* Posts by Peter W

55 publicly visible posts • joined 26 Feb 2007


Inquirer celebrates spammer murder-suicide

Peter W

@link bait

that's actually the nice explanation. The nasty explanation is that whoever wrote that piece actually felt happy at the thought of a massacre.

The return of Killer Chlorine

Peter W

I'm missing something, obviously

but isn't this kind of investigation valuable, even if the sample sizes are small, as it can flag up important issues?

This particular one doesn't seem to fall into the "important" category mind, but I'm sure all the thalidomide babies would have appreciated searches like this a bit sooner....

the mistake that's made is to put too much emphasis on %age increases rather than absolute increases (1 extra death per mil is pretty much irrelevant even if that's a 500% increase, if elsewhere it's saving 10 per mil).

BAE 'skips a generation' in killer robot tech

Peter W


buying from the uk makes sense unless it's absolute vastly overpriced - talking 2-3x the cost - as essentially a much greater amount of it ends up staying here, either by reverting straight back to the government in tax (rather than going to the US government), or being spent and then taxed.

Plus it also means more employment, which means less money has to be spent on unemployment benefits etc.

Plus it means we actually have more tech ourselves to sell to other countries, meaning more tax and more employment.

Governments are stupid if they spend massively overseas, the cost/benefit analysis just isn't right for it (same reason they should never, ever offshore anything).

Whitehall orders green paint for IT dept

Peter W

pretty good chances actually

"So all in all the government has as much chance as any big company of meeting its targets in reducing carbon. Now, what chance is that? ®"

pretty easy, actually. My company went carbon neutral jan last year, is 1000 odd people, and flew past it's first year targets for carbon reduction.

They are stupid if they have someone walking round turning off pc's though (in fact, I suspect the article here is wrong) as you can automate it very simply.

MoD in £1.75m rush order for SAS backpack radars

Peter W

I'd like to read about it in action not just a rehash of their marketing

"must have line of sight"

"incredible performance in rocky, mountainous terrain"

rocky, mountainous terrain normally have these little things called big rocks and mountains that block LOS....

will it only pick up people as well - or, more likely, will every random passing sheep set it off....

seems like Lewis loves the concept (and there is nothing wrong with that) but is basing his pro-piece purely on their marketing, which could be BS.

Firefox 3 makes up world record to set world record

Peter W


what is elreg's problem with this? FF3 tried to get as many as possible on one day, got 8mil Pretty impressive.

FF3 seems very good, much better than both 2 (which used to crash every couple of days on my pc), ie6 and ie7. Very fast. The addons don't all work but that'll be a question of time I expect - until then, FF2 is still available.

Research: Wind power pricier, emits more CO2 than thought

Peter W

reg in surprise anti renewable-energy article!

seriously, get balanced. It gets boring reading the same biased views every time.

In regards to this particular article - in a 25GW scenario you are assuming your average power supply is on the oder of 25% of this, 6.25GW. Power usage in the UK varies from 25GW to 50GW.

So in this situation you will *automatically* have at least 49 GW of alternative power available as there is a margin of at least 10% in the offline and offline power stations above.the peak load. In a situation where wind was dead flat for a long period of time there would *still* be far more energy being created during the off peak periods than actually being used which means the water storage etc can still be used.

For an engineer, this is an extremely poor piece. And Lewis, you really should stick to war - those articles of yours are much more interesting and (I hope) don't contain nearly as many holes as your energy pieces.

King Arthur was English 'propaganda', French claim

Peter W


are you drunk?

Can't decide how to vote? Publicwhip.org will tell you

Peter W


but misses out on a huge swathe of issues that matter. NHS services for instance? Schools and education? Taxes?

Without more depth it's pretty useless - although it did tell me (not a surprise) that currently I'm more in tune with the lib dems than the other major parties.

Added green burden could ground flying cars for good

Peter W


good to see I'm not the only one who's seen the Reg's switch to anti-anything environmentally friendly. I blame a couple of the authors in particular, but I won't bother naming them (they know who they are...)

Home Secretary goes crazy on drugs... policy

Peter W


an article I agree with by Tim Worstall.

What gets worse is the sheer stupidity of Labour putting this into place when Labout normally get the majority of youth votes: ie, they're putting policies in place that hurt their constituency and will lose them votes.

Not only stupid scientifically and morally but also politically. Bravo Jacqui & Gordon! A triple own goal!

Shell pulls out of Thames Estuary mega-windfarm

Peter W

so many posts to reply to...

I'll take a few of the easy ones.

@Anonymous Coward: "For £2bn You could build two nuclear power stations with a guaranteed output of 2400MW. "

And what are the running costs, fuel costs, demolition costs, insurance costs etc? Wind has extremely low running cost. You need to look at the full cost over time and not the building cost (or we'd all just go extremely inefficient Gas rather than far more efficient CCGT for instance).

@dervheid: "20 seconds is a long time..."

no, it really isn't. 20 seconds is essentially instant in power control terms as the energy use never changes that fast unless there is a big drop off the system (ie, a big power plant failing) which is more of an issue with nuclear/coal than with wind anyway.

@Hollerith: "The company I work for is into wind farms, but they have done the research and there just isn't enough wind int he UK, even off-shore, for wind farms to be a major source of power here."

They might want to redo their sums. It's true for a lot of coutnries but not the UK: we actually could have wind supplying a major portion of our energy needs

Peter W

@ dervheid


Actually, global warming isn't a myth: and wind power is a viable part of the future energy mix.

Scottish Government scuppers Lewis wind farm plan

Peter W

co2 emissions

"I saw some calculations that with the peat loss for the deep foundations and access roads, plus the CO2 in the concrete production, it would have taken about 80-100 years for the turbines to offset these emissions."

Back of the paper you understand, so I'm rounding everything. 3MW Wind Turbine. Will average (it's a high wind location) ~ 1MW actual production. 175 TWh of energy produced in 20 years. Call it a kilo of Co2 per Kwh, that's 175,000 tonnes of Co2 in 20 years.

Now I believe it's 55 kilo's of carbon per cubic metre of peat, or about 200 kg of C02.

Dividing through, that means approx 850 thousand cubic metres of peat will need to completely dry out per wind turbine (given that the rest, fabrication etc is normally given at around 6 months so a much smaller sum).

Up to you if you think that's a high number for drying out or low, personally it sounds like quite a lot (5 metres depth completely and utterly losing all its C02 across a circle of diameter >400m.)

Al Gore's green job bonanza - can we afford it?

Peter W

fellow from the adam smith institute

in shock "jobs are bad, money matters more" article.

What a surprise. He obviously hasn't heard about the way unemployment is not equally distributed and new jobs can indeed be created that ends up employing some of that unemployed, directly or indirectly. Reference for instance the unemployed in Ohio.

Why, every time I read a science piece in the register that touches on the environment, do I get the impression the elreg is now a very right wing news site?

So what's the easiest box to hack - Vista, Ubuntu or OS X?

Peter W

re: cert statistics

from the register itself

"We queried the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) database, and the CERT data confirms our conclusions by a more dramatic margin. When we queried the database to present results in order of severity from most critical to least critical, 39 of the first 40 entries in the CERT database for Windows are rated above the CERT threshold for a severe alert. Only three of the first 40 entries were above the threshold when we queried the database about Red Hat. When we queried the CERT database about Linux, only 6 of the first 40 entries were above the threshold."

looking at cert numbers alone is pointless.

The 'green' car tax grabs that don't add up

Peter W

minor point

or perhaps not...anyway, have you included the extraction/refining/distribution carbon costs of getting the petrol from the ground to your car? Also, the carbon cost of actually making the car in the first place?

I suspect the number looks slightly different if you do the full sums and not just a part of them. Having said which, since the funds aren't ringfenced to actually do something about climate change they are just an excuse for the governemnt to raise extra taxes anyway.

Lenovo intros skinny, low-weight ThinkPad

Peter W

why would you buy this?

when you can get virtually the same for half the price by buying a HP 2510p.....

oh, and get the xp version. Vista is tosh.

Big Climate's strange 'science'

Peter W

it was me!

an email to Andrew Orlowski after his last nonsense article.

Anyway, that particular paragrah actually read

"3)David Whitehouse - although a respected scientist - is still only one

voice and his speciality is astrophysics not climate. It is interesting

seing the response that New Scientist themselves give to his article here

http://www.newstatesman.com/200801140011 including this "I’ll be blunt.

Whitehouse got it wrong – completely wrong. The article is based on a very

elementary error: a confusion between year-on-year variability and the

long-term average. ".

You seemingly give no credence to contrary views from experts in the field -

which David Whitehouse is not btw. Essentially it reads as though you've

read his article and simply trusted it without investigating further, or

you've investigated further and then chosen to believe the article that

already agrees with your beliefs. Either way, poor journalism and poor

science I'm afraid."

I believe El Reg is suffering from a bad case of confirmation bias in all this.

Pete - An IT Professional (and BSc and shortly MSc, but hey surely the IT Profesional part is what qualifies me to comment?)

Major Linux security glitch lets hackers in at Claranet

Peter W

quick! linux security problem!

windows supporters - ATTAAAAAACKK!!!!!!!!!!

despiter the fact that it's literally 1 problem, already fixed.....

btw, I'm not a linux fanboi. Just find it funny when the windows fanboi's retaliate for any and everything, and exhibit confirmation bias in bucketloads....

Autothrottle problems suspected in Heathrow 777 crash

Peter W

Re:David Harper

interesting, since it's not on the list of engine problems does that mean they just didn't report it?

EU president sets green plans in stone

Peter W

Re: Michael Compton

"Money would be better spent dealing with climate change rather than trying to control it."

simply put, because it would cost vastly more to do it that way. Read the Stern report or this will do for the outline


BitTorrenters seek sanctuary in Pirate Bay

Peter W

burn heretic, burn!

"But don't steal it. If you do, then you deserve to burn in hell."

bit extreme for copyright infringement (it's not stealing as nothing is taken) isn't it?

Indignant reader defends Idiot 2.0™

Peter W


when I read the original story I thought "comments disabled as Lester knows he's being a hyprocrite here!".

Luckily this comment page is now open so I can say - Lester, that was a dreadful article and you have now compounded it by having a go at someone who has merely pointed out that it was a dreadful article.

Coat as it's cold outside.

US switches off the incandescent lightbulb

Peter W

@no savings here

electricity is obviously extremely cheap there or you have an incorrect cost for your electricity. Here (UK) domestic electricity costs around 9-10p/kwh (20c/kwh). That's ~3 times the figure you quote.

At your figure the toal cost is $90 a year: at mine closer to $300. Not a great saving but still, $300 a year for nothing (over $20,000 over an average lifetime) is a nice little bonus....

Vista sets 2007 land-speed record for copying and deleting

Peter W


"Wonder if these people complaining have updated their system (or even have a system up to date enough to run the software?)"

I've encountered this problem on a 2.4GHz dual core desktop with 4gb (count it, 4) of ram. Not much in the way of graphics not that it should matter.

Is that an "old, crappy spec machine"?

Just because you haven't experienced the problem doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Vista is a big pile of smelly dog turds. Worst OS I've ever used IMO.

Germans debut kitesurf-powered autonomous windjammer

Peter W

so we shouldn't try and make any savings at all then?

If all industries could make 15-30% savings that would be a real boost to fuel efficiency and slow down the increase in CO2. But why when I read most articles on el reg that cover the subject (and especially any by Lewis Page) do I feel that he's basically a global warming sceptic or has just decided to throw in the towel and not to try solve the problem?

Kudos to the company thats developed this, lets hope it works: apart from transport of goods/commodities large ships such as cruise liners would also seem suitable in some situations..

Nigerian keyboard firm sues One Laptop per Child

Peter W

absolute nonsense

wonder if they look they'll find some Micro$oft money behing the Lagos company as in SCO?

keyboard looks standard and not too similar. The extra characters are in the logical places (no originality) and only half of them are on the OLPC laptop anyway....

No way they'll be found guilty.

MoD budget train crash behind Brown v forces rumpus

Peter W

and how many billions

will it cost us if we have to support the out-of-work people in the uk arms industry if we send all the work overseas?

By no means should we be overpaying, and some of the kit seems pretty pointless considering our likely commitments, but thats a completely different matter from where the work should go which should (IMO) stay as British as possible.

Mac OS X firewall blocks Skype and online gamers

Peter W

do my eyes deceive me

some people actually like the horrible, patronising OS that is Vista?

Tidal power plans pit greens against greens

Peter W

severn estuary dam

the problem is that building a dam might actually reduce the tidal level in the severn, thus reducing the power it actually creates...I'd like to see them using tidal stream generation in the estuary instead. It won't create nearly as much energy but it's guaranteed and if it doesn't work it's easy to remove again.

BBC cans Planet Relief special

Peter W

why is it biased

if it's true?

And couldn't they have added a half hour program from the sceptics if they are worried about being accused of bias?

National Guardsman suspended over personal website

Peter W

did Lester actually read the site?

seems pretty funny to me, whereas the article reads as if the bloke was a nutter...

Tidal power project fails to start on schedule

Peter W

re: Tide times around country

Yet you STILL haven't addressed the fact that you don't store the energy, you turn off existing hydrocarbon plant which turns on again later. You aren't saving in capacity, you're saving in fuel. Same thing that happens now in the UK as a matter of fact, on a huge scale as day/night patterns shift. Or the fact the costs are likely to come down massively. Your article reads as though you have a very fixed idea already in your mind about tidal power (and renewable as a whole?) which ignores quite a lot of the theory and practice of a national grid.

Peter W

methinks Lewis needs to study Renewable Energy a bit more

Just a few comments - there are no doubt many more that could be said...

1)One pilot plant doesn't automatically mean the cost comes down massively by the second. Ref learning factors. Wind power was similarly extremely expensive at the start.

2)Cost of building a tidal stream generator includes project costs, development, and the connection to the grid. If a tidal farm is built the costs of all of these reduces massively as a proportion of overall costs. Parts have to be designed and built purely for this project, with no economies of scale.

3)Storage of power at these levels is irrelevant. You don't store, you switch off the hydrocarbon capacity so it doesn't generate. Cycling of the power plant is sub optimal but when it's on a scale of hours that doesn't matter, the cost in fuel savings more than covers this. Tidal power is reliable enough that you don't need to have extra capacity idling in case the supply drops.

Seriously, that's one of the most poorly informed pieces I've read in a while...

Cut-price laptops coming forth

Peter W


"If the now well-known £100 One Laptop per Child project appeals for its cheap-as-chips price, but you're not taken by the garish colour or crank-up handle, then you might consider the Medison Celebrity laptop, which retails for just $50 more."

The Medison Celebrity retails for around $150 (£73/€109) and will be available in Europe over the next four to six weeks.

Not sure if the author is aware but £100+$50 > $150.

/*end pedantry*

Geek Squader gets fruity with customer porn

Peter W

fixing a computer

say I'm looking at a home pc - its broken and I can't fix it in 2 minutes flat.

first thing to do is get all data off it in case it gets totally fried. That involves asking the user where they keep their files, and ALSO doing a search of the pc for any folders they've forgotten about. Hence, apparently, I'm doing something wrong by trying to make sure they don't lose their data....silly me! I'll just let them lose it all next time so they can keep a bit of tame porn secret....

Microsoft strips Office from charity PC scheme

Peter W

/pedant hat on

"I'm willing to concede that free (as in beer) is better than 95% off. But realistically, any charity that can't cough up about $8.00 for a $400 product usually isn't a viable business entity to begin with"

surely $8 is 2% and 20$ is 5%?

/removes pedant hat

Pluto demoted again

Peter W

sorry Ned

Pluto isn't a planet - all you've stated is that many people in this generation will continue to consider it one, but the next generation won't.

Westminster street lamp pay-back cut to 750 years

Peter W

lets have a look at the numbers

"The lamps were trialled in Harrow Road and saved, on an average day, enough energy to light a house for two days. "

A typical house has say 4 light bulbs on at once (living room, kitchen, couple of hallways, plus say a bathroom/bedroom), 80W each. each one on for 4 hours a day (say 7-11, more in winter, less in summer).

4bulbs*4hr*80W = 1.3kWhr a day, 2.6kWhr over 2 days.

So very roughly they are saying it will save ~940 kWh a year. They probably get a very cheap electricity price, say 4p/kWh. That's £37.60 a year saving, which across 15,000 lights makes a saving of 564,000 a year and a payback period of less than 50 years (depending on how you want to run the interest rates will change the length).

Now there are a huge set of assumptions and guesses in there but I can't believe it's out by a factor of 25. Essentially either they have the £20,000 figure massively wrong, or the "enough to light a house for two days" completely out.

Or to put it in reverse: 20k/yr over 15k lights is a saving of £1.33 a year each: since it's saving enough each day to light a house for 2 days, does anyone really think they only spend 66p a year on lighting their house?

No end in sight for Vista's Long Goodbye

Peter W

it's not incredibly rare

we've got one test machine - same problems copying data onto an external drive - put same external drive into an identical XP machine and it flies.

Just one of MANY Vista annoyances (tried to get free VNC working in service mode yet?)

Microsoft puts a figure on open source 'patent infringements'

Peter W


have you ever known Microsoft NOT to prosecute and play every trick they can if a competitor is doing anything Microsoft can sink their teeth into?

It's purely and simply a FUD trick.

Oral sex could be more dangerous than cigars

Peter W

numbers are wrong

I read the New Scientist version of this and they made the same mistake elreg has made.

Essentially, if you get the Virus, you're very likely to get throat cancer, and more Oral Sex partners makes it more likely you get the virus.

However, the base claims are that Oral Sex makes it twice as likely you'll get Throat Cancer: Smoking or Drinking, 3 times, which still makes it more likely as 3>2.

UN waffles furiously on biofuels

Peter W

biofuels are not the answer alone

Biofuels can do use up production surpluses in the western world as a way of prolonging the longevity of oil and reducing the overall carbon footprint. As part of a renewables policy that includes massive amounts of wind and hydro power, as well as more limited amounts of solar (solar is currently the most expensive option), they can provide a welcome boost.

But it simply shouldn't be thought of alone as it can't do enough.

As regards the actual use of these fuels, the most efficient is in CHP plants of <50MW, as larger than this hits transport inefficiencies (you end up using too high a proportion of the energy gained actually transporting it to the plant). Short term these are likely to be basic Combustion plants, with a long-term shift most likely to IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) plants as they have the highest efficiencies by a long way.

Disappointed Glastonbury fans spammed by rival festival

Peter W

They have lied here

This is wrong. I registered (picture, etc) but certainly didn't tick any "third party" box. I then didn't even try to buy a ticket when the time came.

The data has been swiped I reckon.

Peter W

I also

haven't received this "We also spoke to a Glastonbury spokesperson who claimed that an apology had been sent out to all those people targeted by the email."

I'm sure Mean Fiddler/SeeTickets could be sued for spam here.

Hotmail's antispam measures snuff out legit emails, too

Peter W

this isn't new

I noticed this a few years ago. On a Medium Security setting, lots of Spam was getting through, on a high Security setting many legitimate emails were being blocked. There was no useable middle ground.

So I dumped Hotmail and switched to Yahoo, which has far superior anti-spam filtering.

Doesn't matter whether you switch to Yahoo, Gmail on any other - they're all better than Hotmail!

Dell finally switches on PC network in Glasgow schools

Peter W

some basic maths

£15 mil, 7,400 computers.

= £2027 each.

Even with some support slapped in, thats wildly overpriced for a load of Dell boxes and some internet connections.

'Cops help kill 32 Students', claims furious blogger

Peter W

what nonsense some people talk

"In the UK here we have gun control laws that seem to have stopped legitimate sporting use - ie stopped (previously) legal use by law abiding people. What they have spectacularly failed to do is stop illegal use by criminals."

Not true. Try resarching per capita deaths from shootings, where the US has something like 80 times the number of deaths of the UK.

Swiss turn Titanic into timepieces

Peter W

not really made of the titanic

1.5kg. 2012 watches. Simple maths says its less than a gram of original steel in each watch....

or to put it another way, its a crass money making scheme based on a disaster without even the benefit of the watches being properly connected with the titanic...