* Posts by jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid

262 posts • joined 24 Aug 2020


You've heard of the cost-of-living crisis, now get ready for the cost-of-working crisis

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Email remains the most used communication method for work

Someone I know was once buying so much stuff from Dell that they had their own account manager. The account manager's name was Derek - they called themselves Dell.

"Hi I'm Dell from Dell"

BT CEO orders staff: Back to the office or risk 'disciplinary action'

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Re: Agreed

We're finding that with new recruits at the moment - the natural settling-in during the first few weeks/months from having your colleagues around you all the time just isn't happening for thenm Some new recruits have promptly left again as a result.

Established employees who aren't needing to form new connections are doing fine remotely. It's meaning that everyone is having to try that little bit harder to help new recruits settle in than we used to.

China can destroy US space assets, Space Force ops nominee warns

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Re: Dumb and Dumber

Which is all why the next generation of ASATs being developed and tested now aren't the type that just collide at high speed, creating a debris field that as you point out, inhibits your own freedom of manoeuvre in space.

Devices being developed now will be less lethal in the way they disable satellites. They will approach a target slowly and attach a grapple and disrupt it's orbit perhaps with thrusters into an uncontrollable spin or deorbit it. Maybe even just bump into it to critically damage it without creating a lethal debris field. This approach requires a dedicated ASAT for each target, which is why the Space Force person quoted is taking about the future being mega constellations of smaller satellites. And the counter, counter-counter effort goes on and on.

EU puts smart device manufacturers on the hook for cyber security

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Re: I can understand...

So someone else does our consumer field testing for us? Sounds good.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Does that include TeleScreens?

"Sale of Goods act should apply..."

Replaced in 2015 by the Consumer Rights Act. Broadly similar in terms of your customer rights, but the question of quality and how long something should reasonably last for now also takes into account "many different factors like product type, brand reputation, price point and how it is advertised."

Also "For example, bargain-bucket products won’t be held to as high standards as luxury goods."

According to Which.

Mandiant ‘highly confident’ foreign cyberspies will target US midterm elections

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Re: Dictatorships like to encourage in others what they most fear at home.

"Unfortunately no one teaches a course called "Critical thinking skills" or "Bu***hit detection" to give it a pithier name."

Not true, just googling "critical thinking courses" returns plenty - certainly enough options for me to have to spend time weeding out the good from the bad if I wanted one. And at least, here in the UK my kids learn that sort of thing all the time at school. From what I can make out, it's embedded in many subjects: How to question and challenge sources etc. And my kids are young enough for me to think it's standard across the whole curriculum.

I even remember it back when I was at school.

Bye bye BoJo: Liz Truss named new UK prime minister

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Well described, and that's a problem I've often had with our election process in the UK. In a general election I vote only for my local MP, whichever party's candidate wins, that party gets a point in the national competition and whichever party wins that chooses it's MP to become PM (chosen publicly well in advance as party leader).

I've often had the case where I'd like one party to rule the country but another party's candidate as my local MP, but I can't split my vote.

Nadine Dorries promotes 'Brexit rewards' of proposed UK data protection law

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Re: Hmmm

No one is claiming that GDPR is the pinnacle of privacy regulation. But it is the first serious attempt at new privacy regulation in the modern age of big business harvesting our data for financial gain. And the fact that GDPR had to be so big and a cross-EU endeavour is a sad indictment of the power that big business has and the lengths it will go to, to make money from our private data.

As Triggerfish said, GDPR backed by the big EU has a chance against the likes of Google and FB. The UK on its own, less so.

Convicted felon busted for 3D printing gun parts

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Re: I don't own a gun, but...

It wasn't a 3d printed gun, but a 3d printed attachment for a standard gun, to use the recoil to activate the trigger, and use the recoil to activate the trigger, and use the recoil to ... and so on. This would convert a simple handgun into a rapid fire automatic, it whatever it's called.

From an engineering perspective, a clever bit of kit. I think it also subverted legislation on owning automatic weapons.

FTC sues data broker for selling millions of people's 'precise' location info

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Re: Forget Roe v. Wade

Other than the "crime syndicate" one, those use cases are all pretty good. I'm in!

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Android's missing firewall

And this will all be in accordance with the EULA because of weasel words like "we may share data with trusted partners to improve our services", which translates as "we will sell your data to whoever wants to pay for it".

Doctor gave patients the wrong test results due to 'printer problems'

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Re: Photocopier challange

"it was drummed into me to never be in a vehicle without a seatbelt just in case something crashes into it"

Even today in the middle age of my life I get into a car and start the engine before putting on the seatbelt. It's a habit that has stuck with me from years of driving cars where it wasn't certain the engine would start without having to get back out and fiddle with something under the bonnet.

How archaeologists can use AI to date our ancestors

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Re: Assumptions are the problem

"The assumption here is that the [lactose] mutation only occurred once. "

That's a good challenge. But the lactose mutation is only mentioned in the article as a single example of a genetic marker. In the paper, it says they used thousands of similar markers. Unless I'm grossly oversimplifying it, the errors on date estimates from each individual marker will average out somewhat.

Your point about bias from the training data still stands though. I can't see anything in the paper about how they assess that.

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Re: AI? Really?

It's not AI, the paper doesn't mention AI at all, only "supervised learning". And reading the paper quickly I'm not even convinced that it's machine learning either. More like a computer algorithm to sift through lots of data points and aggregate to an answer.

Which isn't to say it isn't a good idea. Bringing all the individual markers together, each one of which suggests a cut off point in time, to obtain an ensemble estimate is really neat.

NASA's Space Launch System rocket is on track for August 29 liftoff

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True, this mission isn't crewed. But that's because it's a test flight for later, crewed, missions. I'm happy to wait a few more years while that develops, happy that we're well on the way to people on the moon again.

I agree it's disappointing that it's taken so long for crewed spaceflight to leave low earth orbit again, but Apollo was never meant to be the start of that. Apollo was just a race to beat the Russians to something glorious, which it did, extremely well. Once that space race was won, that was it, the focus was back on the cold war and the shuttle was built to meet cold war requirements of putting spy satellites into orbit. The ISS was only ever about people in low earth orbit, but it has been a learning experience in preparation for long duration missions, like Mars.

And going back to moon this time isn't just about going there to pop in a flag and bring back some rocks. It's about the staging post for eventually going to Mars. That's the exciting thing for me, that this is all part of the plan to go to Mars, eventually, somehow.

Scientists use supercritical carbon dioxide to power the grid

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Energy or power?

No, you definitely aren't the only one irked by that.

I know it doesn't change the main thrust of the article but come on El Reg, you should know your audience! I'm off for a lie down now before I can bring myself to read past the third paragraph.

Nuclear power is the climate superhero too nervous to wear its cape

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Re: Waste

" by the very definition of it being high level radiactive it's only radiactive for a very short time"

Only on a per atom basis, otherwise that's very wrong. High level waste can still have a half life of many 1000s of years.

Emergency services call-handling provider: Ransomware forced it to pull servers offline

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Recovery redundant?

When it comes to redundant, that's not how government understands that word.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Recovery plan?

Full recovery within 48 hours? I can bet that conversation would have gone something like this:

NHS: We want full recovery from any cyber attack in 48hrs please.

Bidder: ok, that'll cost this much.

NHS: We don't have anything near that much money.

Bidder: For that much we can do this.

NHS: ok. That'll have to do.

Government Minister: "We're putting not money than ever into public services, creating an NHS fit for the modern age blah blah blah tax cuts for all!"

Russian anti-satellite test added to a 'pressing threat to security' in space

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Re: "internationally-established consensus best practices for space operations"

"And there of course we remain for some time until the mess sorts itself out... possibly never"

I'm going for never. If the space debris situation were to ever get to the point where the MTBF of a satellite due to space debris was only a few days, no nation's military would decline to use space. They'll just keep launching new satellites every few days, or hours, or whatever their magic money tree war chest will fund.

Clean up orbit first, then we can think about space factories, says FCC

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Re: slowish orbit?

"By far the cheapest solution is to stop making a mess"

True. But the human race as a whole still hasn't acted on that realisation - about 200 years late and counting...

Toyota's truck brand Hino admits faking and fudging emissions data for 20 years

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Re: Establish a system to preserve certification test records

"The big difference is that no-one has ever died, or even become ill, from a single vehicle's emissions"

Maybe not a 'single' vehicle but Google for something like "air pollution deaths" and you'll see that the World Health Organisation considers air pollution to be a cause of several million perhaps deaths per year - vehicle emissions being a major contributor to that air pollution.

Also, in the UK, a legal landmark was set in 2020 when a coroner officially recorded air pollution (from vehicle emissions) as the cause of death for a girl who died in 2013. The enquiry took several years.

I paid for it, that makes it mine. Doesn’t it? No – and it never did

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

"If you put an egg in the water, does it come out cooked?"

If you get the water temperature just right, then yes. Apparently the white of an egg cooks at a slightly lower temperature than the yolk does. So get the water at a temperature in between and you can leave the egg in as long as you like and it will be perfectly soft boiled. Tricky to do in practice as the difference is only about 5degrees C, or something.

We've got a photocopier and it can copy anything

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Re: Years ago....

Currency detection in copiers is a thing and has been for a while. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/EURion_constellation

Years ago when we had new shiny multi function copiers in our office we tried to copy a banknote, just to see how good the copy would be. It wouldn't do it and threw up a specific "currency detected" message. The only way we got it to work in the end was to cover the metal strip with a thin strip of post-it note, so that machine was obviously detecting the metal strip optically somehow.

The copy that came out obviously had a blank strip over where the metal strip should be so it was obviously not genuine. But the quality was surprisingly good. We reckoned that if done on the right paper rather than crisp hard copier paper and roughed up a bit, it might pass. This was in the UK when banknotes still had a paper feel to them, rather than the plastic of today. If course we never actually did it, we shoved the copies in the shredder and went back to the lab but I can easily understand how some people would be tempted.

Demand for smartphones is drying up

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Re: Innovation

"Has the maker manage to install enough software 'upgrades' to slow it to unusability?"

So with you on that one. My latest phone is getting "updates" every few weeks and with each one, the phone gets noticeably slower and more irritating to use. They're all described as "security" updates but I've not found a way to find out exactly what security updates (if any) it's installing and hence whether I need them. Also not found a way of actually stopping them from happening either.

I'm all for genuine security updates, but only if that's what they actually are and don't cripple the device in the process.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Consumerism is down, good.

Smartphone sales are down, good.

Ok. So not good if it really is happening because the recession means people can't afford them, but that's a different problem. I'll bet that people aren't throwing their phones away and saying "I'll do without one", rather it's people holding onto older models for longer before upgrading. In which case, good, that we're consuming fewer resources.

Maybe, just maybe, the big manufacturers will move away from the continual growth model they need to cling to. As if!

IT departments often regret technology buying decisions

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"it was relatively easy for product leaders to predict who buyers were, but no longer. Buying team dynamics are changing and customers can find buying to be a real challenge"

Sorry, but WTF does that actually mean?

Being declared dead is automated, so why is resurrection such a nightmare?

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Re: Yeah, and

I was once a line manager at a public organisation famed for process and bureaucracy. The smoothest and most efficient set of processes we had were those that kicked in when someone resigned, by a long way.

AI inventors may find it difficult to patent their tech under today's laws

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Re: This is ridiculous

I've got a patent for something that has no reference to the working model in the patent application. There is a working model, just that it isn't mentioned in the patent.

If you insist that something can only be patented if you have a working model then you skew the patent system in favour of organisations with big resources to build those models, and against the individuals that actually have the idea.

If you create an algorithm for something and can show the mathematics and proof of it, why should you be excluded from protecting that idea simply because you have not got, say, the processing power required to demonstrate it on?

Boris Johnson set to step down with tech legacy in tatters

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Re: Direct your ire...

Once again, the late great Douglas Adams was spot on:

"those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made [ruler] should on no account be allowed to do the job."

Leave that sentient AI alone a mo and fix those racist chatbots first

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Re: Do androids dream of electric sheep again?

"What's the point of having so many AI and robots? Do we lack of humans?"

Proper robots, like welding robots can genuinely do a better job than humans at a faster pace and in dangerous places we wouldn't a human to go, so they're fine.

AIs like chatbots simply serve to reduce the costs of the employer. Personally, I don't see a problem with paying a fair wage to a human doing a fair job, but that's probably why I'm not a big business bod. The point of big business is simply to make more money and employing a crapbot is cheaper than a human.

How did you mourn Internet Explorer's passing?

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Re: It's not dead.

Definitely not dead where I work, because for reasons I've never been able to extract, we need Chrome, IE and edge to be able to use all of our corporate intranet. Many pages only work properly in one of those browsers and bizarrely only one of them can download files from links. And I thought web browsing was meant to be standardised?

No more fossil fuel or nukes? In the future we will generate power with magic dust

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Re: Give it time

"So how many microW algae cells would we need to replace a good-sized 1 GW nuclear power plant?"

Answer: Giga/micro = 10¹⁵

The article says each algae cell was about the same size as a AA battery, so if that's stood on end it takes up about 1cm² of floor space. So a GW of them spread out on the ground (to make sure they still get light) would be 10¹⁵ cm² (100,000 km²), or a square about 316km along each side.

Starlink's success in Ukraine amplifies interest in anti-satellite weapons

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Re: The internet is two way

"Starlink uplinks are fairly directional, it would be tricky to radiolocate someone from that I think."

Nah, the beams won't be that narrow and there'll be plenty of sidelobe leakage to detect them by.

Smart homes are hackable homes if not equipped with updated, supported tech

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Wrong headline?

Surely the headline should be "Smart homes are hackable homes if equipped with the latest tech"?

I get the point about needing updates but it's the latest tech that is causing this problem, not solving it.

Ad-tech firms grab email addresses from forms before they're even submitted

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Re: Unique emails

Yes, that's it, you're right. It's a + sign not a dot. My mistake.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Re: Unique emails

Google mail allows you to do that as well. If your email address is anoncoward@gmail.com, you can use anoncoward.anytextyoulikehere@gmail.com and it will come through to your anoncoward inbox, but still with the anytextyoulikehere in it so you can track it.

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Re: Is this really a problem?

I'm sure I can remember a story from a few years ago that revealed Facebook was extracting and analysing your posts even before you submit them. So if you were editing a post before publishing, or if you decided not to post after all, it didn't matter, Facebook still had it and added it to their analytics.

I'm not surprised at all that this is happening, I presume that at least some websites track every key stroke and mouse movement you make whilst there. I don't know how that might be done, just assume it is.

Half of developers still at screens even during breaks

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Re: Sixty-two percent of respondents' employers encouraged physical and mental wellness at work

"Not me. That's my time and I've taken it for myself"

Quite right. An employer won't pay for your commute since that's your responsibility, so when I find a way of reducing my commute, I'm not giving it to my employer. Of course, if my employer is good enough to help me reduce my commute, then I'll be grateful, which brings its own rewards to the employer. That's just good work relations.

As someone else said here, incorporating commute time into work time isn't improving productivity, it's just working longer.

LIDAR in iPhones is not about better photos – it's about the future of low-cost augmented reality

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I'm sure there's an element of "build it and they will come". I suspect Apple have partly fitted lidar sensors simply to show they can, and to encourage others to come up with novel uses for their products - and thus sell more.

Starlink's Portability mode lets you take your sat broadband dish anywhere*

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Re: "If Starlink detects a dish isn't at its home address, there's no guarantee of service"

"Yes but if the baud rate is high enough, a small shift like that could alter the timing of symbol reception at either end"

Shouldn't do, as the receiver will be constantly adapting to keep synchronisation with the transmitted carrier. It has to do that to account for drift between the transmit and receive clocks, but also to account for the Doppler shift in the transmit carrier due to the satellites orbital motion. Gut feeling is that Doppler induced by moving the ground segment even in a fast car is not going to be significantly more than that induced by the satellite orbit. As others have said here, the more challenging aspect to operating a dish on the move is keeping it pointed.

Thinnet cables are no match for director's morning workout

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Was that on just now?

Years ago, a colleague and I were fitting some cables for some experimental kit on board one of the UK Royal Navy's finest. The cables contained something like 25 twisted pairs, all individually screened and armoured too for durability. The multi pole connectors were works of industrial art in themselves. All we had to do was run the cables from A to B and plug them in. They were the sort of cables that went where they wanted to rather than where you wanted, you had to work with them not against them.

After much effort we finally got the plug in the right place at the right angle to meet the socket on the big cabinet of important stuff that was on and running. We were assured by our host that that it was fine to connect them whilst the kit was on, and also it was really inconvenient to turn it off anyway because of all the downstream issues that would create.

The main power switch to the cabinet was at the top, on the front, right next to where our cables came out and right next to the socket we were aiming for. The only protection on the very unassuming toggle switch was a small guard either side and a note saying "do not turn off". At this point, my colleague says "was that on just now? Err, I think I better go and get Bob (our host)". I spent a few minutes in mild panic thinking "we're in trouble here" before Bob comes back, looks at the switch and says "yeah that should be on". He flicks it on and calmly walks off leaving us very relieved and breathing easier.

The rest of the fit went well and the kit did great service for a while until an unfortunate incident outside of our control meant that the kit was no more. But that's the deal sometimes.

Don't hate on cryptomining, hate the power stations, say Bitcoin super-fans

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

"There is no way for me to prove I am *not* invested in Bitcoin"

I don't think any proof is required, just for you to declare (honestly) if you are invested or not. If you don't use, own or trade bitcoin, or have any dependence on someone who does, then you can justifiably say you are not invested.

Granted, this ignores the possibility that for instance, you might have some conventional monetary dealings with someone who also uses bitcoins, but to say that makes you invested would be tenuous.

BT starts commercial trial of quantum secured London network

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"I'm no expert in this, but it seems like security is just hop-by-hop and not end-to-end. So you're subject to MITM attacks at the exchange."

I think the diagram is potentially misleading. The core sites are "ends", where the data can be decrypted, used and then encrypted again before sending off to somewhere else. And if you look at the diagram, there is a route from customer site A to customer site B through the "core" sites via the WDM multiplexers and node repeaters where the data remains encrypted all the way.

But yes, a person in the middle attack or similar is still possible any point where the data is decrypted, same for any encryption scheme.

jdiebdhidbsusbvwbsidnsoskebid Bronze badge

Single photon manipulation and sensing is a thing now, it's doable but yes the length of the fibre is a factor in its success. It's currently feasible over many 10s kms, the Chinese have claimed to have done it over far greater distances and in free space.

Sending multiple photons until one gets through isn't a big deal. The whole point is that the entangled half of the pair that you keep allows you to know if the other has got through successfully. If it hasn't, you change the key and retransmit until it does get through unchanged - then you use that key.

Ex-Googlers take a stab at building 'general intelligence' that makes software do what you tell it

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"...makes software do what you tell it"

Are they suggesting that every advert for every digital assistant is ... less than accurate?

British motorists will be allowed to watch TV in self-driving vehicles

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Re: Too early.

"Or is the power consumption for what is effectively a headless PC negligible in this context?"

You can make a reasonable guess at an answer to that:

A typical efficiency for an EV is about 4 miles per kWh.

My laptop has a 50Wh battery and let's say it can run for 3 hours (without the screen on) before it's flat. So in 1 hour that's 0.05/3= 0.017kWh of energy drawn from the battery.

At the car's efficiency of 4 miles per kWh, that corresponds to a loss of 4x0.017=0.067 miles of range, every hour. That seems negligible to me.

Putting it in perspective, I'm assuming my laptop draws 17W when running (without the screen), that feels a bit low, but comparable with even LED headlights running or a decent sound system pumping out some driving tunes.

UK Budget: Cloud tax relief, compute study in historic cost of living crisis

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Just accounting software?

Looks like the software that SMEs can get discounts on is just admin and accounting software. Shame it doesn't apply to technical software to help these SMEsdo technical work. I wonder if this is a ploy by the treasury to ensure that these companies correctly pay their taxes, neglecting the tools they need to actually do science.

Epson payments snafu leaves subscribers unable to print

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Mafia racket?

The more I read this story, the more it seemed like an old fashioned Mafia protection racket from a gangster film.

And then this bit "despite receiving fresh ink cartridges from the company, he is still unable to print anything until the payments issue is resolved." made me think of the scene where the Mafia goons say to the poor shopkeeper "sure, you can stay open as long as you like, but it would be a real shame if no customers could get to your front door"

UK govt signs IT contracts 'without understanding' the needs

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Re: Ui/UX?

If you're responsible for billions of pounds, there's every chance that your user experience is now out of date.



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