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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

xaxa Re:Could be solved be VISA, etc. immediately (302 comments)

Ah, I didn't realize. I assume they're still used for major transactions like buying a car or something?

I live in the USA, but aside from rent and occasionally paying a friend for something expensive I haven't used a check since graduation except to pay rent and buy my car.

I switched banks a couple of months ago, and it's just occured to me that I didn't receive a chequebook. Perhaps I would need to request it. The previous account (opened ~6 years ago) sent me one automatically, though I only used three of them. This time, all my direct debits, saved accouts (mostly friends I've sent money to) were transferred automatically, and a redirect to the new account made for my salary.

I would use a debit card to buy a car. It's far more secure for both me and the vendor. It's less clear what the best way to buy a used card from an individual is.

Rent is paid electronically, set up either online or by filling in a form at a bank.

4 days ago
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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

xaxa Re:Broadway Hotel, 2-4 Burlington Road West Blackp (302 comments)

There are plenty of photos on Tripadvisor, and they're not nice. (e.g. mouldy socks left in a drawer, chunks of damp plaster falling off walls.)

4 days ago
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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

xaxa Re:Ask the credit card for a refund (302 comments)

It depends. If they paid online, a charge-back is easy. For "card not present" transactions, charge-backs are almost automatic, and the merchant has little recourse. If the physical card was used at the hotel, then it will be much harder.

Since it's a British card, so has a chip, even if the owner authorised (using his PIN) the cost of the room at the hotel using the card, they won't have authorised the subsequent £100 charge.

4 days ago
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UK Hotel Adds Hefty Charge For Bad Reviews Online

xaxa Re: Ask the credit card for a refund (302 comments)

FTFA:

"The Broadway Hotel's booking policy reads (in small print), ...."

I'm betting these nice patrons read that as carefully as you did. The first time.

TFA says they booked through Booking.com -- on their page for the hotel I don't see any fine print with those words. They may have changed it today. They have a note about disabled access.

It's clearly an unfair contract term anyway. Would you agree to it if it was explicit? No -- it's intentionally hidden away in the small print.

4 days ago
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Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

xaxa Re:But is high speed rail a *good* public investme (418 comments)

If you agree we need a railway, then making it high speed shouldn't cost much more than not. (At least, that's the theory. I'm not interested enough to get past all the biased websites and find some facts.)

I wouldn't be surprised if some people do start commuting from Manchester to London, or working for part of the week in both cities. A few people already commute from Leicester, which is 70 minutes from London. You're sure to get a seat, so it isn't necessarily wasted time. Last time I passed through St Pancras there were adverts for commuter houses in Northamtonshire. Weekly commuting is probably more common. Two colleagues spend the weekends in York and Truro, respectively.

about a week ago
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Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph

xaxa Re: 240km/hr? (418 comments)

Regenerative braking requires very little extra equipment, the electric motors are used as generators and the power produced put back into the electric supply (overhead wires).

The alternative is simply dumping the generated power to a grid of resistors, which some diesel trains do, as it reduces wear on brake pads.

about a week ago
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Debunking a Viral Internet Post About Breastfeeding Racism

xaxa Re:Breastfeeding? (350 comments)

Unless you can find a way to network breastfeeding or find a way to run Lunix on it, I don't see how the topic is appropriate for /.

The interest is using Amazon Turk for a quick survey.

about two weeks ago
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Overbilled Customer Sues Time Warner Cable For False Advertising

xaxa Re:TWC are (surprise, surprise) crooks and thieves (223 comments)

How about a compromise? Make the last mile providers utilities and require them to allow other ISPs to sell on their infrastructure. Since the infrastructure in many areas was a government granted monopoly when it was put in, regulate the rates that they can charge ISPs, but let the ISPs compete on prices, speeds and features. I remember when DSL was this way and I thought it worked pretty well.

And then you'll get the situation we have in Canada [which is bad]

Or you might get the situation in the UK, where I can choose from a wide range of providers at a wide range of prices and service levels. A few lay their own fibre and connections, most of the better ones lay fibre to the phone exchanges and have some routing equipment inside, the cheap ones lease everything from BT and save money (compared to BT) with customer service and usage limits (but plenty for my grandma, who pays £2.50/month or so for a few GB to check her email and chat on Skype).

about two weeks ago
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Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

xaxa Re:Not always about the money... (161 comments)

The tiny sums mentioned in the article were a surprise. If it can be that cheap to make significant progress on such an intractable problem, imagine what some serious dough could do! Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation have some resources.

That might not be the total cost. I tried to find what that was, and who funded it, but can't. I got as far as the sources of support for the research department: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ion/depa... -- but the actual operation was done in Poland, and I think going further might require reading Polish.

about a month ago
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Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

xaxa Re:Not always about the money... (161 comments)

Nice to see breakthrough research like this coming from a single-payer healthcare system like the UK. When people start saying that the only places that can afford groundbreaking medical research are the ones where the "customers" pay a fortune, it'll be good to be able to point them to things like this.

According to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/heal...

"The lack of financial incentive for the pharmaceutical industry could help explain why it has taken so long for the research to get this far. Using a patient's own cells to heal them means there is no profit for the pharmaceutical industry."

But I'm not sure where the funding did come from, some at least came from the Polish government. The scientist mentioned in the BBC article works at UCL (University College London), which has a large NHS teaching/research hospital (UCLH), but it won't necessarily be 100% NHS funding for this work. I think this is the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/0963... .

I can't find a single place "advertising" all the research the NHS funds. Here's a couple of sites: http://www.uclh.nhs.uk/researc... http://www.imperial.nhs.uk/res...

about a month ago
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Brain Patterns Give Clues To Why Some People Just Keep Gambling

xaxa Re: nanny state (59 comments)

Gambling is much more common in the UK, most activity is legal (and taxed), and the problems are treated roughly as alcohol problems are.

about a month ago
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Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

xaxa Re:GBP50 = 63 Euro (314 comments)

It would be horrible if GCHQ had ANY anonymous tube traveller so you did them the favor to show your Papiere.

Is there any practical difference between using an Oyster card automatically topped up from a credit card, and using the credit card directly? I doubt it.

about a month ago
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Too Much Privacy: Finnish Police Want Big Euro Notes Taken Out of Circulation

xaxa Re:GBP50 = 63 Euro (314 comments)

The new (year-old) £50 has probably removed some problems, it has the modern security features that the previous one lacked. I haven't used one myself, I rarely have more than £80 in my wallet.

Occasionally cash machines in Germany (and elsewhere) will dispense €50s and even €100s. I have withdrawn €100 (one note), walked into a nightclub and apologised while buying a cola. The bartender didn't see a problem.

Last time I was in Italy the local supermarket was a bit like Harrods, and the man in front of me paid about €545 for his wine^Wshopping in three €200s. The cashier did check them with a machine, but not the €50 he handed over to make the change nicer.

I use my contactless card a lot, since my shopping is rarely over £20. I've bought lots of £1.45 bus / tube fares (in London). The cheapest thing was probably around £1 from the local Tesco. Or €1.50 for a drink in a museum in Amsterdam (that was mostly seeing if it worked).

about a month ago
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UK Government Tax Disc Renewal Website Buckles Under Pressure

xaxa Re:I put it down to this (145 comments)

In general, Britain has an anti-sneak culture, so I doubt many people would literally report their neighbour. It's more likely to be general nosiness.

I could believe people check on their neighbour, find they haven't paid, but only grumble to their friends and other neighbours.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up?

xaxa Re: Pen (635 comments)

I use a fountain pen (or three, with black, blue and some other colour).

I find it much more comfortable to write with, compared to a ballpoint pen.

about 3 months ago
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Should police have cameras recording their work at all times?

xaxa Re:About things "accidentally breaking" (455 comments)

Crowd-Source the auditing. All footage to be audited by the public, anything flagged goes to IA.

No -- that's very bad for protecting victims and witnesses. The main argument agaist the cameras is innocent victims and witnesses end up being recorded.

Here (PDF) http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/sto... is a report from using the cameras in the UK, way back in 2007. Here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-2... says video is deleted after 30 days, unless it's part of an investigation.

about 3 months ago
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Gas Cooled Reactors Shut Down In UK

xaxa Re:EIGHT weeks??? Nukes need to be more modular. (120 comments)

Taking that many GW-hrs of production offline for that length of time is a serious outage.

It's still summer here, so there's probably lots of space capacity elsewhere. Few homes have air conditioning, the outside temperature tomorrow is forecast to peak at 21C in London. August is the month with the lowest demand.

There are some graphs and dials here: http://www.gridwatch.templar.c...

I'm surprised nuclear power varies over the year -- does anyone know why?

about 3 months ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

xaxa Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (246 comments)

I assume you're correct, with local knowledge, but what I said was true from what I saw -- though I can't prove it.

I've not been anywhere else in South America, so I only have Europe, the US and Canada, and some of East Asia to compare to. Ecuador is bottom of that list, but not that far behind the US.

The people in Ecuador with the worst stories were born there, so maybe they're remembering the old times.

about 3 months ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

xaxa Re:Jungles, but I'm too scared (246 comments)

Earlier this year I went to the Cuyabana reserve in Ecuador. There wasn't really any reason to be scared of the jungle.

You wouldn't know where to go on your own, and organising transport would be a hassle anyway, so book an organised tour. I was travelling round Ecuador alone, and there were five others on my tour. A 12 hour bus journey to Lago Agrio, a 2.5 hour car drive east, then a 2.5 hour motor canoe journey and we were very much in the jungle.

(I only spent four nights in the jungle, you can obviously do a lot more.)

I will add some photos to Wikivoyage later this evening.

(Ecuador felt like the most dangerous place I've ever been, but not because of the animals. In the cities there's relatively high crime -- on one occassion a little girl warned me that I was about to walk into a slum, where I'd get robbed at best, and possibly killed. Many shops and all banks had armed guards. But, outside the cities it seems to be fine. If this puts you off, try South East Asia instead.)

about 3 months ago
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Driverless Buses Ruled Out For London, For Now

xaxa Re: Trains sound like a good idea. (84 comments)

I'm on a driverless train right now, the Docklands Light Railway on London. It's been running without a driver since 1987, the one accident was minor, and under manual override.

A Wikipedia list was posted above of similar systems.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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New UK government to reverse erosion of liberties

xaxa xaxa writes  |  more than 4 years ago

xaxa writes "In the UK, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition government. They have released an agreement document outlining their joint policies. In section 10 (Civil Liberties) the parties "agree to implement a full programme of measures to reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties under the Labour Government and roll back state intrusion", including "A Freedom or Great Repeal Bill.", "The scrapping of ID card scheme, the National Identity register, the next generation of biometric passports and the Contact Point Database." "Outlawing the finger-printing of children at school without parental permission", "Adopting the protections of the Scottish model for the DNA database.", "The review of libel laws to protect freedom of speech.", "Safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation", "Further regulation of CCTV.", "Ending of storage of internet and email records without good reason. (and others)."
Link to Original Source
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Rural areas overtake towns for broadband in the UK

xaxa xaxa writes  |  more than 6 years ago

xaxa (988988) writes "According to a report from OFCOM, the UK's independent communications regulator, for the first time rural households are now more likely to have a broadband connection than residents of towns. This could be the result of a drive to bring broadband to sparsely populated areas, enabling people to work from home. Overall, 57% of households have broadband Internet access. OFCOM also report that 20% of households now rely solely on mobile phones, 85% have digital television, 30% of adults have watched TV online, 20% have accessed the internet on a mobile phone.
Of the people without these services, most didn't want them or thought they were too expensive. Just 1% of consumers wanted them but found they were not available in their location.
The full report is available."

Link to Original Source

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