* Posts by Richard

35 publicly visible posts • joined 24 Sep 2007

Remembering the true* first portable computer


@The missile knows where it is at all times

At which point does it turn into a chrysanthemum?

BT static IP customers get nothing but static


@AC 10.47

Do colleges use BT Business for their ISP? I'd have thought that they'd be hooked up via local government and whatever fibre provider they use.

Facebook eliminates parts of Wales

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@Mark Daniels

"Wales... ... is not a country anyway, any more than Yorkshire is."

When I read this article I resigned myself to reading such anti-Welsh comments. Wales is a separate country (though practically considered to be a Principality) within the UK -- I take it you've heard of the various Acts of Union between 1536 and 1564: "The country of Wales justly and righteously is … incorporated, annexed, united and subject to and under the imperial Crown of the Realm, as a very member and joint of the same." Indeed Wales is thankfully a separate country to get away from cretins like you.

I don't mind if you keep Cardiff, though. It and the valleys are about as Welsh as Ulan Bator.

Beeb tech boss seeks to expand TV licence online

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No title

What I expect will happen is that the licence fee laws will be changed so that a levy will be made on ISPs bills for broadband connections.

Beeb borrows copyrighted Flickr image


BBC idiocy


"I would note the website from which the image was sourced appeared to make no reference to copyright and had no facility for copyright to be enquired about or validated, although I understand that the image has now been removed from that website."

Somebody should let this David person know that any website that they pinched the image from does NOT have to have a copyright reference in order for the image to be copyrighted -- he seems to be saying that because the website didn't have this copyright reference, the image wasn't copyrighted. Absolute nonsense. Under English and Welsh IP law, a copyright is attached to an image or any work of IP and to the creator as soon as it is created. It doesn't have to be registered anywhere, it is automatically assumed to be copyrighted by the creator. Thus this David is talking out of his backside.

"and had no facility for copyright to be enquired about or validated" -- again, nonsense. If the site had no facility to contact you about rights usage (which is what he's really referring to), then plainly and simply they should NOT have used it. Even for internal testing of the CSO equipment.


First 'fully accurate' totally voice-controlled phone unveiled


Prior art?

Er, Wildfire, anyone? Before it canned by Orange? Apparently there were plans to expand into non-voice areas, such as reading out email and text, but the plug got pulled. It shouldn't have been too difficult to get her to take dictation and send it out as a text or email.

Toyota USA goes all chatty



After screaming "SHUT THE FUCK UP!!" a few times at it, I think attention in the form of some wire snippers may be required. Or remove the optical storage banks while in zero G. "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do."

London and Wales to get fast fibre


@Why would the Welsh need it

Whitchurch is a well-heeled middle-class suburb of Cardiff. It really is quite tiring to see any story which references Wales automatically triggering comments about sheep...

Meanwhile for the rest of us without Whitchurch and London have to struggle on using ADSL (of varying speed) or even Ye Olde Dyall-uppe.

500,000 oppose Red Arrows Olympic ban

IT Angle

@AC 12.56

"Not to mention the other 5m people who had to waste 3 seconds deleting each and every forward that came into their inbox."

My method of dealing with the brain-dead is to reply to everyone, including any email addresses I can find in the multiply-forwarded mail, and tell them that the mail is viral, and a hoax, and cite a URL for the hoax. It's wonderfully cathartic, as are the emails of apology I sometimes get. I really do wonder how these people are allowed a vote, or how they're able to breathe without instruction: "diaphragm up, diaphragm down, and repeat." No, they won't know what a diaphragm is.

Government told: Release secret Iraq documents

Dead Vulture

Richard Thomas

If I were him, I'd avoid going for walks in woods in the future.

Burned by Chrome - Fire put out


Not only MS and Google

Adobe tried this a while ago with some version of Photoshop, where they tried to do a rights grab uploaded to Adobe's online photogallery via this software. They got shot down in flames for it.

Wünderbra! German policewomen take 'Action Brassiere'





UK boffins roll out video periodic table



"The melting point of Sodium is around 96 degrees". And? Kelvin, Celsius, or Fahrenheit? (Yes, I know it's Celsius, but that's not the point.)

This video reminds me of a story I was told about the sodium store at Nottingham Uni. I was told it in the early 1990s but don't know when the alleged incident happened. The sodium store was underground, and it got flooded. All the doddery old chemistry profs were in a right flap, apparently. I bet it was a sight to see!

Microsoft chases satnav market



Considering how much computing power is needed to run this, you'll need to clear out your boot (trunk) to install a PC to run it, and plumb it into your car's radiator system. You'll also need to install a new alternator on the engine rated at 5kW. I'd hate to imagine what that would do to your fuel consumption, but at least the journey will be leisurely enoguh for Fista to be able to keep up with plotting your current position.

Pentax K20D digital SLR



"I suspect that has nothing to do with the software per se, but I could be wrong. It's probably information store in the EXIF section of the file, and can be opened by any competent software (I don't know whether Photoshop is any good, but I'd suspect they support such a basic thing as EXIF tags)."

Adobe Camera Raw supports the K20D so it should read every last scrap of info in the EXIF tags. If ACR/Photoshop can't read the white balance info from the raw file, then nothing will. It's also useful that the K20D has the option of saving to the open source DNG format. Kudos to them for that.

MPs urge action as spooky caller ID-faking services hit UK


Verifying incoming calls

There's actually a simple way of verifying if an incoming call is from your bank's call centre, or indeed any company's call centre. Sadly, I don't know if I'd be able to get it patented.

Wii can conduct an orchestra too



Except there isn't much of a correlation between arm activity and tempo, or even orchestra activity. An orchestra could be going hell-for-leather through a piece and the conductor nary makes a movement. And sometimes the opposite applies. As a rule of thumb, the less arm-waiving a conductor does, the better they are, and the better their relationship with the orchestra. And again, the opposite applies.

China promises censor-free Olympic media


New Olympic sport

"And now we cross live to Lhasa for the new Olympic sport of "Torture a Tibetan". This is the first time that it has been incorporated into the Olympic games, and oddly enough, only China have entered a team."

Teachers crucified by coughing pupils


Mr Mills

Ah, the good old days in the mid-80s. He had a car rear-view mirror attached to the wooden frame of his blackboard, and if he spotted any misbehaviour taking place behind him, a millisecond later the perpretator collided with the blackboard rubber at a rather large velocity (Mr Mills was a science teacher). There was also a *rumour* that he dropped a kid out of the 1st floor window because he wouldn't behave. Needless to say, all the kids respected Mr Mills, and he had no trouble from them. And he was only 5' 3".

A third of online shops undermine consumer rights

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Retailers and manufactuers

Retailers need to get it into their thick skulls that when something is faulty or missing it's up to THEM to rectify the situation and not the manufacturer. When a sale takes place, the contract is between the buyer and seller, NOT the manufacturer.

A few years ago I bought a Parrot Bluetooth car kit from blueunplugged.com. The kit arrived with several items missing, but fortunately, not essential to its operation. They were listed and pictured on the box, but weren't inside it. I contacted blueunplugged.com about it and asked them if they could send me the parts. They told me that they wouldn't be able to do that, and that I'd need to contact Parrot directly if I wanted the "allegedly" missing parts. I pointed out to them that under consumer protection law, my contract was with blueunplugged.com and as such they had to deal with the matter, not Parrot. Again, I got fobbed off. I contacted Trading Standards, who confirmed what I'd been saying, who said they might write to blueunplugged.com. When I gave them a chance to redeem themselves, by saying that I'd let Trading Standards know that the matter had been resolved if they were willing to, they gave me a load of abuse for having contacted Trading Standards about them!

Government set to 'destroy' UK radio astronomy



"Well they got in three times!!!! Someone voted for 'em... so someones lying!!!!"

In the 2005 General Election, nationally only something like 22% of the eligible elctorate voted for Labour. So it's the unrepresented 78% who are complaining on the various forums you mention.

Pure Highway in-car DAB radio


Re: Moving

"Actually, one main benefit of DAB is that it *can* be used on the move without ever retuning, and this has always been the case..."

My Kenwood FM RDS radio does this very nicely as well. And I've driven many times cross-country without having to manually retune Radio 2 I usually listen to, or indeed having to touch the head unit at all.

US dairyman inaugurates bovine biogas plant


Nothing new here

A farmer a few miles down the road from here has been doing this for the past 15 years:


Disintegrating wind turbine caught on camera


Plugged into the mains?

Perhaps someone decided to wire the generator into a transformer, upped the volts, to spin it out of control? Of course they didn't, but anyone who's seen those "The Thick of It" Christmas specials from 2006 will know what I mean. (The Opposition minister was forced by his party leader into buying a wind turbine to install on the roof of his house. He commented that it was costing him a fortune in leccy bills to keep the thing rotating...)

Vodafone, Orange to share UK mast sites


Re: Oranges for Everyone?

No, read the article again: "The companies insist, however, that the deal is not a merger nor an amalgamation of networks."

They'll just be sharing the steel towers. Both will have their own separate pieces of kit and backhaul from each site.

Secret printer ID codes may breach EU privacy laws


The Lives of Others

Just watched this on DVD, belatedly. Didn't the US congratulate the German people for breaking down the Berlin Wall? Only to then try to recreate the functions of the Stasi for themselves back in the "land of the free"? Thought so.

Starbucks mocha clocked at 628 calories


@ Ben Lancaster

"I've also attempted to convince people that Yorkshire Tea is grown on the yorkshire dales. At time of writing I'm yet to find anyone stupid enough."

It's already happening (well, Harrogate anyway):


A tea company in the northern English county of Yorkshire has sought help from India in its plans to develop one of the UK's first tea gardens.

Taylors of Harrogate turned to experts from the state of Assam in its efforts to grow tea in "God's own county".

They gave advice to UK staff on what kind of soil the tea bushes would thrive in and also on how best to care for them in an unfavourable climate.

And so on. I prefer a nice cup of Twinings tea myself to most coffees.

100Mbit/s sewer broadband rollout coming your way


@ JonB

"Why do people who live in nice countryside areas seem to think that the rest of us have to subsidise their obviously more expensive service provision?"

I'll give you a clue: it's called "being a civilised country," but of course, that concept is anathema people obsessed with greed and who couldn't care about the consequences should the rural economy shut down completely, and we'd have to import all our food from abroad, and with nobody left to make the countryside look neat and tidy for when the townies visit. (Another clue: the nice countryside doesn't happen by accident, it's as a result of farming.) I suppose you also advocate Royal Mail dropping its Universal Service Obligation? Of course it would be cheaper all round if everybody lived in large urban areas, and didn't that Ceauceascu bloke have this idea? I wonder what happened to him...


Every building?

"Sewers are deep underground where cable would be protected from clumsy drilling. They also run into the heart of virtually every building in Britain."

I think you'll find that there's an awful lot of properties which have no mains sewerage connection, and have to rely on septic tanks. But of course, this is yet again another urban solution. BTW, we're on mains sewers here, and have an excellent ADSL connection to the town's exchange.

Swedes to probe cow-belch threat to planet



"The usual ta very much to Mike Richards for the tip-off about this "top Scandinavian boffinry", as he puts it."

Surely you mean "top Scandinavian bovinery"?

Mine's the leather jacket, thanks.

YouTube biker clocked at 189mph



I can't help but wonder that his clutch is slipping once he goes past 140, as the acceleration on the speedo doesn't seem to match the rate at which the scenery is passing by. At least this one is in mph, unlike the Woodhead Pass video, which was in kph. That video was shown on some ITV programme recently, and the token traffic plod and that Edmund King bloke were both fooled by it, thinking it was a mph readout on the speedo.

Skull and crossbones for obvious reasons. Had it been the Nurburgring, then fair dos.

IE's Acid trip back to conflict

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Firefox 3 Beta 2...

... passed Acid2 just fine on my system (XP SP2).

Brown promises simultaneous liberty and security


Bill of Not Wrongs

When you think about it, it could revolutionise policing... Stick everything into the Bill of Rights that you don't want to prohibit (keep it short, though!), and everything not in the BoR is automatically an offence, so the police only need to keep an eye out for people observing the BoR. Cuts down the time and effort in drafting new laws, doesn't it? It's all rather ironic that he quoted Orwell though, isn't it?

Free-market think tank urges EU to unbundle Windows



I'm surprised nobody's mentioned OS/2 so far. What's needed is for Windows to be opened up, or at least for MS to publish its APIs so other Windows-compatible OSes could be written. What I'd like to see is a situation where Windows is available in various distributions like Linux is.

Judge parks 172mph Porsche driver for 10 weeks


@Martin Benson

"You seriously think that driving along a dual carriageway (not even a motorway) at 172mph doesn't deserve a jail sentence? He's travelling at 84 yards a second. If someone travelling at seventy decides to pull into the same lane as him, he's still going at a ton relative to that car - if the car is fifty yards away, he'll run into the back of him in a second."

Perhaps he was "familiarising" himself with the car, a la PC Milton at 159mph on the two-carriageway M54, at 3m, in an unmarked Vauxhall Omega?