignorance. It's then up to you whether you just get the piece of paper, or whether you do something to correct this situation. University won't teach you everything you need to know, but it will tell you what some of the things that you don't realise that you should know are.

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